River Name Meaning

The name River carries strong and powerful meanings. It is associated with strength, power, and nature. It also has symbolic meanings, such as flowing freely, being connected to nature, and having depth.

Origins of the Name River

The name River has a long-standing history and origin. As mentioned before, it is believed to have originated from the Old English name Rifig, which was derived from the Old English word rif, meaning “river”. This name was popular in Britain during the Middle Ages and was used to name rivers, mountains, and other geographical features.

The name River also has its roots in French, where it was used to refer to a “small stream” that ran through a village. The name was later adopted by the English and eventually spread to other parts of the world.

Popularity of the Name River

The name River has been used as a given name for boys since the late 1800s. River is a popular name for boys and is especially popular in the United States. According to the Social Security Administration, River was the 474th most popular name for boys in 2019. It has been steadily increasing in popularity since it first appeared on the list in 1997.

Final Thoughts on the Name River

River is a strong and powerful name with a long-standing history and origin. It carries symbolic meanings of strength, power, and nature, and has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years. Whether you are looking for a name that is symbolic or simply popular, River is a great choice for your little one.

Infographic of River name meaning, which is Derived for the word describing a flowing body of water, River is an English name.
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River Name Popularity

How popular is the name River? Here’s everything we know.

Year Rank # Births % Births
1910 0 0%
1911 0 0%
1912 0 0%
1913 0 0%
1914 0 0%
1915 0 0%
1916 0 0%
1917 0 0%
1918 0 0%
1919 0 0%
1920 0 0%
1921 0 0%
1922 0 0%
1923 0 0%
1924 0 0%
1925 0 0%
1926 0 0%
1927 0 0%
1928 0 0%
1929 0 0%
1930 0 0%
1931 0 0%
1932 0 0%
1933 0 0%
1934 0 0%
1935 0 0%
1936 0 0%
1937 0 0%
1938 0 0%
1939 0 0%
1940 0 0%
1941 0 0%
1942 0 0%
1943 0 0%
1944 0 0%
1945 0 0%
1946 0 0%
1947 0 0%
1948 0 0%
1949 0 0%
1950 0 0%
1951 0 0%
1952 0 0%
1953 0 0%
1954 0 0%
1955 0 0%
1956 0 0%
1957 0 0%
1958 0 0%
1959 0 0%
1960 0 0%
1961 0 0%
1962 0 0%
1963 0 0%
1964 0 0%
1965 0 0%
1966 0 0%
1967 0 0%
1968 0 0%
1969 0 0%
1970 0 0%
1971 0 0%
1972 0 0%
1973 0 0%
1974 0 0%
1975 0 0%
1976 0 0%
1977 0 0%
1978 0 0%
1979 0 0%
1980 0 0%
1981 0 0%
1982 0 0%
1983 0 0%
1984 0 0%
1985 0 0%
1986 0 0%
1987 1,995 6 0.0004%
1988 0 0%
1989 1,886 11 0.0007%
1990 2,159 7 0.0004%
1991 0 0%
1992 2,077 10 0.0006%
1993 1,881 12 0.0008%
1994 983 77 0.005%
1995 638 216 0.0143%
1996 626 229 0.0153%
1997 523 341 0.0231%
1998 493 399 0.0267%
1999 553 318 0.0212%
2000 605 276 0.0181%
2001 608 276 0.0183%
2002 626 271 0.0181%
2003 569 348 0.0229%
2004 546 380 0.0249%
2005 522 429 0.0281%
2006 503 476 0.0304%
2007 574 410 0.026%
2008 449 587 0.038%
2009 442 591 0.0395%
2010 429 604 0.0419%
2011 421 609 0.0427%
2012 399 689 0.0484%
2013 368 801 0.0563%
2014 284 1,226 0.0841%
2015 241 1,495 0.1027%
2016 211 1,830 0.1269%
2017 200 1,924 0.1379%
2018 196 2,029 0.1477%
2019 167 2,344 0.1732%
2020 130 2,722 0.2139%
2021 110 3,448 0.2821%
2022 105 3,460 0.2623%

Alaska (AK)

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Arizona (AZ)

California (CA)

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Connecticut (CT)

Delaware (DE)

Florida (FL)

Georgia (GA)

Hawaii (HI)

Iowa (IA)

Idaho (ID)

Illinois (IL)

Indiana (IN)

Kansas (KS)

Kentucky (KY)

Louisiana (LA)

Massachusetts (MA)

Maryland (MD)

Maine (ME)

Michigan (MI)

Minnesota (MN)

Missouri (MO)

Mississippi (MS)

Montana (MT)

North Carolina (NC)

North Dakota (ND)

Nebraska (NE)

New Hampshire (NH)

New Jersey (NJ)

New Mexico (NM)

Nevada (NV)

New York (NY)

Ohio (OH)

Oklahoma (OK)

Oregon (OR)

Pennsylvania (PA)

Rhode Island (RI)

South Carolina (SC)

South Dakota (SD)

Tennessee (TN)

Texas (TX)

Utah (UT)

Virginia (VA)

Vermont (VT)

Washington (WA)

Wisconsin (WI)

West Virginia (WV)

Wyoming (WY)

Data via SSA.gov.

Names Like River

If you like River, you’ll love these other names like River.

What names are variants of River?

Mix it up with these names that are a variation of the name River.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender



What names sound like River?

If you like how River sounds, you might also like these names that sound like River.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender



Traveler, wanderer


Lists With River

Find inspiration in these baby boy name lists featuring the name River.

Siblings of River

Mamas with kids named River also have kids with these names.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender




The field



Son of Maud



Country of Ireland



Enclosure; hill



Paw; extension






I love you

Native American


Juniper tree



  1. Our family spends a lot of time outdoors and this past year. We took to trout fishing in our mountain creeks and streams in central Virginia. We have a larger river near us, called the James river, and on the weekends we would have a river day that became our Sabbath and happy place. I didn’t know it but the first seven hour trip we took floating down the river, I was actually pregnant with our 2nd boy. I was so fatigued by the end from rowing!
    There are also some great verses in the Bible that speak of Peace like a River. We love this symbolism and hope and pray our boy will grow up bringing peace whereever he goes.

  2. We live nature and natural things. There is something about being near a river that is peaceful and calm. I like the energy that name brings.

  3. My name is River. I get a lot of compliments, and no matter how popular the name is becoming, it’s still a great name that creates beautiful and peaceful thoughts. I grew up fishing and on the water, so it fits good.

  4. My husband always wanted a boy named River from the time he was a child and saw the actor, River Phoenix in Stand by Me.
    I love the name because Rivers have always been places I’ve gone for meditation and spiritual insight.

  5. I absolutely love the name! My younger sister does too. It’s basically a race to see who is going to have a child (mainly a boy) first.?

  6. We chose the River because our last name is Jordan. In our faith the River Jodan is a huge place of significance. It was a place of transformation and change and of healing. It’s also where God declared his love and pleasure for his son Jesus. It’s my prayer that my son always knows he is dearly loved, that I take great pleasure in him. I also pray that he is part of the change and healing that this world desperately needs.

    I also wanted a unique name for my child. My only disappointment is how common this name has become.

  7. We chose River because of our spiritual practices as Pagans. He’s an aquarius and we wanted something unique and powerful. We had no idea it was actually becoming popular. That’s the only thing I don’t like. We didn’t settle on a name until I was about 8 months pregnant. So far he’s been super advanced and has such a social and bright personality.

  8. I chose river because I just love the name! It seems peaceful and I genuinely adore it!

  9. My son’s name is River and his little sister’s name is Brook. A lot of people compliment me on his name. I love it!

  10. I like fishing and wanted to give him a nature name.
    I just like it.
    He’s a great baby. Love him so much. It’s River Bear.

  11. This name sounds so peaceful and happy

  12. He was born in Alaska where there is a lot of beautiful rivers

  13. I love the energy of rivers, and I love nature inspired names.

  14. Dad picked the name. I dont dislike it, he’s an amazing and strong fighter

  15. I chose the name River because for one it’s where me and his dad met and it’s where we spend most our time . Where we have had our best memories , and probably where he was conceived lol

  16. My husband and i are almost sure we are going to name our son River. We keep going over different options, normal names, safe names, top list names, family names and foreign names. Normal and safe become plain boring after trying them out for weeks. Top list names are okay but too many in one classroom/grade. We’ve experienced family names can be confusing for multiple people. Last, foreign names feel too out of place lolo. We are hard working people, we’ve traveled the world, we don’t take things to seriously, and we love nature. River might be our first choice!

  17. My husband picked it, we both thought it was a unique, strong yet gentle name.
    I dislike that so many people are using this name now, it takes away from its orginality.

    • Yes I agree! Literally since I was a kid I have thought of this name… Literally I knew no one with the name or anyone who would use that name…this year we had our son and it has a lot of meaning to us in a few areas.. and as soon as we uniquely name him River, we find out it’s now up and coming in popularity unfortunately -_-

    • Same. When I had my son in 2008 I knew noone named river. Shortly after I knew of a boy and a girl named river. I like to be different than everyone else. Oh well. Its still pretty uncommon I guess. 🙂

  18. I wanted a very natural name and river just called to me

  19. We wanted to give him a first name that was original, not a family name. We love the water and water sports and live near several water sources. Also, one of our favorite band’s lead singer is named River. Attending their concerts were some of the most memorable moments in our marriage prior to River’s arrival. We gave him a middle name that was generational on his father’s side dating back into the late 1600s, as far back that we can trace.

  20. I chose the name River because one of his older brothers name is Branch. I was trying to get them all to match. A Branch of water is River. I like the name River because it isn’t a very common name.

  21. We chose River almost immediately after browsing baby name sites. It felt so peaceful and natural. The imagery that I picture in my head when I think about his name is a cozy little riverbank at a cottage somewhere. I picture that babbling water flowing past and in so many ways it feels like our son River flowed naturally to us remnant of his name.

  22. We chose the name River because my partner and I both love the outdoors and the rivers hold a special place in our hearts.

  23. I had the name River picked out years before I was even pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Luckily, my husband liked it too when I told him the name of our first born! Ha ha. Besides being an outdoorsy couple and having a deep love of nature, water is also very healing to me and I have loved being near it from a very young age. It is vital to all life, and it is an element we hope to share often with our son as he gets older (hiking, backpacking, fly fishing etc.). Rivers are constant, they bring movement and change to their environment, provide and nourish the land and the ecosystem they are founded in, and are steady and fierce all at once. I hope the same for our son.

  24. As soon as the name was mentioned we knew that this would be the perfect name for our first son.

    I’ve heard the name River quite often but it’s still pretty unique.

  25. We chose the name River for our little boy because on the night he was conceived both me and my partner dreamt about a little boy in water. It was really magical. When we found out we were having a boy we had a hard time choosing a name until we thought of River.. we knew it was perfect. To us it represents strength, free flow in life and a harbor for life and creativity.

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