Everyone has different baby-naming styles. But me? I’m big into the meanings behind names. Maybe it’s the writer in me — the unapologetic word lover — but a negative or dull meaning will always and forever be a deal breaker.
We chose Noah for its soft sound and peaceful meaning, probably because that’s what we needed at the time. We were in a zen space, desperately hoping for a peaceful transition into unexpected parenthood. Yet, I’m positive that if we have a second child, my main name inspiration will be HAPPINESS. Because if there’s one thing I hope for my child, it’s to find a way to live in happiness and to bring happiness to others.
So in that spirit, here are 40 baby names that literally mean “happy” and/or give off an upbeat and friendly vibe.
40 happiest baby names on earth
These baby names suggest a cheerful demeanor and a bright, happy future…
Meaning: Free spirit, happy
Perhaps best known on actress Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom), this happy girl’s name is starting to be seen more often in the “baby name” community, although it’s still a relatively under-the-radar pick.
Meaning: Happy, fortunate
Once upon a time, Felix was characterized by Felix the Cat and the grouchy half of The Odd Couple, Felix Unger. Yet this name is having a well-deserved revival for the upbeat name that’s brimming with personality and spunk.
Felicity might be shaking off its 90s image (from the popular TV show to the original American Girl doll), considering it LITERALLY means happy.
Meaning: Cheerful, happy
Contrary to your initial instinct, the name Hilary goes far beyond Hilary Clinton — all the way to its roots in “hilarious.”
Meaning: Cheerful, happy (Italian version of Hilary)
If you can’t get over the political connection to Hilary, this Italian version has the same meaning, but with an exotic flare.
Meaning: Fortunate, “happy one”
One of the names on the rise, Asher (a cooler version of Ashton perhaps?) has a soft sound, a strong heritage (with biblical references), and a lighthearted meaning. It’s no surprise that parents are starting to catch on.
Meaning: (ahem) Bliss
This name might be too happy — perhaps putting too much pressure on little Bliss to be happy? But if you want a blissful name…
Meaning: Happy, blessed
Gwyneth Paltrow and mom Blythe Danner might be the happiest-sounding family ever. The name “Gwyneth” has a lot of perks — the melodious sound, chic celebrity image, and attractive nickname of “Gwen” — but the happy meaning might push its likability factor over the edge.
You might know this name as mega-popular (Dooce) blogger Heather Armstrong’s daughter, but did you know if has such happy origins?
Meaning: Great Happiness
While similar sister-name “Alice” is getting buzz lately, it’s Alisa that has a more upbeat meaning. (Although Alice means “Noble,” which isn’t a terrible thing.)
Meaning: Dear friend
And isn’t that what we hope all of our children will be? Dear friends? Perhaps you can overlook the evolutionary association and focus on the sweet, friendly meaning. Because there’s nothing that makes a person happier than a dear friend.
Meaning: Lighthearted, happy
It’s MERRY! Of course it means happy!
Meaning: My joy
A soft-sounding Biblical name with an uplifting meaning.
A similar simple sound to names like Mara and Nora, yet more unique. And happier!
Meaning: She who brings happiness
A top contender for parents looking for a classic name with a positive meaning — plus has tons of upbeat nicknames, like Bea, Bee, and Trixie.
Meaning: She who brings happiness
Yet if you prefer a nicknamey name (rather than the more classic Beatrice), Trixie is full of spunk.
Its conservative, Biblical roots might give it a distinguished vibe; but Isaac (quickly climbing the charts, by the way) means laughter.
A similar word name to Bliss and Merry, yet not as unusual.
If you want a happy, joyous name that’s not an obvious word (a la Joy and Merry), Chara means the same exact thing. And it’s sort of like a unique offshoot of Sarah.
Musicians will recognize “allegro” as meaning “lively tempo,” which makes the feminized “Allegra” an attractive choice. It also has creative roots with the prima ballerina Allegra Kent, as well as daughters of Lord Byron and Donatella Versace.
Speaking of offshoots of Sarah, Farah is a modernized version of the 70s idol.
Meaning: Happy child
A Japanese classic with the spunky nicknames of Kei and Kiki.
Meaning: Pleasantness, Charm
A more unique alternative to the popular Noah, and with a charming and happy meaning.
Meaning: Happy fortunate
An unusual and meaningful Native American name, with a beautiful melodious sound.
Belle resonates with charm and charisma — a more refined choice than the Isabella/Bella phenomenon. And any name related to Disney — the happiest place on Earth — boosts its cheerfulness, don’t you think?
To borrow from my favorite romantic comedy, You’ve Got Mail, “Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flowers?” The name has an upbeat, energetic aura — with, yes, a happy, friendly feel.
Whether you use it as a full name or a nickname, Annie has an undeniably optimistic and HAPPY vibe. (The sun will come out tomorooooww!)
Meaning: Free man
One of the happiest, friendliest names ever — for both boys AND girls.
Maybe it’s just the nickname-y sound (a la Lucy, Polly, Annie, Daisy…) but Sally is such a cheerful name.
Meaning: The happy one
If you’re into the trendy –o ending (Bruno, Leo, Milo, Apollo, etc.), Cayo is a unique option with a positively cheerful meaning.
Not only is it a flower name, but it literally means rainbow — and what’s happier than that?
Meaning: Radiant, shining one
Again with the comedic association (from FRIENDS, of course), Phoebe is a name that’s bursting with personality and happiness.
Meaning: Beautiful and cheerful
Well with a meaning like that, need we go on?
Whether or not it’s the comedic ties to I Love Lucy, I imagine a friendly, warm, and cheerful girl named Lucy.
This name radiates with warmth and laughter.
Meaning: Happy, joyous
A unique, off-the-map name that used to be a nickname for someone who was cheerful back in the Middle Ages.
Meaning: Variation of “rose”
A spunkier, happier version of the sweet flowery name.
Meaning: Flower name
Like Rosie, Poppy is a high-spirited, super-cheerful flower name.
OK, OK so the meaning is pretty much the exact opposite of happiness, but Polly is one of the most optimistic names around, next to Annie. (Pollyanna, anyone?)
There’s a reason so many dogs are named Max — it exudes happiness and friendliness, with off-the-charts likeability.