Finding a cool name for your baby girl is not an impossibility and there is no need to resort to making up your own name. In fact, many ancient baby names hold the promise of uniqueness and because they might have fallen from favor over the centuries, they sound super fresh to the contemporary ear. These storied baby names sound distinguished and refined and come from a variety of languages and naming traditions.
We decided to take a deep dive into ancient names to discover which appellations will work best for new parents today. We turn to Olde English, Byzantium, Rome, Classical Greece, and more to find the most attractive options. Many of these names have a history in legend and myth that make for a fun discovery for your little one as she comes of age. Here are 25 ancient baby names for girls that new parents today should consider resurrecting. Not stuffy and plenty of fun, we promise!
The ancient Latin name Nicasia is the female form of the better-known, Nicasio. This name means “victory” and we think that’s true because Nicasia sounds much better than Nicole or Nicola. La Dolorosa is a zarzuela by Spanish composer José Serrano. A character from it has this wonderful name. While this ancient name has never been popular in the US, we think its time has come! Get on it!
Urbana is a lovely Latin and Italian name that means “from the city.” The name refers to the town of the same name in Padua, in Northern Italy. This is another name new parents have not discovered in the US and we would love to hear more of it.
Aphra was originally a name for a woman from Africa that eventually became a given name, and was borne by several Roman saints. Aphra was the name of the first professional female writer in English, the seventeenth century’s Aphra Behn. Born in 1640, she was a productive dramatist of the English Restoration. Aphra has Hebrew origins and means “dust.”
Delicia means “hot” to speakers of Brazilian Portuguese but to the ancient Romans, this name was associated with “delight.” Delicia is a unique name that you scarcely hear today that is a more playful name than others in its class like Felicia and Alicia.
Cyra is an unusual name that can be pronounced either SEER-a or CY-ra. This name may be a feminine adaptation of Cyrus but is also a Persian name that stands on its own. Thus, the name can have Greek and Persian origins that mean “sun,” “throne,” and “lord.” Somehow, this ancient name has never taken off in the US. It’s time to change that, parents!
Varinia is a very old Latin name that might actual predate the language. However, the name was used in Ancient from to describe the Varinians (Warini), a Germanic people who lived near the Baltic Sea. Varinia means “living near the water” or “defender.”
Though it sounds like a variation of Olivia, which means “olive,” the distinctively attractive Livia has been an independent name since the days of the ancient Romans, when it belonged to Livia Drusilla. She was the powerful wife of Emperor Augustus. The name is still commonly heard in modern Italy. American parents have propelled this name to the US top 1000 baby names for girls since 2004. The name means “blue” or “envious.”
Sabina is a sleek but neglected name from an ancient Roman tribal name that’s well worth consideration. The equally alluring Sabine is heard in France. You do not hear the name often in the US but it was a popular choice here until the 1920s. Sabina means “Sabine” a name for an ancient Italian tribe that became assimilated into the Roman Empire.
An eighteenth-century elaboration of Honor found in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, but rarely heard here and now, Honoria could be an ideal choice for the right parents. Justa Grata Honoria was the sister of the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III, famous for her plea of love and help to Attila the Hun. This charming Latin name means “woman of honor.”
Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it’s time for his legendary lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well. Isolde is an ancient Welsh name that means “ice ruler.” Isolde has not historically performed well in the US, but today in the Netherlands its a top 500 choice.
Manius Aquillius was a Roman politician and general during the late Roman Republic. He was a member of the ancient Roman gens Aquillia. We get the adorable name Aquilia from the Roman family name which is Latin for “eagle.” Aquilia Severa was the wife of Roman Emperor Elagabalus and she had a fabulous name.
Gaia is the name of the Greek mythological earth goddess and universal mother. Thus, the name means “earth mother.” If you are looking for a subtle nature name this would be a great choice as Gaia was all about nature. Gaia is popular in Italy and England today but has not found a home yet in the US.
Meriall is an Irish Gaelic name that predates Muriel. While this name might sound like a modern invention to make Merry more interesting, Meriall has a legendary past as a “sea nymph.”
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This name is one for a baby girl who is at the front of the line! Prima is a name with Latin origins that means “first.” Today, we use it to describe leading ballerinas. Prima would make for a fresh-sounding name today even though it is very, very old.
In the book of Romans in the New Testament, Persis is a Roman woman who was an early follower of Christ, mentioned by St. Paul in a letter as “beloved” and having “worked hard in the Lord.” Persis was once popular among the Puritans but you will not hear the name in the US today. It has Greek origins and means “Persian woman.”
Sylvia was the mother of the twins Remus and Romulus, who were the mythological founders of Rome, and was a character in Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. This name has been popular in the US since records began in 1880 enjoying its most popular year in 1938. Sylvia has Latin origins and means “from the forest.”
Turia is an ancient Roman name that has since been largely lost to time. Turia is a form of the Tyrius, a Latin name meaning “river” or “of Tyre.” We would love for this name to experience a robust renaissance in the US today.
Mila is a Slavic name found primarily in Russian. The name has experienced a huge boost of popularity in recent years, becoming one of the fastest-rising names in the US and landing in the top 20. This amazing, gentle name means “gracious” or “dear.”
Mahala is a multicultural name that can be found in Arabic and Hebrew traditions. The name was also very popular in Native American communities during the Gold Rush era. It was so common at the time that Mahala became a generic term for Native American Women. Mahala means “tender.” Unfortunately, the name has not been popular in the US since 1907!
Jezebel has joined other names like Delilah and Desiree that were previously avoided due to their associations. Jezebel was a Biblical queen who was the power behind King Ahab’s throne. Jezebel will likely land in the US top 1000 in the coming years as it is an excellent alternative to other “bell” names like Isabell and Bella. Jezebel is a name with Hebrew origins that means “not exalted.”
Today, Amica is used as a term for “girlfriend” in Italy. Outside of that country, this amazing Latin name might appeal to parents wanting a friendly appellation for their daughter. This name indeed means “female friend” and did to the ancient Romans as well. While this name is rare in the US, we see it as an option worth your consideration.
Beata, a Latinate saint’s name, has been widely used principally by Roman Catholics in several European countries but is rarely heard in English-speaking countries. What a shame! Beata is a beautiful option and if you are religious it could hold even more meaning for your family. Beata means “blessed.”
The fourth-century Constantina, also known as Constantia and Constantiana, was the eldest daughter of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great and his second wife Fausta, daughter of Emperor Maximian. Constantina received the title of Augusta by her father, and is venerated as a saint. In English, she is also known as Saint Constance. Constantina is a mouthful but it would give you the nickname Tina. This Latin name means “unchanging.”
Juno is hot, June is showing signs of a comeback along with other month and day names. Junia, the name of the the first century Christian referred to by the apostle Paul as an apostle, has yet to be fully realized in the US today. However, it was a popular name in 1883 when it made its only appearance on the US top 1000. Junia has Latin origins and means “born in June.”
Zelina is a curiosity in that it is an established name that has been used since the time the Greeks were erecting columns across their empire. Z-names are as hot as fire right now, so we do not know why more parents have not plucked Zelina from the past and put it to use. Zelina means “zealous.” Zelina Vega, a WWE wrestler, is probably the most famous person with that name in the US today.
There you go! We hope you feel inspired by these ancient baby names for girls. Imagine being able to tell your daughter the history behind her name when she’s old enough. How fun would that be with these names that have belonged to Saints, Emperors, Nobility, and more? Happy baby name hunting!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Nicasia
- 2 24. Urbana
- 3 23. Aphra
- 4 22. Delicia
- 5 21. Cyra
- 6 20. Varinia
- 7 19. Livia
- 8 18. Sabina
- 9 17. Honoria
- 10 16. Isolde
- 11 15. Aquilia
- 12 14. Gaia
- 13 13. Meriall
- 14 12. Prima
- 15 11. Persis
- 16 10. Sylvia
- 17 9. Turia
- 18 8. Mila
- 19 7. Mahala
- 20 6. Jezebel
- 21 5. Amica
- 22 4. Beata
- 23 3. Constantina
- 24 2. Junia
- 25 1. Zelina
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Baby Name Generator
No baby name sounding good? Want a quick way to generate unique baby name ideas? Try our baby name generator below!
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