20 Hyphenated Baby Names That Have The Most Surprising Meanings

Choosing the right name for a baby is no easy feat and no small responsibility. A name is something we carry with us all of our lives. Much like first impressions, our names can define us in an instant. It's no wonder that many parents devote so much time to researching and selecting a name for their child.

Every person is an individual and nobody wants to share their name with a myriad of other people. While unusual names can be delightfully quirky, they can quickly become tired, clownish, and mocked for trying to hard. Parents must walk a fine line between common, obscure, and newly invented if they wish to give their child a name that will withstand the test of time.

Instead of going too far outside of the box with a baby name, why not take two safer names and turn them into something new and exciting? Hyphenated names do exactly that. A fresh take on a classic is sure to be a versatile and wise option.

To many people the meaning behind a name is just as important a factor as any. After all, nobody wants a negative association with their child's name. Ideally a name should fit the personality and discovering the meaning behind the name can be a useful tool in matching the right name to the right baby.

Choosing one name that works with all the criteria is hard enough. Selecting two names that work well together can seem like a daunting task. It is not as daunting as it seems. With a bit of research it's possible to come up with the perfect double barrel name. Here are 20 to get the imagination started.

20 Vanessa-Emily

The name Vanessa is Greek in origin. It is the name given to a type of butterfly. These colourful creatures appear to float in the air with their oversized wings bearing bright geometric designs. Vanessa is a classic name that has managed to withstand the test of time.

Emily comes from the Latin name Aemilia and it means “eager” or “striving”. The name has been very popular since the 1970s. Although not as common as it was towards the end of the millennium, Emily can still be found near the top of popular baby name lists.

When the two names combine, the collective meaning can be described as “eager butterfly”. Vanessa-Emily evokes lovely imagery and has a classic feel with a melodious sound. A perfect name for a pretty little girl with a bubbly personality.

19 David-Ryan

The name David is an enduring classic that is used across many cultures. It is a Hebrew name with a connection to the Old Testament of the Bible. In Hebrew David means “beloved”. It was hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s but still enjoys moderate popularity with parents today.

Ryan is a classic Irish name which has been getting a lot of interest in other parts of the world. Although it has been in decline since it's peak in the 1980s, it still gets a good amount of attention. In Gaelic it means “little king”, or “descendent of the king”.

The combination of David and Ryan brings forth the meaning of “beloved little king”. Two classic names merged into something new and unique. David-Ryan would make an ideal name for a long awaited baby or any precious baby boy who is sure to be the family favourite.

18 Carlo-Jay

Carlo is a form of the name Charles which finds its roots in the German name Karl. This comes from the word for being free. While Charles is a common name, Carlo is a bit more whimsical and less often heard.

The name Jay comes from the bird which bears the same name. Because of this the name is of Latin origins. It is believed that Jay was originally a surname derived from jaybird. Over time it was adapted into a given name.

Carlo-Jay translates to “free bird”. Due to the short latter half, this name feels fresh and crisp with a minimal number of syllables. With one half rooted in tradition and a second half that's modern and contemporary, this name is sure to appeal to parents on both sides of the spectrum. Carlo-Jay is a lovely name for any little boy.

17 Samantha-Quinn

Samantha is the feminine version of Samuel. In Hebrew the name Samuel means "told by god" or "one who listens to god". Therefore the name Samantha is often translated to “listener”. The popularity of Samantha has been in decline since the 1990s but it is still a lovely name which pops up from time to time.

Quinn is a gender-neutral name which finds its roots in the Celtic word for “wise”. Though once an Irish surname, Quinn has become a popular choice as a given name for both boys and girls. With its unusual opening letter, this name feels contemporary even though it has been around for a while.

When the names Samantha and Quinn combine, the logical meaning becomes “wise listener”. The more traditional Samantha adds substance, while the more modern Quinn adds a contemporary feel. This is an excellent choice for parents who want to be current without straying too far from tradition. Samantha-Quinn would suit a quiet baby girl very well.

16 Aaron-Alexander

In Hebrew Aaron means “enlightened”. This name has been enjoying a good amount of popularity since the 1970s. The name has been somewhat less common since the 1990s but is still considered enough of a classic to get consistent attention. Perhaps parents are drawn to the softness of the double vowel opening of this name.

Alexander is of Greek origin and it means “defender of men”. Historically the name was given to rulers and leaders of the ancient world. This name has withstood the test of time. Alexander has been more popular since the 1980s and is still a favourite today.

The combination of Aaron and Alexander brings forth the meaning of “enlightened defender of men”. These two classic names come together to create something new that is timeless but unique. Aaron-Alexander is the perfect name for a baby boy that is destined for greatness.

15 Mariah-Zoe

The name Mariah finds its roots in Greek and means “beloved”. It is a variation of the name Maria which comes from the name Mary. Although Mariah sounds modern and contemporary it has been in use for almost 500 years. While not as common as it was in the 1990s the name is still quite fashionable today.

Zoe is another name of Greek origin and the translation of this name is “life”. It was the name given to Eve when the Bible was translated into Greek. Although an ancient name enjoying a fair deal of attention in some parts of the world, Zoe did not become common in the English speaking world until the modern time period.

Mariah-Zoe can be translated as “beloved life”. This name sounds new and modern but is well rooted in the past. It's a good choice for parents who are looking for a unique name without getting too far out of the box. Mariah-Zoe is a great choice for a spirited little girl who is sure to live life to its fullest.

14 Aurora-Claire


Aurora is of Latin origin and means “dawn”. In Roman mythology Aurora is the goddess who flies across the sky to announce the morning light and she is the sister of the sun and moon. This name has been consistently popular for some time but has seen a huge increase in use over recent years. The usage of the name is still on the rise and it is now hotter than it has ever been.

Claire is a variation of the name Clara. It is a name from the Latin word for “clear” or “bright”. It is a classic name that enjoys a resurgence of popularity from time to time. Claire has been in the midst of a revival since the 1980s and although not common enough to be considered trendy, the name is a favourite.

Aurora and Claire combine to form the lovely meaning of a “clear and bright dawn”. This fresh and bright name symbolizes a new beginning. Aurora-Claire is a perfect choice for a cheerful baby girl with an optimistic future.

13 Anthony-Caden

Anthony comes from the Latin word meaning “priceless”. It has been in use for a long time and has always enjoyed some degree of popularity. Its use has been in decline since the 1990s which sets it up as a great choice for those who want a classic name that's not overly common.

By contrast Caden is a modern name that isn't often found in the history books. This name has just appeared on the radar as a widely used name at the turn of the millennium. Although sometimes of Welsh origin, or an altered form of a surname, in Arabic kadin means “friend” or “companion”.

Anthony-Caden can be translated as “priceless friend”. It is a combination of the old and the new for those who seek a contemporary name with a nod to the past. Anthony-Caden is the perfect choice for a social baby boy.

12 Naomi-Lila

Naomi is a Hebrew name meaning “pleasant”. Although it sounds fresh and modern it has been around for some time and appears in the Bible. Over time Naomi has enjoyed a few periods of renewed interest and is currently on its way to being trendy again.

Lila is of Arabic origin and comes from the word for “night”. This once popular name fell out of favour for a while but has been making a comeback since the turn of the millennium. With it's double L sound and nocturnal meaning Lila has a sultry feel.

The combined meanings of Naomi and Lila come together as “pleasant night”. This name would resonate well with parents who enjoy being trend setters as both of its parts are currently gaining in popularity. Naomi-Lila is a great name for a pretty little girl with a sweet disposition.

11 Aiden-Finley

The name Aiden is of Irish origin. It comes from Celtic mythology where it is associated with several deities relating to the sun, fire, and flames. This name has been gaining popularity in leaps and bounds since the turn of the millennium and is quickly becoming a favourite.

Finely is an English name meaning “sunbeam”. Its use has been in a gradual decline until the turn of the millennium when it suddenly caught the attention of new parents. It is now becoming quite popular for both boys and girls and its use is still on the rise.

Aiden-Finley can be translated as “fiery sunbeam”. Both the name Aiden and Finely are in position to become trendy baby names in the near future. Snagging both of these names for a baby is a great option for parents who want to be ahead of the trend. Aiden-Finely would be a very suitable name for a bright and lively little boy.

10 Vivian-Cora

Vivian comes from the Latin word meaning “full of life”. It was a very popular name in the early 1900s but then went into a gradual decline around the 1920s. Perhaps this is why up until recently it was viewed as the name of an old lady. Apparently it is time for the next generation of Vivians as the name has once again been growing in popularity since the 1990s.

The meaning of the name Cora is “filled heart”. It can be found in Greek mythology in the form of a daughter of Zeus. The popularity of this name shares a similar trajectory to Vivian. The once popular Cora fell out of favour for a while and is now beginning to make a comeback.

The combination of these two names produces the lovely meaning of a “heart full of life”. Both of these names have been away from the spotlight just long enough that they are unique but they are both traditional enough to not be unusual. Vivian-Cora is a lovely sounding name that would be perfect for a exuberant and cheerful baby girl.

9 Amaya-Misty

Amaya is a Japanese name meaning “night rain”. It was practically unheard of until the turn of the millennium. With its beautiful meaning and lovely sound it's not surprising that this name is catching on. While not quite trendy, it is certainly getting some attention.

Misty needs no definition as it comes from the English word describing something covered in mist. The name was quite popular in the 1970s but gradually lost favour over the 1980s. While it may lack substance as a stand alone name, it's a perfect complement in the hyphenated form.

The meanings of Amaya and Misty combine to form the poetic image of a “night of mist and rain”. This name is not for parents who seek to fit in with the crowd. Amaya-Misty is for those who prefer to travel their own path. The ideal name for an independent baby girl.

8 Felix-Jonah


The name Felix has both Latin and Hebrew origins. As a Latin name it refers to being lucky or fortunate. In the Hebrew form it means “happy”. This name was once a favourite in London and was an overall trending name right up until the 1920s when it went into decline. It is now in the midst of a comeback and well situated to be popular once again.

Jonah is a Hebrew name meaning “dove”. It appears in the Bible in the story of Jonah who was swallowed by a whale and emerged unharmed. While never completely obscure, this name didn't catch on until the early 1990s. Over the last 30 years its popularity has been rising steadily.

The combination of Felix and Jonah merge to mean “happy dove”. With its melodious sound and bright meaning Felix-Jonah could tickle the fancy of parents looking for historic names with a modern sound. This would be a good choice for an angelic and calm baby boy.

7 Darlene-Sarah

Darlene is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning “dear” or “loved one”. While never obscure, Darlene has not been a popular choice since the 1960s. With its rolling sound and sweet meaning, it might be time to revive this once favourite name.

Sarah comes from the Hebrew word for “princess”. This timeless and classic name has enjoyed several periods of substantial popularity. While its use has been in decline since the 1980s, it is still widely used. This fact is simply eclipsed by the magnitude of its previous trendiness.

Darlene-Sarah can be translated to “loved princess”. As individuals both of these names are currently not overused. When combined they form a unique name that's sure to be original without sounding forced or obscure. Darlene-Sarah is a wonderful choice for a lovely baby girl destined to be the family favourite.

6 Dylan-Grant


Dylan is a name of Welsh origin. The name is connected to Dylan the god of the sea. The name first caught on in the 1960s and spent about 30 years percolating. It has been receiving a great deal of attention since the early 1990s and continues to be a favourite.

The name Grant originates with the Latin word for “great”, “immense”, or “large”. While never unfashionable, this name has seen an increase in usage since the new millennium. Short and without fuss, Grant has always been a name that resonates with parents.

The combination of Dylan and Grant creates the nautical inspired meaning of a “great sea”. These two classic names come together to create a name that is as unique as the boy it is bestowed upon. Dylan-Gran would work very well for a sweet baby boy with a dynamic personality.

5 Ray-Ari


The name Ray comes from the french word describing someone who is “like a king” or “kingly”. This short and sweet name was once quite fashionable and it maintained its appeal for a long time. While its usage has been in decline for a while, it is still more popular than it seems and its current usage is simply obscured by its once overwhelming popularity.

Ari is a Hebrew name with the meaning of “lion” associated with it. Here is another short name but unlike Ray, this name was once quite obscure and has been gradually increasing in usage since the 1970s. Since the new millennium it has been quite popular and continues to gain more attention.

Ray-Ari can be translated as “kingly lion”. This regal name combines the new and the old, the trendy and the quaint, as well as the common and the unique. Ray-Ari would be a well suited name for a majestic baby boy with a bright future.

4 Charlotte-Ava

Charlotte has French origins and it means “petite”. This name is the feminine version of Charles. Charlotte has always enjoyed some level of popularity but in recent years this name has rocketed to the top of trendy baby name lists.

Ava is used as a variation of Eve. Although several meanings exist, Ava could be from the Latin word avis which means “bird”. This name has been rather unpopular until the late 1990s when it suddenly caught on. Today Ava is one of the trendiest baby names for girls.

When these names combine they form the lovely meaning of a “petite bird”. With its rolling and melodious sound Charlotte-Ava takes two trendy names and fashions them into something a bit more unique. This would make an ideal choice for a baby girl that's destined to grow into a lively little lady.

3 Jason-Connor

The name Jason finds its roots in Greek and it means “healer” or “to heal”. In the 1970s this name enjoyed a surge of popularity which catapulted it to the top of coveted baby names. Since then its popularity has dwindled somewhat although it's still a fairly common name.

Connor comes from the Gaelic name Conchobhar. Its Scottish definition is “wise”. Although once obscure outside of its native Ireland, this name has been rising substantially in usage since the 1980s. The sudden rise in prominence stalled in the 1990s. Since then Connor hasn't gained much ground, but hasn't lost any either. It seems to be firmly placed in its current standing.

Jason-Connor can be defined as “wise healer”. This name has a modern feel that lacks the frumpy and stuffy feel that is sometimes associated with ancient names. It would make a great name for a thoughtful baby boy.

2 Phoebe-Stella

Phoebe comes from the Greek word Phoebos which means “shining”. In Greek mythology Phoebe was one of the first set of Titans. Phoebe was a popular name in the 1800 but began to lose favour at the turn of the century. The name has been making a comeback since the 1990 as it continues becoming more fashionable.

Stella is another name of Greek origins and it means “star”. Similarly to Phoebe, it too was popular a century ago and has been making a comeback after becoming unfashionable. Although Stella tends to be more common of the two, both names are still on the path towards trendiness.

The combined meaning of Phoebe and Stella results in “shining star”. This celestial name is effortlessly quirky and whimsical. It capitalizes on the growing status of both names to create something new and different that is sure to stand out in years to come. Phoebe-Stella is an ideal name for a dazzling baby girl.

1 Gavin-Alonso

Gavin is a name of Welsh origin. It is a variation of Gawain which was used in the medieval period and means “white hawk”. Its usage can be seen among the knights of King Arthur's Round Table. Gavin has not been widely popular until the turn of the millennium. Although not quite trendy, it is currently a fairly common name.

Alonso is the Spanish version of Alfonso which means “noble”. While not a particularly common name, Alonso has been slowly and steadily gaining ground since the 1970s. Its popularity appears to be continuing to rise and while not quite common yet, it may end up being the surprising dark horse in the baby name race.

The combined meanings of Gavin and Alonso give rise to the poetic “noble white hawk”. The combined usage of the two names leaves this duo poised on the edge of prominence and yet positioned to become a front runner. This name might appeal to parents who prefer to be trend setters rather than trend followers. Gavin-Alonso is an excellent choice for a clever baby boy destined for great things.

Sources : Nameberry, BabyCenter

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