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Intelligent Baby Names Inspired by Literature

Valorie Delp
Baby sleeping on literature books

Bookworms at heart may want to name their babies after their favorite literary characters, authors or poems. Whether you're a fan of the classics, modern literature or somewhere in between, a baby name inspired by literature will most certainly make your little one stand out.

Unique Names for Baby Girls From Literature

  • Clarisse is the feisty neighbor in Fahrenheit 451. It means bright, shining and gentle.
  • Daenerys, a queen from the epic fantasy series, Song of Fire and Ice (the book on which Game of Thrones is based), means 'God is the judge of my discourse.'
  • Dulcinea is from Cervantes' Don Quixote. The name means sweet or sweetness.
  • Esme may have been popularized by Twilight, but J.D. Salinger wrote a whole book about her in For Esme: With Love and Squalor. The name is derived from French, and means loved.
  • Hazel, a character from Watership Down, makes a great name for a little girl. It means from the nut.
  • Mayella, the oldest of the children in To Kill a Mockingbird, may have its roots in the Irish name Maeve and mean, 'the other.'
  • Primrose, which means first rose, was the younger sister of the main character, Katniss, in The Hunger Games.
  • Quimby, based on the last name of the title character from Beverly Cleary's Ramona series, means 'from the woman's estate.'
  • Rezia is short for the Italian name Lucrezia, and it means benefit. You'll find this interesting character in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway.
  • Rosalind is a great literary name finding homes in the works of Shakespeare as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise. It means tender or flexible.
  • Saphira is the name of a blue dragon from The Inheritance Cycle. The name means beautiful or precious.
  • Sula, the main character and title of a book by Toni Morrison, means peace, or 'little she-bear.'
  • Waverly is a character from The Joy Luck Club. The name is English and means 'from the quaking aspen tree meadow.'
  • Zillah was a housewife in Wuthering Heights that often lurked in the background. Zillah means shadow.
  • Zora, the first name of the author, Their Eyes Were Watching God, would make a great name for a little girl. It means, dawn.
    Newborn baby queen sleeping

Strong Names From Literature for Baby Boys

  • Apollyon, one of the darker names from literary cirlces, is the angel of the abyss in the Bible. The name appears in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
  • Arcadio is a leader from the book One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is a geographical name, meaning simply, coming from Arcadia.
  • Christer, a minor character from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is derived from Christian, which means Christ follower .
  • Eddard is a Lord from the epic fantasy series, Song of Fire and Ice. You can shorten this name to Ned, and it means wealthy guardian.
  • Fitzwilliam, of Pride and Prejudice fame, is a great name meaning son of William. You can shorten it to William as well, or just Fitz.
  • Holden is a character from Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. It's a unique name, so not every kid will have it, but it's not totally out there either. It means, from the hollow in the valley.
  • Inigo is the swashbuckling swordsmen from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The name itself means fiery.
  • Syme, from Orwell's classic 1984, is a variation on the name Simon, meaning hearing or listening.
  • Wilkins is the optimistic clerk from David Copperfield and is based on the last name Wilkin.
  • Hendreary from The Borrowers means 'wood clearing.'
  • Rubeus, the first name of the beloved character Hagrid, from Harry Potter, makes an excellent boys name. It means powerful son.
  • Ambrose, an intellectual name meaning immortal, gets its fame from author Ambrose Bierce, an American writer and satirist.
  • Austen, as in Jane Austen, is a great way to pay homage to the literary giant. Austen is an alternative spelling to Austin which means magic, dignity, or venerable.
  • Elwyn is the first name of beloved author E. B. White. It means wise friend.
  • Hemingway is an instantly recognizable name, based on famous author Ernest Hemingway. It is geographical in meaning, based on a place near West Yorkshire in England.
    baby newborn adventure

Unisex Names From Literature

What's better than a name you can use for either a boy or a girl? These unisex names are unique unto themselves.

  • Addison is a great name for both girls and boys after great essayist and writer Joseph Addison. It simply means son of Adam, but is popular as a unisex name.
  • Artemis, from Artemis Fowl fame, works well for either a baby boy or girl. Shorten to Artie for a super cute gender-neutral option. It is after the Greek godess Artemis.
  • Avery is Fern's older brother from the classic children's novel, Charlotte's Web. Avery means 'wise.'
  • Brett is from Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, this name means, 'a Breton.' It also works for a boy, although the character from the book was a female.
  • Darcy, based on the male character from Pride and Prejudice, has enough appeal to work for both genders. It's based on a British surname.
  • Dorian from Oscar Wild's book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, makes a noble and intelligent name. It has roots in Greek and can mean child of the sea.
  • Ellery, as in mystery writer, Ellery Queen, makes a great name for either a little boy or little girl.
  • Embry is a character from the series Twilight. It is an English surname that means 'home ruler.'
  • Safie is an Arabic name meaning, wisdom. However, Shelly wrote Safie as the love interest to Felix in Frankenstein. It's exotic and works both ways.
  • Tristan, from Tristan and Iseulte is the main male character. However, people use the name for both girls and boys, and it means outcry or tumult.
    Asian baby sleeping

For the Love of Literature

It's great when your kids can tell stories about how you came up with their name. Give them something intellectual to chew on, and a strong name from one of your favorite books or authors.

Intelligent Baby Names Inspired by Literature