Palindrome Baby Names: The Master List

Jan 6th 2011

In November, we brought you the master list of backwards baby names. Today we follow up with a comprehensive listing of every palindrome name you're likely to find in America. (These are names that read the same backwards and forwards.)

But first, a reality check: only seven palindromes rank in the top 1000 for boys or girls. A handful of others like Aviva and Renner have some broader fashion potential, but the vast majority are niche names and destined to stay that way.

Currently popularity ranks are included for perspective; girls' names come first in descending popularity order, followed by boys' names.

Rank

Name

5

23

Ava

Hannah

29

Anna

182

Ana

442

Elle

575

Ada

582

Eve

1125

Emme

1171

Aya

1690

Aja

2549

Aviva

3688

Asa

4014

Aziza

4833

Ara

4890

Hanah

5156

Layal

5724

Maram

6053

Awa

7784

Anina

8953

Alla

9036

Aza

9065

Ala

9334

Itati

10073

Maham

10674

Ama

12162

Ece

12775

Arora

14413

Havah

16054

Alyla

16198

Afifa

16451

Habibah

16501

Luul

16757

Axa

16885

Arra

17060

Neven

18263

Alila

18978

Izzi

19003

Avva

20001

Yanay

20769

Halah

21394

Amma

21518

Aisia

23146

Ivi

23510

Aidia

23528

Azza

23641

Nan

23865

Ailia

24324

Ireri

24497

Eme

24931

Adda

25277

Ahsha

25490

Noon

25867

Anana

26421

Assa

27776

Alala

28574

Hallah

28601

Lul

29573

Aleela

31263

Aba

31395

Alela

32745

Hawah

32750

Hayah

34289

Nayan

35412

Umu

 

554

Asa

1091

Otto

2527

Natan

3975

Nayan

4166

Nitin

4194

Naman

4468

Bob

4478

Neven

4493

Ava

4666

Efe

5654

Renner

6411

Nosson

6728

Hannah

6855

JJ

7673

Anna

7798

Ara

8106

Sahas

9216

Ramar

9225

Ege

10018

Ata

10067

Sabas

10094

Ana

10718

Aza

11837

Savvas

12943

Siris

14237

Nalan

15955

Kilik

16862

Aja

17152

BB

17689

Savas

18075

Ala

18701

Ada

19605

Nolon

19921

Reinier

20349

Abba

21031

Laval

21517

Aba

21642

Alula

23640

Navan

24144

Sylys

 

Comments

1
January 6, 2011 11:07 AM

Hannah? Anna? For boys? I think the wrong checkbox got checked on some of these forms.

2
By WorkingRachel (not verified)
January 6, 2011 11:13 AM

Where's "Ava" on the girls' list? Isn't it in the top 10 right now?

3
January 6, 2011 11:36 AM

Whoops, thanks for catching that -- the very top of the list was cut off in a copy-and-paste disaster! Ava has been reinstated.

4
January 6, 2011 11:39 AM

"Hannah? Anna? For boys? I think the wrong checkbox got checked on some of these forms."

Yep, very popular names will always show up on the opposite sex list due to a tiny percentage of errors.

I've tried to find statistical ways to eliminate the error names from samples, but it's not possible because the rate of errors varies wildly from year to year, from place to place and from name to name. (E.g. a boy named Ashley is more likely to be checked off in the wrong box by a clerical worker than a boy named Richard.)

5
January 6, 2011 11:48 AM

I am so not a fan of the palindrome especially name-wise. With the exception of Hannah whoever likes these can have them all.

6
January 6, 2011 11:52 AM

A man, a plan, a canal. Panama! I know it's not a name but it's a palindrome (if you remove the punctuation).

I love Otto and it's a family name on my side but my husband doesn't like it at all. He actually laughed at me when I brought it up.

7
January 6, 2011 12:07 PM

I really like palindrome names. My favorites are...

Elle, Ada(though I prefer Adah), Eve, Emme, Neven, Asa, Otto, Natan and Abba (I know a girl named Abah)

8
By JMT (not verified)
January 6, 2011 12:36 PM

Wow, this is fascinating. Look how many start and end with:

vowels
nasals
liquids
glides
aspiration (H)

On the other hand, more Ss in the boys section - and only TWO stops in the entire list! (ok, three if we count "BB" but I'm assuming that is pronounced "bee bee", ditto "JJ" for affricates)

Why?!

9
By Guest77888 (not verified)
January 6, 2011 12:57 PM

Does anyone else remember having to read this story called "Hannah is a Palindrome" in the kids reader in around 4th grade? (I am 28 and this was in CA). That story always stuck with me. It was the first time I had heard of a palindrome and I was a huge name dork even then. I used to bring books of baby names to read during silent reading!

10
By EVie
January 6, 2011 1:00 PM

I went to school with a girl named Alla (pronounced ALL-uh). I always thought it was so simple and pretty, and it seems to fit right in with today's trends. But I assume that the reason it isn't used more is because of its similarity to the name of the deity—I know I personally would be afraid that some people would consider it sacrilegious and get offended, even though Alla as a name comes from a totally different language and culture (Russian). Anyone else have any insight?

11
January 6, 2011 1:59 PM

I think the ones that happen to be palindromes are cool, but I don't like it when the spellings have be mangled to produce them.

12
By Aiea
January 6, 2011 2:38 PM

I remember once reading about a family who named all of their 11 children so that their first names were the reverse of their middle names, creating palindromes. From some quick internet searching, I've found that they had a Lebanna Annabel, Noel Leon, Lledo Odell, Laur Raul, Loneva Avenol, and Leah Hael.

13
By Abs (not verified)
January 6, 2011 4:52 PM

Evie, my grandmother's name was Alla Mae and she went by both names. I have never heard it on anyone else. I thought about using it as a middle name for one of my daughters, but I was also concerned about it being confused with the deity or mistaken for Ella. I think it's really pretty, though.

14
January 6, 2011 6:20 PM

@Guest77888
Yes! I think of that story every time I hear the word palindrome. And that awful boy Otto who was making fun of her for being a palindrome--until he found out what it actually meant!

15
January 6, 2011 9:00 PM

My favorites on this list are Anna and Otto, and surprisingly, Noon. Hippy, naturey names tend to be nms, but I don't think I'd be dismayed to meet a little boy with that name.

As a Dickens fan, I'm a little sad to see that Pip didn't make the list, even way down, but I'm not shocked. For the people who like nicknames as full names, they probably wouldn't pick something so (ahem) sissyfied. Those who love 19th C. classics would probably name the boy Philip and use Pip as a nickname.

16
By ErinsFoodFiles (not verified)
January 6, 2011 9:09 PM

One of my good friend's middle name is Aviva! I absolutely ADORE it. I think she said it's her aunt's name or something. I know she was named after someone. Even better, her first name is Violet, so her name is Violet Aviva. Gah... Gorgeous, and her parents were definitely ahead of their times. Especially because she has an older sister named Olivia. These girls are mid-20s right now, and don't often run into anyone with their names the same age!

17
January 7, 2011 12:05 PM

Many of the palindrome names do not sound alike backwards and forwards, so I found myself wondering if there is a word for things that sound like palindromes, but aren't. Sort of like a cross between a homonym and a palindrome? Avivah is the only example I can think of, but there must be many more.

18
By Amy3
January 7, 2011 3:11 PM

I love palindromes so I'd expect to like these names, but so many of them seem forced. I do like Otto and Anna.

19
January 8, 2011 2:58 AM

Palindromes for girls seem much more popular. I wonder if that is just coincidence...

Also, someone in my Facebook feed mentioned "Hannah is a Palindrome" recently. I don't remember specifics about it but it does ring a bell.

20
By Guest-2011 (not verified)
January 8, 2011 7:25 AM

Nice list. Here are some more names not on that list:

Onno (frisian and armenian/turkish: a male name)
Ebbe (danish: a male name)
Leon-Noel (A combination of two names very popular in germany now: male)

Annasusanna (The longest palindromical nae I am aware of: female)

21
January 8, 2011 11:58 AM

Re palindromic names, I was just reading about Pope Urban II who preached the First Crusade and was reminded that his birth name was Odo. Odo was actually quite a common medieval name, borne by a number of notables, including William the Conqueror's brother.

22
By knp
January 8, 2011 5:59 PM

Not quite palindromic, but this gave me an idea. I recently realized that our top girl's name has double letters in each name
Vienna Colette "Russel" (not Russel, but the last four letters are the same)
And that our top boy's name has double letters in the mn-- so I was joking with hubby about changing the first name to Otto so that it would be true (Otto was adamantly rejected). But, then he suggested adding an n to Vaughn (which I rejected because Vaughn has too many extra letters anyway--by that I mean letters that you do not pronounce) But joked that Vonn wouldn't be as bad. He is kinda going for it, but I don't know... I'm actually surprise by how much I like it.
Vaughn Isaac "Russel"
Vonn Isaac "Russel" Very different look...

No that this matters so much because our other names we love: Daphne Aurora, Taran Michael, Tatiana Eve, have no double letters.

23
January 8, 2011 6:28 PM

Hello! Longtime lurker here.
We're finally trying for our first child, so I can't wait any longer to start discussing names!
Our last name is a common male first name starting with S. The problem is that my favorite boys first names are also last names (Harrison, Archer, and Cooper). My husband thinks that it is cruel to use last names as first names because they'll always be mistakenly called by our last name. Apparently this has always been a problem for him even though his first name is Eric. So, what do you think? Would it be cruel to use those names?
Secondly, one reason I love Archer is that Bowman is a family name. However, I can't tell if that's a cute or lame idea. Opinions are appreciated.
I'm sure I'll have lots more questions in the future, but these are the ones I can't get off my mind.
Thanks!

24
By knp
January 8, 2011 11:29 PM

kakicloud:
A couple thoughts:
1. if you husband, with the name of Eric, gets the fn/ln switch, I don't think you could choose a name that would completely avoid the problem. So, part of me says if you love a name, even if it a ln-turned-fn, go for it.
2. But, if your dear hubby truly thinks it is cruel, then you should stay away from them. I can see his point, especially if it was Landon Steven or Landon Scott (sorry if one of these is your last name, I just think a concrete example helps here). That particular example really really seems backwards to me. (of the three you gave: Cooper and Harrison seem to have this problem worse than Archer)
3. I think the only way you can really make it clear which is the first name is a nicknamey first name (not everyone's style, but wanted to bring it up). For example, Charlie Scott or Tom Steven is less confusing to me.

Oh, and I think that Archer in honor of Bowman is quite clever and can't imagine that anyone would have a poor reaction to that connection!! (watch, now someone will think it lame...)

25
By alr as guest (not verified)
January 9, 2011 12:46 AM

I agree, Archer in honor of Bowman is kinda cool. And I also agree, Archer is the least "last name"y of the ones you listed.

Your husband has a great point though... it might be really confusing for people. Although I will note that in today's last-name-as-first-name naming culture, I'd expect this to be a little less of an issue that it may have been when we were all growing up. Maybe you guys just keep discussing names (you've got some time) and you'll stumble on one you both love that he doesn't find "cruel." ;)

26
January 9, 2011 4:28 PM

kakicloud: I tend to think that your husband, being that he grew up as a male with the last name that could also have been his first name, is probably the best informed to assess whether Cooper or Harrison would be liveable. And, I too think it sounds very backwards if surnamey first names are paired with a surname that has greater popularity as a first name. I'm very sorry that it seems to eliminate your favorite genre, though! I would try to see if it is possible for you to find another name you like that is more unambiguously a first name. Even though the confusion might still happen (previous poster is right - Eric is pretty unambiguous), it wouldn't be constant.

You should, however, get free reign over the middle name spot in exchange. And apart from the last name issue, I think Archer as a Bowman tribute is sweet, though I wouldn't expect everyone else to put it together.

If you're really really wanting to do Harrison or Cooper or Archer in the first name slot -- note that you could choose to do something else with your son's last name as well. If you kept your maiden name (assuming it is not also a common first name for boys) then perhaps you could hyphenate both your husband's surname and yours for your son's last name. Cooper Steven-Jones or Cooper Bublanski-Steven makes it far clearer that Cooper is the first name.

ETA: I also agree with knp that another way of making it really clear is using a nickname... If you like Harrison, perhaps you could do Harry? It's been in so much use as a given name rather than just as a nickname for Henry, that it doesn't *feel* nicknamey to me. But, with your surname, perhaps you run into "Hairy Steven" problems, where Harry starts to sound like an adjective when paired with a first-namey surname. Hmmm. Harold? It even *sounds* like it could be a profession-y name based on sounding like "Herald", but I think it's clearly in first-name category now.

27
January 9, 2011 8:44 AM

Kakicloud: I don't think Archer as a link to Bowman is lame, but I prefer Bowman. It sounds more unexpected and old fashoined to me.

28
January 9, 2011 10:14 AM

Bowman could be a really great middle name, I think. I'd also consider using it as is if I were you.

29
January 9, 2011 1:50 PM

knp-I think the double letter thing is cool. However, I prefer the Vaughn spelling. Conner, David, Scott, Marshall and Tanner are some names that have a double letter. I'm not sure what other names might be your style. I did notice something interesting about the other names you posted..the mn's in two of them both start and end in the same letter for the girls names. So you might want to think about that and go with that angle.
Daphne Aurora, Taran Michael, Tatiana Eve

kakicloud-I would be tempted to go with Cooper as to me that sounds the best with either S last name. I agree with others that Archer instead of Bowman is cute. Using Bowman as a middle name might add to the confusion of which name is first or last. I like the hypenation idea as well.

30
January 10, 2011 12:21 AM

Off topic question that's been hounding me a while. Has anyone heard of the (female) name Darklis - or anything like it? I have tried looking it up and I'm not finding anything, in part because Google helpfully searches html code and finds pages with "Dark List" when I try to find out more info. I'm pretty sure it's a legitimate name, or at least a variant spelling.

I found it in a Jilly Cooper novel - an author who consistently creates a repository of names I really enjoy in each novel. The character lists in the beginning are even better as a source of new names for me than the Expert Matchmaker. But, Darklis puzzles me! In Riders, Jake and Tory (Victoria) Lovell have a son Isaac soon nicknamed Isa, and then a daughter they name Darklis. It sounds like the given name and not a nickname. If it helps, Jake is described as having half-Gypsy heritage, and Tory is upper class and English. Jilly Cooper's names are usually so spot-on and delightfully appropriate, so I don't think it's just a random goth made up name inserted willy nilly.

I know Darko is an Eastern European name, but that's the closest I've gotten. Would welcome ideas because not knowing if I'm pronouncing it correctly in my head and in book discussions is making me a bit crazier than perhaps it should!

31
January 9, 2011 7:19 PM

@kakicloud - I have friends with the surnames: Andrew (no /s/ on the end); Stanley; Campbell; Spencer; Rose. So lots of 'first names' there. They all have problems with the order of names being switched even when it's pretty obvious. As a result I think you should pick the name you like and not worry about it too much. The hyphenated last name is an excellent idea though :)

@knp - I love Vaughn (it's on my list!) but I pronounce it totally differently to Vonn. Not such a big fan of Vonn. Shame you couldn't get Otto up, I am also a fan of that one :)

32
January 9, 2011 9:30 PM

Thanks for all the input!

I hope it didn't sound like I would use a name that my husband didn't like. He has vetoed many other names that are less surname-y (Oliver, Oscar, Elliott, Solomon, etc) and has not vetoed the ones I mentioned. So, he also likes them, but is conflicted about using them. The two other names that he hasn't vetoed are Tristan and Simon.

If I used Harrison (also a family name, btw) I assume it would get shortened to Harry even if I don't want it to, which has given me pause because of the possible Hairy Lastname sound. That would help with the problem I mentioned though.

I'm glad that the Archer/Bowman connection is well-received. It is so funny to me that Bowman is perceived as an interesting middle name possibility. There are so many Bowmans where I'm from that I have a hard time seeing it as anything but boring. Perhaps I should reconsider it for my middle name list though!

The hyphenated last name does seem like the only foolproof way of avoiding this problem, but I just have an irrational bias against hyphenated last names. Perhaps these surname names are best relegated to the middle name position, which is ok since they're meaningful family names.

At least he and I seem to agree on girl names... Hazel, Lily, and Violet are the current frontrunners.

lucubratrix: I've never heard the name Darklis before, but it definitely seems like a legitimate name (there are multiple on facebook). It seems to be a Romany/Gypsy name and the best reference I can find to it is on a list here: http://www.infernaldreams.com/names/Europe/Eastern/Romany.htm
Not sure how reliable that source is and I can't find anything about pronunciation.

33
January 9, 2011 10:23 PM

re: Odo: This is a Japanese surname too. Neat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Odo

knp: yeah it's interesting how different Von(n) and Vaughn look. Von(n) strikes me as very German. (This is just my impression; no clue if it is based in anything real.)

34
January 9, 2011 10:59 PM

For Bowman, you could also use "Fletcher," which means arrow maker.

35
January 10, 2011 1:00 AM

Has anyone ever heard of the name Cedra, for a girl? I just heard it on the radio, and thought it was pretty. I imagine it's a feminization of Cedric, maybe, but behindthename.com and namapedia didn't have it.

36
By another Laura - nli (not verified)
January 10, 2011 8:22 AM

RobynT - If you're still looking for boying nn for non-frilly girl names, have you considered Sal as a nn for Sarah?

Lately Peter has risen to the top of my boys list. Wouldn't you know that we went to dinner at our friends house last night and they're expecting a boy in March whom they plan to name Peter. What I thought was so funny is that one of the big advantages of Peter for me is that it's ranked #191 and falling.

37
By another Laura - nli (not verified)
January 10, 2011 8:25 AM

oops, I meant boyish nn not boying...it's too early in the morning...

38
January 11, 2011 12:06 AM

another Laura: Thanks for thinking of me. We are semi-considering Frances nn Frankie, but I think Olive nn Ollie is still our top choice for girl.

39
January 11, 2011 12:56 PM

From the Telegraph:

Jasper Florian
Mair Elisabeth Patricia ("Polly"), sister for Florence
My favourite is Laurence Happy John Owen, brother for Minnie Love and Heidi Sunshine.

40
By Manda (not verified)
January 11, 2011 7:43 PM

I had twins. I wanted to name them Ada and Elle, but their Daddy said Elle was a letter of the alphabet and not a name. Now all my children have names that end in the same sound instead. Would have loved for them all to be palindromes. I heart palindromes, and my son's birthday is a palindrome (if numbers were palindromes) 01.11.10. I really like Reinier, and even Sylys if the spelling accomplishes the palindrome.

I can't wait to meet the boys named Ada and Anna.

41
By Guest Robin (not verified)
January 12, 2011 8:41 AM

Other options for Bowman would be to shorten it to Bow or Beau (I knew a little pre-schooler named Beau and it was adorable. It's surprisingly masculine in practice.) or to take another direction, how about Orion?

42
January 13, 2011 1:08 AM

Wow, thank you so much, kakicloud! That greatly enhances my reading enjoyment of this book I'm currently reading! :)

And I'd like to say that both Simon and Tristan are excellent!

43
By Guest1 (not verified)
January 17, 2011 5:49 AM

You can also find the meaning of the names given above.

44
January 20, 2011 12:44 AM

I'm not a fan of palindromes for the sake of them. If a name is a palindrome, great, but don't use it as a criterion for choosing a child's name. Otherwise you might end up with Thiknkiht or Furninruf. No.

45
January 25, 2011 3:59 PM

Anona is missing!
It's one of my favourite names, and I don't think it whoud be omitted just because it's not in use in the US today :) It's amazing! ^^

46
By Ti Ti (not verified)
February 4, 2011 10:42 AM

OMG!!!! My son has the same birthday 01-11-10 and I'm expecting my 2nd whose due date is my son's birthday flipped around 10-01-11!!!!! OMG

47
February 9, 2011 1:19 PM

Напомнили….Точно, все так.

48
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