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Raven Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Raven including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Raven Overview

  • Meaning: Raven means “dark-haired” or “wise.”
  • Gender: Raven is traditionally a female name.
  • Origin: Raven comes from the Old English word hraefn.
  • Pronunciation: “RAY-ven”
  • Popularity: The name Raven is most popular in southern states of the US among African-American families. It is considered a popular name.
  • Nicknames: Ray, Rae, Ray-Ray, Ravie, Ven.
  • Variations: Bran, Ravina, Rayvinn.
  • Namesakes: Raven (comic book character), Raven-Symone Pearman (American actress and singer)

What Does Raven Mean?

The name Raven can mean a variety of things. The most common association with the name Raven is the bird species that bears the same name, which is known to be clever and curious. The name Raven can also mean “dark-haired or wise.” Finally, the name Raven can be an expression of African-American pride.

The variation Ravenna is thought to derive from the northern Italian city of the same name. It’s considered a more feminine version of the name Raven as well.

What is the Origin of the Name Raven?

The name Raven derives from the Old English word hraefn, meaning raven. Names from everyday words like birds became more popular during the 20th century. Similar names that grew in popularity then are Dove, Teal, and Kestrel.

Raven was commonly used as a surname as well. This surname derives from Old Norse and Old English personal and sign names.

How Popular is the Name Raven?

The name Raven hit its peak popularity in 1993 when it climbed to spot 103 on the list of top 1000 names. Its lowest ranking was spot 636 in the year 2009. The name Raven hovers around the low 400s on the same list recently and is most popular with African-American and Wiccan parents.

At present, the name Raven is popular in the US, and this popularity could be due to its use in pop culture, from superhero comics to favorite TV shows.

How Do I Pronounce Raven?

Raven is pronounced “RAY-ven”. There are no other common pronunciations of this name. It sounds similar across all languages.

Is Raven a Boy or Girl Name?

Raven is traditionally gender-neutral, but it has become a more feminine name as it increases in popularity. Parents of boys and girls continue to name their children Raven. In most cases, Raven is used for male children in African communities, and many famous male African athletes are named Raven!

Variations of Raven

The name Raven derives from the Old English word hraefn but also has other variations.

  • Bran (Irish)
  • Branagán (Irish)
  • Corbinian (English)
  • Hraban (German)
  • Hrafn (Old Norse)
  • Ravina (English)
  • Rayvenne (English)
  • Rayvinn (English)

Nicknames for Raven

The name Raven is already relatively short, but there are still a few common nicknames to call your friend Raven.

  • Rae
  • Rave
  • Ravie
  • Ray
  • Ray-Ray
  • Ven

Similar Names to Raven

There are plenty of names similar to the dark and mysterious vibes that Raven gives. Many of these names stem from Old English words and Gothic heritage.

Middle Names for Raven

Finding a middle name for a Raven gives you plenty of options. You can choose something familiar to balance the unique name or something unique to add to the personality of the full name.

Sibling Names for Raven

You can go in a few directions when naming a sibling of a Raven. You can keep the bird theme and choose from various other bird names. The name Raven also pairs well with both unique and common names.

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Raven

There are quite a few famous and notable people named Raven. Some of the most popular are TV and movie stars. There are also a number of African athletes with the name Raven.

  • Raven: the stage name of American drag queen David Petruschin.
  • Raven Elyse: American YouTuber.
  • Raven Goodwin: American actress.
  • Raven Klaasen: African athlete (tennis).
  • Raven Nicholson: African athlete (cricket).
  • Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman: American actress and singer.

Raven in Pop Culture

The name Raven is seen most commonly in superhero comics/shows. It is also often used for TV character names.

  • Raven: character in DC Comics Teen Titans.
  • Raven: character in The Black Company novel series.
  • Raven Baxter: character on the show “That’s So Raven.”
  • Raven Darkholme (aka Mystique): character in Marvel Universe.
  • Raven Halfacre: character in movie “Bloodworth.”
  • Raven Reyes: character on the show “The 100.”
  • Raven Whitney: character on the show “The Edge of Night.”

Raven FAQs

If you’re interested in learning more about the name Raven, we’ve included some FAQs to browse through below.

What is the Spiritual Meaning of Ravens?

New parents may want to name their child Raven due to its spiritual meaning. The raven bird symbolizes wisdom, affection, healing powers, longevity, death, and fertility (1). However, in most cases, ravens are associated with negative meanings.

Ravens have different meanings across different religions and beliefs. If you’re planning on naming your child Raven for a spiritual purpose, it’s essential to do research based on your views first.

What Does a Raven Symbolize in the Bible?

In the bible, ravens often appear because of their commonplace across the world when it was written. For example, in the well-known story about Noah’s Ark, Noah sent a white raven to roam the earth, not a dove.

Ravens are used to enhance imagery, such as men’s hair being “black as a raven”. Ravens are also commonly seen as lower birds because of their inclination to eat carrion.

They are also used to showcase God’s love. God feeds the ravens, who are considered the lesser of birds, so of course, he provides for his children as well.

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