Choosing a name for your baby girl can be tough. Striking the right balance between stylish yet timeless is a difficult task. We’re here to help! Step aside Mary and Anne, it’s time to discover classic names that bring vintage elegance but not ubiquity. These names have been used for centuries and have either been forgotten or worse, simply neglected by new parents for decades.
We decided to take a look at names rooted in ancient civilizations, varied traditions, and even the Bible for inspiration. These are baby names you probably have heard or read through the years but have not cracked the top 1000 baby names chart for quite some time. These baby names for girls offer unlimited charm without being overly used and therefore carry with them plenty of character and uniqueness. Here are 25 classic yet unusual baby names for girls that will appeal to your granny while not sounding like a granny’s name.
Etta was a top 100 name in the last decades of the 1800s, then slid down until it fell off the list completely in 1966. That’s a shame, because Etta is a magical name. It’s a shortened form of Henrietta and means “estate ruler.” If you’re looking for an alternative to Ella or Emma, Etta is the answer.
Honor is an English virtue name that’s being considered fresh again thanks to Jessica Alba who chose the name for her daughter. Like Hope or Grace, this name carries with it a promise of hope for the future. That’s a beautiful gesture.
Edie is a pet form of Edith and it had a moment in the sixties when it was red hot before falling off the baby name charts. Andy Warhol‘s muse, Edie Sedgwick decided to go by Edie instead of Edith as did actor Edie Falco, singer Edie Brickell. Kiera Knightly chose the name for her daughter born in 2015 and we think you should follow suit. The name means “prosperous in war.”
Blythe originated as a nickname for a happy person, coming from the Old English word bliðe meaning “merry” or “cheerful.” Today the homophone blithe shares the same meaning. Blythe is more commonly found in the UK than in the US today, but we hope that changes in the coming years. It’s an excellent name.
Coral originated as a given name following the jewel-name craze of the Victorian Era. There were too many girls named Ruby and Pearl, so they turned to Coral for help. Coral has the benefit of both being a vintage name and an econame referring to the colorful reefs found around the world.
Ione was a hot name in the US up until the 1940s. This Greek name has a place in mythology as a name to Nereids, one of the fifty sea nymphs. This whimsical name is pronounced eye-OH-nee and means “violet-colored stone.” You know you want to bring this one back!
This lively Old Testament nature name, belonging to one of the three beautiful daughters of Job, has somehow never been featured in the top 1000. How has this tragedy occurred? Keziah can also be spelled Kezia and may be pronounced KEE-zee-ah, KEE-szhah, KEZ-ee-ah, or keh-ZYE-ah. This gorgeous Hebrew name means “cassia tree.”
Lucinda was a Top 200 name in the late nineteenth century but hasn’t seen the charts for more than 25 years, which could make her ripe for revival. We can’t let country superstar Lucinda Williams have all the fun with this one! This lyrical Spanish name means “light.”
Sheridan is the perfect gender-neutral option that offers parents a sophisticated moniker for their child. This name began as an Irish surname before making the leap to given-territory. Sheridan means “searcher.”
Heard far more in the UK than the US, Pippa has been used on its own since the nineteenth century. The name was popularized by Robert Browning’s dramatic poem, Pippa Passes. Pippa is one of the most popular baby names for girls in the UK currently. Let’s follow! Pippa is is a diminutive of Philippa an Italian name that comes from Greek and means “lover of horses.”
Pia is one of the greatest names of all time and we do not hear it nearly enough! This Latin name is associated with the gods as it means “from Mount Olympus.” It’s a multicultural hit as well as you’ll also commonly find the name in Hindi tradition. Thus, it can also be taken to mean “beloved” or “lover.”
Lily is a top 50 name and one of the most popular names for baby girls of all time. If you’re attracted to the name and want something that goes a different speed, consider Lilia. It’s the Russian form of the name and still refers to the pure flower. Although it’s most common in Russia, Lilia also has roots in Spanish, Hebrew, and Hawaiian naming traditions. Lilia was most popular in the US way back in the 1930s.
Ireland is a name that also belongs to a country and there’s a long history of choosing geographical names for children. Ireland is an Irish name, which should come as no surprise. The name has been gaining in popularity again ever since Alec and Hilaria Baldwin chose it for their daughter.
You’re more likely to find the name Cosima in Italy, Germany, and France than in the United States. This magical name has Greek origins and is the female form of Cosmo. It means “order” or “beauty.” Although this name sounds exotic, it’s been in use across Europe for centuries.
As with Ireland, Capri is a geographical name that refers to the gorgeous Italian island of the same name. Capri was chosen by the late Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa for their youngest daughter. The island got its name from either the Greeks or the Romans and it refers to a “wild boar” or “goat island.” There’s also a possibility that the place was named by the Etruscans who chose a word that means “rocky.”
Aoife, pronounced EE-fa, is derived from the Irish word aoibh, meaning “beauty.” Aoife was borne by several different heroines of ancient Irish legend. In one tale, she was the fiercest woman warrior in the world and enemy of her twin sister, Scathach. It’s very popular in Ireland right now but hasn’t been on new parents’ minds in the US.
Avalon, an island paradise of Celtic myth and Arthurian legend. It’s the place King Arthur was taken to recover from his battle wounds. Avalon has Celtic origins and is very old. We think it’s time for this name to make a comeback in the states. Avalon means “island of apples.” Sold!
Delta hasn’t been popular in the US since 1910. What is wrong with folks? Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. We love the classic Greek appeal and the hint of Southern charm that this name embodies. Delta Burke, best known for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women, had parents who knew a good name when they saw it.
Gaia is the name of the Greek “earth mother” goddess. While this name has long been popular across Europe and still is kicking there today, Gaia has not received the welcome she deserves in the US. If you’re after a subtle nature name, you could do no better.
Soleil is the French word for “sun.” This name had a moment in the US in the twenties but has never gotten back to its former glory. Former child TV star Soleil Moon Frye (aka Punky Brewster), helped bring this name more visibility in the eighties, but it’s still not widely favored. You can change that!
If you love Puritan virtue names and want to move beyond Hope and Faith and Grace, this is a wonderful choice, both for its meaning and its sound. Yes, the popularity of this name in the US predates record keeping. Verity is a Latin name that means “truth.” The only place you’ll find this name popular today is in the UK.
Saskia is a Dutch name that means “Saxon.” It’s a favorite across Europe but that’s especially true in England, for obvious reason. Although this name sounds exotic, the name has been used since the Middle Ages. If you’re a fan of British TV, chances are you’ve encountered Saskia Reeves on your screen.
Like Verity, Unity was embraced by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, but was not as common as others (Hope, Grace, Faith, etc.). Unity’s popularity predates baby naming records. We absolutely adore this English name and its meaning, “oneness.”
How did we let Fern get away from us? The name was exceedingly popular in the states for the majority of the early twentieth century. Fern fell from favor in the sixties and has not come back to the charts since. Fern is a nature name that means exactly what you think it does. The name belonged to one of your favorite characters in Charlotte’s Web.
Why have we not embraced the name Indigo in contemporary America? It’s an exceptional name that means “Indian dye” and refers to the purple pigment used to color paint and all manner of fabric. While this name will work for both boys and girls, we prefer it for little girls.
There you go! 25 classic yet unusual baby names for girls that are ready to make a comeback! We hope you enjoyed these names and feel inspired to choose one 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.
- 1 25. Etta
- 2 24. Honor
- 3 23. Edie
- 4 22. Blythe
- 5 21. Coral
- 6 20. Ione
- 7 19. Keziah
- 8 18. Lucinda
- 9 17. Sheridan
- 10 16. Pippa
- 11 15. Pia
- 12 14. Lilia
- 13 13. Ireland
- 14 12. Cosima
- 15 11. Capri
- 16 10. Aoife
- 17 9. Avalon
- 18 8. Delta
- 19 7. Gaia
- 20 6. Soleil
- 21 5. Verity
- 22 4. Saskia
- 23 3. Unity
- 24 2. Fern
- 25 1. Indigo
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Baby Name Generator
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