There are certain baby names that you instinctively know are ancient. For instance, names from Greek and Roman mythologies have been around for centuries. Appellations like Atlas, Augustus, Aurora, and Athena are all antique names that are trendy today. These weighty names are clearly very old but what about some names that seem fresh and modern but have actually been in use for generations? You better believe there are plenty of names that are secretly ancient.
Candace, a name that was a huge hit in the 1980s, was originally used as an Ethiopian royal title several centuries BCE. The edgy, cool name Gavin seemed like a fresh moniker when it became popular a decade ago. But, it actually comes from the Welsh name Gawain, He was famed throughout Arthurian legend as a Knight of the Round Table. So many names hold these sorts of secrets and we want to share them with you. Discover the old names of a bygone era that new parents are still choosing all these years later.
Wyatt is more popular in the US today than ever before. It has a cowboy adventure vibe to it. This might give the impression that the name is fresher than it actually is. Wyatt was originally a medieval English surname from Old English. It means “brave warrior.”
Wolf has a long history as a Germanic name used both as a given name and a surname since the 8th century. Today, the name is surprisingly popular across the UK. There’s no mystery here about what this name means.
Tiffany peaked in popularity in the US in 1988. It had a meteoric rise following the release of the film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the 1960s. The name is derived from a medieval English appellation, Theophania, which was traditionally given to baby girls born on Epiphany.
Stacy is a name that did a gender flip in the US. Today, it is mostly associated with girls but in previous decades it was used equally for boys. Rewind to medieval times and the name was given exclusively to boys as a diminutive form of the saint’s name Eustace.
The first recorded use of the name Scott was in the 12th century in Rome. You might be wondering how this name landed there instead of what would seem its native Scotland, but it was a Roman byname (nickname) for a person from Scotland.
Baby names with X’s and especially X-endings are as hot as they get right now. Parents can’t get enough of the edgy feel it offers. Pax is part of this huge trend. The name is from Latin and was used by the ancient Romans as a name for the goddess and personification of “peace.”
Natalie really heated up in the US in the 1950s and peaked in 2008. The baby name just feels effervescent. The name belonged to an ancient saint with Russian ties to Natasha and Natalia. The name has been used for babies born on or near Christmas for centuries.
Morgan is a unisex name but it’s a bit complicated. For boys, the name comes from the Welsh name, Morcant a name belonging to many ancient kings around the 6th century. Morgan le Fay, of the Arthurian chronicles, made this name appropriate for girls in the 12th century. The name’s meaning, depending on gender and origin, can be “born of the sea” or “sea circle” or “sea song.”
Milo is more popular today in the US than ever before. The name originated in Latin, got funneled through German, and became Milo by the 7th century. It was first recorded in France. Milo’s Germanic root means “mild.” The name’s Latin one can make it mean “soldier.” Two very different meanings!
Linda has two origins. The more contemporary is a Latinate baby name (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese), meaning “pretty.” However, the name’s history is much deeper. Linda was in use in medieval times as a diminutive form of Germanic names like Adalinde, Erlinde, Godelinde, and Richlinde.
Larkin is an Irish name that means “fierce.” However, in English, the name first was recorded as a form of Laurence. Today, Larkin is a red-hot baby name for girls but originally it was used as a male name.
Kristin and all of its many spellings were one of the hottest baby names of the 1980s. However, it was not new then. Kristin is a Nordic form of Christina, first recorded in Norway in the 12th century. As with Christina, the name means “a Christian.”
Kai is a charming name that was imported from Hawaii to the mainland in the 1970s. The name is unisex and means “sea.” However, this name can be found in so many naming traditions around the world. One of the best-documented instances was as a diminutive of ancient names in Germanic and Scandinavian countries like Gerhard, Nikolaus, Cornelius, and Gaius.
Jessica was all the rage and a top-ten baby name in the 1970s. The origin of the name can be traced to Shakespeare in the 16th century. He invented the name for a character in The Merchant of Venice. It is thought that he based the name off of the Old Testament, Iscah. The character in the play is Jewish so it makes sense for him to choose a Hebrew name. Iscah means “to behold.”
Griffin has been a popular baby name for boys in the US since the 1990s. However, it originated from Gruffydd, an ancient, Welsh, royal name that means “brave lord.” The appellation is also associated with the mythological creature.
Emery is another one of the ancient names that has undergone a gender flip. The ancient name was borne by several early Germanic kings in the form of Amalric or Emmerich. Today, the name could not be any more fashionable for baby girls in the US as parents are choosing it as an alternative to Emily, Emma, etc. This name means “industrious.”
Denise is a name that belonged to two very early saints. The name originated in Greek (and was used by the Romans as well) in the form of Dionysos and Dionysia. Both refer to the god of wine.
Chloe is one of the many names of the Greek goddess Demeter. Chloe is one with a connection to the spring season as Demeter was attributed with new plant growth at that time. Thus, the name means “young, green shoot.” The name has become a mega hit in recent decades.
Chad did not come into its own in the US until the latter half of the 20th century. However, this baby name is extremely old from Anglo-Saxxon, Ceadda who was a 7th-century English saint. Most agree the appellation means “battle warrior.”
Caitlin is a name with a variety of spellings that came into use in a big way in the 1980s and 1990s in the US. Caitlin is the Irish form of Catherine, a medieval French form of an ancient Greek name that means “pure.”
Brian Boru names one of the legendary kings of Ireland who fought back the Viking invasion in the 11th century. Thus, the name became a hero one and ensured its popularity for centuries to follow. This baby name is so beloved in Ireland that even the Bryan spelling has been documented as far back as the 16th century! The name is taken to mean “strong and virtuous.”
Avery is a very old French form of the Old English royal name, Alfred. The name has two potential meanings in “wise counsel” and “elf counsel.” Originally a masculine name, it goes to more girls than boys in the US today.
Austin, Texas gives the name a hip, youthful feel. But, you’d be wrong to think this baby name was new. Austin is a contraction of Augustine, popularized by two celebrated saints in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Austyn spelling was first recorded in England in the 16th century! The Latin root of the name means “magnificent.”
Aubrey was originally a masculine name and it very much still is popular among boys in England today. Aubrey started as a Norman-French form of Alberich, from German. The name became a popular male one in medieval England. In the US today, the name goes to far more girls than boys. Yet another one of the baby names that has flipped.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Ancient Baby Names for Boys That Sound Fresh and Unique Today
Alison did not become truly popular in the US until the 1950s. Before that, in medieval times, it was a French and English diminutive form of Alice. The name was so popular that alternative spellings Alyson, Allison, and Allyson were recorded as far back as the 16th century!
There you go! Can you believe that so many of these baby names are ancient? We hope you enjoyed learning about them and their long histories. If you would like to learn more about very old baby names, keep reading. We’ve also got a list of old names that will likely go “extinct” from lack of use in the next couple of years!
Baby Names for Girls Set to Go Extinct
- Averly – A baby name of English origin, meaning “wild boar forest.”
- Brydie – A name from the same Gaelic root that brings us Bridget, meaning “exalted one”
- Carolyn – A name of English origin from French, meaning “free man”
- Cecile – A French feminine form of Cecil, from Latin, meaning “blind”
- Cheryl – A name of French origin, meaning “darling”
- Cheyanne – A baby name of Lakota origin, meaning “people who speak a different language”
- Christie – A diminutive form of Christina, meaning “follower of Christ”
- Collette – A French, feminine form of Nicholas, from Greek, meaning “people of victory”
- Debra – Debra is a variant form of Deborah, from Hebrew, meaning “bee”
- Delphina – A French name, from Greek, meaning “of Delphi” and “womb”
- Evaleigh – A baby name of Hebrew origin, meaning “juniper tree” or “alive”
- Flossie – A diminutive form of Florence, from Latin, meaning “prosperous.”
- Georgette – A French form of George, from Greek, meaning “farmer”
- Gladys – A baby name of Welsh origin, meaning “nation”
- Hally – An English name from a Scottish clan name that means “Hay’s meadow”
- Harpreet – A unisex baby name of Sikh and Sanskrit origin, meaning “lover of God”
- Jackie – A diminutive form of Jacqueline, of English origin from Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”
- Jules – A unisex French form of Julius, meaning “youthful”
- Julianne – A baby name of Latin origin, related to Julius, also meaning “youthful”
- Junie – A diminutive form of June, the month name comes from the name Juno
- Justina – A feminine form of Justin, from Latin and Greek, meaning “justice”
- Kenzi – A short form of Mackenzie, from Scottish, meaning “Kenneth’s son”
- Lilliah – An English, elaborate form of Lily, meaning “lily flower”
- Loxley – A baby name of English origin, meaning “lynx gate”
- Luanna – An English combo baby name of Louise and Anna, meaning “renowned warrior” + “grace”
- Meryl – A form of Muriel or Meriel, from French, meaning “blackbird”
- Norina – An English diminutive form of Eleanor, meaning “woman of honor”
- Olivine – A form of Olivia, from Latin, meaning “olive tree” or a gem name with a notable green hue
- Paignton – A name of English origin, meaning “Paega’s town”
- Peggie – A diminutive form of Margaret, meaning “pearl”
- Perl – An English variant form of Pearl, with the same meaning
- Pixi – Another spelling for Pixie, from Cornish or Swedish, meaning “fairy”
- Ryley – A unisex baby name of Irish origin, meaning “courage”
- Sharlene – A form of Charlene, of French origin, meaning “free man”
- Shelly/Shelley – A French form of Michael, from Hebrew, meaning “who is like God?”
- Shyanne – A baby name of Lakota origin, meaning “people who speak a different language”
- Sigrid – A name of Norse origin, meaning “fair victory”
- Tammy – An English form of Tamara, from Hebrew, meaning “date palm tree”
- Teigen – A baby name of Norwegian origin, meaning “strip of land”
- Tessie – An English diminutive form of Theresa, from Greek, meaning “to reap”
Baby Boy Names Set to Go Extinct
- Alexandro – A Latinate form of Alexander, from Greek, meaning “defending men”
- Billie – An English short form of William, from German, meaning “resolute protector”
- Brad – A short form of Bradley, from English, meaning “broad meadow”
- Braydan – A variant spelling of the Irish name, Bradan, meaning “salmon”
- Brent – A name of English origin, meaning “dweller near burnt land”
- Chandler – A baby name of English and French origin, meaning “candle maker”
- Darnell – A name of English origin, meaning “hidden spot”
- Drake – A name of English origin, meaning “dragon” or “male duck”
- Edmond – A name of English origin, meaning “wealthy protector”
- Elbert – An English form of Albert, from German, meaning “noble”
- Elija – A variant of Elijah, from Hebrew, meaning “Yahweh is God”
- Finch – A baby name of English origin, meaning “to swindle” or a reference to the bird
- Finneas – A alternative spelling of Phineas, from Hebrew, meaning “oracle”
- Fitzgerald – A name of Scottish and Irish origin, meaning “Gerald’s son”
- Frazier – A name of French or Scottish origin, meaning “strawberry” or “of the forest”
- Greg – A short form of Gregory, from Greek, meaning “watchman”
- Harrie – An English diminutive form of Henry, meaning “estate ruler”
- Izac – A spelling variant of Isaac, from Hebrew, meaning “laughter”
- Jamiel – A name of Arabic origin, related to Jamal, meaning “beauty”
- Kegan – A baby name of Irish origin, meaning “son of Egan”
- Kennie – A diminutive form of Kenneth, of Irish and Scottish origin, meaning “born of fire” and “handsome”
- Kristopher – A spelling variant of Christopher, of Greek origin, meaning “follower of Christ”
- Lamar – An English baby name from French, meaning “dweller near the pool”
- Larenzo – An Italian form of Laurence, from Latin, meaning “of Laurentium”
- Neville – A name of French origin, meaning “new town”
- Nial – A baby name of Irish origin, meaning “cloud”
- Philipp – A name of English origin, from Greek, meaning “lover of horses”
- Raymon/Ramon – An English variant form of Raymond, from German, meaning “wise protector”
- Remie – A form of Remy, from French, meaning “oarsman”
- Rhiley – A spelling variant of Reilly, of Irish origin, meaning “courage”
- Rhuben/Reuban – Twopelling variants of Reuben, from Hebrew, meaning “behold, a son”
- Roderick – A baby name of German origin, meaning “famed ruler”
- Stevie – A short form of Stephen, from Greek, meaning “garland”
- Stone – An English word name that means exactly what you think it does
- Tyreese – A form of Tyrese, related to Terence, a Latin clan name, meaning “from Tyrie”
- Walt – A diminutive form of Walter, of German origin, meaning “army ruler”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Geek Chic Baby Names for Boys That Are Making a Comeback
- Wes – A short form of Wesley, from English, meaning “from the western meadow”
- Wiley – A Scottish form of William, meaning “resolute protector” OR a habitational name that means “from Wylye”
- Yusif – A name of Arabic origin, related to Yusuf, meaning “God increases”
- Zachery – A Hebrew baby name, a form of Zechariah, meaning “the Lord has remembered”
Wow! There were some serious surprises among these baby names that are set to go virtually extinct next year. There are so many beloved appellations that still deserve consideration. New parents, it’s up to you now.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Wyatt
- 0.2 Wolf
- 0.3 Tiffany
- 0.4 Stacy
- 0.5 Scott
- 0.6 Pax
- 0.7 Natalie
- 0.8 Morgan
- 0.9 Milo
- 0.10 Linda
- 0.11 Larkin
- 0.12 Kristin
- 0.13 Kai
- 0.14 Jessica
- 0.15 Griffin
- 0.16 Emery
- 0.17 Denise
- 0.18 Chloe
- 0.19 Chad
- 0.20 Caitlin
- 0.21 Brian
- 0.22 Avery
- 0.23 Austin
- 0.24 Aubrey
- 0.25 Alison
- 1 Baby Names for Girls Set to Go Extinct
- 2 Baby Boy Names Set to Go Extinct
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.
Baby Name Generator
No baby name sounding good? Want a quick way to generate unique baby name ideas? Try our baby name generator below!
Set your terms (sex of the baby, number of letters, popularity, etc.) and then get a list of names that meet your criteria. Maybe the perfect name is just waiting to be generated for you.