One of the most fun (or frustrating) parts of having a baby is choosing a name. Some parents have names chosen long before babies come, and others like to pick from names that have been in the family for generations. Another common practice is selecting a letter of the alphabet and going through all the names that start with that letter. Some families choose the same letter for all of their children, as the Duggars (19 Kids and Counting) do.
The letter q is often overlooked in this process because it’s not used as often as other letters of the alphabet. There aren't many q words, let alone names, that immediately come to mind. The way this letter is pronounced changes as well, depending on the origin of the word and the placement of the q. It normally makes the sounds /k/ and /kw/, but can sometimes be /ch/ like in the word qi or /ky/ like in the word queue.
These seemingly difficult characteristics are actually what make this letter perfect for finding unique baby names. There are more options than you may think. Here are just a few girl and boy names that start with q, and a couple tips on how you can come up with even more for a truly special name like no other, just like your baby.
The origins of this refreshing name are Native American. Quana means aromatic or fragrant. It’s no secret we love the smell of newborn babies and the products we use on them. Infants smell different to every person, but discounting diapers, it’s always pleasant no matter the description. It’s also distinct. Studies have shown that both mothers and babies can identify each other through smell alone. You may find your mix of milk and sweat off-putting but your baby associates it with comfort and love.
There are two other options for this name as well: adding an h to make Quanah or simplifying the name to just Quan.
It’s no surprise that this name refers to the royal position of queen. Every little girl is a princess who will someday grow to be a queen who rules her life with grace and power. She can shorten her name to reflect that as she gets older. If you think Queenie is too juvenile, and Queen is too formal or arrogant, there are other variations to choose from. Some of these include
This name can also be a nod to the famous band, Queen, if you’re a big fan. You and your baby can bond through listening to their music together.
This name comes from Gaelic for cub, making it a perfect name for any proud mama bear to use for her little one. Bears are strong and fierce, and symbolize healing in some cultures. If you had a little fighter due to an early birth, labor complications, or developmental issues, this name would reflect well your baby's persevering spirit. It's also a more conservative alternative to naming your child Bear. Another spelling option is Quilyn.
It’s also the name of a river town in the Pyrenees mountains in Southern France, though it’s pronounced differently. The place is very scenic and popular for kayaking and water skiing.
This name works for both boys and girls. It’s the middle name of the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams. It's also the first name of many famous people, such as musician Quincy Jones, NBA player Quincy Pondexter, and Quincy Combs, who is the son of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
It’s a French name taken from Latin and means “fifth born.” Obviously, it's an excellent option for baby number five, but don’t let the meaning deter you from using it for a child who is not born fifth in line.
Other forms of this name include:
Quinsey can also be spelled Quinsy or Quinzy and pronounced with a /k/ instead of /kw/ so it sounds like the name Kinzie.
This modern moniker is a good example of how to do that. It's a combination of the names Quinn and Keisha. A slightly different version is Quaneesha. You can have a lot of fun with the spelling of this name.
The name Keisha means “favorite; great joy," and what baby girl doesn't fit that beautiful description? Keisha has also been linked to the Hebrew name Kezia, meaning cassia tree or sweet-smelling spice. It’s a good match for a baby girl who has both a little sweetness and a little spiciness.
“Gracefully shaped; athletic” is the definition of this Gaelic name. It’s perfect for a future little dancer, athlete, or yogi. For a dancer, a fitting middle name would be Grace. For an athlete, a good middle name would be one of the gods or goddesses of sports from Greek and Roman mythology. These include Nike (Victoria), Hermes (Mercury), and Hercules (Heracles). For a yogi, a complementary middle name would be something associated with Zen or meditation, such as Serenity.
For a different spelling and slightly different pronunciation of this name, try Quinlyn for a girl and Quinland for a boy. Go ahead and be creative!
The meaning of this name is wisdom, something all parents wish their children will obtain. It’s used as a last name (O’Quinn) in Ireland, but in North America, it makes a fine first name for a boy or girl. You can make it different by spelling it with only one n instead. A variation of this name is Quain (or Quayn).
Quinn serves as the foundation for most q names, so it's easy to create a new name from this one by adding a suffix or second name. For example, another version of this name takes on the popular ending of “ley” is Quinley.
This is a variant of Kinsley, an English name for a king’s field or meadow. It combines a sense of royalty with the beauty of nature. It sounds very regal and sophisticated, so it will grow with your child, unlike other cutesy names that aren't fitting for adults.
You can also choose to pronounce the name with a /kw/ instead, making it a blend of Quinley and Quinsey. Records show it as a last name, so its rarity as a first name makes it a unique choice. There surely won't be any other children in the class with your child's name.
This classy name comes from the word quintessence, which refers to something in its purest or typical form. Babies are the purest beings on Earth and the standard of everything good. It’s no wonder why some religions encourage being more like children in this way.
In ancient philosophy, quintessence was believed to be the fifth and highest element of nature that makes up celestial bodies. Babies come straight from heaven, so this name beautifully captures the innocence and divinity of newborn humans. Alternatives are Quintesha and Quintess. You can also go with the original word, Quintessence, though it’s harder for both children and adults to spell.
With no known origin, this girl’s name has been labeled a modern invention, most likely stemming from the name Quinn. Records show it’s most commonly found in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Variations include Quinnetta and Quinyette.
Another name that has been formed in a similar fashion is Quinita. It's similar to Anita or Juanita but keeps the base name of Quin. These names show how endless the possibilities are to create a new q name with little effort to fit the uniqueness of your child and make him or her stand out from the crowd of trendily-named children.
This German name was born from the Latin name Quirinus, a figure from Roman mythology. It comes from the Sabine word quiris for spear. It also may possibly have roots in English and mean magic spell. Or, it may specifically refer to a legendary stone that makes someone who is sleeping spill their secret thoughts. Either one connotes power and fantasy. Babies pierce our hearts with love and put an eternal spell on us.
The Italian version is Quirino and the female version is Quirina. Easily change the spelling of this name by replacing the second i with any other vowel, including y.
15 Q Words
Using common words as names is already a normal practice for parents. Our culture likes to use verbs (Chase), nature (Rose), virtues (Hope), emotions (Joy), and even everyday items (Cash) as baby names. Some q words, from English and other languages, also make excellent names.
Because they are regular words not often used outside their ordinary contexts, they are great sources for unique baby names. These words are some examples, but they are not the only ones. Just look in the dictionary to find more options you can use as is or tweak into a new name. Also, check out q words from foreign languages for more ideas.
This word has the same sound as popular girl names such as Charity, Felicity, and Trinity, though, of course, it can be given to a boy as well. It carries a positive connotation because something of quality has high excellence or is made from a superior substance.
A quality is also a desirable character trait. It can serve as a name for your child to live up to. It’s an all-encompassing word for every trait you wish your child to possess. There’s no need to pick just one. You can use a specific one for the middle name instead, such as Faith or Justice.
Quantum can mean a general amount or portion, as used in the James Bond movie title Quantum of Solace. However, it’s more frequently associated with its physics definition. In this area of academia, it means the smallest subdivision of energy. It’s a great name for a baby of physicists or any type of scientist. It’s also used in other fields, such as law, so it’s not limited to just science fans and professionals.
The plural of this word, Quanta, also makes a good female name. Giving this name to your daughter can be the beginning of trying to encourage her into fields dominated by men.
A quarry is an excavation site where building stone is obtained. It can be pronounced two ways, either rhyming with the name Cory or the word “sorry.” The name comes from Latin for “hewn stone.” There is great symbolism found in stone, such as strength, solidness, and steadfastness. Quarry also means “a rich source.” Your baby is a rich source of innocence, love, joy, beauty, optimism, and a host of other wonderful qualities.
Parenthood offers a lifetime of opportunities to obtain those qualities for yourself. Parenting can be so difficult, frustrating, and seemingly fruitless, but with time, you will realize how much you’ve changed for the better because of it.
Quartz is a hard mineral usually found in crystal form. It’s often used in clocks and watches because it contributes to the device’s precision. It’s also often used to make jewelry, and it’s found in the Earth’s crust as well. Its score on the hardness scale is a 7, putting it near the top in the level of resistance to being scratched by other minerals. It’s a perfect name for a resilient, precise child.
It comes from German, possibly Slavic before that, and means “hard.” The Ancient Greek word for quartz meant “icy cold,” referring to the belief that quartz was ultra-cooled ice. Hard and icy sound negative but there is strength in hardness and beauty in ice.
A quay is a structure built next to a body of water for boats to stop parallel to the shore and load and unload passengers or freight. It’s a Middle English alteration of the word key, which is how the word is pronounced. It stems from the Middle French word kay, which serves as a second option for pronunciation. The third way to say it is phonetically: /kway/.
No matter how you decide to say the name, it’s a lovely allusion to water, boating, and trade. It can also refer to your baby’s nature of being a resting place for people. Holding a sweet, little baby does wonders for the soul.
Pronounced /keh-REE-dah/, this name is Spanish for “dear” or “beloved.” Your daughter doesn’t need to be Hispanic for you to give her this name. There is no one more dear and beloved than a newborn baby regardless of ethnicity! Taking names from foreign languages is quite common anyway. However, the pronunciation may become anglicized, so it sounds more like “Kay Rita,” but it’s lovely nonetheless and offers the nickname of Rita.
Little boys are just as precious as little girls, so this name is still fitting for boys. Just make the name masculine by changing the a to an o (Querido).
Life is a quest, so why not reflect that great adventure in your baby’s name? Each child has his or her own journey to embark on and plan to fulfill. This name serves as a reminder of individual purpose and holds a promise of victory for the bearer. It’s important to teach children that life will be hard but they can come off conqueror through determination, hope, perseverance, compassion, love, patience, and serenity. They can find joy along the way not only despite the hardships but also because of them.
Other forms of the name include Questa and Quester (though they would sound the same in British English).
This Spanish name belongs to a colorful tropical bird that lives in Central America. It has green plumage and a red breast, with long tail feathers if it’s male. The bird’s name comes from the Nahuatl word quetzalli, meaning tail feathers. The name is pronounced /ket-SAL/ in Spanish and /KET-suhl/ in English, giving it a Yiddish sound.
This name reflects the brilliant personality and bright countenance of your baby girl or boy. It has an exotic feel to it that makes it well suited for a baby with an exotic heritage. Another version of the name for a girl is Quetza.
Quiescence refers to a state of rest or not causing any trouble. If you have been blessed with a tranquil, easygoing baby, then this may be the perfect name to reflect your baby’s calmness and composure. The adjectival form is Quiescent.
It’s important to note that just because your baby may be fussy or clingy or have high needs, it doesn’t mean your baby is bad. There is no such thing as a bad baby. All babies are good independent of their personalities or problems. Each baby has a unique nature and struggles in some area, whether it’s eating, digesting, sleeping at night, napping during the day, reaching physical milestones, talking, interacting with others, getting sick easily, or developing in other ways. These things are normal.
A quill is a hollow shaft at the center of a feather, a stiff feather from the tail of a bird, or a poky spine from a porcupine or hedgehog. It can also mean a pen made from such a feather. The name is related to the Middle High German word kil for large feather. Add an a at the end for a more feminine form (Quilla). Quillon, a related name, means sword.
It connotes a child with a firm, stable, and assertive character. Because feathers are used for flying, it can also refer to the child’s potential to soar in this life. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword, so your baby may grow up to be a powerful speaker or writer.
The way to say this is /KEEN-wah/. It comes from the Quechua (another possible q name!) word kinua. Although treated as a grain, quinoa isn’t really a grain but a seed. It's a complete protein, meaning it contains every amino acid, and grows in the South American Andes region.
The name could represent how complete babies are when they come to this earth and how they feed our souls with nourishing love. It also is symbolic of their potential for growth just like seeds. We need to give our children the right nurture and care, and they will flourish and fill the world with their goodness.
A quintet is a musical number involving five people, though it can also describe any group of five people or things. It makes a lovely name for a baby who is in a musical family, especially one that loves using musical terms as baby names.
It also is appropriate for a fifth child (either within the immediate family or including extended family, such as the fifth cousin being born), or for a baby who is born in a set of quintuplets. A more feminine spelling of this name is Quintette, and boys can simply go by Quint as their nickname.
2 How to Make New Q Names
One way you can make a new q name is to make it sound like an already common name by replacing the first letter or sound with Qu. Then, just take the meaning of the original name. Here are a few examples to get you started.
- Quade (Wade): Old English for a ford or “to go”; Quade is also a Scottish clan
- Qualiyah (Aliyah): Hebrew name meaning “to ascend”
- Qually (Wally): a nickname for Wallace, which is German for peaceful ruler
- Quanda (Wanda): German for young tree, or possible origins from a group of Slavic people
- Quanita (Anita): Spanish nickname for Ana, meaning full of grace
- Quassandra (Cassandra): a prophesier from Greek mythology
- Quiana (Tiana): multiple origins and meanings [This one can also be pronounced like Kiana.]
1 How to Make Q Names Out of Existing Names
Another way to make a unique name is to take a name beginning with C or K and replace the first letter with Q, with or without the u. The following names are just some ideas.
- Qortni (Courtney): reference to a region in France
- Qaden (Caden): Welsh for little battle or Arabic for companion
- Quelsey (Kelsey): Old English for ship’s victory or Norse for “from the ship’s island”
- Qali (Callie): Greek for most beautiful
- Qassidy (Cassidy): from the Irish surname O’Caiside
- Qamille/Qamilla (Camille/Camilla): Latin for virgin or perfect
- Quora (Cora): Greek for maiden
- Queshia (Keshia): African for favorite or great joy [This one can also be pronounced with a /kw/ sound.]