Red color names show passion and excitement. They’re vibrant, associated with the heat of summer, the changing leaves of fall, the brightness of spring, and, of course, the winter holidays and vivid wintry images, like the cardinal or berries.
Also, arguably the most popular baby names reflect this color. Scarlett and Ruby are long-time members of the most popular baby girl names in the US. On the boys’ side, Rowan is a Top 100 choice, with Adam just one spot behind.
Other names that mean red remain rare, even downright obscure. And some names might suggest red. Any name that means Rose, for example, could bring to mind the color. But if you met a Roselle or a Roisin, you might think of the flower in any hue – or not at all.
Whether you’re naming a little redhead, or just love the color and all the meanings associated with it, there’s a name here to suit every style.
Let’s dive into all of the baby names meaning red.
Adam means man in Hebrew. In Genesis, he’s the very first man, fashioned from the earth. A similar phrase means “to be red,” referring to the color of the clay that forms Adam. That’s led to poetic interpretations like “son of the red earth.” It’s a traditional choice for a son, with just a hint of color.
This Irish name means “little fire,” and spread like wildfire beginning in the late 1990s. It brought names like Hayden, Jaden, and Kaiden along for the ride. Most of that early wave is now in middle school – or older – but it remains an Irish heritage pick with plenty of energy.
A sprawling complex in Granada, Spain, the Alhambra was built as an Islamic palace when the Muslims ruled the country. Later, Spanish and Christian king and queen Ferdinand and Isabella used it as their seat of power. Today it’s a popular tourist destination. And while it’s rare as a given name, it does mean red. The name comes from the red clay used to shape the fortress walls.
Alizarin red might date to as early as 1500 BC. It’s made from plant roots that were cultivated in Asia and Egypt then, and used as a dye. Today the specific color considered alizarin crimson is a little bit purple, but clearly red. It looks a little like a creative take on Allison, which is probably why it feels so name-like.
A Turkish masculine name meaning “red dawn” … but also a Mongolian one meaning golden.
There’s more than one shade of apple, from green to yellow to, yes, red, and everything in between. But apple red is a common color, and Apple has recently attracted plenty of attention as an out-there celebrity choice that could fit right in with more mainstream favorites, like orange Clementine and green Olive.
In Hindu mythology, Aruna is a charioteer. He draws the sun god across the sky every morning. Aruna means, appropriately, red dawn. While Aruna is sometimes gender-neutral, Arun is now a more familiar masculine form.
We’ve all heard of a blue moon, but during the late summer, August is often the time of the red moon – thanks to the moon’s color in the late summer haze.
Red Brick is a familiar color. It’s sometimes used as a surname and given name, too. One notable example: one of the Heck siblings on long-running television sitcom The Middle. Brick Heck was the youngest brother.
In the New Testament, Candace is a title given to queens of Ethiopia. That makes it classic and strong. Candy, on the other hand, feels a little lighter. It had a good run in the 1960s and 70s. And while candy comes in every color of the rainbow, the phrase “candy apple red” makes it especially appropriate for this list of names meaning red.
An Italian heritage choice, Carmine is sometimes considered cousin to Carmen, which in turn comes from the Biblical place name Carmel. And Carmel? Means garden. But there’s a separate origin for carmine red: the Arabic word qirmiz, meaning crimson, and originally referring to a dye.
A brownish-red mineral, carnelian is sometimes polished and used as a dark red gemstone. The name comes from the cornel cherry, a red berry that the gemstone resembles. It’s also sometimes called Cornelian, which has potential as a name, too.
Cerise sounds like it has a French origin, and it does. It’s the name for the red fruit we call cherries in English. That makes Cerise a little more subtle, though the vivid reddish pink color is anything but.
This might not seem like a girl name, but it has been used for ages as one. Neil Diamond scored a hit with “Cherry Cherry” in the 1960s, clearly using it as a name. It’s a vivid shade of red, matching the red fruit.
It’s worth treading lightly with any Native American name. But Cheyenne has been in use for since the 1950s, peaking in the 1990s. It means “red speakers,” a name given to the Cheyenne people by the Lakota.
So many Irish surnames have become favorite gender-neutral names in recent years. Riley caught on earlier in the 2000s; now Murphy is climbing the charts. Clancy could follow, a surname name meaning “red warrior” or “red-haired warrior.”
Coral is a color in its own right, but coral itself comes in shades of orange, red, and pink. That makes this name appropriate for parents who love the ocean or anyone attracted to the bright colors of the tropics.
An Arabic word imported into Italian, and then old French and eventually English, crimson refers to a deep red. But it’s also associated with instituations of higher learning now: the Harvard Crimson and Alabama Crimson Tide are the best known examples.
Another Hebrew name meaning red, and likely a cousin to Adam.
Ember is a name associated with fire. It’s also a shade of orange-red.
An Irish surname derived from the Gaelic word for red, Flannery was made famous by author Flannery O’Connor, born Mary Flannery O’Connor.
Another name of Irish origin, Flynn is a close cousin to Flannery. But this name is more often masculine, thanks to its similarity to Finn, as well as figures like actor Errol Flynn and Disney’s Flynn Rider.
Another red gemstone, Garnet comes from an English word meaning red. It might ultimately be a cousin to the word pomegranate, with ties into all sorts of stories from Greek mythology. Garnet is also the birthstone for January, and might feel like a particularly approrpiate choice for a winter-born baby.
A spice, and a shade of reddish-brown, Ginger is a vintage name with a seasonal spark. In some cases, it’s short for Virginia, but Ginger has also been given on its own.
This names means lotus or pale red in Sanskrit. It’s the name of the first female vice president in US History, Kamala Harris, as well as Marvel Comics superhero Kamala Khan, also known as Jersey City’s own Ms. Marvel.
A shade of purplish-red, Magenta has a fascinating history. A French chemist patented the color in 1859. It was soon dubbed Magenta thanks to the Battle of Magenta, a victory for Napoleon III in the Second War of Italian Independence. Which isn’t exactly current events. Magenta has been used as a girl’s given name in the US in tiny numbers since the 1980s. One notable fictional example: Magenta, the maid in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
As in the reddish-brown wood from three seperate trees. Diana Ross wore the name in a 1975 film; the movie’s theme song became a smash hit. It was used very occasionally prior to that time, but has been used in small numbers even since.
MARC, MARCUS, MARCO, MARCEL, MARCELLO, MARCELLUS, MARK
Marcellus is the Roman family name and the father of this group of names. French origin Marcel and Italian Marcello followed. Marcus shares the same roots as Marcellus and leads directly to Marc and Mark, as well as Marco. All of the names – and more not listed here – ultimately derive from Mars, Roman god of war and the red planet in the night sky. It’s worth noting that Mars doesn’t mean red, but it’s been associated with the color for so long that any of these variations fits on this list.
The maple isn’t the only tree known for the color red. But the maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada, center on their flag, a red symbol that’s more familiar than many.
The red planet, associated with the Roman god of war and godfather of all the Marc/Marcello names, has potential. That’s even more true thanks to singer Bruno Mars who has added a softer, more creative side to this name.
An intriguing Japanese name, Miaka can mean “beautiful red.” In every case, the kanji used to write a name determine its ultimate meaning. Aka can mean vermilion red. Other Japanese names asociated with the color red include Ayuna, Airo, Aka, Akai, Akana, Akane, and many more. There’s also Akame, a manga character known as Red Eye in English.
The name of a mythical bird, known for its long life. From time to time, a phoenix ages. There’s a spark; the bird catches flame and burns, only to rise from its ashes. That makes the phoenix a powerful symbol of rebirth. It’s accessible, too, especially because Phoenix, Arizona makes this a place name.
A bright red flower, the poppy is associated with remembrance, particularly in the UK, Canada, and Australia. The tradition dates back to a poem about the first World War. Despite that somber association, Poppy sounds like a joyful, upbeat name. It’s now also familiar thanks to anyone who has seen the Trolls movies or television series, though in that case, Poppy’s hair is a vivid shade of pink.
A preppy sounding place name turned last name, Radcliff comes from the phrase “red cliff.”
More surnames, probably from the phrase “red ford.” It refers to both the color and a place to cross a river.
It sounds like long-time boy names Bradley and all of those Rad- surname. It means red clearing or red meadow.
This might be more nickname than given name, but it’s been in use over the years. Comedian Redd Foxx was born John Sandford.
While Redmond is a Gaelic form of Raymond, it looks like all of these Red surname names. So it’s on the list!
It’s easy to think of Reed as a nature name, or possibly a musical one (since many woodwind instruments require reeds), and of course it’s a common surname. But Reed ultimately means red.
A cousin to Rory and Rowan, Rogan is one of several Irish surnames related to the color.
A fast rising favorite for our daughters and sons alike, Rory means red king.
Roses come in many colors: red, of course. But also yellow, pink, white, lavender, even copper and gold. Some phrases, like “tea rose” or “rose gold” refer to a completely different color. But classic, lovely Rose is easily tied to the color red. In fact, actor Scarlett Johansson chose the name for her daughter, keeping red-related color names in the family.
Common as a surname, but rare as a first, Roth is the German equivalent of all these surnames meaning red, from Roy and Rowan to Radford and Russell.
It’s easy to think of rouge as make-up. But in French, it’s also the word for the color red. It seems like an unlikely choice for a child in the US, but it’s occasionally heard as a middle name in the key of Blue.
A French cooking term, Roux is also a surname and a place name. It refers to red or reddish-brown.
An Irish surname name, as well as a tree known for its red berries.
We tend to associate Roy with a French origin, thanks to the word roi – king. But it’s actually a cousin to Rory and other names based on the word for red. Scottish folk hero Rob Roy helped popularize the name.
Bold, red Ruby is a gemstone name with a strong sound. It’s the birthstone for July, and so often associated with summer. Along with sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds, rubies are among the most precious of gemstones. The word comes from the Latin word for red – ruber – and “ruby red” is instantly recognizable as a deep, blood red color. It brings to mind lipstick colors and the soles of Christian Louboutin shoes.
A Roman name meaning “red-haired,” Rufus is mentioned in the New Testament, worn by early saints, and dots the historical record across many a century. Today, though, Rufus is rare.
A Bulgarian name meaning ruddy or red cheeks, Rumena sounds pretty and intriguing. Maculine form Rumen is also an option.
An English surname with French roots, Russell means “little red one.” Russ is the logical nickname.
Sometimes Russell becomes Rusty, too. Again, it’s a color, one we can picture. As a nickname, it was given to men with reddish-brown hair.
The most popular of red names? It has to be Scarlett. In Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, the heroine’s full name was Katie Scarlett O’Hara, named after her grandmother. Scarlett was a surname, originally given to someone who dyed wool for a living. Actor Scarlett Johansson gets credit for boosting the name for this generation.
A Hebrew name meaning red.
The typical English spelling for an orange-red color associated with the clay in Siena, Italy.
A name from Persian myth with a dramatic meaning: red water.
Sorrel is an herb, but Sorrell is a surname of French origin. It refers to a reddish brown color, often used to describe a horse’s coat.
What are your favorite baby names meaning red?
First published August 14, 2015, this post was revised and re-published on December 14, 2023.