Naming a child is such an important decision. This is going to be their identity for life so it’s got to be a good one. As well as avoiding names that remind parents of people they may have met but didn't like, as well as other children in the family and friends’ children, parents have to consider carefully how a name will sound with the surname too. After all, sticking a child with a comedy name such as Ben Dover is unkind and completely unnecessary and is a guaranteed way of making them resent their parents as they grow older. Also, who wants to be one of three Kierans or two Sarahs in their class at school?
So maybe parents should have a look for something less traditional and more unique. One increasingly popular way of doing this is to take a word that means something to them and reverse it. Some names work both ways, such as Nadia and Aidan, which is a fun idea for twins. If parents have triplets they could work on anagrams of a name such as Lexa, Axel and Xela. Parents could consider reversing their own names rather than going with the add-on ‘Junior’. Or maybe go for a word that means something to them, such as a place name linked to the baby, or an emotion, such as love.
So take a look at this list of beautiful names that are all words spelt backwards and be inspired to be a little different.
Here is an increasingly popular new girl’s name, that has the most beautiful reverse meaning of all. Heaven.
Who wouldn’t want to have such an elegant name, that inspires thoughts of goodness, peace, calm and happiness? Everything about Nevaeh is surely righteous and good.
This is a name that has American origins and was really unknown before this century, so if you are looking for something refreshingly new then this might be for you. Be careful though if the meaning is important to you as the misspelt version of this - Neveah - is also popular. Whilst this may be a better phonetic spelling of the name, it doesn’t work if you are aiming for this to be an accurate backwards spelling.
There is a belief that Nevaeh is actually from Irish origins and is a derivative of ‘Niamh’ meaning ‘bright’. The name was extremely rare until singer Sonny Sandoval of the rock group P.O.D. named his daughter Nevaeh in 2000. After his appearance on the television program MTV Cribs, the name shot up in popularity. Since then the name has been used as a professional wrestling ring name and is the name of an album by Design the Skyline, a Christian group. In 1986 Prince went a step further and entitled a song "Nevaeh Ni Ecalp A" which is "A Place In Heaven" spelt backwards.
Here is a name that translates as the same thing around the world. Whether Latin, German, Spanish, Greek, French or American this name comes out as the ultimate in masculinity - ‘lion’. In many cultures, the lion symbolises kingliness, grandeur and courage and people with this name do tend to be leaders rather than followers due to their strong personalities. Creative, courageous and at times aggressive, Leons tend to resent authority and can be proud and impatient.
In reverse Leon reminds us of the most festive time of the year - Noel!
Of French origin, it literally means Christmas and has been given to both boys and girls born on that day since the Middle Ages.
An incredibly rare boy’s name, Nevar only made it in at number 18,395 on the baby names list. This name is slightly more common with the spelling Neva, which is both a variant of the Hebrew Niva, meaning ‘speech’, and is a Russian river. Sometimes this is also a shortening of the increasingly popular Nevada, meaning ‘snowy’ and used by residents of that state.
Raven is a unisex name, referring to the black feathered bird of the same name.
Far more common than its reversal, the girl’s version came in at number 351 last year. Ravens are considered the most intelligent birds, displaying high learning ability and use of logic for solving problems. They have glossy black feathers and complex social lives, much like many girls!
Another girl’s name, this time of Scottish origin and meaning ‘grace’. The dictionary tells us that graceful people move with smoothness and elegance, or are very courteous. Analysis tells us that girls named Rae long for harmony and balance in their lives, and respond positively to beautiful things. The core message of the Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God, so Rae is a name that has some beautiful connotations. This name has declined in popularity over the past 100 years and last year was only ranked at number 3788.
Rae is also commonly short for Rachel, a Biblical name meaning ‘lamb’. Wife of Jacob, she was described as being "beautiful in form and countenance".
Rae is the feminine form of Ray, short for Raymond, meaning ‘wise protection’. Rae is also used as a name element in combination names such as Rae Ann.
There are many Raes listed on the internet and overwhelmingly they are actresses and writers. This seems to fit very well with the name analysis, which tells us that people with this name have a need to work with others and to be appreciated. What better way to beg appreciation than to work in creative arts?
Backwards, of course, your child could be called ‘ear’. Maybe good for a child you hope will be a good listener?
If you are a Disney fan, then this is definitely the name for you.
It is so rare that I could only find one person with this name, and that is the wizard, Yen Sid. Yensid first appeared in 1940 as a tribute to Walt Disney himself, and filmmakers have since claimed that the wizard was even physically modelled on Disney himself. Yensid is wise, practical and was Mickey Mouse’s master in the ever popular ‘Fantasia’. Although generally stern in appearance, he does at times show a weak smile.
So with the everlasting popularity of Disney, this may be a great and completely unique name to give your baby.
Rafa is a Muslim name representing ‘Happiness’ and ‘Prosperity’, which are two excellent qualities that you may well want to bestow upon your child. An unusual name, it only ranked at number 3103 in last year’s name charts. Commonly a pretty name for a baby girl, Rafa is also a Spanish boy’s nickname for ‘Rafael’, from the Hebrew meaning ‘God has healed’.
In the Bible Raphael was one of the seven archangels responsible for healing. God sends Raphael to heal several figures who are so sickly that they are praying for death in the Book of Tobit. Whilst Raphael is a common Spanish name, diminutives are rare, so Rafa is rare as an actual name, and is yet to really gain any popularity in America.
Rather than being a name in reverse, Rafa is of course ‘afar’ in reverse.
Meaning ‘from, at or to a distance away’, this is an ancient word dating from the Middle Ages, around 1150. It was pronounced ‘a fer’, or ‘on ferr’ and replaced the Old English ‘feorran’. So although this may seem like a simple little word, it has a bit of a linguistic history behind it.
So, suitable for boys and girls, this is a rarely used name with a varied and interesting history behind it.
Not to be confused in pronunciation with ‘Macarena’, Nacirema is one of the latest and therefore rarest backward word names. Naming your baby after a place is quite common in some countries, with it being common practice in Latin America. Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton and Dakota Fanning both share their names with geographical locations, whilst Posh and David Beckham followed the trend back in 1999 with their son Brooklyn.
So if you want to take a more general take on the geography of your child and just name it after America without it being that obvious, try this backwards version, Nacirema.
Pronounced ‘Tray’, this English girl’s name is quite simply ‘Heart’.
From 1880-2016 there have only been 100 recorded cases of babies being named ‘Traeh’ by American Social Security. A sudden spurt in popularity in 2017 saw 25 girls with that name but it is still currently only the 36,043rd most popular name. If you are a Youtube fan you may know Traeh Nykia, popular hair vlogger.
But popularity aside, what a beautiful name for your little girl, inspiring thoughts of love, life and romance.
Another very new name, Adaven is so rare that there are not even any celebrities with this name yet!
However, there is a famous ghost town in Nye County, Nevada, with this name. Founded in the 1890’s but abandoned soon after the Post Office closed in 1954, the former mining settlement is now only a few buildings and ranches. Nevada is a more common name of Spanish origin and means ‘Snow-covered’. Typically a girl’s name, there are also some boys with this name, and depending on where you come from it could be pronounced ‘Nev-a-da’ or ‘Nev-aaah-daaa’.
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun, mostly in a 19.4-million-mile-wide asteroid belt. Although asteroids orbit the sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.
With the right telescope, we can see asteroids as a bright star-like object as they reflect the sunlight.
Beautiful as it is, you may prefer to shorten this name to Dior. Dior is a popular French boy’s name meaning ‘golden’ which first appeared in the name charts in 1988 as a first name. Still extremely rare, people with this name like to work with others and long for a stable, loving family.
If you had triplets you could consider joining with Chanel and Armani as a fashionista tribute!
Another Muslim name, Amil has the meaning ‘Worker’, or ‘Effective’. So if you’re after a hard-working child, this might be a great name to give your baby. In Hindi, however, the same name means ‘unattainable’ and can be used for a girl or boy. In the Indian culture, its meaning is ‘Invaluable’. A very unusual name, Amil was number 4430 in popularity in the baby names lists last year.
Whichever meaning you prefer, people with the name Amil tend to be powerful and wealthy, and highly competent. They often focus so hard on their material gains that they sacrifice their personal relationships, and maybe this is why they are sometimes ‘unattainable’.
Lima, the reverse word, is commonly used to represent the letter ‘L’ in radio communication. It is also the capital of Peru.
It was founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535. So this name could be a good geographical reminder of a holiday, a meeting place, or even the place your Amil was born. Lima is even a type of legume, the Lima bean being grown for its edible beans and seeds. Maybe you had a bean craving when you were pregnant? Use Amil to remind you of those happy days.
If you are looking for an unusual and yet totally masculine name, this is the one for you. Ranked at only number 6049 in popularity, this is a name meaning ‘Defender of Mankind’ and popularly used in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Sweden, among others.
It is a diminutive version of the great Greek name Alexander and has its feminine form as Alexa, a shortened version of Alexandra. Whilst the full name has been in use since the early 13th century, short versions such as Lexa, Axel and Alex (all anagrams of each other and great for triplets!!) are relatively new.
Celebrity Lexas include Lexa Doig, who plays Rommie in the Sci-fi series, Andromeda.
Characteristics of a Lexa are commonly thought to include being mystical yet wise, eccentric yet philosophical and imaginative yet solitary. Well, you have to have a range of personality traits to be a great defender of mankind!
In reverse you have an axel, which nowadays is a skateboarding trick.
It features a jump from the forward outside edge of one skate to the backward outside edge of the other, with at least one and a half turns in the air. So if you’re a skating fan but don’t actually want to literally name your child after your moves then a reverse name might be the way to go.
If you are lucky enough to have a name that could sensibly be turned backwards in order to name your child then why not do it? I’m not sure any child of mine would want to be called ‘Narf’, but some names do lend themselves to living in reverse. James is one of those names, becoming the rather charming ‘Semaj’.
Reasonably popular in the Indian community, Semaj is still growing in most other areas of the world.
But it does have the benefit of having its very own famous Semaj. Not content with just turning one name, Michael James decided to reverse his entire name. Now a renowned psychologist, Semaj knew he had a skill for sharing when he won the Distinguished Teacher Award at Cornell University in 1980. Wanting to stand out from the crowd he reversed his name and has held a variety of teaching posts as well as being involved with his native Jamaican media channels.
James itself is a very old name, found in the Bible and very popular ever since. It translates from the Hebrew meaning ‘Supplanter’, or ‘He grasps the heel’, but also derives from the Latin Jacomus, meaning to ‘Supplant’ or ‘Replace’. Name to many kings and featuring in many Shakespearean plays, James is a classic that reached its all-time popularity high in the 1970’s.
This pretty girl’s name is a derivation of Sarah, Hebrew for ‘princess’. Who doesn’t consider their lovely sweet baby girl to be their princess? It is a relatively new name, first appearing on baby name lists in 1976 at number 2520, and its popularity has been declining since.
If you name your child Saira, this could be a tribute to Saira Khan, British Pakistani TV personality, who found fame when she became the runner-up in 2005 in the first series of The Apprentice. Or perhaps you would be thinking of Saira Banu, the Indian Hindi actress, who was a favourite of Bollywood films between 1961 and 1988. Or maybe even West Virginian teen politician Saira Blair, who, at the age of just 18, was elected to office in the United States in 2014, making her the youngest person ever to do so. So the name Saira seems to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit and public success.
The reverse word, arias, brings to mind powerful operatic ladies singing their hearts out about love and passion.
In music, an aria is a solo song and literally means ‘melody’ in Italian. However, if singing is not for you, it is worth noting that Aria is also Albanian for ‘from gold’, Hebrew for ‘lioness of God’, whilst in Persian it translates as ‘noble’. So continuing our empowered women theme.
This ancient boy’s name comes from the Sanskrit ‘to rule’ and also translates as ‘King’, ‘Emperor’ or ‘Royalty’, depending on the context. As you would imagine, therefore, the name’s analysis shows us that people called Raj are great leaders, brilliant at delegating and focussing on large and important issues. Visionary and imaginative, Raj is likely to be idealistic and a keen follower of the truth. This name is sometimes used as a shortened version of ‘Rajah’, meaning ‘prince’, or ‘chief’. So Raj is a lovely exotic name with a great definition and deep meaning.
There are a fair few famous Rajs to be found and with a wide range of careers. From Raj Babbar, politician and actor, to Raj Kanwar, Bollywood director and from Raj Reddy, computer scientist and a winner of the Turing Award to Raj Bhavsar, American gymnast, you can find a range of people called Raj from all walks of life.
In reverse, it’s clearly not such a glamorous name. Jar, quite simply, is a container, or even worse, to have a harsh or unpleasant effect on something.
So let’s not dwell on the reverse of this one but simply enjoy the regal air of Raj.
A Slavic name, Mila is a gorgeous girl’s name that is currently quite popular. Ranking at number 30 in last year’s popularity lists, Mila is actually a diminutive, or pet name, of various other Eastern European names such as Milena, Milica and Milan and is even used as a nickname for Margaret at times. Pronounced ‘Mee-la’, the name has different meanings depending on its geography. In Czechoslovakian, the meaning of the name Mila is ‘Industrious’, whereas in Russian it translates as ‘People's love’. If you combine the two you’ve got a strong feminine name, suggesting someone hardworking and well-loved, two great traits.
Probably the most famous current Mila is the actress Mila Kunis. Born Milena in Ukraine, she is popular for her appearances in ‘That 70’s Show’ and for her voice work on ‘Family Guy’ and broke into film with her appearance in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’. Another very popular Mila is former supermodel turned actress Milla Jovovich, born Milica and of Russian-Serbian descent.
Alim is a male name of Muslim origin meaning ‘Man of Learning’ and is also is one of the names of God in Islam, meaning "All-Knowing". The word also translates in a more modern sense as a scholar who is an expert in Islamic law and theology. So well loved and industrious but also learned and expert, what a great name to bless your child with.
If you are a fan of classic UK 80’s sitcom ‘Only Fools & Horses’, you may be a bit reluctant to name your child Del. Whilst a slightly dodgy wheeler-dealer may at first spring to mind, the name Del actually means ‘Valley’ and is sometimes used as a nickname for Delbert or Derek. Although commonly a boy’s name, Del can be used for girls as a shortening of Adelaide or Delaney.
In reverse, Del is the short and simple ‘led’, past version of to lead. We all want the best for our children and if yours turns out to be a leader then they are able to control a group of people, a country, or a situation.
So maybe a subconscious message to your little Del of great future leadership capabilities.
This boy’s name has various meanings from around the world, so maybe consider your roots or your current geographical area before choosing this name. Evan is the Welsh form of the Hebrew ‘John’, meaning ‘God has been gracious’, but literally translates as ‘Young’. The Celts take it one step further as ‘Young Fighter’. However, the Hebrew and American translations have Evan down as ‘Stone’ whilst in Scotland he would be ‘right-handed’.
In reverse Evan becomes a ‘nave’, the long central part of a church, often with aisles on both sides, so if you are Christian this would be a Welsh nod to God as well as a celebration of the building in which you worship.
Originally from the Persian ‘Omid’, this name is Turkish and means ‘hope’. Quite a popular name in the 1980’s, Umit disappeared from the baby name lists in 2004. Other spellings include Umid and even Umida for the feminine form.
Many Turkish footballers seem to be called Umit including Ümit Aydın, Ümit Davala, Ümit Karan, Ümit Korkmaz and Ümit Kurt.
Maybe this links to the Swahili ‘Timu’ which translates as ‘team’. Idealistic and emotional, Timu always loves to sing, dance, and have a good time.
The name Amir has become a lot more popular in the last 50 years and came in at number 141 last year according to the BabyCenter poll. This is a name that has various meanings around the world, including ‘King’ in Persian and ‘Prince’ in Arabic. The Hebrew meaning follows a similar, if less royal, theme, being ‘Powerful’. Amir is a popular Muslim name and boys can expect to be ‘Prosperous’.
So with their royal and powerful roots, Amirs have great leadership qualities and like to be independent. Interested in adventure and excitement, Amir is also excited by change.
Backwards, Amir turns into Rima, which also makes a beautiful name for either a boy or a girl. Rima was famously the fictional hero of WH Hudson’s novel Green Mansions, featuring a primitive jungle girl living in the rainforest of South America. Rima the Jungle Girl was later published as a DC Comic.
There are several famous sporting Amirs around at the moment, including the boxer Amir Khan, Amir Ali Sadollah, winner of Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter 7 and Amir Jalla Johnson, an American professional basketball player who plays for the Toronto Raptors.
Another unisex name, Iris has several distinct meanings, depending on geography. In England is a flower name and is reminiscent of the flowers with the delicate violet petals. Iris also comes from the Latin meaning ‘bringer of joy’, whilst elsewhere in Europe, it refers to the mythological Greek goddess of the rainbow.
In reverse Siri is the well known virtual assistant from Apple, but unless you’re a massive fan that’s probably not the thing to name your child after.
Slightly more interestingly, Sirina is a Greek name meaning ‘named for the Sirens’. In mythology, Sirens were dangerous creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
So from rainbows to dangerous sirens, this is a pair of names with a huge variety of meanings.
Whilst some of us may remember Milo as a purple Tweenie, the name is actually of Germanic origin. Its roots are uncertain and may come from the German ‘mild’. Alternatively, it might be from the Old Slavonic root milu, meaning ‘merciful’. In contrast, the Greek translation has Milo as a destroyer.
There are a few famous Milos around including Milo Manheim, known for his part as Zed in the Disney movie ‘Zombies’ and the rapper Milo. Milo Ventimiglia has also helped increase the name’s popularity after his stint on ‘Gilmore Girls’.
Olim is a Latin word meaning ‘formerly’ or ‘once’ and also refers to waves of immigration, such as that by the Jews into Israel.
Milo is a handsome boy’s name with a touch of the exotic and a lovely meaning to give to your son.
Here is a German name that has been popular for boys since the Middle Ages. Meaning ‘famed’, ‘bright’, or ‘shining’, this name will help your little one to shine. The name is a derivative of the very popular Robert, which was brought to England by the Normans. The name comes from the Old German ‘Hruodperht, literally meaning ‘fame-bright’. The name is so good that three Kings of Scotland took it and of course, the Scottish hero Robert the Bruce was a Rab too.
Bar is also a word with many meanings, but none of them really relating to a bright child. Would you really want to tell people proudly that your son’s name is part of a pub backwards? Probably not so let’s just focus on the grand masculinity of being a Rab.
Enid was last really popular in the 50’s and there don’t seem to be many young ones around. However, with a Celtic meaning of ‘spirit’, it may well join other ‘old fashioned’ names in making a comeback. It is thought to come from ‘enaid’, meaning ‘soul’ or ‘life’, so it really suggests that this person is full of energy and vigour.
In English, it translates as ‘fair’ and even comes from the legend of King Arthur (him with the sword in the stone). Enid was the virtuous and patient wife of Geraint, one of the knights of the Round Table.
Enid has appeared in many circles, including children's writer Enid Blyton, a legendary romantic figure, in Tennyson's ‘Idyll of the Kings’ and even the title of a Barenaked Ladies song.
In reverse, this might suit a particularly hungry baby, but one with vitality and spirit.
A Dutch name, Raf (pronounced Rahf) is the short version of Rafael and, like this rather elegant boy’s name, he is charming in appearance, refined in manners and eager to please. A rather sensitive boy, Raf is blessed with practical intelligence, an analytical mind and good organisational skills. Rafael translates as ‘God has healed’ and is popular in Spain and Italy.
In English, it is pronounced slightly differently as ‘Raef’ but continues to convey masculinity with the translation of ‘shield wolf’. This comes from the Middle English ‘rand’, meaning "shield", coupled with wolf and contracted together.