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Names That Mean Mother or Father

Names That Mean Mother or Father

Names that mean mother or father exist in many cultures and range from the familiar and popular to the unique and rare.

The top names meaning father are Abigail and Abraham and their many variations. Along with Abigail and Abraham, other names meaning father or mother in the US Top 1000 include Axl and Maia.

A name meaning mother or father can be a fresh way to honor a parent or other ancestor. Look to specific meanings for one that might work for you.

For more lists of names by meaning, go to our main page of Name Meanings.

  1. AbigailHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "my father is joyful"
    • Description:

      Abigail comes from the Hebrew name Avigail and is derived from the Hebrew elements ab, meaning "father," and g-y-l, meaning "to rejoice." In the Old Testament, Abigail was the wife of David, said to be beautiful, wise, and prophetic. In the early nineteenth century, Abigail became a term for a maid.
  2. AxelHeart
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian variation of Absalom
    • Meaning:

      "father of peace"
    • Description:

      A classic in its native Scandinavia, Axel has a cool rock 'n' roll flavor in the US, thanks to Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose (born William). Axel is a popular Scandinavian form of the Biblical Absalom, who was a son of King David, and is the name of the title character of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.
  3. MaiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "mother"
    • Description:

      Maia was derived from the Greek word maia, meaning "mother." In Greek legend, she was the fair-haired daughter of Atlas who mothered Zeus's favorite illegitimate son, Hermes. To the Romans, Maia was the incarnation of the earth mother and goddess of spring, after whom they named the month of May. Maya is the more common spelling.
  4. GaiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "rejoicing"
    • Description:

      The name of the Greek mythological earth goddess and universal mother; actress Emma Thompson stated that she was attracted by its ecological element, so other "green" parents may want to follow her lead.

  5. BramHeart
    • Origin:

      Dutch variation of Abraham
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Bram has an unusual measure of character and charm for a one-syllable name; it started as a hipper-than-Abe diminutive of the biblical Abraham, but is also an independent Irish and Dutch name, made famous by Irish-born Dracula creator Bram (nee Abraham) Stoker. Bram is currently Number 16 in the Netherlands; Bram Howard was a character on The West Wing.
  6. AviHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father"
    • Description:

      Avi, the short form of many Hebrew names, is often used on its own in Israel. It entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2015.
  7. AbrahamHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abraham is among the most classic baby names that's still widely-used today, popular for its references to both the Bible and American history. The Biblical Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and is considered the founding father of the Jewish people. He was originally named Abram, until, according to Genesis, he was told, "No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."
  8. 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.
  9. CleopatraHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "glory of the father"
    • Description:

      A royal name in ancient Egypt that's never quite made it to the modern world, though nickname Cleo is widely used. Other now-extinct Cleopatra diminutives, including Cleora and Cleola, achieved some popularity in the early 20th century when there was a crazy for all things Egypt-related as the ancient tombs were opened and artifacts displayed. In the US, Cleopatra became a popular silent film in 1917 starring Theda Bara.
  10. AbramHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abram was Abraham's original name in the Bible; it's more user-friendly but with a bit less gravitas. And it does offer that cool nickname Bram, as well as the friendly Abe. After some early American usage, in 1936 Abram completely disappeared for nearly forty years, until its return in the 1970s.
  11. CybeleHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "the mother of all gods"
    • Description:

      Cybele, the name of a Greek goddess of fertility, health, and nature, would unfortunately and undoubtedly be confused with Sybil.
  12. GailHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, short form of Abigail
    • Meaning:

      "my father rejoices"
    • Description:

      Gail was a mid-twentieth century favorite, which has been far surpassed by its original form, Abigail and nickname Abby. Spelling variations include Gale and Gayle, the latter represented by TV journalist and Oprah bestie Gayle King. Gail was most popular in the 1950s, when it was in the Top 40, and could rise again, possibly as a middle.
  13. AbbyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Abigail, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "my father is joyful"
    • Description:

      Gently old-fashioned stand-alone nickname that owes its popularity to mega popular Abigail.
  14. AkselHeart
    • Origin:

      Danish, version of Hebrew Absalom
    • Meaning:

      "the father is peace"
    • Description:

      Most American parents would choose to use the more commonly seen variant, AXEL.
  15. AttilaHeart
    • Origin:

      Hungarian
    • Meaning:

      "little father"
    • Description:

      Stun-gunned by the fifth-century Hun, though still well-used in contemporary Hungary and Turkey. Some sources also suggest Turkish origins for the name.
  16. AxlHeart
    • Origin:

      Variation of Axel, Scandinavian version of Absalom
    • Meaning:

      "father of peace"
    • Description:

      Guns 'n' Roses musician Axl (born William) Rose created this name by dropping a vowel, a la Barbra Streisand. The traditional Axel is more popular, though celebrity parents Fergie and Josh Duhamel deliberately chose the Axl spelling to honor her rock hero.
  17. NeithHeart
    • Origin:

      Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "divine mother"
    • Description:

      One of the more unusual mythology names for girls, Neith is the name of the Egyptian goddess of home and femininity.
  18. AbraHeart
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Abraham, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abra is soft, sensitive feminine form of Abraham that was the name of a soft, sensitive character in the John Steinbeck book and movie, "East of Eden." In the bible, Abra was a favorite of King Solomon and it was a popular name in seventeenth century England. Abra is also a West African name used for girls born on Tuesday. The magical 'abracadabra' is thought to have originated in the Aramaic language.
  19. AbsalomHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of peace"
    • Description:

      Absalom, because of its biblical and literary associations, just might appeal to the daring namegiver.
  20. AbbottHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "father"
    • Description:

      Abbott is a neglected masculine surname with religious overtones as the head of a monastery. Though the feminine nickname Abby could be a slight drawback, Abbott is still an attractive offbeat possibility.