baby name HavenThe baby name Haven combines a stylish sound with an appealing meaning.

Thanks to Bo for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


Haven comes from the Old English word for a port, possibly related to our word have. (Because a port holds – or “has” ships.) Another theory connects haven to an old word meaning sea.

Today, though, it signals just one thing: refuge. Protection. Safety.

A place can be a haven for far more than boats, and not all havens are physical. It’s sometimes a feeling, too – “this cottage by the sea feels like a haven from real world worries.” It’s often used in combination: safe haven.

If your ancestors lived near a physical haven, then you might answer to the surname. As with any last name, a few individuals – mostly men – received Haven as a first name over the years.


While the baby name Haven has some history of use, it’s only become a mainstream possibility during the twenty-first century.

After all, this is the age of noun names steeped with meaning. Genesis and Journey, Trinity and Harmony.

The growing popularity of the name Haven speaks to other trends, too:

  • It’s a place name, as in New Haven.
  • Haven tends to be a concept more than a physical place today, but it retains a hint of nature name about it, just like Willow and Wren.
  • We love a middle V name, and H remains a popular first initial. (H is currently ranked 11th out of 26th.) That puts Haven midway between Harper and Ava, Hadley and Grace, a compromise choice with style to spare.


No surprise, then, that the baby name Haven started to rise in use during the 1990s.

In 1990, it was given to 37 girls and 16 boys.

By 1996, those numbers were 206 girls and 37 boys. That’s enough to put Haven in the US Social Security Administration’s Top 1000 baby girl names list.

It climbed slowly in the rankings at first, reaching #776 in 2000 and #649 in 2010.

But then along came a celebrity birth announcement, and parents took notice.


In August of 2011, actor-turned-entrepreneur Jessica Alba welcomed daughter Haven, a younger sister for Honor. Alba and husband Cash Warren are also parents to son Hayes.

Not every celebrity baby name proves influential – most don’t! But the Alba-Warren kids are more visible than many, partly because Jessica’s company is family-focused, with lots of baby and kid-care products. The kids regularly appear on her Instagram, keeping their names visible to a wider audience.

As for how the couple chose the baby name Haven for their second daughter?

The story they tell explains her name perfectly. Haven was born in caul – delivered while still inside her amniotic sac.

Legend tells that Napoleon and Charlemagne share the same rare birth story, so perhaps Haven is destined for greatness.

The name spiked in usage in 2011 and the following years. As of 2021, the baby name Haven ranks #286 – the most popular ranking to date.


Besides Jessica’s daughter, you might think of New York Times bestselling author Haven Kimmel, or possibly Angelina Jolie’s brother, James Haven.

TikTok and other social media platforms are making a younger generation of Havens prominent, too.

But if we go backwards in time, there’s Haven Gillespie.

Born James Lamont Gillespie, you know his work if not his name. His most enduring composition? He’s co-author of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

Speaking of male bearers of the name, football player Haven Moses played wide receiver in the 1960s and 70s.

More proof that the baby name Haven works well for a baby boy, as well as a girl.


The baby name Haven is richly meaningful, and it works on multiple levels.

It satisfies Christian parents, after something symbolizing shelter and care. And, of course, it’s far less obvious than naming your child Heaven.

But Haven suggests a universally appealing quality, one that works outside of a faith context, too.

Frills-free and stylish for a daughter, meaningful and current for a son, it’s easy to see why Haven has become a twenty-first century staple.

Would you consider the baby name Haven?

First published on May 29, 2008, this post was revised on November 8. 2011 and again on July 26, 2022.

baby name Haven baby name Haven

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. It is interesting! 2 of my 3 children were born en caul and at the time, I never thought to name them based on their very rare births. Their names/meaning are more associated with the day they were born but we didn’t find that out until after they were named and I am fascinated by how that all worked out.

  2. While I do like the spiritual-minus-overtly-religious sentiment of Haven, I find it a bit masculine for a little girl. Maybe it’s because my main association with the name is Angelina Jolie’s brother. I also think Haven Garner sounds way too gender neutral.

    For frills-free ends-in-N girls names I prefer Maren and Arwen.

    1. I agree about Garner – I wish she were Haven Rose or Haven Elizabeth. And oh, i do adore Maren. And Aderyn – that’s one of my new favorites. And Emblyn, too.

  3. I like that Haven has a modern, fresh feel without sounding too, um, modern? That doesn’t really make sense, does it? I think, to me, Haven feels like a name made for the modern world but grounded in a rich foundation, whereas something like Kiley feels more modern, without that grounding. I like a girl’s name that isn’t high on frills, but I agree with some of you that this one has a masculine edge. Honor, too, isn’t particularly frilly. But, I just met a girl named Chandler, and that’s got a masculine edge. Doesn’t feel out of place to me, honestly. Overall, I like the choice of Haven. Maven or Aven are interesting word-y names, too…

    In addition to wondering what two-syllable, unusual H name Alba and Warren will choose if they have a third child, I’m really perplexed about what middle name they’ll use! Since Honor’s middle (Marie) is Jessica’s and Haven’s middle (Garner) is Cash’s, I guess they’ll have to go up the family tree for more options.