After years of quietly gaining in use, the baby name Seraphina has finally cracked the US Top 1000.

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


The baby name Seraphina comes from seraphim, an order of angels.

But they’re not quite like the angels we normally associate with Christmas cards.

In Hebrew, saraph means burning or fiery.

It’s also sometimes another word for serpent.

Despite that dual meaning, there’s no suggestion that Seraphina means snake. That’s because seraphim only refers to the celestial beings.

They’re first named in the Book of Isaiah. He describes them as having six wings, crying “holy, holy, holy.”

Over time, they’re described as burning, both with devotion, and with actual flames. The fiery part is amplified in art – it’s sort of an irresistible image.

How do we get from saraph/seraph to seraphim? Possibly because of the singular cherub and plural cherubim, another type of heavenly angel. They’re also sometimes called seraphin in English.

So the word bounces around a lot, but the image is clear: fiery, passionate, angelic. Powerful.


When did Seraphina transform from angelic order to given name?

The aristocratic Sveva de Montefeltro Sforza took the name Seraphina when she entered a convent back in the fifteenth century. She was eventually beatified as the Blessed Seraphina Sforza.

There’s also:

  • The thirteenth century Seraphina – sometimes called Saint Fina, a pious young girl who gave away her food and wove clothing for those in need. Her fortunes turned from humble to truly desperate when both her parents died and she was afflicted with a series of mysterious diseases. But Fina kept the faith and is still celebrated in her Tuscan village.
  • A fifth century Saint Seraphina is listed in some records, but little is known of her life.

Seraphinus was also in use in Late Latin, though sparingly. And yet the spread into other European languages – Seraphine, Serafina and Serafima are all rare but not unknown.

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The baby name Seraphina first appears in US data back in 1916, with six girls receiving the name. It’s not until the 1980s that a small, but steady, number of girls receives the name every year.

Serafina, the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese version of the name, is far more common. It debuts in US data in 1901, with eight births, and is used steadily across the decades. Maybe it’s no surprise that an elaborate name with ties to Catholic saints is most common in strongly Catholic cultures.

Which leads to one more version of the name: the French Seraphine appears in the US data as early as 1892, though it remains quite rare.

Despite all of this history, it turns out that Seraphina truly is a very twenty-first century name.

Again, looking at all of the spellings:

  • Just 35 girls were named Seraphine last year
  • Serafina was given to 147 girls in 2023
  • With 264 births, Seraphina debuted in the US Top 1000 at #974 in the rankings

Variations like Seraphim and Serafino have been used, too – but again, mostly in recent decades.

What explains the name’s rise? It’s tough to pin down any one factor.


First came Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s second child, a younger sister for Violet Anne. Seraphina was born in 2009. The name increased in use that year. (Worth noting: Seraphina now goes by Fin.)

There’s also Seraphina Picquery, President of the Magical Congress of the United States in the Fantastic Beasts movies. The first debuted in 2016, with sequels following in 2018 and 2022.

More for the list: a 2012 YA novel titled Seraphina and a second YA series called Serafina; a werewolf Serafine in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld universe; and that’s just for starters.

Even without all these pop culture places to hear the name, Seraphina sounds at home, a little bit Isabella, a little bit Savannah.

No question that the name Seraphina has slowly caught fire – and could burn brighter still.

What do you think of the baby name Seraphina?


dramatic + fiery

Medieval saints’ name inspired by an order of angels, Seraphina means fiery and sounds romantic.


#974 as of 2023


increasing in use


From a Hebrew word meaning “fiery” or “burning”

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. Well use my spelling – as I think mine makes it less formal and more fun. 🙂 And I use the nick ‘Finah” quite a bit. “Saraphinah”