For some reason, new parents expecting baby girls put more pressure on themselves to come up with a unique name. For boys, it’s totally fine to slap on a William and Henry and call it a day. Finding the right moniker for a girl can be challenging as you want something that’s recognizable but not overly used. It’s cool to be different, after all. The most popular baby names for girls got that way for a reason: they’re fashionable, lovable, and appeal to a broad set of parents. What’s a parent to do if they love a very commonly given name?
We decided to take the 25 most popular names for baby girls in 2019 from the latest data we have and transform them into less popular alternatives that are just as attractive and amiable. We’ll take into account their sound, origin, and style to transform the name into something special that you probably do not encounter often. These alternative baby names do not appear on the top 1000 list and instead, need a little more love from new parents. Here are 25 popular name transformations that offer variety and individuality.
25. Victoria → Honora
Victoria is a storied name that means “victory” and we find a counterpart in Honora, a Latin name that means “woman of honor.” Honora was predominant until the Reformation. Then, Puritans adopted the abstract virtue names and were introduced to Britain by the Normans.
24. Chloe → Clea
Clea is an attractive and unusual name that may be a variation of Cleo. Clea was possibly invented by Lawrence Durrell for a character in his Alexandria Quartet. If you enjoyed the wonderful holiday film, Happiest Season, none other than actress and director Clea Duvall is responsible for getting it into your heart.
23. Layla → Vega
Lyra is a constellation name taken from the lyre of Orpheus. It contains the star Vega and thus could make a melodic alternative for a parent interested in astronomy, or mythology. Vega is an Arabic name that means “swooping eagle.” While this name is not wildly popular in the US, it is across Scandanavia and in Spain.
22. Penelope → Pippa
Pippa is a diminutive form of Philippa and means “lover of horses.” Both Penelope and Pippa have Greek origins and plenty of P’s! We love the gentle playfulness of Pippa which sounds as fun as a name can possibly sound.
21. Scarlett → Garnet
Both Scarlett and Garnet allude to the color red. In addition to sounding rather similar, Garnet has the added benefit of being French and meaning “pomegranate.” It’s a jewel name that was once as popular as Ruby and Pearl. Bring it back, parents.
20. Aria → Madrigal
We fully accept that Madrigal is a mouthful compared to Aria, but we loved the idea of transforming the name into another that means “song.” Madrigal is certainly more striking than Aria and cuts a path to the nickname Maddie other than Madeline or Madison. The name has Latin origins and specifically refers to a “song for unaccompanied voices.”
19. Mila → Mika
Mila is a gorgeous name but it’s getting a lot of play these days. We propose picking Mika instead! It’s a cross-cultural name that’s found in a number of languages and traditions including Hungarian, Japanese, Russian, Finnish, and Scandinavian. We are particularly fond of its meaning in Japanese: “beautiful fragrance.”
18. Avery → Avis
Avis was once an exceedingly popular name in the US before falling out of fashion in the fifties. Now, it’s English cousin, Avery is the more popular choice. We love the Latin name Avis as it means “bird” while still sounding very strong. A-names are red hot for girls right now and we’d love to see this one in the mix.
17. Sofia → Carina
Carina is an Italian gem of a name that means “dear little one.” The name was popular in the US for baby girls from the seventies and early aughts. It has since fallen off the charts, but it’s still fresh in our minds. Like Sophia, Carina has a lyrical quality to it that makes it the perfect name to transform to.
16. Luna → Lumi
In Finland, you’ll find plenty of little girls named Lumi although it’s not as common outside the country. We think that should change! Like Luna, Lumi is a name that honors nature and means “snow.” If you’re expecting a winter baby, we urge you to consider this precious name.
15. Camila → Chiara
Chiara is a hit in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. It’s a wonder that a name with such broad appeal has never cracked the charts in the US. Chiara is an Italian classic that means “light” or “clear.” It’s dripping with romance and ready for American parents to adopt it.
14. Elizabeth → Elsbeth
Although they could be easily confused, Elsbeth is a fairly unusual contracted German version of Elizabeth, while cousin Elspeth hails from Scotland. Elsbeth sounds casual and contemporary to the stuffiness of Elizabeth and we absolutely adore it. Like Elizabeth, this name means “pledged to God.”
13. Ella → Etta
Etta was one of the most popular names in the US until the sixties. How did we let this awesome name slip away? If you’re looking for an alternative to Ella, you could find no better than Etta. It’s a German name with a Scottish makeover that’s a pet form of Henrietta and means “estate ruler.”
12. Emily → Elaney
Emily is a wonderful name, but parents are probably looking for something a touch more unique these days. Elaney is a French name that comes from Alienor, a Provencal favorite that has been popular since the height of Arthurian Legend. Elaney sounds similar to both Emily and the Irish surname, Delaney, which has become popular as a given name.
11. Abigail → Tabitha
Tabitha was the name of a charitable woman who was restored to life by Saint Peter in the Bible, it was a popular Puritan choice. Abigail is wonderful, but Tabitha has been neglected for new babies since the eighties. Tabitha has Aramaic roots and means “gazelle.” Why not?
10. Evelyn → Elowen
Elowen is a beautiful modern Cornish econame that is rapidly picking up steam in the States, even spawning variant spellings like Elowyn and Elowynn. Elowen means “elm.” If you like Evelyn, but want a more nature-focused meaning, go with Elowen instead.
9. Harper → Lark
Harper is a name that’s exploded in popularity since the early 2000s. This fantastic name has now landed in the top 10. Harper means “harp player” and we wanted to find an alternative that also carries a musical connotation. Lark, an English songbird name, fits the bill.
8. Mia → Zia
What a difference one letter can make! Zia makes Mia look modest in comparison. Zia is just as old and has history in Latin, Italian, and Arabic traditions. Therefore, Zia can mean a few different things: “grain,” “light,” “splendor,” or “aunt.” We love the zip of a Z-name and this one is zesty.
7. Amelia → Amal
Amal is an Arabic name that’s found in a variety of traditions, but most commonly in Lebanon. Amelia has reigned supreme for years and we urge parents to pick something a little different. We find that this option is the perfect transformation. Amal means “hope.” Not bad, right?
6. Charlotte → Celestina
There are many different variations of the name Celeste and we find that just about any of them will work in place of Charlotte. Celestina is our favorite and has been found in both Italian and Spanish families for generations. Celestina has the same celestial meaning as Celeste: “heavenly.”
5. Isabella → Marcella
Saint Marcella was a Roman matron of strength and intellect who organized a religious sisterhood at her mansion, which St. Jerome guided in religion and learning. In Don Quixote (where it’s spelled Marcela), the character is depicted as the most beautiful woman on the planet. This name has been out of rotation for decades and it’s ripe for a comeback. Marcella has Latin origins and means “warlike.”
4. Sophia → Cordelia
Cordelia was a preferred name for newborns up until the fifties. It’s, unfortunately, been MIA ever since. Cordelia sounds similar to Sophia but carries with it a retro charm. The name has both Latin and Celtic origins and can mean “heart” or “daughter of the sea.” It’s remarkable and you don’t have to take our word for it. “I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name,” a passage from Anne of Green Gables reads.
3. Ava → Aviva
If you’re looking to spice up Ava, just throw a -viv- in there. Aviva is a lively-sounding name that has Hebrew origins and means “springlike” or “dewy.” If you’re after something fresh, this name literally means it. Aviva is not too far off to transform Ava to so we strongly suggest you give it a shot.
2. Emma → Althea
Althea is a poetic, almost haunting name found in Greek myth and pastoral poetry. Today, the name is associated with the great tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win at Wimbleton. The name means “with healing power.” Althea also gives the beloved nickname Thea which is very close to Emma.
1. Olivia → Olympia
With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute. Olympia was popular at the turn of the last century but has since fallen off the charts. This name has been trending ever since rockstar athlete, Serena Williams chose it for her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
There you go! 25 alternative names inspired by the most popular names given to girls. We hope you’ll consider these transformed monikers and feel inspired to think outside of the box when choosing a name for your daughter.
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.
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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!
Set your terms (sex of the baby, number of letters, popularity, etc.) and then get a list of names that meet your criteria. Maybe the perfect name is just waiting to be generated for you.