This list has been adapted from The Amazing Baby Name Book for this article. Check out the book for further name suggestions and the stories behind the names, including an array of other themes such as “Names Immortalized by Songs” and “Names that Sparkle.”
Between my mother, Amy Ephron, my sister, Maia Wapnick, and myself, we have seven children (eight if you count Amy, who is a kid at heart and refuses to be called the dreaded G word by our children and is lovingly referred to as The Duchess.) As mothers, and as writers who love to find out the story behind everything, we know that naming a baby comes with a certain amount of pressure.
That is why we got busy co-writing The Amazing Baby Name Book, A (Possibly) Helpful and Slightly Amusing Guide from A-Z. We hope that you also got “busy” recently and will be needing it.
Here is a sampling from the book – classic name suggestions that pay homage to great personalities that came before, while at the same time giving your baby a name so strong that they will lead the charge in immortalizing it further.
A classic name of forward thinkers – including the architect who designed the geodesic dome, Buckminster Fuller, and the prolific and hilarious writer and frequent Saturday Night Live host Buck Henry.
An homage to the incredible activist and civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. The name peaked in popularity in 1968 and is due for a reprise.
Latin for “horn blower.” But it seems to have more weight than that. The name implies an intrinsically intellectual voice that will be amplified.
The main character both Sophocles and Euripides immortalized in title roles. The name has long been associated with villains, but we think it is time Electra told her own story. Greek for “bright one.”
A long-standing classic name that has recently had a glow-up. Former connotations include “nerdy,” (remember Eugene from Grease?) We can now associate the name with the American hero Eugene Goodman, the US Capitol police officer and Iraq War veteran who single-handedly led an angry mob up the wrong staircase and away from the Senate floor on January 6, 2021.
Europa is a princess in Greek mythology tricked and abducted by Zeus. She dreamed of two continents, one of them named Asia, which is where she lived, and the other had no name. Somehow, when she woke up, Europe got named after her. Here’s to dreams! One of Jupiter’s moons with unique geological features. It is covered in a layer of ice with a sub-surface ocean. It has piqued the interest of NASA scientists, who are sending a satellite there to search for signs of life.
For astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who in her twenties discovered a type of star called pulsars but was snubbed for the Nobel Prize (it went to her male PhD supervisor.) When her portrait was recently hung prominently in the Royal Society’s Carlton House in London, she said, “I’m sure that will upset a few fellows.”
A precursor to the Little Mermaid, Ondine is a beautiful ballet about a mermaid with a fatal kiss.
The archangel healed the earth. The master painter gave us new ideals of beauty and applied them liberally to himself in the process (facial reconstruction has shown that he drew himself a new nose, photoshopping before its time.) A willful and powerful name.
Queen Wilhelmina was the queen of the Netherlands and holds the record for the longest reign of the Dutch monarchy. Wilhelmina Cooper is the supermodel who holds the record for the most Vogue covers in America; she then launched her own modeling agency and graced the cover of Forbes. In short, Wilhelminas break records.