baby names inspired by places

  1. Alabama
    • Origin:

      Place-name; Choctaw
    • Meaning:

      "vegetation gatherers"
    • Description:

      Alabama is a hot southern place-name, picking up from Georgia and Savannah. This is not a geographical name come lately, though--there have been girls named Alabama dating back well over a century.
  2. Andorra
    • Origin:

      European place-name
    • Description:

      Andorra is the pretty name of a pocket-sized princedom in the Pyrenees, noted for its skiing.
  3. Arizona
    • Origin:

      Place-name from Papago Indian
    • Meaning:

      "little springs"
    • Description:

      We usually think of place-names as a modern invention, but in fact Arizona ranked on the US Top 1000 from its inception in 1880 until 1911, when it vanished below the surface. It peaked at Number 510 in 1882, before Arizona became a state. One notorious vintage bearer: criminal "Ma" Barker, born Arizona Clark.
  4. Asia
    • Origin:

      Place-name
    • Description:

      This still attractive place name was one of the first to gain popularity, though it now probably owes some of its favor to the similar Aisha. Asia ranked as high as Number 195 on the US baby names popularity list in 1997.
  5. Athens
    • Origin:

      Greek place name
    • Description:

      Athens the city takes its name from Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage. If you prefer place names to mythological names and like gender neutral names better than those that are gender distinct, Athens may be a good alternative to Athena.
  6. Aurora
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dawn"
    • Description:

      The goddess name Aurora has consistently been on the US popularity list since the nineteenth century, but has really taken off in the past 30 years. Aurora also enjoys remarkable international popularity, ranking in the Top 100 throughout the English-speaking world as well as in Italy, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, and several other European and Latin American countries.
  7. Austin
    • Origin:

      English, shortened form of Augustine, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an appealing southwestern feel and place-name panache.
  8. Boston
    • Origin:

      Place-name
    • Description:

      Unseen in the USA since 1901, Boston rocketed back into the Top 1000 in 2004 and, like other place-names such as Brooklyn, London and Paris, is now a reliable presence on the list.
  9. Carmel
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "garden"
    • Description:

      Carmel is a biblical place-name heard much more frequently in Ireland than in the U.S. and is considered a particularly Catholic name. It is given in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and is the name of a mountain ridge on the Mediterranean near Haifa in Israel, mentioned in the Old Testament, famous for its lush vegetation and said to have been often visited by Mary and the Infant Christ.
  10. Carolina
    • Origin:

      Variation of Caroline; also place-name
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Languid, romantic, and classy, this variation heats up Caroline and modernizes Carol, adding a southern accent.
  11. Carson
    • Origin:

      English and Scottish surname
    • Meaning:

      "son of the marsh dwellers"
    • Description:

      Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 200 baby names.

      Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.

  12. Catalina
    • Origin:

      Spanish variation of Catherine
    • Meaning:

      "pure"
    • Description:

      This name of a touristed island in sight of Los Angeles makes an attractive and newly stylish variation on the classic Catherine or overused Caitlin.
  13. Charlotte
    • Origin:

      French, feminine diminutive of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Charlotte, the name of the young Princess of Cambridge, is the latest classic name to join Sophia, Emma, Olivia, and Isabella at the top of the popularity list. It is now among the most popular girl names in many English-speaking and European countries.
  14. Chelsea
    • Origin:

      London and New York place-name
    • Description:

      Chelsea is still being used, but it was much more popular a few decades ago--it peaked at Number 15 in 1992. Chelsea first entered the American consciousness in a major way via the character Jane Fonda played in On Golden Pond in 1981 and later of course was frequently in the headlines when Chelsea Clinton (whose name was inspired by the lyric of a the Joni-Mitchell-Judy Collins song "Chelsea Morning") became First Daughter.
  15. China
    • Origin:

      Place-name
    • Description:

      Long before the current place-name craze, a pair of the more daring pop singers of the Age of Aquarius picked this name for their daughters. Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick used the conventional spelling, the Mamas and the Papas's Michelle Phillips went further afield with Chynna (of the group Wilson Phillips).
  16. Columbus
    • Origin:

      Variation of Columbo or Columbia, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "dove"
    • Description:

      This is a big name, both in heritage and sound. On the right child, this could be inspired, but others may shrink from all the connotations. While your preferred nickname for this option might be Col (or Kit if you're connecting it to Christopher Columbus), you may end up with the slightly more cumbersome "Bus" as the short-form.
  17. Dakota
    • Origin:

      Native American tribe and place name; Sioux
    • Meaning:

      "friendly one"
    • Description:

      A Native American tribe name which is found in the names of two US states, Dakota was one of the first trendy nineties place names, but is now flagging a little in popularity. The cultural question around using a Native American tribe name as a baby name may be partly to blame.
  18. Dallas
    • Origin:

      Place name, surnamed and Irish
    • Meaning:

      "skilled"
    • Description:

      A laid-back cowboy name which feels both cool and gentle, Dallas has ranked in the US Top 500 since records began in 1880. Never super popular but surprisingly never out of style, Dallas is given to nearly 1400 boys in the US every year.
  19. Devon
    • Origin:

      English place-name
    • Description:

      Devon, spelled like the lovely seaside county in Britain that inspired the name, has crashed since its heyday around the Top 100 in the 1990s. Despite its use as a female name, for example for Devon on the TV show The 4400, Devon continues to be far more popular for boys than for girls.
  20. Diego
    • Origin:

      Spanish variation of James
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      The energetic Diego is rising rapidly along with a lot of other authentically Spanish baby names that work perfectly well with surnames of any origin.