Dawn names

The name Dawn entered the U.S. Top 100 in 1956, at #92, and rose steadily every year, reaching its peak of popularity at #14 in 1971. The name remained in the Top 100 until 1982, though it had been on a steady downward decline in popularity for awhile. In 1983, it was down to #106, and fell lower and lower, until its final year on the Top 1000, 2000, when it was #912. It hasn’t charted since.

If you feel like Dawn is a bit too dated for your liking, there are still some lovely names with the same meaning, or with the word “dawn” in their meaning.


Li can mean “black, dawn” in Chinese.

Shachar is Hebrew.


Alba is Italian, Spanish, and Catalan. This isn’t to be confused with the Latin name Alba, which means “white, bright.”

Aurora is Latin in origin, and now used in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Finnish, Romanian, Polish, and the Scandinavian languages. It came into general usage during the Renaissance.

Aušra is Lithuanian.

Ayelet means “gazelle” in Hebrew, though it also refers to the morning star, called ayelet hashachar (gazelle of dawn).

Eos is Greek, the name of the goddess of dawn. It reminds me of the first line of Volume II of The GULAG Archipelago, “Rosy-fingered Eos, mentioned so often in Homer and called Aurora by the Romans, caressed, too, with those fingers the first early morning of the Archipelago.” It’s such a beautiful, poetic way to speak about something so horrific.

Fajr is Arabic.

Fioralba is Italian, roughly meaning “dawn flower” or “flower of dawn.”

Gry is Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. I wouldn’t recommend using this in an Anglophone country.

Gwawr is Welsh.

Hajnal, or Hajnalka, is Hungarian. I have a character by this name.

Roxana is the Latin form of Roxane, which is in turn the Greek form of the original Persian name Roshanak, meaning “bright” or “dawn.” Ruxandra is the Romanian form, Rossana is Italian, Roxanne is French, Rosana is Portuguese, Roxána is Hungarian, and Roksana is Russian and Polish.

Sahar is Persian and Arabic.

Usha is Sanskrit, the name of the goddess of dawn.

Zora is the word for dawn in the West and South Slavic languages (Czech, Slovakian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian).

Zoraida is a Spanish name of Arabic origin, with the possible meaning “dawn” or “enchanting.”


Agim is Albanian.

Altan means “red dawn” in Turkish.

Koit is Estonian, and also the name of a beautiful composition by the great composer Heino Eller (7 March 1887–16 June 1970).

Nishant is Sanskrit.

Taner means “born at dawn” in Turkish, and not pronounced the same way as the rather trendy English name Tanner.

Zoran is the male form of Zora, also used in the West and South Slavic languages.

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