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Smartest Baby Names

Name ideas inspired by schools and universities

By Jillian Capewell |

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  • Smartest Baby Names

  • Smartest Baby Names

    Dean

    Smartest Baby Names: DeanOrigin: Old English; Meaning: valley, presiding official over cathedral, university or group
    If you want your little boy to begin leading at a young age, try this delightfully academic name that could also be an homage to actor Dean Martin. Plus, it’s a lot catchier than “Headmaster.”

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    Oxford

    Smartest Baby Names: OxfordOrigin: English; Meaning: ford of the oxen
    An esteemed center of learning and the second-oldest university in the world, Oxford University is a solid foundation for a baby who seems wise beyond his peach-fuzz head and frequent diaper changes. Perhaps young Oxford will go into medicine when he’s older, as this is also the name of a health insurance provider.

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    Cornell

    Smartest Baby Names: CornellOrigin: Latin; Meaning: horn, horned
    This name may derive from the Latin “cornu,” meaning “horned,” but today, most parents would associate it with the Ivy-league university in Ithaca, NY. Although it’s hard to say whether naming your son after it would give him a leg up on the 19 percent admission rate, at least there’s Dr. Cornel West to look up to.

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    Stanford

    Smartest Baby Names: StanfordOrigin: English; Meaning: stone ford
    If you’re not sure what a “stone ford” was before, now you do: it’s a crossing over wet areas of land made out of crushed stones that allow continuous water to flow through. Most will link this name to prestigious Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and the railroad tycoon who founded it — both astute inspirations for a baby boy.

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    Regis

    Smartest Baby Names: RegisOrigin: Latin; Meaning: kingly
    Perhaps more recognizable for TV host Regis Philbin than the midsized Regis University in Colorado, this name is a short alternative to Reginald. With ties to TV, academia, and roots meaning “kingly,” it seems young Regis would thrive in a multitude of environments.

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    Duke

    Smartest Baby Names: DukeOrigin: Latin; Meaning: leader
    At least baby Duke will have tons of already-personalized clothing options from Duke University (think Blue Devils onesies)! This boy would have a ton of other great namesakes, such as Jazz musician Duke Ellington, Western star John Wayne (Duke was his nickname), and — somewhat more playfully — iconic cartoon dog Marmaduke.

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    Art

    Smartest Baby Names: ArtOrigin: diminutive of Arthur; Meaning: stone, bear
    Maybe young Art has a successful pottery, drawing, or design career in his future? This nickname for Arthur has a lot of famous friends: musician Art Garfunkel, Honeymooners actor Art Carney, and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman — great foundations for a creative soul, we think!

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    Trig

    Smartest Baby Names: TrigOrigin: Norse; Meaning: true
    If you don’t like the math-class implications of Trig, you could try the Norse spellings of Tryg or Trygg, which is purportedly where the Palin family got inspiration for naming their youngest son, Tripp.

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    Penn

    Smartest Baby Names: PennOrigin: Old English; Meaning: enclosure, hill
    Pick your favorite Pennsylvania college as your son’s namesake: either U of Penn or Penn State, both longstanding centers of learning. If you think this is too rah-rah of a tribute to these schools, consider actor Penn Badgley and Las Vegas superstar Penn Jillette — they both pull it off.

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    Princeton

    Smartest Baby Names: PrincetonOrigin: Latin; Meaning: prince
    Go Tigers! This name is perfect for parents who hope their baby will act regally (well, as regal as one can act while bald and toothless) or grow up with as respectable a reputation as the New Jersey university that inspires this moniker.

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    Bard

    Smartest Baby Names: BardOrigin: Irish; Meaning: minstrel, singer-poet
    A great choice for literary parents; this variant of the Gaelic name Baird could refer to that high-school English class standby William Shakespeare or the private liberal-arts university in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

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    Drake

    Smartest Baby Names: DrakeOrigin: Middle English; Meaning: dragon
    A kid named Drake will probably grow up to be a great debater; like a true dragon, he’ll spit fire to burn his opponents’ arguments to pieces. Drake is also known for the Canadian rapper Drake, Elizabethan-era sea captain Sir Francis Drake, and the private university in Iowa of the same name.

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    Emerson

    Smartest Baby Names: EmersonOrigin: Old English; Meaning: Emery’s son
    Little Emerson will most likely see his name in print during his school career — that is, American author Ralph Waldo Emerson’s. And if you’re anywhere near Boston, you’ll probably associate this moniker with the private school, Emerson College.

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    Parson

    Smartest Baby Names: ParsonOrigin: Old English; Meaning: clergyman
    Most famous in pop culture for starring in the reality show where Tim Gunn continually tells budding fashion designers to “Make it work,” New York City’s Parsons The New School for Design is a great choice for fashion-minded, artistic parents.

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    Trey

    Smartest Baby Names: TreyOrigin: Middle English; Meaning: three
    Ok, we had a little fun with this one. Hopefully young Trey will be spared the fate of dropping his, well, lunch tray in front of the whole cafeteria, but we think this nickname-free choice is so cool, he’ll have no problem shaking any typical embarrassments off. (This name’s an especially cool pick for your third child, considering its meaning.)

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    Ivy

    Smartest Baby Names: IvyOrigin: Old English; Meaning: climbing ivy plant, represents fidelity
    If you think naming a baby after a school is a bit silly, Ivy is a pretty, less obvious nod to institutions of higher learning. Iva is a similarly sounding name to try out — and it’s so short and sweet, you won’t have to worry about fitting her name on her lunchbox or notebooks.

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    Berkeley

    Smartest Baby Names: BerkeleyOrigin: English; Meaning: birch clearing
    This unisex name is a cute choice for parents who are expecting a girl and like the sound of surnames as first names. Also not too shabby to name your little one after one of California’s most respected universities.

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    Belle

    Smartest Baby Names: BelleOrigin: French; Meaning: beautiful
    While not an obvious school-related name, this name has a nice ring to it, no? We bet young Belle will be thinking of her first name at the end of every class.

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    Ithaca

    Smartest Baby Names: IthacaOrigin: Greek; Meaning: island home of Odysseus
    This name refers to an island off the Western coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea as well as the central-New York town where both Cornell University and Ithaca College reside, making it the perfect name for a would-be world traveler or academic.

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    Alma

    Smartest Baby Names: AlmaOrigin: Hebrew, Latin; Meaning: maiden, nourishing
    If your daughter is worried she’s not important, you can always remind her: Alma Mat(t)ers! (We had to.)

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    Magna

    Smartest Baby Names: MagnaOrigin: Latin, Scandinavian; Meaning: Large, strength (respectively)
    A baby name with high honors! If you want your baby to go far in her education, name her after the popular degree distinction magna cum laude, Latin for “with highest honor” — just make sure you don’t compare her to her higher-ranking sister, Summa!

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    Bryn

    Smartest Baby Names: BrynOrigin: Welsh; Meaning: hill
    Will naming your daughter after this prestigious, all-women’s liberal arts college in Pennsylvania guarantee her admission? Probably not, but it may forecast strong friendships with the women around her.

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    Columbia

    Smartest Baby Names: ColumbiaOrigin: Latin; Meaning: dove
    She’s an uptown girl! This Latin name has a sweet meaning of “dove” but could also be a nod to the Ivy League that’s located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Hey, the school colors are a good excuse to go against the traditional girly décor schemes and do everything in baby blue.

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    Auburn

    Smartest Baby Names: AuburnOrigin: Latin; Meaning: persisting
    This name has a number of possible connections to a brand-new baby: perhaps she has a tuft of auburn hair or has parents that love the Alabama university. Just make sure no one at your baby shower attended Auburn’s longtime football rival, University of Alabama.

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    Arcadia

    Smartest Baby Names: ArcadiaOrigin: Greek; Meaning: place name for mountainous region in Greece that symbolizes paradise
    Arcadia is a beautiful name with geographical and academic roots, whether it reminds you of the Greek province or the private Pennsylvanian university.

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    Rowan

    Smartest Baby Names: RowanOrigin: Gaelic, Norse; Meaning: Little red one, Rowan tree
    A pretty name meaning “little red one,” Rowan could be a great name for a family of redheads — or alums of the small, public New Jersey university.

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    Madison

    Smartest Baby Names: MadisonOrigin: English; Meaning: Son of Maud, Matthew’s son
    University of Wisconsin alumni may love this subtle nod to their alma mater (it’s the town where the college is located), but let’s hope baby Madison has a unique middle name; this name cracked the top 10 in popularity for the U.S. in 1997 and has stayed there ever since.

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    Trinity

    Smartest Baby Names: TrinityOrigin: Latin; Meaning: Threefold
    If you’ve got family from Ireland or just hope your baby studies abroad there (and invites you to visit!), why not name her after Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College?

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    Yael

    Smartest Baby Names: YaelOrigin: Hebrew; Meaning: mountain goat, strength of God
    A not-obvious homophone of the New Haven, Connecticut college, Yael originated in the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible. More currently, the name is associated with Israeli-French singer Yael Naim, who wrote the song to one of those impossibly catchy iPod commercials.

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    Siena

    Smartest Baby Names: SienaOrigin: Latin; Meaning: from Siena, a reddish-brown color
    Another great name for a family who values travel and learning equally: this name is linked to an Italian city in Tuscany and the private college located near Albany, New York. Similar names include Sienna or Sierra.

About Jillian Capewell

bcjilliancapewell

Jillian Capewell

Jillian Capewelll is an editorial assistant and graduate of SUNY Geneseo in upstate New York, where she was an editor for the college newspaper. Jillian started at Babble as an intern and returned after spending a year teaching Beatles songs to French children. She has wanted to write for a living since completing the construction-paper classic Penguin Surprise Do Stuff at age four with the help of her mom, who had to spell all the words. Aside from Babble, Jillian's work has also appeared on xoJane

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22 thoughts on “Smartest Baby Names

  1. Clarkson Fisher says:

    when it comes to graduating, mileage may vary

  2. Aviva H says:

    Yael is pronounced Yah-el and is not a homophone for Yale.

  3. Townie says:

    As a resident of New Haven, CT (home of Yale Univ., as well as countless hopelessly overeducated people, in addition to countless seriously undereducated ones), I have to say, this list is possibly the worse crock of stupidity I’ve yet seen on Babble. And please, cut out the annoying slideshows. Who’s running this place? Between the spam comments and the slideshows, you’re really…. not doing so well.

  4. Townie says:

    Sorry – typing badly — I meant to write “worst” not “worse” –
    and I also meant to thank Aviva H. for correcting the author of this article. Yael is a lovely name, and it deserves to be pronounced, you know, correctly.

  5. Haha says:

    Trig? Naming you child after one of Sarah Palin’s kids would probably keep them out of college!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Really, really? You have got to be kidding me, I work 60 plus hours a week and still do 90% of the laundry so that my better half can read blogs about “Smart Baby Names”

    I didn’t search this, this page was open on our computer, Really? This is what “Al Gore” created the internet for?

    Content is only content if it is content. SOME OF YOU MAY GET THIS

  7. Charlee says:

    Great post with lots of improantt stuff.

  8. Happy says:

    I’m so glad that the internet alwols free info like this!

  9. Lavon says:

    Super jazzed about gtetnig that know-how.

  10. Dreama says:

    A wondeurfl job. Super helpful information.

  11. Trinity says:

    This makes everything so coplmeetly painless.

  12. Mircea says:

    Wow! That’s a really neat aswner!

  13. Frenchy says:

    The genius store called, they’re rnuinng out of you.

  14. Jennis says:

    That’s a mold-breaker. Great thinknig!

  15. anonymous says:

    Columbia? Naming your child after a Rocky Horror Picture Show character will do such wonders for your child’s academic life… This list just looks like a parent trying too hard to appear smart.

  16. anonymous says:

    If I name my child Thor, does that mean he will get into Asgard ?

  17. Guest says:

    Trinity? Really? That one might get her the title of trailer park queen. Harvard? not so sure.

  18. Brittany says:

    First name I saw was Dean. That is been my favorite name for a boy. A sign maybe?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Most of these names are unpleasing haha. I for one enjoy my name, its uncommon and its not weird. Riana, prounouced like the singer Rihanna but i was named after Riana DeRabb and artist my mother met in college. Though many people spell my name wrong, thats pretty frustrating.

  20. djuana says:

    i love odd names, as long as it dosen’t sound like some diesease..ithaca! never would put that name on a child or pet of mine….

  21. Nelly Frect says:

    yeay… smart names for smart babies…. we had a great name for my child too and loved it just like we loved this read here http://is.gd/Yo5fib

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