Choosing a baby name is a daunting parental task; one of the first a mom and dad must undertake. Finding one they agree on makes it all the more difficult! What if you want something that makes the child stand out and feel special, without begging for a playground beat-down?
That makes the decision all the more challenging. Sure, there are plenty of K or B names, or maybe even vowels like A or E, but how about that sometimes vowel, Y? Now that's a letter that's often underused because, after Yvonne or Yvette, most parents poop out on options.
But here we come to the rescue with a nice, juicy list of 25 baby boy and girl names that can make your baby name unique without being too...weird. Y names often involve slightly different pronunciations, and if needed, we've tried to add them here. But feel free to sound them out however you wish and make your rules stick; after all, it's your baby! No one can tell you how to say or spell your little one's name; not even Grandma or Grandpa, or even nosy Auntie Rita.
So peruse the list and look for the treasured moniker that will fit your perfect bundle of joy. Y, I mean, 'why' not look at Y names?
Pronounced yah-KEER-uh, this lovely girl's name is from Hebrew origins and means "precious." What a perfect name for a new baby who is undoubtedly the most precious arrival in the world to mom and dad. It's also a rare name, coming in at number 8440 in 2017 for US girls.
Not associated with anyone famous, I could find one actress with the name, Yakira Peguero, who was born in 1976 and appeared in the 1995 film, Kids. So, you'll be unlikely to have another Yakira in the neighborhood, or even the school. Maybe your city, even. Yakira could be shortened to Kira or Kiry, or unfortunately Yak. Avoid Yak at all costs, please. It would pair best with a short middle name that begins with a consonant, like Belle or Joy.
For those already planning an Ivy League education for your child, Yale is a natural choice for a baby boy. Yale comes from Welsh and Old English roots and means, "fertile upland; the heights; or the fertile moor." If traced through the Hebrew, Yael, it means, "God's strength." Yale from German roots means, "one who produces or pays." In terms of popularity, Yale ranked for boys at number 11,367 back in 2014.
For those who like preppy names, or names with prestige, Yale figures well. It isn't a weird name, by any means, and won't sound odd to the ear, yet it is completely unlikely your child will ever share his name with a classmate. Yale doesn't really need a nickname; that would only make it longer. Yay sounds fun, however, as does Yalie.
Yelena is a Russian name that derived from the Greek name Helen. Its roots begin in the word helios, meaning "the sun." Yelena means "sun ray," or "bright, shining one," or simply, "light." All pleasant things to think of in association with a sweet baby girl. Want your girl to reach for the heavens?
A famed Yelena is Yelena Olegovna Serova, Russian cosmonaut. There's also a Yelena Viktorovna Davydova, who is a Canadian gymnast of Russian descent. Typically pronounced yeh-LAY-nah, you can play around with the sound until it works for your ear. Lena, Yena, or Yel are all possible diminutives. Since it's on the longer side, it would probably work best with a shorter middle name. In 2017, among baby girl names in the US, it rated #4559.
Yannick is probably not a name you have any connections with, so like for most people, your Yannick would be the first they knew. No negative connection is a cool thing! It is pronounced, YAH-nik. Pretty obvious, and that has advantages as well, as in not having to watch nurses scrunch up their faces and shrug when calling the baby's name at the doctor's office, for one.
Yannick is a boy's name from Hebrew and Breton and French roots, meaning, "God is gracious." Again, nice meaning. It came in at number 5996 in 2016 in the US baby name charts, so definitely not a high flyer, meaning it's an uncommon name by any means. Nicknames are straightforward, such as Nick or Yan, or Yanni. Maybe not Yanni, due to association with the musician Yanni.
Yarrow is a baby girl's name, but it could be for a boy as well. It is so unusual it hasn't charted measurably in the US for about a decade, and then in 2008, it was at 15,203. It is a name of a healing herb and is an English name. It has been seen more as a surname, as in Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary. Don't know who they are? Ask a hippy, and they'll tell you, "Puff the Magic Dragon," right off.
Yarrow has an old-time, very British feel to it. It is pronounced like arrow, with a y sound at the front. Nicknames could include Yarry, Yar or Ro or Row. It has a nice flexible sound to it, so you have some latitude when choosing a middle name for both length and sound qualities. Think of options such as Yarrow Elisabeth, or Yarrow Leigha.
I have a degree in poetry (yes, I was thinking about all the money I'd make!) so of course, I think this an adorable baby boy name in honor of the esteemed Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. For the non-poetic among us, it is pronounced YATES not YEETS. His poetry earned him a Nobel prize and has a dreamy, traditional feel to it so it'd be easy to find some memorable lines to print up for a wall hanging with baby's name, for instance.
Yeats means "gates," and is an English name. It's also considered a place name. It's found often in Ireland, but mainly as a surname. I think since it's a strong single syllable name, it would match up well with a longer, 3-syllable middle moniker. Yeats Hamilton, Yeats Alexander, Yeats Anderson.
Yeardley is a very rare name, not charting in the UK or US currently. It is from English roots and means, "enclosed grassland; kindling meadow or fenced meadow." The only famous Yeardley is Yeardley Smith who voices Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons. Got a Simpsons nut for a hubby, and want a dreamy, English garden kind of name? Here you are! Yeardley is pronounced YARD-ly.
It is more used as a surname but even then is an unusual one. It will work well with a wide range of middle names, such as Yeardley Abigail, Yeardley Anne or Yeardley Elise. It doesn't shorten too neatly into any specific nickname, although it would naturally fit to call her Ley in a hurry, I suppose. Yeardley would also make a pretty middle name if you are afraid to choose something so rare as a first name.
Yareli, pronounced YA-rell-ee according to some and yah-reh-LEE per some other sources, is a Native American name that means "water lady." It is a name used mostly by Spanish speakers of North and South America, and may be traced to a Brazilian word. It's most popular in Mexico and California. A famous Yareli is the Mexican-Cuban-American movie actress Yareli Arizmendi, who starred in the critically acclaimed Like Water for Chocolate and wrote the screenplay and starred in the 2004 film, A Day Without A Mexican.
Yareli is pretty unusual as names go in popularity, ranking #1513 for US girls in 2017. Yareli could be shortened to Reli, Yari, or Eli, as well as Lili. It would work well with a number of middle names, but a 2-syllable name would balance it well, such as Yareli Nicol, for instance.
Yavin (sounds like Gavin or pronounced yah-VIHN) is a Hebrew name that means, "understanding." That could be taken to mean wisdom, empathy or compassion, or all the above. Yavin is a quite rare name, ranking in 2017 for US boys down around #11,381. Yavin more commonly appears as a surname, primarily in nations such as Russia and Israel, and then much rarer in the US, UK, and Denmark.
As a first name, it shows up in America, Israel, India, Morocco, Australia, and Russia, in descending order. Tovah Yavin is a writer of poetry and children's works. Haim Yavin is an Israeli TV anchor and documentary filmmaker. The only known uses of Yavin as a first name worldwide have been for boys. Yavin could be shortened to the nickname Vin or Vinny, or Yav or Yavi. Because of the short name and sounds, you have real leeway in creating a full name with a shorter or longer middle name. Yavin Nathaniel, Yavin Jaymes or Yavin Michael are examples.
Yetta is a pretty little Yiddish name, with the meaning of "light." Some sources report the meaning as "ruler of the household." Maybe should you dub your baby girl Yetta, you'll wait to see which meaning fits her better, as in who is in charge! According to data, the last baby girl named Yetta in the US was in 2009, when there were 6 such babies. The heyday of the moniker in America was in the 1910s to early 1920s.
On the TV show, The Nanny, Fran Drescher's character's grandmother was Yetta Rosenberg. Yetta Zwerling was a famed Yiddish movie star of the 1930s and 1940s, who was born in Austria-Hungary, and died in 1982 in Los Angeles, California. Yetta is a cute name that is very feminine and has an old-time sound that seems to be making a comeback of late.
Yosif comes from the Hebrew yōsēf, which means, "may he add; or God will add." Yosif is the Bulgarian form of the much more common, Joseph. It has become a sort of hipper version as well, but still mostly uncommon ranking at #11,381 in 2017 for US boys with that particular spelling. The spelling of "Yosef" ranks considerably higher at #1849. Yosif is tied via Hebrew roots to the Biblical figure of Joseph, who in the Old Testament is the favorite son of Jacob and Rachel and the owner of the coat of many colors.
Joseph, of course, is also the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus. Yosif has a strong ethnic sound, which reflects its Hebrew, as well as Eastern European tradition. Yosif is pronounced YO-sif, so pretty straightforward there. Nicknames would be really informal such as Yoyo, Yo or Yosi.
This sweet and short baby name is said, ee-ZELL-ah, or ee-SELL-ah. It is a Cornish name, coming from Cornwall, England. These ancient Celtic type names have a bit of zing to them, and Ysella is no exception. The name meaning is "unpretentious; modest." What a lovely meaning for a modern girl! No diva business here with Ysella. Ysella can be shortened to Ysie, Sella or Sellie.
You could also go simple with Ella or Ellie. This name has not charted in the US. Neither has it made an appearance even in its home area in the UK. Therefore, your Ysella will likely be the only Ysella anyone knows and she with her modest little unpretentious self will blaze a quiet trail. Ysella would blend nicely with a middle moniker such as Ysella Tegan (another Cornish name), or Ysella Rachel.
Yrian is a highly unusual, even rare name, even if looking to its homeland of origins, in Scandinavia. It is a Norwegian and Swedish name that came from the German Jurian, which is a form of George. The meaning is "earth-worker; farmer." The best research yields that the pronunciation is EER-ee-uhn. However, it is a medieval name, so who can really argue with however Yrian's parents say it should be pronounced?
Yrian is used in Norway and Sweden, but not too often. While it can be used for girls, it's usually a boy name. It is as often a surname as a first name. It has an Old World, poetic kind of feel to it, but the spelling and shortness make it work as a modern one. Rian, Ry or Yri are all possible shortened forms, but is a nickname even necessary for all names? Yrian Blake or Yrian Scott seem like good solid matches with the middle.
Yarah is a very feminine and simple, yet exotic girl name. It is a Muslim name and the Turkish version of the Arabic Yara. Yarah is pronounced YAH-rah. Some folks trace it alternatively to a Brazilian goddess, with green eyes and fair complexion. Most say the meaning is "warm," but a few insist it's a "small butterfly."
All lovely origins for a sweet baby girl. Yarah is quite unusual, like most names on this list, and ranked in 2017 for US girls at #11,201. In Britain, Yarah ranked higher, coming in the the 5000s. According to one source, approximately 157 babies were named Yarah in the US in the past century. So feel confident your Yarah will be one of the exceptional few. Yar or Yari would be acceptable nicknames.
Yaiden rhymes with the very popular Jaden. Perhaps parents like Jaden, and want a similar but less common name for their son, Yaiden would fit the bill. Yaiden according to one source, was used as a US baby name in 2016 a total of 8 times. In the whole country of America, only 8 babies were dubbed Yaiden, so you can be confident you've chosen a name that stands apart.
Over the last century, only 81 have been named Yaiden according to the Social Security Administration. It probably can be traced to the Hebrew name Jaden, meaning "God has heard." Typically, a child with this name meaning is a long-awaited child, and God heard the parents' prayers for a child and answered. Yaiden could be shortened to Yaid, Ya, or Denny.
Yalissa is a baby girl name that has roots in Israel. It has the ultra-feminine meaning of "beautiful flower." Thus, it's been predominantly used for baby girls. Yalissa is an unusual name in the US, ranking only at #17810 in 2017. A search revealed no celebrities or famous women in history with the moniker, so your Yalissa would be working with a pretty clean slate.
No negative images to overcome here! Yalissa is a pretty name that brings to mind more common names such as Alissa or Melissa, with a more ethnic sound. Yalissa could be given the nickname Lissa, Lissy or Yali. Yalissa would pair well with a simple, short middle name like Yalissa Skye, or Yalissa Leigh. Yalissa would probably not work as well with a middle name featuring or beginning with an /s/ sound, to avoid tripping tongues.
Yoel is a baby boy name (primarily and traditionally) from Hebrew roots. Its meaning is "God prevails," or "Jehovah is God." Yoel ranked at #3430 in 2017 in the US for baby boys. Another source states that Yoel was used 151 times in the US in 2016. So, a fairly rare name here. It comes from the Hebrew and Biblical name Joel, a minor prophet and name of an Old Testament book.
Yoel is a name with a modern sensibility and a little spin on the much-more often seen Joel. There are a number of famous Yoels in the world including, Yoel Judah, a kickboxer and trainer; Yoel Romero, a Cuban MMA fighter; Yoel Levi, an Israeli musician and conductor; and Yoel García, a Cuban track Olympian. Yoel is pretty short, but if needed, Yoely could be a nickname.
Yuliya (pronounced You-lee-ah) is a Russian name that has the meaning of "youth." It didn't rank in 2017 or 2016, but so far in 2018 it is on the charts for US girls at #2052. It is a form of Julia, which has Latin origins. Yuliya is a Russian, Bulgarian and Ukrainian girl's name.
There are a number of famous Yuliya's, including Yuliya Olegovna Samoylova, a Russian pop singer; Yuliya Markovna Beygelzimer, a Ukrainian tennis player; and Russian or Eastern European-born actresses Yuliya Snigr, who is also a master chess player and model; and Yuliya Zelenskaya. Yuliya is so closely related phonically to Julia, it won't sound too foreign to American ears, but it still has an exotic feel. Yuliya can be shortened to Yuli, or Liya, or for the more adventuresome, perhaps Yuya.
Ythan is a Hebrew name meaning, "firm; strong." A rare name, it came in at #17,770 in the US for baby boys. Ythan is also the name of a river in Scotland, so it's technically a place name. There is a famed pearl, the Ythan pearl from that river's waters, which is said to be inlaid in the Scottish crown, giving it a bit of a backstory.
There's a speculative fiction series by the author Marc Alexander called "The Wells of Ythan." Ythan is closely related to the much more common, Ethan with the cooler, more hip spelling with a y. For those who like more popular names, but want to stand apart a bit, Ythan will do the trick. However, Ythan can be paired with a wide range of middle names including 1, 2 or 3 syllable ones. Ythan Alexander, Ythan Scott or Ythan Jeffrey are examples.
Yailyn is probably related to Ailyn, which comes from the Scottish Eileen, which is from the Latin root name, Helen, meaning "light; bright, shining one." Yailyn ranked #17,810 in 2017 for US baby girls. So quite rare as baby names go. The Social Security Administration records a total of 253 babies in America given the name of Yailyn between 1880 to 2016. The heyday for this name so far in history seems to be in 2001, when there were 19 babies born and bestowed with the name Yailyn.
Yailyn could be shortened to a number of nicknames, such as Yaily, Lyn or Yail. You could even do Lynnie. Yailyn sounds similar to a number of other more common names such as Kailyn or Jaylen. Yailyn works well with a wide sound of names, and could be paired with any syllable count middle name.
Yair is a Hebrew variation of the Hebrew name Jair. Jair means "he shines," and Yair means, "enlighten." Some put the meaning as "God will teach." Yair charted in 2017 in the US for baby boys at #3676. Yair is a much more common name in Israel, however. Some famous Israeli Yair's include Yair Kless, violist and professor; Yair Lotan, actor; Yair Rosenblum, composer and Yair Arrechea, Colombian soccer player.
Yair is short, and has a straightforward, yet cool and modern sound, despite being quite old. Yair would work well with any length middle name. Yairy would be one of the few nicknames, or perhaps Yay. Yair works with a lot of different types of surnames, too, so whatever your ethnicity, it will probably work. The exception would be if it were to rhyme like, Yair Nair or Yair Dare, for example. Too nursery rhyme-ish, I would think.
Yadira, pronounced ya-DEER-ah or alternatively ya-DEE-rah, is a name from Hebrew roots, meaning "friend," or "suitable, worthy." Yadira is popular with some Spanish speakers, and had its height of popularity in 2005, with 593 baby girls. In 2016, there were 73. According to Baby Center, Yadira ranked for baby girls in 2017 at 3756. So if you live in a non-Spanish speaking area, your Yadira is likely to be the only Yadira!
Yadira Geara is a beauty queen from Dominica, and Yadira Pascault Orozco, is a Mexican actress. Yadira lends itself well to a number of nicknames including Yadi, Dira, Adi or Diry. Yadira would work well with a middle name that's short and sweet, like perhaps Yadira Lisette, or Yadira Kell, or Yadira Riley.Nicknames could include Yad, Yadi or Dira, or maybe Dir, pronounced Deer.
Yancy is from Native American roots and means, "Englishman." Some say the word Yankee derived from this word, but others insist Yancy was the Native American mispronunciation of Yankee. It's up for debate! Yancy charted at #17, 764 in 2017 for baby boys, but it is also used for baby girls in the US. It ranked at #12,235 for girls, so it's been used slightly more as a girl's name, but the difference is pretty minute.
Yancy has an old-fashioned feel to it. Famous Yancy's include Yancy Butler, an American actress and Yancy, an American Christian musician. Yancy Medeiros is an MMA fighter. Since Yancy can be either gender, parents may prefer to choose a specific gender-assigned middle name to make child's gender more clear. Or you may not care to designate it at all!
Yeva is the Russian and Ukrainian form of the Hebrew name, Eve, meaning "life," or "mother of all living." It comes from the Hebrew word, Chava, which derives from the Hebrew, hawwaw, meaning "life." It is pronounced, "YAY-vah." It ranked at #11,224 for US baby girls in 2017.
Yeva is a short, 4-letter name, but some of the sounds in the name are long, a similarly difficult sounded name chosen as a middle name may result in a mouthful. Yeva Lianne or Yeva Joyelle may work well, as example. Nicknames could include Yevi, Evi or Vay or Yay. There are no famous association with the name, so Yeva is a blank slate for your daughter to write upon. Just expect if your daughter is named Yeva, you will always be telling people how to pronounce it properly, so if that's an annoyance to you, reconsider this one for your daughter.
Yann is an Old Breton form of the Hebrew John, meaning "God is gracious." Yann charted for US boys in 2017 at #3964. This is an old sounding name, and a slightly different form than Ian, John or Johann. This may be appealing to people looking to update family names, such as "I want to name our son after Uncle John, without having to share exact names."
Yann is linked to some famous folk, such as Yann Martell, a Canadian fiction writer; Yann Tierson, a French musician, and Yann Dall'aglio, a French philosopher. Yann Fredericks is a name of a character in the Harry Potter novels. Yann would work well with a longer middle name such as Yann Anthony or Yann Zachary. Nicknames seem kind of unnecessary with a simple, short name such as this, but could include Yanny or Y.
Sources: Nameberry.com, Babynamewizard.com, Babycenter.com