“To die would be an awfully big adventure.” A fear of the unknown – and by extension, a fear of death – is an integral part of the human experience. Part of having a child born, and part of a person’s life thread, is knowing that death is inevitable. But even though death is scary, that doesn’t mean it has to be sad.
Death can be viewed as a natural part of the circle of life and a crucial part of what gives life meaning in the first place. Death is something that can be celebrated just as much as it can be mourned. And if you want to embrace that duality, there are some hauntingly beautiful names that mean death that you can give to your child.
On that note, here are our favorite names that mean death or pay homage to the phenomenon of death in some shape or form.
Girl Names that Mean Death
There’s always been a strong feminine energy in a lot of the spookier sides of mythology, theology, and mysticism. That means there are a lot of beautiful girls’ names that mean death or lean into the darker aspects of various cultures’ myths and legends.
Whether your baby names are coming from a Roman goddess, Arthurian legend, or German legend, there’s a whole buffet of choices. Here are some of our favorite girls’ names that mean death.
Achlys – not to be mistaken for the near-invincible hero Achilles – is a name found in Greek mythology that is the personification of misery, sorrow, and the “death mist” that clouds the eyes before dying.
Origin: Old English, Celtic, and Welsh
Agrona is the goddess of strife and slaughter. This is an excellent name to lean into your British heritage and give your daughter a name that commands power over death.
In Roman mythology, Angerona is the goddess of death and the winter solstice. Modern infrastructure has really flipped this name on its head, as winter has gone from a harsh and scary time of year to the coziest season on the calendar for some. Embrace winter by naming your daughter after this Roman goddess.
This African name checks all of our boxes. It literally means death; short and simple.
Shakespeare fans will recognize this name as that of the female lead in Othello. But you might not know that it literally means “ill-fated one” or “devil.” A very fitting name considering Desdemona’s end, and Iago’s smear campaign against her.
This name doesn’t actually mean death, but it does pay homage to more “negative” emotions. This Gaelic name means “sorrowful” or “sad one,” and it’s a perfect reminder that the full spectrum of human emotions is what makes life so beautiful.
Freyja is the beautiful name of the goddess of love, beauty, war, and death in Norse mythology. That’s a lot of emotion packed into a two-syllable name.
Origin: Old Norse
Another Norse goddess of death, Hel was also the daughter of Loki the god of msichief and the giant Angerboda. Marvel fans and Norse mythology nerds alike will love this name!
In Greek mythology, Hecate is the name of the goddess of magic, night, moon, ghosts, and necromancy. That’s a lot of spooky, death-related power in the name of just one Greek goddess.
In Egyptian mythology, Kek and Kauket are an Egyptian god and an Egyptian goddess who form a male/female pairing known as the deities of darkness, obscurity, and night. This name becomes even better if you happen to have male/female twins.
Libitina is the ancient Roman goddess of funerals and burial. This name is a great way to pay homage to the human mourning process.
Lilith is something of a favorite among lovers of all things spooky. This female demon is allegedly the first wife of Adam (before Eve), and she was cast out of the garden of Eden. Lilith just might be the most popular and mainstream name on this list.
The Latin root “mal” means “bad” or “evil,” and Mallory translates to “unfortunate” or “ill-fated.” The misfortune in question could very easily be referring to death.
Just like the earlier-mentioned Chiwa, this Sanskrit name gets right to the point, and it simply means “death.”
In many Slavic countries, such as Czechia, Morana is the goddess of winter’s death. Just like Angerona, this name harkens to a time when winter was a lot more than a season of blasting the heat and drinking hot cocoa.
Morrigan is the Irish goddess of eternal warfare. This is a great death-related name for anyone looking to embrace their Celtic heritage.
Another deity from Hindu theology, Omisha is the goddess of birth and death cycles. This is a beautiful name that embraces the duality of life and death.
This Greek origin name stems from a prominent figure in Greek mythology, Persephone, who is the goddess of death and the underworld as well as the husband of Hades. This name is pronounced Per-se-foh-nee.
This Yiddish name is a female version of the word for devil. There’s such a wealth of spooky Jewish mysticism and theology, it’d be a waste not to get some dark names out of it. Ironically, this name also sounds very similar to the Hebrew name “Tova,” which means “good.”
Origin: Old Norse
Yet another Norse goddess of the dead. The ancient Vikings certainly weren’t lacking death goddesses. If that’s the direction you want yo go in with your baby girl names, you definitely have options.
Boy Names That Mean Death
If you know you have a little baby boy on the way, don’t worry. There are plenty of baby names for boys that mean death; spooky names aren’t just for the girls. Here are our favorite boy names that mean death.
Hebrew has a lot of names that evoke parental or fraternal relationships, and Ahimoth is no exception. This name literally means “death is my brother.”
Going to a different semitic language, Ajal is an Arabic name that has multiple meanings. This name can mean “death,” “destiny,” or “a specific period and hour of death.”
Popularized by the video game Akuji the HEartless, Akuji is an African-origin name that means “dead and awake.”
Egyptian mythology has had a tremendous influence on storytelling across the globe and across the ages, and it’s the source of some great names that mean death. Anpu is the Egyptian god of funerary rites, protector of graves, and guide to the underworld. You’ve most likely seen portrayals of him in which he has a canine head.
Anubis is actually simply the Greek version of Anpu. If you want to name your child after this death god, just pick whichever name you think sounds better.
This dark and uncommon Ugandan name literally means “family deaths ruined the home.” Your son is sure to be the only Bacia in his grade if you go with this name.
Not to be mistaken for the building material, the name Clay can also mean “mortal one” or “one who may die.”
While this Greek-origin name means “to tame” or “to subdue,” it’s become associated with death, demons, and all things haunted thanks to its appearance in the classic horror movie The Omen.
Origin: Scottish and German
Daeril is a great name if you have ginger in your genes. This Scottish/German name means “call of death” or red-haired.
Ernesh is a great name for your son if you know that some things are worth fighting for no matter what. This Hindi name literally translates to “battle to the death.”
The gods of Greek mythology offer us some fantastic names. If you want to symbolize death, you can’t go wrong naming your son Hades, the Greek god of the underworld.
Origin: Old Norse
This Scandinavian name translates to “hard ruler.” The original Harald was a fierce warrior and is considered to have been the last Viking.
Javarya is a strong Indian name coming from the Hindu god of death.
Another name from Hindu theology, Janardan is a name that means “the liberator from the cycle of birth and death.”
The brother and male counterpart of Kauket, Kek is a fantastic name for a boy with a twin sister.
Yet another Hindi name meaning “god of death.” It seems that many cultures are not lacking in death gods. If you’re looking for a good Indian name that means death, simply take your pick.
Mortimer is a Latin name that means “Dead Sea.”Anyone who’s been to the actual salty Dead Sea will appreciate this name that shares a name with one of the most fascinating sites on Earth.
Coming from the Japanese series Death Note, the name Ryuk doesn’t have a literal meaning per se, but it’s the name of one of the most popular characters from the hit manga and anime. Ryuk is a terrifying shinigami, a Japanese death god, who stands at 7 feet and six inches. This is a great name for any lover of Japanese media.
This eloquent Persian name literally means “eternal death.” Embrace a beautiful life and an eternal death with this name.
Thana is a Greek-origin name for death, and it shares a root with the name Thanatos, who is a Greek god of death.
Unisex Names That Mean Death
Gendered names can feel like such a pigeonhole. Especially with an increasing understanding of transness and other queer identities, it can be a good idea to give your child some flexibility from the beginning and give them a good gender-neutral name. Here are our favorite unisex names that mean death.
While Ares has always been portrayed as male, there’s something about the name that lends itself to being either male or female. Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit and name your baby girl after the Greek mythology god of war.
While Azrael literally means “God helped” in Hebrew, it’s also the name of the Jewish angel of death. In Jewish tradition, the angel of death is a benevolent figure that actually works in tandem with God. Embracing this benevolent interpretation of the grim reaper is a good way to embrace death in general.
Another Hebrew name, this one is a little more aggressive in its meaning than the previous Azrael. Bela translates to “devouring” or “destruction,” and it’s a great unisex name.
Origin: Old English
Dabria is yet another angel of death, this time coming from Old English. We just can’t get enough of our death angels.
Kira actually technically isn’t Japanese, as it’s a transliteration of the English word “killer.” Just like Ryuk, this name comes from the beloved anime Death Note; it’s the alias of the show’s antihero Yagami Light, and it’s a great unisex name that signifies the bringer of death.
Just in case you haven’t had your fill of Hindu death names, we’re giving you one more – this time a unisex one – with yet another Hindu death god, Kritanta. There’s something about the length and cadence of Hindi names that just makes them roll off the tongue nicely.
This hauntingly beautiful Scottish name translates to “ruler of death’s castle.” Your child will certainly stick out with this great unisex name. As a little side tidbit, this name is derived from the Arthurian legend. Help your child conquer death and rule its castle with this Scottish name.
Lefu is a great unisex name that doesn’t have any fanciful or theological meaning. This African-origin name just means “death;” short and simple.
According to one source, Nephthys “symbolizes the death experience; also known as the ‘excellent goddess’ or ‘helpful goddess.'” While originally the name of an Egyptian goddess, this name is fitting for a boy as well, and it really embraces the idea that death doesn’t always have to be sad or somber.
Origin: Old Norse
Valid is another goddess name that can be given to a baby boy. This Norse death goddess is the perfect unisex death name. There’s nothing wrong with putting your own spin on a name. After all, every name is unisex if you want it to be.
And just like that, we’re ready to bring our name to a close. We’ve given you baby girl names, baby boy names, and everything in between, all translating to or being related to death.
It could be a good idea to decide from which source you want to derive your name, be it Greek mythology, the Bible, African folklore, or something else entirely.
Perhaps surprisingly, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to names that mean death. We hope we helped you find such a name for your newborn. Good luck!