Two hundred and five years after her death, Jane Austen is still one of the most popular and beloved authors in the world. Her books remain bestsellers, with film adaptation after adaptation made or in the works, spin-off novels, and retellings. A whole subset of fiction—regency romance—is inspired by her novels, with plenty more to be written (with the help of our own Regency Romance Character Name List!).
For our list of Jane Austen-inspired baby names, we have a combination of surnames, vintage revival names, and nickname names that will please any variety of Janeites looking for a baby name that pays homage to one of the world’s great authors.
The surname of the author herself, what better choice is there for a true Janeite to give to their child? Of English origin, Austen means “great, magnificent, or venerable.” The spelling “Austin” has been historically popular for boys, but the Austen spelling with the “e” has more unisex appeal and maintains the same pronunciation.
In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood sisters and their mother relocate to Barton Cottage after the death of the family patriarch. A name that means “from the barley town,” it’s a fresh take on Bartholomew that still allows for the nickname Bart.
As the last name of the ultimate Regency hero himself, Mr. Darcy, we could not leave this name off our list. A name meaning “dark one,” it is at once an English name and a French name (D’arcy). It’s most commonly used for baby girls, reaching its peak back in 1968, but has since fallen out of the top 1000. Perhaps it’s time for a revival!
Meaning “rich protector,” Edmund was once a top 20 name…in England…in the 1700s. But what is old is new again, especially for parents seeking a dashing name for their modern baby or lovers of Mansfield Park who hold a torch for aspiring clergyman Edmund Bertram. Regency romance and Shondaland hit, Bridgerton, will also be introducing (deceased) patriarch, Edmund, in their second season—flashing back to when the father of eight was still alive.
Practical, patient Elinor Dashwood was the “Sense” of the two sisters of Sense and Sensibility. And it makes sense that this name has risen back up the ranks to much love and popularity in recent years. The spelling “Eleanor” is currently #22 on the SSA list of baby names for girls, making this name the most popular on our list of Jane Austen-inspired baby names.
Anne Elliot is the main character of Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion, and is considered her most mature heroine. Her surname, Elliot, which means “the lord is my god,” has enjoyed wide popularity as a first name for boys since the early 1900s. In the last decade, Elliot has risen in popularity for girls, too.
We all know Mr. Darcy, but how many of us know that his first name is, in fact, Fitzwilliam? While Fitzwilliam might be a bit of a mouthful, Fitz seems perfectly on trend for lovers of nickname first names. The snappy “z” ending has additional appeal. And, Fitz could work wonderfully as a honor name for families who have Fitzgeralds, Fitzpatricks, or Fitzsimmons in their history.
A few Fannys populate the world of Austen, but the most famous one is the heroine of Mansfield Park, Fanny Price, born Frances. The feminine version of the French name, Francis, it’s a name that’s been making its way back up in popularity over the last decade. And while Fanny may not work for contemporary parents, Franny/Frannie is an adorable nickname alternative.
Mr. Darcy’s little sister bore the name of Georgiana. A romantic name that fell out of trend back in the 1950s, it sounds perfectly vintage and stylish to modern ears. The feminine version of George, it means “farmer.” Despite this meaning, it sounds royal with the history of so many monarchs bearing the name George. It is also the first name of Miss Lambe in the PBS adaptation of Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon (though in the novel itself, Austen never gave her a first name). Nickname “Georgie” is a real winner, too.
Lovers of regency novels will immediately know the reference here—to Gretna Green, the Scottish village just over the border with England, where regency heroes and heroines would run off to get married despite the objections of their families. It’s where Lydia Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice, tells her family she is heading to elope with the roguish Mr. Wickham. Meaning “pearl,” it’s a variation of Greta, which itself is a variant of Margaret (yet another Austen name; that of the youngest Dashwood sister).
Home to “handsome, clever, and rich” Emma Woodhouse of the novel that bears her first name, Hartfield has that surname and unisex appeal that so many parents are seeking. While “Hart” means stag or deer, it also makes us think of the heart and of love, and what better association than that for a most beloved child?
We think Kit will be an up-and-coming name this decade, and so could Kitty! A playful diminutive of Katherine, it’s a name full of spirit and moxie, that has remained unranked in the US since 1967. Austen’s most famous Kitty was one of the Bennet middle sisters, full of spunk like wild youngest child, Lydia, but less reckless and more demure.
The romantic hero of Emma, Mr. George Knightley is an intelligent, compassionate gentleman who is neighbor to heroine, Emma Woodhouse. His qualities are in his name itself; he is like a knight in his manners and mein (though the name actually means “knight’s meadow”). This name has a well-known pop culture reference that also makes it fitting for this list: it’s the last name of Pride and Prejudice actress, Keira Knightley.
The protagonist of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet, known best to her family as Lizzie, is arguably Austen’s most famous and beloved heroine. While Elizabeth is a tried-and-true classic name, Lizzie is full of verve and life, just like the regency era’s most famous fictional character. We think Lizzie feels as complete on its own merits as names like Maisie, Sophie, and Sadie do.
A few Louisas dot Austen’s English landscape—one of the Bingley sisters in Pride and Prejudice and one of the Musgrove sisters of Persuasion—but they don’t often take the spotlight. It’s Austen without being too obviously Austen, which may be appealing to parents seeking a subtler homage. It’s a name that feels cottagecore these days, and it’s right in the popularity “sweet spot,” in the mid-700s in the US.
Austen’s third novel, Mansfield Park, inspires our name choice here. It is the name of the sprawling estate of the Bertram family, where young heroine, Fanny Price, is sent to live at age 10. Meaning “from the field by the river,” it only ever broke the top 1000 baby names back in 1909. It’s a name with great potential for parents who want something uncommon but familiar. We especially like it as a middle name.
Romantic Marianne is a French name given to a very English heroine—Sense and Sensibility’s Marianne Dashwood. Marianne, with all its variations (Maryann, Marian, Marion), is enduring, though waxing and waning through the generations. It’s a classic for a reason.
The name Morland sounds a lot cooler than its literal meaning of “wet marshland.” And in fact, it feels a lot more romantic if you think instead of the English moors (which are, in fact, wet marshlands), made famous by another great English novelist, Emily Brontë. In Austen, Morland is the last name of Northanger Abbey’s Catherine Morland, lover of gothic novels (and Henry Tilney).
The grand estate of Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley, could make a grand name for any girl or boy. Meaning “from the barley hill,” it brings to mind not so much grain but stately rooms, sprawling gardens, and tall, dark, and brooding heroes. Pemberley is our of-the-moment refresh of Kimberly.
Hardcore Austenites might recognize this more obscure Austen name reference right away, as the name of the nurse who takes care of Mrs. Smith, Anne Elliot’s school friend, whom she visits while in Bath. Meaning dark haired or raven, it’s a name with edge and gothic accents. This might make it appealing to parents seeking out a strong, distinctive name with multiple other associations. It also fits in with the bird baby names trend that is still going strong.
Steventon was the name of Jane Austen’s childhood home in Hampshire. Meaning “son of Steven,” it gives dads named Steve a literal option for their mini-me, or it can serve as an honor name for a family member with the first name Steven/Stephen or the last name Stevenson.
Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey provides us with the inspiration here. His last name, which means “one who belongs to the Tlin village,” is decidedly unisex in use. With a little more edge than the softer name, Tilly, we think Tilney has some real trend-forward appeal.
That’s our list of our favorite Jane Austen-inspired baby names! Which are your favorites? There are many more that could’ve been here, so let us know in the comments what we missed.