Fun fact: around the world, 353,000 babies are born each day. That’s a lot of babies — all of whom need names. The possibilities are literally endless (just ask Barnaby Marmaduke Aloysius Benjy Cobweb Dartagnan Egbert Felix Gaspar Humbert Ignatius Jayden Kasper Leroy Maximilian Neddy Obiajulu Pepin Quilliam Rosencrantz Sexton Teddy Upwood Vivatma Wayland Xylon Yardley Zachary Usansky — yeah, that’s ONE GUY’S full name), so naming your little one can feel overwhelming, to say the least.
But don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Here’s a list of 36 baby names (18 girls’, 18 boys’) that are not only adorable, but meaningful: each of these names has a religious undertone. Some are from the scriptures (or, like “Eva,” are derivatives of scripture names) while some simply have a religious meaning. Either way, get ready to find the cutest name ever for your baby… And to want to rename the kids you already have. (Just kidding. Mostly.)
Baby Girl Names
Amaris — “Given by God”
Stats: Each of these stats (all from Nameberry) will list the popularity rank on its site in the United States from 2017. “Amaris” ranked #860.
From Nameberry: “Amaris sounds like “amorous,” which is a loving name for a child, but doesn’t really have a clear derivation or meaning of its own. The popular Amara is one of the most international names on the charts, with derivations and meanings in cultures that truly span the globe.”
Ariel — “Lion of God”
From Nameberry: “Ariel is a biblical name, seen there as the messenger of Ezra, and also used as a symbolic name for the city of Jerusalem, while Shakespeare used it for a (male) sprite in The Tempest. For girls, Ariel enjoyed a considerable burst of popularity with the 1989 release of Disney’s The Little Mermaid: in 1991 it peaked at Number 66. Although its wave has crested, Ariel is still a name any little girl would love.”
Christabel – “Beautiful Christian”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #1771 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Though Isabel is a smash hit, Christabel still hasn’t been fully embraced. It was originally popularized in England via the Coleridge poem Christabel (“whom her father loves so well”) and was given to the poet’s granddaughter. Christabel Pankhurst was a famous U.K. suffragist.”
Dorothea – “Gift of God”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #710 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival! Dorothea has had a long literary tradition, including as a clever, beautiful character in Don Quixote and the idealistic heroine of George Eliot’s Middlemarch.”
Eden – “Delight”
From Nameberry: “Eden is an attractive, serene name with obvious intimations of Paradise, one of several place names drawn from the Bible by the Puritans in the seventeenth century.”
Eleanor – “Light”
From Nameberry: “Eleanor‘s straightforward feminine image combined with its royal medieval origins is striking just the right note for parents in search of a [girl’s] name that combines substance and style . . . Big plus: Eleanor is a serious name, with two nicknames—Ellie and Nell/Nellie—that are seriously endearing.”
Elisha – “Salvation of God”
Pronunciation: Uh-leesh-uh, like “Alicia”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #2410 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Elisha is an Old Testament male name, sometimes borrowed for girls. The vowel ending and sh in the middle do make Elisha feel feminine, though it may get trendier for boys following the lead of Noah and Joshua.”
Eliza – “God’s promise”
From Nameberry: “Eliza is one of our favorite names; we love its combination of streamlined modernity and Eliza Doolittle charm and spunk, and offer Eliza as one of our top recommendations . . . [I]t’s got a good measure of eighteenth-century backbone and tradition along with its contemporary zip.”
Eva – “Life or Living one”
From Nameberry: “Eva is a simple, classic Hebrew name for girls . . . Eva has been a Top 100 name since 2009 and is one of the elite group of girl names that mean life.”
Gwyneth – “Blessed, happy”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #619 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Also seen as Gwenyth and Gweneth, this mellifluous appellation is definitely becoming more and more appreciated by American parents—enough to land it on this year’s Top 1000. Gwyneth is an Anglicized form of Gwynedd, the name of an ancient Welsh kingdom.”
Hope – “Virtue”
From Nameberry: “[T]hough this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it’s getting.”
Lainie – “Bright shining one or Heavenly”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #1679 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Lainie is a nickname for Elaine that has been in the public eye via Lainie Kazan (that was her full given name), who was a popular singer in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Liora – “Light, My light, or God is my light”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #2460 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: A modernized adaptation of Leora, which is “a girl’s name of Hebrew, Greek origin meaning ‘light.'”
Naomi – “Pleasantness”
From Nameberry: “This long-quiet Old Testament name seems to finally be finding favor with parents seeking a biblical name with a soft, melodic sound and a positive meaning . . . Naomi‘s biblical reference is the wise mother-in-law of Ruth[.]”
Odelia – “I will praise the Lord”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #903 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: Odelia is a “Pretty Hebrew name that would create a strong but feminine impression.”
Selah – “To praise”
From Nameberry: “The name is derived from the term commonly used in the Book of Psalms . . . Given its context in the Bible, Selah is likely to mean ‘to praise’ or ‘pause and reflect upon what has just been said.'”
Theodora – “Gift of God”
Stats: This name ranked #630 in England in 2017.
From Nameberry: “Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names, softly evocative but still substantial, as is the reversed-syllable Dorothea.”
Vera – “Faith or Trust”
From Nameberry: “Vera was the height of exotic fashion in 1910, then was for a long time difficult to picture embroidered on a baby blanket. Now, though, some hip parents are beginning to quietly revive it along with other old-fashioned simple names such as Ada and Iris.”
Baby Boy Names
Abel – “Breath”
From Nameberry: “Abel, the name of Adam and Eve’s . . . younger son, compensates with positive connotations: capable, competent, ready and willing.”
Abner – “Father of light”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #234 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: Abner is a “neglected Biblical name—it was the name of the commander of Saul’s army and appears twice in the New Testament . . . was regularly used in the nineteenth century[.]”
Adriel – “God is my master”
From Nameberry: Adriel is a “biblical name getting wider notice.”
Amos – Carried by God
From Nameberry: “Amos was an eighth century BC prophet whose sayings are collected in the biblical book named after him. The name was also popular among the Puritans.”
Asher – “Fortunate, Blessed, or Happy one”
From Nameberry: “Asher—an excellent, soft and sensitive Old Testament choice—is a baby boy name on the rise, and is a Nameberry biblical favorite. Asher’s ascent is especially amazing given that it took a hundred-year hiatus from the Top 1000, from the 1890s until reappearing in the 1990s. Asher has been in the US Top 100 for several years now. In the Bible, Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel.”
Benedict – “Blessed”
Stats: This name didn’t have any U.S. results from 2017, but ranks #499 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: “Parents who like Ben and Benjamin but find those forms too popular sometimes consider Benedict as a more distinctive choice.”
Cyril – “Majesty or King”
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #976 on Nameberry in 2019.
From Nameberry: Cyril is a “British-accented Greek name with an intellectual image that has been off the U.S. charts since 1966, but was a Top 300 name at the turn of the last century.”
Declan – “Man of prayer or Full of goodness”
From Nameberry: “Declan, the amiable and appealing name of an Irish saint (and the real first name of singer Elvis Costello), is very popular in the Emerald Isle and beginning its certain climb to popularity here, after debuting on the American list in 1998. Like Aidan and Liam, Declan is shaping up to be an American hit.”
Ewan – God is good
Stats: This name didn’t have any results from 2017, but ranks #219 on Nameberry in 2019.
While the name Ewan may mean, according to Nameberry, “Born of the yew tree,” it’s also a variation of Evan, which means “Warrior” or “God is good.”
Ezra – “Help”
From Nameberry: “Ezra has a lot going for it: the strength of its heroic Biblical legacy, its quirky sound, and its fresh but familiar feel. . . According to the Bible, Ezra led a group of fifteen hundred Israelites out of slavery in Babylon and back to Jerusalem.”
Goodwin – “Friend of God”
Stats: This name, according to Baby Name Wizard, has never ranked in the U.S. top 1000.
From Baby Name Wizard: “From a surname which was derived from the given name GODWINE, meaning ‘friend of god.’ Derived from the Scots guidwe’en meaning, literally, ‘good child.’ A Scottish expression meaning a good-hearted, or good-souled person, especially one who is young at heart.”
Ivan – “Precious gift of God” or “God is gracious”
From Nameberry: “Ivan is one of the few Russian boys’ names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.”
Jens – “God is gracious”
Stats: This name has not been in the U.S. Top 1000 since 1898.
From Nameberry: Jens is a “Short but substantial Nordic name that travels well.”
Jonah – “Dove”
From Nameberry: “Jonah, the name of the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by the whale, only to emerge unharmed three days later, is increasingly appreciated by parents looking for a biblical name less common than Jacob or Joshua, yet not too obscure. Plus, Jonah comes with a ready-made nursery-decorating motif.”
Jude – “Praise of the Lord”
From Nameberry: “Saint Jude was the apostle who interceded for people with problems and became the patron saint of lost causes.”
Matthias – Gift of Jehovah
From Nameberry: Matthias is a “New Testament apostolic name . . . In the Bible, Matthias is the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches honor Matthias as a saint.”
Thaddeus or Thad – “Gift of God”
Stats: #666 ?
From Nameberry: “Thaddeus, a distinguished, long-neglected name, has several areas of appeal: a solid New Testament legacy, a nice antique feel, and the choice of several more modern nicknames and international variations. In the Bible, Thaddeus was one of the original Twelve Apostles.”
Tobias – “God is good”
From Nameberry: “Tobias is the name of several biblical figures, but is primarily associated with the story of Tobias and the Angel.”
What are some of your favorite names with religious undertones? We’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below.