Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Mining the dictionary for the perfect baby name

Some of the coolest, quirkiest baby names out there aren’t names at all, but simply words. That means the entire dictionary could be your best baby name resource. If that sounds like too much work, start by considering these favorites.

More: This printable guide is about to solve all your baby-naming squabbles

  • Afternoon: Perfect if your favorite time of the day is post-lunch or you just really want a truly unique name for your baby.
  • Angel: A unisex word name for your little package from heaven, former Spice Girl Melanie Brown named her daughter Angel Iris.
  • Answer: If the question is what to call your baby, could this be the, um, answer?
  • Arrow: Part of the attraction of this name, which musician Aja Volkman chose for her daughter Arrow Eve, is the O sound at the end.
  • Blue: One of the most popular color names, Blue got the celebrity seal of approval in 2012 when Beyoncé and Jay Z chose it for their daughter Blue Ivy.
  • Breaker: A baby boy name with a slightly aggressive edge, you could always add “heart” in front of it to soften the blow.
  • Bridge: Bridge could be for a boy or a girl; it’s the name of the main female character in “Goodbye Stranger” by Rebecca Stead.
  • Cadence: The musical word name Cadence means “rhythm” or “beat” and has been bestowed on the daughters of rapper Ludacris and model Eudoxie Mbouguiengue, South African cricketer Graeme Smith and drummer Scott Phillips of Creed.
  • Camera: The late tennis great Arthur Ashe was an early champion of word names when he used this for his daughter — his wife was a photographer.
  • Chastity: The most famous bearer of this “virtue” word name, before he changed his name to Chaz Bono, was Chastity Sun Bono, transgender son of Cher and Sonny Bono. Will the character in J.K. Rowlings’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them inspire a revival?
  • Dancer: If you dream of your future child pirouetting across the stage, this word name could be at the top of your list. Don’t forget, however, that it’s also the name of one of Father Christmas’s reindeer.
  • Dream: A unisex name that’s on everyone’s radar in 2016 thanks to the birth of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna’s daughter Dream Renée.
  • Ember: Give Amber a continental twist by replacing the first letter to make the French Ember.
  • Ever: A simple word name that’s still packed with meaning, Ever was chosen for the daughters of actor Robert Carradine, Milla Jovovich and Paul Anderson.
  • Free: A word name that evokes the swinging ’60s.
  • Grove: Not to be confused with the lovable blue Monster on Sesame Street, Grove is a unisex word name inspired by nature.
  • Holiday: Holiday is a word name with plenty of pop-culture references: It’s the full name of Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly, a song by Madonna and the name of British actress Holliday Grainger.
  • Hunter: This occupational word name was No. 41 for boys in 2015, but trailing behind at No. 786 for girls.
  • Justice: Another “virtue” word name popular for both boys and girls, Justice avoids the religious implications of Faith or Grace.
  • Karma: The Hindi “karma” is the theory that positive action results in positive consequences elsewhere in your life and vice versa. American rappers Flavor Flav and Ludacris both named their kids Karma.
  • King: Forget about naming your baby after a royal and go straight for the top title.
  • Lark: Unisex Lark is a songbird, an actor from Saved by the Bell and the middle name of Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany’s daughter Agnes.
  • Love: Love may make the world go round, but it might be better as a middle name, à la Jennifer Love Hewitt?
  • Lucky: If you want your child to live a fortunate life, you could always give them a constant reminder by calling them Lucky.
  • Lyric: A Greek name meaning “lyre,” Lyric could be ideal for musically minded parents.
  • Maverick: Despite meaning “nonconformist,” Maverick is quickly on its way to the top of the baby boy name chart — it reached No. 184 in 2015.
  • Miller: Another occupational name (a miller is a “grinder of grain”), this is rare as a first name, but the seventh most common surname in the United States.
  • Moon: Short and simple, Moon is one of the original crazy celebrity baby names thanks to Frank Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit.
  • Oak: If you want a baby name that’s solid and strong, you can’t go wrong with the mighty oak.
  • Pace: The no-fuss Pace is a unisex word name with an upbeat vibe.
  • Paisley: Paisley is a multi-layered Scottish word name, meaning “church” or “cemetery.” It’s also the name of a town in southwest Scotland and the richly patterned Indian fabric.
  • Parrish: Another word name with religious connotations, Parrish is the first name of American rapper PMD.
  • Pike: An animal name (a pike is a carnivorous fish) that just about gets away with being a baby name, Pike is also the surname of explorer Zebulon Pike, who discovered and gave his name to Pike’s Peak, the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America.
  • Prairie: If you’re fond of wide-open spaces, you might consider Prairie for your baby boy or girl.
  • Ranger: Originally a French word meaning “forest guardian,” Ranger is one of the most popular occupational names for boys in recent years.
  • Rebel: Comedian Wilson aside, Rebel might not be the best baby name choice if you want your kid to behave.
  • Sailor: Arguably, model Christie Brinkley pioneered the occupational baby name trend way back in 1998 when she chose this name for her daughter.
  • Secret: You won’t find a baby girl name more mysterious than Secret, which is the name late artist Dash Snow gave his daughter (full name Secret Midnight Magic Nico Snow) in 2007.
  • Seven: If you want a number name for your kid, Seven is probably the most admissible, and it got a boost after David and Victoria Beckham chose it as a middle name for their daughter Harper in 2011.
  • Shade: Shade has a pretty sound, but a double meaning.
  • Snow: This word name definitely feels fresh and pure, however you feel about the icy stuff.
  • Sonnet: Meaning “little song” In English (derived from the Italian “sonetto”), you’d be hard-pressed to find a more poetic name. Actor Forest Whitaker chose it for his daughter in 1996.
  • Story: A new entry on the word baby name scene (although not in the Social Security list), Story might be popular for children of writers. Soleil Moon Frye named her second baby boy Story and actress Jenna Elfman called her son Story Elias.
  • Timber: Another nature name that might appeal to truly avant-garde parents.
  • True: Word name lover Forest Whitaker followed Sonnet with True for his second daughter in 1998.
  • Whimsy: An offbeat addition to the word name family, Whimsy has a certain charm.
  • Wild: You may be asking for trouble if you give your baby this word name — but if you have a rebellious streak yourself, it could tick all the boxes.

More: Breastfeeding mom is kicked out of TEDWomen — the irony is not lost on us

Leave a Comment