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The 363 Most Surprising Baby Name Meanings

You'll be surprised by which name means graceful and which just means... bailiff.

Choosing a name for your baby boy or girl is an exciting task, if a high pressure one. Names carry meaning, many of them obscured by time, and before your child’s specific personality and life story fill out the baby name you’ve given them, the name’s original meaning carries most of the weight. Every parent wants to give their child a name infused with special meaning, one that will help them to grow up to be brave, honest, or hardworking. But some of the strongest, most beloved baby names have comparatively humble meanings, which just goes to show how little the meaning of a name can matter in the end. Javier, for instance, means “owner of a new house,” while Glen means “from the secluded narrow valley.” Jameson means — you guessed it — “son of James.”

Dozens of baby names, regardless of their origin, can be traced back to some variation of “God is my savior” or “gift from God.” Still, looking into potential baby name meanings is a helpful tool for exploring unique, uncommon names you might not otherwise encounter, and ensuring your baby’s name aligns with your values.

Surprising Baby Girl Name Meanings

  • Abigail – source of father’s joy
  • Abra – mother of multitude
  • Acacia – honored one
  • Ada – prosperous, nobility
  • Adair – she who is beautiful, exalted
  • Adalia – honor
  • Adina – she who is delicate
  • Adele – graceful and noble
  • Adelaide – noble, kind
  • Adrianne – woman from Adria
  • Agatha – she who is kind
  • Agnes – sacred and chaste
  • Aida – helper, derived from the French aider, to help
  • Ainsley – a meadow
  • Alana – fair
  • Alea – honorable
  • Alessa – protector of humanity
  • Alethea- truthful
  • Alexis – defender, helper
  • Aliana – light
  • Alice – noble, kind
  • Almira – royal one
  • Amira – leader
  • Amani – faith
  • Amelia – ambitious
  • Amy – beloved
  • Anaïs – graceful, full of grace
  • Anastasia – resurrection
  • Angela – angelic
  • Anika – graceful
  • Anita – Grace
  • Anna – full of grace, mercy
  • Anne – full of grace
  • April – open
  • Araminata – defender
  • Audra – noble strength
  • Aziza – beloved
  • Beatrice – one who brings happiness
  • Bailey – from the French word for bailiff, justice officer
  • Bao – gem
  • Barbara – stranger, foreigner, once used to refer to non-Romans or those considered uncivilized
  • Basimati – to be finished
  • Bea- bringer of joy
  • Bertha – radiant
  • Bibi – full of light
  • Bethany – house of god
  • Bethel – holy place
  • Betsy – pledged to god
  • Bianca – white, shining
  • Billie – determined
  • Bindi – a tiny drop
  • Blair – plain, battle
  • Blanche – white, pure
  • Blythe – kind, joyous
  • Bodhi – awakened, enlightened
  • Bonnie – beautiful, good
  • Brigitte – strength
  • Brittany – strong
  • Bryn – honorable
  • Candence – rhythm, flow
  • Catherine – pure
  • Caitlin – untainted
  • Camille – pure, virgin of unblemished character
  • Cara – friend, she who is dear
  • Carissa – she who is dear
  • Carole – joyous song, full-grown man
  • Cassandra – temptress
  • Cecilia – blind
  • Celeste – celestial, heavenly
  • Cheryl – beloved, dear one
  • Clio – praise
  • Constance – unchanging
  • Cora – young woman
  • Cynthia – luminous
  • Dahlia – flower, gentle, tender
  • Daisy – inspired by the popular flower; the old English word “doeges eage,” days eve, refers to the sun-like yellow center of the flower
  • Danica – morning star
  • Daniele – feminine form of Daniel, which means “God is my judge” in Hebrew
  • Dale – valley
  • Daria – prosperous
  • Delma – from the sea
  • Denise – derivative of the greek god Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry
  • Diane –  divine
  • Donna – lady
  • Edna – pleasant
  • Elena – bright, torch
  • Elaine – light, bright, torch
  • Eleanor – bright shining one, light
  • Eloise – great in battle
  • Elsa – noble young woman
  • Esmé – beloved, loved, guardian
  • Esmeralda – emerald
  • Estelle – star
  • Eva – life
  • Fatima – captivating,
  • Finley – fair haired, hero, warrior
  • Frances – free one
  • Francesca – free one
  • Gabrielle – God is my strength
  • Georgia – farmer, earth worker
  • Gloria- Glory
  • Greta – a pearl
  • Haley – heroine
  • Hannah- full of grace, mercy
  • Harriet – rules the home
  • Hazel – victory
  • Heidi – noble
  • Hella – the sun
  • Hera – protector
  • Hillary – bringer of joy
  • Hilda – battle, war
  • Ida – labor, industrious one
  • Idalia – industrious
  • Ingrid – beautiful, fertile
  • Irene –  peace
  • Iris – rainbow
  • Isadora – gift, fertile
  • Isla – island
  • Jennifer – fair lady
  • Jolie – pretty
  • Kalliope – beautiful
  • Kamila – free born
  • Kara – pure
  • Karen – pure, unsullied
  • Klohe – blooming, verdant
  • Kleopatra – glory, father, of a famous father
  • Katrina – pure
  • Keara – dark one
  • Kendra – knowledgeable
  • Kristin – anointed one
  • Kyle – she who is pretty
  • Kyra – sun
  • Lala – cheerful
  • Lana – little, soft
  • Leandra – lioness
  • Martha – lady, mistress
  • Mirabelle – wondrous
  • Mona – alone
  • Nadia – filled with hope
  • Nicole – victory the people
  • Nicolette – people’s triumph
  • Nina – gracious
  • Noel – Christmas, birthday of the Lord
  • Odele – song
  • Olivia – olive, symbol of peace
  • Ophelia – helpful, successor
  • Pandora – all gifted
  • Patricia – aristocrat
  • Renee – reborn
  • Rita – pearl
  • Roxanne – dawn of day, radiant
  • Sadie – princess
  • Sally – princess
  • Sarah – princess
  • Sandra – helper, defender
  • Solange – yearly, solemn
  • Sophie – wise
  • Valerie – strong, healthy
  • Venus – love and desire
  • Vera – believed to be derived from either the Russian word for faith (vjera) or the Latin word for truth (vera)
  • Victoria – victory
  • Viola – inspired by the name of the flower
  • Violet – also inspired by a flower
  • Virginia – spring like, flourishing
  • Vivienne – alive, full of life
  • Willa – feminine version of William, originated from German word for “resolute protector”
  • Xena – welcoming, hospitable
  • Yasmine – jasmine flower
  • Zadie – princess, mother of Zeus
  • Zara –  flower, blossoming
  • Zelda – blessed, happy
  • Zoe – life
  • Zola – earth, quiet, tranquil
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Surprising Baby Boy Name Meanings

  • Aaran – strong mountain
  • Aaron – enlightened
  • Aariz – respectable
  • Abba – father
  • Abbey – father rejoiced
  • Abbot – Hebrew word for “father” or “head of community”
  • Abie – servant
  • Abir – strength
  • Addison – son of the mighty warrior
  • Ace – one
  • Adair – from the brook by the oak grove
  • Adam – made from the earth
  • Adler – he who is brave
  • Adrian – derived form the ancient place in Italy
  • Ahmed – praiseworthy, comfort
  • Aidan – he who helps
  • Alan – attractive man, fair one
  • Albert – he who is brilliant
  • Andrew – courageous
  • Baldwin – bold friend
  • Ba0 – treasure
  • Ballar – brave, strong
  • Baxter – baker
  • Barney – dweller from the barn
  • Beau – French for “beautiful” (masculine)
  • Beck – dweller near the brook
  • Benedict – blessed
  • Benito – blessed
  • Benjamin – right hand’s son, favorite son, son of my sorrow
  • Benson – son of Ben
  • Bentley – bent grass meadow
  • Bert – shining, bright
  • Bingham – one who lives by the bridge
  • Bill – willful one, strong-minded
  • Blake – dark or fair
  • Blythe – cheerful
  • Braden – from the wide valley
  • Bram – father of multitudes
  • Carl – strong
  • Carlin – little champion
  • Carlton – from the strong, courageous town
  • Carmen – vineyard of the lord
  • Carmelo – fruitful
  • Carter – cart maker
  • Casey – brave, aggressive
  • Cato – cautious wisdom
  • Chandler – candle maker
  • Charles – full grown, a man, a historically royal name
  • Chekani – to cut
  • Chimango – builder
  • Chipati – to part
  • Clark – learned scholar
  • Claud – weak
  • Cortez – courteous
  • Cosgrove – from the cows grove
  • Costa – little, constant, steadfast one
  • Covey – from the cove
  • Craig – from the rock
  • Creed – one who believes
  • Crosby – from the village with a cross
  • Dale – living in a valley
  • Dalton – from the town in the valley
  • Damien – tamer
  • Darby – freedom
  • Daren – born at night
  • Dario – wealthy
  • Davis/David –  beloved
  • Dempsey – proud
  • Denley – from the meadow
  • Dillon – faithful
  • Dimitri – immeasurable, gracious
  • Donovan – dark warrior
  • Dorion – gift
  • Drew – wise, esteemed
  • Duka – to dance
  • Duncan – steadfast warrior, strong in faith
  • Earl – promise
  • Earl – friend of the sea
  • Edmond – wealthy protector
  • Edwin – wealthy friend
  • Eli – uplifting
  • Eloi – chosen
  • Emery – industrious, hardworking ruler
  • Emre – brother
  • Eric – forever ruler
  • Felix – lucky, happy
  • Fidel – faithful
  • Fortino – fortunate
  • Garcia – brave spear carrier
  • Glen – from the valley
  • Golden – gold friend
  • Grady – noble, illustrious
  • Grant – grant
  • Guy – guide from the forrest
  • Hamilton – from the proud town
  • Hedwig – fighter
  • Henry – ruler of the house
  • Herald – news bringer
  • Herb – brilliant warrior
  • Hermes – messenger
  • Hillel – new moon
  • Horace – time keeper
  • Howard – watcher, guardian
  • Howell – little, alert
  • Hubert – bright mind and heart
  • Huey – intelligent
  • Hugo – intelligent
  • Humbert – bright giant
  • Hugh – having a bright mind
  • Humphrey – a peaceful warrior
  • Ike – one who brings laughter, god smiles
  • Ira – alert, watchful stallion
  • Isaac – one who brings laughter, God smiles
  • Jabbar – one who consoles other
  • Jaime – he who supplants
  • Jamal – a handsome man
  • Jason – healer
  • Jax – son of Jack
  • Jay – victory
  • Jayce – healer
  • Jayden – thankful
  • Jaylan – calm
  • Jeffery – man of peace
  • Jonah – accomplisher
  • Joya – to have restraint
  • Jude – right with the law
  • Justin – righteous, just
  • Kacey – brave
  • Kade – from the wetlands
  • Kadir – spring
  • Kadish – holy
  • Kai – willow tree
  • Kalani – heaven, chief
  • Keanu – sea breeze
  • Kent – lord
  • Kin – golden
  • Kirby – from the church by the meadow
  • Kingsley – from the king’s meadow
  • Kyle – from the straight
  • Lamar – famous
  • Lavern – springtime
  • Leif – beloved
  • Leo – lion man
  • Leon – lion-like
  • Leonard – bold, strong
  • Leor – light of mine
  • Leroy – king
  • Louis – famous war
  • Luke – bringer of light
  • Marcus – warrior
  • Maren – sea
  • Marion – sea
  • Marlow – from the hill by the lake
  • Michael – from the Hebrew “who is like God”
  • Milan – loving
  • Millar – grain mill worker
  • Milo – peaceful, merciful, mild
  • Nicolas – people’s triumph
  • Norman – composed of French words for north and man, once used to identify a group of Scandinavians living in Normandy
  • Oakley – from an oak tree
  • Oliver – derived from either French Olivier (olive tree) or German Alfihar (elf warrior)
  • Otis – wealthy
  • Paco – French man
  • Paul – derived from Latin word for small, Paulus
  • Quigley – loving nature
  • Quincy – fifth, patient
  • Quon – bright light
  • Rafi – musical, friend
  • Raleigh – jovial
  • Ralph – advisor to all
  • Randy – secretive
  • Ravi – sun god
  • Rio – River
  • Rich – wise
  • Roan- red-haired
  • Robert – bright fame
  • Robson – son of Robert
  • Rocco – battle cry
  • Roger – famous spear
  • Roland – famous country
  • Ronan – little seal
  • Sandros – defender and freer of mankind
  • Sander – defensive
  • Schneider – stylish
  • Seamus – replacement, bonus
  • Sebastian – dramatic, honorable
  • Serge – gentle man
  • Sergio – handsome
  • Vincent – conqueror
  • Vito – full of life