Watery names

Probably the most popular water-themed names in the Anglophone world currently are Brooke, River, Marina, and Maya. However, there are many more names with watery meanings to consider, particularly if you’re a big water-lover like I am. Someday I’d love to live by the waterfront.


Adetokunbo means “the crown came from over the sea” in Yoruba, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Afon is a contemporary Welsh name meaning “river.”

Agam means “lake” in Hebrew.

Darya means “ocean, sea” in Persian. The Turkish form is Derya. This isn’t to be confused with the Slavic name Darya.

Deniz means “sea” in Turkish.

Jiang can mean “river, Yangtze” in Chinese.

Kai means “sea” in Hawaiian.

Kaimana means “sea power” and “diamond” in Hawaiian.

Maayan means “spring of water” in Hebrew.

Moana means “deep sea, wide expanse of water, ocean” in Hawaiian.

Rayyan means “watered, luxuriant” in Arabic. This is the name of one of the gates of Paradise in Islam.

Sevan is the name of Armenia’s largest lake, possibly from the Urartian word suinia (lake).

Shui can mean “water” in Chinese.

Tirta means “sacred water, place of pilgrimage” in Indonesian, derived from the Sanskrit tirtha.

Yang can mean “ocean” in Chinese.


Alton means “town at the source of the river” in Old English.

Douglas means “dark river” in Scottish. Though this name was quite popular in the U.S. for much of the 20th century, it’s now fallen to #617. In England and Wales, it’s #276.

Ghadir means “stream” in Arabic.

Glyndwr means “valley water” in Welsh.

Göksu is a Turkish name derived from the elements gök (sky) and su (water).

Gürsel means “flowing water” in Turkish.

Gyatso means “ocean” in Tibetan.

Ibai means “river” in Basque.

Irving means “green water” in Scottish. In the U.S., this was historically a very popular name in the Jewish community. It was used as an “all-American”-sounding form of names like Isaac, Israel, and Isaiah. However, its popularity has steadily plummeted, and its last year on the Top 1000 was 2005, when it was #984.

Jafar means “stream” in Arabic.

Kaito is a Japanese name which can be derived from the elements kai (ocean, sea) and to (a Chinese constellation).

Kelvin is the name of a Scottish river, and possibly means “narrow water.”

Llyr means “the sea” in Welsh.

Mehrab is a Persian name derived from the elements Mithra (the god of friendship and light) and ab (water).

Mortimer is an English name derived from a place name which means “still water” in Old French. Its last time on the Top 1000 was 1925, when it was #881.

Nereus means “water” in Greek, taken from the word neros. Its original bearer was a god of the sea.

Pegasus means “from a water spring” or “strong” in Greek, from the original name Pegasos. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend using this on a child in the Anglophone world! I also wouldn’t recommend it even for a horse, since it seems sort of cliché. On another kind of pet, like a dog, cat, or parrot, though, it would sound really cute.

Pelagius is the Latinized form the Greek Pelagios (the sea).

Sohrab means “red water” or “shining, illustrious” in Persian.

Takumi is a Japanese name which can be composed of the elements taku (open, support, expand) and mi (ocean, sea).

Tengiz means “ocean, sea” in Georgian.

Yuval means “stream” in Hebrew.


Aeronwy is a Welsh name composed of the elements Aeron (the name of a river and the word for “berry) and the suffix wy (river).

Anat possibly means “water spring,” taken from a Semitic root. She was a goddess of war, hunting, and fertility in much of the Ancient Near East. This isn’t to be confused with the unisex Hebrew name Anat, which means “answer.”

Arethusa is the Latinized form of the Greek Arethousa, which probably means “quick/nimble water.” She was a nymph who was transformed into a fountain.

Asherah may be derived from a Semitic root meaning “she who walks in the sea.”

Aysel means “Moon stream” in Azeri and Turkish.

Aysu is a Turkish name derived from the elements ay (Moon) and su (water).

Cansu is a Turkish name derived from the elements can (life, soul) and su.

Dalit means “to draw water” in Hebrew.

Damla means “water drop” in Turkish.

Irmak means “river” in Turkish.

Itsaso means “ocean” in Basque.

Manami is a Japanese name which can be composed of the elements mana (affection, love) and mi (ocean, sea).

Maraĵa means “made of the sea” in Esperanto.

Meltem means “sea wind” in Turkish.

Meri means “the sea” in Finnish.

Mira means “ocean, sea” in Sanskrit, not to be confused with the Slavic nickname Mira.

Nahal means “stream” in Hebrew.

Nanami can mean “seven seas” in Japanese.

Nehir means “river” in Turkish.

Neith is the Hellenized form of the Egyptian Nit, which possibly means “water.” She was an Ancient Egyptian goddess of war, hunting, and weaving.

Océane is French. I absolutely love this name!

Saraswati means “possessing water” in Sanskrit.

Tiamat means “sea” in Akkadian.

Youko can mean “ocean child” in Japanese.


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