Writing is one of my several hobbies, and lists like the one below help me with writer's block every now and again.
Desert-Themed Names That Will Stand Out
Naming your child after a desert can be a creative way to come up with unique baby names that are not commonly used. It's quite the rage these days to choose a name that stands out from all the rest—so, using the desert as inspiration, I've made a list of baby names that may be a little different from the norm.
Basically, anything related to the desert was fair game, whether it be the names of the deserts themselves, desert towns, language translations, plants and animals found in the desert—even feelings the open sands may evoke. I must admit that it was a little harder than I expected, because not everything inspired by the desert makes for a cool baby name, but I hung in there and got the job done. I've even included the meanings or origins behind some of the names. So, if you've always been fascinated by the shifting sands or rocky outcrops of the hotter regions of our planet, this may be the perfect names list for you. I hope you find it at least a bit useful while searching for that perfect first name for your child.
I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune; sees nothing; hears nothing; yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams . . .
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Little Prince"
Popular Desert Names for Newborns
- Arizona: A fitting, albeit obvious, name for a baby girl or boy.
- Audun: This name means "desolate."
- Bast: The Egyptian goddess associated with protection and cats. She is also the daughter of Ra, the sun god.
- Chaya: Hebrew for "life."
- Cleopatra: A beautiful desert name that may be shortened in formal situations to "Cleo." I've actually know two Cleo's in my life up to this point.
- Edan: Celtic for "fire." What a great name for a boy.
- Grannus: This Celtic god of fire and the sun would make a perfect name for a boy.
- Jordan: A river in Israel that holds special significance to those who practice Judaism and Christianity.
- Phaedra: A name of Greek origin that means "bright."
- Pyla: The largest sand dune in Europe.
- Sage: Desert sage is a very common plant in a lot of deserts.
- Sandy or Sandra: A pretty, albeit obvious, name that's inspired by the desert.
- Seri: An indigenous tribe associated with the Sonoran Desert.
- Tomesha: A Native American name meaning “ground afire."
A–B Names With Meanings and Notes
- Abalos: A sand dune on Mars (deserts from other worlds).
- Ahote: Hopi for “restless one."
- Amaterasu: Japanese goddess of the sun.
- Anasazi: A Navajo word that means "enemy ancestors."
- Aranda: My great aunt was given this beautiful name.
- Ari: Hebrew for “lion."
- Arid: A name for someone with a dry sense of humor.
- Aridisol: Arid soil.
- Ar Ramlah: The sand.
- Aster: Named after the Mojave aster plant. This name is also Greek for "star."
- Atacama: A desert in South America.
- Baja: A great desert-themed baby name.
- Barren: A name that most mothers wouldn't want to use.
- Bloom: Because deserts come alive with color every time it rains.
- Boa: After the desert rosy boa (a snake) of the Mojave Desert.
- Bosa: Derived from the Old English meaning "clearing or glade."
- Brick: You can't make these pillars of construction without sand.
More A–B Names
Desert Inspired Baby Names From the Rocks and Sands
Using the desert as inspiration for a good name may seem a little ironic because a name is seen as a permanent thing, whereas most deserts are always changing. Water and wind erode the ground and rock, while deserts made up of sand are always in constant motion. Look closely enough at the most barren desert, and you will discover life. Life always seems to be permanent—like a name.
C–E Names With Meanings and Notes
- Cactus: These trees of the desert come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
- Camel: A ship that needs no water.
- Christmas: Like a Christmas cactus.
- Creo: After the creosote bush.
- Crimson: After the crimson hedgehog cactus.
- Darwin: Only the strong survive.
- Datura: A summer perennial of the desert.
- Desert: A bit on the spot, but still a good name.
- Dune: A great name with a sci-fi feel.
- Dykuma: Lithuanian for "desert."
- Dyssodia: Another desert plant.
- Eolian: Wind activity.
- Ezra: An old Hebrew word that means "help."
More C–E Names
Not All Deserts Are Hot
A lot of people only associate deserts with heat, which is incorrect. The global environments are defined by their lack of rainfall (how dry they are). As a result, many different regions all over the world are classified as deserts. Some are cold, some are hot, all are harsh, but all have some form life. I bet you never thought that you could freeze to death in a desert, but you can.
F–H Names With Meanings and Notes
- Gila: After a venomous lizard native to the southwestern U.S. Also a river running through New Mexico and Arizona.
- Gobi: This was my great uncle's name.
- Hammada: A rocky desert.
- Hesperia: An ancient Greek name of Italy that means "land of the setting sun."
- Hopper: Named after the locusts that populate this arid world.
- Hotness: A bit spot on for name suggestions, but it still works.
More F–H Names
I–K Names With Meanings and Notes
- Jalal: Meaning "great; majestic."
- Javier: Meaning "bright."
- Johona: Navajo name meaning "sunny."
- Khufu: A great Egyptian pharaoh.
- Kuuma: Finnish for "hot."
More I–K Names
L–P Names With Meanings and Notes
- Lawrence: A solid desert name for a boy.
- Leona: Latin for "lion."
- Lithop: Living stones.
- Maracanda: Modern-day Samarkand.
- Marrram: A desert grass.
- Molopo: A river running through the Kalahari Desert.
- Neema: Means "born in prosperity."
- Ordos: A desert in China.
- Oryx: A gazelle that lives in some deserts.
- Papago: The English name for the Tohono O'odham people of the Sonoran Desert.
More L–P Names
Mex or Mexico
What's Hidden in the Sands?
Many people don't realize that, at one time, the deserts used to be lush, green areas of land with rivers and lakes. Some of them were even centers of civilization or large communities. Our ancestors had to share the land with a variety of animals. Going back much further, you'll find fossils from the ages when reptiles ruled the lands.
If you dig deep enough beneath the desert sands, odds are good that you'll find something quite interesting—and some of those interesting items can be quite large. All you have to do is tolerate the heat and itchy sand.
R–S Names With Meanings and Notes
- Red: There are a few desert sands that are deep red in color.
- Rocky: The majority of desert lands are rock.
- Sadzi: Meaning "sunny; happy."
- Sahara: The largest hot desert in the world.
- Sand: A strange but unique name.
- Senna: From the Arabic name "Sana," which means "brilliance, radiance, splendor."
- Sunshine: A fitting name, though not all deserts have sunshine.
More R–S Names
Beautiful and Deadly
Deserts prove that there is beauty in everything. At first glance, most of these areas seem to be barren, uninhabitable landscapes that you wouldn't want to be stranded in for even a few hours, however, spend a little time in one and you will completely change your mind. Before doing this, however, it is wise to study the place where you're going and be prepared, for this beautiful entity can torture or even kill those who aren't ready for it.
T–Z Names With Meanings and Notes
- Takla Makan: A desert in Western China.
- Tequila: This is a drink made from agave, a desert plant.
- Ute: A Native American people of Arizona and New Mexico.
- Vegas: A friend of mine named their child "Vegas" because she was born there.
More T–Z Names
In case you're reading this list to find a good name for a fictional character, here are a few story ideas, character circumstances, and personality quirks that might help inspire you:
- A person is near death, only to be saved by a nomadic desert tribe. They are reborn from the experience and given a new name by the tribe.
- A character is raised in the desert, but their people are slaughtered by a group of barbarians. They vow revenge to honor the loved ones that died.
- What about a character who can manipulate the desert sands? As such, they never leave their place of power and are practically unbeatable on their own turf. A large oil discovery makes things even more interesting as many powerful nations now want their lands.
- A person with a giant scorpion tattoo on their back is found wandering the Nevada desert and is brought to a casino to recover. They recover, win a bunch of money, and buy the very casino that they found refuge in.
Finding the Right Name Is Never Easy
Coming up with creative names for a child, fictional character, or even a pet is not as easy as it would seem. By looking for inspiration in unusual places, that process can be just a bit easier. I hope this article has helped you do that in some way or at the very least inspired you to come up with a great name idea of your own. Thanks for paying it a visit.
© 2013 Don
Do You Know Someone Who Is Named After a Desert or Has a Desert-Themed Name?
Cat on March 24, 2020:
I have a pet snake (sand boa) named Sirocco, meaning desert wind.
BikersGearGermany on March 07, 2020:
Love these ideas. Thanks:)
Jlo on January 15, 2020:
I’m surprised Cleo and cleopatra aren’t on here
Don (author) from Tennessee on January 13, 2020:
How did I not even consider that one? I love the comment section!
Tyler on January 12, 2020:
Don (author) from Tennessee on August 23, 2019:
All baby names aren't necessarily meant to be cute. The names in this article are associated (in some way) with deserts or hot, arid landscapes. While some of the names are cute, a lot are not... just like first names in general.
!@# on August 23, 2019:
umm these are not very cute names
Don (author) from Tennessee on January 21, 2019:
Thank you. Many people don't realize just how cold deserts get at night; I may just have to re-think my position about putting too many cold-nature desert related names onto my list, after all most deserts are of the hot in the day; cold at night variety.
Joilene Rasmussen from United States on January 21, 2019:
My daughter used this list to help select a name for a "pet" stuffed camel. (He's still choosing out of a pool of several names.)
Where I live in northeastern Colorado, we have sand lilies and bush morning glories, after four to eight months of dirty snow (it often comes in sideways). They are a welcome sight in May and June.
Besides a few flowers, you might consider adding birds to your list, such as the Peregrine falcon. I knew a boy named Hawk, which was a tremendous inspiration, and very appropriate.
Wind can be a huge feature, as well...Breeze, or Gale, perhaps. Even Blizzard. But perhaps that is getting a bit broad for your topic. :-)
I loved your categories, and was happy to find such a list done by a fellow Hubber!
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 22, 2015:
Interesting name list. Some of this are out-of-this world for a desert name.
Don (author) from Tennessee on January 09, 2014:
@anonymous: Scorpia would be a good name for a girl while Scorpion could be used for a boy. Can you imagine having a name like that in real life? I think it would be a cool experience.
NibsyNell on June 28, 2013:
Love these ideas.
anonymous on April 30, 2013:
Scorpia might be a good girls name (because of scorpions).
carol2 on April 19, 2013:
I know a Chad, several Jordans and several Joshuas. You have an impressive list of desert names.