When you’re expecting, one of the first things you’ll begin to wonder about is what name to give your baby.
Some find this task easy, but for others, it’s a major challenge. Naming your baby is a big deal — it’s something they’ll live with for the rest of their lives. So, finding a name with a special meaning is a fantastic idea.
If water has always been important to you, you might want to find a baby name that equates in some way to it. Many cultures hold water in high esteem. In Egypt, it is a symbol of birth, growth, and renewal.
You may be surprised by the number of baby names that mean water.
Water Baby Names for Boys
Here are 50 wonderful names that mean water for boys.
Aalto is a Scandinavian name of Finnish origin.
It means “wave” and is famous for being the last name of a Finnish designer and architect. It’s a distinctive choice seeing as it’s not a common name in the U.S.
It’s a short version of the name given to Adrianus or Hadrianus. Adrian draws its beginning and purpose from the Venetic and Illyrian word Adur. If you opt for this name, be forewarned, your son might have to hear a lot of “Yo, Adrian” jokes that stem from the franchise of Rocky movies.
Aenon, or Ænon, equates to “water spring.”
It’s a biblical name, derived from the Gospel of John, inspired by his baptism following his meeting with Jesus. Although Ænon is an ancient Greek word, in the Middle-East, it was a word used to name water sources.
Alun is of Welsh origin, inspired by the Afon Alun river in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
This is another creative name you won’t find many boys with in the U.S. It’s probably best known as the name of the famous Welsh rugby player, Alun Wyn Jones.
Arledge is an English name that means “dweller at the rabbit lake.”
It’s most famous for being the surname of Roone Arledge, an American sports and news broadcasting executive.
Arno is a modern version of Arnold — it originates from Germany, where it means “eagle.”
However, if we go to Italy, Arno is also the name of a famous river running from the Ligurian Sea into the mainland. Here, Arno translates to “flowing water.”
It’s another name from Germany, and it denotes “the dweller near the brook.”
Whether you’re giving your baby a water-themed name or honoring Johann Sebastian Bach, this has a rich connotation. Bach might be better suited as a middle name because of how unusual it is in the U.S.
From Germany to France, Barbeau means “fisherman.” In France, it’s most commonly used as a surname and comes from the word “Barbel,” which is a type of fish.
The name is a bit exotic, and a whole lot different — excellent for parents who don’t want their child to be called “Aiden #2” in school.
The name Bardo has mixed beginnings, tracing its roots to German, Aboriginal, or Tibetan origins. It merely means “water” but is used in several cultures.
Today, it’s most famous for the “Lincoln in the Bardo” novel by George Saunders, and as the middle name of Sandra Bullock’s son. For Tibetan Buddhists, Bardo is the state of delay between one life and the next. However, it’s also notable for Saint Bardo, who was a bishop in the 11th century Germany.
Beck is known as a name for a stream, but its English origin is “one living beside a small stream.”
Beck is originally a boy’s name, but it’s become quite popular for girls, too. The female version, however, often includes a “Y,” so it becomes Becky.
Of English origin, Beckett means “beehive,” “bee cottage” or “little brook,” so it’s not exclusively a water-themed name.
Beckett also has some history behind it. It was the name of the martyred Saint Thomas à Becket, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder by supporters of King Henry II in 1170. His story was the theme of a 1964 movie starring Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton. Beckett has become a popular name this decade and is rising in the U.S. rankings.
It’s an English name, meaning “homestead by the stream.”
Beckham is most famous for being the surname of the well-known soccer player, David Beckham. The name has increased significantly in popularity in the U.S. in the last decade.
Birney, pronounced similarly to Bernie, is another name of English origin. It means “island with the brook.”
Different spelling variants are available, like Burney or Berney. It’s not popular in the U.S., where parents instead use the name Bernie, which means “brave as a bear.”
Blackwell is an English surname, meaning “black well” or “black stream.”
It’s been prevalent throughout history. Though, not as much today — it doesn’t even rank in the top 2,000 baby names in the U.S. The undertone of the name is dark and powerful, which is why it’s probably not attractive as a baby name.
Bolivar is a surname taken from the northern Basque region of Spain. Bolivar is derived from Bolibar and means “mill at the riverside.”
It’s most famous for being the name of a renowned South American revolutionary leader, Simon Bolivar, who the country Bolivia is named after.
Bourne is of English origin and means “one who lives near a stream.”
Most people will probably recognize it as the surname of the protagonist, Jason Bourne, in the Robert Ludlum stories, and the movies based on them. The name is more popular as a surname than a first name but sounds powerful either way.
Bradford is a derivative of “broad ford” in old English, which describes a wide river with shallow water, allowing one to cross.
It’s another well-known surname but isn’t widespread in the U.S. Bradford is also the name of a city in England’s northern county of West Yorkshire. It’s also a city name in the U.S. in Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Bradman means “at the wide river,” and is similar to Bradford.
The thing parents find most attractive about this name is that they can use the nickname Brad. Bradman is used predominantly as a surname — one example is the famous Australian cricket player Donald Bradman.
Brodny is of Slavic origins and means “person dwelling near a stream.”
It’s not rising in popularity within the U.S., which is somewhat a shame — Brodny is rare without sounding too unfamiliar.
Brooks means “of the brook” and stems from England. Brooks is a masculine version of Brook and Brooklyn.
It’s known for being the name of a baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, Brooks Robinson. Brooks is high on the list of stylish English boys’ names. It’s a common surname, but more parents are using it as a first name.
Brosnan is an Irish name, obtained from the Gaelic “ó Brosnacháin,” describing a “dweller near the Brosna River.”
Most of us know the name of the actor, Pierce Brosnan, who played James Bond. Although Brosnan is the standard spelling variant, it’s spelled sometimes as Brosnahan, O’Brosnan, Brosnochain, or Bresnahan.
Calder is a name of English origin, meaning “rocky water.” It’s pronounced Kalh-der and has become quite a popular name in the last decade.
Calder is also famous for being the surname of a renowned American sculptor, Alexander Calder.
Carlow is an Irish name, meaning “four-part lake.”
It’s also the name of a county in southeastern Ireland. It’s yet to make an impact in the U.S.
Cary is a name of Latin origin and means “pleasant stream.”
It’s most known for being the name of Cary Grant — a famous American actor known for his handsome looks and transatlantic accent. Younger generations might recognize the name from English actor Cary Elwes.
Caspian stems from England, but means “from Qazvin, Iran.” It’s the name of the salty sea located between Asia and Europe.
Many children will know Caspian from the enchanting children’s novel series, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” Caspian is a creative name, which is particularly attractive to cutting-edge parents.
Clyde is a Scottish name, hailing from the river Clyde running through Glasgow, Scotland.
Most of us know it from the outlaw duo, Bonnie and Clyde. It was also the name of the Orangutan in two Clint Eastwood movies. The name has a vintage tone, but despite this, it’s rising in popularity in the U.S., ranking number 724 in 2018.
Cove is a coastal inlet or small bay and is gaining steam as a popular boy’s name.
It’s just outside the 2,000 most popular names in the U.S., with around 516 boys given the name in 2018. Cove is different but has a great sound to it.
Deniz is derived from Turkey, and means “waves, sea.”
Deniz is a different variant of Dennis with an exotic flair to it. Deniz can also be used for girls, but it’s predominantly a masculine name.
It was a trendy name in the ‘70s but has lost its popularity since then. With Douglas, parents can use the nickname Doug.
Eaton is of English origin and means “riverside.”
Fisher, as one would expect, means “fisherman,” and the English name is more popular as a surname.
However, it’s not unsuitable as a first name — ask Steven Fisher, who changed his name to Fisher Stevens. It’s a surname for several famous people, including Carrie Fisher.
Ford stems from England and means “dweller at the ford.”
Ford is mostly associated with Ford Motor Company, but it’s a fantastic name with a sharp tone. A few celebrities have used it for their children, and one example is Owen Wilson, who named his son Robert Ford. Besides Owen Wilson’s son, a few other famous people sport the name, like Ford Madox Ford, Ford Frick, and Ford Hermann Hueffer. It‘s also used as an abbreviation for Clifford.
Holmes is a boy’s name, originating from England. Holm, the singular, means “islet in the river or near the mainland.”
Holmes is recognizable worldwide due to the books and movies about the detective Sherlock Holmes. It’s an intriguing name and uncommon in the U.S., great for parents who dare to be different.
Hudson is of English origin and means “Hugh’s son.” The name has some history, tracing back to the Middle Ages.
It doesn’t come from anything to do with water, but there’s a famous river in New York called the Hudson River. Since the year 2000, it has gained steadily in popularity in the U.S. In 2018, it ranked number 54 for boys.
Hurley means “sea tide,” and stems from Ireland.
Names ending with the “lee” sound, like Yardley and Mosley, are gaining popularity fast. Still, Hurley might be better as a surname, unless you want your child to stand out.
Irving originates from Scotland and means “green river” and “sea friend.”
Irving is a popular name among first-generation Jewish-American boys — famous examples include Irving Wallace and Irving Stone. It was a common name during World War I.
Kai is pronounced Kye, and depending on where you ask, people will give you different meanings. Most Americans see the name Kai as a Hawaiian and Japanese derivation. The Hawaiian meaning is “sea,” and in Japanese, it means “forgiveness.”
If we look to Europe, however, it’s believed to have Frisian origin, as a diminutive of another name, Kaimbe, which means “warrior.”
Kano has roots in both Japan and Africa. Meaning “the god of the water,” it has a commanding tone.
Today, it’s famous for being the name of a Brittish rapper and songwriter.
Kelby is an English name and means “dweller at the farm by the stream.”
It’s another name that’s used predominantly as a surname, but it could be a more masculine alternative to Shelby.
From Scotland, we have the name Loch, which is Gaelic in origin, and used to define “lake.” It’s pronounced like lock and can be a short version of the name Lachlan.
Loch isn’t as popular now as it was in the ‘90s, and at the moment, is ranked 5,896 on the popularity charts. Many people know the name because of the Loch Ness Monster.
Malik is a common name in the Middle East and northern Africa, where it’s used to describe a king or ruler of the village. However, it’s also a name originating from Greenland, where it means “wave.”
There are a few spelling variants like Maliq and Malek.
Maxwell is a Scottish name, used to define a “great stream.”
It’s a popular name for boys, but some celebrities have tried turning the gender, giving the name to their daughters. Its claim to fame is that it is in the title of a Beatles’ song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”
Monroe is another Scottish name, meaning the “mouth of the Roe River.”
Monroe is often a name associated with presidents and other famous people, notably Marilyn Monroe. It’s rising in popularity but has also recently become an option for girls. Singer Mariah Carey chose it for her daughter.
Moses originates from Egypt and means “delivered from the water.” It’s a name that stems back to the Old Testament and is widely popular in various religions.
Most of us know the story of Moses, who, in Biblical accounts, was discovered as a baby, floating in a basket on the Nile, and later parted the Red Sea. There are different spelling variants like Musa, which is the Arabic version, or Mosheh in Hebrew and Moises in Spanish.
Nen is another name with Egyptian roots, meaning “ancient waters.”
It has a beautiful connotation, seeing the history of the Nile, which runs through Egypt. However, it might be too exotic for some parents.
Orwell means the “river branch” and is believed to be of English origin.
It was made famous by the English novelist Eric Arthur Blair, who changed his name to George Orwell. It’s pronounced like it is spelled, Or-well.
Pike is the English name for a specific type of fish.
It’s also the name of an explorer, Zebulon Pike, who discovered and then named Pike’s Peak. Although Pike sounds innocent, it’s more commonly associated with a sharp weapon, giving it a harsh feel.
Rayan is popular in the Middle East and North Africa, where it’s even used for girls sometimes.
Struan is of Scottish origin and means “stream.”
It’s also the name of a city in the UK. Struan is a powerful sounding name and has an impact when heard.
Wade means “by the river crossing” and is of English origins.
It’s a trendy name within the U.S., where it rarely leaves the top 1,000. Wade is an excellent middle-ground name, between stylish and old-school — it’s easy to spell and sounds masculine.
Water Names for Girls
Check out these 50 water-inspired baby names for girls.
Adair is a girl’s name with a Scottish heritage, meaning “a river near oaks.”
Adair sounds mystical, and for a long time, it was considered a boy’s name. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it was routinely used as a girl’s name as well. Because of this, you won’t find many women over 25 carrying this name.
Amaya comes from Japan and Basque cultures and means “mother city,” “the end,” and “night rain.”
In Spanish culture, Amaya is used as a first name or surname and originated from the village of Amaya.
Avonlea translates to “river by the field” and is an enchanting name, almost fairy-like. It’s pronounced Av-on-lee.
Avonlea is most famous for being the name of a fictional Canadian village, created by L.M. Montgomery. The name is well suited for today’s culture, where names like Ava and those ending with “lee” are popular.
Baia is of Portuguese origin and means “bay.”
It’s not a common name in the U.S. For parents who aren’t afraid to be different, Baia could be an exotic alternative to Maia.
In the U.S. and English speaking countries, a “Bay” is a recessed coastal line. However, in Spanish, Bay is the word used for “berry.”
Bay has become a popular middle name, which implies something different, depending on where you ask.
Beverly is of English origin and means “dweller of the beaver stream.”
Although the meaning isn’t the most charming one out there, the name has quite a history. Its popularity peaked in the early 1900s, and several iconic figures have sported it like Beverly Johnson, Beverly Goldberg, and Beverly Sills.
Brooke is another name with English heritage. It means “small stream.”
Brooke is somewhat the feminine version of Brooks and has often projected a sense of sophistication and style. It’s a famous name, with many celebrities sporting it, such as Brooke Shields and Brooke Astor.
Brooklyn is an English girl’s name meaning “water.” It’s mostly known for being the title of a renowned borough of New York.
Brooklyn is rather masculine, which is why, initially, it was a boy’s name. However, this has changed, and it’s now one of the leading name choices starting with a “B” for girls.
Cascade is of English word which describes a “waterfall” or “water falling downward.”
It’s a captivating name with a mythical feel to it. Cascade is currently on the rise in popularity, although it’s yet to reach the top 2,000.
Chantara has Thai roots and means “moon water.”
Chantara is a poetic name, which would work well in almost any culture. The name would be suitable for a character in a fantasy movie — it’s mesmerizing and exotic, great if you’re looking for something unique.
Cherith springs from Hebrew and equates to “winter stream.”
Despite its ancient roots, Cherith has a fresh sound. You may recognize Cherith from the Bible, too — it’s the name of the stream that kept Elijah alive.
It’s also a name with an old-fashioned feel that’s quite popular today.
Delta is of English origin and is used to define a piece of flat land that divides a river. In Greek, however, Delta is the fourth letter of the alphabet.
Delta is a rare name, but with a strong sound when spoken, possibly giving the owner strength to face difficulties. Actress Delta Burke is a famous person with this name.
Derya is pronounced Derr-ee-ah and is a Turkish name meaning “sea.”
If you’re looking for a royal-ish, exotic name, this is it. Another version of this name is Daria, which is Persian and known for being the name of a princess.
Doris is a Greek name, meaning “gift of the ocean.” In Greek mythology, the god of the sea, Oceanus’ daughter is named Doris. She’s known for giving birth to 50 magical golden-haired sea nymphs.
Despite its beautiful translation, Doris isn’t a common name for babies — it’s often associated with the 1920s. In saying this, it does seem to be on the rise together with names like Dorothea and Dorothy.
Dwyn has a Welsh heritage and means “wave.”
Dwyn is a simple name with a powerful sound that evokes raw beauty and strength. Although it’s short, it’s memorable and excellent for those who want to be different without being too out there.
Eyre can trace its roots back to English as well as Norse origin — it means “gravel riverbank.”
Eyre sounds a little like air, but it’s a name with a strong heritage. Although now, Eyre is a name mainly found in England, it’s believed to stem from Norse settlers who crossed the ocean.
Firth is of Scottish origin and means “arm of the sea.”
The name draws its roots from the ancient Norse word fjord. Today, it’s most prominent as a surname. One famous Firth is the actor, Colin Firth.
Gal is an Israeli name and means “wave.”
It’s most famous for being the name of actress Gal Gadot who played Wonder Woman. This has also caused a boost in popularity in the last couple of years. Another variant of this name is Gali.
Ginevra is an Italian name, meaning “white wave” or “white shadow.”
Ginevra sits well on the tongue like authentic Italian and could be an alternative to the popular Jennifer. If you don’t want an Italian name, there’s also a Welsh version, Guinevere. This was the name of the mythical King Arthur’s queen. It’s the same meaning as Ginerva but sounds more similar to Gweneth.
Harbor is the English word for a place on the coast for ships and boats. It also means to keep a feeling or thought.
Harbor is known for being a unisex name but is rising in popularity among parents for baby girls.
India means “great river.”
India peaked in popularity through the early 2000s, but then fell a few places. Today, it’s ranked in the 910 spot. Most of us know India from the country, and the name is often associated with being exotic.
Indra is of Sanskrit and Hindu origin, meaning “possessing raindrops.” In the Hindu religion, Indra is a warrior god of rain and sky.
It was a popular name for boys. However, in the U.S., parents prefer it for girls. A spelling variant is Indre, like the French river.
Jennifer is of Cornish origin and means “white shadow” or “white wave.”
Jennifer is a widely popular name and was at the top of the rankings during the ‘70s. Today, though, it isn’t as popular, but if you want an alternative, we highly recommend Jenna. Jennifer is the name of several famous figures, like Aniston, Lopez, and Garner. An alternative spelling is Jenifer.
In Jewish traditions, Jordan is a symbol of peace after the freed people wandered from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jordan isn’t as popular for girls as it used to be — it’s more common for boys today. Parents who choose this name for girls tend to spell it as Jordyn.
Kaimana is a Hawaiian name with a strong meaning of “power of the ocean.”
It’s a name that represents the strength of nature and is favored by parents who want to celebrate the ocean. We’re in love with this name, both for its translation and how it sounds.
Kallan is a name with Scandinavian roots and means “river” or “stream.”
Kallan isn’t common in the U.S., but it has a unique sound to it.
Kendall is of English origin and means “valley of the River Kent.”
Kendall is probably most popular due to its association with the Kardashian family member, Kendall Jenner.
Laguna is of Italian roots and means “pond” or “lake.”
Laguna is another mermaid-material name, which, when spoken, depicts a sense of mythical mystery. It’s excellent for beachy or outdoorsy parents.
Leith is of Scottish origins, although it’s also the name of a river running through New Zealand.
It’s probably best known as a city in Scotland and as a boy’s name. Nonetheless, due to today’s trends of doing a gender switch on names, it works as a girl’s name.
Locklyn is a Scottish name, meaning “lake land.”
It’s quite rare and is viewed more like a phonetic spelling of another Scottish male name. The most common association with the name is the daughter of the famous actor Vince Vaughn.
Loire is a French river and region name. It’s pronounced Low-ah, not Lory.
The Loire region and river is famous for being lush and full of greenery and nature. This translates into the name, giving a graceful impression.
Lynn is of Welsh origin and means “lake.”
During the 1940s, Lynn became popular as a replacement for Linda. It’s also a known name for boys, but today, it’s mostly used as a middle name.
Maayan has Hebrew roots and means “spring of water.”
In the U.S., it’s often confused for Maya. Still, it’s a popular name for both genders in Israel.
Marina is a Latin word for “from the sea.”
Marina, pronounced Ma-ree-na, is a stunning sea-born name, used by Shakespeare in the Pericles play for the virtuous princess. This name is also an epithet of Venus and widely popular during the mid-1990s.
The name Maya sprang from different backgrounds, Hebrew, Greek, and Spanish — it means “water.” Maya was a mythical Greek mother of Hermes.
There are various ways to spell this name — the most common variant is Maia. In Roman history, Maya represents the incarnation of the earth mother, goddess of spring. This is also where the name for May came from.
Mayim is a Hebrew name, which translates to “water.”
It’s not a widespread name in the U.S. The most common association is with actress Mayim Bialik, who starred in the TV shows Blossom and The Big Bang Theory.
With such a strong sense, Mira is a common name around the world. It’s especially prevalent in Spanish speaking countries and the Middle East. Actress Mira Sorvino may be the most famous Mira.
Moana is of Polynesian and Maori origin and means “sea.”
Moana has become famous due to the Disney movie, but it’s a common name in New Zealand. If you can get past the association with the film, then Moana is a beautiful name. Just avoid using the nickname Moa, which means chicken.
Nahla is of Arabic origin and translates to “drink of water.”
A famous example of Nahla is Halle Berry’s daughter — other than this, it isn’t that popular in the U.S., making it unique and creative. It’s a beautiful name, but don’t confuse it with Nala from Disney’s The Lion King.
Narelle has Aboriginal and Australian roots and means “little river.”
You pronounce it Nuh-relle, and it’s the namesake of the river running through New South Wales. Narelle has a French sound to it, which makes it appealing and popular in Australia.
Nori is a Japanese name, meaning “seaweed” or “doctrine.”
Although it stems from Japan, it’s easy to spell and pronounce, making it an excellent option for the U.S. While some people may know the name because it’s an edible dried seaweed used for sushi, Nori is also the nickname Kim Kardashian West uses for her daughter, North West.
Ondine is of Latin origin and means “little wave.” It has a mythological meaning, being the spirit of waters.
There are a couple of films and several songs from popular bands with the name Ondine in the title. It is sometimes spelled as Undine.
Rain is a name derived from the English word. There are several versions of this name, but this is the purest.
Rain reflects a refreshing, crisp, and natural image that’s definitely going to generate some questions. Several celebrities have given this name to their children — some examples include Richard Pryor and Marisol Nichols.
Sabrina is of Celtic heritage and is the Latin name for the River Severn.
There are several famous Talias, like Talia Shire and Talia Balsam. In mythology, Talia is one of the angels who attended the sun.
Tallulah stems from both Native American and Irish roots and means “leaping water.”
The name has recently made a comeback and is now a favorite among modern hipster families. Most famous examples include the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, as well as Tallulah Bankhead, an American actress.
Tarni is of Australian origin and means “wave” or “surf.”
It’s pronounced Tarh-nee and is a favorite as a girl’s name in Australia. There are spelling variants like Tarney and Tahney, but the original spelling is usually preferred.
Winslet is an English name, meaning “Wynn’s stream.”
The name has been a surname for most of its existence, and it’s not until recently that it has been considered as a first name. The most famous example of this name is the actress, Kate Winslet.
Zarya is a name of Slavic origin.
It stems from a Slavic myth, belonging to an exotic water priestess who was also the protector of warriors.
Tips for Choosing a Baby Name
How Does it Sound?
The sound is probably the most crucial part of a name. Decide on your chosen name or names, and ask yourself these questions:
- Does it sound pleasant or harsh?
- How does it seem with your last name?
- Is it easy to call out?
Some parents prefer pairing a long first name with a short last name, and vice versa. Many, however, will agree that combining two vowels doesn’t sound well. Avoid choosing a first name ending with a vowel and the last name starting with one.
Steer away from choosing a first name that rhymes with your last name. And, for your child’s sake, don’t do puns like Bud Weiser or Holly Wood — your child probably won’t be happy later on.
There’s a fine line between a distinctive name and an unusual one. Choosing an uncommon name is a good idea to make your little one stand out.
In saying this, picking an extremely odd name can lead to unwanted attention and mispronunciations (1).
If you do some research, you’ll be able to find lots of names with various meanings. Picking a name with significance makes it extra special, and undoubtedly something your child will cherish when they grow up.
Names with meaning could be a particular name like Adrian from the Bible, or it could be from a family member. Honoring family members or a close friend with a name is always a hit.
A Name for All Ages
Consider how the name ages — imagine your child is all grown up and in a professional setting. You don’t want to give them a name which sounds too childish for an adult.
Initials are common to use in professional settings and monograms. For work emails, for instance, it’s generally the first letter of the first name together with the last name.
So, if you name your little one, Thomas Roll, it will be shortened to firstname.lastname@example.org — not ideal. Consider how the names will fit together.
Avoid choosing the number one baby name of the year. When your child starts preschool, they’ll have to share their first name with others. It’s also quite inconvenient for you when you’re calling their name at the playground, and 11 kids show up.
Naming your baby is one of the first things parents-to-be think about when expecting. Names play a massive role in identifying us as a person. Deciding on baby names that mean water is one way to narrow your choices down.
Before deciding, consider how it sounds, if it ages well, how unique it is going to be amongst peers, and what the initials will be. Choosing a name that has meaning can make it even more special and loved by friends and family.