January Baby Names: 30 Names for Boys and Girls Born With the New Year
Names for Girls Born in January
Angela - The name Angela is Latin for "angel," and the feast of St. Angela is celebrated on January 27. The patron saint of the sick and disabled, St. Angela founded the Ursuline Order, the first group of Catholic nuns to work outside of the cloister. In the United States, the Ursulines are perhaps best known for operating the oldest continuously-run Catholic school in the US, which offered the first classes for female slaves and free women of color. Another famous Angela with connections to the month of January is civil rights activist Angela Davis, born on January 26, 1944. For an even more feminine take on this beautiful name, parents may alternatively choose the diminutive Angelina, the first name of actress Angelina Jolie and murine children's book protagonist Angelina Ballerina.
Aurora - The name of the Disney princess better known as Sleeping Beauty, Aurora means "dawn." It was the name of the Roman goddess of the sunrise, whose tears created the morning dew. For the more science-minded, it is also connected to the Northern Lights, officially called Aurora Borealis. With the more casual nicknaming option "Rory," Aurora would be a beautiful name for a baby born at the dawn of a new year.
Dawn - A more straightforward version of the previous entry, Dawn is English for... well, "dawn." A single-syllable name with character and weight, Dawn would be equally lovely as a first name or a streamlined middle that is easy to pair with practically anything.
Eve - A Hebrew name meaning "life," Eve was the name of the first woman depicted in the Bible. Equally stylish and traditional, Eve calls to mind not only the mother of humankind, but also the parties and champagne toasts of New Year's Eve. A versatile moniker, Eve has numerous variations, including Evie, Eva, Ava, and Evelyn. Perhaps no other name is so suited to a new life begun with the New Year.
Garnet - The January birthstone, garnet means "pomegranate," and accordingly, it is a deep red stone often used in jewelry. Garnets are thought to symbolize passionate devotion and encourage vitality and stamina. Garnet jewelry was particularly popular among Victorian jewelers, and has also historically been popular in Spain, where garnets and pomegranates both hold special significance because of the southern city of Granada, whose name (like garnet) means "pomegranate."
Genesis - The name of the first book of the Bible, Genesis is a Greek word meaning "origin" and is therefore quite fitting for a baby born at the start of the year. It could also be an interesting way to get to nicknames like Jennie or Gen without choosing the 80's favorite Jennifer.
Genevieve - With a feast day celebrated on January 3, St. Genevieve is the patron saint of Paris. A consecrated virgin, St. Genevieve has been connected to many miracles. In the year 496, as Attila the Hun and his army approached Paris, St. Genevieve convinced the inhabitants to avert the coming danger through prayer and fasting instead of abandoning the city. Just as she had predicted, his army changed course just before reaching the city, an occurrence that many have attributed to divine intervention. Centuries after her death, St. Genevieve's shrine is said to have ended a great fever that swept through Paris in the Miracle of Des Ardens. In the midst of the illness, the shrine was paraded through the city, and all those who touched it were cured. After the parade, the illness suddenly abated, and no more people fell ill. Conveniently for the parents of January babies, the name Genevieve can also be shortened to Eve, another name that appears on this list.
Hope - A classic virtue name, Hope represents how many of us feel at the start of the New Year, setting resolutions and making plans for the future. It is also the feeling that a new life brings, making it a perfect choice for January babies.
Jael - Pronounced "Yah-El," Jael is a Hebrew name meaning "mountain goat," making it a fitting name for a child born under the sign of Capricorn. In the Bible, Jael was a heroine in the Book of Judges who saved the Israelites by driving a tent peg through the head of the sleeping general Sisera. A more modern bearer of the name is Israeli-French singer Yael Naim, best known for her hit single "New Soul."
January - The significance of this name is pretty obvious. Popularized by Mad Men actress January Jones, January is a wintry alternative to more popular calendar names like April, May, June, and August. The month's name is thought to come from the Roman god Janus, who presided over doorways, passages, and beginnings. However, according to some ancient Roman almanacs, January is really named after Juno, queen of the Roman pantheon.
Nadine - A French name meaning "hope," Nadine is a nice way to reference the virtue without being quite so on-the-nose. It is the name of South African writer Nadine Gordimer. For a Russian variation, parents could also try the Slavic Nadia, perhaps best known as the name of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, the first athlete in the history of the sport to be awarded a perfect ten at the Olympics.
Nova - A Latin word meaning "new," the name Nova has several connections to science. Most prominently, it is an astronomical term for the appearance of a seemingly "new," very bright star that fades over the course of weeks or months. NOVA is also the name of a long-running PBS science series, a Marvel superhero, and a character in The Planet of the Apes.
Prima - A Latin name meaning "first," Prima could be a fitting moniker for a child born in the first month of the year. It could also be an apt name for a future artist, dancer, or musician as the term prima donna refers to a leading lady in the opera, while prima ballerina is the designation given to the lead dancer in a ballet company.
Roxanne - Another name that means "dawn," Roxanne is of Persian origins. It is the name of the heroine in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, to whom Cyrano says, "Your name is like a golden bell." Roxanne was also the name of the heroine Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago and the name of Daryl Hannah's character Roxanne Kowalski in the Steve Martin film Roxanne, which is based on Cyrano de Bergerac.
Zora - Yet another name meaning "dawn," the Serbo-Croatian Zora is best known as the first name of Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer who was a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Unfortunately, the variation spelled with two r's is a Spanish term, meaning both "female fox" and something much less savory. Be warned to spell it with one r and perhaps avoid entirely if you live in an area where Spanish is spoken.
What is your favorite January-inspired name for girls?
Names for Boys Born in January
Adam - The biblical name of the first man created by God, Adam is Hebrew for "son of the red earth." It has been the name of Star Wars actor Adam Driver, Maroon Five frontman Adam Levine, and economist Adam Smith. A strong, classic choice, the name of the first man makes sense for a baby born in the first month of the year.
Alexander - Born on January 11, 1755, Alexander Hamilton was an American Founding Father and inspiration for the current Broadway mega-hit musical Hamilton. The first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the founder of the American financial system, the Federalist Party, the Coast Guard, and The New York Post newspaper. His heroic-sounding name is Greek for "defender of men," and it has been shared by such luminaries as the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and the satirist Alexander Pope. Modern nicknames for Alexander include Alex, Xander, and Alec.
Benjamin - Another Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706. An author, printer, scientist, inventor, humorist, political theorist, and diplomat, Franklin was the original American Renaissance Man. Born the tenth son of a soap maker, Franklin grew up to sign the Declaration of Independence; serve as Ambassador to France and Sweden; publish Poor Richard's Almanac and the Pennsylvania Gazette; and invent the lightning rod, swim fins, and bifocals. Franklin's name is Hebrew for "son of the right hand" and has been the name of American President Benjamin Harrison, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, and actors Ben Stiller and Ben Affleck. It can, of course, be shortened to Ben or Benji.
Clay - Born on January 17, 1942, the boy initially known as Cassius Clay grew up to become a man simply called "the Greatest," the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Known both for his boxing prowess and his political views, Ali was a prominent Civil Rights figure, a convert to Islam, and a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. Because Ali regarded Cassius Clay as his "slave name," parents wishing to honor the boxer with a namesake may be better off choosing Muhammad or Ali. However, "Clay" makes this list because of its connections to the first name on the list, Adam, the first man, who was made from clay. An earlier Cassius Clay (born October 19, 1810) was an abolitionist politician from Kentucky, and other famous Clays include American Idol singer Clay Aiken and football player Clay Matthews.
Elvis - Elvis Presley, the rock 'n' roll legend often known simply as "the King" was born on January 9, 1935. Although the meaning and origin of the name is unknown, it may have some relation to the Scandinavian Alvis, a Norse mythological name meaning "all-wise." While still an uncommon name, Elvis was chosen by the musician Declan Patrick McManus as his stagename: Elvis Costello. Parents looking for a more "wearable" modern alternative may decide to go with Presley instead.
Felix - The name Felix is Latin for "happy and fortunate," explaining the name of the golden good luck potion called Felix Felicis (or "liquid luck") in the Harry Potter series. Felix has been the name of several Catholic saints, including St. Felix of Nola, whose feast day is celebrated on January 14. Twice, St. Felix was hidden from Roman authorities who had come to arrest him when a spider quickly spun its web across the doorway of the room where he was hiding, convincing the Romans that it had long been abandoned. Apparently, he lived up to his lucky name. Other famous Felixes include Felix the cat, the composer Felix Mendelssohn, and longtime Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. Felix would be a wonderful choice for parents wishing their newborn luck and happiness in his first year of life.
Franklin - In addition to being the surname of Benjamin Franklin, whose January 17, 1706 birthday earned his first name an entry on this list, Franklin was the first name of the United States' longest-serving president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was born on January 30, 1882. Having shepherded the nation through both the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin is often ranked by historians among the top three American presidents, alongside George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Although paralyzed by polio, Franklin overcame incredible odds to accomplish countless victories during his administration, including the passage of Social Security, the New Deal, the Glass-Steagall Act, and the GI Bill.
Giles - A name meaning "young goat," Giles would be a good fit for a Capricorn baby. Although there's something extremely British about it, Giles has been the name of figures on both sides of the pond, including the British fashion designer Giles Deacon, the Salem Witch Trials martyr Giles Corey, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer mentor Rupert Giles.
Isaac - Not one but two famous Isaacs were born in the month of January: the British physicist Sir Isaac Newton (January 4, 1643) and the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (January 2, 1920). Isaac was the name of Abraham and Sarah's long-awaited son in the Bible, and his name means "laughter." Nicknames for Isaac include Izzy, Zack, and Ike.
Luther - Born on January 15, 1929, the American Baptist Minister Martin Luther King, Jr. led a nonviolent resistance movement to fight racial injustice in the United States. He was unfortunately martyred for his cause, but we celebrate his life on the third Monday of every January. Other famous Luthers include the R&B artist Luther Vandross, the Protestant iconoclast Martin Luther, and even President Obama's "anger translator," Luther, from the Comedy Central show Key & Peele.
Martin - Another name connected both to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Martin Luther, Martin is a Latin moniker meaning "warlike." Other famous Martins include American President Martin Van Buren, comedians Martin Lawrence and Martin Short, director Martin Scorsese, actor Martin Sheen, and the Charles Dickens protagonist Martin Chuzzlewit, from the novel of the same name.
Naveen - A Hindi name meaning "new," Naveen was introduced to a worldwide audience with the release of Disney's The Princess and the Frog, in which the heroine Tiana's heart is stolen by the free-spirited Prince Naveen. Fans of the TV drama Lost may also be familiar with the name as that of actor Naveen Andrews, who played Sayid on the show.
Neo - This Matrix-inspired name is a science fiction spin on other -eo names like Theo and Cleo. It is Latin for "new" and therefore a good fit for a New Year's baby.
Primo - An Italian name meaning "first," Primo seems a fairly obvious choice for a January baby. It was the name of the Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi.
Thomas - With a feast day celebrated on January 28, St. Thomas Aquinas was a famed theologian and philosopher and one of the primary thinkers of medieval Scholasticism. He is the patron saint of academics, philosophers, and protection against storms. Two other famous St. Thomases flank the month of January, with the martyr St. Thomas a Becket celebrated on December 29 and the martyr St. Thomas More born on February 7, 1478 (although his feast day is celebrated on July 9. Another well-known Thomas connected to the month of January is Rights of Man author Thomas Paine, born on January 29, 1737. Other famous Thomases include actors Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and Tom Felton; American President Thomas Jefferson; inventor Thomas Edison; and dark wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle, AKA Lord Voldemort.