The trend of geographical baby names seems to have been around forever, with some parents managing to get it right, and others seriously wrong.
So if you’re interested in giving your child-to-be a geographical name, how do you walk the line between timeless and trashy? Well, we want to explore that a little by going into the reasons you might choose a geographic baby name, and some ideas to get you started.
Why Choose A Geographical Baby Name?
There are lots of really good reasons for choosing a geographical baby name. You and your partner might want to celebrate the location where you met, got married, or did something else significant. You might also want to celebrate places that you’ve travelled to, or just a general feeling of wanderlust and love of exploration that you both share.
If that’s not the case, it might be that you want to hark back to your ancestral ties, honouring your roots with the name of your parents’ or grandparents’ origin city or country.
Of course, you might choose a geographical name simply because you like the way that it sounds, and the meaning is less important. This is totally ok too, and in the end, it comes down to what kind of name you had in mind, the sounds you like, and the wide variety of place names that are out there today.
Subtle vs Obvious
One thing you definitely want to think about if you’re considering a geographical baby name is if you want to go subtle, or really obvious. If you’ve chosen the name because you want to celebrate where you met your partner, or where your child was conceived, or something else that is really close to your heart, an obvious name is a cool idea. It provides an easy starting conversation for you that centres on your child, and something fun for your child to remember about themselves, except when they’re a teenager and they don’t want to hear that conception story one more time.
Alternatively, if you’re just choosing a name because you like the way it sounds, or the location it represents, subtle names can be a lovely alternative. They’re not openly screaming of geography, but they’re still connected to the world.
Personally, we’re fond of the more subtle geographic names ourselves. While Paris, India, Asia and so on are lovely names, there’s something magical about an understated location that we just love.
Some Name Ideas
Andorra (F): A small princedom in the Pyrenees that is known for its skiing.
Aspen (U): A city in Colorado with snow and skiing connotations.
Avalon (F): An island paradise in a Celtic myth and Arthurian legend.
Bethany (F): A city in Israel, the name is thought to mean “house of figs”.
Bowen (M): A town in Queensland, this is also a Welsh name meaning “son of Owain”.
Catalina (F): An island off the south west coast of California.
Dakota (U): Two American states hold this name, but it’s also the name of a sub-tribe of the Sioux.
Delphi (F): A Greek location connected to the Delphic Oracle, and major site of worship.
Emi (U): A volcano in Chad, the name is also found in Japan where it means either “beautiful picture” or “beautiful favour”.
Euston (M): A small town on the banks of the Murray River.
Floyd (M): A county in Georgia, US, and connected to the name LLOYD.
Holland (U): A country in Europe, but the name also means “wooded land”.
Indio (M): A Californian desert town, meaning “Indian”.
Iona (F): An island off the coast of Scotland.
Jannali (F): A southern suburb of Sydney, this is likely an Indigenous Australian name meaning “moon”.
Jervis (M): A gorgeous bay on the south coast of New South Wales.
Juneau (F): A seaport and remote capital of Alaska, this name is thought to be of French origin.
Kingston (M): A Jamaican town, the meaning of this is pretty clear: “king’s town”.
Knox (M): A county in Illinois, US, this name also means “round hill”.
Lourdes (F): A French town with biblical connections.
Marlo (U): A small Australian village located ni the Gippsland area of Victoria near the mouth of the Snowy River.
Memphis (U): A southern American city with lots of blues connotations.
Nevis (F): A small island paradise in the Caribbean for lovers of the sun, sea and sand.
Odessa (F): A Ukrainian port city on the north coast of the Black Sea that might be given to celebrate family heritage.
Oslo (M): The Norwegian capital, a name that could be used to honour ancestral roots.
Quito (M): Pronounced KEE-toe this is the capital of Ecuador, also meaning “fifth”.
Raleigh (U): A small town on the mid north coast of New South Wales.
Roma (U): An Italian place name, this name also appears in Hindu where it means “one with shiny hair”.
Samara (F): A Russian name and river, this also means “protected by God”.
Warner (M): A suburb north of Brisbane, this is also a surname that likely means “guard army”.
Zanthus (U): A remote spot on the Trans-Australian rail line about 200 km from Kalgoorlie.
Zaria (F): A city in Nigeria, this name might also derive from a similar name that means “blooming flower”.