Poetic Baby Names
Poetry baby names can come directly from the names of poetic forms, like Poem and Sonnet, great poets of history such as Emerson and Langston, or names with poetic meanings, like Edda and Teagan.
Along with Langston and Teagan, other poetic baby names in the US Top 1000 include Blake, Brooks, Byron, Dante, Emily, Ezra, Nash, and Sylvia. Recognizable names from famous poems include Annabel, Lenore, and Uriel.
Modeled after Rumi, the names of ancient poets are a particularly haute subset of poetry names. Many come from Ancient Greece, such as Homer and Virgil, Corinna and Sappho. Another intriguing possibility is Mirabai, the name of a 16th century Hindu poet and Rajput princess.
Whether you’re a poet yourself or just appreciate the art, a poetic baby name would make a stunning choice for your child. Here, a selection of perfect poetry inspired baby names you might like to consider.
Description:Ezra is potentially an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase Azaryahu, meaning “Yah helps.” In the Bible, Ezra led a group of fifteen hundred Israelites out of slavery in Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The Latin name Esdras derives from Ezra.
Origin:Latinized form of Hugh
Description:Hugo, the Latin form of Hugh, has more heft and energy than the original -- and of course we love names that end (or begin, for that matter) with an o. This one is especially appealing because it's backed up by lots of solid history and European style.
Origin:Latin diminutive of Durant
Description:Though closely associated with the great medieval Florentine poet Dante Alighieri -- who's so famous most people skip the last name -- it's not as much of a one-man name as you might think. Heck, it's not even a one-poet name, thanks to British pre-Rapahaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Though especially well used in the Italian-American community, it would make a striking name for any little boy.
Origin:Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
Description:Emily was derived from the Roman name Aemilia, which may have evolved from the Latin word aemulus, meaning "hardworking" or "rival." Amelia, although similar, has separate origins — it was derived from the Germanic name Amalia. Emilia, however, has the same Latin root as Emily.
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
Meaning:"son of Emery"
Description:The combination of Emily and Emma's popularity -- and the fact that Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher's daughter is named Emerson -- have put this formerly strictly boys’ name, embodying the gravitas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the limelight for girls.
Description:Alfred is up off his recliner! If you're looking for a path to Fred, you can go directly to Frederick or take the long way around with the so-out-it's-in-again Alfred. Alfred is quite popular in several European countries, especially England and Wales, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Meaning:"of the brook"
Description:Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.
Meaning:"from the forest"
Description:The musical, sylvan Sylvia seems poised to join former friends Frances and Beatrice and Dorothy back in the nursery.
Description:The unisex Blake, which indeed has two conflicting meanings, has a briskly efficient image when used for a girl.
Origin:Variation of Marlow, English
Description:Is it Marlo, Marlow, or Marlowe? Suddenly they all seem very much in the air, in tune with rhyming cousins Harlow and Arlo. It all started when Margaret Julia Thomas began being known as Marlo (after being previously nicknamed Margie and Marlow). More recently, Jason Schwartzman used the e-ending version for his young daughter, Marlowe Rivers, as did Sienna Miller for her baby girl Marlowe Ottoline.
Origin:Variation of Gwendolen, Welsh
Description:One spelling variation that's more popular than the original, this somewhat old-fashioned name might be in honor of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer prize for poetry, or may be a way to get to the modern short form Gwen.
Origin:Irish or Welsh
Meaning:"little poet or fair"
Description:As Meghan/Megan and Reagan/Regan show signs of wilting, along comes Teagan to take up the slack: definitely one to consider. The vast majority of American babies named Teagan are now girls. A variant spelling is Teaghan.
Meaning:"beauty, flow, lapis lazuli"
Description:Rumi is a Japanese girls' name that sounds like a couple of other choices more familiar in the West -- Rumer and Remi -- that is achieving notice because of its choice by two celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Meaning:"dove, a bird"
Description:One of the new bird names, like Lark and Wren, this one's associated with the billing and cooing sounds of love. Soft and gentle, Dove also has the admirable association with peace.
Description:The name of several ancient kings and princes of Ireland, Tadhg became so common at one point that it was used to represent a kind of Irish Gaelic everyman, or man in the street, as Paddy and Mick would later. Tadhg has seen a major resurgence in recent years and is also now ranked in England. It is sometimes used as the Irish equivalent of Timothy and is also anglicized as Teague and Thaddeus. Tadleigh and Thad are pet forms.
Meaning:"barn for cows"
Description:For centuries, this name had a romantic, windswept image due to its strong connection to the poet Lord Byron, who inspired its use as a first name. It is one of those surprise names that's appeared on the Top 1000 every year since 1880.
Description:Cullen is an appealing Irish surname name that upped its cool factor considerably when it became the Twilight family name of Edward et al. It's considerably less popular than it was at its peak in 2010, but is still widely used.
Origin:Scottish variation of Amabel
Description:Annabel is a spirited name that embodies quirky British gentility, and is gaining increading favor in the U.S. in the wake of the mega-popular Isabel. Appearing in Scotland as early as the twelfth century, where it was a royal name, it also recalls the romantic Edgar Allan Poe poem Annabel Lee, written upon the death of his young wife, Virginia.
Origin:Italian variation of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Giovanni is a venerable Italian classic that suddenly sounds fresh and cool. Ubiquitous in Italy, it has countless notable namesakes, from writer Boccaccio to designer Versace (nn Gianni).
Meaning:"beautiful as a poem"
Description:Celtic goddess of poetry, though less-than-poetic name.
Meaning:"son of the sea"
Description:Boys' favorite retains more of its poetic, windswept quality when used for a girl, as Robin Wright and Sean Penn did. Alyssa Milano gave her daughter Elizabella Dylan as a middle name.
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:Devilishly handsome, Devin arrived as Kevin was moving out. Not to be confused (though it often is) with the English place-name Devon. While both Devin and Devon are flagging somewhat for boys, the names have dropped out of the Top 1000 for girls, making it more a masculine and less a unisex name these days.
Origin:German variation of Leonora, Italian derivative of Eleonora, meaning unknown
Description:A "modernization" of Leonora that has suddenly come back on the radar along with the many other Leo names--both male and female. With literary cred via a famous eponymous poem by Edgar Allan Poe (and also in his even more famous The Raven,) Lenore was steadily in the top half of the popularity list until the mid-fifties, falling off in 1973. Cameron Diaz played a Lenore in The Green Hornet.
Description:Meera Bai, also spelled Mirabai, was a great female Hindu mystical poet whose works are popular throughout India. She was a fifteenth-sixteenth century Indian princess who devoted her life to writing paeans of devotion to the god Krishna.
The story of Meera was the basis of an eponymous Indian historical drama television series in 2009. It's also gotten a boost from HBO's Game of Thrones, in which Meera Reed is a tough, wise character who cares for the disabled seer Bran Stark once he flees Winterfell.
Description:Lowell is an upstanding and somewhat conservative name that calls to mind the genteel patrician families of nineteenth century New England, such as the one poet Robert Lowell was born into. Two other Lowell-surnamed poets are Amy and James Russell.
Meaning:"tall man's town"
Description:The great African-American Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes put this one on the map; actor Laurence Fishburne adopted it for his now grown son, born in 1987. Despite these popular associations, the name didn't make it into the US Top 1000 until 2013. This name is even less used in England or Wales, where as recently as 2014 no births were registered using this name.
Origin:Spanish variation of Paul
Description:Pablo, the commonly used Spanish version of Paul, has the added bonus of some fantastic artistic bearers: painter Picasso, cellist Casals, and poet Neruda.
Meaning:"strength of a spear"
Description:Could cute nickname Gertie, remembered as cute five-year-old Drew Barrymore in E.T., revive the long shunned Gertrude?
Description:The name of the greatest Roman poet and an early Irish saint who believed the earth was round, Virgil is heard most notably today as the name of designer Virgil Abloh of Off-White.
Origin:Latin clan name
Description:The ancient name Horace sounds fustily fuddy-duddy, and yet, with the resurrection of Homer, and the new interest in old Roman names...who knows.
Description:Looking for a discreet poetic name? Extremely popular Indian actress Kavya Madhavan is a notable bearer of this lovely Indian name.
Description:The final -e takes this from a daring word name to a literary honor name, for the inimitable Irish author, poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, infamous for his wit and flamboyance.
Meaning:"son of Dennis"
Description:Few people would have considered the surname of this famous Victorian poet as a first name until Russell Crowe chose it for his son in 2006. But, as a rhythmic three-syllable patronymic, Tennyson has a lot going for it, not least of all the appealing nickname Tenny; it would make a novel choice for the son of a Dennis.
Description:While Larkin takes this name from girlish bird to boyish surname, there are actually more female Larkins these days than male, and it's a name that works as well for either gender.
Description:Homer is a name that has traveled from the ancient Greek scribe of the great classical epics to Bart Simpson's doltish dad, and has also become the surprise hot celebrity pick of such parents as Richard Gere (his father's name), Bill Murray, and Anne Heche. Simpsons creator Matt Groening has both a father and a son named Homer.
Origin:English from Italian
Description:Could there be a more poetic name than Sonnet? Actor Forest Whitaker was inspired to choose it for his daughter.
Description:A softly poetic surname name, associated with poet W.H., Auden is enjoying quiet but marked fashion status. It was chosen for his daughter by Noah Wyle and is definitely one to watch.
Meaning:"bard, royal poet"
Description:Has a legitimate first name history in its native land and an appealing meaning, but pronunciation is far from obvious.
Description:Might fit the bill if you're seeking a unique single-syllable first or middle name for your son.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Reese Witherspoon's Deacon has opened this churchy direction for occupational names. It reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015.
Origin:Scottish occupational name
Description:Meaning bard, this is an original choice with poetic and melodic undertones. Bard itself has also come into consideration, both names bringing to mind Shakespeare and other literary lights.
The Scottish surname Baird's most notable bearer was John Logie Baird, the Scottish engineer and inventor of the televisor, the world's first practical television system in 1926, and also the world's first fully electronic color TV tube two years later. Some might also remember puppeteers Bil and Cora Baird.
Description:Delicate and gentle old-fashioned name, the kind found in early English poetry. While Corinna and the original Green Korinna are technically diminutives of the ancient Kore, now the popular Cora, this name will often be mistaken for other similar-sounding though unrelated names, such as Karenna. But it's pretty and is backed by more tradition than you'd guess.
Description:This elegant surname has great potential to turn into an unusual first name, especially with its literary associations to both Stephen and Hart Crane.
Description:Long heard as a last name, as in venerable poet Robert, U.K. talk show host David, British actress Sadie and old Jack Frost, Frost has suddenly entered the scene as a possible first, along with other seasonal weather names like Winter and Snow.
Description:Used far more for boys with this spelling, but still has a nice impish Irish feel for a girl.
Description:Name of the 7th century BC Greek lyric poet born on the island of Lesbos, whose name has been synonymous with lesbian love. Though this name is rarely used today, it certainly could be and, some might say, SHOULD be revived.
Origin:Irish variation of Baird, Scottish
Description:Great Irish middle name choice for Shakespeare lovers.