Yvaine: Baby Name of the DayThis post was originally published on May 25, 2008. It was substantially revised and re-posted on September 28, 2015.

If Khalessi and Anakin can be baby names, why not this lovely choice from science fiction?

Thanks to Natalie for suggesting Yvaine as our Baby Name of the Day.

Yvaine: Neil Gaiman Name

Stardust (2007 film)

Neil Gaiman invented Yvaine for the heroine of his 1999 novel, Stardust. It became a movie in 2007, with Claire Danes as the star. Her love interest answered to a more traditional fairytale hero name: Tristan. Though that’s only in the movie. In the novel, Gaiman called him Tristran.

The character introduces herself with the line “My sisters called me Yvaine, for I was an evening star.”

There is no etymological link between the name and the words evening or star – though certainly the “yv” sounds like “eve.” But Gaiman did not pluck his name out of the night sky.

Yvaine: Knights of the Round Table

In Arthurian legend, you’ll find Yvain amongst the Knights of the Round Table. Also spelled Ywain and Owain, the name’s meaning is much debated. Possibilities include:

  • It could be an early version of the name Eugene.
  • Others claim it’s related to the Celtic god Esos.
  • A third camp argues for a link to the words for “youth” and “lamb.”

Origins aside, that famed spinner of fable Chrétien de Troyes penned Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion back in the 12th century. His knight does battle with some bad guys, wins the loyalty of a pet lion and gets the girl.

So Yvaine stands up well as a feminine form of a hero name, and her own adventures in Stardust wrap up with a satisfactorily happy ending.

Yvaine: On-Trend Rarity

Before the movie hit the big screen, no one was using Yvaine as a given name.

But in 2008, there were eight newborn girls given the name. Even as the movie has faded, the name has remained in sparing use, with fourteen Yvaines born in 2014.

Some of that might be thanks to the movie’s cult classic status. But it also speaks to Yvaine’s on-trend sound.

Consider these names:

  • Top Twenty name Evelyn.
  • Top 100 choice Eva.
  • Fast-rising surname name Everly.
  • Hidden ‘ev’ sound names like Genevieve, Maeve, and Evangeline.

Respellings and inventions like Evolet have fared well, too.

Alternate spelling Evaine hasn’t gained traction, though with Elaine on the rise, it does seem like a possibility.

Yvaine: Wearable Invention

YvaineBNoDsquareYvaine might not have much history as a given name, but with ties to Arthurian legend, this name doesn’t feel like a complete novelty.

It shortens nicely to Evie – or is that Yvie?

Another Gaiman semi-invention has raced up the charts in recent years: Coraline, which the author discovered when he swapped two vowels in Caroline. While Yvaine doesn’t seem likely to be as popular, Gaiman definitely qualifies as a talented namer.

If you’re after an unexpected name and a sophisticated sound, Yvaine is promising. It would also be a gorgeous middle name, and a great substitute for the conventional Marie and Nicole.

What do you of Yvaine? Is it wearable in 2015?

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. My daughter born 22 June 2017 is called Yvaine Aurora Burnett. My wife and I immediately picked the name as soon as we heard it when pregnant with her older brother and instantly fell in love with it. We do call her Yvie (Evie) for short.

  2. My daughter born in 2009 is Evaine Claire. I still love the name. I imagined I would call her Evie, but that just never felt right

  3. We named our daughter Yvaine Rhiannon (evening star / goddess of moon) . We saw stardust when I was pregnant and it was the first time I felt her move! Couldn’t really name her anything else!!!