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Nature, Place and Word Names

by Pamela Redmond and Linda Rosenkrantz, creators of Nameberry
Baby names drawn from nature, from places, and from words have become increasingly popular over recent years. These lists gather them for your consideration and include flower names and baby names inspired by the heaves, New York baby names and French words that can be used as baby names.

  • Australian Baby Names: Aussie Favorites

    In a multicultural nation like Australia, how do you define Australian names? Here we've listed Aussie names that stem from Indigenous Australian languages, place names or names that have become indelibly linked with the land Down Under through literature or popular culture, such as Matilda and Kylie. Along with Matilda and Kylie, other Australian names in the US Top 1000 include Adelaide, Darwin, Lachlan, Kiara, Miles, Sydney, Talia, and Victoria. Aussie baby names that are less common in the US but have the potential to become American hits include Acacia, Lowan, Lucinda, and Walken. While many popular Australian boy and girl names are similar to those names widely-used in other English-speaking lands, the choices here might be thought of as distinctly Australian baby names.

  • Beach Baby Names

    By Pamela Redmond

    Beach baby names call on the sand, the sea, and the sun for inspiration. Figures from mythology along with beach-related flora and fauna might also be considered beachy baby names. Beach names would be perfect for a child born during the summer months, the child of a sailor or a surfer, or a family that lives near the water. Beach baby names to consider for your list include the following.

  • Best American Baby Names

    by Pamela Redmond

    American baby names come from a range of sources, just like Americans themselves. There are Native American baby names, American place names for babies, names important in American history and namesakes for American heroes and artists, and baby names invented by Americans and used primarily in the US.

    Along with Savannah and Lincoln, American baby names ranking in the US Top 100 include Madison, Maverick, and Kennedy. Unique American names gaining visibility range from Denali, the name of Alaska's highest peak, to Jaxton, an American invention. Here, a selection of the best American baby names.

  • Biblical Place Names

    Biblical place names relate not to the people in the Bible but the physical places. As place names become more mainstream, parents are searching for ones with meaning and history, such as those in the Bible. The Bible has many name-worthy settings, from Ariel to Zion.

    Along with Ariel and Zion, other Biblical Place Names in the US Top 1000 include Bethany, Canaan, Eden, Jericho, Jordan, Judah, and Shiloh. More unique place names from the Bible that may be worth considering include Abilene, Lydda, Bethel, and Zebulun.

    Can these ancient place names work as contemporary baby names? We say yes. For more baby names from the bible, browse our master list of Biblical Baby Names and our list of Unusual Biblical Baby Names.

  • Bird Baby Names

    Bird names for babies are one of the hottest of the hot nature categories, all the way from Birdie to Wren. Bird names can work as unique first names or meaningful middle names and are appropriate for both girls and boys. While many bird names come straight out and announce themselves, as Robin or Hawk, others are more subtle, carrying bird meanings: Paloma, for instance, means dove.

    Along with Paloma and Wren, other bird baby names in the US Top 1000 include Arden, Ava, Callum, Gavin, Jay, Jonas, Mavis, and Robin. Up-and-coming bird names to listen for include Adler, Astor, Dove, and Lark.

    If you love nature names and animal names, you may want to search more deeply into the new genre of bird names for babies.

  • Butterfly Names

    Butterfly-related baby names came to wider attention when it was rumored that Kylie Jenner would choose a butterfly name for her new baby girl, to symbolize her love of the fluttery species. Baby names that relate to butterflies can be literal word names, like Butterfly itself as in the name of Gone With the Wind actress Butterfly McQueen, or the names of stages of the butterfly or mother development such as Chrysalis, the rumored name of Jenner's baby. Other butterfly names include butterfly-related words or species names, such as Vanessa and Julia.

    Along with Vanessa and Julia, other butterfly names in the US Top 1000 include Annabella, Duke, Edith, Hector, Laurel, Memphis, Pearl, and Valeria. Among the more exotic butterfly baby names are Cressida, Indra, Mariposa, and Yara.

    But butterfly names are not just for girls—we have plenty of options for boys on this list as well. For more, take a look at our list of Names with Animal Meanings.

  • Celebrity Baby Word Names

    Gwyneth Paltrow's Apple may still be the most famous case, but these days she's far from the only celebrity child with a word name. Today, there are enough celebrity baby names that are also words that we can fill a whole long list with them. In their ever-widening search for new and unique names, celebrities are turning to words that relate to nature, spirituality, animals, places, weather, colors, even numbers. Bonus: many of these, by virtue of being new and unconventional, count as truly unisex baby names. Here, word names that have been used in recent years for celebrity babies.

  • Celestial Baby Names

    Celestial baby names include those of planets and their satellites, constellations and single stars. That adds up to a whole galaxy of celestial baby names to choose from. For even more ideas, read our blog on celestial names.

  • City Names for Babies

    City names are a special breed among place names used for babies: hip, sophisticated, street smart. Along with Madison and Brooklyn, other city names in the Top 1000 include Savannah, Paris, London, and Trenton. Of course, city-bred kids can be named anything at all, but we collected these downtown-related names -- some of them the names of actual cities -- to provide inspiration for urban parents in search of names with a city theme. Of course, many city names -- Orlando, Charlotte, Adelaide -- started out as person names, so it all gets a bit meta. But the connection is what makes the names of towns and neighborhoods work so well for babies.

  • College Baby Names

    When you're on the prowl for the perfect name, anything can be an inspiration. Colleges around the country provide an endless possibilities for noteworthy baby names. Check out this list of baby names, each derived from the name of a college or university:

  • Color Names for Babies

    Using color names for babies started with Amber, then Rose drove the point home. While many of the original color names were female, today there are mostly-male color names as well as unisex baby names derived from colors. Today's name hues range from the obvious -- Violet and Scarlett -- to the most exotic, from Azure to Zinc. The full spectrum of color names for babies:

  • Coolest Baby Names That Aren't Really Names

    The coolest baby names sometimes aren't names at all, as the mostly unisex baby names on this list attest. There are an uncountable number of words turned cool baby names, beyond the scope of any one source. The only limits are your reference books, your imagination, and your taste. Here are some of the coolest and most evocative of the group.

  • English Word Names

    English names might be easiest to define when they're actual word names drawn from the English languages and transformed into baby names. This genre has grown tremendously in the past decade, to the point that now parents are creating names from words they love or that have a symbolic meaning in English along with other languages such as Spanish, French, or Italian.

    Of course, there is also a long tradition of English names that were originally flower or place or inspirational or other word names, most notably practiced by the Puritans. At this point, words like Iris or Mercy or Christian have been used so long as names that they are solid entries in the name lexicon apart from their original connection to the words that inspired them.

    Today, celebrities are often coining names from English words -- think North, Saint, Bear -- and so helping to popularize not just the specific names but the whole concept. And stars from Drake to Rebel Wilson have driven the word name idea home. Now, almost any English word is fair game for transformation to a baby name. And if you're not adventurous enough to use these new word names as first names, you might want to consider them as middle names to add uniqueness and meaning.Newer English word names finding wide favor include the following.

  • Flower Names for Babies

    by Pamela Redmond

    Flower names for babies were first popular around the turn of the last century and have started to bloom again as modern baby names, with flower names Lily, Violet, Jasmine, and Rose ranking among the top names for girls.

    Along with Lily and Rose, other flower names in the US Top 1000 include Briar, Dahlia, Daisy, Holly, Iris, Ivy, Magnolia, and Poppy. Other stylish names with floral meanings include Leilani, Flora, Linnea, and Romy.

    Flower names that work for baby girls range from the exotic from Amaryllis to Zinnia to the everyday, such as Daisy, Clover, and Marigold. There are even a few flower names for baby boys, such as Florian and Peregrine.

    Flower baby names can suit every taste and sensibility, from the vintage to the modern, the unique to the familiar. Here, a large collection of flower names for baby girls and boys.

  • French Word Names

    The parent in search of truly distinctive baby names has to move farther than ever away from the established roster. One new direction -- or is it two? -- for the intrepid baby namer is toward international word names, which combine two of today's coolest trends. We combed our own diccionarios for French, Italian, and Spanish words that could make perfectly appropriate, attractive baby names, and here are some French choices. But no reason to stop here--consider words from the language of your own ethnic background, be it Czech or Chinese, and add them to the list of your personal possibilities.

    Here, some French baby names fashioned from French words for your consideration:

  • Fruit Baby Names

    Fruit baby names have come to the fore as a new species of nature names thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow's little Apple Martin. Exploring further, here are some of today's possible fruit baby names.

  • Italian Word Names

    One new direction -- or is it two? -- for the intrepid baby namer is toward foreign-word names, which combine two of today's coolest trends. We combed our own diccionarios for Italian words that could make perfectly appropriate, attractive Italian baby names. But no reason to stop here--consider words from the language of your own ethnic background, be it Czech or Chinese, and add them to the list of your personal possibilities.

  • Jewel and Gemstone Baby Names

    Jewel names were popular a century ago and they're back in style now as baby names. Long considered the exclusive province of girls, there are some precious stones and minerals that lend themselves to boys, such as Jasper and Onyx.

    Along with Jasper and Onyx, other jewel baby names in the US Top 1000 include Amber, Esmeralda, Gemma, Ivory, Jade, Opal, Pearl, and Ruby. More unique possibilities with great potential include Emerald, Garnet, Goldie, and Peridot.

    There are many gemstone baby names out there, beyond the Ambers, Crystals, and Diamonds you may remember from growing up. Among the jewel names you might want to consider for your little gem are:

  • Mineral & Metal Baby Boy Names

    Mineral and metal baby boy names are hard-edged choices that impart a new brand of masculinity.

  • Musical Baby Names

    Musical baby names can be soothing, lyrical, rhythmic, rousing, and melodious. There are musical names to suit everyone’s taste and genre preference, from classical music and opera to blues and rock-and-roll. Musical names are a branch of creative baby names that include musical terms such as Lyric and Tempo, as well as musical occupational names like Harper and Strummer.

    Along with Harper and Lyric, other musical baby names in the US Top 1000 include Aria, Cadence, Celeste, Harmony, Piper, and Reed. Musical instruments, though less popular as names than musical terms, make lovely middle names, including Banjo, Cello, Marimba, and Piano.

    Here, some musical names you might want to consider.

  • Mystical Names

    Mystical names summon figures of mythology and legend, of magic and mystery. The mystical names here hail from a range of different cultures and stories. Some names, such as Lilith and Phoenix, remain strongly tied to their myth of origin. Others, like Jason and Maya, are so far removed that many may be unaware they are mythological names.

    Along with Jason and Maya, other mystical names in the US Top 1000 include Bodhi, Cassandra, Cohen, Daphne, Finn, Gabriel, Thalia, and Veda. Baby names with general ties to mysticism and mythology include Hero, Rune, Saga, and Serendipity.

    For even more mystic baby names, check out our lists of Mythology Girl Names and Mythology Boy Names.

  • Names with Animal Meanings

    Baby names with animal meanings range from the obvious, such as Robin or Lionel, and those with subtler animal meanings, such Rachel (which means ewe) or Tabitha (gazelle). This list of baby names with animal meanings contains both those that announce themselves clearly, such as Fox and Wolf, and those whose animal meaning is more hidden. The following range of animal baby names would be perfect for your wild child.

  • Nature Names Chosen by Celebrities

    Nature names have been a defining trend of the 21st century, and that includes trends in celebrity baby names. Dozens of high profile parents have borrowed names from the natural world for their children. Beyond Hollywood, those names have become go-to picks for all parents, with names like River and Willow making mainstream popularity lists in recent years. Here, a collection of nature names for babies that have been used by celebrities over the past few years, several of them more than once.

  • Nature Names for Babies

    The popularity of nature names has risen along with the green movement, which has made us more appreciative of all things connected with nature. We have also seen a rise in nature baby names as parents look for names beyond the usual first name boundaries. Many of the best nature names, such as Sage and River, can work for either gender and also carry the advantage of being easily recognized and spelled and pronounced while at the same time moving beyond the tradition lexicon of names.

    Along with Sage and River, other nature names in the US Top 1000 include Briar, Dahlia, Fox, Ivy, Laurel, Magnolia, Willow, and Wren. If you fancy baby names related to nature that are off the beaten path, Canyon, Grove, Harbor, and Prairie are stylish options that have not yet been discovered by the masses.

    For more nature names, you can consult our lists of flower names, tree names, water names, sky names, and so on. Here is where you can browse some of the coolest nature names today.

  • New York Baby Names

    New York baby names capture everything that's cool about the city. From New York landmarks and streets to notable New Yorkers, get inspired by these Big Apple baby names from the most populous city in the US.

  • New York Neighborhood Names

    Brooklyn is, of course, the most widely used of these choices, but Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz recently added baby name Bronx to the mix and there are lots of other intriguing New York-themed baby names here.

  • Occupational Baby Names

    Most occupational baby names were originally surnames that described a person’s job. Names related to jobs have taken on significant style value over the past years and are destined to rise even further. Think of them as the surname-names or place-names of the future. Most of these occupational baby names work best for boys but can cross over to the girls' side.

  • Place Names for Babies

    Place names for babies come from all over the globe and can include city names, state names, country names, even mountain and ocean names. Here, the most popular place names from around the world used for both girls and boys. For more exotic choices, see our list of Place Names Off The Map.

  • Place Names Off The Map

    The coolest place names are those that are undiscovered. Some place names can be used for boys, but most of the cool place names work best for baby girls. Here are some choices on (and off) the map, including unique city names, country names, island names, and the names of mythical lands, all of which can be used for babies. You might also want to check out our list of more popular place names for babies.

  • Precious Baby Names

    These baby names drawn from gems and other precious materials might be right for your little treasure.

  • Remarkable Weather Baby Names

    Weather baby names are a branch of nature names that reference the—well, the weather! Some have direct weather meanings while others have a subtler connection to the weather—Cyrus, for instance, is a Persian name that means sun, and Keilani is Hawaiian for sky.

    Along with Cyrus and Keilani, other weather names in the US Top 1000 include Autumn, Blaze, Iris, Keanu, Neil, Samson, Sky, and Sunny. Weather names for babies with an international flavor include Brisa – the Spanish word for breeze – Elio, Varsha, and Yuki.

    There are plenty of weather patterns to draw inspiration from, from sun and snow to wind and rain. Maybe even tornados or hurricanes for the braver namers among us. Here are some weather boy and girl names for you to consider.

  • Southern Baby Names

    There's something about the South that says charm, hospitality and courtesy.

    In the American South, parents often pass down family names to their children. The need to distinguish children from their relatives led to many of what we consider Southern naming traditions, including double-barreled names and children going by their middle names.

    Southern names in the US Top 300 include Cash, Daisy, Delilah, Georgia, Tucker, and Wyatt. In the South, popular names for girls include Ava, Paisley, Scarlett, and Skylar. Carter, Elijah, John, and Mason are among the top names in the Southern states.

    This list of Dixie baby names may inspire a choice for your southern belle or gentleman.

  • Spanish Word Names

    The parent in search of truly distinctiveSpanish baby names has to move farther than ever away from the established roster. One new direction -- or is it two? -- for the intrepid baby namer is toward foreign-word names, which combine two of today's coolest trends. We combed our own diccionarios for French, Italian, and Spanish words that could make perfectly appropriate, attractive baby names, and here are some Spanish ideas. But no reason to stop here--consider words from the language of your own ethnic background, be it Czech or Chinese, and add them to the list of your personal possibilities.

  • Spice (& Other Food) Baby Names

    Apple launched the trend toward food-oriented baby names, with lots of tasty names joining the menu.

  • State Capital Baby Names

    Baby names that reference state capitals might make your little girl or boy feel extra important and one-of-a-kind. The state capital baby names include:

  • Tree Names for Babies

    by Pamela Redmond

    Tree baby names are a new branch of the nature names growing in popularity. They convey roots and strength of character—qualities we want our children to possess—and many carry a bohemian vibe, such as Willow and Juniper.

    Along with Willow and Juniper, other tree names for babies that make the US Top 1000 include Aspen, Olive, Hazel, Laurel, Koa, Magnolia, Forrest, and Oakley. Unique tree names we're hearing more of include Ash, Birch, Linden, and Maple.

    Names with tree-related meanings might be perfect for an Arbor Day baby, or for the son or daughter of a nature lover. If you're looking to give your baby boy or girl a name that relates to trees, consider this list of tree names for babies.

  • Unique Names That Mean Water

    By Linda Rosenkrantz

    Baby names that mean water include names that mean ocean and sea, waves and tide, and rain and mist. The names of notable rivers, such as Hudson and Jordan, and other bodies of water are listed here. The names of gods and goddesses of the sea can be counted as water names, as can the names of mythical mermaids and other water creatures.

    Along with Hudson and Jordan, other water baby names in the US Top 1000 include Beckett, Brooks, Fisher, Ford, India, Maren, River, and Talia. Many water names are suitable for boys and girls, such as Bay, Lake, Nile, and Pacific.

    Names with water-related meanings might be right for babies born under one of the water signs of the zodiac: Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. Or you may simply love the image of water reflected in your baby's name. Names with water meanings can be found in cultures all around the world for both baby girls and baby boys.

  • Unique Nature Names for Babies

    Some nature names for babies are mainstream, like Lily and River, but if you're willing to explore nature a bit more adventurously, there are many more wonderful nature names for girls and boys that lie off the beaten track. Unique nature names can come from flowers and trees, birds and animals, the sea and the earth and even the skies. Here, browse some of the most unusual baby names drawn from nature.

  • Virtue Names

    Virtue names, favored by the Puritans, represent qualities we should embody or at least aspire to. They are word names that often speak to a parent’s values that they hope to pass on to their children. While some of the Puritanical virtue names such as Obedience and Modesty might be a bit too outdated for a 21st century child, there are plenty of modern virtue names that would feel right at home on today’s playgrounds. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if names like Reverie and Zen or Loyal and True become downright mainstream in the coming years.

  • Wonderful Word Names

    Word names -- basically, words used as names -- are a growing class as parents rush to find truly unique baby names for their children. While you'll find word names among nature names and day names and occupational names and color names and spiritual names, most of those collected on this list don't fit neatly into any category. You'll find even more word names in our lists of Nature Names, Place Names, and many other lists in the category Nature, Place, and Word Names. Finally, a word on gender: English words are not gendered and so most of these word names can work for both boys and girls, even if we have only one gender noted here.

  • Writing-Related Names

    Literary names have become a very stylish group in recent years, and here's an offshoot that's gotten less attention. With credit to @Vana , a berry who created an original list of similar names, these names all relate to writing itself. Writing-related baby names can connect to poetry, plot structure, and literary devices. If you're a writer or simply a book lover, one of those original word names connected to writing may be, well, right for you.