Skeletal, bony names

My Halloween-themed name lists continue with names whose meanings relate to skeletons and bones! Not only are bones fascinating, but they’re also a reminder that we all ultimately end up reduced to our bare bones, no matter who or what we are in our earthly lives. Death is truly the great equalizer.


Kaiwi means “the bone” in Hawaiian, and symbolizes old age and life.

K’ûik means “the narrow bone in the hind flipper of a seal” in Greenlandic.

Saunek means “bone” in Greenlandic.


Ahkiyyini is a skeleton ghost in Inuit mythology.

Ankou is a famous skeleton ghost in the folklore of the Brittany, Cornwall, and Normandy regions of France.

Isarok means “wing bone” (of a bird) in Greenlandic.

K’iperok means “channel, furrow” (of bone, metal, wood) in Greenlandic.

Kolbeinn is an Old Norse and Icelandic name derived from the elements kolr (coal; i.e., a synonym for black and dark) and bein (bone, leg).

Xolotl is the Toltec and Aztec god of lightning, who guides the dead to the Mictlan (the underworld). He’s Quetzalcoatl’s twin brother, and represented as both a skeleton and a dog-headed man.


Itahisa may mean “bones” or “skeleton” in Guanche, an extinct Berber language spoken in the Canary Islands. It came back into popularity in the 1970s.

Marleenken is a Low German diminutive of Marlene. A famous literary bearer is a character in the Grimms’ fairytale Vom Machandelbaum, where she collects her brother’s bones and buries them under a juniper tree. The contemporary form of the name is Marlinchen.

Nidawi means “elephant woman” in Omaha–Ponca, derived from the word nida, which refers to the giant bones found in riverbanks.


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