International · Name Lists

Love-Themed Names for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

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!

February 14th – Don’t forget!

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.

American Names · International · Modern names

Name Profile: Lumi

Lumi pronounced "lou + me" Means "snow" in Finnish.

Does a name ever get stuck in your mind? Like, you hear it for the first time and then you can’t stop thinking about it? That’s been me for the past week and a half since I joined Instagram (P.S., my handle is @wellinformednamer). I’m seeing the name Lumi everywhere and it’s imprinted! Pronounced like “Lou + me”, Lumi is a Finnish name meaning “snow.” As my neighborhood sees its first snow of the year, this name feels apropos of the weather. 

Although I’ve been seeing Lumi all over Instagram, the sightings are almost always discussion from other name enthusiasts or Finnish posts about the weather. Only 57 American baby girls were named Lumi in 2021, which means it’s still pretty rare here. It’s a lot more popular than it was 5 or 10 years ago though; from its U.S. data debut in 2008 until 2017, fewer than 20 babies a year were named Lumi. It spiked in 2018 and 2019, peaking at 68 girls with the name in the latter year. I’m not 100% sure what caused the jump, considering Americans aren’t usually too familiar with Finnish names. Lumi is popular in Finland, though, where it’s now a Top 50 baby name for girls.

So why name a baby Lumi? Lumi hits a sweet spot for baby names in 2022 and 2023 because it’s short, unique, international, and nature-adjacent. If you’re having a baby during snow, winter, or the December Holidays, it makes for a great seasonal option. There aren’t many nickname choices, it’s easy-to-spell, and vowel-heavy (even the consonants it does use are popular ones). If you do want a longer name, you can make it short for Lumina (another name on the rise). Chances are, a baby Lumi isn’t going to meet another Lumi in the classroom. And according to this post from Nancy’s Baby Names about Finnish names, it changed gender associations over time in its original country, which means it probably started off as a men’s name before it became popular for women (just like so many unisex and gender-neutral names in the U.S). So while Americans almost exclusively name daughters Lumi, I think it could work for any gender.

Lumi is fun to consider for middle name combinations. Some of the best middle name options for Lumi either have only one syllable (like Rose, James, or John) or at least three (Evergreen, Anastasia, Jonathan). Nature combos are great too (Ocean, Azalea, Storm). I’d avoid combos like Lumi Marie that are challenging to say quickly, and while I think Lumi Louise works (you can shorten to Lulu!), “Lumi Louis” rhymes a little too much if the ‘s’ in Louis is silent. Unless it sounds amazing to you, try to stay away from middle names that would repeat the “ee” sound at the end of Lumi; likewise, names starting with “Mi” don’t work great in the middle name spot (Lumi Minerva) but shine when reversed (Minerva Lumi). Lumi and Luna probably shouldn’t be in the same name either. For good measure, here are some great potential middle names for Lumi:

  • Lumi Anastasia
  • Lumi Evergreen
  • Lumi Fritz
  • Lumi Sophronia
  • Lumi Jasper
  • Lumi James
  • Lumi Cecilia
  • Lumi Rosalie
  • Lumi Emmanuel / Lumi Emmanuelle This combination is great specifically for Christmas babies.
  • Lumi Evangeline
  • Lumi Elizabeth
  • Lumi Azalea
  • Lumi Kit
  • Lumi Christopher
  • Lumi Ocean
  • Lumi Storm
  • Lumi Kehlani
  • Lumi Frost

What do you think of Lumi? Would you use it? What other middle names would you try with it? Let me know!

Sources: Social Security Administration data and (linked twice above) Nancy’s Baby Names.

American Names · International

German Word Names

German flag

Word-names are very trendy in the U.S., but this category isn’t just limited to the English language. The Social Security Administration‘s extended list of baby names from 2017 is full of words from other tongues! Here are some entries from the German Wörterbuch (dictionary), from the most popular to the rarest.

  • Roman (noun) means “novel,” as in a fictional book or as in “Bildungsroman.” 4253 boys were given this name in 2017; it’s currently the #91st most popular boys’ name in the U.S.
  • Lila (adj.) refers to a lavender, lilac, or mauve shade of purple. 1456 girls were given this name in 2017, giving it a rank of #210.
  • Kaiser (n) means “emperor.” A kaiser is also type of sandwich roll. 224 boys, with a rank of #929.
  • Adler (n) means “eagle.” 194 boys and 31 girls.
  • Keller (n) means “cellar” or “basement.” 123 boys.
  • Bauer (n) means “farmer.” 47 boys.
  • Eben (adjective) means “flat, smooth, even.” It can also be an adverb. As a name, Eben is nickname for Ebenezer.  37 boys.
  • Sommer (season) means “Summer.”  24 girls.
  • Rock (n) means “skirt,” as in the clothing item. 17 boys.
  • Eber (n) means “boar.”  16 boys. Parents could use Eber as a nickname for ancient Eberhard, which means “brave boar.”
  • Reis (n) means “rice.” An inadvertent word-name that probably started as a variant on Rhys / Reese.  16 boys.
  • Edel (adj.) means “noble.” This is closely related to “adal,” which is the ancient Germanic root of names like Adeline and Albert. 15 boys.
  • Klein (adj.) means “short, little, small.” 15 boys.
  • Stark (adj.) means “strong.” 15 boys.
  • Bader (n) means “barber-surgeon.” 14 boys.
  • Juni (month) means “June.” 14 girls.
  • Gift (n) means “poison.” This one could cause issues during international travel, however unintentional. 13 girls.
  • Ehren (verb) means “to honor, respect.” 12 boys. I wonder if some parents use this as a variation on Aaron.
  • Oktober (month) means “October.” 12 girls.
  • Bergen (n) means “recovery, salvage” or can be a verb meaning “to salvage.” Very similar to another word, “Berg,” which means “mountain.”  Bergen is also place name; one of its better-known spots is Bergen County, New Jersey. 10 girls, 7 boys.
  • Schneider (n) means “tailor.” 10 boys were named Schneider in 2017.
  • Alter (n) means “age.” 9 boys.
  • Juli (month) means “July.”  It’s pronounced like “you-lee.” 8 girls.
  • Richter (n) is an occupational word that means “judge.” 8 boys.
  • Edelweiss (n) is a flower that literally means “noble white.” It’s also a famous folk song. 7 girls.
  • Ritter (n) means “knight.”  John Ritter was a famous actor. 7 boys.
  • Eisen (n) means “iron,” making it an elemental baby name. 6 boys.
  • Reise (n) means “vacation,” though in American usage it’s probably a variant of Reese. 6 girls.
  • Riese (n) means “giant,” as in the mythical creature.  This is also probably a variant of Reese. 6 girls.

There are also a few German words that have died out as baby names in the United States:

  • Dick (adj.) means “fat.” Last appeared in 2005.
  • Ernst (adj.) means “serious.” Last appeared in 2016.
  • Prinz (n) means “prince.” Only appeared in 2015.

It’s evident to me that most of these are inadvertent word names, considering the Reese variations and other common surnames. I think it’s also worth noting that – with one or two exceptions – these are not considered baby names in German-speaking countries.

Thoughts? Can you think of any other German words that parents might be naming their children? Let me know!

American Names · International

Rare ‘O’ Baby Names in 2016

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 12.34.01 PMThere are few rare ‘O’ baby names for any gender, but the small selection that does exist is very diverse. The Social Security Administration registered a ton of West African names (especially Yoruba) under this letter in 2016, and many of them are unisex! To avoid widespread repetition in a list containing both girls’ and boys’ names, I’ve listed every unisex name (shown in purple) under its more frequent gender.  For example, Oluwadarasimi was given to 48 girls and 17 boys in 2016, so I’ve listed it under the girls’ section; meanwhile, Oluwademilade was given to 21 boys and 11 girls that year, so I’ve listed it under the boys’ section. Note: the unisex names listed aren’t all West African, and not all the West African names are unisex.


  • 100-256 named: Opal, Octavia, Oaklyn, Oriana, Oona
  • 50-99: Ocean, Odette, Odessa, October, Odalys, Olympia
  • 25-49: Oluwadarasimi, Olga, Ona, Ora, Odelia, Orly, Oumou, Ohana, Orla, Oceana, Oliviana, Oliva, Onalee
  • 10-24: Oreoluwa, Oluwanifemi, Odyssey, Ola, Oluwatamilore, Oriyah, Olina, Ottilie, Oluwadamilola, Olena, Oluwatoni, Ondine, Oksana, Olanna, Omotara, Oralia, Oceane, Olivine, Oluwatishe, Oluwatofunmi, Oyinkansola
  • 8-9: Oasis, Oliana, Oluwabukunmi, Oluwafikayomi, Omni, Otilia, Oluwatumininu, Omnia, Oniyah, Orchid, Ottilia
  • 7: Oktober, Omaria, Omera, Omolola, Onyinyechi, Onyinyechukwu, Osmara, Ovee, Oviya
  • 6: Ogechi, Okalani, Olamiposi, Olana, Olesya, Olivette, Oluwadabira, Oluwakemi, Omolara, Oneida, Oonagh, Orielle, Ornella, Ostara, Ourania, Ovi, Oyindamola
  • 5: Ogheneruona, Olani, Olia, Olisa, Ololade, Oluwadara, Oluwadunminunu, Oluwateniola, Onella, Oreofeoluwa, Orpha, Orquidea, Osariemen, Oshun, Osiyo, Oyinlola, Ozioma


  • 100-187 named: Osvaldo, Onyx, Octavio, Osiris, Oren, Obadiah
  • 50-99: Obed, Orson, Om, Osman, Omer, Oziel, Osmar, Ozias, Oshea, Ozzy, Omarion, Oswaldo, Octavian, Olen, Orrin, Octavius
  • 25-49: Oakland, Oak, Oswald, Ousmane, Omega, Omri, Odell, Othniel, Oz, Odysseus
  • 10-24: Oran, Ojas, Ole, Oluwademilade, Oisin, Olsen, Oluwatobi, Oluwatobiloba, Olamide, Orlin, Oswin, Obinna, Owais, Olaoluwa, Omid, Osbaldo, Osinachi, Oakes, Olson, Osborn, Oseas, Oluwasemilore, Obaloluwa, Oberon, Obrian, Oluwaseun, Oluwaseyi, Oneil, Osmond, Oleg, Oluwadamilare, Orville, Oxley, Oluwajomiloju, Oslo, Oaken, Olaf, Oluwafemi, Oluwaferanmi, Oluwajoba, Oluwatise, Omkar, Ontario, Othello
  • 8-9: Olajuwon, Oluwatomisin, Oneal, Orhan, Osborne, Oberyn, Ociel, Octaviano, Ollivander, Owain
  • 7: Obi, Ogden, Oliverio, Olujimi, Oluwatimilehin, Oluwatimileyin, Oluwatomi, Oluwatosin, Oxford
  • 6: Oaks, Ogheneruno, Olanrewaju, Olivander, Olufemi, Olumide, Oluwakorede, Onyekachi, Or, Ossian, Ovidio
  • 5: Ocelotl, Ohm, Oluwapelumi, Onesimo, Onesimus, Onyekachukwu, Orland, Osagie, Osric

Do you have a favorite rare ‘O’ name? Let me know!

Also, if you’re interested in reading more about West African names, here are a couple of links:

American Names · International

Popular Italian Baby Names that Most Americans Don’t Know About

When you think about Italian names, you probably think about ones that are really popular in the U.S., like Gianna and Leonardo.  But what about more distinctive names like Ludovica and Enea? They’re popular in Italy, but so rare in America that you probably haven’t heard of them!

Every year, Italy releases a list of their country’s 200 most popular baby names. We share many names with them, from their most popular (currently Sofia and Francesco), to our most popular (Noah and Emma), to oddball American monikers like Bryan and Mya. Italian has even given America some names (i.e., Enzo) that are rare in Italy!

I’ve sought to create a list of Italian names Americans probably don’t know about but should consider. Unfortunately, their 2016 data isn’t available yet, so for this post, I’m looking at the 2015 set. For comparison, I will note whether the names below had any American usage in 2015 and 2016. Italian rank will be listed first; American numbers are somewhere to the right of the semicolon.


  • Ginevra – #12 in Italy; 15 girls in the U.S. born 2016 (14 in 2015). This is one of the few names on this list that Americans might be familiar with, since it’s Ginny Weasley’s formal name. Ginevra is the Italian form of Guinevere.
  • Ludovica – #32 in Italy. Only 5 girls were named Ludovica in the U.S. in 2015, and an unknown number (possibly zero) in 2016. Ludovica‘s most popular American relative is Louis, though she’s more closely related to the German Ludwig.
  • Benedetta – #40 in Italy; hasn’t charted in U.S. since 1979. Benedetta is an Italian form of Benedicta and a feminine form of the name Benedict, which means “blessed.”
  • Azzurra – #53.  English equivalent Azure (another word for “blue”) is cool, but Azzurra is stunning! It’s possible that no American has named their child Azzurra, making it a truly unique name here.
  • Diletta – #58 and rising quickly!  This comes from the Latin dilecta, which means “beloved.” Like Azzurra, Diletta is extremely rare or non-existent in America.
  • Sveva – #61 and rising; unknown or no American usage. Sveva looks chic!
  • Ambra – #63; Stateside, 5 in 2015. Ambra is the Italian word for Amber. She also looks remarkably like the word “umbra,” so Shadow could make a punny (and awesome) middle name.
  • Lucrezia – #86; here, 14 in 2015 and 8 in 2016. If Americans know this name, they probably know her through The Borgias, a TV show that ran from 2011 to 2013. Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI.  Lucretia is the even rarer English form of this name.
  • Ilenia – #129; last appeared in 2012. A version of Ilena that was a lot more popular around 1999/2000. Ylenia (#200) is another spelling, which last appeared in the U.S. circa 2011.
  • Morena – #139; 9 girls in 2016. Presumably, last year’s reintroduction of  Morena to the American charts has to do with Morena Baccarin, who played Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa. 
  • Siria – #171; in America, 6 girls in 2015. Since Syria is also a popular name in Italy, I assumed Siria was a place-name. That said, both spellings were popular before the Syrian Civil War, so maybe not. Behind the Name suggests that Siria is a feminine form of Sirius.
  • Giusy – #173; unknown U.S. usage. This is probably a nickname for Giuseppa or Giuseppina, making it an Italian version of Josie. Visually Giusy is cute, but it’s supposed to be pronounced a bit like “juicy.”
  • Rossella #175; 5 in 2015. Diminutive of a name that means “red.” 
  • Clelia – #187; last U.S. appearance in 2013. Form of Ancient Roman Cloelia.
  • Elettra – #194; unknown American usage. A sleeker form of Electra.

Honorable mentions include Carola, Federica, Flavia, Gioia, Ilaria, Letizia, Micol, Mariasole, Syria, and double first names. How do you like Aurora Maria?



  • Jacopo – #30; last appeared in U.S. in 2010. As much as I love Jacob, his Italian form is so flavorful!
  • Gioele – #36; 5 in 2016. Also popular in Italy is another more Americanized spelling, Joele. Joele has only ever charted in the U.S. as a women’s name.
  • Enea – #54 and rising quickly; 5 in 2015. Modern Italian form of Aeneas.
  • Valerio – #60; 5 in 2016.  Think Valeria or Valerie, only masculine. Valerio comes from the Ancient Roman Valerius.
  • Ettore – #64; hasn’t charted in U.S. since the 1980s. Italian form of Hector.
  • Loris – #91; 6 in 2015. A curious nickname for Lorenzo!
  • Achille – #95; hasn’t charted in the States since 2010. Achilles has only just become popular in America, but if he continues to rise we might see Achille reappear.
  • Ludovico – #98; has never charted in U.S. This is the Italian form of the French name Ludovic, and masculine form of Ludovica. One namesake, Ludovico Sforza, famously commissioned The Last Supper.
  • Giordano – #125; stateside, 6 boys in 2015 and 7 in 2016. This alternative to Jordan is probably most famous for its connection to Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600 for heresy. Among other things, he promoted heliocentrism and speculated on the existence of exoplanets.
  • Umberto – #133; hasn’t charted in U.S. since 2014. Umberto Eco famously wrote The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum.
  • Biagio – #146; in U.S., 9 boys in 2015 and 6 in 2016. Italian form of Blaise.
  • Tiziano – #159; 7 in 2015. Tiziano is the real name of the artist we know as Titian.
  • Amedeo – #174; in U.S., 5 times both in ’15 and ’16. The Italian form of Amadeus, this was the first name of Modigliani and many medieval rulers of Savoy. Another Amedeo (and descendant of the Savoyards) became king Amadeo I of Spain in the 1870s.
  • Lapo – #189; never charted in U.S. It’s a nickname for Jacopo, which would make this an interesting alternative to Jake!

Honorable mentions: Francesco Maria, Francesco Pio, Saverio, Zeno

What’s your favorite Italian name? Would you use any of these? Let me know in the comments!