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100 Unique 4 Letter Names: Short and Sweet

Updated
Don’t waste time (or letters) with the coolest 4 letter names your baby boy or girl will rock.

Four letter names represent the sweet spot between nicknames and longer, traditional ones. You may have been searching for some time now and have yet to find the perfect one. Don’t let the best 4 letter names pass you by.

Check out our fun-to-read guide to distinct 4 letter names for baby boys and girls below. They draw on old traditions, retro favorites, and even modern monikers like no other. You’ll soon settle on the ideal name for the bundle of joy you’re about to welcome to the world.


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100 Cool Four-Letter Names

Discover 4 letter names featuring vintage charm and offbeat origins your little one will love.

Abby

Abby means “joy of a father” and is a diminutive for Abigail. It means “sweet refuge” in Old English and comes from King David’s third wife, Abigail, in the Bible.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Father’s joy
  • Pronunciation: AEB-iy
  • Variations: Abbie, Abbey, Abi
  • Namesakes: Abby Sunderland, an American sailor who attempted to sail around the world in 2010. Abby Erceg, a New Zealand footballer for Racing Louisville FC.
  • Popularity: Abby is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Nicknames, Cute

Abel

Abel comes from the Hebrew Hebel, from “hevel,” meaning “vapor.” As one of the most ancient 4-letter names, Abel is also used for girls and means “dedicated to Apollo” in Greek.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Breath
  • Pronunciation: EY-Bahl
  • Variations: Abele
  • Namesakes: Abel Ferrara, an American filmmaker known for King of New York (1990). Abel Pacheco, the president of Costa Rica between 2002 and 2006.
  • Popularity: Abel ranked 775th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 64th in Mozambique in 2014.
Ancient, Masculine

Adam

Adam is based on the Hebrew “addamah,” meaning “of the Earth.” It also means “made from the mud of the Earth” due to being the name of the Bible’s first man created by God.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Son of the red earth
  • Pronunciation: AEH-Dahm
  • Namesakes: Adam Driver, an American actor known for the Star Wars sequel trilogy (2015 to 2019). Adam Jones, an American musician and the guitarist for Tool.
  • Popularity: Adam ranked 198th worldwide, is primarily used in Poland, and ranked 104th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Alan

Alan has other meanings, like “stone” and “noble.” It may be associated with the Welsh Alawn and Celtic Alun, meaning “harmony.”

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: Harmony
  • Pronunciation: AEL-ahn
  • Variations: Allan, Allen
  • Namesakes: Alan Arkin, an American actor known for Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). Alan Bruce McInally, a Scottish footballer for Ayr United.
  • Popularity: Alan is ranked 477th worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 231st for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Traditional, Popular

Alex

Alex is a genderless nickname for the ancient Greek Alexandros. It’s one of the best four letter names used for boys named Alexander and for girls named Alexandra.

  • Origin: English, Greek
  • Meaning: Defending man
  • Pronunciation: AEL-ahks
  • Variations: Aleks
  • Namesakes: Alexander Van Halen, an American musician, and drummer for Van Halen. Alex Ovechkin, a Russian ice hockey player for the Washington Capitals.
  • Popularity: Alex ranked 188th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 194th for boys in 2021.
Popular, Nicknames

Alma

Alma derives from the Latin “almus,” meaning “fostering” and “nourishing.” It’s a tried and true example of 4 letter girl names, ranked 511th for U.S. girls in 2021.

  • Origin: Spanish, Latin
  • Meaning: Kindness
  • Pronunciation: AEL-Mah
  • Variations: Almah
  • Namesakes: Alma-Sofia Miettinen, a Finnish singer appearing in the Finnish Idol. Alma Thomas, an African-American artist, and notable 20th-century American painter.
  • Popularity: Alma ranked 921st worldwide and is primarily used in Mexico, ranking 47th in 2014.
Pretty, Unique

Amir

Amir is a military title originally meaning “commander (of the army).” It later was used for a “ruler’s son” and came to mean “prince.” Amir is also a French diminutive meaning “little beloved.”

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Prince
  • Pronunciation: Ah-MIHR
  • Variations: Ameer, Aamir
  • Namesakes: Amir Bagheri, an Iranian chess grandmaster who competed in the 2008 Chess Olympiad. Amir Naderi, an Iranian film director known for The Runner.
  • Popularity: Amir ranked 305th worldwide, is mostly used in Iran, and ranked 117th for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Traditional, Masculine

Anna

Anna goes back to the Hebrew Ḥannāh for “favor,” with the root meaning “God has favored.” Anna may be the most popular of four letter names that start with A.

  • Origin: Hebrew, English
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Pronunciation: AEN-ah
  • Variations: Anne, Ana
  • Namesakes: Anna Chlumsky, an American actress known for the HBO series Veep (2012 to 2019). Anna Kostanyan, a member of the National Assembly of Armenia since 2019.
  • Popularity: Anna ranked 20th worldwide, is mainly used in Russia, and ranked 84th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Aria

Aria also means “honorable” and has roots in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Persian. Aria means “air” in Italian and is used for a melody your baby girl will like to sing.

  • Origin: Italian, Latin
  • Meaning: Lioness
  • Pronunciation: AAR-iy-Ah
  • Variations: Ariah, Ariea
  • Namesakes: Aria de Vries-Noordam, a Dutch Paralympic athlete and gold medalist at the 1972 Summer Paralympics. Aria Clemente, a Filipino singer contracted under ABS-CBN’s Star Magic.
  • Popularity: Aria is rare worldwide, primarily used in Indonesia, and ranked 778th in Iran in 2014.
Feminine, Unique

Arlo

Arlo is made up of the Old English “hoer,” meaning “strong,” and “hlaew,” meaning “hill.” Arlo’s been in the top 1,000 U.S. boys’ names since 2011.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Fortified hill
  • Pronunciation: AAR-Low
  • Variations: Arlow, Arlowe, Arrlo, Arrlowe
  • Namesakes: Arlo Guthrie, an American folk singer-songwriter known for protest songs. Arlo Smith, the District Attorney of San Francisco, California, from 1980 to 1996.
  • Popularity: Arlo is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., ranking 190th for boys in 2021.
Nicknames, Modern
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Axel

Axel is associated with the medieval Axelen of Absalon. Its original origins are with the Old Norse Ásketill, composed of “ans,” meaning “god,” and “ketill,” meaning “cauldron.”

  • Origin: Norse
  • Meaning: My father is peace
  • Pronunciation: AHK-Seyl
  • Variations: Aksel
  • Namesakes: Axel Bauer, a French singer known for the 1983 song “Cargo.” Axel Hansen, a Norwegian gymnast and bronze medalist at the 1912 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Axel is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Germany, and ranked 76th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Cool, Strong

Beau

Beau has been used as a gender-neutral first name for 50 years. It has a gorgeous vintage flair, often used for an old-fashioned “admirer” or “sweetheart.”

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Beautiful
  • Pronunciation: BOW
  • Variations: Beaux, Bo
  • Namesakes: Beau Landry, a Canadian football linebacker for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Beau Kazer, a Canadian actor appearing on the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
  • Popularity: Beau is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 94th for boys in 2021.
Cute, Vintage

Codi

Codi is one of the lesser-used spellings based on the Irish Cody, meaning “helper.” It was first a surname for a “descendant of Cuidightheach” – obviously for a very helpful person!

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Helper
  • Pronunciation: KOW-Diy
  • Variations: Cody, Codie
  • Namesakes: Codi Galloway, a member of the Idaho House of Representatives since 2020. Codi Miller-McIntyre, an American-Bulgarian basketball player for Gaziantep Basketbol.
  • Popularity: Codi is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Cute, Modern

Cole

Cole is a trendy, mostly American boy’s name, once a nickname for Nicholas. It relates to the English Cola but is growing in popularity every year.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Charcoal
  • Pronunciation: KOWL
  • Variations: Coal, Cohle
  • Namesakes: Cole Bardreau, an American ice hockey player for the Bridgeport Islanders. Cole Porter, an American composer best known for “Night and Day.”
  • Popularity: Cole is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 122nd for boys in 2021.
Modern, Unique

Cora

Cora also means “maiden” and is an alternative name for the Greek goddess Persephone. It’s associated with the Gaelic “cora,” based on “cóir,” meaning “virtuous.”

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Heart
  • Pronunciation: Kow-Raa
  • Variations: Cora, Kora
  • Namesakes: Cora Rigby, an American journalist and the first woman to head a Washington News bureau. Cora Westland, a Dutch cyclist who competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Cora is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 71st for girls in 2019.
Cute, Common

Dean

Dean was an English surname based on the Old English “dene,” given to someone who lived in a “valley.” It’s come to mean “church official,” originally referring to a “monk or dignitary in charge of ten others.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Valley
  • Pronunciation: DEEN
  • Variations: Deen, Deane
  • Namesakes: Dean Fisher, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives since 2013. Dean Schofield, an English rugby union player for London Welsh.
  • Popularity: Dean is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., ranking 165th for boys in 2021.
Masculine, Traditional

Demi

Demi is traditionally a nickname for the Turkish girl name Demet. It’s inspired by the Greek goddess Demeter, who oversees the harvest every autumn.

  • Origin: Turkish
  • Meaning: Bouquet of flowers
  • Pronunciation: Deh-MEE
  • Variations: Demy
  • Namesakes: Demi Moore, an American actress first known as a member of the Brat Pack. Demi Vance, a Northern Irish footballer for the Northern Ireland women’s national team.
  • Popularity: Demi is rare worldwide, mainly used in Indonesia, and ranked 1,279th in the Netherlands in 2014.
Ancient, Unique

Duke

Duke is based on the Middle English “douc,” based on the Latin “dux.” It’s been given to “the leader,” but also means “the son of Marmaduke.”

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: Leader
  • Pronunciation: DUYK
  • Variations: Duk
  • Namesakes: Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian swimmer, and a five-time Olympic medalist. Duke Dawson, an American football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Popularity: Duke is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 636th in Ghana in 2014.
Strong, Masculine

Eden

Eden means “place of pleasure and delight” in Hebrew. In the Bible, the Garden of Eden was the paradise where Adam and Eve were created.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Paradise
  • Pronunciation: EE-Dehn
  • Variations: Edan, Edene, Edyn
  • Namesakes: Eden Harel, an Israeli actress and MTV Europe VJ in the 1990s. Eden Sher, an American actress appearing in The Middle series (2009 to 2018).
  • Popularity: Eden is rare worldwide, primarily used in the Philippines, and ranked 69th for girls in the U.S. in 2023.
Pretty, Modern

Elle

Elle means “sun ray” in Hebrew and when based on the Greek Eleanor. It’s also super cute when used as the French pronoun “elle,” meaning “she.”

  • Origin: Greek, French
  • Meaning: Sunray
  • Pronunciation: EHL
  • Variations: Ella, Ellie
  • Namesakes: Elle Macpherson, an Australian model with five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Elle Kennedy, a Canadian romance writer with novels on The New York Times bestsellers lists.
  • Popularity: Elle is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 357th for girls in 2021.
Feminine, Common
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Emma

Emma comes from the German “ermen,” meaning “whole,” and has been popular with American baby girls for over 100 years. It originated from German names beginning with “erm,” but remains one of the most well-known 4 letter names.

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Universal
  • Pronunciation: EHM-ah
  • Variations: Ema
  • Namesakes: Emma Thompson, a British actress made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth in 2018. Emma Malewski, a German artistic gymnast, and the 2022 European champion.
  • Popularity: Emma ranked 458th worldwide, is primarily used in England, and ranked 2nd for girls in the U.S. in 2023.
Traditional, Popular

Enzo

Enzo is an Italian version of Henry, meaning “estate ruler.” It can be a diminutive for Vincenzo and Lorenzo that’s more suave for the coolest little boy you know.

  • Origin: Italian, German
  • Meaning: Prince of home
  • Pronunciation: EHN-Zow
  • Variations: Enzio
  • Namesakes: Enzo Ferrari, an Italian entrepreneur and founder of the Ferrari automobile. Enzo Roco, a Chilean footballer for the Chile national team.
  • Popularity: Enzo is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Brazil, and ranked 173rd for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Cute, Unique

Evan

Evan is the Welsh variation of John, possibly based on “Iefan.” It also means “born of yew” and “youth,” while it’s used mostly for boys and some very cool girls.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: EHV-ahn
  • Variations: Evon
  • Namesakes: Evan Dando, an American musician, and frontman of the Lemonheads. Evan Peters, an American actor appearing in the series American Horror Story.
  • Popularity: Evan is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 116th for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Common

Ezra

Ezra is a short form of the ancient Hebrew Azaryahu, meaning “God helps.” Its other meanings include “aid” and “protection” for your little Ezra.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Help
  • Pronunciation: EHZ-Rah
  • Variations: Esrah, Ezrah
  • Namesakes: Ezra Furman, an American musician, and frontman for Ezra Furman and the Harpoons. Ezra Cleveland, an American football player for the Minnesota Vikings.
  • Popularity: Ezra is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Kenya, and ranked 37th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Ancient, Vintage

Finn

Finn was most famous as a mythical warrior hero in Irish folklore, possibly meaning “blond warrior.” When taken from the Old Norse “finnr,” it means “hunter-gatherer.”

  • Origin: Norse, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Fair
  • Pronunciation: FIHN
  • Variations: Fin, Fyn, Fynn
  • Namesakes: Finn Russell, a Scottish rugby union player for Racing 92. Finn Isaksen, the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture from 1983 to 1985.
  • Popularity: Finn is rare worldwide and mostly used in Denmark, where it ranked 62nd in 2014.
Cute, Popular

Gael

Gael refers to someone who speaks Gaelic in Welsh and Breton cultures. It was also used to denote a “foreigner” or Gaelic person and yet means “to sing” in Norse.

  • Origin: Celtic, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Stranger
  • Pronunciation: GEYL
  • Variations: Gaele, Gaell
  • Namesakes: Gael Baudino, an American fantasy author who wrote The Dragon Sword Trilogy. Gael Mackie, a Canadian artistic gymnast who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Gael is rare worldwide, mainly used in France, and ranked 137th for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Unique, Strong

Gwen

Gwen is among many Welsh names using a “W”- the favorite Welsh letter of the alphabet. It’s taken from “gwyn,” meaning “blessed.” Gwen was a nickname for everything from Gwenywÿfar to Guinevere and Gwenaelle.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Fair, white
  • Pronunciation: GWEHN
  • Variations: Gwynne
  • Namesakes: Gwen Stefani, an American musician and lead singer of No Doubt. Gwen Kelly, an Australian writer whose novel Always Afternoon became a TV mini-series in 1988.
  • Popularity: Gwen is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., ranking 907th for girls in 2018.
Nicknames, Feminine

Hank

Hank is a uniquely American nickname for Henry and Harry. It may also be based on the medieval Hankin or the Dutch Henk, a pet name for Henry or Harvey.

  • Origin: English, German
  • Meaning: Estate ruler
  • Pronunciation: HHAENK
  • Variations: Hanke
  • Namesakes: Hank Marvin, an English musician and lead guitarist for the Shadows. Hank Steinbrenner III, the American co-chairman of the New York Yankees.
  • Popularity: Hank is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 433rd for boys in 2021.
Masculine, Strong

Iris

Iris means “rainbow” and is inspired by Iris, the Greek personification of a rainbow and a messenger for Zeus. It symbolizes the Iris flower and refers to the colored part of the eye.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Rainbow
  • Pronunciation: AY-Rihs
  • Variations: Iriss, Irys
  • Namesakes: Iris Berben, a German actress appearing in the series Rosa Roth (1994 to 2013). Iris DeMent, an American singer-songwriter best known for “Our Town.”
  • Popularity: Iris ranked 1,202nd worldwide, is mainly used in Germany, and ranked 266th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Ancient, Common

Isla

Isla is the Spanish word for “island,” though it’s mostly connected to the Scottish Islay, a Scottish island and two Scottish rivers.

  • Origin: French, Scottish
  • Meaning: Island
  • Pronunciation: IHS-laa (French), EYE-lah (Scottish, English)
  • Variations: Islah
  • Namesakes: Isla Fisher, an Australian actress appearing on the soap opera Home and Away (1994 to 1997). Isla Dewar, a Scottish writer known for Women Talking Dirty.
  • Popularity: Isla is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 503rd in Scotland in 2014.
Pretty, Common
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Ivan

Ivan is the Slavic version of John, meaning “God was merciful” in Hebrew. The most famous Slavic Ivan could be Ivan the Terrible, but your little Ivan will surely be better behaved.

  • Origin: Slavic, Russian
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: AY-Vahn
  • Variations: Ivann
  • Namesakes: Ivan Fedotov, a Finnish-Russian ice hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers. Ivan Bunin, the first Russian writer awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • Popularity: Ivan ranked 101st worldwide, is mostly used in Russia, and ranked 2nd in Bulgaria in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Jace

Jace means “Lord of salvation” and is associated with the Hebrew Joshua, meaning “God is salvation.” It’s a modern diminutive of Jason, meaning “healer,” and may be an example of weird-sounding J male names.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Healer
  • Pronunciation: JAYSE
  • Variations: Jayce, Jase
  • Namesakes: Jace Denmark-Gessel, an American racing driver competing in the 2023 USF Pro 2000 Championship. Jace Norman, an American actor appearing in the TV series Henry Danger from 2014 to 2020.
  • Popularity: Jace is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 102nd for boys in 2021.
Cool, Modern

Jack

Jack is a derivative of John, first used in medieval England. It accompanied other names like Johnkin and Jackin. In Celtic, Jack means “healthy” and “strong” for the manliest of 4 letter boy names.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: JHAHK
  • Variations: Jacke, Jak, Jakk
  • Namesakes: Jack Benny, an American entertainer who hosted The Jack Benny Program from 1950 to 1965. Jack Kerouac, an American Beat Generation writer best known for On the Road (1957).
  • Popularity: Jack ranked 778th worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 11th for boys in 2021.
Masculine, Popular

Jake

Jake is a diminutive of Jacob, meaning “one who follows.” It’s known for the biblical Jacob, with a twin brother named Esau (a clever choice for a middle name).

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Supplanter
  • Pronunciation: JHAYK
  • Variations: Jayke
  • Namesakes: Jake Cousins, an American baseball player for the Milwaukee Brewers. Jake Niall, an Australian sports journalist at Fox Sports Australia.
  • Popularity: Jake is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 335th for boys in 2021.
Nicknames, Traditional

Jane

Jane is a somewhat modern form of Joan or Joanna from the Old French Jehane. Like John, it goes back to the Hebrew Yochanan, meaning “Yahweh is merciful.”

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is merciful
  • Pronunciation: JHAYN
  • Variations: Jaine, Jayne
  • Namesakes: Jane Austen, an English novelist best known for Pride and Prejudice (1813). Jane Russell, an American actress known for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).
  • Popularity: Jane ranked 269th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., ranking 265th for girls in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Joan

Joan is the most obvious female equivalent to John, stemming from the 12th-century Jehane. It’s been one of the most common names for American girls in the 20th-century, peaking at 95th in 1924.

  • Origin: French, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: JHOWN
  • Variations: Jone, Joanie
  • Namesakes: Joan Baez, an American musician with three gold records. Joan Orenstein, a British-Canadian actress appearing in the 1997 film The Hanging Garden.
  • Popularity: Joan ranked 421st worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 1,392nd in 2021.
Popular, Traditional

Joel

Joel comes from the Hebrew Yoʾel, meaning “Jehovah is God.” In the Bible, Joel was one of King David’s tough guys, which makes him appropriate for your best boy.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Jehovah is the lord
  • Pronunciation: JHOWL
  • Variations: Joell, Jole
  • Namesakes: Joel Casamayor, a Cuban-American boxer and the WBA Super Featherweight Champion from 2000 to 2002. Joel Grey, an American actor appearing in the musical Cabaret.
  • Popularity: Joel ranked 246th worldwide, is mostly used in the Philippines, and ranked 211th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Ancient, Popular

Joey

Joey is an adored unisex nickname for names like Joseph, Joel, or Joanna. It started with the Hebrew Yosef, meaning “God will give,” and is a term for baby animals in Australia, especially baby kangaroos.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God will increase
  • Pronunciation: JHOW-iy
  • Namesakes: Jeffrey Hyman (known as Joey Ramone), an American singer and frontman for the Ramones. Joseph Gottlieb (known as Joey Bishop), an American entertainer and a member of the “Rat Pack.”
  • Popularity: Joey is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 156th in 2014.
Nicknames, Cute

John

John began as the Hebrew Yohannan, meaning “God is gracious.” It’s a well-known biblical name for John the Baptist and was the most popular for American boys until 1924.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: JHAHN
  • Variations: Jon, Jhan
  • Namesakes: John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the U.S. from 1825 to 1829. John Barrymore, an American actor, and patriarch of the Drew and Barrymore theatrical families.
  • Popularity: John ranked 12th worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 27th for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Jose

Jose is an incredibly popular Spanish variation of Joseph, meaning “God will give.” It also means “who pardons” as one of the top 4 letter boy names in the Spanish-speaking world.

  • Origin: Spanish, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God increases
  • Pronunciation: How-ZEY
  • Namesakes: José Feliciano, a Puerto Rican musician best known for “Feliz Navidad.” José Hernández, an Argentine journalist who authored the epic poem Martín Fierro.
  • Popularity: Jose ranked 4th worldwide, is mostly used in Brazil, and ranked 92nd for boys in the U.S. in 2019.
Traditional, Popular
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Juan

Juan is the Spanish version of John and was taken first from the Hebrew Yochanan. Like all the variants of John, it means “God is gracious” and is nearly as popular as John in the U.S.

  • Origin: Spanish, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God’s gift
  • Pronunciation: HHWAAN
  • Variations: Juann, Juane
  • Namesakes: Juan Perón, the President of Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974. Juan Toscano-Anderson, a Mexican-American basketball player for the Utah Jazz.
  • Popularity: Juan ranked 19th worldwide, is mainly used in Mexico, and ranked 21st for boys in the U.S. in 2019.
Masculine, Popular

Kali

Kali is a Hindu goddess presiding over time, death, and change. She embodies the life force and is known as the universal mother.

  • Origin: Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Black one
  • Pronunciation: KAA-Liy
  • Variations: Kalie
  • Namesakes: Kali Banerjee, an Indian actor appearing in Parash Pathar (1958). Kali Alaudeen, the Indian head coach of Chennaiyin B football club.
  • Popularity: Kali is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in India, and ranked 283rd for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Strong, Unusual

Kane

In Japanese and Hawaiian, Kane means “warrior,” as well as “golden” and “beautiful.” It’s ranked in the top 100 U.S. boy’s names for five years and hasn’t fallen too far since.

  • Origin: Celtic, Welsh
  • Meaning: Little battler
  • Pronunciation: KAYN
  • Variations: Kaine, Kayne
  • Namesakes: Kane Roberts (born Robert Athas), an American guitarist for Alice Cooper. Kane Richmond (born Frederick Bowditch), an American best known for The Shadow films.
  • Popularity: Kane is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., ranking 240th for boys in 2023.
Strong, Unique

Kara

When taken from the Latin “carus,” Kara means “dear.” In Gaelic and Scandinavian, it means “wild stormy one,” while in Turkish, it means “black.”

  • Origin: Italian
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Pronunciation: KAAR-ah
  • Variations: Cara
  • Namesakes: Kara Goucher, an American long-distance runner and silver medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. Kara Killmer, an American actress appearing in the NBC series Chicago Fire.
  • Popularity: Kara is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 765th for girls in 2021.
Pretty, Common

Knox

As a 13th-century surname, Knox is based on the Gaelic “cnocc,” meaning “round-topped hill.” It’s more modern as a given name, finding popularity after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their child Knox.

  • Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: Round hill
  • Pronunciation: NOKS
  • Variations: Knoxx
  • Namesakes: Knox Chandler, an American session guitarist for bands like Depeche Mode. Knox Martin, an American artist known for the mural Venus in New York City.
  • Popularity: Knox is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 221st for boys in 2021.
Modern, Strong

Kyle

Kyle refers to a “strait or channel” while also meaning “confidence” and “trust.” It’s based on the Gaelic “caol,” meaning “slender,” and was first used as a Scottish surname.

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: Narrow
  • Pronunciation: KIHL
  • Variations: Kyll, Kile
  • Namesakes: Kyle MacLachlan, an American actor best known for Twin Peaks. Kyle Palmieri, an American ice hockey player for the New York Islanders.
  • Popularity: Kyle is uncommon worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., ranking 364th for boys in 2021.
Cute, Unique

Leah

Leah means “languid” and “weary” in Hebrew as Rachel’s sister and Jacob’s wife in the Bible. Leah also means “the light of the sun” when used in Gaelic for your little sunbeam.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Delicate, weary
  • Pronunciation: LIY-ah
  • Variations: Leeya, Lia
  • Namesakes: Leah Remini, an American actress appearing on The King of Queens (1998 to 2007). Leah Krinsky, an American comedy writer, and a two-time Writers Guild of America Award winner.
  • Popularity: Leah ranked 1,790th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 46th for girls in 2021.
Traditional, Pretty

Lena

Lena means “light” and “torch” in Greek and is a diminutive of names like Helena and Magdalena. Lena works on its own as a “ray of light” for your baby princess.

  • Origin: Greek, Persian
  • Meaning: Ray of light
  • Pronunciation: LIY-nah
  • Variations: Lenah, Leena, Lina
  • Namesakes: Lena Headey, a British actress appearing on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011 to 2019). Lena Sandlin-Hedman, a Swedish member of the Riksdag between 1994 and 2004.
  • Popularity: Lena is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in Sweden, ranking 18th in 2014.
Nicknames, Pretty

Leon

Leon uses the Greek and Latin root “leo,” meaning “lion.” It’s been taken by ten popes and many royals, while many Jewish people used Leon during the Middle Ages.

  • Origin: French, Greek
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Pronunciation: Liy-AHN
  • Namesakes: Leon Radošević, a Croatian basketball player for Derthona Basket. Leon Trotsky, a Russian revolutionary responsible for Trotskyism.
  • Popularity: Leon ranked 1,448th worldwide and is mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 177th for boys in 2021.
Strong, Masculine

Levi

Levi’s other meanings include “united” and “joined in harmony.” Levi is the biblical father to the Levites tribe and broke into the top 100 U.S. boys’ names in 2009.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Joined
  • Pronunciation: LIY-Vaey
  • Variations: Levy
  • Namesakes: Levi Strauss, a German-American businessman who first manufactured blue jeans. Levi Wallace, an American football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Popularity: Levi is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Brazil, and ranked 12th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Masculine, Cute
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Liam

Liam is an Irish nickname for William, meaning “helmet of will.” It also means “strong-willed warrior” and has been the most popular name in the U.S. for over five years.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Protection
  • Pronunciation: LIY-ahm
  • Namesakes: Liam Gallagher, an English musician, and frontman for Oasis. Liam Irwin, a Gaelic football player for Laois.
  • Popularity: Liam is rare worldwide, primarily used in England, and ranked number one for boys in the U.S. since 2017.
Cute, Nicknames

Lily

Lily became quite common during the Victorian era when flower names were in. It’s also used as a nickname for Elizabeth and Lillian and peaked at 15th for U.S. girls in 2011.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Pronunciation: LIHL-iy
  • Variations: Lilly, Lillie, Lili
  • Namesakes: Lily James, an English actress appearing in the series Just William (2010). Lily Tuck, an American novelist, and winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Fiction.
  • Popularity: Lily is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., ranking 31st for girls in 2021.
Nicknames, Pretty

Lisa

Lisa dates back to the Hebrew Elisheba, meaning “God is satisfaction.” It means “lily flower” and is a diminutive of Elisabeth. Lisa was among the top names for U.S. girls between 1962 and 1969.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God’s promise
  • Pronunciation: LIY-Sah
  • Variations: Leesa, Leysa
  • Namesakes: Lisa Evans, a Scottish footballer for West Ham United. Lisa Kudrow, an American actress best known for the series Friends.
  • Popularity: Lisa ranked 222nd worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 1,026th for girls in 2021.
Traditional, Common

Lola

Lola is a Spanish nickname for Dolores and Carlota. Nuestra Señora de los Dolores is the Spanish term for the Virgin Mary, meaning “Our Lady of Sorrows.”

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Sorrow
  • Pronunciation: LOW-Lah
  • Namesakes: Lola Álvarez Bravo, the first Mexican female photographer to participate in the Mexican Renaissance. Lola Todd, an American silent film actress and a designer for the Ziegfeld Follies.
  • Popularity: Lola is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Uzbekistan, and ranked 260th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Cute, Nicknames

Luca

Luca comes from Lucas and is one of the cutest 4 letter boy names. In Italy, it once referred to someone “from Luciana” and also means “sacred wood.”

  • Origin: Italian, Latin
  • Meaning: Bringer of light
  • Pronunciation: LUW-Kaa
  • Variations: Luka
  • Namesakes: Luca Guadagnino, an Italian film director of The Protagonists (1999). Luca Badoer, an Italian racing driver with a record for the most Grand Prix starts in 2022.
  • Popularity: Luca is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Italy, and ranked 67th for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Cute, Popular

Lucy

Lucy first means “of Lucius” and is best known for St. Lucia, the patron saint of eyes. Like Lucia and Lucy, the ancient Roman Lucius means “light” – perfect for your special baby girl.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Light
  • Pronunciation: LUW-Siy
  • Variations: Luci, Lucie
  • Namesakes: Lucy Lawless, a New Zealand actress known for Xena: Warrior Princess. Lucy Hockings, a New Zealand presenter for BBC World News.
  • Popularity: Lucy ranked 623rd worldwide, is mainly used in Kenya, and ranked 46th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Pretty, Popular

Luke

Luke stems from the Latin Lucas and Greek Loukas. The biblical evangelist Luke may be why it’s ranked in the top 500 U.S. boy’s names since 1955.

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: Light-giving
  • Pronunciation: LUWK
  • Variations: Lucc, Luc
  • Namesakes: Luke Fletcher, a Welsh member of the Senedd since 2021. Luke Nguyen, a Vietnamese-Australian chef and host of Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam.
  • Popularity: Luke is uncommon worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., ranking 32nd for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Luna

Luna is also a Spanish surname for families from Luna, Spain. In Roman mythology, Luna is the goddess of the moon but is also, more recently, a Harry Potter character.

  • Origin: Spanish, Latin
  • Meaning: Moon
  • Pronunciation: LUW-Naa
  • Variations: Lunah, Louna
  • Namesakes: Luna Blaise, an American actress appearing in the series Manifest. Luna Voce, a Dutch-Italian model, crowned Miss Universo Italia in 2013.
  • Popularity: Luna is rare worldwide, mostly used in Brazil, and ranked 3rd for girls in the U.S. in 2023.
Cute, Unusual

Lyle

Lyle is based on the Old French ‘L’isle,” given to a “dweller on an island.” It’s inspired by Radulphus de Insula, an 11th-century Lord of Duchal Castle in Scotland.

  • Origin: Scottish, French
  • Meaning: Island
  • Pronunciation: LAEYL
  • Variations: Lyall, Lyell
  • Namesakes: Lyle Alzado, an American football player with the Denver Broncos. Lyle Waggoner, an American actor appearing on The Carol Burnett Show from 1967 to 1974.
  • Popularity: Lyle is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., where it ranked 1,007th for boys in 2021.
Unique, Common

Mark

Mark also means “warrior” since it speaks to the Roman god of war, Mars. Mark first appeared as the ancient Roman Marcus but was also a disciple of Jesus.

  • Origin: English, Latin
  • Meaning: Warlike
  • Variations: Marc
  • Namesakes: Mark Zuckerberg, an American entrepreneur and co-founder of Facebook. Mark Van Doren, an American poet and winner of the 1940 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
  • Popularity: Mark ranked 76th worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 252nd for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Strong
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Mary

Mary has multiple meanings, like “drop of the sea,” “bitterness,” and “rebellious child.” It dates back to the Hebrew Miriam and was the most popular name for girls from the 1880s to 1946 and 1953 to 1961.

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Pronunciation: MAER-iy
  • Variations: Maria
  • Namesakes: Mary Baker Eddy, an American author who founded The Christian Science Monitor. Mary Harron, a Canadian filmmaker known for American Psycho (2000).
  • Popularity: Mary ranked 21st worldwide and is mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 133rd for girls in 2021.
Traditional, Feminine

Maya

Maya also means “dream,” but is another name for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. In Hebrew, Maya comes from “mayim,” meaning “water” and “from God.”

  • Origin: Sanskrit, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Illusion, magic
  • Pronunciation: MAEY-ah
  • Variations: Maiah, Mayah, Maiya
  • Namesakes: Maya Deren (born Eleonora Derenkovskaya), a Ukrainian-American experimental filmmaker known for Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). Maya Rudolph, an American comedian and cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1999 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Maya ranked 372nd worldwide, is mainly used in India, and ranked 52nd in Nepal in 2014.
Pretty, Popular

Mika

As a Japanese girl’s name, Mika means “beautiful fragrance.” It’s better known as a nickname for Mikael, which is Scandinavian for Michael. It also means “three trees together” and “nimble” for fast-paced little guys.

  • Origin: Japanese, Finnish
  • Meaning: Who is like God
  • Pronunciation: MIY-Kaa
  • Variations: Micah
  • Namesakes: Mika Zibanejad, a Swedish ice hockey player for the New York Rangers. Mika Yamamoto, a Japanese photojournalist for Japan Press.
  • Popularity: Mika is rare worldwide, primarily used in Japan, and ranked 16th in Finland in 2014.
Cute, Nicknames

Mila

Mila refers to “miracles” in Spanish but is more commonly used as a Slavic term of endearment. In Russian, it’s a short form for longer names like Ludmilla or Camilla and means “gracious.”

  • Origin: Slavic, Spanish
  • Meaning: Dear, favored
  • Pronunciation: MIY-Laa
  • Variations: Milah, Milla
  • Namesakes: Milica “Mila” Mulroney, the wife of the 18th Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney. Mila Horvat, a Croatian TV host for Croatian Radiotelevision.
  • Popularity: Mila is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in the Philippines, and ranked 20th for girls in the U.S. in 2020.
Cute, Common

Myra

Myra is an ancient word for “myrrh,” the famous scented oil given at Christ’s birth by the three wise men in the Bible. Myra means “favorable” in Sanskrit and is delightfully vintage among 4 letter girl names.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Myrrh
  • Pronunciation: MAEY-Raa
  • Variations: Myrah
  • Namesakes: Myra Freeman, the 29th and first female Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Myra MacDonald, a Scottish journalist with Reuters.
  • Popularity: Myra is rare worldwide and mainly used in the Philippines, ranking 300th in 2014.
Ancient, Uncommon

Nash

Nash came out of the Middle English phrase “atten ash,” meaning “at/by the ash tree.” Nash is more common as a surname when it means “son of Ash.”

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: By the ash tree
  • Pronunciation: NAESH
  • Variations: Nashe
  • Namesakes: Nash Aguas, a Filipino actor on ABS-CBN’s talent search Star Circle Quest in 2004. Nash Edgerton, an Australian stuntman for The Matrix trilogy.
  • Popularity: Nash is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 233rd for boys in 2021.
Cool, Modern

Neil

Neil is an Anglo spelling of the Irish Nial, meaning “passionate.” It can also mean “cloud” or “victory” and doesn’t require a nickname for your victorious lad.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Champion
  • Pronunciation: NEEL
  • Variations: Neal, Neale
  • Namesakes: Neil Diamond, an American singer-songwriter inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Neil Jordan, an Irish film director and winner of three Irish Film and Television Awards.
  • Popularity: Neil ranked 1,565th worldwide, is mostly used in England, and ranked 50th in New Zealand in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Nico

Nico is a fun Italian pet name for the Greek Nicholas. Like Nicholas, it means “victory of the people” and is getting quite popular outside of Italy these days.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Victorious
  • Pronunciation: NIY-Kow
  • Variations: Niko
  • Namesakes: Christa Päffgen (known as Nico), a German singer who performed with the Velvet Underground. Nico Rosberg, a German-Finnish racing driver and winner of the World Drivers’ Championship in 2016.
  • Popularity: Nico is rare worldwide, mainly used in the Netherlands, and ranked 259th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Nicknames, Strong

Noah

Noah derives from the Hebrew Noach, meaning “repose.” It’s famous for the biblical Noah, who built the Ark and has remained among the top U.S. boys’ names since 2009.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Rest
  • Pronunciation: NOW-ah
  • Variations: Noa
  • Namesakes: Noah Fant, an American football player for the Seattle Seahawks. Noah Crawford, an American actor appearing in the series My Name Is Earl.
  • Popularity: Noah is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 2nd for boys in 2021.
Ancient, Popular

Noel

Noel comes from the Old French “nael,” meaning “born on Christmas.” It traces back to the Latin “natalis,” which influenced the names of children born on Christmas Day.

  • Origin: French, Latin
  • Meaning: Christmas
  • Pronunciation: NOWHL
  • Variations: Noell
  • Namesakes: Noel Sullivan, a Welsh singer, and member of the British pop group Hear’Say. Noel Fisher, a Canadian actor appearing on the series Shameless.
  • Popularity: Noel ranked 980th worldwide, is mostly used in the Philippines, and ranked 667th for boys in the U.S. in 2020.
Traditional, Common
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Nora

Nora means “shining light” as a short form of Eleanora. The Latin “honorius” means “honor,” as does the Arabic version, which looks like Noor and Noora.

  • Origin: Irish, French
  • Meaning: Honor
  • Pronunciation: NOWR-ah
  • Variations: Norah
  • Namesakes: Nora Mebarek, a French member of the European Parliament since 2020. Nora Nicholson, an English actress who performed with the Old Vic theater company.
  • Popularity: Nora ranked 828th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., ranking 27th for girls in 2014.
Pretty, Popular

Nova

Nova means “chaser of butterflies” for the Hopi clan. In astronomy, a nova indicates the appearance of a brand new star, like the little one whose arrival you await.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: New
  • Pronunciation: NOUW-Vaa
  • Variations: Novah
  • Namesakes: Nova Meierhenrich, a German TV presenter for Premiere. Nova Ren Suma, an American YA author known for The Walls Around Us.
  • Popularity: Nova is rare worldwide and primarily used in Indonesia, where it ranked 331st in 2014.
Unusual, Uncommon

Odin

Odin comes from the Old Norse Óðinn, meaning “fury” and “frantic.” In Norse mythology, Odin is the god of war and death, but also poetry and wisdom

  • Origin: Norse
  • Meaning: Lord of frenzy
  • Pronunciation: OW-Dihn
  • Variations: Oddin, Oden, Odyn
  • Namesakes: Odin Langen, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1959 to 1971.
  • Popularity: Odin is rare worldwide, mostly used in Indonesia, and ranked 1,074th in Norway in 2014.
Ancient, Strong

Opal

Opal is based on the Sanskrit “upala,” meaning “jewel.” In Hindu culture, Opals are known for good luck. Opal ranked in the top 100 U.S. girls’ names between 1900 to 1920.

  • Origin: Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Precious stone
  • Pronunciation: OW-Pael
  • Variations: Opale, Opall
  • Namesakes: Opal Hill, an American golfer who won the Women’s Western Open in 1936. Opal Wilcox Barron, the First Lady of West Virginia from 1961 to 1965.
  • Popularity: Opal is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 360th for girls in 2023.
Feminine, Vintage

Otto

Otto has plenty of German variations, like Audo, Odo, and Udo, for names beginning with “aud-,” meaning “prosperity.” Otto the Great knew the best 4 letter names are ones that start with O.

  • Origin: Geman
  • Meaning: Wealth
  • Pronunciation: AH-Tow
  • Variations: Oto
  • Namesakes: Otto Schily, Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior, between 1998 and 2005. Otto Preminger, an Austrian-American director known for Fallen Angel (1945).
  • Popularity: Otto is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Germany, and ranked 101st in Austria in 2014.
Cute, Vintage

Owen

Owen means “young warrior” as the English version of the Welsh Owain. It’s based on Eugene, while the Gaelic equivalent to Owen is Eoghan, meaning “born of yew.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Noble born
  • Pronunciation: OW-Ahn
  • Variations: Owein, Oweine, Owenn
  • Namesakes: Owen Wilson, an American actor known for appearing in Wes Anderson films. Owen Davis, an American dramatist, and winner of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
  • Popularity: Owen is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 22nd for boys in 2020.
Traditional, Unique

Paul

Paul goes way back to the Latin “paulus,” taken from the Roman family name Paullus. It also means “humble” or “little” when referring to a diminutive but enduring classic.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Small
  • Pronunciation: PAOL
  • Variations: Paule
  • Namesakes: Paul McCartney, an English member of the Beatles. Paul Rudd, an American actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
  • Popularity: Paul ranked 45th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., ranking 257th for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Remy

Remy is the French variant of the original Latin Remigius, meaning “remedy. It may be associated with Rheims, a city in northeastern France.

  • Origin: French, Latin
  • Meaning: Oarsman
  • Pronunciation: REH-Miy
  • Variations: Remi
  • Namesakes: Remy Martin, a Filipino-American basketball player for Lavrio of the Greek Basket League. Remy Ong, a Singaporean bowler and 2006 world champion.
  • Popularity: Remy is rare worldwide, primarily used in DR Congo, and ranked 356th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Cute, Unusual

Rory

Rory derives from the Irish Ruaidhri and is made up of “ruadh,” meaning “red-haired,” and “rígh,” meaning “king.” The most famous one is Rory, the 12th-century King of Ireland.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Red king
  • Pronunciation: RAOR-iy
  • Variations: Rorey, Rori, Rorrie
  • Namesakes: Rory Dodd, a Canadian rock vocalist who sang the duo on Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Rory Carroll, an Irish journalist for The Guardian.
  • Popularity: Rory is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 295th for boys in 2021.
Cute, Common

Rose

Rose is the English spelling of the Latin Rosa, but it may be related to the German Hrodohaidis, meaning “famous type.”

  • Origin: English, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Rose (flower)
  • Pronunciation: ROWZ
  • Variations: Rosie, Rosy
  • Namesakes: Rose Wilder Lane, an American journalist, and daughter of American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder. Rose Hart, a Ghanaian track and field athlete, and gold medalist at the 1973 All-Africa Games.
  • Popularity: Rose ranked 181st worldwide, is mainly used in Uganda, and ranked 116th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Traditional, Feminine
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Ruby

Ruby originated with the Latin “rubinus,” meaning “red.” While it is named as the July gemstone, Ruby began being used for baby girls in the 19th-century.

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Gemstone
  • Pronunciation: RUW-Biy
  • Variations: Rubi, Rubie
  • Namesakes: Ruby Dee, an American actress best known for A Raisin in the Sun (1961). Ruby Dhalla, a Canadian member of the House of Commons of Canada from 2004 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Ruby ranked 1,872nd worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 62nd for girls in 2021.
Vintage, Common

Ryan

Ryan began as an Irish surname based on Rian, meaning “little king.” It also means “illustrious” and peaked at 20th for boys in the U.S. between 1976 and 2010.

  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: Little king
  • Pronunciation: RAEY-Aen
  • Variations: Rian, Rhyan
  • Namesakes: Ryan Gosling, a Canadian actor with a box office gross of over $1.9 billion. Ryan Adams, an American singer-songwriter whose album Heartbreaker, was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize.
  • Popularity: Ryan ranked 622nd worldwide and is mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 66th for boys in 2021.
Traditional, Popular

Sage

Sage also means “healthy,” “prophet,” and “from the sagebrush.” It’s the name of an aromatic herb used in cooking and for clearing bad energy from a space.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Wise
  • Pronunciation: SEYJH
  • Variations: Saige, Sayge
  • Namesakes: Sage Kotsenburg, an American snowboarder and gold medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sage Stallone, an American actor and the son of actor Sylvester Stallone.
  • Popularity: Sage is rare worldwide, mainly used in DR Congo, and ranked 179th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Unusual, Modern

Sara

Sarah is the female form of the Hebrew Sar, meaning “chief” or “prince.” When spelled Sarah, it refers to Abraham’s wife in the Bible. Sara ranked in the top 100 U.S. girls’ names from the 1800s to the early 2000s.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Princess
  • Pronunciation: SAER-ah
  • Variations: Sarah, Sarrah
  • Namesakes: Sara Haines, an American TV host for The View. Sara Gilbert, an American actress appearing on the sitcom Roseanne.
  • Popularity: Sara ranked 108th worldwide, is primarily used in Egypt, and ranked 92nd for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Ancient, Traditional

Saul

Sau means “asked for” in Hebrew and originally appeared as Shaul, meaning “to question.” It’s one of many old man four letter names with ancient namesakes, like the first biblical King of Israel.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Prayed for
  • Pronunciation: SAOL
  • Variations: Sol, Sawl
  • Namesakes: Saul Chaplin, an American composer and Oscar winner for the film score of West Side Story (1961). Saul Hudson (known as Slash), a British-American musician and member of the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses.
  • Popularity: Saul is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in Mexico, and ranked 460th for boys in the U.S. in 2023.
Ancient, Vintage

Sean

Sean is a super traditional Irish form of John that also means “Yahweh is merciful.” Though more popular for boys, it’s a unique name for little girls who wish to start their own traditions.

  • Origin: Irish, Gaelic
  • Meaning: God is gracious
  • Pronunciation: SHAON
  • Variations: Shaughn, Shaun, Shawn
  • Namesakes: Sean Lennon, an American-British musician and son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Sean Young, an American actress best known for Blade Runner (1982).
  • Popularity: Sean ranked 1,376th worldwide and is mainly used in the U.S., ranking 89th for boys in 2022.
Traditional, Common

Seth

Seth also means “placed” and is borrowed from the Hebrew “sheth.” Seth was Adam and Eve’s third son in the Bible, but there are more than a few modern Seths around.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Appointed
  • Pronunciation: SEHTH
  • Variations: Sethe, Seath
  • Namesakes: Seth Green, an American actor who voices for the animated sitcom Family Guy. Seth Goldman, an American host of NBC’s Entertainment Buzz.
  • Popularity: Seth is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Ghana, and ranked 489th for boys in the U.S. in 2021.
Ancient, Masculine

Tate

Tate was first an English surname based on the Old Norse “teitr,” meaning “bright” and “glad.” What better way to welcome your little Tate into the world than with cheer?

  • Origin: English, Norse
  • Meaning: Cheerful
  • Pronunciation: TEYT
  • Variations: Taet, Tait, Tayt
  • Namesakes: Tate McRae, the first Canadian finalist on the series So You Think You Can Dance. Tate Robertson, an American soccer player for Lexington SC.
  • Popularity: Tate is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 305th for boys in 2021.
Cute, Modern

Theo

Theo dates back to the Greek Theodōros, composed of “theos,” meaning “God,” and “dōron,” meaning “gift.” In German, Theo means “brave people” from the German “theud,” meaning “folk.”

  • Origin: Greek, German
  • Meaning: God’s gift
  • Pronunciation: THIY-ow
  • Variations: Teo
  • Namesakes: Theo Sommer, a German newspaper editor for Die Zeit, in 1958. Theo van Doesburg, a Dutch artist and founder of the De Stijl art movement.
  • Popularity: Theo is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in Germany, and ranked 50th in the Netherlands in 2014.
Nicknames, Masculine

Tony

Tony has a long history that starts with the Roman Antonius. It means “of inestimable worth” and was a top 50 U.S. boy’s name throughout the 1960s.

  • Origin: Italian, Latin
  • Meaning: Priceless one
  • Pronunciation: TOW-Niy
  • Variations: Toni
  • Namesakes: Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the UK from 1997 to 2007. Tony Hawk, an American skateboarder, and owner of the company Birdhouse.
  • Popularity: Tony ranked 620th worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 678th for boys in 2021.
Nicknames, Popular
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Trey

At one point, Trey was a nickname given to a third-generation child, as in “the third.” It sprouted new variations like Treynor and Treyton after peaking in 1999.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Three
  • Pronunciation: TREHY
  • Variations: Trae, Traye
  • Namesakes: Randolph “Trey” Parker III, an American animator known for co-creating South Park (since 1997). Trey Bruce, an American songwriter with ten Number One Billboard singles.
  • Popularity: Trey is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S., where it ranked 349th for boys in 2023.
Modern, Masculine

Troy

Troy was once used for someone “of Troyes,” though it’s more recognizable from the Irish “troightheach,” meaning “foot soldier.” What was once the famous ancient city of Troy is located in modern-day Turkey.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Foot soldier
  • Variations: Troi, Troye
  • Namesakes: Troy Aikman, an American football player with the Dallas Cowboys. Troy King, the 46th attorney general of the state of Alabama from 2004 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Troy is uncommon worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 363rd for boys in 2018.
Traditional, Masculine

Veda

Veda also means “wisdom” and is inspired by the Sanskrit Vedas, a well-known set of sacred texts in India to encourage faith in your little one.

  • Origin: Sanskrit
  • Meaning: Knowledge
  • Pronunciation: VEH-Dah
  • Variations: Veida, Vedah
  • Namesakes: Mildred Whitehorn (known as Veda Brown), an American gospel singer known for “Short Stopping” in 1973. Veda Wright Stone, an American activist who worked with the Chippewa Indians.
  • Popularity: Veda is rare worldwide and primarily used in Iran, where it ranked 310th in 2014
Ancient, Strong

Vera

Vera is the actual Latin word for “true,” as in “veritas.” It topped the list of names in 1910, especially in Russian culture, which held Vera in high esteem.

  • Origin: Slavic
  • Meaning: Faith, truth
  • Pronunciation: VEH-Rah
  • Variations: Veira, Verah, Vyra
  • Namesakes: Vera Celis, a Belgian member of the Flemish Parliament since 2009. Vera Miles, an American actress best known for Psycho.
  • Popularity: Vera ranked 261st worldwide, is mostly used in Ukraine, and ranked 228th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Vintage, Feminine

Wren

Wren comes from the Old English “wrenna,” meaning “small bird.” It describes a brown songbird, called the “king of all birds” in Ireland and one with magical properties in Wales.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Songbird
  • Pronunciation: REHN
  • Variations: Wrenn, Wrene
  • Namesakes: Wren Blackberry, an American children’s author known for the Métrico Mesh series. Wren Blair, a Canadian General Manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1975 to 1976.
  • Popularity: Wren is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 250th for girls in 2021.
Cute, Unusual

Zara

Zara is a unique spelling for Zahrah, meaning “blooming flower” in Arabic. It’s a nickname for the Bulgarian Zaharina, meaning “God remembers,” as one of the prettiest 4 letter girl names.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Radiance
  • Pronunciation: ZAH-Raa
  • Variations: Zahra, Zarra, Zarah
  • Namesakes: Zara Tindall, a member of the British royal family and 20th in succession to the British throne. Zara Long, a British swimmer and silver medalist at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.
  • Popularity: Zara is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in Chad, and ranked 213th for girls in the U.S. in 2021.
Pretty, Unique

Zeke

Zeke is a Hebrew diminutive for Ezekiel, but has its own exotic modern appeal. Zeke had a long journey from being the name of a biblical prophet.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: God strengthens
  • Pronunciation: ZIYK
  • Variations: Zeek
  • Namesakes: Zeke Nnaji, an American basketball player for the Denver Nuggets. Zeke Zekley, an American cartoonist known for Bringing Up Father.
  • Popularity: Zeke is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Nicknames, Ancient

Zion

Zion is the Old Testament name for a citadel in Jerusalem. It’s a source of Jewish pride and brings a powerful sense of history to 4 letter names with meaning.

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Highest point
  • Pronunciation: ZAEY-ahn
  • Variations: Zione
  • Namesakes: Zion Long, a Nigerian footballer for Sporting Kansas City II. Zion Pinyan, an Israeli member of the Knesset from 2009 to 2013.
  • Popularity: Zion is rare worldwide, mainly used in Nigeria, and ranked 524th in Israel in 2014.
Ancient, Strong

Zoey

Zoey is a more casual spelling of the Greek Zoe, meaning “to live.” It’s the Greek translation of Eve, so it brings biblical history along with it too.

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Life
  • Pronunciation: ZOW-iy
  • Variations: Zoe, Zoie
  • Namesakes: Zoey Clark, a British sprinter and silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships. Zoey Deutch, an American actress appearing in the film Everybody Wants Some!!
  • Popularity: Zoey is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., where it ranked 38th for girls in 2021.
Pretty, Cool

Zuri

Zuri was first a boy’s name based on the Hebrew Zuriel. It means “being powerful” in Persian, but it’s also a Swahili girl’s name meaning “princess” for your little royal lady.

  • Origin: Russian, Hebrew
  • Meaning: My rock
  • Pronunciation: ZUW-Riy
  • Namesakes: Zuri Lawrence, an American boxer with 44 knockouts. Zuri Tibby, an American model for Victoria’s Secret PINK.
  • Popularity: Zuri is very rare worldwide, mostly used in Mexico, and ranked 1,658th in Georgia in 2014.
Cute, Traditional
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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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