Names That Mean Light
Origin:Irish variation of Helen
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Irish Aileen and Scottish Eileen may be pronounced the same way or Aileen can be pronounced with a long a at the beginning. While neither is particularly stylish, Aileen is slightly more popular and has reversed its downward slide to inch upward in the past few years, perhaps thanks to its stylish A beginning. Nicknames for Aileen include Isla, Ayla, Lee and Lena.
Description:Callahan, the simpler spelling of Callaghan, is a rhythmic jig of a name whose history harks back to the ancient King of Munster. In the Dirty Harry movies, the Clint Eastwood character is Harry Callahan.
Description:This name of a character played by Kirsten Dunst in the movie Virgin Suicides, originally a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, is gaining attention, also thanks to the heroine Lux, Lady of Luminosity in the League of Legends games. Luz is the Spanish version.
Description:Edna is one of those names that, until what it seemed like a few minutes ago, felt so terminally frumpy that no one could imagine a parent choosing it for an innocent modern baby girl. But with the great upswing in names honoring ancestral family members, several of them being other four-letter, e-ending names, we wouldn't be so sure.
Origin:English variation of Helen
Meaning:"torch; shining light"
Description:An medieval English form of Helen, the sensitive but clear-eyed Ellen has swung in and out of style for centuries, often alternating with the parent name. Ellen was the more common in medieval England, until after the Renaissance, when Helen overtook her. In Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, set at the end of the nineteenth century, one character wonders why another has not changed her "ugly" given name to something prettier, like Elaine—a statement few would make today.
Origin:Italian and Spanish variation of Naomi
Description:Noemi is a charming Latin spin on Naomi, with the accent on the last syllable; another twist is Neomi.
Meaning:"God is my light"
Description:A perfectly respectable Old Testament name ruined forever through its association with the odious Uriah Heep in David Copperfield. Some people also find this name just too close to the word urine. These negative connotations may be wearing off, however. (Perhaps because people don't read as much Dickens as they used to.)
Meaning:"the Lord is my light"
Description:Eliora is a melodic name ripe with vowel sounds.
Description:The ancient name Albus has modern currency as the first name of the headmaster of Harry Potter's Hogwarts, more formally known as Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Can Albus work if you're missing the long white beard and the magic wand? Maybe, though it might be a heavy mantle for a Muggle child to wear.
Description:Inara is of those words that seems to mean something different in each of a dozen different languages, and was the name of an important goddess to the Ancient Hittites. But it owes much of its (admittedly scant) popularity as a baby name to Joss Whedon's cult hit sci-fi series Firefly, in which one of the main characters is named Inara Serra. Bottom line: One of the most intriguing and easily-translated Arabic names for girls.
Meaning:"my flame, my light"
Description:This short but strong name, commonly heard in Israel, has a lot of crossover potential, and is among the most usable on the minuscule menu of U names.
Description:A zippy little international name. The Hebrew name relates to the month of Israeli independence. The Slavic Ziva (also spelled Živa and Siva) is a goddess of love, life and fertility.
Origin:Italian variation of Lucian
Description:A vibrant, operatic Latin choice.
Description:Names ending in bert have long been in limbo, but with the return of Albert, maybe there's hope for Herbert. who could share the Bertie nickname. Herbert is a name that's been used by English speakers since medieval times, and was in the Top 25 in the US in the late 1920s, around the time of the presidency of Herbert Hoover, but there's been no sight of Herbert in the 21st century. Some Herberts, including novelists H. G. Wells and H. E. Bates, have preferred to go by their initials.
Description:Though the tragedies of the Greeks and Eugene O'Neill that used this name are filled with incest and murder, Electra is still a brilliant choice. Isabella Rossellini chose the gentler Italian verson, Elettra, for her now grown daughter.
Description:The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.
Meaning:"God is my light"
Description:It's the name of an Old Testament archangel that's symbolically given to boys born during Chanukah, but the possibility of unsavory nicknames (urinal?) make the short form Uri a better bet.
Description:A popular Irish name virtually unknown here, but one that feels like it could follow in the footsteps of Siobhan and Saoirse. It's pronounced SOR-ka, but with a little hiccup between the 'r' and the 'c' that's difficult for non-Gaelic speakers to reproduce. Spelled (and pronounced) Sorsha, she is a major character in the movie Willow.
Origin:Variation of Lucia
Description:Lucinda, an elaboration of Lucia created by Cervantes for his 1605 novel Don Quixote, is a pleasingly pretty alternative to Lucy. It was subsequently used by Moliere in his play The Doctor in Spite of Himself' (1666). More in tune with the times than Linda, Belinda and Melinda, it could be used to honor someone with one of those dated names.
Origin:Swedish variation of Ellen
Description:The Elin variation makes an old favorite sleeker and more modern. Elin came to prominence via the ex-Mrs.Tiger Woods and is now perhaps best known via novelist Elin Hildebrand.. It entered the US Top 1000 in 2010, though it's now dropped off again.