Girl names meaning light and bright can feel especially suitable in the dark of winter or at the height of summer.
They’re names that signal hope and warmth, whether it’s from candles in the darkness or sunshine on a spring afternoon.
These girl names glow, though not all of them are equally well known. From the current Top 100 to rarities seldom heard, it’s a list that could appeal to any parent’s style.
After all, it’s a meaning that appears across languages and cultures. Every part of the world could easily be represented here, though I’ve stuck to ones that feel more accessible in English.
If you’re looking a positive, uplifting meaning for your child, girl names meaning light is a great place to start.
GIRL NAMES MEANING LIGHT
Actor Mary-Louise Parker adopted daughter Caroline “Ash” Aberash from Ethiopia in 2007. The Amharic name means “giving off light.”
This name means radiance in Gaelic. It’s pronounced like Anya, and should be spelled with an accent: Áine. In mythology, she’s queen of the fairies.
ALENA and ALINA (#772 and #135)
No matter the spelling, Alena and Alina almost always come from longer names – Magdalena and Adelina, to name just two. But some of those longer versions – like Albina – do, indeed, mean bright. Which just barely sneaks Alena and Alina on to this list.
An elaborate and rare winter flower name, Amaryllis comes from a Greek word meaning “to sparkle.” Virgil named one of his characters Amaryllis in the Ecologues; the flower takes its name from her.
Another flower name, but Aster came from the Greek word for star. Many night sky names could make this list.
Bertha feels stuck in style limbo, but the name is derived from the Germanic element beraht – bright. It’s the same element in Alberta and Roberta, which might be slightly easier to imagine making a comeback.
We all know Cassandra as an ill-fated Trojan princess. But the first half of her name is related to a Greek word meaning shining. While Cassandra had a good run in the 1980s, it feels traditional – not tired – today.
The Italian form of Clara, made famous by Saint Clare of Assisi, and now mixed up with the Irish Ciara. While the Irish name means dark, all of the Clara names share a meaning: bright or clear.
CLAIRE (#59) and CLARE (#834)
The French form of Clara, this tailored name is also spelled Clare.
Vintage, sweet, and strong, Clara has become a Top 100 favorite in recent years.
A long list of Hindi names relate to light. Diya means lamp. Diya rhymes with Mia, which might make it particularly accessible to English speakers.
ELANOR (unranked; Eleanor is #15)
Eleanor sometimes claims meaning that fits this list. But the spelling Elanor absolutely belongs. That’s because JR Tolkien invented the Sindarin name. It means “sun-star flower.” She’s the daughter of Samwise, born with golden hair – rare amongst hobbits – so Frodo suggests this name would be fitting.
This gorgeous Hebrew name combines a stylish sound and an uplifting meaning: God is my light.
While Eloise almost certainly comes from Germanic elements with a very different meaning, it’s sometimes connected to the Greek helios – sun. While this is folk etymology, it’s still appealing.
Helen means torch, as do Ellen, Eleni, Elena, and all of the many Helen-related names.
A Hebrew name, Keren can mean “ray of light.”
It’s a Leo name with a strong Kate sound, best known as the name of a third century Spanish saint. The name is related to the Latin leukos – light.
In the Old Testament, Lebanah is another name for the moon. Levana could be many things, but one of those is an update for the Hebrew original. If you know the YA Lunar Chronicles series, Levana has an even stronger connection to the moon.
Seventeenth century poet Richard Lovelace coined this name, inspired by the Latin phrase lux casta – pure light.
While not all of the Luc/Luk names come directly from lux, a great many are connected. That means Lucia, too, belongs on this list.
Lucia became Lucilla, which in turn inspired the French Lucille.
Cervantes created this Lucia elaboration for his 1605 novel Don Quixote.
Among the most mainstream of the girl names that mean light, Lucy is a Top 100 favorite.
A Harry Potter heroine name, borrowed from the Latin and Spanish word for the moon.
The Latin word for light.
The Spanish form of Lux, often given in combination with Maria, thanks to Mary.
Mahina is both the word for moon in Hawaiian, and the name of a lunar goddess.
Often associated with Mary and Maria, Marilla can also come from Amaryllis, which earns it a spot on this list. (Though Marilla Cuthbert is my first thought.)
A Polynesian goddess, Marama means “moon” in Maori.
MEIRA (unranked; Mira is #484)
Along with Mira and Meera, several origins and meanings attach to Meira. But at least one is Hebrew, in which case Meira means “giving light.”
A brief and brisk Irish import, Niamh means bright.
In Arabic, Noor means light. It’s also spelled Nur. Some even extend this meaning to Nora.
A modern Hebrew name meaning “light for me,” it’s also sometimes spelled Orly.
A Greek name meaning bright.
Another name from Greek myth, Phoebe means bright. She’s associated with the moon, and there’s a moon of Saturn that bears the name. There’s also the smoosh name Belphoebe, invented by Edmund Spenser for his 1590 poem The Faerie Queene.
A Persian name in use across the centuries, Roxana means either bright or dawn.
The Welsh word for star, and a modern, tailored possibility.
Soleil means sun in French. Pronounce it so-LAY.
A Gaelic name meaning radiant, the ‘ch’ is pronounced like a K.
The Latin word for star, and a favorite with parents today.
A Scandi name with Old English roots, Sunniva’s meaning is lovely: “sun gift.”
A Russian heritage pick, Svetlana means light.
THEIA (unranked; Thea is #312)
Fast rising Thea comes from the feminine form of Theodore. But Theia was a primordial Greek goddess of light, one of the Titans. She’s mother to Helios (the sun), Selene (the moon), and Eos (the dawn.) So perhaps either spelling carries a little bit of the meaning.
A name meaning bright or shining, made famous by the Jolie-Pitt daughter.
ZIA, ZIYA (unranked)
An Arabic name meaning light, glow, or splendor, Zia sounds like Mia with a Z.
What are your favorite girl names meaning light?
First published on March 9, 2012, this post was revised substantially and republished on December 17, 2020. Additional updates took place on August 14, 2021 and again on May 22, 2022.
What about Nora?
I mentioned it under Noor, but I’m undecided on whether or not it fits on its own.
Levana is beautiful…
I also like:
btw, there’s a not very common Welsh girl’s name Heulwen (“sunshine”) which is pronounced Hail-wen by people from North Wales, and Hile-wen by people from South/Mid Wales. It could qualify as a light” name – “sunlight”.
I love Eleanor, and also Starla.
I really like Aberash, Lucasta and Lux!
I’m guessing Phoebe is coming up in part 2, so that’s my fave, obviously. Doesn’t Delia have a similar meaning?
Oh, I forgot! I know a Luna very well – she was a homestay student who became part of the family (she and on several occasions her whole family came out to spend winter holidays with us (apparently it is REALLLY expensive to ski in Japan) and she and my parents have visited back and forth, I’ve met her kids, she’s met mine. She was born in 1969 around the time of the moon landings in Japan and her parents named her Luna to honour that.
Oh I LOVE Stella and Aster (and Hester and and Esther!) and you know I adore Lucasta (nn Lucy), Eleanor (one of my heroes is Eleanor of Aquitaine!) and Claire/Clarissa!! I’d also add my daughter’s name, Stephanie since it means “crowned with light” 😉 (and she was born with orange hair that has since gone strawberry blonde). For the more daring namer how about Artemis (Greek moon goddess) or Diana (the Roman equivalent). The 3rd most popular girls name in Wales in 2009 is Seren “star”.
Heck I guess I really *am* a glowing namer – while the fiance and I are saving up to TTC (we are going to require IVF, planning to start on that in earnest after our wedding this summer) I am driving him nuts talking about names for our future offspring (please god a second girl!!) – Our current girl’s name is Ember Josephine (our friend Joanna is donating her eggs to our cause and she usually goes by Jo. I love her so much for helping make our dream possible.), boy’s is Blaise. Fiance is still dead set on Cinder OR Blaze but I think I can play the “I have to get fat and puke for 9 months and swell like a balloon and push a baby out” card and at least spell it Blaise so that if our son ever wants to become a doctor or a lawyer or a school teacher or into finance, it’ll look more professional.
And of course Stella, and Aster.
I also know a Sol AND a Solei.
i know a cazz (short for cassiopeia) and a lumen. and how about celeste, my friend’s soon-to-be born daughter’s name?
My sister is Cassandra, my mom named her with no nn in mind as she preferred the full name best. But of course Cassandra is the middle child and marches to her own beat… she came home from school one day as Steve, a while later she was Casey, then she chose Andi, then she was Cassy, and Cassie and now she is a 20 year old Cassi. But I do love Cassandra the best, it is such a lovely name.. in fact, no one in the family calls her Cassi, we all call her Cassandra, but her friends and husband call her Cassi.
Among the new babies in my family, there is a Luci & a Clara. Claire is also a family name that several people share. I’ve never thought about their glowing connection before. I also ADORE Eloise!
Might I suggest Mahsa for Part 2. It is Persian and like Luna and Chandra it means “like the moon.” It is also the name of a dear friend of mine and I’ve always thought her name was lovely.
I like a lot of these. Claire, Lucy (love Lucienne), Eloise, Lux and Aberash is great.
Lucienne is one of my favorite’s too.
Like so many other namers, I loved Lux immediately after reading the Virgin Suicides — it’s not as big a favorite as it once was (sounds more fitting on a cafe or club, now) but I still think it’s great.
Also like Aberash and Lucasta.