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Names That Mean Light

Names That Mean Light
Names that mean light or bright shine beautifully and boldly on a baby. Names meaning light can commemorate a sunny day or burst of knowledge, can confer brightness on your baby's future or illuminate a mid-winter birth. Babies born at Hanukkah or New Year's sometimes are given names that mean light, such as Aaron and Clara.

Along with Aaron and Clara, other names that mean light in the US Top 1000 include Bodhi, Elena, Kiara, Lucian, Noemi, Nora, Robert, and Xavier. Uncommon names with light-related meanings that you might consider for your list include Abner, Eleonara, Helena, Lior, and Lux.

Names with light-related meanings that are well-used in other countries include the Irish Aine, the Italian Chiara, the Israeli Zohar, the Spanish Lucia, and the Arabic Noor.

Here is our collection of names that mean light or bright or clear for girls and boys.

ClaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Long relegated to an Olde World backwater, the European-flavored Clara has been speeding up the charts on sleeker sister Claire's coattails for the past few decades. Now, many would say the vintage chic Clara is the more stylish of the two names. Actor Ewan McGregor was an early celebrity adopter of the name for one of his daughters.

NoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Nora has two separate origin stories, as a derivative of both Honora and Eleanor. The Irish and Anglo-Norman version derives from Honora, based on the Latin word honor. The Hungarians spawned Nora as a short form of Eleonora, a variation of Eleanor.

PhoebeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "radiant, shining one"
  • Description:

    Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning “bright.” In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.

LucyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, variation of Lucia
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucy is the English form of the Roman Lucia, which derives from the Latin word "lux" meaning "light." Lucy and Lucia were at one time given to girls born at dawn. Lucy can alternatively be spelled Luci or Lucie.

LucianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucian is a sleeker, more sophisticated version of Lucius that is climbing in tandem with other Lu-starting names.

BodhiHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "awakening, enlightenment"
  • Description:

    Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. The Bodhi tree is a large fig tree under which the founder of Buddhism received enlightenment. Spelling variations include Bodie and Bode.

ClaireHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Clara
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Claire is the French form of Clara, a feminine derivation of the Latin masculine name Clarus. The French word for "clear," Claire’s meaning, is clair, and was traditionally a male name. Now the spelling is used mainly for girls, along with Clare, and occasionally Klaire or Klare.

EllieHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Eleanor and Ellen
  • Meaning:

    "bright shining one"
  • Description:

    Ellie derived as a nickname for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor, Ellen, and Elizabeth. It is increasingly being used as a standalone name, particularly in the UK. Ellie is the standard spelling, but Elly and Elli are occasionally seen as variations.

XavierHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque
  • Meaning:

    "new house"
  • Description:

    Xavier originated is use as a given name after Saint Francis Xavier, cofounder of the Jesuit order, who got his name from the Spanish-Basque village where he was born. His birthplace was Javier, the name of which was derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria, meaning “castle” or “new house.” Many Americans pronounce the initial X, as in ex-ZAY-vee-er, but it's equally accepted to pronounce the name ZAY-vee-er, closer to the French pronunciation.

ElenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning "torch." Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.

AylaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, or Turkish
  • Meaning:

    "oak tree, or halo, moonlight"
  • Description:

    Tired of Ava and Isla? Consider Ayla, a more offbeat choice and a lovely name that means light as well as tree. Its literary reference is the independent and feisty heroine of Jean Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear.

LuciferHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light-bearer"
  • Description:

    Lucifer is the name of the archangel cast into hell -- theologians disagree on whether he and Satan are separate beings -- and as such has long been on the forbidden list for religious parents. Still banned in New Zealand, Lucifer is occasionally used in the contemporary U.S.: Six boys were given the name in the most recent year counted.

LuciusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucius is an old Roman clan name that has lots of religious and literary resonance, yet is still vital today. It was the name of three popes, appears in several Shakespeare plays, and, like all the names beginning with 'luc' relates to the Latin word for light.It was one of a limited number of forenames used in ancient Rome.

HelenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinate form of Helen, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "torch; shining light"
  • Description:

    Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.

LuciaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, feminine variation of Lucius, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucia is derived from lux, the Latin word for light. It is considered to be the feminine form of Lucius as well as the Latinate spelling of Lucy. Due to its connection to light, Lucia was traditionally given to babies born as daylight was breaking.

AlinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Slavic
  • Meaning:

    "bright, beautiful"
  • Description:

    Alina is one of the scores of global variations on the classic Helen, well used in Poland and Russia, and also heard in the Celtic and German cultures, as well as in the US. Alina might be a long form for a daughter you want to call Lena or Lina.

KiaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of the Italian Chiara or the Irish Ciara or Aboriginal Australian, Korean
  • Meaning:

    "light, clear; little dark one; cockatoo; first ray of sun"
  • Description:

    Kiara can be considered a variation of both the Italian name Chiara and the Irish name Ciara. Chiara is the Italian form of Clara, meaning "bright" or "clear," while Ciara is the feminine form of male given name Ciar, derived from the old Irish cíar, meaning "dark." Kiara is also an Australian name derived from an Aboriginal word for the white cockatoo, and has roots as a Korean name meaning "first ray of sun".

RupertHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Rupert is a charming-yet-manly name long more popular in Britain (where it's attached to a beloved cartoon bear) than in the U.S. Yet we can see Rupert as a more stylish, modern way to honor an ancestral Robert.

CassandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "shining or excelling man"
  • Description:

    The name of the tragic mythological Trojan princess who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but was condemned never to be believed, Cassandra has been used for striking characters in movies and soap operas. Ethereal and delicate, Cassandra was in the Top 70 throughout the 1990s but is now descending in popularity.

NiamhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    Niamh, derived from the Old Irish Niam, is an ancient Irish name that was originally a term for a goddess. In Irish myth, one who bore it was Niamh of the Golden Hair, daughter of the sea god, who falls in love with Finn's son Oisin and takes him to the Land of Promise, where they stayed for three hundred years. Niamh can be Anglicized as Neve, Nieve, or Neave.

AaronHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "high mountain; exalted, enlightened"
  • Description:

    The origin of the name Aaron is debated—some say it was derived from Hebrew, while others claim it originated in Ancient Egypt. In the Old Testament, Aaron, the older brother of Moses who was appointed by God to be his brother's spokesman, was the first High Priest of the Israelites. The Hebrew version is Aharon—in Yiddish it can be Aaran—and the name appears in Arabic as Haroun or Harun.

ElaineHeart

  • Origin:

    French and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    This old Scottish form of Helen has had quite a history, going from appearing as one of the shining heroines of the Arthurian legends, the princess who fell in love with Sir Lancelot and became the mother of Sir Galahad, referred to as 'Elaine the fair' and 'Elaine the lovable', to being the name of the most famous of New York's celebrity restaurants, to being the archetypal New York neurotic on Seinfeld.

NellHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining one"
  • Description:

    Nell, once a nickname for Helen, Ellen, or Eleanor, is a sweet old-fashioned charmer that is fashionably used today in its own right. While Nell is perfectly in tune with contemporary vintage name style, it hasn't taken off the way some of its sisters have and so maintains an air of distinction. Use Nell or Nellie as a short for any name from Eleanor to Penelope or just name her Nell.

AlbertHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, bright"
  • Description:

    Albert has acquired a new gloss as one of the top royal baby boy names, a serious upgrade from its serious, studious image (think Einstein, Schweitzer). Albert remained popular for 80 years, and though it's far less fashionable today, it's still a widely used choice. Still, along with such stalwarts as Walter and George, it could now make an unusual yet classic choice. It became especially popular in Britain following the 1840 marriage of Queen Victoria to the German Prince Albert. Enlivening nickname Bertie is popular on its own in England.

LucienHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Lucian
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Sophisticated Gallic version of Lucian, Lucien may appeal to parents attracted to this meaning over that of Lucas and Luke, which have a different root, and also looking for a more unusual choice.

HelenHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "torch; shining light"
  • Description:

    Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.

AloraHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Eliora, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is my light"
  • Description:

    Alora feels like a hybrid name – part authentic, part synthetic – maybe because it is. It squeaked onto the Top 1000 in 2017 as part of the trend for girls' names starting and ending with A, but it has since dropped out again. It is likely a spelling variant of Elora, but also sounds a lot like the Italian word allora, meaning "so, then, therefore, well".

RobinHeart

  • Origin:

    Bird name; or English, diminutive of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Now that it's no longer fashionable for girls, Robin is rising for boys again. Robin Hood, Robin Williams, Christopher Robin, and Robin the Boy Wonder are all male namesakes, after all. It reentered the US Top 1000 boys namesin 2015 for the first time since 1999.

LuxHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • 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.

EileenHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish variation of Evelyn
  • Meaning:

    "desired; or water, island"
  • Description:

    Irish Aileen continues to be more popular than Scottish Eileen, though both names have seen an unexpected resurgence since 2012. Nicknames for Eileen include Isla, Lee and Lina. Eileen is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Eibhlin or Aibhilin, which is technically a form of to Evelyn/Aveline, but is also sometimes considered part of the Helen family of names. It was quite popular in the early part of the twentieth century.

ChiaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "light, clear"
  • Description:

    Chiara is a lovely and romantic Italian name that's familiar but not widely used here: a real winner. You might consider Chiara instead of Claire, Clara, Cara, or even Keira.

LucilleHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Lucilla
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucille is a name that had long been overpowered by its link to Lucille Ball, with an image of tangerine-colored hair, big, round eyes, and a tendency to stage daffy and desperate stunts. But with the newfound craze for double-L names like Lily and Lila, Lulu and Luna, and as the choice of Lucille by hipster parents Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson, Lucille is breaking free from its old clownish image, moving rapidly up the charts over the past decade after a long nap.

CallahanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "bright-headed"
  • 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.

ArjunHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining, white"
  • Description:

    Popular in India and among Indo-Americans, this name of the hero of a famous Hindu epic has an extremely pleasing sound.

AineHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "brightness, splendor"
  • Description:

    More commonly seen here as Anya, this traditional yet unique Irish name belonged to the queen of the Munster fairies and is sprinkled throughout Irish folklore as an early Celtic goddess of summer and prosperity. One of the most popular baby names in Ireland, Aine's spelling and pronunciation might seem simple but could prove confusing in the U.S.

OranHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "light, song, little green one"
  • Description:

    A calm and gentle multicultural choice. Oran is popular in Ireland, where its Gaelic form is Odhrán, meaning "little green one". In Scottish Gaelic, the name means "song", and in Hebrew, it's a combination of Or "light" + Ran "singing".

SolanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "sunshine"
  • Description:

    A bright and warm possibility for a summertime girl, Solana has been heard in a few video games. Solana Rowe is the real name of the singer known as SZA.

RobertHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Robert was derived from the ancient Germanic name Hrodebert, from the elements hrod, meaning "fame" and bertha, "bright." Robert was the name of three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce, who freed Scotland from English rule. The name was brought to England by the Normans.

PhaedraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    This name of a tragic figure in Greek mythology, the daughter of King Minos, sister of Ariadne and wife of Theseus, has a mysterious and intriguing appeal, and would make a dramatic choice.

AbnerHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "father of light."
  • Description:

    This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.

RaidenHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "thunder and lightning"
  • Description:

    The name of the Japanese god of thunder makes an assertive choice, very much at home in the Western world. Because of the name's similarity to popular baby names Aiden and Jayden, most people will pronounce it RAY-den, but it's more properly RYE-den.

AileenHeart

  • 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.

ReyanshHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "ray of light"
  • Description:

    This unusual Indian name, which refers to one of the names of Lord Vishnu, has been one of the fastest-growing boys' names of the last decade. It first managed to climb into the US Top 1000 in 2014. The nickname Rey Americanizes it.

EdnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "rejuvenation, delight"
  • 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.

GilbertHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "shining pledge"
  • Description:

    Considered ultra debonair in the silent-movie era, Gilbert then went through a nerdy phase, a la Gilbert Gottfried. Now though, like Albert and Alfred and Walter and Frank, it could be in for a style revival.

UriahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • 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.)

SennaHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical name; Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "brightness"
  • Description:

    Senna is a flowering bush common in the tropics, with bright yellow flowers. In herbal medicine, Senna has gained some notice as the active ingredient in so-called "dieter's teas," which works mainly as a laxative. While that is a less-than-savory association, Senna has a pretty sound and is a fresh entry in the flourishing botanical names genus.

ClarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Elaboration of Clara
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.

EllenHeart

  • 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.

LucianoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Lucian
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    A vibrant, operatic Latin choice.
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