Some parents have a tougher parenthood journey than others. Rainbow babies get the name “rainbow” because they follow a miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death. These babies are the hopeful beauty after a heartbreaking storm and, because they follow loss, they are so very special to parents. If you are expecting a rainbow baby, you might want to mark the happy event with meaningful, touching rainbow baby names that celebrate light after darkness.
We decided to pull some rainbow baby names for girls and boys that are perfect for babies born today as they have hopeful meanings that will resonate with parents who have endured hardship on their childbirth journey. These baby names offer positivity and contain so much inspiration in their meanings. Let’s take a look at some rainbow baby names for girls and boys to get inspired!
Check Out These Rainbow Baby Names for Girls!
Hope, along with Faith and Charity, is one of the three theological virtues. It was first used as a Christian name in the seventeenth century by Puritans. Hope is one of the most obvious rainbow baby names. Hope and Faith have often been given to twins. Hope has been a popular name in the US for hundreds of years and we do not foresee that changing anytime soon. Apart from the US, Hope is also popular in the UK.
A modern Japanese name meaning “future”, borne by figure skater Mirai Nagasu. The name is technically unisex, but more often given to girls. Mirai is also a Shona female given name, meaning “wait.” That particular meaning could prove powerful for new parents whose pregnancy journeys took longer than expected. One of the most powerful rainbow baby names, Mirai is pronounced mee-rah-ee.
Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew root that brings us Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning “mine.” Which is the meaning we favor for it. Mia is cute and sweet and will not let you down! It’s a top 10 choice today and is one of the most popular rainbow baby names for girls.
Alaine is another form of Alana and both names are great, meaning “handsome” or “cheerful.” Alana is much more popular in the US today but we’re very fond of Alaine. The name has Irish origins which would be perfect for parents who want to honor their heritage.
Priya originated in India as a name derived from the Sanskrit word for “beloved.” In India, where names are often given based on one’s birthday and horoscope, Priya is traditionally given to girls born in August. The name is prevalent outside India, going to many babies in England and Nepal. We expect this beautiful name to be more widespread in the US in the coming years.
Joan was a top 10 name in the 1930s, a top 50 name from the 1940s through the early 1960s, it was the fifth most popular name in the country for three years running and ranks as one of the most common names for girls in the 20th century! Joan has many alternatives worth considering as rainbow baby names, including Giovanna, Siobhan, Ione, and Juana. Joan has English origins from Hebrew that means “God is gracious.”
Amabel is an older name than Annabel and a lot more distinctive. Amabel was a very common name in the twelfth and thirteen centuries, then was revived during the nineteenth-century British fad for medieval names. This name has French by way of Latin origins that mean “lovable.” Somehow, this name has never taken off in the US although its diminutive form Mabel has. It’s one of the rainbow baby names with tons of potential.
Yelena is a girl’s name of Russian origin meaning “bright, shining one.” It’s simply another form of Helen but sounds fresher and more exotic to the English ear. An added benefit of this name is that it gives you the adorable nickname Lena. It’s one of the rainbow baby names with the brightest meaning!
Oksana is a girl’s name of Russian, Ukrainian origin (from Hebrew) meaning “praise to God.” You will hear this name in a number of Slavic languages across Europe and beyond. However, the name has not taken off in the US. That makes this appellation an attractive choice for new parents wanting offbeat rainbow baby names.
Though Constance has been neglected here for a number of years, it still ranks at number 120 in France. We think this name has suffered because of the nickname Connie, but you can judge if you want to use that one or not. Constance is a virtue name that means “steadfast.” It was last popular here in the 1990s. It’s one of the rainbow baby names that’s ready for a renaissance.
Some think Eleanor is a variation of Helen via Ellen, but it actually derives from the Provencal phrase alia Aenor, meaning “other Aenor,” used to distinguish the original Eleanor, who was named after her mother Aenor. Aenor means “famous wealth.” You will be rich in love if you choose this exquisite name for girls. The appellation iss just as popular today as it was at its other height in the 1920s.
Aviva is vivacious and memorable, a fresh spin on the Vivian and Vivienne names that have been getting more popular thanks to celebrity parents Brad and Angelina who chose it for one of their daughters. Aviva has Hebrew origins as well and means “fresh” or “springlike.” These meanings could make it a perfect choice among other rainbow baby names.
Evangeline is a romantic old name enjoying a major comeback, thanks to its religious overtones and the popularity of Eva. After not appearing in the US top 1000 for forty years, the name came back in 2006 and is now a top 500 pick today. Evangeline has Greek origins and the name means “bearer of good news.” We can think of no finer meaning for one of the best rainbow baby names on this list.
If Evangeline was too much of a mouthful for you and Eve is too plain, Evie might strike the perfect balance. Evie was derived from Eve, which in turn comes from Chawwah, a Hebrew name related to the concept of life. Thus, the name means “life.” If trends hold, this name will be more popular than ever before in the US, besting its most favored year at the turn of the twentieth century. It’s one of the rainbow baby names that’s mounted a huge ciomeback.
Iridiana is related to the Greek name Iris, who in Greek mythology was the personification of the rainbow. Iridiana is a frillier version of the name, likely to appeal to people who enjoy elaborate names like Delphinia. This name has never been popular in the US, but you can do your part to change that, new parents! It’s one of the unknown rainbow baby names worth exploring.
Alisa is less popular than more complicated forms of Alice like Alyssa or Alicia, perhaps because of its association with the once-popular Lisa. Alisa has a casual elegance to it and has been widely used in the US since 1954. Sadly, this gorgeous appellation has slipped in favor in recent years. Alisa has Hebrew origins that mean “great happiness.” Surely, knowing this will bring a smile to your face every time you say it.
Innocent, sincere, and bright-eyed, and considered an old lady name today, Trudy which comes from Gertrude, deserves your attention. This name has German roots and that mean “spear of strength.” We’re into it! Trudy has not been a popular choice since the seventies so you can bet she’ll be the only Trudy in her class. It’s one of the best vintage rainbow baby names on this list.
Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for “hope” or “desire.” It is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning “life.” Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-sounding have been used in the US for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Asha debuted in the top 1000 in 1988 and has since slipped but we think this meaningful name will gain steam once more. It’s one of the most evocative rainbow baby names on this list.
Gwyneth is an Anglicized form of Gwynedd, the name of an ancient Welsh kingdom. The storied name means “happy” or “blessed.” We have Gwyneth Paltrow to thank for propelling this name into the spotlight for American parents and landing it in the US top 1000 starting in 2004.
Jendayi is a popular name that comes from Africa and can be found all over the continent but likely originated in Egypt as a name meaning “thankful.” Unfortunately, this name is not too popular in the US with it only going to five girls last year. We think it’s one of the rainbow baby names that holds so much potential for new parents thanks to its elegant sound and positive meaning.
Eden entered the top 1000 in 1989 and got a real bump in visibility when Desperate Housewives’ Marcia Cross used it for one of her twin girls. The name has been historically popular in the US with Puritans adopting it and proudly using it. Eden has Hebrew origins that mean “delight.”
Although Aveline is a cognate of the French word for “hazelnut,” the name actually derives from an obscure Germanic root that likely means “desired.” For fans of wildly popular Ava and Adelaide, Aveline could prove a worthy alternative. It’s one of the criminally underused rainbow baby names on this list.
Iris derives from the Greek word iris, meaning “rainbow.” In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, a courier for Zeus and Hera who rode the rainbow as her personal, colorful bridge from heaven to earth. In ancient times, the Iris was viewed as a symbol of power and majesty. Iris enjoyed its most popular year ever last year with it tracking to land in the US top 100 in 2021.
Beatrice is derived from Beatrix, a Latin name meaning “she who brings happiness.” Beatrice was the name of Queen Victoria’s youngest child. The name is experiencing a renaissance today as it fell from favor for many new parents beginning in the seventies. Last year, the name landed just outside the US top 500 most popular baby names for girls and we expect to achieve 500-status this year.
Nadia, an exotic but accessible Slavic favorite, had a strong run of popularity in the US in the early 2000s, partially thanks to the character on Lost. Nadia is actually a short form of Nadezhda, the name of Lenin’s wife. Nadia has a meaning to match its jovial sound in “hope.”
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Rainbow Baby Names for Boys
Thaddeus, a distinguished yet neglected name, is appealing for a myriad of reasons. It’s got a solid New Testament legacy, a nice vintage feel, and the choice of several more modern nicknames. In the Bible, Thaddeus was one of the original Twelve Apostles. Thaddeus is a very, very old name that comes from Aramaic and means “gift of God.” Consider the nickname Thadd. Last year, this distinguished choice ranked as the 746th most popular name for boys. It’s one of the rainbow baby names for boys that’s teeming with potential.
For parents who like Ben and Benjamin but find those forms too popular, consider Benedict as a more distinctive choice. Unlike the Old Testament Benjamin, Benedict is the name of the saint who formed the Benedictine Order. The name has belonged to fifteen Popes, making it one of the most appropriate rainbow baby names for Catholic parents. This Latin name means “blessed.”
Popular in its own right in Germany and definitely making a more intriguing and mature short form of the classic Timothy than Timmy or even Tim, consider Timo. Timo has never appealed to a large swath of American parents but we think this will change in the coming years. Present in Norwegian, Finnish, German, and Dutch traditions, Timo means “honoring God.” It’s one of the most energetic rainbow baby names on this list.
Nathaniel comes from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning “gift of God,” comprised of the elements natan, meaning “to give,” and ’el, in reference to God. The name is present several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew. This charmer has been in the US top 500 since record-keeping began, making it one of the most popular rainbow baby names.
One of the rainbow baby names that means “happiness” comes in the form of Gil. Pronounced zheel, Gil a dashing Spanish and Hebrew name that you often hear pronounced gill in the US. We encourage you to go with the zestier pronunciation. Gil has not been popular in the US since the seventies and we would love for that to change as this short and sweet name has a lot going for it.
In the Bible, Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel. Asher is derived from the Hebrew word osher, which means “happiness.” Asher is wildly popular today but you scarcely heard it in the US before the 1980s. We love its cheerful meaning and amicable sound.
Ambrose was the name of one of the important doctors of the early Christian church, the fourth century St. Ambrose. Ambrose has Latin origins that mean “immortal,” associated with the mythical food of the gods. The name fell from the US top 1000 in 1954 and finally returned to it last year! We are thrilled this name has made a comeback today.
Angel is a perennial favorite Hispanic boys’ name, but it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that brought it into the broader possibility, where it’s now heard more frequently than ever before. Angel is very popular, and very traditionally masculine, in the Latino community. It was a top 100 name last year and would make for one of the most inspiring rainbow baby names.
Zorion may seem like a funky mashup of Orion or Zorro to most English-speakers, but it is a genuine Basque name meaning “happiness.” Zorion should appeal to parents who are after secular and unique rainbow baby names. As Z-names are very popular right now, Zorion could show up on the US top 1000 in years to come.
Darrell is a given name derived from an English surname, which was derived from Norman-French d’Airelle, originally describing one who came from Airelle, France. There are no longer any towns in France called Airelle, but airelle is the French word for “huckleberry.” It has traditionally been used as a term of endearment for a beloved one and it also means “dear one.”
Cayo is a rare and rhythmic Spanish name, all but unknown in the English-speaking world, that would make a lively choice. Cayo has Latin origins, from the Roman family name Caius. This playful name means “rejoice.” If you’re after meaningful yet undiscovered rainbow baby names, Cayo checks those boxes.
Isaac evolved from the name Yitzchaq, derived from the Hebrew word tzachaq, meaning “to laugh.” In the Old Testament, Isaac was the long-awaited son of the elderly Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham, so old that their baby news provoked laughter, giving the name its meaning. Isaac was the 34th most popular baby name for boys last year, making it one of the most popular rainbow baby names on this list.
Felix was originally a Roman surname but was adopted as a nickname by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that Felix was particularly blessed with luck by the gods. It is the name of four popes and sixty-seven saints. Thus, this Latin name means “happy” and “fortunate.”
For a baby boy who has had a particularly difficult journey making it into this world, Oscar could prove a meaningful and fitting choice among these rainbow baby names. Oscar is of Irish origin and means “deer loving.” But, its English meaning “champion warrior” fits for a little one who has had to fight. Oscar has been in the US top 500 baby names for boys since 1880 when records for baby names began.
Constantine is a Roman Emperor’s name that has long been considered too grand for an American baby boy. But in this age of children named Augustine and Atticus, it just may be prime for a surprise comeback. Constantine is of Latin origin and it means “steadfast.” Constantine was last popular here in the 1980s and we would love for it to make a comeback today with other rare rainbow baby names on this list.
There are over five hundred names for the Arab prophet who founded the Muslim religion, making these names some of the most popular around the world. Haamid is simply a variation of Muhammed a name that means many things to many people. The two meanings most commonly cited are “grateful” and “praiseworthy.” The Muslim adage, “If you have a hundred sons, name them all Muhammad,” is spot-on.
One of the few rainbow baby names to sound ultra-masculine, Walken is a Noongar Aboriginal word. The name is also found in Norman-French tradition with unclear Greek roots. Walken is a subtle surname-name that would make for an unusual and unique choice among new parents. What’s a better name for a rainbow baby than one that literally means “rainbow”?
Raphael is a romantic, archangel name that sounds both dramatic and peaceful. Raphael is also a great cross-cultural choice, with importance for people with both Latinate and Jewish roots, plus plenty of establishment in the English-speaking world. Raphael has a Hebrew origin that means “God has healed.”
Iain, an authentic Gaelic form of John, has been well-used in Scotland since the early 20th century, along with the shortened Ian spelling. Unfortunately, Iain is rarely found in the US. Iain takes its meaning from John, “God is gracious.” This would be an excellent choice and one of the rainbow baby names with a perfect meaning for your son.
This traditional Arabic name, found throughout several other Middle Eastern and African languages and cultures, is one of the 99 names of Allah. Colorful and dynamic, Aziz is one of the perfect rainbow baby names because it means “beloved.” Further, names with Z’s in them are very hot among new parents and we have no idea why this one has not gotten more attention in recent years!
Frey is the handsome Norse fertility god, a worthy namesake. Frey remains rare in the US even as the similar Freya has picked up in popularity. This Scandinavian favorite means “lord” or “exalted one.” We like this one for its mythological reference and casual, cool sound.
If you feel like it has been an uphill battle for you, Aaron could prove one of the best rainbow baby names as it means “high mountain” or “exalted.” Aaron has been in and around the top 50 most popular names for boys for nearly half a century at this point and is still an attractive, perennial choice. In the Old Testament, Aaron, the older brother of Moses who was selected by God to be his brother’s spokesperson, was the first High Priest of the Israelites.
Amal is one of our very favorite rainbow baby names as it has both Hebrew and Arabic origins and can mean “laborer” or “hope, inspiration.” Amal is the name of a male figure in the Bible, a member of the tribe of Asher which might be attractive for religious parents. It’s a perfect gender-neutral option that also works really well as a middle name.
Meyer was once a popular given name in the US until the 1930s. The name was famously favored by the Guggenheim family. This gentle Hebrew name means “bringer of light.” We think that very hopeful meaning proves most appropriate for a rainbow baby.
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Jewish parents especially may be drawn to this soft, sensible name of the first king of Israel and the name of Saint Paul before conversion. Today, the name is associated with Nobel Prize-winning novelist Saul Bellow. Its meaning makes it fitting for a long-awaited child. Saul has Hebrew origins and means “prayed for.”
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these inspiring rainbow baby names for girls and boys that celebrate all things life. With meanings that include happiness, blessed, and terms of endearment, these appellations should appeal to parents looking for names with special connotations. Congratulations! Happy baby name hunting!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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