Celebrity Names Blog

What Makes a Sexy Name?

What Makes a Sexy Name?
ANG/Fame Pictures: Angelina Jolie, filming a new movie in Paris, a very sexy city

What is the sexiest name you can think of?  Is a sexy name inextricably linked to a sexy person?  Can a sexy person have a decidedly unsexy name?  And on the flip side, can an unsexy person have a super sexy appellation? These are the thoughts on our mind as March nears its end and spring fever kicks in.

Help us in this sexy name investigation!  What names come to your mind as you read this?  The Free Dictionary reminds us of sexy's official definition: highly appealing or interesting, attractive; arouses interest.  

To help kick-start our thoughts, here are some names that strike us as sexy -- contenders for Sexiest Name.  These names come from actors and actors of today and yesterday.  They are deliberately not in chronological order, as a little test.  Can you tell which names come from days past?  Here's why we ask -- we're wondering if name-sexiness is a non-changing standard, a classic, or if sexy standards change from decade to decade, year to year, or even day to day.

Sexy Women Names:

Marlee Matlin, Ingrid Bergman, Angelina Jolie, Vivien Leigh, Bessie Love, Diana Ross, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Jessica Lange, Greta Garbo, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liv Ullmann, Sophia Loren, Angela Bassett, Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia de Havilland, Piper Laurie, Ann-Margret, Demi Moore, Marlene Dietrich, Farrah Fawcett, Claudette Colbert, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Tina Turner, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Faye Dunaway, Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Cicely Tyson, Ava Gardner, Isabella Rossellini, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe

Sexy Men Names:

Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Jude Law, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adrien Brody, Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, Marcello Mastroianni, Warren Beatty, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Cooper, Sidney Poitier, Javier Bardem, Rock Hudson, Johnny Depp, Eriq La Salle, Spike Jonze, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Savion Glover, James Cagney, Richard Burton, James Earl Jones, José Ferrer, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Steve McQueen

What do you think -- can you separate the name out from your mind's eye image of the performer?  Is it obvious which names belong to which era?  Who did we forget?  Check out Baby Name Wizard's Name Finder to discover more names and see which ones -- celeb and non-celeb -- strike you as sexy.

Tells us your top three contenders for Sexiest Name.  Clint Eastwood and Sophia Loren are catching our eye at the moment as solid, strong and sexy.

--D.J.

Comments

Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

March 28, 2010 2:37 PM
By Lane

I agree, these names are quite sexy. And of course, the sexy people they belong to help. (Paul, for example, is partly sexy to me because of Newman. Likewise Cary.)

But for some reason the thing I most want to say is that I can think of what seems like the LEAST sexy name: Engelbert Humperdinck.

Looking at these, for girls at least, I think sounding foreign/exotic helps make a name sexy. It's all in the last name. (Angelina Jolie, Isabella Rosellini, Sophia Loren. Even Claudette Colbert.)

I always thought the name Spencer Tracy sounded sexy.

March 29, 2010 2:15 PM
By Kristina (not verified)

Don't forget Julio and Enrique Iglesias...

March 30, 2010 12:11 PM
By Zoerhenne (not verified)

I agree there is a time element involved in these people/names. As far as people, I think sexy=Sophia Loren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Clark Gable, Eriq LaSalle, Daniel Day-lewis, Denzel Washington. There are people from the recent past that are not so much in the spotlight these days that just seem like regular people anymore to me-Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, and others. However, a sexy NAME is not the same. The NAMES I would choose would be:
Sophia Loren, Isabella Rosellini, Farrah Fawcett, Penelope Cruz, and Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy. For women it's the European flair for men I think it's the unexpected. I think I would also add Julianna Margulies, and Goldie Hawn for sexy names. And although George Clooney is the sexiest man in my book, his name is decidedly not.

March 30, 2010 1:17 PM
By Alison (not verified)

I always thought that the Kirstin Dunst's character, Lux Lisbon, from the VIrgin Suicides had a sexy name. She was the hottest of the many beautiful sisters.

April 1, 2010 8:22 AM
By NAMES (not verified)

You forgot Brad Pitt, I love the name Brad/Bradley!

For the women, you cannot beat out Marilyn Monroe for a sexy name, she may as well be Webster's definition of sexy!

Here are some names I think are sexy:
Beth, Evelyn, Danielle, Lauryn, Ashleigh, Natalee, Lacey, Chelsea, Gabrielle, Leilah, Carleigh, James, Henry, Bradley, Dean, Vincent, Wesley, Andrew, Grant, Brandon, Alexander, Hunter, and Roman

April 2, 2010 12:38 AM
By Stephanie (not verified)

It is an interesting premise. Separating the people from the names- names of people on the list that are decidedly not sexy when you think of the name: Cary (sort of feminine sounding, if not in spelling), Jack (boring), Warren (old guy), Ralph (old guy), Gary (old guy), Johnny or John (boring), Spike (criminal), Mickey (Mouse), Bruce (just ugly), Elvis (is there another association than Presley? Makes me think of the end of his career, not the beginning), Steve (boring). Interestingly, there are far more sexy sounding female names when you take the first names out of context with the last name. The exceptions: Marlee, Piper, Ann-Margret, Claudette, Marlene, Sigourney and Bette (which I think is a sexy spelling, but a decidedly un-sexy pronunciation). But that's just me.

April 3, 2010 1:16 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How could you leave off Brad/Bradley? Pitt & Cooper are sexy!

When it comes to sexy names I think the last name plays a huge part. George on its own is rather geeky, but paired with Clooney its hot! I find Matt, Ryan, Michael, Steve, Gary etc. very boring.

First Names with Sex appeal are:

Rocco
Axel
Aidan
Cole
Mattias
Matteo
Everett
Malcom
Soren
Alec
Eric
Lance
Jude
Hugo

For women, most first names can be sexy on its own. Such as the following:

Scarlet
Avery
Elizabeth
Ava
Antonia
Anastasia
Evangeline
Isabella
Elle
Bella
Danica
Giselle
Alessandra
Adriana
Charlize
Anya

Like they say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

April 5, 2010 7:32 PM
By Zoe (not verified)

Valentina is a name that oozes sex to me. I love it but I'd be too scared to use it.
Other sexy names, I seem to think very feminine Italian and Spanish names ending with an a are particularly sexy:
Domenica
Viviana
Gianna
Yesenia
Eva
Maxima
Josefina
Francesca
Noelia
Katerina
Gabriela
Alejandra
Juliana
Lucia
Manuela
Calista
Graciana
Iliana
Serafina
Rafaela
Chiara
Rosalia
Lia
Natalia
Magdalena
Adriana
Leandra

Whoa, that was quite a list!

April 6, 2010 12:42 PM
By Nicholas Hentschel (not verified)

I've always had a weakness for "Desdemona," for no particular reason that I can think of. But there are some broader thoughts I might share on the subject:

First, a sexy name might be one that's just pleasant to say, requiring the speaker to use a lot of sexy sounds to say it, like V's, L's, or R's. "Vivian," for example, might work since it uses multiple, sexy "V" sounds, and has an element of class to boot.

Also, I concur with "the unexpected" as being a turn-on for guys. I'd clarify it, though, saying that it helps if a name sounds like there's a

    story

behind it.

The above, "Desdemona," for example, takes more explaining than just "Mona," and sounds pleasant enough that the story might be enjoyable to hear, or to tell. And that's something that we men are always grateful for: a good, tasteful icebreaker.

And it also helps if, through whatever combination of alliteration, sexy sounds, cadence, and/or rhyme, a name has the "dramatic" quality of propelling you through to the end with panache.

Names that I might suggest, both real and fictional:
VIVIEN LEIGH - Classy opener (see above), and an approachable, down-to-earth close, spelled just right to balance the two qualites.

LILLIAN GISH- Iniitally and smoothly alliterative, delicate and feminine, with a close that sounds faintly orgasmic.

ALICIA KEYS - Just enough rhyme & alliteration to keep you focused (the repeated "e" sound), with a bouncing cadence, and varying consonants, propelling you into a sharply defined last syllable, with a sultry "Z" sound at the end.

INDIANA JONES - This would have been a great name for a man OR a woman: a real rarity. The first name not only contains oodles of appealing sounds, but practically holds your breath, to be released in the surname with all the drama you can muster.

RITA MORENO - Alliterative r's, but not enough to overdue it, and a cadence that sounds fun and lively, balanced by soft, sexy consonants.

SELINA KYLE (aka Catwoman) - Like Alicia, simply bounces you into the dramatic last syllable, starting with "K." Benefits from an exotic opener....and a whip.

MARION RAVENWOOD - WOW! No wonder this movie was so popular: the leads are named gorgeously! Marion's name evokes adventure an mystery (a little bit of Robin Hood, in particular), and is loaded with sexy sounds and an evenly matching, 3-beat cadence in both names, accented in the middle.

ROGER MOORE - Sounds almost French, the way the alliterative r's, and the accent on the last two syllables, virtually slide into a pleasant spot. And yet it doesn't sound pretentious, using common, English-language names.

Ad as for UNsexy names, the Germanics fare badly: I think we can right off "Gunther," "Hildegard," or "Torvald." And for the worst of all time, I can top ol' Engelbert: DINGEN VAN DER PLATZ, the woman who invented starching.

April 6, 2010 12:49 PM
By Nicholas Hentschel (not verified)

Oh, drat, two more (sorry to drag on and on):

MADELINE KAHN
LUCY LAWLESS

*Now* I'm done.

April 12, 2010 2:54 PM
By sexy names (not verified)

I think the women in my family have some sexy names... (Southern Italian
Heritage if you can't tell.)

Antonia
Adriana
Cristina
Gabriella
Giovanna
Sofia
Fiorina
Velia

July 7, 2012 11:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Alexandra Elizabeth Lynch

July 7, 2012 11:30 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Alexandra Elizabeth Lynch

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.