A Spark of Fun: Names that Celebrate the 4th of July

A Spark of Fun: Names that Celebrate the 4th of July

Ah, the 4th of July! A day filled with sizzling barbecues, explosive fireworks and an excessive display of red, white and blue. But while you're out there waving your sparklers and indulging in apple pie, why not think about names that embody the spirit of this important holiday? Grab your stars and stripes, because we’re about to take a patriotic parade through some truly American names!


What could be more patriotic than America? Our namesake was Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), and the name Amerigo dates back to the Middle Ages. It's the Italian form of Emmerich meaning “universal power” (a composed of the Old Germanic elements ermen “whole, universal, complete” and ric “rule, power”).

A talented cartographer, Vespucci was able to demonstrate that there existed a separate land mass or “super continent” which he referred to as Novus Mundus “New World,” later called America in his honor. From the time of its “discovery,” America has symbolized both “freedom” and the “land of opportunity” for scores of settlers and immigrants for hundreds of years

It's use as a personal name is modern to the late 20th century, inspired by the fashionable trend using place names as forenames.


Banner is the name flying high, proudly displaying its colors. It’s the symbol of unity and celebration, waving in the summer breeze. Banner is the declaration of fun and festivity that we all rally around on this special day.

It comes from Olde English banner, literally, “a piece of cloth attached to the upper end of a pole or staff,” from Old French baniere “flag, banner,” itself from Medieval Latin bandum “standard,” which, unusually, Latin adopted from an Ancient Germanic root *bandwa- “identifying sign, banner,” ultimately traced to the prehistoric Indo-European root *bha- meaning, quite apropos, “to shine.”

During the Middle Ages, a banner was essentially “the standard symbol” of a king, nobleman or knight, identifying their leadership and the cause for which their loyal men marched to war on their behalf (the banner basically provided the inspiration to rally men to battle).

Banner is as rare as it is modern, first appearing in the early 21st century.


Boston, with its rich history, is the name that echoes the birth of American independence, thanks to its famous Tea Party on December 16, 1773, a pivotal event in the buildup to the American Revolution.

Boston was named after another small port town Boston (in Lincolnshire, England) because many of its settlers hailed from there. It's etymology comes from the Olde English name Botwulf meaning “messenger of the wolf.”

Boston of England was named in honor of a 7th century English saint, Botwulf of Thorney (patron saint of travelers and farming).

Incidentally, America’s Boston was originally called Trimountaine “three mountains,” in reference to the three hills surrounding the early settlement (only Beacon Hill remains today).


Indie (or Indy) is short for Independence. This is a name that zooms around the block on a bicycle with red, white, and blue streamers flying from the handlebars. It’s spunky, adventurous and ready to lead the parade. 

Independence comes from an English noun defining a general state of being free from outside control and/or authority or, simply put, “one who stands on one's own.”

At some point in the 20th century, “indie” and “indy” came to be used informally for both independent (e.g., “indie” films) and Indiana (e.g., Indy 500). Indie and Indy are found as gender-neutral given names since the early 21st century (mainly in America) and often bestowed in the spirit of the word’s characteristic sense of that which is unconventional: free, unique and singular.


Our first president, a name as classic and steady as the man who led the nation to independence. George is like the steady glow of a campfire, warm and reassuring. It’s a timeless name that embodies the spirit of leadership and courage.

George is of Ancient Greek origin, from Γεωργιος (Georgios), literally, “husbandman, farmer, earth-worker, tiller of the soil,” from ge “earth” and érgon “to work, labor.” 

The name owes its survival to a 4th century “soldier-saint” whose idolatry was in full swing by the 6th century. Fantastical legends of St. George’s life spread to Western Europe c. 11th century, cementing his celebrity when he was made patron saint of soldiers.

This name has been in regular and popular use for 500+ years.


Holiday is the name that’s always ready to party. It’s the life of the barbecue, the one who brings the best snacks, and the first to start a round of patriotic karaoke. Holiday ensures every day feels like a celebration.

It comes from an English word defining “a day of celebration; the observance of a special event.” Ultimately from Olde English haligdæg, literally, “holy day.” First evidence of haligdæg’s use is found in the 10th century, the English equivalent of Latin sanctus “holy,” however, by the 15th century, it had evolved into holiday when it also came to be used in a secular sense, expanding its meaning to include a day exempt of labor; a day of amusement and recreation.

Holiday’s use as a surname has been documented since the 12th century; its occasional use as a female forename is found since the 1950s.


This name is like the quiet hum before the fireworks burst—a gentle reminder that every explosion of color in the sky is underpinned by a hopeful belief in brighter days ahead. Hope is that delicate sparkler that never fails to dazzle, even when it's the smallest light in the dark.

Hope essentially means “a confidence in the future, an expectation of something desired,” essentially, “trust, confidence; wishful desire.” Hope means to look forward to something with reasonable desire and trusting confidence that the outcome will be good.

Can I get an Amen to that?

As a female given name, Hope was first coined by the Puritans at the Reformation (16th century) as a so-called “virtue name” in a nod to moral excellence. The name has remained in familiar use for over 400 years.


Now, let’s bring Justice into the mix. Justice is like that stern-faced uncle who insists on the perfectly grilled hot dog. It’s strong, righteous and always ensures everyone gets their fair share of potato salad. Justice is the sparkler that never burns out, always standing tall and bright.

The given name is actually borrowed from a medieval English surname derived from an occupation name, signifying a “judge” or an “officer of peace” whose responsibility it was to determine fair outcomes of situations in Olde England, from the Old French justice, from Latin justus meaning, literally, “just, fair.”

The concept of justice is critical to civilized human behavior; as the great philosopher Plato said: “Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom,” while his famous student Aristotle said: “The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” 


Next, we salute Liberty! This name is the grand finale of the firework show, representing the freedom that makes this nation tick. Liberty's the kind of name that wraps itself in an American flag and dances through the streets with unabashed pride. It’s like an eagle soaring through the sky—majestic and utterly free.

The word defines “free choice; the freedom to think, act and speak without the constraints of force or threat of authority,” from Latin libertus “freed man,” derivative of liber “free, unchained, emancipated.”

Libertas was an ancient Roman female deity who embodied the ideals of freedom. During Rome’s Second Punic War against Carthage (3rd century BCE), Libertas was raised to the level of goddess and many temples were constructed in her honor (in fact, the famed Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, is modeled after her!).

Indeed, as a concept so vital to the American identity, it’s little surprise that the name patriotically tracks on the female charts in 1918 (after WWI), 1976 (the Bicentennial), with its strongest revival occurring in the early 21st century.


Maverick is the firework that goes rogue, shooting off in unexpected directions and creating its own unique display. It’s bold, daring and never follows the crowd. Maverick is the name for those who make their own rules and celebrate freedom in their own way.

It originated as an English surname, later evolving into an English vocabulary word meaning “independently minded” and meant to convey “an individualist, an unconventional person.”

The term was first coined in the mid- 1800s by the ranch neighbors of Samuel Maverick, a Texas politician and land baron who did not brand his cattle (originally folks used “maverick” to identify his “masterless” calves or yearlings); ironically, Maverick’s lack of cattle-branding was more due to his disinterest in ranching rather than any stubborn defiance.

Maverick is a name bestowed with its characteristic spirit of freedom, boldness and independence.


Starr is the name that twinkles as brightly as the night sky lit up by a thousand fireworks. It’s the glimmer in every child’s eye as they watch the sky explode in color. Starr is that little extra sparkle that makes the 4th of July truly magical.

An elaboration of star, from a vocabulary word, “a fixed shining point in the night sky,” from Olde English steorra “star,” from the near-unaltered prehistoric Indo-European root *ster- “star” (same root as Latin stella “star,” from which English derives “stellar”)

Owing to their early associations with the heavens, stars have long been a symbol of spirit, light and hope (humankind’s historic fascination with these celestial bodies can be found in the familiar image of the five pointed star, emblematic of its twinkling, which dates back to Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago).


Rowdy is the one name that brings the energy! It’s the boisterous friend who starts the water balloon fight and keeps the laughter rolling. Rowdy is the essence of uncontained joy and mischief that makes every 4th of July unforgettable.

The word was first coined in America as a noun in the early 19th century in reference to the lawless backwoodsmen or “Rowdies” of the Kentucky frontier, “riotous, noisy, turbulent fellow; a ruffian, hooligan” or, more simply, “troublemaker” (the genteel Easterners regarded all backwoodsmen as “Rowdies”)

The term quickly came to be used as an adjective, in general, for any “boisterous, noisy, disorderly” group (especially children).

Use of Rowdy as a masculine given name is rare but found occasionally in the United States since the early 21st century. 

So, whether you're watching fireworks, grilling up a feast, or just soaking in the summer vibes, remember these names that capture the essence of the 4th of July. They’re not just names—they’re the heartbeats of a holiday that celebrates the freedom to be whoever you want to be. Happy 4th of July, name enthusiasts! 🎆

Photo by Tairon Fernandez

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