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200 top short names for 2024

Looking for something short and sweet for your baby girl or boy? Here’s our list of the top short names for babies right now.

By Louise Baty | Last updated Apr 9, 2024

cute baby looking at the camera

Chic, snappy, and easy to spell and say… short baby names have an awful lot going for them, don’t they? If you’re after a short name for your new arrival, we’re here to help.

It’s fair to say that, back in the day, lots of parents would choose a longer name for their baby and then use a shortening day to day - think Alf for Alfred or Beth for Elizabeth. 

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These days though, short names are rising in popularity with many modern parents opting to put the shorter version on the birth certificate. Coupled with this trend is the general fashion for shorter names for both girls and boys. Ada, Eva, Leo and Jude are just a handful of the short names in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) top 100 list for names in England and Wales for instance. The most popular name for boys right now, according to the ONS statistics, is Noah, at just four letters and two syllables long.

Interestingly, according to ONS research, the age of parents can have a bearing on the length of baby name chosen, with mums over 35 years old more likely to have babies with more traditional names, while younger mothers' babies are more likely to have shortened versions.

For the purposes of this article, we think it’s important to explain exactly what we class as a short name. When looking for short girl names and short boy names for this round-up, we were pretty strict with ourselves, only featuring names containing four letters or fewer. We also limited ourselves to names of only one or two syllables. 

How we chose the top short names

For starters, we examined the top 100 list for names in England and Wales. This list is compiled every year by the ONS, which collects birth registration data to analyse frequency of baby name choices, before ranking them on popularity and creating an official top 100 chart for both baby girl names and baby boy names.

During our research, we then cross-referenced this list with the Central Statistics Office list for baby names in Ireland and the National Records of Scotland list for Scottish names. We also picked the best short names from our other baby name lists including cute baby names and modern baby names.

Because our baby name articles are always shaped by the opinion of Mumsnet parents, we also checked out the most talked-about short baby names on our Baby Names forum. If you haven’t taken a look at the threads on there, hurry over and you’ll see Mumsnetters sharing opinions on all types of baby names including elegant short names, unique short names and cute short names for babies. 

Here are our top 200 short names for 2024.

Popular short girl names

1. Ada

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Noble

2. Anna 

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Grace or favour

3. Amy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Beloved

4. Aria 

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Air, melody

5. Ava

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Bird

6. Ayda

  • Origin: Arabic, Turkish

  • Meaning: Returning visitor, moon

7. Ayla

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Oak tree

8. Bea

  • Origin: Italian, Latin origin (diminutive of Beatrice, Beatrix)

  • Meaning: She who blesses or bringer of joy

9. Beth

  • Origin: Hebrew (diminutive of Elizabeth)

  • Meaning: God is my oath

10. Cara

  • Origin: Latin, Italian, Irish, Spanish

  • Meaning: Dear, friend, darling beloved

11. Eden

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Paradise 

12. Ella    

  • Origin: German, English

  • Meaning: Fairy maiden, goddess, noble, other

13. Elle

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Sunray or light

14. Eira

  • Origin: Welsh

  • Meaning: Snow

15. Emma

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Whole or great  

16. Erin   

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Ireland

17. Esme

  • Origin: French 

  • Meaning: To love

18. Eva

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Life or breathe 

19. Evie   

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: To live

20. Faye (or Fay)

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Fairy

21. Fern

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: From the fern tree

22. Hope

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Resilience

23. Iris     

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Rainbow

24. Isla

  • Origin: Scottish

  • Meaning: From Islay, an island in the Scottish Hebrides

25. Ivy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning:  The evergreen Ivy plant

26. Jade

  • Origin: Spanish

  • Meaning: A precious green stone 

27. Jess

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Jessica)

  • Meaning: God behold

28. Kate

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Pure

29. Lara  

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Laurel leaf

30. Lila (or Lyla)

  • Origin: Persian, Arabic

  • Meaning: Youthful innocence or night

31. Lily

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Purity

32. Liv

  • Origin: Old Norse

  • Meaning: Life, protection, shelter or warmth      

33. Lola

  • Origin: Spanish

  • Meaning: Lady of sorrows     

34. Lucy  

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Light

35. Luna

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Moon

36. Lyra  

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: A small harp

37. May (or Mae)

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: The fifth month

38. Maya

  • Origin: Hebrew, Greek

  • Meaning: Water

39. Mia

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Mine

40. Mila

  • Origin: Slavic

  • Meaning: Hard-working

41. Myla 

  • Origin: Latin, German, French

  • Meaning: Soldier, merciful

42. Orla  

  • Origin: Irish 

  • Meaning: Golden princess

43. Rosa

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Rose flower

44. Rose 

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Rose flower

45. Ruby 

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: From the gemstone

46. Sara

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Princess

47. Thea

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Goddess

48. Zara  

  • Origin: Arabic

  • Meaning: Blossoming flower

49. Zoe (or Zoë)

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Life

What Mumsnetters say about short girl names

“Some of my favourite short names: Ava, Eva, Ivy, Iris, Ada, Mia, Lara, Lila, Emma, Ruby, Zoe, Isla.” - Mumsnet user, BoleynMemories13

“Lily. I know it’s popular blah blah BUT it’s just so lovely.” - Mumsnet user, mamablondie33

“Anna and Emma are lovely classic names.” - Mumsnet user, BellaVida

Popular short boy names

50. Adam

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Man

51. Alf

  • Origin: English (derived from Alfred)

  • Meaning: Elf counsel 

52. Arlo

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: Fortified hill

53. Ben

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Benjamin)

  • Meaning: Son of the right hand 

54. Eli

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Elijah)

  • Meaning: Yahweh is my God

55. Ezra

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Help or helper

56. Euan or Ewan

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish Gaelic

  • Meaning: Born of the yew tree

57. Evan

  • Origin: Welsh (derived from Iefan) 

  • Meaning: Young warrior or God is good/gracious

58. Finn

  • Origin: Irish Gaelic

  • Meaning: Fair

59. Guy

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Forest

60. Hugo

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Spirit

61. Hugh (or Huw)

  • Origin: Germanic, Welsh

  • Meaning: Mind or intellect

62. Jack

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: God is gracious 

63. Jake

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Supplanter

64. Joe (or Jo)

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: God is gracious

65. Jude

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Praised

66. Leo

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Lion 

67. Leon

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Lion

68. Levi

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Joined

69. Liam

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Resolute protector or strong-willed warrior

70. Luca

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Light

71. Luke

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Bringer of light

72. Milo

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Merciful

73. Nate 

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Gift of God

74. Nico

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Victory of God

75. Noah

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Rest or comfort

76. Otis

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Wealth 

77. Otto

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Wealthy

78. Owen

  • Origin: Welsh

  • Meaning: Well-born, noble

79. Rafe

  • Origin: Scandinavian

  • Meaning: Counsel of the wolf

80. Rex

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: King

81. Rhys

  • Origin: Welsh

  • Meaning: Enthusiastic

82. Rory

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Red king

83. Ross

  • Origin: Scottish Gaelic

  • Meaning: Rose-coloured, red, wood, headland or cape

84. Ryan

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Little king or descendant of the king

85. Sean or Seán

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: God is gracious or gift from God

86. Seth

  • Meaning: Hebrew

  • Origin: Appointed, placed

87. Stan

  • Origin: Old English (derived from Stanley)

  • Meaning: Stony clearing

88. Ted

  • Origin: English (derived from Edward)

  • Meaning: Gift of God

89. Theo

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Gift of God

90. Toby

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: God is good

91. Tom 

  • Origin: Aramaic (derived from Thomas)

  • Meaning: Twin 

92. Will

  • Origin: English (derived from William)

  • Meaning: Resolute protector

93. Zac (or Zack/Zach)

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Zachary)

  • Meaning: God has remembered

What Mumsnetters say about short boy names

“We like short boys' names here too. Ben, Joe, Jack, Tom, Sam, Leo, Max, Ross, Adam, Sean are names we've used or considered.” - Mumsnet user, hiredandsqueak

“Rhys… Popular Welsh name that doesn't seem to get mangled by non-Welsh speakers. I like it.“ - Mumsnet user, LittleLegsKeepGoing

Seth? It's not uncommon where I am (Yorkshire). I like it - solid, no frills, good name to grow into.” - Mumsnet user, SingingSands

Short gender-neutral names

94. Alex

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Defending men

95. Ash

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: From the ash tree

96. Beau

  • Origin: French

  • Meaning: Handsome/ beautiful 

97. Blue

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Refers to the colour blue, symbolising sensitivity

98. Bo

  • Origin: Old Norse, Mandarin Chinese

  • Meaning: To live or wave

99. Drew

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Courageous

100. Indy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Independence

101. Joss (or Jos)

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Member of the Germanic tribe

102. Kai

  • Origin: Hawaiian, Japanese

  • Meaning: Sea or ocean, keeper of the keys

103. Kay

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: purity and forgiveness

104. Kit

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Innocent

105. Lee (or Leigh)

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Meadow

106. Lex

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Helper or defender

107. Max

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: The greatest

108. Sage

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Wise or shows wisdom

109. Sam

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Samuel or Samantha)

  • Meaning: Heard by God

110. Skye (or Sky)

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Symbol of openness and freedom

111. Syd

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Wide meadow

112. Toni (or Tony)

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Invaluable

113. Ty

  • Origin: Irish (derived from Tyrone or Tyler)

  • Meaning: From the land of Eoghan, maker of tiles

114. Wren

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: The small bird

What Mumsnetters say about short gender-neutral names

“Kit is awesome - a real head-turner for me. Never taught one!” - Mumsnet user, permanently

“May I say Sage is such a lovely name.” - Mumsnet user, Riv12345

“Wren? Love it! I know a couple and they always get compliments on their name.” - Mumsnet user, FlamingoDust

Unique short girl names

115. Alba

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Sunrise 

116. Bibi

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: The exalted one

117. Cleo

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Glory

118. Coco

  • Origin: French

  • Meaning: Victorious  

119. Demi

  • Origin: French

  • Meaning: Half or small 

120. Dot

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Gift of God

121. Etta

  • Origin: English, Italian

  • Meaning: Little rose

122. Fifi

  • Origin: Hebrew, French

  • Meaning: God gives  

123. Gaia

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: The Earth

124. Gia

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: God is gracious

125. Hebe

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Youth

126. Hera

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Hero, warrior

127. Ines

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Pure

128. Iona

  • Origin: Scottish

  • Meaning: Referring to the Isle of Iona

129. Joy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Contentment

130. June

  • Origin: Latin 

  • Meaning: Youthful, derived from the Roman Goddess Juno

131. Juno

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Youthful and the Roman Goddess Juno

132. Kiki

  • Origin: French, Spanish

  • Meaning: Double happiness or noble

133. Lacy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Referring to lace

134. Leni

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Bright or shining

135. Lula

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Famous in battle 

136. Lumi

  • Origin: Finnish

  • Meaning: Beauty and purity of snow

137. Mara

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Bitter

138. Nala

  • Origin: African (Swahili), Arabic

  • Meaning: Queen

139. Nell

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Light or bright

140. Nina

  • Origin: Native American

  • Meaning: Strong or mighty

141. Noa

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Motion or movement

142. Opal

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Precious gem

143. Posy

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Flowers

144. Rae

  • Origin: Scottish

  • Meaning: Dark bird

145. Raya

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Friend

146. Remi (or Remy)

  • Origin: French

  • Meaning: Rower 

147. Rita

  • Origin: Spanish, Italian

  • Meaning: Pearl  

148. Romy (originally a diminutive of Rosemary)

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Dew of the sea

149. Rois

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Rose flower

150. Rumi

  • Origin: Japanese

  • Meaning: Peaceful or flower

151. Suki

  • Origin: Japanese

  • Meaning: Beloved  

152. Tara

  • Origin: Irish

  • Meaning: Star

153. Tess

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Harvest

154. Tula

  • Origin: Sanskrit

  • Meaning: Balance

155. Vita

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Life

156. Vivi

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Lively

157. Zola

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Piece of earth

What Mumsnetters say about unique short girl names

"Love Alba.” - Mumsnet user, sunglassesonthetable

“Nina - short, easy to spell, a lovely name and underused.” - Mumsnet user, BeaLola

“Suki? Lovely, I have known a couple over the years. I teach, not in conventional education, and come across hundreds of pupils each year, so can still assure you it's unusual.” - Mumsnet user, FlutterbButterfly 

“Love Tara. It was on our shortlist. As was Mara.” - Mumsnet user, Jericha

“Tess for me - poetic/romantic with a kind of underused classic feel (thanks to the Hardy novel).” - Mumsnet user, IamnotwhouthinkIam

Unique short boy names

158. Abel

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Breath

159. Ace

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: One who excels, number one

160. Adi

  • Origin: Sanskrit

  • Meaning: First or beginning

161. Ari

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Lion or eagle

162. Axel

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Father of peace

163. Bear

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: Bear

164. Beck

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Stream

165. Bram

  • Origin: Dutch, short form of Abraham

  • Meaning: Father of a multitude

166. Cain

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Spear, possessed

167. Cian

  • Origin: Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic

  • Meaning: Ancient

168. Cole

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: Coal

169. Cove

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Sheltered bay or small inlet

170. Cruz

  • Origin: Spanish

  • Meaning: Cross

171. Elio

  • Origin: Italian, Spanish

  • Meaning: Sun

172. Elis 

  • Origin: Welsh, Hebrew

  • Meaning: Benevolent, The Lord

173. Enzo

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Ruler of the home

174. Fox

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Referring to the animal fox

175. Gabe

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Gabriel)

  • Meaning: Man of God

176. Hero

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Protector

177. Ivan

  • Origin: Slavic, Hebrew

  • Meaning: God is gracious

178. Jago

  • Origin: Spanish, Cornish (form of James or Jacob)

  • Meaning: Supplanter

179. Jax

  • Origin: English (diminutive of Jackson)

  • Meaning: Son of Jack or God is gracious

180. Jay

  • Origin: Latin

  • Meaning: Jaybird

181. Jett

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Jet black

182. Jost

  • Origin: German

  • Meaning: Just, upright

183. Keir

  • Origin: Scottish, Irish

  • Meaning: Dark or black

184. Knox

  • Origin: Scottish

  • Meaning: Round hill

185. Kofi

  • Origin: Akan (Ghanaian)

  • Meaning: Born on Friday

.186. Lars

  • Origin: Scandinavian, Germanic

  • Meaning: Crowned with laurel

187. Leif

  • Origin: Scandinavian, Old Norse

  • Meaning: Descendant, heir

188. Ludo

  •  Origin: Latin (derived from Ludovicus)

  • Meaning: Famous warrior

189. Mack

  • Origin: Scottish Gaelic

  • Meaning: Son of, greatest

190. Moss

  • Origin: English

  • Meaning: Small, soft plant

191. Nash

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: By the ash tree

192. Nino

  • Origin: Italian

  • Meaning: Gracious, God is gracious

193. Reed

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: Red-haired

194. Ren

  • Origin: Chinese

  • Meaning: Benevolent

195. Saul

  • Origin: Hebrew

  • Meaning: Asked for, prayed for

196. Tate

  • Origin: Old English

  • Meaning: Cheerful

197. Troy

  • Origin: Greek

  • Meaning: Foot soldier

198. Yari

  • Origin:  Japanese, Persian, Italian, Hebrew

  • Meaning: Spear, friendship or gold

199. Zane

  • Origin: Arabic

  • Meaning: Handsome

200. Zeke

  • Origin: Hebrew (derived from Ezekiel)

  • Meaning: God will strengthen

What Mumsnetters say about unique short boy names

“I know an Ari - he's from Naples and pronounces it to rhyme with Harry.” - Mumsnet user, msmatcha

“I know a couple of little Enzos. One is Enzo as a full name, one it is short for Lorenzo.” - Mumsnet user, cherryassam

“Zeke’s nicely unusual.” - Mumsnet user, Luredbyapomegranate

How to choose a short name

  • Consider the sound and pronunciation and opt for a name that has a pleasing sound and rolls off the tongue easily (really important when shouting it for the fifth time at the playground).

  • Short names can still be meaningful so look for one with a meaning that resonates with you and your family. 

  • Love nature and wildlife? Euan (or Ewan) means ‘born of the yew tree’ while Ava means ‘bird’. Or how about Leo (which means lion), Wren (after the bird) or Rafe which has Scandinavian roots and means ‘counsel of the wolf’?

  • Choose your favourite flower, such as Rose, Rosa, Lily or Laurie (Laurel) - and for more inspiration, check out the top flower names for girls and boys.

  • Find inspiration in jewels including Jade and Ruby.

  • Try saying the name aloud with your preferred middle name and, of course, your surname. 

  • Write down your name options together - you’ll be filling in a lot of forms on behalf of your child in the years to come so make sure your preferred first name works well with the rest of your baby’s full name. 

  • Check the initials for all your names together and make sure they don’t spell anything potentially embarrassing. 

  • Consider cultural significance and explore names from your own cultural background or heritage.

  • Decide whether you prefer a timeless classic or a trendy name. Short names can offer a historic nod or can reflect current naming trends. Some do both!

  • If you already have children, consider how their names will sound together. There’s no rule book saying siblings must have matching names but it’s a good idea to consider how they sound alongside each other.

What is a cool short name?

A cool short name is one that works well with lots of surnames, sounds classy, chic and memorable and has a cool meaning. When choosing the coolest short names from our list, we made sure to choose one that Mumsnetters rated too.

We think that a cool, short popular name for baby boys is Jude. Let’s face it, any name with a Beatles connection is a winner, and then there’s the delectable Jude Law for a celebrity namesake. Currently at number 40 in the current ONS chart, having climbed 13 places since the previous year, it isn’t overused - and it’s well loved by parents on our Baby Names forum. “I have a Jude and receive nothing but compliments. I still adore his name,” says Mumsnet user, Cbeebiesrehab

For girls, you can’t go far wrong with Lara - a short, melodic name which entered the top 100 ONS baby names list in 2021. It even has its very own theme tune - as explained by Mumsnet user, Orphlids: “Love the name Lara. And the beautiful piece of music, ‘Lara’s Theme,’ from Dr Zhivago.” 

What are rare short names?

According to our research, rare short names are names that are well outside the ONS top 100 list and other top name lists. This means that you’re less likely to meet other babies with the same name at your nearest playgroup or nursery. 

We think a cool unique name for baby girls is Cleo, which was traditionally short for Cleopatra but is now an accepted standalone name. It means ‘glory’ which is pretty fabulous, we’re sure you’d agree, and it’s safely outside the top 100 list - although it is well-liked by Mumsnetters including lionseggs, who says: “Love Cleo. Baby name envy.”

For boys, we’re keen on Axel which is a strong, unusual name (although it’s steadily rising in popularity). Mumsnetter HouseofGods explains why she chose it, saying: “DH mentioned it in passing while I was pregnant and I was like ‘Oh, it's cool’ and then we just went from there.” It was also the name Little Mix singer (and self-confessed Mumsnetter) Perrie Edwards gave to her son, who was born in 2021 so it’s 100% popstar-approved.

About the author

Louise Baty writes parenting content for Mumsnet, producing product round-ups, travel guides and baby name articles. She’s also written content for Mumsnet’s sister site, Gransnet. 

Originally from West Yorkshire and now based in Nottinghamshire, Louise has worked as a features writer for consumer magazines and national newspapers for 20 years. She specialises in parenting and lifestyle features and emotional true life first-person interviews and has authored four non-fiction books on parenting and grandparenting.

Mum to two tweenagers, Louise’s own baby name choosing days may be long gone. However, she admits to having spent a LONG time deciding on her DCs’ names, together with her DP. 

For this reason, Louise has a particular interest in baby names. She understands how difficult it can be to narrow down a short list from your long list of baby names, either during pregnancy or during the sleep-deprived days following the birth of your baby. By compiling comprehensive and easy-to-follow baby name round-ups for Mumsnet, she hopes to provide inspiration and support to parents-to-be who are looking for the perfect name for their baby.