Picking the perfect baby name is a fun and thought-provoking process. While you’re deep in the trenches of family ties, cultural influence, and just plain cute names, let us remind you of the power of the letter P! 

P names for babies run the gamut from familiar to one-of-a-kind. There are plenty with influence from around the globe and beloved favorites you’ve heard in your own town. If you’re looking for a perfect P name for your baby boy or girl on the way, we’ve prepared a list of the very best ones. 

Girl Baby Names That Start With P

Pallas: Rhyming with the place name Dallas that’s a favorite for American parents, we adore this rarely heard girls’ name meaning “wisdom” from the Greek, not least of all because it sounds like the palace where you’d find the queen. 

Paloma: A warm and inviting Spanish baby girl name meaning “dove,” the best known Paloma is Picasso, daughter of the famed painter and an adored artist in her own right. 

Pandora: The storied Greek baby girl name meaning “all gifted” is best known from the fable, but has ample grace in its sound and meaning to serve as a beautiful choice for a daughter. 

Patience: Less used than sister names Faith and Grace, this is one of those word names that has been around for centuries and will never completely fade away. 

Patsy: She’s got a vintage vibe without feeling dated (like, perhaps, Patti would…); the English diminutive of Patricia meaning “noble” has potential. 

Paulina: Feminine versions of Paul, like this one from the Spanish and Paulette from the French, are sweet ways to honor a Paul or any P-named relative. They mean “small.”

Pearl: A nature name with a certain sheen; those elegant sea-formed treasures are beautiful baby girl name inspiration. 

Penelope: Probably one of the most picked on our list, the classic Greek baby girl name (translation: “weaver”) has been beloved for generations and is a rare example of a four-syllable name that doesn’t feel overly long, due to its elegant flow. Penny, Poppy, and Penel are precious nicknames.

Perdita: A Latin baby girl name meaning “lost,” you might remember it belonging to a sweet puppy from 101 Dalmations

Persephone: If you like Penelope but want something less common, consider this rare baby girl name with mythological roots. 

Pernilla: The French baby girl name is an offshoot of Peter (“rock, stone”) that is too pretty to pass up. 

Petra: This more standard feminization of Peter is also a possibility; for something softer, consider diminutive Petrina. 

Phoebe: A Greek baby girl name meaning “radiant, shining one,” it’s definitely a favorite among Friends fans. 

Phyllida: While Phillis is still used, this more lyrical baby girl name feels like its more contemporary rival. It means “green bough” with Latin roots. 

Pia: A Latin name for one who hails from Mount Olympus, it has Mia/Leah vibes but is more likely to stand out.  

Pippa: Once Kate Middleton’s sister stepped on the global stage as a bridesmaid, the world fell hard for a British baby girl name that had been popular there for decades; short for Phillippa but just as powerful on its own, this sweet baby name means “lover of horses.”

Posy: In an era when nature names are all the rage, consider a rarer flower name for maximum punch. Petal and Pine have a similar edge. 

Prisca: A name of Latin origins meaning “ancient,” you aren’t likely to meet another one, but yours will adore her uniquely pretty pick. 

Boy Baby Names That Start With P

Pablo: The Spanish version of Paul is popular around the world, and we love its wholesome sound. 

Pacey: Anyone who was a teenager in the early 2000’s knows this cute pick for boys (Hello, Dawson’s Creek!), which is actually an English surname.

Pan: Disney lovers will recognize the never-grow-up angle here, but whatever your reason for loving a short and sweet P name, this could be it! The Greek name for boys means “all” or “shepherd.”

Parnell: French for “little Peter,” it’s a precious baby boy name that sounds both dignified and relaxed at once. 

Patrick: We couldn’t pass up this classic pick that’s popular with Irish-American families; it’s actually a Latin-rooted name meaning “noble” and has just dipped below the top 200 names for US baby boys for the first time in 140 years. 

Pedro: It wouldn’t be a list of P names for boys without plenty of takes on Peter. This is the Spanish version, and it’s quite popular! Pierre from the French is equally profound. 

Percival: A French baby boy name with the peculiar meaning—“one who pierces the valley”—it has endless nickname possibilities and a solid sound. 

Perine: “Traveler” or “pilgrim” in Latin, it’s a wandering name with charm and rarity on its side. 

Pierce: Meaning “son of Piers,” it’s preppy and popular, for a lovely single-syllable name idea for boys. 

Philippe: The French version of Philip (“lover of horses'') is one of the most widely used names across Europe. Like Pierre, it sounds just a smidge more elegant to an American ear than the anglicized version. 

Phineas: An English name of Egyptian roots, meaning “Nubian” after an indigenous group located across modern-day Sudan and the South of Egypt. Name researchers also suspect ties to the Hebrew Pinchas, meaning “oracle.” (See more African baby names!)

Powell: We love the familiar quality of this typical surname, which works coolly in the first position as well. 

Prescott: Meaning “priest’s cottage,” it’s a handsome English baby boy name that can also be used if naming your little guy after a Scott.

Primo: It translates to “first” in Italian and would be both apt and adorable for a first-born son. 

Princeton: A royal name of English roots (“princely town”), it’ll fit your little prince beautifully. 

Pryce: The Welsh baby boy name meaning “son of Rhys” is also a spelling variation on word name Price, for extra options.  

Gender-Neutral Baby Names That Start With P

Paisley: This word name has been on the rise in recent years! More popular for girls than boys, but equally appropriate for either, it’s a Scottish baby name meaning “church” or “cemetery” and also refers to an intricate, colorful fabric print. 

Palmer: This isn’t the first time this Southern name has made an appearance in our archives, but it’s just too peachily perfect to omit. More popular for girls but definitely gender-neutral, it means plainly, “one who holds a palm.”

Parker: The English occupational name for a “park keeper” is just too cute, whether you select it for a boy or girl! This is one that works beautifully as a double name (like Parker Kate or Parker Lee).

Pascal/e: Typically spelled without the final “e” for a boy, and with for a girl, the French name has Hebrew origins that refer to Easter or Passover. 

Paxton: Any name with the root word pax or “peace” is a particularly precious pick for babies. With the addition of the suffix ton, this gender-neutral P-name means “peace town.”

Payton: Reaching the pinnacle of its popularity in the year 2000, this gender-neutral standby meaning “fighting man’s estate” is inching toward the outskirts of the top 1,000, so it might be your moment to use it, if you’re after a rare baby name starting with P. 

Penn: There are so many fun ways to interpret this elegant one-syllable name. It technically means “enclosure” from the English, but can also be given as a nod to the state of Pennsylvania, or as a subtle reference to the art of writing. 

Perry: English for “dweller by the pear tree,” the peppy gender-neutral pick brings the late actor Luke to mind. 

Piper: It means “one who plays the flute or pipes,” and while more popular as a girl name currently, it can work for either gender. 

Phaedra: The Greek gender-neutral baby name meaning “bright” is a sweet choice for your little star. 

Phoenix: A gorgeous name to consider for a baby who’s arriving after a struggle (ie: the phoenix rising from the ashes), we adore this gender-neutral option that means “dark red” in Greek and is also a place name for the city in Arizona. 

Placide: The Spanish/Italian baby name meaning “serene” is a softly sweet choice for your little love on the way. 

Poe: This cool gender-neutral baby name with one syllable means “peacock” with English roots and can also serve as literary name that pays homage to the late American writer Edgar Allen Poe. 

Porter: A French/Latin occupational name (“gatekeeper/carrier”), it doesn’t even make the charts for girls but for boys is currently inside the top 450 names. 

Prosper: It’s jaunty, cheeky, and has both pep and elegance. This chic baby name of Latin origins—meaning “favorable” or “prosperous”—is a winner. 

Psalm: One of those rare religious names that isn’t exactly a biblical name, we love the simplicity and musical ties here. (It’s worth mentioning, it also belongs to a member of Kim Kardashian’s brood.)

More Precious Baby Name Picks:

And now for the perfect pick…for sleep! SNOO Smart Sleeper has been proven to add hours of sleep for babies (and their tired parents). Learn about how SNOO calms fussing and boosts zzz’s.

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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