The letter S is one of the most common first initials across the globe. A sound that’s prevalent in many languages, it’s no wonder that popular S names are easy to find. When the generation now having children were children, the most used S names were of the Steven and Stephanie ilk, but these aren’t the chart toppers they once were. 

And while some classics are never going out of style, today’s popular S names have a bit more sheen—Sophia, Shepard—and spunk, like Scarlett and Sebastian, for a long list of special S names to help your selection process. What’s your favorite baby name starting with an S

Girl Baby Names That Start With S

Sabrina: A lovely baby girl name, it stems from Celtic mythology and is the Latin name for the River Stern. Sabina is a less heard alternative, more widely used in France. 

Sakura: The Japanese word for cherry tree is a truly beautiful name for a little girl; it’s actually more popular in the US and Europe than in its home country.

Salma: Arabic for “safe,” the well-known and still unique feeling name has celebrity status thanks to megawatt actress Salma Hayek.  

Salome: This warm Hebrew name means “peace,” and sounds just as calming and hopeful as its meaning. 

Samantha: A feminine take on Samuel from the Hebrew, it means “told by God” and has rested somewhere in the top 100 for US girls since 1975. 

Sandrine: You may have never heard this French take on Alexandra, but its rarity is what makes it so special. Sandy or Drina would be nickname possibilities.

Sapphira: If Sapphire is too out-there but you love a jewel-tone name, consider this Greek variation, which is fit for a little fashionista.  

Sarah: One of the most popular feminine S names of all time, this Hebrew baby girl selection means “princess.” Its common nickname Sadie is a beautiful name in its own right. 

Scarlet: Steadily on the rise but so special even if it’s become less rare, we love this bold color name for baby girls. 

Selah: It’s definitely more rare than many of our other favorite S names for girls, but this stunning Hebrew moniker with dual meanings “praise” and “pause” is super sweet.  

Serena: Less heard than Sabrina, but with a similar feel, the Latin baby girl name meaning “tranquil” or “serene” has potential. 

Sheyenne: A spelling variation on the Native American/Sioux baby girl name Cheyenne meaning “speakers of a different tongue,” the S is nice here for solidifying its softer sound (to avoid a hard ch at the beginning), and also shortens beautifully to the nickname Shy.  

Sienna: An Italian place name and also a deep shade of red-orange, this gorgeous baby girl name is one to consider. Sierra is a similar choice that could work for a boy or girl. 

Simona: Girlier than slant name Simone, the French-from-Hebrew baby name meaning “hearkening” is unheard of on the charts, for a super rare pick for your daughter.

Soleil: The French baby girl name meaning “sun” is a summery pick but beautiful all year ‘round for your little beacon of light on the way. 

Sophia: Currently a chart-topper the world over, the Greek baby girl name meaning “wisdom” would definitely not set your little girl out in a crowd but is soft and sweet nonetheless.  

Starla: A modern invented name for hipster parents, it means “star” and would definitely be a funky alternative to other celestial names you’ve been considering.  

Sula: The literary name meaning “little female bear” came to being in Toni Morrison’s novel by the same name. It is an offshoot of Shulamit (meaning “peace”) from the Old Testament.  

Susanna: Though Susan and Suzanne feel a bit dated, you could get away with this more country-sounding version in a time when Old Americana is trending. Susanna means “lily” in Hebrew.

Sylvie: The French version of Sylvia from the Latin, it means “from the forest” for nature vibes and a vintage feel.  

Boy Baby Names That Start With S

Sabir: The name meaning “patient” is a popular choice for little boys in many Arabic-speaking countries and here in the US.  

Samson: A handsome familial name for boys— descendant of Sam—it’s a nice choice if you are honoring a Samuel and would like something a little different.  

Sandeep: It’s a common Indian given name translating to “light” or “shine.”

Sanford: A sweet English name for boys meaning “sandy ford,” it has an elegant quality and is considered rare in modern times. 

Santiago: This exotic sounding Spanish name means “Saint James” and has been prevalent in fiction and pop culture for decades. Santi is a cute nickname, and Santo, meaning just “saint,” is another alternative S name to consider.

Savva: The Russian/Arabic name translating to “captive” is absolutely precious. 

Selwyn: This unique name is one he’ll have to correct misspellings of, but it’s worth it! The English baby boy name means “manor friend.”

Sebastian: Years ago, it was best known to the general population as the name of Ariel the Disney mermaid’s crustacean companion, but today this Latin/Greek name is popular around the globe. It means “someone from Sebastia,” an ancient Palestinian city in present-day Turkey. 

Severin: Like Steven and Evan but want something with a bit more flair? This French name could be the perfect pick for your little guy, translating to “stern” or “serious.” 

Shepard: Widely used in the Southern US, the occupational name meaning “sheep herder” has a subtle religious nod and soft, beautiful sound. Also, “Shep” is about the cutest little boy nickname ever! 

Silas: An English name with Latin roots, it means “woods” or “forest” and has biblical beginnings shared with brother name Silvanus. It offers a hipster feel that we’re loving, and shortens sweetly to Si for a nickname.

Solomon: A warm, well-loved name coming from the Hebrew word shalom, or “peace,” it’s risen and fallen many times in the past two centuries but will never be too far from favor.  

Soren: Though not related to Serena, it feels similar if that’s a girls’ name that you like. The Norwegian baby boy name meaning “stern” is an offshoot of Severin above.

Stefan: There are so many ways to say and spell Stephen; we happen to love this version popular in Eastern Europe (pronounced STEFF-ahn). The name, and all its variants, mean “crown” or “garland.”

Stellan: Your little star boy could certainly grow into this rare baby name with German roots that’s most widely used in Sweden. While the actual meaning is “calm,” at its heart is the Italian word stella, or star, for a sweet double connotation. 

Sterling: Born with a silver spoon, or at least a name made of it! This gorgeous baby boy name meaning “of high quality” is a posh pick.

Stockton: It’s a name of English and Scottish roots, referring to people from a certain area or town, specifically a “tree-stump settlement.” It’s quirky, but if you can get past the seemingly random meaning it’s a cheerful and dignified sounding choice. Stanton is a similar English S name to consider. 

Stuart: There are spelling options here—Stuart and alternate Stewart are equally popular. It means “steward” from Scottish and is not currently a much-used name, though Stu is a pretty cute nickname.

Gender Neutral Baby Names That Start With S

Sable: The gender-neutral animal name has an elegant feel and offers a unique nature name for your little boy or girl.

Sacha: You might not have guessed that this charming French S name is actually a diminutive of Alexander/dra, the Greek name meaning “defending men.”

Sawyer: A favorite gender-neutral name among modern parents, it’s an English occupational name meaning “woodworker” (ie: saw).

Saylor: The Medieval German surname meaning “ropemaker” is also an alternative spelling for the English occupational name Sailor; either choice is trendy and cute. 

Scout: This gender-neutral word name burst on the scene as a central character in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 and has been a familiar, if not a bit overused, choice ever since. 

Seth: A bit more of a 90s name, it’s definitely better known for boys but is equally cute for a girl as well. Seth means “place” or “appointed” with Hebrew roots. 

Shannon: This gender-neutral Irish name meaning “old and wise” was more prevalent in the 1980’s and 90’s, but still has a sweet ring to it and could always make a comeback.  

Shelby: The chic Sh name with English roots is as storied and elegant as it sounds; the name means “estate on the ledge.”

Shia: A beautiful gender-neutral name from Hebrew, it translates to “gift from God.”

Shiloh: Oh, sweet Shiloh—a gender-neutral name from the Hebrew meaning “tranquil place” or referring to a town in the Old Testament. It’s a lovely choice for your little one on the way. 

Skyler: Though you won’t see the old-school spelling Schuyler too often in modern usage, this fun variation is right around #500 for both boys and girls. It means “scholar,” but the word sky at the start of this spelling adds celestial influence. 

Sloane: It’s one of the better-known gender-neutral S names, meaning “raider” with Irish origins.

Sparrow: Bird names are some of the best choices if you want a nature name that works for a boy or girl. Like Robin and Wren, Sparrow feels fresh and trendy but is also classic.  

Spencer: A lovely French name translating to “keeper of the provisions,” (can you see the “dis-pencer” tie there?), it was mostly used for boys traditionally but is now picking up speed as a girl name, too. 

Sullivan: The enticing Irish name for a baby boy or girl means “dark eyes” and shortens adorably to Sully for a gender-neutral nickname.  

Sutton: It’s no wonder this gender-neutral charmer is popular in the American South; it means “from the southern homestead.”

Sydney: While this one has been on and off the charts for decades, it doesn’t feel dated. Sidney/Sydney is a saint name from the French. 

You’ve read our 55 S names, but do you know the 5 S’s? This groundbreaking technique has been used around the world to calm crying…and now you can reap their benefits in a special 6th S: SNOO! Learn more about how SNOO boosts baby sleep.

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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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