You might think that virtue baby names have had their day.
And it’s true, many can sound a bit old-fashioned to today’s ears.
But if the baby name charts are anything to go by, vintage names are making a bit of a comeback, and virtue names are right behind them.
A quick look beyond some of the more traditional options makes it clear why.
In the past, virtue names were typically given by the Puritans to remind them of the qualities we all should aspire to: Charity, Obedience, and Modesty.
But times are changing, and today’s virtues look a little different.
Sage, Reverie, and Zen – these not only sound pretty trendy, they represent a way of being.
So, we’ve put together a list of our favorites, some split into boys’ and girls’ options, but let’s be real, virtue is beyond gender specifics.
And while some of the meanings are pretty self-explanatory (Joy means “joy” of course!), we’ve included a bit of an explanation wherever we can.
Oh, and just for luck, we’ve thrown in a few names that mean virtue right at the end.
In this article: 📝
- What are the Puritan virtue names?
- What are good virtue names?
- Virtue names for boys
- Virtue names for girls
- What are rare virtue names?
- What about names that mean virtue?
What are the Puritan virtue names?
Let’s start from the beginning with the OG virtue names.
It bears explaining that the Puritans valued success (alongside family, service, and community) and considered wealth the reward for a pious life.
They saw the seven heavenly virtues as the means to achieve a virtuous, successful life ripe with abundance.
Today, these still stand firm as inspiring monikers:
- Faith: Probably the most straightforward and famous virtue name.
- Hope: A classic still popular today.
- Charity: Together with Hope and Faith, Charity is one of the Big Three abstract virtue names.
- Chastity: Another name for “pure” or “innocent”.
- Temperance: Meaning “moderation”. Temperance is forever intertwined with abstinence in the American imagination but in Greek literature, it was one of the central qualities of the Greek Goddess Sophrosyne – the embodiment of excellence of character.
- Prudence: Meaning “caution”. One of the more didactic virtue names.
- Courage: Something we all need from time to time.
- Justice: The last of the cardinal virtues and top of our list of [baby names that mean justice.
- Patience: Also a popular Nigerian baby name.
- Grace: When this name was originally used as a virtue name, it referred to the love and kindness of God.
- Modesty: While not the edgiest virtue name, Modesty does capture one of the Puritan’s most celebrated qualities: humility. It honors a mindset free from arrogance and pride. In essence, a self entirely liberated from ego.
What are good virtue names?
The appeal of virtue names is their fluid nature.
Sure, certain names like Prudence or Charity have gained momentum as vintage names for girls, but no quality is reserved for one gender alone.
So, with an open mind and unbound expectations, here are 18 of the best virtue names:
- Ace: A boy’s name meaning “one” and “unity”. Fortunately, no kid today will associate it with Jim Carrey’s role as wacky pet detective Ace Ventura.
- Amity: Meaning friendship, the many syllables in this short name give it a rhythmic quality.
- Blaze: This unisex name has been in the top 1,000 list of names since 2000. It’s originally a form of the saint’s name, Blaise.
- Chase: A strong, slick, and cool boy’s name, Chase also means to hunt in French.
- Ever: The timeless quality of this simple name has made it common for both boys and girls.
- Felicity: The 1990s TV series Felicity helped to modernize and popularize this girls’ name. It means “good fortune”.
- Haven: Just the right name to make you feel safe and sheltered.
- Hero: Meaning demi-god, the hero was always a woman in Greek mythology. It’s used as a girl’s name today.
- Irie: A Jamaican name for girls that means positive and powerful.
- Journey: This name has both spiritual and literal connotations – a voyage can take many forms, after all! It’s also sometimes spelled Journee.
- Kismet: A girl’s name for “fate”.
- Joy: A girl’s name that’s everything it says it is.
- Pax: This boy’s name means “peace” or “peaceful”.
- Reverie: This dreamlike name feels gentler than Dream, which can also be used as a girls’ name.
- Serenity: A sing-song name that also means “peaceful”.
- Sage: A girl’s name usually, but also sometimes given to boys, Sage means “wise and knowing”. It’s short and snappy, but also soft and (dare we say it) fragrant.
- Swift: A boy’s name full of movement. Reminiscent of the bird.
- Zen: A boy’s virtue name that brings with it a deep sense of peace and calm.
Virtue names for boys
As we mentioned before, virtue names are almost entirely gender-neutral.
But we get it, sometimes too much of a good thing can be, well, too much.
To narrow down your choices, we’ve gathered the best contenders for male virtue names:
- Chance: Chance the Rapper has given this name a boost. Meaning “good fortune”, it is a name ripe with possibilities.
- Chivalry: Did you know that Chivalry stems from the Old French word chevalerie, meaning “horsemanship”? Yep, since the 11th century, this virtue name has stood for a nobleman unafraid of mounting a war horse in the name of honor.
- Creed: Meaning “belief” or “faith”.
- Dare: Bold and assertive? Check! In Greek, this name means “gift”. Double check!
- Earnest: A virtue name and a variant spelling of the name Ernest, which means “serious” or “resolute”. A name forever associated with Oscar Wilde and witty quips.
- Fortune: Meaning “fate” or “good luck”.
- Foster: Meaning “woodsman”. But as a virtue name, Foster is the essence of nurturing the development of something desirable.
- Freedom: A straight-shooting baby name that means “freedom”.
- Gabriel: A Hebrew name that means “God is my strength”. Not technically a virtue name but definitely virtuous.
- Just: Meaning “upright* or “justice”. Related to Justin.
- Legend: Both a narrative name (like Saga and Fable) and a virtue name, this one.
- Leon: This one you probably weren’t expecting to find on a list of virtue names, it comes from the word Leo, meaning lion. A subtle nod to the qualities of bravery and strength.
- Loyal: Need we say more?
- Noble: This name could refer to nobility or aristocracy, or maybe someone who has a dignified character.
- Renjiro: This Japanese boy’s name means “honest” and “upright”.
- Resolve: For someone with the power to end conflicts (or the willingness to try).
- Royal: Strong and regal, this name has its roots in Latin.
- Valiant: Another virtue name exalting bravery.
- Valor: Meaning “honor” or, yes, “bravery”.
- Wisdom: For a little boy wise beyond his years.
- Zeal: We all encourage a zeal and zest for life in our children.
Virtue names for girls
Virtue names are not just restricted to spiritual territory.
Across different cultures, philosophies, mythologies, and eras, virtues arise in a multitude of forms.
Nevermind Chastity and Temperance, our list of female virtue names has space for all manners of celebrated traits:
- Beauty: From the inside out, baby.
- Blythe: Meaning “happy” and “carefree”.
- Clarity: There’s no room for doubts with this little lady.
- Constance: Somehow both subtle and a little prim, Constance means “steadfast”.
- Cornelia: Meaning “horn”, Cornelia was the height of womanly virtue in ancient Rome.
- Daya: Meaning “compassionate”. In Sikhism, Daya is a divine virtue representing empathy towards others.
- Destiny: Destiny Hope Cyrus, you might not know, is the birth name of singer Miley Cyrus.
- Divinity: For the new little goddess in your life.
- Honora: This Latin girl’s name means “woman of honor”.
- Love: Jennifer Love Hewitt made this one popular as a middle name.
- Mercy: One of the more traditional virtue names.
- Ren: Not just a Star Wars name, Ren represents charity and humility in Confucianism. It also means “water lily” in Japanese.
- Tahira: This Arabic name means “pure” and “chaste”.
- Trinity: Relating to triad, or three, and usually referring to the Holy Trinity.
- Verity: Meaning “truth”.
- Winsome: Meaning “agreeable” or “lighthearted”.
What are rare virtue names?
If you want real rare virtue names, we suggest tapping into traits you most admire or would encourage your growing adult-to-be.
Because let’s face it, you’re not just raising a tiny human, you’re shaping a future mind (no big deal).
Here’s some rare virtue names to get your budding leader, mover, and shaker on the right path early:
- Felicity: A surprising virtue name meaning “happiness”. It stems from the Latin word felicitas.
- Wit: The ability to bring joy with well-timed remarks rooted in astute observations and intellect? We think it’s a pretty commendable quality.
- Charisma: Just know your baby will have stage presence in spades? Honor it, mama!
- Sincere: For the heartfelt, endearing little soul.
- Solace: A virtue baby name fit for an introvert.
- Candor: Never let them be afraid to speak their mind.
- Vivacity: As in lively and animated. Nothing will hold them back.
- Halcyon: This Greek name means “calm” – inspired by the mythological sea bird who was said to charm the waters into calm.
- Sonam: A Tibetan unisex name meaning “fortunate one”.
- Esteem: The name to ensure your babe has lots of it. It means “respect and admiration”.
- Rebel: A surprising pick for a virtue name, but going against the status quo isn’t such a bad thing. We say some rules are made to be broken if it means making space for difference. After all, some of the greatest cultural works came from misfits and rebels. Who knows what your little one will create in the pursuit of unapologetic authenticity.
What about names that mean virtue?
Of course, in contrast to virtue names, there are also names that mean virtue, which is a slightly different thing.
The names below come from many different cultures and languages, but they all mean virtue or virtuous:
- Agatha: A Greek girl’s name.
- Areta: From the Greek word arete, meaning “virtue”.
- Aretha: Another Greek girl’s name. This one means “excellence”.
- Ansa: This Finnish girl’s name means “virtue”.
- Duc: A Vietnamese boy’s name. It means “good” or “moral”.
- Fadil: A Muslim Arabic boy’s name meaning above all “honorable”, “excellence”, and “virtuous”.
- Fursey: An Irish boy’s name rooted in the Latin word virtus.
- Honor: A unisex English name meaning “dignity” or “reputation”.
- Merida: Latin in origin, this girl’s name means “one who has achieved a high place of honor”.
- Nirmala: An Indian girl’s name.
- Saguna: This Hindu girl’s name means “possessed of good qualities” or “virtuous”.
- Yoshi: A unisex name meaning “virtuous” or “righteous”. Japanese in origin.
- Zaki: This Arabic name means “full of virtue”.
- Zhen: A Chinese boy’s name meaning “virtuous” or “precious”.
So, what virtues speak to you mama?
Do you envision your babe as a fighter for justice or a rebellious soul?
Or perhaps they’ll breath life into Chivilary once more?
We’d love to hear your favorite virtue names on Peanut.
Who knows, maybe you’ll create some rare variations of your own…
Happy naming, mama!