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Baby Name Meanings

Baby name meanings are among the most intriguing aspects of names. Most traditional names have meanings rooted in their original language or culture. Baby name meanings often reference a personal quality, like hair color or strength; or an aspect of nature such as water or the sky; or the meaning of a name might relate to a more spiritual quality, such as love or God.

Meanings of names have become more important in recent years, as parents increasingly look for names that carry personal significance. A generation or two ago, parents chose names for style and rhythm and often didn't know or didn't care what the meaning was. Today, the meaning of a name often comes first. Any name has to hold an appealing meaning or it doesn't earn a place on the list.

The lists here organize baby names by meanings, sometimes with similar name meanings -- light and sun and clarity, for instance -- grouped together. You'll find Baby Names That Mean Powerful and Names That Mean Beautiful, there are lists of baby names with fire meanings and names that mean water.

The meanings of contemporary names may be more obvious than the meanings of ancient names, as in flower names such as Rose and Violet or word names like Justice and Journey. Surnames used as first names, such as Hunter or Cooper, often have a meaning that's rooted in an occupation, which may be obvious as in hunter or more obscure as in Cooper, which means barrel maker.

Use these lists to get a comprehensive look at all the names that carry each meaning or to survey the range of boy and girl name meanings. You can start with the meaning and find the right name, or begin with a name you love and explore other names with similar meanings.