100 German Baby Names for Boys and Girls and Their Meanings

From Annalise to Vix

german baby names hero
Christine Schneider/Getty Images

Naming a baby is no small feat, but if you’re looking to honor your heritage by giving the bun (or bauernbrot) in your oven a German name, we’ve got you covered. After scouring the internet and consulting reliable sources, we came up with a list of 100 German baby names, including monikers that are currently popping off in the country, as well as ones that go way back. Read on and take your pick, whether you want something cool and unique or strong and classic.

105 Irish Baby Names That We’re Totally Going to Steal

German Baby Girl Names

1. Emma

Short, sweet and classic—this German name has a lovely meaning of “universal one.”

2. Greta

This German diminutive of Margaret means “pearl” and is gaining popularity thanks to Greta Gerwig, the director of the blockbuster film Barbie.

3. Heidi

Heidi is a cute and chipper moniker with Old German origins and a meaning of “noble kind.”

4. Ida

Here, a Germanic name for a no-nonsense gal that means “industrious,” “labor” and “prosperous.”

5. Ilse

This unique variant of Elsa meaning “oath of God” has Germanic roots and a fresh sound.

6. Emilia

Similar to Ida, this soft sounding moniker of Latin origin is a top choice for girls in Germany and has a meaning of “rival.”

7. Astrid

This powerful name is Scandinavian in origin, but has a long history of use in Germany as well. It means “divinely beautiful.”

8. Inga

Inga, sometimes spelled Inge, is a name of German and Scandinavian origin meaning “guarded by Ing,” a reference to a namesake deity who represents peace and prosperity.

9. Millicent

This German name meaning “strong in work” boasts a sweet sound and plenty of vintage charm.

a baby girl sitting on the grass playing with autumn leaves uncommon baby names
Tom Werner/Getty Images

10. Frieda

Frieda is a name of German origin with a classic feel and a lovely meaning of “peace.”

11. Bertha

Pronounced BEAR-ta, this feminine moniker has Old High German origins and a meaning of “bright one.”

12. Allison

This gender-neutral name of German and Scottish origin is more commonly given to girls stateside and has a meaning of “noble.”

13. Adelle

Just like Allison, this soft, feminine name of German origin has a meaning of “noble.”

14. Willa

Willa is a short and charming name of German origin with a vintage feel and a strong meaning of “resolute protector,” “will” and “desire.”

15. Linda

This name has both Spanish and German origins and meanings of “pretty” and “tender,” respectively.

16. Matilda

Also spelled Mathilde, this German moniker has a sweet sound that belies its fierce meaning of “mighty in battle.”

17. Elke

Elke is a name of Dutch and German origin with a familiar meaning of “noble.”

18. Ava

The roots of this short and soft moniker are unknown, as it has ties to Persian, Urdu, Hebrew and Latin. That said, it’s also believed to be a diminutive of a few different medieval German names that mean “desire.”

19. Charlotte

This name of French and German origin is the feminine version of Charles and has a corresponding meaning of “free man.”

a little girl laying under a table playing with toys.
Guido Mieth/Getty Images

20. Hilda

This name of German origin has a strong sound and a meaning to match: “battle woman.”

21. Helga

Helga is an Old Norse name with a Germanic meaning of “holy,” “blessed” and “sacred.”

22. Zelda

“Gray fighting maid” is the fierce meaning of this German name with Yiddish roots, which has been given to female warrior characters in everything from books to movies and video games.

23. Anke

This name of Hebrew origin is a beloved choice throughout Germany and the Netherlands as a variation of Anna with a shared meaning of “God has favored me.”

24. Ima

Ima (pronounced EE-mah) has origins in multiple cultures, but its Germanic ties are as a diminutive of Amelia and an alternate form of Emma with a similar meaning of “whole” and “universal.”

25. Hanna

The German, Scandinavian and Slavic variant of Hannah and the feminine form of Hans, this moniker has Hebrew origins and a pleasant meaning of “favor” and “grace.”

26. Gisela

This name of Old High German origin has a soft, melodic sound and a meaning of “pledge.”

27. Maud

Maud, which can be spelled with an -e on the end and is pronounced MAWD, is an Old German name and a shortened version of Matilda with a similar meaning of “powerful battler.”

28. Sonja

Although this peppy moniker has Greek origins, it has long been used in Germany, as well as Slavic and Scandinavian countries. It means “wisdom.”

29. Sigfrida

“Peaceful victory” is the meaning of this Old German name, which is a feminine version of Sigfrid and has an alternate spelling of Sigfreda.

Alina Rudye/Bell Collective/Getty Images

30. Emmeline

Here, another German name that means “hard working” and “industrious.” (Noticing a theme?)

31. Annalise

This German name of Hebrew origin is the long form of Anna and has the same meaning of “God is my oath,” “favor” and “grace.”

32. Felda

A melodic German name with a topographical meaning of “from the field.”

33. Karla

This popular moniker of German origin—a feminine version of Karl—has a definition of “free man.”

34. Katinka

Katinka is a popular name in Hungary and is also commonly used as the German diminutive of Katharina. It has Greek origins and a meaning of “pure.”

35. Gretel

A variant of Greta that has a meaning of “pearl” and calls to mind a certain rather dark fairytale.

36. Altilde

“Old battle” is the meaning of this Old High German name, which is related to Matilda and boasts similarly sweet-but-fierce vibes.

37. Lotte

The German diminutive form of Charlotte with the same meaning of “free man.”

38. Annika

A name of Hebrew and Swedish origin—Annika has long been a popular choice in Germany and boasts a pleasant meaning of “gracious and elegant.”

39. Minna

This name of Germanic origin is, like Willa, a diminutive of Wilhelmina and has a meaning of “courtly love.”

Jake Jung/Getty Images

40. Agnethe

Agnethe is the Germanic and Scandinavian form of a name with Greek origins that means “chaste” and “holy.”

41. Liesel

Sometimes spelled Liesl, this German name has Hebrew origins as a shortened form of Elisa(beth) and rose to fame after being given to the character of the eldest daughter in The Sound of Music. It means “God’s promise.”

42. Lorelei

Hailing from German mythology, this authentic name meaning “alluring” refers to a temptress who was so appealing that she could lead sailors on the Rhine River to a rocky demise.

43. Pfeiffer

Originally an occupational surname, Pfeiffer has evolved into a German given name with a meaning that represents its origins: “pipe-player.”

44. Viveca

This Scandinavian version of the German name Wibeke can be traced back to medieval times and has a dual meaning of “alive” and “war fortress.”

45. Marla

A modern, shortened take on the German name Marlene—this one has a casual, feminine sound and a beautiful meaning of “beloved drop of the sea.”

46. Saskia

Saskia is a sweet feminine name that rolls off the tongue; it has German and Dutch origins and a noble meaning of “protector of mankind.”

47. Wilda

“Untamed” and “willow tree” are the meanings of this Old German name, which might just be a good fit for nature lovers with a wilder side.

48. Stefanie

Here, the German spelling of a Greek name that means “crown.” (Perfect for a little princess, perhaps?)

49. Vada

There are other acceptable spellings including Veda, but they all share the same German roots and a definition of “knowledge” and “famous ruler.”

german baby names lisbet
Guido Mieth/Getty Images

50. Lisbet

Lisbet is the shorter and cuter German form of the traditional Hebrew name Elizabeth with a shared meaning of “God is my oath.”

German Baby Boy Names

51. Bernd

This German moniker is the shortened version of Bernhard (i.e., Bernard) and means “strong and brave bear.”

52. Arlo

The origins of Arlo are not known but it is thought to be a German name that means “famous throughout the land.”

53. Max

This familiar moniker, short for Maximillian, has Latin origins but has been popular in Germany for centuries. It means “greatness.”

54. Rupert

This name of Old High German origin has sweet, friendly vibes and a meaning of “bright fame.”

55. Novak

Novak is a strong sounding name of German and Slavic origins with a meaning of “newcomer.”

56. Dresden

Here, a gender neutral name of German origin with a quite descriptive topographical meaning of “people from the forest by the river.”

57. Adler

This classic German moniker means “eagle.” Let’s just say any boy with this name is destined to reach great heights.

58. Oswald

Oswald has Old English and Old German roots, a meaning of “divine power” and a darn cute nickname (i.e., Ozzy).

59. Gustav

A sophisticated name of German and Slavic origin with lofty meanings of “staff of the gods” and “famous guest.”

uncommon-baby-names-a baby sitting on the floor and playing with books.
LWA/Dann Tardif/Getty Images

60. Louis

This one is actually a French version of the (somewhat less appealing) Old German name Ludwig. Both mean “famous warrior.”

61. Varick

“Leader who defends” is the meaning of this strong name of German origin. (We’re getting medieval warrior vibes.)

62. Strom

This one syllable moniker boasts a strong sound and a meaning of “little stream” that’s well-suited to nature lovers.

63. Johan

Johan (pronounced YO-han) is the German form of the Hebrew name Yochanan and has dual meanings of “God is gracious” and “champion.”

64. Albrecht

Or Al for short. This Old German boy’s name has an appealing meaning of “noble, bright and famous.”

65. Brenner

We get frat boy vibes from this German name meaning “to burn.”

66. Henry

Henry is a timeless classic of German origin that’s been given to many a king, which makes sense since it means “house ruler.”

67. Bastian

Here, a shortened form of Sebastian with too-cool-for-school vibes and a meaning of “venerable.” (Plus unmistakable ties to The Neverending Story.)

68. Vix

This fresh and cool one syllable moniker of German origin has a meaning that rhymes: “fix.”

69. Arnold

“Eagle power” is the strong meaning of this classic Germanic name…and we can think of at least one famous Arnold who lived up to it. (Schwarzenegger, anyone?)

german baby names sef
Westend61/Getty Images

70. Sef

This abbreviated version of Josef is a decidedly cute German adaptation. It has the same meaning as the aforementioned Hebrew name, which is “Jehovah increases.”

71. Felix

Although its origins are Latin, this name meaning “happy and prosperous” is a German favorite that belonged to the famed composer Felix Mendelssohn.

72. Leo

This popular moniker of Latin origin is the German shortened form of the names Leon and Leopold, which mean “brave people” and “lion-hearted”

73. Ansel

A close relative of the Old German name Anselm, and one you might recognize as it belonged to the esteemed photographer Ansel Adams. It means “follower of noblemen.”

74. Bernard

Bernd, Bernie—shorten it how you see fit, but there’s no debating the classic charm and dignified feel of this West Germanic name meaning “strong, brave bear.”

75. Lukas

The German spelling of Lucas is decidedly cooler, though it shares the same meaning of “light.”

76. Milo

This Old Germanic name has a meaning of “the great merciful one” that matches its sweet, gentle sound.

77. Conrad

Sometimes spelled Konrad—this one is German through and through. It means “brave counsel.”

78. Bruno

Bruno Mars might be from Hawaii but his given name, which means “armor” or “protection,” is 100 percent German.

79. Kyler

Kyler is a Dutch name with Germanic roots and a badass, Robin Hood-esque meaning of “archer” and “bowman.”

uncommon baby names baby sitting in a car seat and laughing.
Westend61/Getty Images

80. Guy

This one is more closely associated with France, but it’s actually derived from an old Germanic name meaning “wood.”

81. Fritz

It doesn’t get much more German than this. Fritz began as a nickname for Friedrick and evolved into an energetic, one syllable moniker that can stand alone. It means “peaceful ruler.”

82. Haydn

This soft and pleasant sounding name of Welsh and German origin has a somewhat less pleasant meaning of “heathen.”

83. Falk

Falk is a Middle High German name that translates to “falcon,” though you might want to consider that it sounds a whole lot like a certain four-letter obscenity.

84. Claus

Also spelled Klaus, this German name is a derivation of Nikolaus with obvious ties to a beloved Christmas tradition. It means “victory of the people.”

85. Erick

The German version of Eric comes from the name Frederick and boasts a powerful meaning of “eternal ruler.”

86. Kiefer

Not to be confused with the delicious yogurt drink, this thoroughly German name was made famous by actor Kiefer Sutherland and has an arboreal meaning of “pine tree,” which is believed to symbolize long life.

87. Emmett

The masculine version of Emma has German, English and Hebrew origins, and a shared meaning of “universal one.”

88. Otto

Otto is a classic German name with a fortuitous meaning of “wealth” and burly, hard-working vibes.

89. Ziggy

This cute and peppy German name for boys has a meaning of “victorious protector” (and also “stardust”).

a baby playing with colorful building blocks
Frank Rothe/Getty Images

90. Emil

Emil is a name of German origin that has Latin roots and a meaning of “to strive, excel and rival.” Reserve this one for a fierce competitor.

91. Mikkel

This name has Old Norse roots and originates in North Germanic languages as a variant of Michael, with a shared meaning of “who is like God?”

92. Derek

For a future jock. This moniker evolved from the Old German name Theodoric and has a meaning of “gifted ruler.”

93. Casper

“Treasurer” and “friendly ghost” are the meanings of this name of German and Scandinavian origin.

94. Carl

Or Karl if you want to go full German. This one means “free man” and has been given to some notable intellectuals, including Carl Jung and Carl Sagan.

95. Gunther

This classic German name has a fierce and powerful meaning of “battle warrior.” (Good luck with the terrible twos and threes.)

96. Kurt

R.I.P. to the heartthrob rockstar and musical genius from the 90s. He had a classic German name with a pleasant meaning of “courteous” and “polite.”

97. Walter

This sweet boy’s name has vintage charm, German origins and a sturdy meaning of “commander of the army.”

98. Frank

Frank is a classic name of German origin with a definition that vibes with common parlance: “free.”

99. Oskar

We’re fans of the Germanic spelling of this name of Irish and English origin, which boasts a sweet meaning of “friend of deer.”

100. Paul

Germany has been sweet on this one syllable, biblical name meaning “small, little and humble.” It has ranked among the top 20 most popular boy names for over 20 years.

purewow author

Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...