Element Names: Earth

Word Names

  • Abelia
  • Acacia
  • Agate
  • Alder
  • Aloe
  • Amaryllis
  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Anethum (“Dill”)
  • Arabis
  • Aralia
  • Artemisia
  • Ash
  • Atlas
  • Azalea
  • Bassia
  • Birch
  • Blossom
  • Bluebell
  • Borax
  • Bud
  • Buttercup
  • Cactus
  • Calla
  • Calopyxis
  • Carnelian
  • Cedar
  • Cedrela
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrine
  • Citrus
  • Clay
  • Copper
  • Crocus
  • Cypress
  • Daffodil
  • Dahlia
  • Delonix
  • Dirt
  • Drynaria
  • Dypsis
  • Elettaria
  • Elm
  • Emerald
  • Ephedra
  • Fig
  • Flint
  • Freesia
  • Garden
  • Garnet
  • Ginger
  • Gloxinia
  • Gold
  • Grass
  • Hazel
  • Holly
  • Iris
  • Ivy
  • Jasmine
  • Jet
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Lotus
  • Marigold
  • Meadow
  • Mint
  • Moss
  • Nemesia
  • Oak
  • Obsidian
  • Olivine
  • Onyx
  • Opal
  • Orchid
  • Oregano
  • Oxlip
  • Palm
  • Peridot (pronounced like “Pear-e-doe”)
  • Pine
  • Pollen
  • Poppy
  • Primrose
  • Quartz
  • Ravenna [Grass]
  • Rose
  • Sand
  • Sage
  • Sepal
  • Silver
  • Soil
  • Stalk
  • Styx
  • Terrain
  • Thistle
  • Thyme
  • Topaz
  • Trillium
  • Verbena
  • Vine
  • Wren
  • Yarrow
  • Zephyr
  • Zeolite
  • Zinnia
  • Zircon

Words with “Earth” related meanings

  • Abilene: Hebrew; meaning “land of meadows”
  • Ajax: Greek; meaning “of the earth”
  • Artemis: Greek mythology; goddess of the hunt, wild animals, etc.
  • Artois: French, place name
  • Avalon: Welsh; place name related to the myth of King Arthur
  • Avani: Hindi; meaning “man from the red earth”
  • Caius: Latin; meaning “person of earth”
  • Candana: Hindi; meaning “sandalwood”
  • Chloris: Greek mythology: goddess of flower
  • Cyllene: Greek mythology; a “oread” i.e. a mountain nymph
  • Dacia: Latin; place name
  • Demeter: Greek mythology; meaning “earth mother”
    • Variations: Demetria/Demetri/Demetrius
  • Echo: Greek mythology; a “oread” i.e. a mountain nymph
  • Eurydice: Greek mythology; a “dryad” i.e. tree nymph
  • Fan: Chinese; meaning “earth”
  • Flora: Roman mythology: goddess of flowers and the spring
  • Gaia: Greek mythology; meaning: “earth”
  • Holden: English; meaning “hollow valley”
  • Inika: Sanskrit; meaning “small earth”
  • Ivo: German; meaning “yew wood”
  • Kiah: Welsh; meaning “person of earth”
  • Leilani: Hawaiian; meaning “heavenly flower”
  • Rikuto: Japanese; meaning “land + person”
  • Silas: English; meaning “wood, forest”
  • Silvanus: Roman mythology; deity of the woods
  • Terra: English; meaning “land, earth”
  • Veles: Slavic mythology; god of earth/waters/underworld
  • Viridios: Celtic mythology; god of vegetation…
  • Zola: Latin; meaning “earth”

Last Names

  • Ebner: German; meaning “dweller on a flat piece of land”
  • Edgeworth: plant
  • Garland: English; meaning “triangle land”
  • Goldenrod: flower
  • Harlan: English; meaning “hare land”
  • Hawthorn: tree
  • Knotweed: plant
  • Larkspur: flower
  • Sandwort: flower
  • Silverberry: plant/bush
  • Whitlow: grass
  • Yarley: English: meaning “fenced meadow”
  • Zeman: Czech; meaning “landowner”

Not a complete list, but hopefully good for inspiration.

I didn’t add every single flower or plant or animal, etc.—the list would be ridiculous—just my favorites. Feel free to look up any others you may like (example: food, minerals, flowers, animals except birds), and add them on here!

Happy writing!

These trees have no names
whatever we call them

where will the meanings be
when the words are forgotten

will I see again
where you are

will you be sitting
in Fran’s living room

will the dream come back
will I know where I am

will there be birds

W. S. Merwin, “Looking Up in the Garden,” The Moon Before Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Element Names: Darkness/Night

Word Names

  • Abyss
  • Charcoal
  • Chasm
  • Cimmerian
  • Coal
  • Crow
  • Ebony
  • Eerie
  • Erebus
  • Gloom
  • Ink
  • Jet
  • Night
  • Noir
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Panther
  • Raven
  • Shade
  • Shadow
  • Smoke
  • Somber
  • Soot
  • Stygian
  • Void

Names with meanings related to “darkness”

  • Braith: Welsh; meaning “black and white”
  • Catahecassa: Native America Shawnee; meaning “dark hoof”
  • Cronan: Irish; meaning “dark one”
  • Darcy: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Delaney: Irish; meaning “dark challenger”
  • Donovan: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Hadrian: Latin; meaning “dark-haired”
  • Inali: Native America; meaning “black fox”
  • Isra: Arabic; meaning “journey of the night”
  • Itzal: Basque; meaning “shadow”
  • Kali: Indian/ Hindu goddess; meaning “the dark one”
  • Keir: Irish; meaning “dark/black”
  • Kieran: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Layla: Arabic; meaning “night/black”
  • Lilith: Arabic; meaning “of the night”; Jewish mythology (female demon)
  • Melanie: Greek; meaning “black/dark skinned”
  • Melantha: Greek; meaning “dark flower”
  • Mercel: Dutch; meaning “black bird”
  • Nox: Latin; meaning “night”; also Roman mythology (equivalent to Greek goddess Nyx)
  • Nyx: Greek mythology (goddess of the night); meaning “night”
  • Orpheus: Greek; meaning “the darkness of night”
  • Perran: Cornish; meaning “little dark one”
  • Rajani: Sanskrit; meaning “dark; of the night”
  • Ravenna: English; meaning “raven”
  • Senka: Serbian/Croatian; meaning “shadow”
  • Shyam: Indian (Sanskrit); meaning “dark”
  • Sullivan: English; meaning “dark eyes”
  • Tamal/Tamala: Indian (Sanskrit); meaning “dark tree”
  • Tzila: Hebrew; meaning “shadow”
  • Umbrielle: Latin; meaning “one in the shadow”
  • Zilla: Hebrew; meaning “shadow”

 Last Names

  • Duff: Scottish; meaning “dark”
  • Dunkle: German; meaning “dark”
  • Rapp: German/Jewish; meaning “dark haired or raven-like”
on kids and naming

Apropos nothing, my four year old son just turned to me and asked, “What name will I have when I’m a grown up?”

“Well,” I said, “most people have the same name as adults that they do as little people, but you can have a different one if you want. Some people do that.”

“I like my name,” he said. “I want to have it forever!” He paused, thinking, then added, “But some people change their names, because they don’t like being grown ups.”

“Or because they don’t like their names,” I said.

He nodded agreement, then told me a list of his friends who he thinks like their names.

And I mention this, not just because it’s a funny anecdote, but because it’s yet another example of just how easy it is to explain trans stuff to kids. Some people change their names as adults for lots of reasons, and that’s okay! It’s genuinely that simple.

Naming is a foreshadowing of mourning because it seems to me that every case of naming involves announcing a death to come in the surviving of a ghost, the longevity of a name that survives whoever carries that name.
—  Derrida, The Animal That Therefor I Am.

catemangelsdorf  asked:

Hi, I've got a question on names. My story has a pseudo-Victorian fantasy setting. I named my villain (traitorous war-mongering diplomat from the enemy country up north) Mordecai, because that was on a list of Victorian names, since Old Testament names were popular with Christian Victorians. But obviously it was a Jewish name first, and I don't want this character coded as Jewish since he's the Big Bad. Should I rename the character, or is that not an association readers would make? Thanks!

If I don’t want my traitorous Christian villain read as Jewish, do I have to change his very Jewish-coded name?

Yes, please change the name of your traitor away from something that is so super Jewy sounding. I appreciate you asking! You are a good egg.

I’m not sure if gentile readers would catch it, but boy howdy would we especially since that’s a name we run into every springtime at Purim, and we’d wonder if it was intentional or not. Like for example, the sneaky little rats in the Freddie the Pig books (I love those books) are named Simon and Ezra, and now that I’m a grown woman and have seen what people are capable of doing in their fantasy media I have to basically convince myself that of course it doesn’t mean anything. (Rats are another trope, like the betraying/traitor trope OP is asking about.)


Japanese Names


  • Aiko: meaning “little loved one”
  • Amaya: meaning “night rain”
  • Amora: meaning “love”
  • Asami: meaning “morning beauty”
  • Azami: meaning “thistle”
  • Chiasa: meaning “one thousand mornings”
  • Emiko: meaning “blessed, beautiful”
  • Haruka: meaning “far off”
  • Inari: meaning “shrimp”
  • Izumi: meaning “fountain”
  • Kaida: meaning “little dragon”
  • Kaori: meaning “fragrance”
  • Kazu: meaning “peace”
  • Kimiko: meaning “child without equal”
  • Kiyo: meaning “pure”
  • Mai: meaning “dance”
  • Nao: meaning “pleasant”
  • Sora: meaning “sky”
  • Yuki: meaning “happiness”


  • Akeno: meaning “in the morning”
  • Benjiro: meaning “enjoy peace”
  • Hiro: meaning “generous”
  • Ichiro: meaning “first son”
  • Isao: meaning “honor”
  • Jiro: meaning “second son”
  • Kado: meaning “gateway”
  • Katsuro: meaning “victorious son”
  • Masaki: meaning “elegant tree”
  • Miki: meaning “beautiful”
  • Namiko: meaning “wave”
  • Raiden: meaning “thunder god”
  • Reizo: meaning “cool, calm”
  • Rumi: meaning “father”


  • 600 names - all of these names can be used for any gender, but I divided them into what gender they traditionally are (male, female, unisex)
  • Common and unusual names
  • Definitions and nationalities
  • Pronunciations for Irish/Scottish Gaelic names
  • English, Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Greek, German, Latin, French, American, Spanish, Scandinavian, Hebrew, Turkish, Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Iranian/Persian names

** denotes a name heavily associated with a preexisting entity, fictional or real

Keep reading

The connection between Denna and naming

On my current reread of WMF, I noticed there was a parallel drawn between Kvothe’s ability to find Denna and naming. In chapters 13 and 14, Kvothe buried himself in the Archives, and ignored all of his friends, including Denna. At the end of chapter 14, he tries to go visit her, but she is gone. This leads into chapter 15, when Elodin is having his class do Interesting Fact. Fela won, and Elodin gave her the  milkweed pod. The more effort Elodin put into catching the seeds made it more difficult to actually succeed. He only gets one when he accidentally inhales one while swearing. We know that for all his ridiculousness, Elodin was actually teaching Kvothe. With naming, there is not an easy direct way to succeed. Kvothe doesn’t gain full knowledge of the name of the wind until the end of the book. Every time he’s called it, it’s been by accident. He can’t easily find the name of the wind, just as Elodin can’t easliy catch the milkweed seeds.

This connects to Denna because the more Kvothe looks for her, the less likely he is to find her. Later in the same chapter, Kvothe spends a lot of time in Imre intentionally looking for Denna, but only succeeds when he hears her laugh from across the street and sees her with Ambrose. Denna has a habit of turning up where she is least expected. The first instance is when she was at the Eolian and sings the part of Aloine with Kvothe. She was then in Trebon, Severen, and in Tarbean. In each instance, Kvothe had no reason to believe that she would be there, and yet she was there. Also, they always have an exchange that consists of seven word sentences. Denna cannot be found directly, like the name of something.

Naming people and places while avoiding explicit coding and stereotypes


I am writing a fantasy story and am worldbuilding. The planet is earthlike in nature (liquid water, oxygen atmosphere, etc). The people on the planet (humans) were created by the four gods that created the planet (earth, air, fire, water deities) and the people were born from the land which they inhabit. To clarify, people living in a tropical rainforest climate have dark brown/ reddish brown skin to blend in with the trees while people living in a desert climate have beige-y bronzed skin to blend in with the sand. 

I study evolutionary biology, so I’m using that to help create the races of people on the planet. They are adapted to their environments, accounting for skin color, muscle tone, eyesight, etc (kind of like how animals adapt to their environments, but not in a derogatory way or anything) Each race has their own culture stemming from the geography and the resources available to them.

My problem comes when trying to name people/places/things. My first instinct is to draw upon existing languages and adapt them. Ex: tundra/snow inhabiting peoples speak a language similar to existing scandinavian/russian/eastern european languages and tropical inhabiting peoples speak a language similar to pourtuguese/spanish or telugu/malay/javanese and so on and so forth

However, I’m trying to make the cultures of my peoples unique, drawing upon multiple cultures and my own imagination for inspiration and not simply coding one specific race or ethnic group. How should I go about naming people and places of different races without alluding to an existing culture? Is that even possible? For example, would it be rude to draw upon traditional west african languages for inspiration of naming places and people in a tropical setting if the culture I create is nothing like the culture of west africans?

Or am I just over analyzing things? *sigh*

Howdy, @thebiomaster! 

There are plenty of worldbuilding and culture-coding articles on WritingWithColor (look in the tags), but in regards to your primary concern of naming things, there is a subject that I don’t think we’ve gone over too often: phonotactics. 

Phonotactics is basically …The “rules” of what can be a word in a given language. It’s a study of the patterns and constraints in a language’s soundset, a sort of quantifying of why “vlim” could pass for a word in English but “mtar” couldn’t.  If you look up, for example, ‘Spanish phonotactic constraints’ you can find breakdowns of what consonant and vowel combinations occur and do not occur in the language, and even syllable patterns and vowel-to-consonant ratios. With some reading on phonotactic constraints, you can get the vibe of a given language and use that as a scaffolding to make up unique names that sound like they come from a real language, capture the ‘vibe’ of a given language, and yet not be an explicit (or obvious) copy. 

Now, which languages would you want to pick for which cultures?

Naturally, you would do well to NOT pair cultures that have a rocky history with one another (for instance, I would not by any means use a French-based language on a Vietnamese-like culture), but picking a language based off of shared climate/terrain and not shared culture, is completely legitimate.  There is study on the correlation of climate and language, after all. For example, look at the work of Caleb Everett, correlating tonal languages with humid regions. 

After doing this, if you wanted to take linguistic world-building a step further you could consider the terrain of your world and identify the conquerors, the traders, and the isolationists within it, and look at the geography of the world and locate the places where these different cultures are most likely to interact and thus have a transformative effect on the languages in the regions they most commonly interact.  Decide whether there is an attempt in some nations to standardize its language(s), such as through an official language or a universal writing system.

- Rodríguez 

chinese names and nicknames

i wanna talk about a small pet peeve that i feel is worth mentioning: chinese characters whose names are only one character, like “lee” or “ping” or “chang”

chinese first names names are pretty much always made of two characters (e.g. Lin Yi). only surnames will be one character, making a total of three characters for a name (e.g. Chen Lin Yi). in some rare cases a surname will have two characters, but the point is that their given name is still two characters.

(that is to say, of all the several dozen chinese people i’ve met and known and are related to in my life, not a single one of them had a one-character first name. i’m not denying that they exist, but i’m here to talk about how naming typically work for the vast majority of chinese names)

one might argue that it’s just a nickname, like how we refer to the overwatch character mei-ling as just “mei,” but that’s not also how chinese nicknames typically work. it sounds fine in english, but with chinese tones, it sounds really awkward to shorten someone’s name like that.

in actuality, many chinese nicknames are just the second character in isolation, so really we should be shortening mei-ling to “ling” if we were to give her a nickname that was more common. when my name is shortened, it’s always the second character. this is the same for my brother and my parents. i’ve never heard a relative or friend refer to us only by the first character of our name, and if it ever was, you’re gonna have to take my word for it when i say that it’d just sound really, really weird because of how tones work (but they’d sound really weird if anglicized, too).

it’s basically the opposite of how english nicknames work. we shorten johnathan to john, samantha to sam, etc. but non-chinese creators need to remember that chinese is not english. if a chinese character’s nickname is a shortened version of their given name, chances they’re going to be referred to by the second character in their name.*

*it’s worth noting that i don’t think this nicknaming format is applicable to all chinese names. for example, i’d find it weird to shorten Lin Yi to just “Yi,” but it makes sense to me to shorten MeiLing to “Ling.”

and before anybody questions this, remember that not every english name can be shortened into a nickname without it sounding awkward, either (e.g. we don’t shorten laura to “lau”)