Popular Cornish Baby Names And Their Meanings

James

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James

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We know- naming a baby can be a herculean task!

After all, every parent is looking for a unique name that has an interesting meaning. This leads them to hundreds of name books, sometimes right from the moment of the gender reveal or even earlier.

If you’re in the same boat and tasked with the responsibility of finding a name for a soon-to-be newborn, we’ve got your back with the best Cornish names with meanings to consider in 2023.

Yes, you heard that right. Aside from mesmerising scenic beauty, beach days, and ancient architecture, Cornwall can provide you with both traditional and modern baby names, too. So, dive in! 

37 Popular Cornish Names For Babies And Their Meanings

For many centuries, Cornwallis people followed a tradition of naming babies after immediate family members. For instance, the first son was named after the paternal grandfather, the second son after the maternal grandfather, and the third son after the father.

In the case of daughters, girl one was named after the maternal grandmother, the second daughter after the paternal grandmother, and the third daughter after the mother. However, in recent times, Cornish names derived from the rich culture, history, and mythology of Cornwall are making a comeback in an attempt to revive the Cornish language.

As such, here are the most popular Cornish baby names you can use and their meanings:

1. Alfie

Now, you may be wondering why ‘Alfie,’ a very popular English name for baby boys, makes an entry on this list. Well, that’s because Alfie is largely considered the diminutive Cornish equivalent of ‘Alfred,’ and it’s also common for English people to use this form.

However, Alfie, in the Cornish language itself, typically means a counsellor.

2. Amelia

The name Amelia for girl refers to someone who is hardworking, industrious, and fertile. It’s not a traditionally Cornish name per se, as it’s derived from the German word ‘Amalia,’ meaning work or industrious.

3. Arthek / Arthyen

Derived from the Celtic word ‘arto,’ Arthek means bear in English. Another form of this name can be Arthyen, which is the boy Cornish form of the Welsh name Arthen, which means bear born. 

4. Austol 

The boy name ‘Austol’ is inspired by the Cornish word ‘saint’ (spelt as ‘Sant’ in English), and this name has quite some significance in Cornish mythology. It’s believed that Austol refers to a Breton (Cornish) Saint named Saint Austol or Saint Austell- the patron saint of Cornwall.  

In fact, it’s believed that the town of St. Austell was named after this saint. As such, this name is generally preferred as a middle name or given name to reiterate the importance of Cornish culture and mythology.

5. Benesek

Benesek isn’t a word you will typically find in the Cornish vocabulary, as it’s an equivalent, or rather, derivation of the Latin word ‘Benedictus,’ which means blessed or to be a blessing in itself. It’s a boy name worth considering for your little bundle of joy, especially if you want a traditional-sounding name.

Alternatively, you can choose the name Bennath for a baby girl with the same meaning as above.

6. Berwelen

Berwelen is a (girl) Cornish vocabulary name meaning Venus, and it can be a good choice if your baby girl is born on Friday. For the unversed, Friday is said to be ruled by the planet Venus, so it can be a subtle nod to your belief in astrology!

7. Beryan

Are you looking for a girl name inspired by the Royalty of Cornwall? Then our next pick may just be what you’re looking for. You can consider the name Beryan, which was the name of an Irish princess renowned for her healing abilities who came to Cornwall. It’s quite a unique name with a rather uncomplicated spelling (in English), thereby ticking multiple boxes.

8. Branok

Branok is another unique boy name derived from the Celtic word ‘Brano.’ It means raven or crow in the Cornish language. 

9. Breock / Bryok

Now that we’ve ventured into names inspired by the Royal history of Cornwall, there are two other names that we just couldn’t have missed out on. The first of them is Breock, meaning mighty prince (who, by the way, is also famous). And the second one is Bryok, a shortened form of Briafeal, which again means a mighty prince.

10. Cadan / Cadwur

A variant of the Cornish word Cadell, Cadan means battle or companion, and the name has more of a Welsh origin rather than Cornish. But given the connection between Wales and Cornwall on the cultural and language front, it doesn’t come as a surprise that this name has found its way on the list of the top Cornish baby names.

It’s a pretty bold boy name, though it has a modern touch to it. Another name on the same lines is Cadwur, meaning a boy warrior or soldier.

11. Carantok

Carantok is a Cornish diminutive of the Celtic word Karant, which means friend. Now, that’s a thoughtful name for a baby boy!

12. Casworon

Casworon, meaning battle hero, is among one of the oldest Cornish names for boys.

13. Celmo

Clemo is the Cornish diminutive of Clement or Clemence, meaning a mild or merciful boy (since it’s a boy’s name).

14. Cubert

The name of a boy, legendary son of Daere (in Cornish).

15.  Cumow / Curnow

Both Cumow and Cunow are relatively simple names for boys that can speak a lot about the Cornish heritage. Cunow is a variant of Curnow meaning “from Cornwall.”

16. Derowen / Derwa

You will find a lot of abstract Cornish names for babies, like Derowe, a Cornish vocabulary name meaning oak. A short variant of this name is Derwa, and both these names can be suitable for baby girls.

17. Doryty / Joan

Yes, you guessed it right, Doryty is the Cornish version of the English name Dorothy, which is, in turn, the vernacular form of a Greek phrase meaning gift of God. We can also think of another name with a similar meaning, aka Joan, meaning God is Gracious. It’s essentially the Cornish form of the name ‘John’ with the same meaning.

18. Ebrel

Ebrel is the (girl) Cornish vocabulary name meaning April, which is also among the popular girl names. It’s a great name if you want a different version of the more traditional name, ‘April.’

19.  Elowen

Elowen is a rather new Cornish baby name, which means as powerful as the Elm tree.

20. Enyon

The name Enyon is derived from the Latin name Annianus, which means a girl belonging to the Plebeian family of the Gens of Anninus. 

21. Glanna

Glanna, meaning pure, is a modern Cornish vocabulary name that is becoming popular all around the world for baby girls.

22. Goron

Goron is a Cornish name derived from the Celtic word Kawaro, meaning hero.

23. Brae

Brae technically means a hill in the Cornish language- a simple yet modern name for baby boys.

24. Clesek

Clesek is another one of our favourite old Cornish names for boys, and it’s derived from the word clos, which means fame.

25. Bersaba

Although an unorthodox name with quite a unique spelling in English, Bersaba is the name of a girl (Cornish Medieval form), derived from Bathsheba, meaning Oath or Voluptuous.

26. Jenn

We, too, were a little surprised to find that the popular girl name ‘Jenn’ (also used as a short form of the name Jennifer) has Cornish-Welsh origins. It’s the name of King Arthur’s queen, the legendary king of Arthurian mythology.

27. Lamorna

Looking for a simple name for your baby girl to commemorate your Cornish origin, then Lamorna can be the right pick for it. It simply means a place in Cornwall, but its uniqueness is what sets it apart from the rest.

28. Borlewen

Borlewen is a baby girl name that’s often used for babies born during the early hours of sunrise, as it means the morning star in the Cornish language.

29. Morwenna

Morwenna has a Welsh origin and a traditional Cornish baby girl name that’s being revived in parts of the UK, especially Welsh. Although its literary derivation is from the Celtic word ‘maiden,’ the More-syllable suggests that the word is actually connected to the sea. You can think of the name as a beautiful culmination of ‘sea maiden’ for practical purposes!

30. Pixie

You may have heard the name Pixie already, but did you know that the word has a Cornish or Swedish origin? This name has become popular perhaps due to a rise in demand for names with the letter x or z in them, but the word actually means a fairy or sprite (fairy-like creature). As such, it may be better suited for girls than boys, though you can always use it as a gender-neutral nickname.

31. Demelza

When it comes to unique names for both boys and girls, Demelza is a name that finds a worthy mention. Its origin lies in a Cornish place, though the literary inspiration of the name is debatable to date.

Some people think that Demelza is an extension of a Welsh name Maeldaf, (added to ‘dinas,’ the Cornish word for fort). However, many people think that it’s an out-and-out Cornish word, roughly translating to house of eel. In other words, it may be a subtle ode to the fishing culture of the County. But you can be on any side and pick this name for your new bundle of joy!

32. Merryn

Merryn is the Cornish version of the word Mirin, which is the inspiration for the Cornish town of St. Merryn. This name actually belonged to a saint called Merryn or Mirren, who was an important figure in Scottish history. 

Merryn is generally used as a girl’s name nowadays, and it can also be spelt as Meryn.

33. Kerensa

What can be better than a Cornish name that literally translates to the word ‘love?’ The word has strong ties to the Welsh Cerys and can be spelt with a ‘s’ or ‘z,’ as preferred.

34. Endellion

A beautiful name, Endellion is a modernised version of a female saint who was the daughter of King Brychan and goddaughter of King Arthur. And as you may already know, King Arthur had dedicated his life for the development of the village of St.Endellion.

In fact, this name has been used by former British Prime Minister David Cameron as the middle name of his youngest daughter.

35. Lowen

An easy and simple Cornish name that means joy, Lowen can be the perfect name for your baby boy. And despite being easy to spell as well as to speak, it’s not as commonly used as you’d think!

36. Senara

This name is nothing like we’ve heard before, but even before we knew its meaning, we could tell it was a girl’s name! After all, we aren’t the only ones who could sense the femininity of the name in the first instance, right?

Now, coming to its meaning, Senara was a Cornish (Breton) saint who was the patron of the Zennor village. However, many believe that she was, in actuality, a legendary princess of Breton. She was tragically thrown into the sea in a trunk by her mother-in-law.

But the more interesting theory suggests that Senara was a mermaid who later turned into a Christian person.

37. Jennifer

To wrap things up, we have a surprise for you- the popular English name Jennifer is actually a Cornish version of a Welsh name! It’s the Cornish form of Guinevere, and the name has been in use since the early 18th century. 

But it attracted popularity when George Bernard Shaw used ‘Jennifer’ as the name of the leading lady of the play titled ‘The Doctor’s Dilemma.’

Final Words

That was quite an exhaustive list, we say!

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with enough options to name the new bundle of joy in your life. Moreover, some of these names are pretty unisex, at least until they have a feminine sound to them. For instance, both Morgelyn and Meryasek can be used as unisex names. While the former is the Cornish name of sea holly (a flowering plant), the latter is the Cornish form of Meriadoc, the founder of Brittany (a former place in France). The name roughly translates into sea lord. 

But you can always cross-check the exact meaning and origin to see if the context fits your baby’s gender. And we will see you next time. Bye for now!

About The Author


James

Reviewed by

James

James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.