To kick off the new year, let’s check out a new batch of name quotes!
First, the story behind Edson — the birth name of late soccer legend Pelé — from the book Why Soccer Matters (2015):
When Dondinho met my mother, Celeste, he was still performing his mandatory military service. She was in school at the time. They married when she was just fifteen; by sixteen she was pregnant with me. They gave me the name “Edson” — after Thomas Edison, because when I was born in 1940, the electric lightbulb had only recently come to their town. They were so impressed that they wanted to pay homage to its inventor. It turned out they missed a letter — but I’ve always loved the name anyway.
(“Dondinho” was the nickname of Pelé’s father, João Ramos do Nascimento.)
…and, regarding the nickname Pelé:
Growing up, I hated that damn nickname. After all, it was a garbage word that meant nothing. Plus, I was really proud of the name Edson, believing it was an honor to be named after such an important inventor.
(The nickname did come in handy, though. He “started thinking of “Pelé” almost as a separate identity” in order to cope with his sudden celebrity. “Having Pelé around helped keep Edson sane,” he said.)
Keyvar Smith-Herold of the class of 2022 at DeMatha Catholic High School smiled as he explained the inspiration for his name, noting that his father Vincent Smith works as a locksmith.
“That’s why ‘Key’ is in our names,” he said, shedding light on the origin of his first name and that of his twin sister, Keydra, and also their older brother Keyden, a 2018 DeMatha graduate.
From the book The Gender Challenge of Hebrew (2015) by Malka Muchnik:
Most Hebrew proper names, especially those used in recent decades, consist of existing words and therefore have specific meanings. This fact helps us see the ideas associated with male or female names, and serves as evidence of what is expected of them.
(The author listed several female names associated with flowers and gemstones — such as Rekefet, meaning “cyclamen,” and Bareket, meaning “agate” — then continued…)
Even more suggestive are female names denoting personal qualities, such as Yaffa (‘pretty’), Tova (‘good’), Aliza (‘joyful’), Adina (‘delicate’), Ahuva (‘beloved’), Metuka (‘sweet’) and Tmima (‘innocent’).
As opposed to them, we find male names which have the form of a future verb, and from this we can infer the expectations from them: Yakim (‘he will establish’), Yarim (‘he will raise’), Yaniv (‘he will produce’), Yariv (‘he will fight’), Yiftax (‘he will open’), Yig’al (‘he will redeem’), Yisgav (‘he will be great’) and Yizhar (‘he will shine’).
Aleta Embrey’s older brother loves to say that her name came from the funny papers. And it did, specifically “Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur,” which still runs in The Washington Post.
“Queen Aleta of the Misty Isles is a major figure in the comic strip,” Aleta wrote. “My dad liked the name.”
It is a lovely name, much better than being named, say, “Olive Oyl.”
From Kenneth Whyte’s book Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (2017), which describes the naming of Herbert Hoover (who was born in 1874 to Quaker parents Jesse and Hulda Hoover):
Hulda had shown [her sister] Agnes a bureau drawer full of handmade clothes prepared for the baby, all of them suited for a girl, to be named Laura. Several decades later Agnes recalled that the newborn, a boy, was “round and plump and looked about very cordial at every body.”
Naming the child was a problem as Laura, obviously, would not do, and the mother had no alternative in mind. Another sister reminded Hulda of a favorite book, Pierre and His Family, a Sunday school martyrology set among the Protestant Waldenses of Piedmont. The hero of the story is a spirited boy named Hubert who is dedicated to his Bible and longs to become a pastor. Hulda’s sister remembered Hubert as Herbert, and the baby was called Herbert Clark Hoover. He shared his father’s middle name.
Looking for baby names that are associated with green — including baby names that mean “green”?
If so, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve collected dozens of options for you in this post.
Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color green represents…
Symbolism of green
What does the color green signify?
In Western cultures in particular, green can be symbolic of:
The overriding association with nature is due to the abundance of green plant life on Earth. Plants contain a green pigment called chlorophyll that allows them to absorb energy from light.
The color can also be associated with safety and permission, thanks to green traffic lights (which signal when it’s safe to proceed).
Top baby names associated with green
Determining the top names in a category isn’t difficult when you’re working with an easily definable category, like PH names. When it comes to names that have a connection to the color green, however, we need to account for the fact that certain names have a stronger connection than others.
With that in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color green:
Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).
The word ivy refers to any of several species of climbing or ground-creeping evergreen plants in the genus Hedera. By extension, it also refers to the deep green color of ivy’s foliage.
Ivy is currently the 49th most popular girl name in the U.S.
The word jade refers to two similar-looking minerals, nephrite and jadeite, that are commonly used as gemstones. By extension, it also refers to the green color of these minerals.
Their common name can be traced back to the 16th-century Spanish term piedra de ijada, meaning “loin stone” (because the stone was thought to help cure loin and kidney ailments).
Jade is currently the 91st most popular girl name in the nation.
The word olive refers to the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). By extension, it also refers to the dark yellowish-green color of unripened olive fruit. (Ripened olives are black.)
Olive is currently the 182nd most popular girl name in the U.S.
The word forest refers to a dense growth of trees and underbrush that covers a large area of land. It’s based on the Medieval Latin word foresta (or forestis).
The more popular spelling of the name, Forrest, represents transferred usage of the English surname. The surname Forrest originally referred to a person who lived near or worked in a royal forest (that is, a forest owned by the sovereign and used as a hunting ground).
Forest is currently the 715th most popular boy name in the nation. (Forrest ranks 414th.)
The word emerald refers to a vivid green variety of the mineral beryl. By extension, the word also refers to the green color of these crystals.
The name of the stone can be traced back to the ancient Greek word smaragdos, which referred to any green gemstone (including emerald, beryl, malachite, and jasper).
Emerald is currently the 913th most popular girl name in the U.S.
More names associated with green
All the names below are associated with the color green. The names range from common to uncommon, and their associations range from strong to slight.
Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.
Alder trees have green foliage. The word alder is derived from the Old English word for the tree, alor.
Aranya is a Hindi gender-neutral name based on the Sanskrit word aranya, meaning “forest.”
Ash trees have green foliage. The word ash is derived from the Old English word for the tree, æsc.
Aspen trees have green foliage. The word aspen is derived from the Old English word for the tree, æspe.
Aurora is part of both “aurora borealis” and “aurora australis” — the names of the polar lights, which are predominantly green. The polar lights are caused by solar wind (that is, charged particles emitted by sun) striking the Earth’s magnetic field. The word aurora means “dawn” in Latin.
Balsam fir trees have dark green foliage. The name of the tree can be traced back to the Hebrew word basam, meaning “spice, perfume.”
Beryl is a mineral that can be green. The name of the stone ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word beryllos. (Green beryl is a paler green than emerald.)
Birch trees have green foliage. The word birch is derived from the Old English word for the tree, beorc.
Björk is the Icelandic word for “birch.”
Blerim is an Albanian masculine name based on the word blerim, meaning “greenness, verdure.”
Blerta is an Albanian feminine name based on the word blertë, meaning “green.”
Burkni is an Icelandic masculine name meaning “fern.”
Cactus plants are typically green. The name of the plant is derived from ancient Greek word kaktos.
Cedar trees have dark green foliage. The name of the tree ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word kedros.
Celadon is a pale grayish-green color. The name of the shade was inspired by a character named Céladon — a shepherd who wore pale green clothing — in the popular 17th-century French novel L’Astrée by Honoré d’Urfé.
Chloe (or Chloë) is derived from the ancient Greek word khloe, which referred to “the first green shoot of plants in spring.”
Chloris, based on the ancient Greek word khloros, meaning “pale green” or “greenish-yellow,” was the name of several figures in Greek mythology.
Clover leaves are green. The word clover is derived from the Old English word for the plant, claefre.
Codrin is a Romanian masculine name based on the word codru, meaning “forest.”
Cyan is the bluish-green color halfway between green and blue on the visible spectrum. The name of the shade comes from the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
Cypress trees have dark green foliage. The word cypress is derived from the ancient Greek word for the tree, kyparissos. (In Greek mythology, a grieving boy named Kyparissos was transformed into a cypress tree.)
Douglas is part of Douglas Fir — the name of a species of tree with dark green foliage. The tree was named in honor of Scottish botanist David Douglas.
Greenlee comes from a habitational surname that can be traced back to the Old English words grene, meaning “green,” and leah, meaning “clearing, meadow.”
Gretna is part of Gretna Green — the name of the Scottish village that became famous in the late 18th century as an elopement destination for young English couples. The village name originally referred to the “green by Gretna,” with the word Gretna meaning “gravelly hill” (from the Old English elements greot, “grit,” and hoh, “heel” — denoting a hill shaped like the heel of a foot).
Haljand is an Estonian masculine name based on the word haljas, meaning “green, verdant.”
Holly trees have green foliage. The word holly is derived from the Old English word for the tree, holen.
Hunter is a dark yellowish-green color. It was the shade of green worn by hunters during the 19th century.
Ivik is a Greenlandic masculine name meaning “(blade of) grass.”
Kelly is a bright green color. The Irish surname Kelly can be traced back to the Old Irish personal name Cellach.
Khidr (also spelled Khadir) is an Arabic masculine name meaning “green.”
Lakhdar is an Arabic masculine name based on al-akhdar, meaning “the green.”
Leaf green is the bright yellowish-green color typical of plant leaves (due to the presence of chlorophyll).
Laurel trees have green foliage. The word laurel is derived from the Latin word for the tree, laurus.
Levert comes from the French surname LeVert, which is based on the Old French word vert, meaning “green.”
Lin (second tone) is a Chinese name that can mean “valuable jade,” depending upon the character being used to write the name.
Linden trees have green foliage. The word linden is derived from the Old English word for the tree, lind.
Malachite (pronounced MAL-uh-kiet) is a mineral that is green. The name of the mineral ultimately derives from the ancient Greek word malache, meaning “mallow” — a reference to the resemblance between the color of malachite and the leaves of the mallow plant.
Matsu is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “pine tree,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
Matsuko is a Japanese name that can include the element Matsu.
Matsue is another Japanese name that can include the element Matsu.
Midori is a Japanese gender-neutral name that can mean “green, verdure,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
Mint leaves are green. Aromatic mint plants are part of the genus Mentha, the name of which derives from the ancient Greek word minthe.
Minttu is the Finnish word for “mint.”
Mynta is the Swedish word for “mint.”
Mynte is the Danish word for “mint.”
Moss are small, flowerless plants that grow in dense green mats. The Old English word for “moss” was mos.
Myrtle trees have green foliage. The word myrtle is derived from the ancient Greek word for the tree, myrtos.
Oak trees have green foliage. The word oak is derived from the Old English word for the tree, ac.
Oihan is a Basque masculine name meaning “forest.”
Oihana is the feminine form of Oihan.
Olivine is a mineral that is usually yellowish-green. The name of the mineral can be traced back to the Latin word oliva, meaning “olive.”
Oren is a Hebrew masculine name meaning “pine tree.”
Panna is a Hindi feminine name that can mean “emerald” or “leaf.”
Peridot, a variety of the mineral olivine, is yellowish-green.
Phyllis, the ancient Greek word for “foliage” (based on phyllon, meaning “leaf”) was the name of several figures in Greek mythology.
Pilutaq is a Greenlandic gender-neutral name meaning “leaf.”
Pine needles are green. The word pine is derived from the Latin word for the tree, pinus.
Sage leaves are grayish-green. The name of the sage plant (genus Salvia) can be traced back (via Old French sauge) to the Latin word salvus, meaning “healthy.”
Sirkka is a Finnish feminine name that can be derived from the word heinäsirkka, meaning “grasshopper” (many of which are green), or from the word sirkkalehti, meaning “cotyledon” (the embryonic leaf of seed-bearing plants).
Silvanus, based on the Latin word silva, meaning “wood, forest,” was the name of the Roman god of forests.
Silvano (masculine) and Silvana (feminine) are the modern Italian forms of Silvanus.
Sylvain (masculine) and Sylvaine (feminine) are the modern French forms of Silvanus.
Silvester is derived from the Latin word silvestris, meaning “forested” or “of the forest.”
Talar (also spelled Dalar) is an Armenian feminine name based on the word talar or dalar, meaning “green, verdant.”
Teal is a dark bluish-green color. The shade was named after the Eurasain teal (Anas crecca), a type of duck with a teal-colored stripe on its head.
Thao is a Vietnamese gender-neutral name meaning “herbs, grass.”
Turquoise (pronounced TUR-koyz) is a mineral that is sometimes bluish-green. The name of the stone can be traced back to the Old French term pierre tourques, meaning “Turkish stone.” Though it was mined in Persia, the stone was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by Turkish traders.
Vipin is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word vipina, meaning “forest.”
Viridian is a bluish-green color. The name of the pigment comes from the Latin word viridis, meaning “green.”
The boy name Bane may have been inspired by the DC Comics supervillain Bane, and the boy name Ranaridh is similar to the name of former Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh, who died in late 2021.
Finally, in 2020, the top baby names on the island were Nora/Charlotte (tie) and Hudson.
*Nova and Lucas might actually be 4th-place names. My source included conflicting information.