Baby names with great meanings

Naming your baby is no easy feat. Most women discover they are pregnant somewhere between four and seven weeks along, according to the American Pregnancy Association, which means you'll have anywhere between 33 to 36 weeks to come up with a name. That is, if you don't want to wait until your child is born to decide. 

Although parents in the United Kingdom have as long as 42 days past the birth of their child to agree on a name, there's not nearly that much leeway in the U.S. Baby naming laws vary by state, but you generally shouldn't expect to wait more than 5-10 days post-birth to decide. If you wait too long, your child may just go on record as "Baby Boy" or "Baby Girl." Eek! 

If you're getting stressed about all your options, don't fret. We're here to help you out. Here are some of the sweetest baby names with some beautiful, strong, and just overall great meanings. 

Abigail

The name Abigail just made it into the top baby names of 2017 at number ten, although it has secured a spot on the list every single year since 2001. Surely, many feel Abigail is a beautiful name. The meaning behind the name, however, is equally, if not more, charming.

Derived from the Hebrew name "Avigayil," the name translates to "my father is joy" or "father's joy," making for a pretty precious name for your little one. Abigail may be best known from the Old Testament as the third wife of King David. Abigail is also the name of a former first lady of the United States, President John Adam's wife. Another famous Abigail, Abigail Van Buren, was the chosen pen name of Pauline Phillips. Even if you're not familiar with her full name, you likely know her work: the "Dear Abby" column that first ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1956.

You definitely can't go wrong with this strong name.

Ellie

The name Ellie is not quite as popular as the name Abigail, ranking in at number 44 in 2017 and 24 in 2018. Ellie got its start as a shortened form of Eleanor or Ellen, but it stands strong on its own. Of greek origin, it means "shining light." Many parents would likely describe their children as bright beacons in their lives, so the symbolism is a perfect fit. Also, you've already got a preset lullaby: "Shining Light" by Annie Lennox. "You arrive and the night is alive. Yeah, you are a shining light. Yeah, you light up my life," Lennox sings. Adorable!

Ellie also happens to be the name of Carl's wife in Pixar's Up. Ellie was such an integral and sweet character in the film that Pixar even gave her her own signature color, magenta. "Throughout the whole film, there are magenta flowers and skies to remind us of her," production designer Ricky Nierva explained. Not only do you now have a name for your baby girl, but also a color for her nursery! You're welcome.

Asa

Asa is a name you likely don't hear very often and, therefore, makes for a very unique name for your little boy. In Hebrew, Asa likely translates to "healer." Much like Abigail, this name also originates with the Old Testament. In the Bible, Asa is described as doing what was both "good and right" by God. Regardless of your religious beliefs, naming your baby after someone who does good deeds surely sends a powerful message.

Another famous Asa is Asa Packer. A man from humble means, he eventually attained great wealth by becoming a pioneer of railroad construction in the 1800s. Packer was also a philanthropist who endowed his town, Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe), with a whopping $33 million. 

Although Asa is generally a masculine name, it would also make an equally wonderful, meaningful, and powerful name for a little girl, as French-Nigerian singer Asa has certainly proved. 

Boone

Boone just sounds cool to say, doesn't it? Nevertheless, Boone also carries a simple, but really sweet, meaning. It stems from the French word "bon," or bonus, which translates to mean "good." She Knows highlighted that Boone can also stand for "blessing." Despite being a classic and strong name, Boone has yet to rank as a top 1,000 name — though, it's hard to imagine that remaining the case for very long.

On the other hand, Boone as a last name is definitely cemented into history. Daniel Boone was an American frontier. Although he lived from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, Americans in the 1960s became quite obsessed with his story. So much so that two televisions shows were centered on the legend of his life between 1960 and 1964. As his biography states, Boone is still considered "one of the greatest woodsmen in American history." 

Considering the trend of using last names as first names, will Boone one day become one of the greatest names in American history?

Miles

When Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcomed home their adorable new baby boy in May 2018, they chose a perfect name: Miles. When TMZ shared the news, they commented on the moniker, writing, "Solid name after a lot of interesting ones have been flying around lately." Solid name, indeed. 

The name Miles has Germanic roots and first appeared as "Milo." Once the name had been introduced to England, it took the form of Miles. Although Behind the Name confirms that the exact meaning is not known, it is thought to be connect to the Slavic word "milu" or, in English, "gracious." 

Miles has not yet made it within the top 100 most popular baby names, but that could all change now that Teigen and Legend have propelled it into the mainstream. Of course, it's a perfectly good name even if it's not embraced en masse. After all, you can't go wrong giving your child a name that is synonymous with graciousness.

Fallon

You may not hear Fallon as a first name very often, but you certainly know it as a last name thanks, in part, to Jimmy Fallon. It makes sense, then, that Fallon is derived from a surname. It's actually a shortened version of the original name "Ó Fallamhain." The "Ó" simply signified being the descendant of, and "Fallamhan" meant "leader." 

If you were a fan of the soap opera Dynasty in the '80s, you no doubt remember Fallon Carrington. CW rebooted the show in 2017, keeping the original characters' names. Elizabeth Gillies who plays Fallon in the reboot explained her character in an interview for the network, saying, "She's very driven. She's very strong. Above all things, she wants to be taken seriously as a business woman." It seems the original makers of Dynasty definitely had the word "leader" in mind when coming up with the complexities of their lead character. Fallon is certainly a strong female name.

Xander and Alister

The names Xander and Alister don't sound like they have anything in common — at all. As it turns out, though, they're actually both derived from the same name: Alexander. Can you see it now? Behind the Name explained what the Latinized version of the original Greek name ("Alexandros") means. Essentially, it translates to "defend men," or mankind. It is also said to mean "to help."

While there are plenty of famous Alexanders, the one that probably instantly comes to your mind is Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king. Though, Alexander the Terrible may have been a more fitting name for this man. Naturally, the names Xander and Alister shouldn't be discredited just because they're variations of the ancient ruler's name. 

There are also plenty of other Alexanders who have reclaimed the name — Alexander Pope the poet, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and, of course, Alexander Graham Bell, who famously invented the telephone. There's also many modern-day Alexanders, like the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen and actor Alexander Skarsgård, that prove the name, and its derivatives, are perfectly fine — even great — to use.

Vivian

Not only is Vivian a beautiful and whimsical-sounding name, it's also a name that carries a very sweet meaning. It first originated from the Latin word "vivus," which means "alive." You could also broaden the definition to mean "full of life" or, fittingly, "vivacious." Vivian is not just a name that has been used in the English language, but also in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, too.

One of the earliest recorded uses of the name is the Catholic Saint who is said to have lived in the fourth century. While she was indeed a woman, many Vivians back in the Middle Ages were actually men. These days, though, you'd be hard-pressed to find many men who carry the name.

In 2014, Vivian made the the list as the 97th most popular name for girls born in the United States, and has remained among one of the top 100 most used names ever since.

Mila

Mila has gained incredible traction as a well-liked baby name in the United States. In just a matter of ten years, Mila went from being quite obscure — ranking in at number 760 in popularity — to being the 30th most popular name for females in 2017.

This feminine name doesn't have roots in the English language, but instead comes from many Slavic languages like Russian and Bulgarian. Just as is the case with the name Miles, it, too, is formed from the Slavic element "milu," which translates to mean "gracious" or "dear." Although Mila caries the same overall meaning as the name Miles, aside from being the feminine form, the two names are said quite differently. Mila is pronounced "MEE-lah" instead of having the long "eye" sound you hear in Miles.

Mila Kunis may be the most notable woman you've heard of who bears the name, and has likely boosted the popularity of this exotic moniker.

Aaron

Aaron is a classic and  strong name that has been in circulation for many, many years. According to Behind the Name, Aaron comes from the Hebrew name ("Aharon"). From a biblical standpoint, Aaron symbolizes "high mountain" or "exalted." As recorded in the Old Testament, Aaron was the older brother of Moses and the first high priest of Israel. Baby Center also cites the name to mean "enlightened." As most parents want their children to grow up enlightened, or well-informed, this can be a wonderfully symbolic name.

In addition to its appearance in the Bible, people all over the world have adopted the name, translating it into their respective languages. From Saudi Arabia ("Harun") to Iceland ("Aron"), Aaron has remained an incredibly popular moniker given to little ones. Shakespeare fans will likely also appreciate the name Aaron, as it was used in the famous play Titus Andronicus. Here in the United States, it remains one of the top 50 names for boys.

Magnus

Magnus is certainly not a delicate-sounding name. Just the same, the name carries a strong meaning. You've likely already figured out that it's a Latin word, but what does it mean? Just as the "magna" in the phrase "magna cum lade" means "great," so, too, does Magnus. 

According to Behind the Name, the first person to bear the name in recorded history was a missionary in seventh-century Germany who is now considered a saint. The name picked up steam in Norway back in the eleventh century due to King Magnus I. The name was carried to six more kings down the line, as well as three additional kings in Scotland. Now, the name is also used in Denmark and Sweden. Although it's not an incredibly popular name here in the U.S., it still ranks in the top 1,000 baby boy names and it has become more well-liked in recent years.

Besides, if you want to grant your child a great name, what better way than to give him a name that literally translates to mean "great"?

Minka

Minka is not a name you come across very often in the U.S. The name actually comes from the nickname "Mina," which is short for Vilhelmina, Hermine, and Romina. These, too, are names you've likely heard, but may not encounter in your everyday life. More common in Norway and Sweden, Minka is also short for names that contain "mina" or "mine." Surprisingly, the name is not that old. The earliest use of the feminine name was just shy of the nineteenth century, beginning in 1799.

She Knows further explained the origins of Minka. Once a Teutonic (a now-archaic Indo-European language) name, it translates to mean "resolute." In Polish, Minka symbolizes strength, or "strong." Not only is the name incredibly cute, but both meanings of the name are basically synonymous with girl power. What a perfect name to bestow to a baby girl who will one day become a resilient and empowered woman.

Reagan

While your first thought when you hear the name Reagan may be about the former president, Ronald Reagan, there's much more to this name. In 2012, Reagan first made its way onto the top 100 list of baby names for girls. It dropped back down for a couple of years, but in 2015, Reagan returned at number 99. Although it is not nearly as popular for boys, Reagan has still been in the top thousand since as far back as 1996. For girls, it's been in the top thousand since the mid-70s! This is, without question, a moniker with staying power.

Baby Center explained that Reagan was originally an Irish surname and means "little ruler." As that definition is by no means gendered, it makes for a perfect name for a little king or queen. Shakespeare lovers may favor the alternate spelling, Regan, as that is one of the characters' names from the play King Lear. Whichever spelling you choose, there's no denying how adorable this name is for either a boy or girl. And, let's be honest, all babies are essentially little rulers of the household anyway, right?