Whether you’re looking for the ‘strong’ and ‘powerful’ name of a mythical Greek hero, something inspirational or you’re a lover of superhero culture, heroic names are a great choice if you want something a bit different for your baby.
For first time dads, welcome to the world of picking baby names. It’s an incredibly tricky world to navigate, but it helps if you have an idea of what type of name. Hero names are often laced with fascinating history and mythology, but they can also be very modern and unusual.
And, of course, we’ll offer up 50 of our favourites whether it’s something subtle or a bit more…Stark (pun absolutely intended).
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Choosing a heroic name
It feels like most of us intrinsically know what hero names are, but would struggle to explain what makes it heroic. Like all baby names, our perception of them is often influenced by things like history, popular culture, current affairs, and our own personal experiences.
Before we start to look at some great heroic baby names for boys and girls - and also where to look - we need to think about why we might want to choose a heroic name for our children.
As we already know from our list of 111 Ugly Baby Names, choosing a name is arguably one of the most important decisions that parents can make. It can have a dramatic effect on the life your child leads, from their career prospects to how they form and manage emotional relationships.
What makes a hero?
It’s really quite hard to nail the definition of a hero. So I asked a group of friends, family and colleagues to describe a hero in one word. There were a few words that kept cropping up time and time again: ‘courageous’, ‘selfless/unselfish’ and ‘brave’.
In fact, Professor Philip Zambardo of Stanford University even tried to research ‘what makes a hero?’, having spent 35 years studying the psychology of evil. He was able to narrow it down to four key acts:
Where we find heroic names
We find inspiration for names in all walks of life; history, popular culture, trends, celebrities, sporting heroes, tradition.
But if we’re looking for hero names, we might look to the history books for inspiration - Greek mythology, a Norse God, a Roman Goddess, or even more recent historical figures.
We might look to comic books and the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a host of superhero names. And there are numerous other film and TV franchises that offer up heroes as the main characters that can provide inspiration for heroic names, such as Star Wars or Toy Story. Then we might reflect on current public figures or even close family members that inspire us.
Here we go, then! Here are 50 heroic baby names - 25 for girls and 25 for boys.
25 heroic names for girls
With the majority of prominent comic book and film superheroes being male, we’ll hold our hands up and admit we thought the list of girl names would be a bit tougher than the boy names. But it turns out there are some amazing options…
1 - Natasha
A Russian name meaning ‘born on Christmas Day’, Natasha gets its heroism from Marvel. The real name of Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff is easily Marvel’s most recognisable and well-established female superhero, exhibiting tremendous amounts of resilience and a deep desire to protect her friends.
2 - Diana
You might think of Diana as being quite an old or out of fashion name. But there are two heroic connections for the name Diana. First, the Princess of Wales, who was known for her compassion and dedication to those less fortunate than herself. And second, Diana Princess of the Amazons, better known as Wonder Woman.
3 - Joan
Arguably the most heroic name on this list thanks to Joan of Arc. The French patron saint is considered to be one of the earliest feminist leaders and inspirational figures, having defied typically gender roles to lead the French military resistance during the Hundred Years’ War.
Here's a pretty hilarious summary of Joan of Arc from Comedy Central's Drunk History, featuring Vanessa Hudgens...
4 - Zoe
One of the most common names on this list, you might be surprised to learn that Zoe means ‘fighter’ in Greek.
5 - Kamala
Another name with book real-life and comic book connections. In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first female, first African-American and first Indian-American vice president in US history, showing millions of young girls and ethnic minorities that they can grow up to hold positions of power. And then there’s the Marvel character, Kamala Khan, otherwise known as Ms. Marvel - a teenage girl who struggles to fit in until she gets her own superpowers.
6 - Jane
Typically named after the legendary author Jane Austen, whose six novels critiqued gender equality in British society in the 18th century. Widely seen as one of the early female-empowerment figures, Jane Austen and her novels often questioned why women usually needed marriage to advance their lives financially and socially.
7 - Alexandra
While the boy version Alexander is usually taken to mean ‘protector of men’, according to Greek mythology, Alexandra is one of the epithets given to the Greek Goddess Hera as “one who comes to save warriors”.
8 - Sasha
Sasha is a Slavic name meaning ‘defender’ and ‘helper of mankind’. Sounds pretty heroic if you ask me! Sasha is actually a unisex name, so it could easily be in the list of boy names, too.
9 - Gwenevere/Guinevere
Gwenevere (sometimes spelled ‘Guinevere’) is best known as the Queen to King Arthur. There are various versions of the legend, but she is widely considered to have been a native medieval Queen of Britain during the time of the Roman occupation. In many versions, her marriage to King Arthur brought peace to the land. It is also widely believed that Gwenevere also had an affair with Arthur’s best friend and right-hand man Lancelot, sparking civil war…but that often gets overlooked when it comes to thinking of hero names.
10 - Hermione
Brought to fame by JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series, Hermione’s heroism comes from her dedication to her friends and ability to show intelligence and logic as her superpower.
11 - Carla
A very common name across western European countries, Carla is actually derived from the German Harii, Western Germanic ‘warriors’ who attacked their enemies at night.
12 - Harley
Although one of DC’s villains, Harley Quinn is a cult hero among women and teenage girls - a woman who stands on her own two-feet in a patriarchal society with the will and determination to back it up.
13 - Cassandra
Cassandra is another Greek name understood to be derived from κέκασμαι (kekasmai) which means “to excel” or “to shine”.
14 - Arya
This name absolutely exploded in popularity thanks to Game of Thrones, with the character showing that even those with the smallest physical stature can have a significant role in the fight against evil, even (SPOILER ALERT) killing the all-conquering, all-evil Night King.
Did you know?
Although most people know and love the name for Game of Thrones characters, Arya actually has a pretty inspiring meaning behind it. It’s a Sanskrit name meaning “noble” or “honourable”, and was often used as a mark of respect for people of high status or distinction.
15 - Scarlet
Scarlet Witch (real name Wanda Maximoff) is easily one of - arguably the - most powerful characters in the Marvel universe. She does twist and turn between the good side and the bad side, but her sheer power really drives the inspiration and heroism to girls.
16 - Jean
Jean Grey (also known as Marvel Girl, Phoenix and Dark Phoenix) is widely considered to be one of Marvel’s strongest and most notable female superheroes - at least before the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought the likes of Black Widow and Scarlet Witch to the fore.
17 - Storm
Joining Jean Grey in the X-Men series, Storm is another ‘mutant’ that fights for peace and equality. As her name suggests, Storm can control the weather, often summoning huge lightning storms at her will.
18 - Jessica
Another common name, but Jessica also has a foot in the superhero world. Jessica Drew, also known as Spider-Woman, is an experienced and highly-trained martial arts combat fighter.
19 - Athena
Athena is a Greek Goddess of, well, many things… wisdom, warfare, crafts, courage and maths (and some legends have even more). If you’re looking for a heroic name full of inspiration for your daughter, you can’t go far wrong with Athena.
20 - Leia
Initially introduced as a damsel in distress in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Leia quickly establishes her strength among powerful male characters and leads the rebel alliance to military victory over the Empire. Adding to her inspiration, Leia ditches her 'Princess' title, instead opting for 'General' as she leads the Resistance.
Once you're finished with this list, check out this brilliant video on what made Leia such a heroic leader from Cinema Therapy.
21 - Marcella
Fans of Game of Thrones will recognise this one, but that’s not where its heroism stems from. Marcella is a Latin name that comes from the Roman God of War, Mars. Marcella actually means “warlike”, “strong” and “young warrior”.
22 - Arwen
One for the Lord of the Rings fandom, Arwen is considered to be the most beautiful and one of the most powerful half-elven maids in the series. Although Peter Jackson’s films give her a more prominent role than J.R.R Tolkien’s books, she is thought to be more independent and strong-willed in the literary version.
23 - Katniss
From the Hunger Games book and film series, Katniss Everdeen might just be the ultimate hero, consistently willing to sacrifice herself to save others and ultimately leading the rebellion against the Capitol and its oppressive leader, President Snow.
24 - Malala
A real-life hero, Malala Yousafzai has been a prominent activist and campaigner for human rights and education for women and girls since the age of 11. As a teenager, she was shot in the head by the Pakistan Taliban in an attempt to silence her activism - but she survived and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of just 17.
Did you know?
Malala is the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the United Nations named her birthday - 12th July - as ‘World Malala Day’ to honour her life and work.
25 - Frida
Frida Khalo is widely considered one of history's most famous, influential and inspiring female figures. The Mexican artist found notoriety some 20 years after her death in 1954 - her range of many portraits and self-portraits often explore issues such as class, gender equality and race in Mexican society.
25 heroic names for boys
And so to the baby boy names. You probably won’t be surprised to see a few familiar superhero names from the Marvel franchise in here...
1 - Alexander
Like Alexandra, Alexander means “man’s defender” and “warrior”. It’s often associated with the Macedonian King, Alexander the Great, who built one of the largest empires the world has ever seen and is regarded as perhaps the greatest military commander in history. For that extra little bit of hero spice, you could shorten it to ‘Xander’.
2 - Bruce
Obviously we’re talking about Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Hulk (Bruce Banner) - one a billionaire who uses his wealth to fight crime and protect his city, and the other a highly intelligent theoretical physicist who overcomes the struggle of dealing with his anger. Pretty heroic, I’d say.
3 - Han
When you look at Dr Zambardo’s definition of heroic acts, Han Solo definitely isn’t a hero - he acts in his own self-interest and only risks his safety with the promise of reward. But let’s face it, Han was always the cooler one in Star Wars. And in the end, he does help others and puts himself in danger just because it’s the right thing to do.
4 - Luke
I know I’ve just said Han Solo was way cooler than Luke. But Luke Skywalker is the ultimate hero in Star Wars - almost everything he does throughout the original trilogy is in service of a greater good, whether it’s rescuing Leia or taking on the Empire.
5 - Maximus
Maximus is the Latin word for “greatest”. The Romans started using it as a military honour for their most successful commanders, but it’s also closely associated with the film Gladiator which depicts the tale of a Roman general-turned-gladiator who seeks to avenge the murder of his wife, son, and emperor.
6 - Conlan
Conlan is a name originating from Irish and Gaelic. It literally means “hero”. I don’t need to say any more.
7 - Steve
Steve Rogers is the real name of Marvel’s Captain America. Captain America is the leader of the Avengers, always striving to do the noble and honourable thing. And given the sheer popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past 15 years or so, it’s only natural ‘Cap’ gets a stop on this list.
8 - Hunter
Looking back through time, a hunter has been the provider; the person who brings food back to his family, to feed them and keep them alive. As societies progressed, hunting did become more of a sport rather than a necessity to feed people and so it perhaps has more negative connotations nowadays.
9 - Arthur
The legendary King of medieval Britain, Arthur led post-Roman Britain against the Anglo-Saxon invasions in the late 5th and early 6th centuries, according to Welsh folklore. Well known legends claim King Arthur established a round table so that his knights and barons would all be equal, and that he was able to pull a sword buried in stone to prove his divinity.
Did you know?
King Arthur is often associated with Welsh folklore and legend, especially in North Wales. Three different lakes claim to contain his magical sword, Excalibur, and there is even a 14ft sculpture of the sword in the stone in Llanberis in Eryri (formerly Snowdownia) National Park.
10 - Logan
Although his real name is James Howlett, Logan is the name commonly associated with X-Men’s Wolverine. Logan’s depiction is often linked with real-life military personnel who struggle with the brutal nature of the things they have to do in the name of defending others. It’s perfectly summarised in Wolverine’s catchphrase, “I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice”.
11 - Marcus
Already a sporting hero to many, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford established himself as a hero to many more across the UK in 2021 after his vocal campaign for the UK government to provide free school meals for school children in England.
12 - Thor
Another Marvel superhero, Thor is not only arguably the most physically fit and strong superhero but he’s an actual prince and demi-God. The God of Thunder is probably one of the ‘strongest’ and most ‘masculine’ heroic names you could give your son.
13 - Tony
Sticking with Marvel, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) might not seem the typical hero on the surface - he’s arrogant, materialistic, misogynistic; your typical millionaire playboy. Throughout Marvel’s Infinity Saga, however, he repeatedly takes the ultimate risk and is prepared to give his life for others.
14 - Buzz
Between space ranger Buzz Lightyear and the second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, naming your son Buzz is a sure-fire way to teach him to aim for the stars in all his endeavours.
15 - Peter
Peter is originally a Greek name meaning “rock”, which is usually associated with strength. But we also think of Spiderman, Peter Parker…a teenager that uses his powers to help and protect people.
16 - Hawk
Clint Barton doesn’t sound especially cool, but Hawk Eye does. You probably shouldn’t give your son the full name of this Marvel superhero, but Hawk could definitely work. And it would be pretty unique, too!
17 - Jeremy
After what happened to him in January 2023, we have to include the man that played Hawk Eye throughout the Marvel series, Jeremy Renner. The actor was crushed by a six-tonne snow plough as (successfully) he tried to stop it crashing into his young nephew. He broke more than 30 bones, a pierced liver and a crushed lung. Not only did he get to play a superhero, he became a real-life one himself.
18 - Hercules
Hercules is the Roman version of the Greek hero and son of Zeus, Heracles. In Roman mythology, Hercules is the God of Strength and Heroes. Not much more to say on that one.
19 - Xavier
Heading back to X-Men, Charles Xavier is the wheelchair-bound leader and founder of the X-Men. Not only does he have incredible telepathy abilities, he seeks to protect fellow mutants and train them to control their abilities - striving for a world where mutants and humans can coexist.
20 - Odin
Odin is the father of Thor and Norse God of both war and death. According to legend, he sacrificed one of his eyes so that he could see everything that happens in the world and protect it.
21 - Duke
Forget the royal title, Duke is a name with Latin origins translating to “leader”. It is said to have been given to first-born sons or sons with strong personalities.
22 - Axel
Usually linked with Guns N’ Roses singer Axel Rose, the name actually has Icelandic heritage and means “father of peace”.
23 - Achilles
Back to Greek mythology, Achilles is seen as the one true hero of Greece’s army during the Trojan War and one of the strongest and greatest warriors to ever live. His greatest triumph was defeating the Trojan hero, Hector, which was seen as the start of the downfall of Troy.
Did you know?
Achilles is said to have been dipped into the River Styx by his mother, Thetis - a Greek Goddess of water - which made him invincible. Thetis held him by the ankle and didn’t submerge one of his feet, making his heel vulnerable. Legend has it that he was killed by the Trojan Prince, Paris, who shot him through the heel with an arrow. And that’s why we sometimes call a person’s weakness their ‘Achilles heel’.
24 - Jonah
Although this name means “dove”, various myths and legends suggest that boys called Jonah will grow up to experience fame and wealth (here’s looking at you, Jonah Hill!). But they are also thought to have particularly courageous attitudes and, therefore, are considered heroes.
25 - Manning
Manning comes from the old Norse word ‘manningi’, which means ‘brave or valiant man’. There are also Saxon origins meaning ‘ancient and noble’. If you want to give your dad ego a little boost, you could take an alternative meaning - in some readings, it has been taken to mean ‘son of a hero’.
Why choose a heroic name?
For some of us, our reasons for choosing a heroic name for our baby might be as simple as ‘it sounds cool’, which is totally fair. Given the traits of a hero, however, there can certainly be deeper meanings behind giving your children hero names.
Heroes often inspire us in a number of ways - The Marvel superheroes might inspire us to never give up, no matter the odds. Sporting heroes often teach us the value of working hard, determination and resilience. And heroes from the emergency services inspire us to always help others.
And so naming your child after a hero might just be something more than ‘it sounds like a cool name’. If you tell them why you gave them their name, they’re perhaps more likely to grow up exhibiting the kinds of behaviours the hero showed. They might not be able to fight off hordes of invading aliens from a distant universe, but they’ll have a strong source of inspiration for the way they should behave throughout their lives.
It’s also good to remember that choosing a hero name - particularly if it’s after a superhero - might cause some conflict and debate with your partner. So keep the offer of a middle name up your sleeve as a compromise!
What’s a good name for a hero?
Heroes are meant to inspire the rest of us, and so if you look at comic book superheroes and characters, their real names tend to be quite normal.Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Carol Danvers, Peter Quill, Bruce Banner and Wayne.
What’s a cool superhero name?
It’s really, really difficult to define what makes a cool superhero name. When you look at some of the most popular superheroes, their names tend to either match their abilities and personas, or inflate their sense of importance. Let’s look at some examples:
Superman - He has superhuman strength, and so he is Superman.
Hulk - One of the original definitions of a ‘hulk’ is a “large or unwieldy boat or other object”. And so the character Bruce Banner transforms into when he’s angry is, well… large and unwieldy.
Iron Man - Tony Stark doesn’t actually have any superpowers, and his suit is made of a gold-titanium alloy. So why is he called Iron Man? Maybe it’s something to do with being an extremely tough and strong-willed person.
Captain America - What better way to highlight your superhero’s leadership than by making him a Captain of one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. Captain of a country with 300 million people? You bet I’m following that guy into battle.
What’s a strong, mythical name for a boy?
There are plenty of names that originate from mythology, particularly for boys. Thor, Odin, Maximus, Arthur, Achilles, Hercules are some of the ones we’ve included on our list.
And between Greek, Roman, Norse and even British mythology, there are plenty of other mythical names for boys.
Which names mean ‘heroic’?
While a lot of the names on this list are associated with heroes and heroism, there are also plenty of baby names that literally mean ‘hero’ or ‘heroic’, like Conlan which we included.
Abtal, Alp, Bleddyn, Dalvir, Doria, Finlay, Gabriell, Hardy, Ilda, Ingrid, Nichola, Praveera, Salvatore, and Turan are just some of hundreds of names that mean “hero” or slight variation.