Mermaids and pirates have been captivating the imaginations of both children and adults for ages. These timeless legends of seafaring have given us songs, stories, movies, national holidays, theme parks, and more.
We simply love the sea and the stories that have been told about it. If you’re looking for some keen pirate names, or some sea-worthy mermaid names, we have you covered on both fronts.
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Beyond tales of peg-legged charmers in search of gold, these are names of the most infamous real-life pirates of all time. The era when piracy was in its peak is from the 1500s to the 1800s, and many the names reflect that. There are traditional names and a few surprises among these names borne by sinister scalawags.
This traditional name strikes us as flowing and reliable, with just the right amount of quirkiness. Bartholomew was the name of an infamous Welsh pirate also known as Black Bart, or the Great Pirate Roberts.
You don’t find too many Howells here in the United States, but it’s a lot more common to see as a surname or given name in Wales. This was the first name of the clever Welsh pirate Howell Davis.
Nothing says pirate quite like the name Jack. We get that idea from the creator of the Jolly Roger flag, a pirate named Calico Jack. Our favorite pirate with this name, however, comes from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
The famous pirate Black Sam, born Samuel Bellamy, was so successful he was named the #1 top-earning pirate by Forbes. (Who knew?) We’re charmed by his on-trend French surname, meaning “beautiful friend.”
A really unusual English name, we think Stede is surprising choice for a pirate or a gentleman. Known as The Gentleman’s Pirate, Stede Bonnet had inherited his family’s estate and fortune, but turned to piracy nonetheless.
Mermaids have played an important part in sea tales and fantasy novels for centuries. But oddly enough, literary mermaids are often not named. The most famous mermaid tale, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid is never referred to by any name. Nameless mermaids are featured in Peter Pan, Moby-Dick, the Harry Potter series, and sirens can be found in Homer's Odyssey. So we curated mermaid names from a variety of sources, some a bit surprising.
Once a mysterious mythological name, so many of us are fond of this lyrical choice. Before Gilmore Girls came around, this was the name of a mermaid or water spirit popular in folklore.
It’s difficult not to associate this name with a mermaid. Disney's name for Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid put this lovely name on the modern map.
Perhaps derived from Cleopatra, this twist on an Egyptian name was created for a mermaid princess by L. Frank Baum in his novel The Sea Fairies.
Where would we be without the movie Splash? From that 1984 hit, many were inspired to use the name chosen by the main character when she came across Madison Ave.
The heroine from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Miranda is a wonderful name for a mermaid! It was used for a beautiful mermaid in a 1948 film of the same name.
Iara or Yara
Iara is a Brazilian mythological mermaid featuring green hair and olive skin. Her name means "mother of waters" and remains an undiscovered gem in the US.
You love the name—but it's "taken."
It's an all-too familiar feeling for expectant parents. Perhaps your sister-in-law just named her baby Penelope, the very name you'd picked out for a future daughter. Perhaps you've always planned to name a son Oliver, but now that Oliver's a top-10 nationwide hit, you're afraid it will make too common a pairing with your surname Jones. Whatever your definition of "taken," you're in the market for alternatives. What other names could capture the same feeling and style that you love?
We have potential answers, for two dozen of America's hottest names. Three years ago we rounded up uncommon alternatives to match the top 25 names for boys and girls. Our new list features names that have risen into popularity since then, and ramps up to four suggested alternatives per name. Each of the suggestions is less than one third as popular as the original name, so you should be able to find an option you can make your own.
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Alice: Beatrice, Edith, Willa, Helen
Aurora: Ariela, Linnea, Ariadne, Seraphina
Camila: Valeria, Lucia, Cecilia, Corina
Eleanor: Marion, Louisa, Harriet, Rosalind
Everly: Waverly, Bellamy, Ellington, Verity
Hazel: Astrid, Opal, Beatrix, Maeve
Luna: Lyra, Rhea, Juno, Anya
Naomi: Sarai, Ione, Miriam, Liora
Nora: Lena, Nola, Rose, Ada
Paisley: Oakley, Landry, Raelyn, Briley
Penelope: Calliope, Elodie, Clementine, Persephone
Willow: Marlowe, Ember, Juneau, Sparrow
Axel: Ajax, Maxim, Magnus, Aidric
Bryson: Lawson, Bowen, Princeton, Kason
Grayson: Paxton, Colson, Carver, Sutton
Julian: Quentin, Raphael, Lucian, Simeon
Leo: Milo, Hugo, Rex, Arlo
Levi: Judah, Boaz, Tobias, Cyrus
Lincoln: Edison, Porter, Shepard, Paxton
Mateo: Tadeo, Nico, Dante, Emilio
Maverick: Remington, Deacon, Ranger, Broderick
Oliver: Jasper, Felix, Julius, Everett
Theodore: Bartholomew, Frederick, Benedict, Augustus
Wyatt: Walker, Beckett, Bowman, Cabot
Do you want a baby name that comes with a creeping shadow and a chill down your spine? You might, judging from the names American parents are choosing today. Flat-out spooky names are more popular than ever before.
We're not just talking about names you can link with scary stories. That's too easy. Sure, "Jason" was the creepy killer in a long string of Friday the 13th movies, but at the end of the day his name is still Jason, same as your brother-in-law. To make our list, a name has to have spooky in its DNA. It also has to be a real-life baby name: every one of our Chilling 13 was given to at least five newborn American boys or girls last year.
Morticia and Gomez Addams. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Remember the elegantly ghoulish lady of the house in The Addams Family? With her floor-length gowns and corpse-like pallor, Morticia Addams made the sinister stylish. So much so, in fact, that her mortician-inspired name is no longer just a joke.
Lucifer comes from the Latin for "light bringer," but you can't get much darker than the Prince of Darkness himself. The association with Satan made this name essentially off-limits for centuries. Today, the tv series Lucifer has given the devil, and his name, a modern makeover.
The fictional dark city of Arkham, Massachusetts was a favorite setting for horror legend H.P. Lovecraft. Today, comics fans know the name from the world of Batman, where the "Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane" houses a Who's Who of supervillains. The Asylum's name was a tribute to Lovecraft.
The name Belladonna sounds like a fashionable mashup of Isabella and Donatella, and in Italian it means "beautiful woman." In English, it means deadly nightshade.
Something graven is indelibly etched or carved, like the graven images (carved idols) forbidden by the Ten Commandments. But "grave" also means serious or somber, and the place where a body is buried. So a graven gravestone is grave indeed.
This name offers a subtler kind of shudder, a silent darkness. It pairs its chills with a red-hot sound, like Willow, Shiloh and Harlow. Shadow is also the mysterious protagonist of American Gods, and the only name on this list that is given to both boys and girls.
The name Alucard was literally built from the pieces of a vampire: it's Dracula backwards. The very first Alucard was played by monster master Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1943 film Son of Dracula. Since then the name has become a vampiric staple in every medium.
The word grim means bleak, forbidding, dreadful. That's plenty of spooky points to start with, but it's the soul-harvesting Grim Reaper who gives the name extra "spirit."
As a nickname for New York City, Gotham dates back two centuries to author Washington Irving. Since 1940, though, Batman has made it his own. The Dark Knight and friends fight crime by night in the menacing streets of Gotham City. Bonus spooky-name points for the nickname Goth.
Like Lucifer, Hades is a name that thinks big. No mere demon or specter, Hades was the Greek god of the underworld, ruling over a vast eternal realm of the dead. Woe betide anyone who tried to cheat death on his watch.
The thorn represents hidden danger, the menace lurking even in a bouquet of roses. It's one floral name that's anything but sweet.
At first glance this may look like just a mild-mannered Irish surname. Look again. The Morrigan was the great Celtic goddess of war and death. She would appear on the battlefields in the form of a crow; she could fill warriors' hearts with courage, or with fear; she foretold doom. Mild-mannered she wasn't.
Shhh…did you hear that? A whisper can be a sign of intimacy, or a sign that somebody, something is lurking in the darkness. Or just a perfect sister for Shadow.