The concept of darkness is an integral part of our existence, providing balance and harmony. Just as we rely on comparisons between light and dark in various aspects of life, names associated with darkness are not always ominous or frightening.
In fact, some dark-themed names for both boys and girls are endearing, attractive, and even captivating. We have compiled a list of such names, complete with illuminating information, which might surprise you by showcasing the significance of darkness in relation to light.
Table of Contents
- 100 Mysterious Names Meaning Dark for Boys and Girls
- Dark Names FAQs
100 Mysterious Names Meaning Dark for Boys and Girls
Discover the good and the bad in our list of names meaning dark, complete with enough information for you to make the best decision.
Adriana is the feminine form of Adrian or the Roman Adrianus. Adriana relates to darkness through appearance. A dark complexion or dark hair is usually reason enough to choose this delightful girl’s name. Adriana is one of the most charming among girl names that mean dark, with little reference to evil or darkness. The nicknames “Adri” and “Anna” might be another reason to choose Adriana for your baby girl.
Achlys derives from ancient Greek mythology, depicted on the shield of Heracles as a ghostlike image of an emancipated woman covered in tears, blood, and dust. Achlys is also described in Homer as the mist that covers the eyes before death. Achlys is one of the rarest names that mean dark, closer related to the darker side of life.
Akmad is the diminutive of Muhammad after the Prophet Muhammad. Akmad is a glorious name in the Islamic faith as it celebrates religious faith. The meaning may be related to skin tone rather than dark forces.
Amaya has two origins- in Japan, Amaya means “rain at night,” which suggests deep comfortable sleep, while in Spain, Amaya suggests the limit to something. Amaya is a neat feminine name that fits perfectly into girl names that mean dark.
Apollo derives from Greek and Roman mythology as the son of Zeus and Leto. Apollo was the god of archery, art, truth and prophecy, healing, light, spring, poetry, music and dance, and much more. Apollo is the averter and destroyer of evil, and considering the concept of fighting fire with fire, Apollo is a dark warrior.
Asra derives from the Arabic “isra” meaning “nocturnal journey.” As a Muslim first name, Asra means “generous, nobler.” There are several other virtue-style meanings of Asra in Arabic, and this classic name is also used for boys in some regions of the world.
Azazel is commonly referred to as the angel of death name, a formidable figure in nightmares. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Azazel is the name of a fallen angel or demon. The Hebrew meaning “scapegoat” refers to a whipping boy set up to take the blame. The literal scapegoat refers to a goat Hebrews would cast out to symbolize their atonement.
During the first crusade, the Turks called upon Baphomet, who scholars believe refers to Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Baphomet is possibly a medieval corruption of Mahomet, which appears in the inquisition of the Knights Templar as the alleged name of a Muslim or pagan idol. Baphomet is a winged man with the head of a horned goat. In the 19th-century, Freemasons were also falsely accused of worshipping Baphomet. The Satanic church currently houses a bronze statue of Baphomet at their temple headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts.
Bellona derives from the Latin “bellum,” meaning “war, conflict, struggle, fighting, battle.” Bellona is the ancient Roman goddess of war, called the sister of Mars by some scholars. Bellona is recognized by the military helmet worn on her head and is often depicted holding weapons of battle.
Birsha was the king of Gomorrah during the war of four kings against five kings in the book of Genesis. Birsha and Bera, the king of Sodom, fall into tar pits in the valley where the battle took place. Birsha is a reminder of the wrath of God.
Blake derives from the Old English word “blaec,” meaning “black,” and later became the nickname “blaac,” for someone with pale hair or skin. Blake was originally a surname, then a manly name before becoming popular as a unisex name, likely through Blake Lively from the TV series Gossip Girl.
Brangwen has a beautiful Welsh meaning that softens the image of the raven bird, usually associated with evil. Brangwen refers to light and dark with an overtone of purity. In Welsh mythology, Brangwen was a girl who turned into a bird, possibly a raven. The white could apply to her pale skin or hair, a sign of purity.
Brutus of Troy was the founder and first king of Britain. Brutus is associated with the concept of treason, making Brutus an apt choice among boy names that mean dark. Brutus is also associated with power and strength. The phrase “Et Tu Brute” means “even you Brutus,” the words of Caesar when Brutus stabbed him in the back.
Cary stems from the Gaelic surname O’Ciardha but could also originate from the Welsh place name Carew. Cary is linked to Saint Clara, a 7th-century Irish saint. Although Cary is part of the dark names list, there is the blessing of purity over this adorable name.
Charna derives from a Slavic word meaning “black” and is usually given to baby girls born with pitch black hair. Charna is a soft feminine name with a neutral meaning that will suit any baby girl.
Chernobog derives from Slavic “cherno” meaning “black” and “bogu” meaning “god.” Chernobog is the Slavic god of darkness, evil, and grief and one of the world’s most popular Slavic gods. The Polabian Slavs worship Chernobog, or the god of bad fate, referred to as the cult of Chernobog by scholars. Chernobog and Baphomet lead the pack among boy names that mean dark.
Ciaran derives from the Irish element “ciar” meaning “black, dark, blacky” and is the masculine form of Ciara. Ciaran was popularized by Irish saints in the 5th-century, belonging to the first saint born in Ireland, but the fact that he preceded Saint Patrick is hotly debated to this day. The black aspect is associated with hair color and the meaning carries this through in an endearing manner.
Cole derives from an Old English surname from the bynames “Cola,” and “Charcoal.” Cole refers to a person with a dark complexion, either naturally or from working with coal. Coal is also a nimble boy name that is neutral and accepting of all people.
Colin is said to derive from the Old Norse “Kollungr” meaning “dark,” referring to someone with a dark or swarthy complexion. Colin is the diminutive of Nicholas, and interestingly, Collins is one of the more popular surnames in Ireland.
Colton is a British name derived from the English midlands during the industrial revolution when coal was mined excessively in that region. A possible origin is the place name, Cola’s town, where “cola” refers to coal, and “tun” means “enclosure or settlement.” Colton began as a typical blue-collar name used among coal miners. Today, Colton is a much-loved name, and the nickname Cole is just as popular.
Corvina is the feminine version of Corvinus, deriving from the Latin “corvus” meaning “raven, crow,” also interpreted as “dark.” In Denmark, the night raven is considered an exorcised spirit with a hole in the left wing that was paled to the earth. Anyone who looks through the hole becomes a raven themselves. Corvina is one of the most unusual girl names that mean dark.
Cozbi is an ancient Hebrew name derived from the Semitic root “kzb” meaning “to deceive, disappoint.” Cozbi was the name of a Midianite woman who became the wife of the Israelite Zimri. The Lord objected to the Israelites mixing with the Midianites, as it often led to Baal worship. Phinehas slew Cozbi and Zimri with one thrust of his spear to stop a plague sent by God.
Cronan derives from the Irish Gaelic “cron,” meaning “swarthy,” referring to dark physical features. Cronan was the name of two 7th-century Irish saints revered as miracle workers. Cronan shines a brilliant light on dark names.
Daeva is said to be of Indian origin, meaning “evil spirit,” but the Lithuanian origin gives a more relatable meaning, including “beloved.” Daeva is the Slavic feminine form of David which means “beloved,” but in the Avestan language, “daeva” or “daiva” refers to a supernatural entity with bad qualities. Daeva could be a dark beauty and may create confusion relative to the different cultural meanings.
Dagon has many origins and meanings but primarily relates to the sea. In Hebrew mythology, Dagon was the Jewish fertility god who was half-man and half-fish. In Arabic, Dagon simply means “rain cloud,” but historically, Dagon was a Prince of Hell and one of the first demons created by Lucifer.
Daray is of Celtic, Irish origin and was used as a surname in America from the mid-1800s onward. The origin and meaning is identical to Dargan, referring to one with dark hair. Daray is a fashionably cute name on the list of names with dark meanings
Darcel stems from an English surname derived from the Norman French “d’Arcy.” Arcy is a village in Normandy and also refers to physical characteristics such as being dark-skinned or dark-haired. Darcel is one of the nicer names meaning dark.
Dargan is a shortened anglicized form of the Gaelic “O’Deargain” and simply means “dark-haired.” In the Americas, 42% of people have the surname Dargan, but as a first-name, it’s also on the rise. Dargan is an unusual name with a punchy pronunciation and will make an excellent choice for your little one.
Deianira derives from ancient Greek mythology. She was a princess and wife to Hercules, whom she murdered using the poisoned shirt of Nessus. The meaning derives from this fable but is somehow not fully accepted as an evil deed.
Delaney derives from the Gaelic “O’Dubhshlaine” consisting of two elements, “dubh” meaning “dark, black” and “Slaine” from the river Slaine in Ireland. The Slaine river is believed to be a river of health that is a blessing when used in a name. Delaney is a dark warrior who is unafraid of a challenge.
Devlin derives from the Gaelic term “dobhail” meaning “unlucky” which was used to create the Irish surname O’Doibhilin. Being a “descendant of the unlucky one” does not necessarily mean that bad luck is inherited. Devlin may have dark features, but Devlin is not party to dark magic or any sinister forces.
Dolion stems from the ancient Greek “dolios” meaning “crafty, deceitful, treacherous.” The Latin meaning is “trojan spy” which falls in with the Greek meaning. Dolion is a Greek mythological name, Silenus’s son, and a Meliad nymph.
Donovan derives from the Irish surname O’Donndubhain composed of two elements, “donn” meaning “brown” and “dubh” meaning “dark, black.” Donovan actually means “the dark lord, gloomy man, dark man.” Although not a dark-sounding name Donovan has an aura of strict authority that shines through in the meaning.
Dough is the short form of Douglas, derived from the Scottish “dubh” meaning “dark” and “ghlas” meaning “stream, river.” Douglas originated as a surname, and the Douglas’s were one of Scotland’s most powerful families during the Middle Ages. Doug is a masculine name and is relatable, more for the courage and strength of the Scottish clan than for its misleading meaning.
Duna is the short form of Dunabey as in the Dunabey river in Europe and means “dark, swarthy” in Irish. Duna is also of Hungarian and Icelandic origin and relates to duck down, meaning “eiderdown.” In Hungarian, Duna refers to the Danube River. Duna is a sweet feminine option among girl names that mean dark.
Duncan is of Gaelic origin and derives from Donnchadh, meaning “brown warrior, dark head, brown-haired man.” Duncan MacLeod is an immortal character in the fictional Highlander multiverse, but in the real world, he is considered one of the great boy names that mean dark
Duvessa is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Dubh Essa, used by M.J. Molloy in his 1964 comic play The Wooing of Duvessa. Duvessa is a relatively new name and has not had the same exposure as other dark names.
Dwade is an American combination name composed of Dwayne, meaning “dark” and Wade meaning “to go.” Wade is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from the Old English verb “wadan” or “wada.” Dwade is an adventurous boy name that means dark.
Dwayne derives from the Gaelic surname O’Dubhain where “dubh” means dark. Dwayne is associated with the church of Dubhan, an important cleric in Medieval times, but today, the church is merely a ruin. The spelling seems to have been influenced by the name Wayne.
Ebony derives from the Latin “hebenus” from the Greek “ebenos” meaning “ebony, intense blackness.” Ebony also derives from the Hebrew root “eben” possibly from the Egyptian “hbnj” which refers to wood as hard as stone. Interestingly, the black keys on a piano were originally made from ebony wood.
Kimimila is a stunning Dakota girl name from the Americas that means “dark-skinned” and “butterfly.” Dark skin symbolizes beauty and health as it offers greater protection and has an alluring sheen in the sunlight. There are so many nickname options for Kimimila, such as Kim, Kimmie, Mila, Milly, and many more.
In Hebrew, Kishi (Kushaiah) is the name of the Old Testament Merarite and the father of Ethan, the minstrel. In Hebrew, Kishi is a male-given name. In Japanese, Kishi means “night, beach, or shoreline” and was very popular during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868. Kishi is now a rare name in Japan for no particular reason.
Kuragari translates to “dark” in Japanese. An unverified Indonesian source claims Kuragari is a fictional character of the god of darkness. Kuragari is also a rare surname found in Europe, especially in the East Slavic region of Europe, and primarily used in Russia.
Lamya is a common name for girls among Muslim people. Lamya is of Arabic origin but has roots in Libya and Greece and derives from Lamia or Lamiya, meaning “shining, radiant.” Lamya is growing in popularity in southeast Europe, with several influential people bearing this delicate feminine name.
Layla derives from the Hebrew element “layl” meaning “night.” In Arabic, Layla is a dark beauty and is the subject of the poet’s unrequited love in the Quys and Layla story. Layla is associated with the beauty that can sometimes be cold, but it’s the meaning that places Layla among the daring girl names meaning dark.
Lilith derives from the Akkadian “lilitu,” meaning “of the night,” and was the name of a mythological demon. In Jewish tradition, she was Adam’s first wife, replaced by Eve because she would not submit to him. Fables from the Middle Ages also mention Lilith as Adam’s first wife, not made from his rib like Eve but of the same clay, Adam was made from.
The actual origin of Loki is uncertain, but some scholars say Loki derives from the Old Norse “lok,” meaning “lip, cover, end.” Another possible origin is the Germanic root “luka,” meaning “knot, lock.” Loki was a trickster god in Norse mythology associated with magic and shape-shifting. Loki deserves to be included on the list of names with dark meanings.
Lola is short for the Spanish name Dolores meaning “sorrows,” which is taken from one of the titles of the Virgin Mary. Sorrow is often related to darkness or dark times, yet Lola is a lively name that inspires happiness. Lola is one of the dark names that brings light to the table.
Lucifer derives from the Latin “lux,” meaning “light,” and “ferre,” meaning “to bring.” In Latin records, Lucifer is referred to as the morning star, Venus, known as the angel who rebels against God’s word. Lucifer finally became known as Satan in later literature. Lucifer is indeed a dark name basking in the light.
Lyla derives from a famous Arabic/Persian romantic story and means “night.” Lyla is mainly given to girls born at night and is a sure way to remember the time of day your baby girl was born. Lyla is a sweet feminine name with no sinister association with darkness.
Mabuz is the Anglo-Saxon version of Mabon, a character in “Lanzelet,” an Arthurian romance play written after 1194. Mabuz is a cowardly lord of the Schatel le Mort or Castle of the Dead. Any name associated with cowardice or death belongs among the many other names that mean dark.
Maleficent only became a name in 1959 when Disney used it for the Mistress of All Evil in the film Sleeping Beauty. Before the Disney movie was released, Maleficent had only been a word meaning “causing harm,” the antonym of beneficent.
Mania is the Roman mythological goddess of the dead and rules the underworld alongside Mantus. Mania is the mother of ghosts, the undead, and spirits of the night and is the Roman feminine form of Marius. Mania also derives from the ancient Greek “Mariam,” associated with the Virgin Mary. Another possible origin is from the Egyptian word “Myr,” meaning “beloved.”
Matchitehew is a Native American name with a heavy meaning. Native American tribes created names for young children from displayed characteristics or unusual birth events. Matchitehew is probably a name given later in life due to an evil deed committed by the boy. Such dark names are never given with a light heart.
Madea derives from the ancient Greek “medos,” meaning “plan, art, prudence, cunning, crafty, reflective, thinker, smart.” In Greek mythology, Medea was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis and was married to the hero Jason. Jason betrayed Madea, and she killed his new lover and the two children she had with him. Medea’s crime of passion sure puts her in the box with other names meaning dark.
Melanie derives from the Greek “melania,” meaning “blackness,” and “melas,” meaning “dark.” Melanie was introduced to the English by the Normans in its current form. Melanie was a Roman saint who gave all of her wealth to charity in the 5th-century.
Melantha derives from a combination of “mel,” meaning “dark,” and the Greek “anthos,” meaning “flower.” In Greek mythology, Melanie was the name given to Demeter, the goddess of fertility. Melantha is also said to be a diminutive of Melissa, who was a Bee-nymph. Melantha has a beautiful and unusual meaning; if you have a dark-haired baby girl, this will be the perfect name.
Merle derives from the Celtic “muir geal / Muireall,” composed of two elements, “muir” for “sea” and “geal” for “bright.” The word “merle” means “blackbird,” which has no connection to the origin. Although odd, Merle is an attractive name that gives nothing away, not even gender.
Molly is a medieval diminutive of Mary. “Sea of bitterness” suggests strife or hardship that creates bitterness or overwhelming sadness, which is dark by all counts. But somehow, Molly radiates an aura of warm openness and beauty, and the meaning is easily overlooked.
Morrigan has Irish roots and was originally used for boys. In the 1980s, a few prominent celebrities like Morgan Fairchild helped to turn Morrigan into a unisex name, but it remains a male-only name in Wales. Morgan was King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s leading antagonist and a powerful shape-shifting queen.
Marris is an English variant of the French Maurice derived from the Latin Mauritius or Maurus. Maurus means “belonging to the people of the Moors” from Mauretania. Also, Morris is the anglicized form of the biblical name Moses. The Romans used Morris as a name for dark-skinned people from Africa.
Nigel has several meanings, but the most common theme is “dark” regarding complexion and hair color. Nigel derives from the Gaelic Neill, from “nel,” meaning “cloud,” or from “niadh,” meaning “champion.” The Vikings adopted the Gaelic name and used it in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Normandy before finally going to England. Nigel is one of the virtuous boy names that mean dark.
Nisha derives from the Dravidian Tamil “nisha,” meaning “night, midnight.” In Hindu mythology, Nisha was the twin sister of Ziarre, goddess of the day. Nisha also means “courage, spirit, morale, resolution” and has other virtuous Islamic meanings. Nisha is a soft feminine name that inspires courage in the face of darkness.
In Greek mythology, Nyx is the goddess of the night, the daughter of Khaos, and the wife of Erebos. Nyx also personified other deities, including Hypnos (sleep) and Thanatos (death), with her husband Erebos (darkness). A mountain peak on Venus was named Nyx by the International Astronomical Union in 1997.
Orpheus derives from ancient Greek and relates to the darkness of night and that of the nether world. In Greek religion and mythology, Orpheus was a musician, poet, and prophet who made the trees dance to his music and the rivers stopped flowing to listen too. Orpheus surely has big boots to fill for a baby boy.
In Hawaiian mythology, Pele is the goddess of destruction. Some relate this to fire, possibly due to devastating volcanic eruptions. Pele is predominantly a female name in Hawaii, but the great soccer legend Pele turned this charming name into a unisex name.
Perran was adopted by the English when the Normans conquered them in 1066. Perran derives from Peter, meaning “rock” or “stone.” Perran is an unusual English name with Norman trimmings that could easily be mistaken for a French name in the pronunciation.
Phoenix brings hope to names that mean dark as it embodies rebirth and immortality. According to legend, the phoenix will die and rise from its ashes every 500 years. Early Christians adopted the phoenix as a religious symbol, which can still be seen on some ornamentation.
Pinchas derives from Hebrew roots, and some scholars believe the meaning to be “serpent’s mouth.” Others look to the Egyptian “Pa-nehasi,” meaning “the black, the Nubian.” Pinchas is the name of different biblical characters, all obedient to God.
Raven derives from Anglo-Saxon roots meaning dark-haired person and the ancient Germanic “hraban” meaning “raven.” Raven is historically a symbol of pride among African-American and Wiccan people. Many cultural traditions incorporate the black raven as a source of mystical power.
Samael is a biblical archangel considered good and evil. Samael is the accuser, seducer, and destroyer and was said to be the patron saint of the Roman Empire. There are seven archangels, of whom Samael is one. Each archangel acts as a global time spirit for 380 years, and the archangel Michael has been leading since 1879. The reign of archangel Samael will undoubtedly be destructive.
Shyam is the masculine form of Shyama and is the alternative name for the Hindu god Krishna. Shyam derives from the Sanskrit “syama,” meaning “black, dark-colored, dark blue, brown, grey, green, sable, having a swarthy complexion.” A swarthy complexion is considered beautiful among the Hindu people. Shyam is one of the more attractive names meaning dark.
Skadi stems from Norse mythology as the goddess of hunting and winter. Winter months are dark and gloomy, and the shadows are long and forever moving. There is no dark magic to the dark cast of shadows, but they do prickle the imagination!
Sullivan stems from the Irish surname “O’Suileabhain,” derived from the Irish “suil,” meaning “eye,” and “dubh,” meaning “dark, black.” Sullivan got a head start to popularity in the 1930s through the film Sullivan’s Travels and has been popular ever since.
Tamesis stems from Celtic mythology and is the goddess of fresh water. Tamesis is also specific to the River Thames in England, which appears dark in color. Tamesis is also used as a surname, but mostly in the Philippines.
Tinuviel means “nightingale” in the fictional language Sindarin. Tinuviel is a fictional elf princess in Silmarillion, a mythological novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1977. Tinuviel has not been around long enough to make an impact as a girl’s name, but given enough time, it might catch on.
Tynan derives from the surname Tynan, an anglicized version of the Gaelic name O Teimhneain from the word “teimhean,” meaning “dark.” Tynan is a unique masculine name with no association with the evils of darkness.
Umbra derives from the Latin “umbri.” The Umbri were a tribe in ancient Italy, and this area still exists today. It’s believed that the Umbri descended from an ancient Gaulish tribe. Umbra is one of the unusual girl names that mean dark and will be a great choice if you’re looking for a unique name meaning Red with history.
Zelda derives from the ancient Germanic “griseldis,” composed of two elements that mean “grey, aged, very old man, sand” and “battle, fight.” In contemporary times, Zelda is a strong feminine name with an aura of independence and fortitude. The association of Zelda with “dark battle results” might stem from “grey/dark” and “battle.”
Zille is an Old Testament name with Hebrew and Arabic origins. Zille is also a Nordic name but is rare in Scandinavia. Zille is a punchy name that has burst onto the silver screen with movies like Godzilla, giving this cute name a larger-than-life scary persona.
Dark Names FAQs
In Greek, Orpheus is a masculine name, meaning the “darkness of night,” while Nyx means “night” for girls.
Esmeray means “dark moon” in Turkish and is typically given to girls.
Erebus is the Greek god of darkness and shadow and is a unique masculine name meaning “shadow.” Umbra is a girl’s name meaning “shade or shadow” in Italian, while Zille holds the same meaning in Arabic and is unisex.
Layla is an Arabic girl’s name meaning “night or dark,” and Duvessa is Irish for “dark beauty,” a common girl’s name.
Keket is the goddess of darkness and originates from Egypt.