22 of the Best Greek Baby Names -- and Their Meanings
Looking for a Greek name for your child? Here are 22 great ideas!
Choosing from a list of Greek baby names can be exciting, fun and challenging for parents. "It's considered a tradition to pass down Greek names from generation to generation. While babies are not normally named after their mother and father, the firstborn male is often named after the paternal grandpa while the girl baby is named after the paternal grandmother," says naming expert Neala Shane, author of "Inspired Baby Names from Around the World."
"Many Greek names can be found in the Bible with many babies named after saints," she notes. "If someone is named after a god or goddess rather than a saint, it used to be thought that the family was not overly religious."
Picking the perfect baby name isn't easy, but it should be a time of celebration. "It's one of the most emotionally loaded decisions couples can make together," says Dr. John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of "The Available Parent." "Choose a name you both like, whether it's the sound of the name, the meaning behind the name or the person you are naming your child in honor of." For many Greeks, passing names down from generation to generation is a way of keeping the culture and history alive.
When considering the perfect Greek name, many parents consider how the child will be identified as part of the family and community, says Maryellen P. Mullin, a San Francisco-based licensed marriage and family therapist. Obviously family and community are extremely important in the Greek culture.
Here is a list of some top Greek baby names as cited in Shane's book, along with their meanings:
Greek Baby Names for Boys
- Alexios (ah-LEKS-ee-ohs)
This classic name means "protector and helper of humankind."
- Argos (AHR-gohs)
Did your baby come out smiling? If so this name is perfect -- it means "bright, shining."
- Dimitrios (dee-MEE-tree-OHS)
This classic name means "mother earth, earth lover, earthy" and is great for someone with strong ties to nature.
- Grigorios (gree-GOH-ree-ohs)
This unique name is perfect for someone in the know. It means "watchful, vigilant, alert."
- Leander (lee-AHN-der)
Another unique name, this one means "lion-man, lion-hearted."
- Michail (mee-kah-EEL)
This classic name means "who is like God."
- Sandros (SAHN-drohs)
This popular name means "protector and helper of humankind."
- Sotirios (soh-TEE-ree-ohs)
This name means "salvation."
- Stephanos, Stefanos (steh-FAH-nohs)
A popular name it is -- perhaps because of its meaning: "crown, crowned one."
- Thanos (THAH-nohs)
This name means "immortal, eternal" -- and your baby is sure to give you eternal happiness.
- Zeno (ZEE-noh)
This name means "stoic, disciplined, of Zeus (Greek father of the gods)."
Greek Baby Names for Girls
- Apollonia (ah-poh-LOH-nee-ah)
This classic name is perfect for your strong little girl -- it means "strength, might."
- Chara (KAH-rah)
As soon as you see her you'll be "joyous, happy," which is also its meaning.
- Danae (dah-NAY)
A unique name, Danae means "dry, arid."
- Elektra (eh-LEK-trah)
A popular name, this positive moniker means "shining one, brilliant, electric."
- Elena (eh-LEH-nah)
Another popular name, this one means "light, illumination, torch."
- Kalidas (kah-LEE-dahs)
Unique and perfect, this name means "beautiful, lovely."
- Leandra (leh-AHN-drah)
If you want a strong protector for your little girl, this name does it. It means "lioness, lion-hearted."
- Odele (oh-DEH-leh)
This unique name means "song, singer."
- Selene (seh-LEH-neh)
The classic Selene means "moon, moon goddess."
- Sofronia (soh-FROH-nee-ah)
Give your little girl a strong future with this name meaning "wise, wisdom."
- Zoe (ZOH-ee)
This name is very popular for a reason. It means "life, full of life."
"Due to the importance of naming conventions, some Greek names have been used in the same family line for hundreds of years," says Shane. Many Greeks celebrate the naming of their baby by having an open house name day party. Not only are gifts brought to the house for the new family, but often people will light a candle at the local church in honor of the saint that the baby was named for.
For more name ideas, check out these 21 Beautiful Mexican Baby Names.
Judy Koutsky is the former editorial director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also executive editor of Parenting, AOL Parent and BabyTalk. Follow her on twitter.