“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other name
Would smell as sweet” – Romeo and Juliet.
If you are searching for Shakespearean baby names, you have a splendid variety of names to choose from. Shakespeare is probably the most influential playwright of all time. His plays and dramas have been adapted by artists worldwide and remain a crowd favorite to this day.
Like Macbeth and Othello, some character names from Shakespearean tales have been used for centuries now. We have compiled some of the most notable Shakespearean names for your little one in this post.
Top 25 Shakespearean Girl Names
This French and Italian form of Beatrix was used by one of the central characters in the play “Much Ado About Nothing”. She is a kind and loving girl but mocks others with her wit and pun. The meaning of Beatrice is ‘she who brings happiness’.
Celia is the moniker of one of the main characters on “As You Like It”. She is described by Orlando, the central character from the play, as a “fair and excellent lady”. The name is inspired by Saint Celia, the patron saint of musicians.
The moniker Juliet came to the forefront after Shakespeare used it for his female lead in “Romeo and Juliet”. Famous for romantic reasons, this name is one of the most popularione was used way before J.K. Rowling ones of Shakespeare’s.
The name Perdita was invented by Shakespeare for an abandoned baby in “The Winter’s Tale”, It is associated with finding hope, even after being lost.
Not many may know, but Hermione was used way before J.K. Rowling used it in her epic series, “Harry Potter.” Hermione was first borne by Shakespeare’s character in “The Winter’s Tale”, but is now associated only with the brilliant wizard.
We think Helena sounds a tad sweeter than the commonplace Helen. Helena appears in two of Shakespeare’s plays- “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”.
Viola is the name of the lead character of “The Twelfth Night”. This fun loving and insanely romantic character is a favorite of many. The other famous Violas are Viola Davis, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character Viola de Lesseps in “Shakespeare in Love”.
If you want some elaborate name for your daughter, go with Desdemona. Desdemona is a meek and pure woman from “Othello”, who stood her ground when conversing with Othello and Iago. Her name signifies strength and courage.
Cordelia is the name of one of the daughters of King Lea. The nicknames for Cordelia include Cora and Delia. If you are still not convinced about this name, just recall the quote from “Anne of Green Gables” – “I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”
Audrey is the name of one of the characters in “As You Like It”. This moniker still inspires thousands of parents even today.
Portia was the name of Julius Caesar’s wife in the play. The name Portia is as strong today as it was in Shakespearean’s time. The “Hunger Games” character makes Portia today.
Rosalind is one of our favorite Shakespearean heroines. Her name has some charming connotations, and this Spanish name means ‘beautiful rose’.
This fun sounding name debuted in “The Merchant of Venice”. This name has waned in popularity with other 80s baby names like Lindsay.
Pauline is the name of one of the characters in “The Winter’s Tale” and means ‘small’. It is also the name of renowned 90s model Paulina Porizkova.
This lovely name is gorgeous too. It’s the name of the lead character in “The Comedy of Errors”.
The meek and wonderful, Luciana from “The Comedy of Errors” is a classic and beautiful alternative to the widely used, Lucy. Luciana is also an ancient Roman family name.
Cleopatra is such an iconic name that it would have been a tragedy not to include it on the list. This royal baby name never actually made it to the modern world, but its short form Cleo did, and how. The meaning of Cleopatra is ‘Glory of the Father’.
Meaning ‘help,’ Ophelia is the name of Hamlet’s tragic heroic. This name has leaped to the top of the charts as one of the go-to names for girls, having joined the likes of Emma, Sophia, and Isabella.
The name Margaret comes from the Shakespearean play “Much Ado About Nothing”. Margaret was also the name of Queen Elizabeth’s sister and the name of several queens of England. Meaning ‘daisy’ or ‘pearl’, Margaret also has the option of the cute nickname, Mags.
Bianca, the lively Shakespearean version of Blanche, has been a favorite of American parents since the 1990s. It featured in two of Shakespeare’s plays, “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Othello”, and it means ‘white’.
The name Titania belongs to the beautiful queen of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. In the play, Titania falls in love with a disfigured human. The meaning of this lacy and delicate name is ‘great one’.
Shakespeare used the unusual name Charmian for the first time in “Antony and Cleopatra” for one of the Egyptian Queen’s attendants. This name is more popular in the United Kingdom than the United States. Charmian means ‘joy’.
Lavina Andronicus is a character in “Titus Andronicus”. The name is inspired by an ancient place named Lavinium. This prim and proper name also dates back to the classical mythology, where is the Aeneas’s wife’s name.
Miranda is a shimmering, poetic name invented by Shakespeare for the heroine of this play “The Tempest”. This name peaked in popularity in the 90s as an antidote to Amanda. This lovely name means ‘marvelous’.
Top 25 Shakespearean Boy Names
Claudio is the young soldier from “Much Ado About Nothing”. He gained quite a good reputation in the battle.
Demetrius was one of the four central characters from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He falls in love with Hermia but ultimately chooses Helena. Demetrius is a male variation of Demeter, the name of a Greek goddess.
Julius, the name of the titular character of “Julius Caesar”, would make a cute alternative to the oh-so-popular Julian. Julius was highly popular as a Christian name in Rome but was not used in the English-speaking countries until the 19th century.
A character from Macbeth and an ally to the king himself, this name is one of the popular ones to choose.
Aaron was one of the characters from “Titus Andronicus”. The moniker comes from an Arabic name and means ‘strength. Aaron Copland, the 20th-century American classical composer, is another noteworthy bearer of this name.
Balthazar was Romeo’s servant and trusted friend in “Romeo and Juliet”. If you think Balthazar is quite a mouthful name, you can keep Balt for the nickname. It’s an alternative spelling to Balthasar.
Benvolio may not be a central character in “Romeo and Juliet”, but his name is worth considering. As Romeo’s cousin, Benvolio acts like his confidant, peacemaker, and problem solver. Call him Ben if Benvolio sounds too antiquated to you.
For “Troilus and Cressida”, Shakespeare decided to stay safe with the classic name Alexander. As per legends, the first Alexander was Paris, who was nicknamed Alexander by the shepherds for whom he fought against the robbers. Alex, Zander or Zan would be ideal nicknames for it. Alexander means ‘defender of mankind’.
The meta-fans out there would surely appreciate this name. Peter Quince is the director and writer of the famous play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Some even consider Peter to be the surrogate for Shakespeare himself.
Prince Ferdinand is the earnest and affectionate character and the heir to the Naples throne from “The Tempest”. It means ‘brave and daring’. The name also belongs to one of the most notable Spanish explorers, Ferdinand Magellan.
Henry was one of the most favorite names of Shakespeare. He wrote multiple plays depicting wars that featured characters named Henry. And in all the plays, the brave Henry emerged the winner. Hal or Harry would make the best nicknames for Henry.
Robin Goodfellow, better known as Puck, is the mischievous and witty sprite in “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream”. The name also harkens Robin Hood, who stole from the wealthy and gave to the poor. And how can we forget the bird Robin that signal Spring and renewal.
Oberon, also spelled, Auberon, is a king of fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
Lucius is another classic Shakespearean baby name that was adapted in the Batman comic series. Before Lucius Fox, Batman’s aid, Lucius made an appearance in several Shakespeare’s plays, including “Titus Andronicus”. He was the eldest son of Lucius.
Before “Game of Thrones”, Oberon was the king of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He was the consort to Titian, the Queen of the Fairies. The variation of Auberon means ‘noble or bearlike’.
The name Sebastian featured in two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays “Twelfth Night” and “Tempest”. And this name has modern day connection as well, “The Little Mermaid” remember? Even Ariel appears in “The Tempest”.
This name has some regal connotations. It was the name of King Lear’s daughter, but in today’s generation, it’s more popular for boys than girls. The meaning of this Irish name is ‘little king’.
The name Adrian featured in “The Tempest” and “Coriolanus”. Or you can shorten it to the dashing and ever popular Adrian. The meaning of Adriano is ‘man from Adrian’.
Lucentio is one of the unique Shakespearean boy names. In “The Taming of the Shrew”, Lucentio is a good-natured student who falls in love with Bianca and then sets a plot to win her over.
Orlando is the male lead in As You Like It. This name stands for “famous land”.
Horatio is the name of Hamlet’s loyal friend in “Hamlet”. As a name, Horatio sounds better than Hamlet. It’s a variation of Horatius and means ‘hour time’ or ‘season’. The name may be somewhat uncommon, but it is not entirely unheard of.
Nick Bottom is a character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It’s usually considered a short form of Nicholas, but it stands tall on its own right.
Lorenzo is the name of an upstanding character in “The Merchant of Venice”. This fourth familiar name of Italy is now gaining traction in France as well. Drop this name from your list if you are not a fan of “Jersey Shore”.
Hugh Mortimer was the name of Richard Duke’s uncle in “Henry VI”. Hugh is an excellent choice for people who are looking for something original. The nicknames for this name include Huey, Hug, and Hud. And it has great namesakes as well like Hugh Grant and Hugh Laurie.
Last, but not the least, we have Romeo, the lead character of “Romeo and Juliet”. David and Victoria Beckham made this name trendy again after bestowing it on their second son.
Classy, aren’t they? Tell us your favorite pick!
Discover More Names
When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the benefits of choosing a Shakespearean baby name?
Shakespeare’s plays are known for some iconic characters. The names of these characters are easy to remember. These characters embody certain traits such as strength, courage, and authority. These qualities could be associated with your child by providing the name.
2. Are there any special considerations to make when choosing a Shakespearean baby name?
Ensure that the name you choose corresponds to the gender of your baby, is easy to pronounce, and does not have a slang meaning. Pick a name that stands for good traits. If possible, choose a name of a positive character and not of someone known for their negative personality and deeds.
3. How has the popularity of Shakespearean baby names changed over time?
Shakespeare’s plays may be old, but they are relevant even today. His characters are admired, remembered, and quoted worldwide. As long as his plays remain popular, the character names will continue to be selected by parents for their children.
You may choose Shakespearean baby names from your favorite plays. You can find both baby boy and baby girl names with positive characterization in the plays. Choosing siblings’ names from the plays can be more interesting, especially if the names were also given to siblings in the plays. You may find meaningful, traditional, and unusual names in Shakespearean plays, and you can choose the right one for your baby that matches their personality. You can also find unique names Shakespeare created by anglicizing spellings of biblical or other names.
Infographic: Shakespearean Characters
We bring you this infographic on inspirational Shakespearean characters to name your baby after. These characters were known for their modesty, wit, and inner strength. Their character arcs teach a valuable lesson to everyone. Scroll down to find your pick.