Think American parents are the only ones combing the dictionary for novel names?

Thanks to Laney McDonald for suggesting the Welsh Seren as Name of the Day.

Just like the white hot Stella, Seren means star. While Stella is Latin, Seren comes to us from Wales, where she’s currently spending time in their Top Ten, along with Emily, Olivia, Sophie and Ella.

Seren is a twentieth century discovery, akin to Brooke or Skye in the US. You’ll find a sprinkling of Serens in old census records, but they appear to be unrelated – and mostly male.

I can’t find her earliest use, and the only famous Seren I discovered is in her twenties. (Though it might be a stretch to consider her inspiration for a daughter’s name – Welsh-born aspiring model Seren Gibson posed for racy Page Three pictures for the UK’s Sun tabloid.)

A quick trip to the University of Wales, Lampeter’s handy online dictionary confirms the translation, but pronunciation could be a hassle. Some suggest that she rhymes with Karen, but Karen is equally subject to the vagaries of regional accents. The safest sound is probably seh ren or SEH ren.

In any case, you may soon be hearing more of her. Between all of those Welsh Serens toddling around the UK, plus her attractive meaning and frills-free style, she’s sure to catch the attention of more and more American parents. Consider:

  • Equally astronomical names like Stella (#186 in 2008), Luna (#399) and Skylar (#191 in 2008) as well as Skyler, Skyla and Skye rank in the US Top 1000;
  • Lunar-leaning appellations are just part of the nature craze, with parents choosing everything from ladylike floral monikers à la Lily (#24) to the seasonal Autumn (#89 – and now worn by a daughter-in-law to Queen Elizabeth II herself);
  • Plenty of the current girls’ Top 100 consists of neatly tailored names. Besides trendy choices like Madison (#4) and Addison (#12), frills-free classics are in vogue, like Claire (#62) or Allison (#32);
  • The fashion for nouveau noun choices with a spiritual twist has given us Trinity (#70), Genesis (#95) and Serenity (#111);
  • There’s also Serena, from the Latin for calm. At #374, she’s popular enough to prompt parents to consider similar sounding names, even if they are unrelated.

There aren’t many downsides to Seren. If you’re into role-playing game RuneScape, you might recognize her as an elf goddess. There’s the Page Three girl referenced earlier. And yes, she sounds a bit like serum, and would probably spend much of her childhood saying, “No, it’s not Sarah. It’s Seren. S-E-R-E-N.”

But those are pretty minor drawbacks. She’s as tailored as Lauren and as nickname proof as Piper. She’s a subtle way to nod to your love of the night sky or your Welsh heritage. Seren could be a sister for Carys or Rhys – and an intriguing choice for a daughter.

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. This is a name that we are considering for our next baby, although with a different spelling. We have a family surname on my husband’s side that is Serin, which I’ve learned is a french bird, and I love that it’s linked to nature in many ways. But we would pronounce it like Seren (rhyming with Karen). We are thinking this name would do well for a boy or girl, and we don’t like to find out ahead of time which one we are having, so that’s perfect. We have a daughter named Fenner (another family surname) and we really like how the two go together. Fenner’s nickname is Fen and we think that Serin could be shortened to Rin or Rinny. I’m concerned about how Serin/Seren can be associated with the gas sarin, as that’s definitely not a good connection. I have heard the gas pronounced the same way that we want to pronounce Serin, too, which is very unfortunate. The family surname is pronounced SEER-in, and I don’t like that at all. There’s also the possibility of Suh-REEN, but I also dislike that. I really like the sound of Serin as rhymes with Karen and sounds a bit like Sarah to start with. We will pair it with a short middle that comes from another family surname and is German (just like our first child’s middle). We have a really long and hard to spell/pronounce last name, so short and simple is the way to go with first and middle names. Our favorite thing about names like this and our daughter’s name is that they are linked to family but aren’t direct namesakes and they are also aligned with current name trends but are not any of the most popular names. My husband and I have unusual first names so we want our children to have something a bit unusual as well. Just easier to spell!

  2. We called our daughter Seren (Rose) because I’m Welsh but also because of the Latin meaning of ‘serene’. It’s been proved she deserved a strong, almost masculine name.
    I like to think she has no surname. Like Sting or Bono. Everyone knows who she is. Serene, strong, bright and constant like a star. Seren.

  3. Having a Seren who is now 8 years old here in the US, we get a lot of the “SAR ah” replies from folks hearing (not reading) her name for the first time, and a lot of “sah REEN” (like saying serena without the third syllable ah ) from folks reading her name–those errors are harder to change in certain people so she doesn’t bother correction! But she is my star and I love her name-especially since she has a very generic and common english surname so the uncommon first name sets her apart. I just tell people it rhyms with Karen if they pronounce it wrong. Her middle name is Myfanwy after her lively 95 yo great grandma-and her full name flows nicely together.

    1. Moms of Serens unite! I have a husband from Wales and an almost 2 year old named Seren, and we get a lot of people who pronounce it “suh-REN”, maybe because of where we live (NYC area). I use the “rhymes with Karen” line, too. Our Seren has a common Welsh surname, so we were very happy to give our little star a Welsh name since she’s growing up in the States. I love that your Seren has Myfanwy as a middle name.

  4. Hm. Re-reading this entry now I’m a touch puzzled as to the pronunciation of the name. I’m saying it as if it rhymes with “Karen” and sounds like “Sarah.” Is that right?

  5. Oh, I actually really like this name. Strong, simply and pretty. Seren. Lovely! Adding it to my list to play around with.

      1. I think it’s more a visual connection than anything else… And while Serena has the heavy REE sound, Seren shares the ending of Soren in my brain.

  6. I love Seren! What a fun surprise to see it as a NotD! So classy, unique, simple. It’s definitely high up on my list.

  7. I do like Seren, I would never use it myself, but it has a very appealing sound and a nice meaning. I can definitely see it catching on in the States.

  8. When I saw Seren my first thought was, “Why are there two boys’ names in a row?” Then I realised that Seren is a girl’s name. I don’t know why it sounds masculine to me, it just does.

    It also makes me think “serendipity”.

  9. I like Seren – it’s pretty and has a nice meaning. I know some people like to mention sarin gas, and it does have a slightly off-putting effect on the name, but they are spelled and said differently, so it’s not that big of a deal, I’d think. Carys is probably still my favorite Welsh name for a gal, but Seren is very beautiful too.