Many parents are hoping their baby’s name will fall from the sky – literally. Some of the biggest girl names have come from astrology. For example, Stella, which means “star” in Latin is in the top 100, at #73 for 2011 and has trended upwards since entering the top 1000 in 1998. Luna, once considered unthinkable, broke the top 300, at #278 in 2011 and has trended upwards since entering the top 1000 in 2003.
There are other astrological names besides Stella and Luna, many more. This list might seem extensive, but a lot of these seemed very reasonable as names, and surprises must be included. The boys are a little more daring because boy’s names seemed woefully unrepresented, and I had to reach a bit. Here’s the list (girls are coded pink, boys are blue, and unisex are green):
Altair – A star in the constellation Aquila.
Andromeda – A constellation and mythical Greek princess.
Aries – A constellation. The ram from Roman mythology.
Artemis – Greek moon goddess.
Astra – Greek for star.
Bellatrix – A star in the constellation Orion.
Callisto – One of Jupiter’s moons.
Cassiopeia – A constellation and wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda in Greek mythology.
Celeste – French feminine form of Caelestis Latin for “of the sky, heavenly”.
Chandra – Sanskrit for moon.
Cynthia – Epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis.
Danica – Slavic for “morning star”.
Dara – Means “star” in Khmer.
Diana – Roman moon goddess.
Eloise – Sometimes associated with the Greek word helios meaning “sun”.
Estelle – Old French name derived from Stella (see below).
Helios – Greek for sun and the name of the young Greek sun-god who rod across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses.
Io – One of Jupiter’s moons and a mythical Greek princess loved by Zeus. Pronunciation (EE-o).
Jericho – A name of a city in Israel mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The meaning is not clear, but could be related to the Hebrew word yareach meaning “moon”.
Jupiter – The fifth planet in the solar system.
Larissa – One of Neptune’s moons.
Leo – A constellation. The lion.
Luna – Roman goddess of the moon.
Lyra – A constellation.
Mars – The fourth planet in the solar system.
Neoma – Greek for “new moon”.
Neptune – The eight planet in the solar system.
Nova – In astronomy a nova is a star that releases a large burst of energy.
Orion – A constellation named after the mythical Greek hunter.
Rigel – A star in the constellation Orion.
Selene – Greek for moon.
Sidra – Latin meaning “of the stars”.
Skye – A variant of Sky.
Stella – Latin for star.
Soleil – French for sun.
Phoebe – One of Saturn’s moons and Latinized form of the Greek Phoibe a Titan from Greek mythology associated with the moon.
Portia – One of Uranus’ moons.
Tara – Sanskrit for star and the name of a Hindu astral goddess.
Twila / Twyla – Possibly based on the English word twilight or from the French etoile, meaning star.
Ursa – Two constellations: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Vega – A star in the constellation Lyra. #77 in Spain (for 2010).
Vespera – Possibly derived from the word vesper, meaning “the evening star”.
Venus – The second planet in the solar system.
Zona – Latin for “girdle” and the name of the stars that make up Orion’s belt.
Overall most of these names seem inspired yet practical – among the girls at least. The boy names might only appeal to the intrepid.
Andromeda is simply stunning but I don’t know if I love it only in theory. I would never use it on my child and I’m unsure how I would feel if I met a real-life Andromeda. I might like the name better on an adult than a kid.
Io is fascinating. The two letters may make the name appear incomplete, but put the name in a unique class. Two letter-two syllable names are difficult to find. At the moment I have no reservations recommending Io for a pet. Perhaps in 20 years I could get on board with Io on a person.
But perhaps Io is not out of the question in the near future. O-ending boy names are gaining in popularity, and perhaps o-ending girl names, such as Juno, could catch on too. If Juno catches on, Io may become a realistic possibility.
The boys and unisex options seemed lacking.
Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have dared put Helios and Jericho on the list. Despite the unusual sound and appearance, Helios and Jericho are substantial due to their mythological and Biblical roots. Nevertheless, until recently these names would have seemed too strange to even consider. I still don’t expect many people to clamor to them. But parents are becoming more experimental and perhaps some adventurous folks will consider them.
I deliberately omitted some planets in the solar system. Apparently almost every planet is acknowledged as a name, usually a male name, by some online source. Including every planet in this list seemed unnecessary. Some planets just aren’t good names. Uranus seems especially awkward.
I also deliberately omitted another boy name discovered in my research, Haul, which is Welsh for “sun.” Haul was almost included since it is name-like in some ways being similar to Paul and Saul. Unfortunately, Haul is also synonymous with “pull” or “drag” and that’s why it was removed.
According to Behind the Name, Celeste is unisex, but I simply cannot picture Celeste on a boy. I’m not familiar enough with non-western cultures to know if Celeste would work on a boy in those cultures. I’m curious to hear from readers on this. Would Celeste work on a boy?
Some of these, like Tara have been around seemingly forever. Others are stylish revival choices like Stella. And others seem undiscovered and would make great modern choices like Altair and Astra.
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