Are you having a baby around February 14th? Are you a writer creating a character whose life intertwines with the most romantic date on the solar calendar? Or maybe, like me, you’re a name enthusiast looking for a fix of new knowledge and intriguing options? Let’s brainstorm some options for love-themed baby names, for Valentine’s Day and beyond!
Let’s start with the most obvious: Valentine! Valentine is gender-neutral, which is something you don’t see as often with old or traditional names as you do with modern names. As a men’s name, Valentine derives from the holiday’s namesake, St. Valentine or Valentinus. As a women’s name, it’s a French feminine form of Valentin, itself derived from Valentine / Valentinus. 53 boys and 49 girls were named Valentine in the U.S. in 2021, the last year for which we have up-to-date baby name data. You might think Valentine is a little on the nose for a Valentine’s baby though, so here are some other options:
- Valentina – Rank: #69 in the U.S. circa 2021.
- Valeria – #Rank: #157
- Valerian – 17 boys in 2021.
- Valerie – #Rank: 153
- Vale – 19 girls, 10 boys
- Valencia – 162 girls
- Valkyrie – 110 girls
- Valor – 109 boys, 14 girls
Next up, how about Love? Love has always been a rare baby name in English-speaking countries, though in 2021 it was just 6 baby girls away from becoming a popular top 1000 name at 248 recorded uses! 21 boys also received the name. I suspect a lot of parents throw Love in the middle name spot, where it makes a great alternative to more standard options like Grace. Other ideas:
- Lovely – 76 girls
- Lovelyn – 51 girls. An additional 32 girls were named Lovelynn.
- Lovella – 21 girls
- Loveleen – I found this and it just seems so sweet and Country. 5 girls
- Loveday is a rare, archaic medieval name from England.
- Lovemore is an African men’s name worthy of the greatest Puritan-era virtue names. It means exactly how it looks.
- Leofric, an Old English name that means something like “beloved king.”
- Lovisa – Swedish version of Louisa
How about “love” in other languages?
- Agape – Ancient Greek, pronounced “Ah-gah-pay.” 6 boys and 6 girls were named Agape in 2021.
- Ahava – Hebrew, 22 girls
- Ai – Chinese and Japanese both use this (愛) character to mean “love”…change the character, change the meaning. Chinese script has another way to write it with fewer strokes (爱). 10 girls were named Ai in the U.S. in 2021.
- Amor – Latin, Spanish, Portuguese. 135 girls, 53 boys. Amor is also a Roman name for Cupid.
- Amore – Italian, 67 girls and 7 boys.
- Amour – French, 77 girls and 16 boys.
- Aroha – Maori
- Ife – Yoruba. Several names in the most recent U.S. baby name data include Ife as an element (Ifeoluwa, Ifeoma) but I didn’t see it by itself for 2021.
- Kerensa – Cornish
- Lempi – Finnish
- Lyubov – I don’t know if this is a direct translation of the word, but it is a Ukrainian and Russian name meaning “love.”
Speaking of “love” in other languages, names derived from Latin words for love?
- Mabel and Amabel, from a Latin name (Amabilis) which means “lovable.” Mabel currently ranks #375 in the U.S., while Amabel was given to only 7 girls. 5 girls were also named Amabella.
- Amador, the Spanish version of Amator (“lover”). 24 boys
- Amanda – “Lovable.” Ranks #475.
- Amadeus, Amadea – “God’s Love,” “Love God.” 79 boys were named Amadeus in 2021, while 6 girls were called Amadea.
- Charity, from caritas. 132 girls
There’s also the “Phil” element, which comes from a Greek word (φίλος, transliterated to philos) referring to love or friendship. I’m not sure that Philip and Philippa are entirely appropriate to Valentine’s Day since they refer to loving horses, but here are some more direct options:
- Philadelphia is an old-fashioned girls’ name and place name meaning “brotherly love.” Though quite rare, it was more common in the 18th century (1700s) than it is today. It doesn’t refer to romantic love, but who says you can’t send your family Valentine’s cards as a “thinking of you?”
- Philomena can mean anything from “loved” to “lover of strength.” Nobody knows for sure, but it’s clear that love is in there somewhere! 77 girls
- Philo is a variation of philos. 8 boys
- Theophilus – “Loves God.” 43 boys
What about adoration? The name Adore was given to 125 girls and 9 boys in 2021. J’adore, which means “I adore” or “I love” in French, was given to 82 girls and 10 boys (note that the SSA transcribes it as Jadore since their computer systems still can’t handle apostrophes in 2023). For a more subtle inclusion of “adore,” try:
- Adora – 106 girls
- Isadore – 19 boys, 5 girls
- Isadora – 135 girls
- Salvador – Currently ranks #727 nationally with 352 boys
- Amador – 24 boys
We can also work with names associated with the words “Beloved,” “Loved,” “Dear,” and “Desired.”
- Aiko – Many Japanese names including Aiko carry different meanings based on the Kanji used to write them, but in this particular case the Kanji (愛子) translate to the word for “love” and a feminine ending meaning “child.” Rather than the usual English meaning of “love child,” which is the more literal translation, I think this is meant to be more like how we might mean “loved child.” 52 girls and 17 boys were named Aiko in the U.S. in 2021.
- Amy – English, from Latin via French. Current rank: #188.
- Angharad – Medieval Welsh women’s name.
- Caradoc – Arthurian Welsh, but traces back even further to 1st century AD with Caratacus.
- Carys – Welsh, from the same root as Angharad and Caradoc. 32 U.S. baby girls were named Carys in 2021.
- Cherie – French, 14 girls.
- David – Hebrew. Current rank: #30.
- Desiree – French from Latin Desiderata. Current rank: #966.
- Erasmus – Greek. 6 boys
- Esme – French. Current rank: #379
- Habib, Habiba – Arabic. 36 boys were named Habib, and 25 girls were named Habiba in the U.S. two years ago.
- Jedidah – Biblical Hebrew. Extremely similar to Jedidiah, but Jedidah is a name in its own right. I’m surprised it’s not more popular considering the paucity of feminine Bible names available (compared to the vast number of Biblical names historically assigned masculine).
- Kealoha – Hawaiian.
- Priya – Sanskrit. 121 girls were named Priya in the U.S. in 2021.
- Querida – Spanish.
Heart isn’t just a vital part of our anatomy, it’s also a name! 8 girls were named Heart in 2021, along with several others named Heartley and Heartlynn. You could be subtler and name your child Hartley, or you could look to other languages for names related to the heart:
- Corazon – Spanish. 6 girls
- Cordula – originally from Latin via German
- Libi – Hebrew. You could even call a baby Elizabeth “Libby” as a nod to Libi. 10 girls were named Libi in 2021.
- Lev – Hebrew. 201 boys
- Fuad – Arabic. 6 boys
- Janan – Arabic.
- Obi – Igbo. 35 boys.
Well, that should get you started! I hope you use this selection as a springboard for deeper name research and inspiration.
What are some other names related to “love” that you’d add to my list?
Note: Information about how many babies received a name comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes extensive data about U.S. baby names each May. The latest numbers are from 2021.
One thought on “Love-Themed Names for Valentine’s Day and Beyond”
That’s a great list. 🙂
I’m also thinking about Slavic names containing the element “milu” meaning dear, gracious, which is closely related to the word for love in those languages. Milan, Milena/Milana (beloved), Ludmilla (lover of people/loved by people), Milica, Milos, or even Lubomił(a) all the way, since it comes from two different words that mean love. Or just Mila as a more international/universal equivalent. Or Miles/Milo for a boy. Luba is a variant of Lyubov that could be more accessible outside of Russian-speaking countries.
Speaking of Angharad, Caradoc and Carys, I’ve seen Cariad (the actual Welsh word for love) on several Welsh names lists so that’s a potential option as well, though I don’t know if it’s actually In use, if it is, it’s probably a modern thing.
There’s also the Old Norse word unna meaning to love, which is part of names such as Unnur, and the potentially more accessible nickname Unni. Personally I am partial to Ingunn ever since I’ve come across it in a book, but I guess it’s not necessarily suited to the theme since it means loved by/lover of the norse god Ing.
And regarding names that mean heart, I wonder if Cordelia could work as a bit of a stretch, despite it doesn’t mean “heart” but is so similar to the Latin word. Or maybe Cora, either as a standalone or a nickname for Corazon/Cordula.
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