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British Baby Names

British Baby Names
British baby names have a unique style all their own. British names overlap with American and European names to some extent, but there are many names that are far more popular in Great Britain than they are anywhere else.

Nameberry analyzes British baby names that make the top names list in the UK but not in other countries. Some of these names are well-used English names and others have their origins in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, or other languages and cultures.

In general, compared with names popular in the US, British baby names are more traditional and less frequently newly-minted or invented. Nickname names are more popular in Britain than elsewhere and some names are more popular for boys in the UK -- Hadley and Henley, for instance -- and girls in the US.

It should be noted that Britain includes Wales and Northern Ireland, so some of the names we're calling British have roots in the Welsh or Irish languages. And Britain's large Middle Eastern population means that some Arabic names also now count as British.

Here, a collection of names we'd describe as British baby names.

OttilieHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of German OTTO,
  • Meaning:

    "prosperous in battle"
  • Description:

    Ottilie and its diminutive Ottiline are a pair of names heard among the British upper crust, but have rarely been seen here since the 1880's. Though it has German roots via Otto, Ottilie has a distinctively delicate French feel.

MiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and Old German
  • Meaning:

    "soldier or merciful"
  • Description:

    Milo is most commonly considered to be Germanic name derived from the Latin word miles, meaning "soldier." However, there is evidence to suggest it also may have independently spawned from the Slavic root milu, meaning "merciful." Milo predates brother name Miles, a variation that evolved when the name immigrated to the British Isles in the Middle Ages. Mylo is an alternate spelling.

FelixHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "happy, fortunate"
  • Description:

    Felix was originally a Roman surname but was adopted as a nickname by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. It is the name of four popes and sixty-seven saints; in the Bible, Felix is a Roman procurator of Judea.

ElodieHeart

  • Origin:

    French, variation of Greek Alodia
  • Meaning:

    "foreign riches"
  • Description:

    Elodie derives from Elodia, the Spanish variation of Alodia, a gothic German name associated with Saint Alodia. Saint Alodia was a child martyr in 9th century Spain, along with her sister Nunilo. In France, Elodie is spelled Élodie, with an accent over the E.

DaphneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "laurel tree, bay tree"
  • Description:

    In Greek mythology, Daphne was the nymph daughter of Peneus, a river god. Peneus saved Daphne from Apollo’s romantic obsessions by transforming her into a laurel tree. It is from this myth that the plant genus daphne, which contains the laurel species, gets its name.

OttoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Cutting-edge parents have revived this German name a la Oscar.

MabelHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Amabel
  • Meaning:

    "lovable"
  • Description:

    Mabel is a saucy Victorian favorite searching for its place in modern life; if you love offbeat old-fashioned names like Violet or Josephine, only sassier, Mabel is one for you to consider--it's started making a comeback and could rise to popularity a la Sadie. Several celebs have chosen it, including Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry, Bruce Willis and Dermot Mulroney.

OtisHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Otto, German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Otis has a double image: it's cool and bluesy a la Otis Redding, but also an upscale, high-society name of the past. Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk.

LeoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.

MaisieHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish diminutive of Margaret or Mary
  • Meaning:

    "pearl or bitter"
  • Description:

    Maisie, a hundred-year-old favorite, is in perfect tune with today, rising in tandem with cousin Daisy. Spelled Maisy, it's a popular children's book series.

EllisHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "benevolent"
  • Description:

    Ellis is one of the less used names in the currently popular El-family. It is a popular Welsh name in its own right, sometimes spelled Elis, and also an English surname derived Elijah, by way of the Greek Elias.

CallumHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish form of Columba, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Callum was derived from Latin Columba, a unisex given name meaning "dove." Callum was popular among early Christians because the dove was a symbol of purity, peace and the Holy Spirit. St. Columba was one of the most influential of the early Celtic saints.

MagnusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    Magnus is a Latin name, literally meaning “greatest,” that has a Scandinavian feel. It dates back to Charlemagne being called Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. Norwegian king Magnus I, named after Charlemagne, introduced it to his culture, and thus Magnus was the name of six early kings of Norway and four of Sweden. It is still a highly popular name in Denmark and Norway.

GideonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "hewer; or, having a stump for a hand"
  • Description:

    Gideon is a no-longer neglected Old Testament name, but still makes an excellent choice for parents looking to move beyond such overused biblicals as Benjamin and Jacob. In the Old Testament, Gideon was a judge called on by God to rescue the Jews from the Midianites, and the name was popular among the Puritans.

EttaHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish, feminine diminutive suffix of Henry
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Etta, once a short form of Henrietta, has long been used on its own, and we wonder if it could follow the progression of Emma to Ella to...Etta.

KitHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Christopher
  • Description:

    Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.

RhysHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ardor"
  • Description:

    There's Rhys and there's Reese (now more popular for girls) and there's Reece, and we particularly like the traditional Welsh spelling, which entered the list in 2004, possibly influenced by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, of The Tudors, and Welsh-born actor Rhys Ifans.

CassianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, variation of Cassius
  • Meaning:

    "hollow"
  • Description:

    Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.

PersephoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.

LachlanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "from the fjord-land"
  • Description:

    Lachlan is as Scottish as haggis and tartan plaid kilts—a favorite used throughout England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand—and just beginning to be noticed in the US: it reached the Top 1000 for the first time in 2013. An ancient name, Lachlan was originally used to describe the Viking invaders of Scotland, those from the land of the lochs.

EmrysHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Ambrose
  • Meaning:

    "immortal"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a Welsh name less common than Dylan, Griffin, Evan, or Morgan, you might want to consider this offbeat epithet of the wise wizard Merlin.

    Root name Ambrose is an ancient saints' name derived from the Greek ambrosia, the food and drink of the gods that conferred immortality.

BeauHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "handsome"
  • Description:

    Beau suggests someone devilishly handsome, with a large measure of southern charm—a nice image to bestow on your boy. Often solely a nickname in the past, it's now standing firmly on its own. Beau has been on the Social Security list non-stop since 1969.

FlynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the red-haired one"
  • Description:

    Flynn, a charming Irish surname, is still used only quietly, despite its easygoing, casual cowboy charm, unlike Finn which is a star of this genre. Flynn was the choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr for their baby boy, and is also the middle name -- used as his first -- of a son of Miranda's fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson, of Gary Oldman's son Gulliver and Marley Shelton's daughter West.

GrahamHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "gravelly homestead"
  • Description:

    Well used in England and Scotland since the fifties, the smooth and sophisticated Graham is catching on here.

CleoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "glory"
  • Description:

    Cleo, one of the few girls' names to boast the cool-yet-lively o ending, is of course short for Cleopatra, the name of one of the most powerful women in history.

ArchieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
  • Meaning:

    "truly brave"
  • Description:

    Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.

CloverHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from Old English
  • Meaning:

    "key"
  • Description:

    Clover is a charming, perky choice if you want to move beyond hothouse blooms like Rose and Lily, and it's recently become a new celeb favorite, chosen by both Neal McDonough and Natasha Gregson Wagner, who used it to honor her mother, Natalie Wood, one of whose most iconic films was Inside Daisy Clover.

BeatrixHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "she who brings happiness; blessed"
  • Description:

    Beatrix has a solid history of its own apart from Beatrice, with that final x adding a playful, animated note to the name's imposing history.

EvieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Eve or Eva
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Evie was derived from Eve, which in turn comes from Chawwah, a Hebrew name related to the concept of life. Evie can be used as a nickname for any name that starts with Ev-, including Eva, Evelyn, and Evangeline, but also for names such as Genevieve and Maeve. Evie is typically pronounced with a long E sound, but a short E is also valid.

SylvieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Sylvia
  • Meaning:

    "from the forest"
  • Description:

    Although Sylvia seems to be having somewhat of a revival among trendsetting baby namers, we'd still opt for the even gentler and more unusual Sylvie. Despite being dated in its native France (where it was popular during the 1950s and 60s), in English-speaking regions it still feels fresh and international without being unfamiliar and has a cosmopolitan, international air. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2016.

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

CosmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Italian, English
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    We all heard it on Seinfeld as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, then considered a punchline. Now some pioneering parents are embracing this expansive Greek name, which makes a creative and cool choice for a baby. Influential celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost chose it for their son, born in 2021, which will likely drive Cosmo up in popularity. In the UK, it currently ranks within the Top 1000 boy names and is trending upwards.

FrancesHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from France; free man"
  • Description:

    Frances is the feminine form of Francis, the English variation of the Latin name Franciscus. Franciscus, meaning "Frenchman," was taken from the Germanic tribe the Franks, which got its name from the francisca, the axe they used in battle. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes.

LottieHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Charlotte
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Lottie is a nostalgic great-grandma name that conjures up lockets and lace, and -- like Nellie, Josie, Hattie, Tillie, and Milly -- has considerable vintage charm. A Top 100 name at the end of the nineteenth century, Lottie fell off the popularity list around 1960, but well might climb back on most likely as a diminutive for the currently popular Charlotte. It's already an amazing Number 85 in England and Wales.

GriffinHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Griffith
  • Meaning:

    "strong lord"
  • Description:

    Griffin is one of the newer and most appealing of the two-syllable Celtic surnames. In English, griffin is the name of a mythological creature, half eagle, half lion. It re-entered the list in 1983 after an absence of 75+ years.

IsoldeHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ice ruler"
  • Description:

    Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.

JunoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "queen of the heavens"
  • Description:

    Juno is an ancient name that feels as fresh as if it had been minted — well, not yesterday, but in 2007. Since the release of the popular indie film Juno, this lively but strong o-ending Roman goddess name has become more and more prominent as a potential baby name — Coldplay's Will Champion chose Juno for one of his twins (whose brother is the kingly Rex).

ArwenHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "noble maiden"
  • Description:

    Arwen is well known as princess of the Elves in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: a lovely name with an authentic Welsh ring. She was played in the film by Liv Tyler.

LewisHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Louis
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Lewis is the best spelling to choose if you want this pronounced with the S. Lewis has been in the Top 5 in Scotland since 2000, and is one that parents in the U.S. are just beginning to rethink.

BearHeart

  • Origin:

    Animal name
  • Meaning:

    "bear"
  • Description:

    Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.

TallulahHeart

  • Origin:

    Choctaw, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "leaping water, lady of abundance"
  • Description:

    As memories of the outragrous actress Talullah Bankhead have faded, this hauntingly euphonious Choctaw name has re-entered the public domain. A modern hipster favorite, it's been chosen for their daughters by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy and Sara Rue, trail-blazed by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their now grown daughter. (Trivia tidbit: Bankhead's namesake was her paternal grandmother who, in turn, was named after the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls.)

WinifredHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "blessed peacemaking"
  • Description:

    One of the few remaining unrestored vintage gems, with a choice of two winning nicknames--the girlish Winnie and the tomboyish Freddie--as well as the slight stretch Freda. Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.

BlytheHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "happy, carefree"
  • Description:

    Blythe originated as a nickname for an upbeat person, coming from the Old English word bliðe, meaning "merry" or "cheerful." Today the homophone blithe shares the same meaning. Blythe was eventually adapted to a surname before it became a feminine given name.

CillianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "war strife or church"
  • Description:

    This classic Irish name , which is better known in this country by its Anglicized form Killian, is one of several newer recommended Gaelic choices that have entered the American name pool. Killian now stands at Number 516 in the US, while Cillian is 22 in its Irish homeland.

NinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of names that end in -nina
  • Description:

    Nina is as multiethnic as you can get: Nina is a common nickname name in Spain and Russia, a Babylonian goddess of the oceans, and an Incan goddess of fire. Here and now, it's a stylish possibility that's been underused. "Weird Al" Yankovic chose this decidedly nonweird name for his daughter.

SybilHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "prophetess"
  • Description:

    The image of the lovely Lady Sybil, tragic youngest daughter of the Crawley family on Downton Abbey is likely to go a long way towards reviving this almost forgotten name, off the list since 1966 and most popular in the 1920s and '30s. Sybil is currently Number 253 on Nameberry;

RafeHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ralph
  • Meaning:

    "wolf-counsel"
  • Description:

    Used almost exclusively in England; would make an equally amiable short form here for Raphael or Rafferty -- and could also stand on its own. If you're looking for boys' names starting with R, this is one of your cooler choices.

AoifeHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful, radiant"
  • Description:

    Aoife, pronounced EE-fa, is derived from the Irish word aoibh, meaning "beauty." Aoife was borne by several different heroines of ancient Irish legend. In one tale, she was the fiercest woman warrior in the world and enemy of her twin sister, Scathach.

AlfieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alfred, English
  • Meaning:

    "wise counselor"
  • Description:

    Alfie is a Top 20 name throughout the British Isles, where retro nickname names are mega-popular, but it hasn't really been picked up in the US yet. Both Alfie and rising star Archie are spunky nickname possibilities with a bit of an English accent.

RaffertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "floodtide, abundance, prosperity"
  • Description:

    Jaunty and raffish, Rafferty is one of the most engaging of the Irish surnames, used by Jude Law and Sadie Frost for their son. Fortunately, it doesn't still go by its original form: O'Raighbheartaigh.
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