Don’t babies just bring light into our lives? They’re pure, full of joy, and they’ve got giggles for days. Plus, every baby deserves a brilliant name that will inspire their sunlit paths in life — encouraging them to shine on, even in moments when the world feels wrapped in darkness. That’s why we’re loving all kinds of baby names that mean “light” right now.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorites, including unique beauties like Ner and Nura, as well as more familiar classics like Lucy and Dawn. And some of these names are likely to surprise you. For example, did you know Ellen and Phoebe are both Greek names that mean “light”?
The radiant names below have origins that span centuries, cultures and languages, with roots in Hindi, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Latin, Japanese, Gaelic, Old English, Spanish, Hungarian, Hawaiian, and more. There’s something for every baby here, so let’s let in the light!
Boy names that mean “light”
- Abner: A Hebrew name meaning “father of light”
- Anwar: This Arabic name means “light”
- Apollo: From Greek mythology, Apollo was the god of light, music and poetry
- Beacon: Meaning “signal light,” this name has Old English roots
- Chand: This Hindi name means “moon, light”
- Epifanio: A Spanish name, this means “bringing light”
- Ivar: Meaning “light,” this name has Hebrew origins
- Jomei: This Japanese name means “spread light”
- Kiran: A Hindi name, this means “beam of light”
- Lucian: Of Latin origins, this name means “light”
- Ner: Meaning “candle or light,” this name has Hebrew roots
- Oran: With Aramaic or Gaelic roots, this means “light”
- Pradeep: This Hindi name means “light”
- Uri: Meaning “my light,” this name has Hebrew origins
- Zain: A Hindi name, this means “godly light”
Girl names that mean “light”
- Alina: A Greek name, this means “light”
- Aonani: This Hawaiian name means “beautiful light”
- Ciana: Meaning “light,” this name has Italian roots
- Dawn: Of Old English origins, this name refers to the first appearance of light
- Ellen: This Greek name means “sun, ray, shining light”
- Ilene: Variation of a Greek name meaning “light”
- Ilona: A Hungarian name, this means “light”
- Leora: This Greek name means “compassion, light”
- Lucy: Meaning “light,” this name has Latin origins
- Luz: A Spanish name, this means “light”
- Mahina: This Hawaiian name means “moonlight”
- Meira: Meaning “light,” this name has Hebrew roots
- Nura: An Arabic name, this means “light”
- Oralee: Meaning “my light,” this name has Hebrew origins
- Phoebe: From Greek mythology, this name means “brilliant, radiant”
- Sunny: Can’t argue with this one! Also works for babies of any gender
- Thea: She was the Greek goddess of light
- Zia: This Arabic name means “light, splendor”
- Ziv: Meaning “radiance or light of God,” this name has Hebrew roots
Whether you’re more interested in choosing a baby name based on its meaning, or are just obsessed with how one of these flows with a potential middle name or your last name, you’re likely to find a luminous idea among the names on this list. And hey, if you’re nervous about naming your kid Ziv, you can always make it a middle name — or balance it out with a sturdy middle (Ziv John?). Check your family tree for contenders too. And shine on, baby.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2013.
Another great naming resource for those little baby balls of light? Check out their Zodiac sign for baby name inspo.