You might think that surnames are rather buttoned-up and boring, but believe us, there are many cute last names for girls that make excellent first names. Fifty years ago, it would have been unthinkable to name a baby girl a random surname. Sure, surnames were kept in the family but today, parents are turning to attractive last names with no immediate family connection. Why? We think this trend is happening for a couple of reasons. Firstly, surnames are often gender-neutral and will sound smart on both boys and girls. Secondly, last names are rarely frilly or over-the-top. Simply put, these names mean business.
We wanted to discover cute last names for girls so we turned to the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names. As we surveyed the top 1000 names for girls in the most recent data, we found so many surnames used instead of traditional given names. For instance, Madison is 100 spots ahead of good old-fashioned Mary. We saw this again and again which lets us know that this is one serious trend. For the purposes of this list, we will include some popular surnames that are being used as given names and some new possibilities just waiting to be discovered. Okay, let’s talk baby names!
Take a Look at These Cute Last Names for Girls That Work Perfectly As Given Names!
A perfect name for parents who love English literature, Austen is an English surname that is a form of the Latin, Augustus, meaning “venerable” It’s one of the cute last names for girls that looms large thanks to the literary great!
A very popular name in the US today, Bailey spelled with an E is a smart choice. We love the more traditional English variant without it! Baily is an occupational surname that means “bailiff”
A fresh Italian choice that you’re likely somewhat familiar with. Capri means “island” and “fanciful” both meanings seem lovely to us. Capri feels like one of the sunkissed cute last names for girls that will only continue to grow in popularity. It was in the top 700 names for girls last year and we expect it to make big gains in the coming years.
A Spanish surname that’s started to trend as a given option for both girls and boys, Cruz means “cross.” The Z-ending helps keep this one sounding young and a touch edgy.
Dillon is an Irish surname of Breton origin derived from Diolun. Do not confuse this one with a Welsh name that sounds the same, Dylan. Dillon means “loyal.”
Another Welsh surname that seems like a natural fit to us, is Dew. The name is a result of a Norman conquest and refers to someone from Eu in Seine-Maritime, France. However, some argue that the Celtic meaning of this name is “dark complexion.”
An all-encompassing name, Every is the English name related to a Norman family who settled in Southern England, it’s a place-name referring to Évreux in Normandy. Every has potential as it’s not too far from Avery but offers a touch more variety. It’s one of the cute last names for girls on this list that has yet to be discovered by American parents.
An Italian name from the Latin, Aeneas, a Trojan hero credited with the formation of Rome, Enea means “in-dweller.” It’s another one of the cute last names for girls that has potential but has yet to be discovered.
One of the Celtic last names you are likely familiar with, Flannery was popularized as a given name for girls in the US by author Flannery O’Connor. Flannery comes from the Irish surname Ó Flannghaile, meaning “descendant of Flannghal.” That name can be further translated to “red eyebrows” or “red warrior.”
A name that’s likely familiar to you thanks to the mononymous singer Halsey. It’s an English occupational surname, meaning “hallowed island.” Although you might know it, Halsey has yet to take off as a given name for girls today. You can help change that!
For our purposes, we are talking about the Italian surname Inga, which is an occupational surname that means scribe as Inga’s root means “ink.” Inga has a vintage appeal to it that we think will speak to modern parents.
Isley can be defined in a couple of different ways. First, the name is an English surname from a Germanic occupational name, Eisele, meaning “blacksmith.” Second, the name can be described as a surname from the Old English root hesli, meaning “hazel grove.”
Contrary to popular belief, Jacklin is an English habitational name related to a village in Cambridgeshire, brought to Britain by the Normans. Jacklin feels like a cool form of Jaqueline. It’s one of the cute last names for girls that offers cute nicknames like Jack or Jackie just waiting for you to use.
An English surname from Hebrew, Jessop is related to Joseph and means “Jehovah increases” Jessop feels like it could be an energetic name for an adventurous girl. It comes with the adorable nickname Jess baked in. It’s one of the cute last names for girls that’s practically unused in the US.
Kennedy is a storied Gaelic name that can be found in both Irish and Scottish traditions. For the Irish, this name came mainly from Ó Cinnéide which means “helmet-headed.” However, in Scotland Kennedy is associated with Scottish Gaelic surnames: Ceanadach, Ceannaideach, MacCnusachainn, MacRusachainn, and MacUalraig. Thus, it can also mean “misshapen head.”
Leamhanach and Leamhnach are the primary Scottish surnames that give us the Anglicized Lennox. Of all the cute last names for girls on this list, Lennox feels most distinct as a given name for girls. It is a habitational surname that means “from many elm trees.”
An amazing alternative to Lyla, Lilla comes from Italian as a feminine form of Lillo which means “letters.” However, this is disputed. Some argue that the name means “lilac” or “lily.” It’s your baby, so you get to make that call!
One of our favorite cute last names for girls on this list, Marris is an English name that was brought by the Normans, from Old French marais, meaning “from the marsh.” This is another name with disputed meaning, it can also be considered a habitational name in Normandy associated with Marais in Calvados
No, this Italian surname is not pronounced “mart.” Marte is pronounced MAHR-teh. The name comes from Greek, meaning “March” or from the Calabrian dialect as a name meaning “Tuesday.” This would be a unique option in the US as it’s one of the cute last names for girls that’s gone widely unused. It’s the perfect name for a Tuesday baby!
We know that Odell is a pretty unique option but we urge you to consider it as an alternative to Adele. It’s an English name that reached Ireland in the 17th century and stuck as Odell. The name means “hill” or “of the valley.” It can also be considered a habitational name associated with Odell, Bedfordshire
Pace is a popular Italian surname today but it comes from Latin and means “peace.” The name is not pronounced like the speed you walk but instead like PAH-cheh. It’s one of the cute last names for girls that has a very special meaning but is not being used often in the US.
Paget Brewster makes this appellation a distinct possibility! Paget is an occupational name from English, meaning “page boy.”
Quinn is a versatile name that comes from Irish Gaelic Ó Cuinn. This appellation means “wisdom” and “chief.” It was associated with a clan in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you will find it associated with the name MacCuinn or MacQueen. It’s one of the cute last names for girls that ranks in the top 100 most popular names for girls in the US.
Raia is a topographic surname in some cases, referring to a “climbing shrub.” Conversely, it can be from Sicilian tradition and refer to “a fisherman.”
We love the name Regan for a baby girl. It comes from the Irish surname Ó Riagáin, meaning “little king.” The name has been a mildly popular choice in the US off and on since the 1970s.
This name remains mostly intact and unchanged like many of the Anglicized forms of the names on this list, at least that’s true for the Irish surname, which means “red hair” or “ruddy complexion.” For the Scots, however, this name evolved from many surnames including MacIlleRuaidh, Roid, Roideach, Ruadh, and Mac’IlleRuaidh.
Sheeran would make for a fabulous alternative to Sharon! This is another one of the cute last names for girls that is of Irish origin. It is related to Ó Síoráin or Ó Sírín or Mac Searthuin. It means “descendant of Sírín/Síorán/Searthuin” or “eternal.”
One of the most popular and cute last names for girls comes from English as an occupational name for a “tailor.” Taylor is a huge success for baby girls today but also boys enjoy this name.
A Latinate name that lives in Italy today, Verna is a habitational last name from any of the many places called Verna, meaning “spring green.” That makes this one feel perfect as a name for a spring baby!
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Zeal is a name with a lot of zest that might be offputting for some but we think it has a ton of potential as a given name for baby girls. It comes from English as an occupational name that means “seal maker.” It’s also a habitational name that means “willow.”
There you go! We hope you discovered some cute last names for girls that work extremely well as first names. These storied, ancient, and treasured appellations carry with them gravitas and dignity. That’s what makes them so special as given names, especially for girls. If you like names with heft and plenty of character consider naming your baby a surname!
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 Take a Look at These Cute Last Names for Girls That Work Perfectly As Given Names!
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