Old lady baby names come wrapped in a vintage housecoat, topped with blue hair, and beaming with a charming sense of wisdom. Many baby names for girls have been fashionable for decades like Cara and Adeline while others like Geraldine and Lavinia have fallen out of favor. The ones that have slipped in popularity over the years sound like retro artifacts but they do deserve your attention as they could sound very much alive and fresh today. These baby names for girls hold a certain je ne sais quoi that we will dare to call Granny-chic.
Granma baby names are simply appellations that have not appealed to new parents for decades but should absolutely be considered today as they are ready for a renaissance. These classic baby names for girls sound timeless and often have a storied past with dignified namesakes throughout history. We decided to take a deep dive into yesteryear to discover which of these old baby names will appeal most to parents today. Here are 25 grandma baby names that we adore and think many other new parents can get behind as well. Get ready for some golden oldies!
Blanche gained a reputation as a name for a Southern woman of certain age thanks to Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Blanche Devereaux in TV’s Golden Girls. Those huge pop culture touchstones could be why the name completely fall out of fashion in the latter part of the 20th century. Blanche has French origins and means “blonde” or “white.” We would love for this old lady name to make a comeback.
Edna was a hugely, hugely popular name at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century in the US. It was a top 25 baby name for many years. However, the name began to take on a frumpy image leaving it relatively unused by parents after 1990s. Edna has Hebrew origins and is related to the name Eden which means “delight.” Would you give your daughter this vintage, old lady name?
Hazel is a rare example of a name that fell completely off the US top 1000 list after cracking the top 25 at the turn of the twentieth century. After 23 years absent, Hazel has returned in a huge way landing in the top 50 today. We know this name is an established old lady name that’s seen as fresh again, but we love it so much we had to include it on this list. Hazel has English origins and refers to the “hazelnut tree.”
In the US, Philomena ranked in the top 1000 through 1940, peaking at number 355 in 1915. Abroad, the name is still in use in English-speaking communities. We would love that to be true for America as well. Philomena is a modest Greek name that means “lover of strength.” In Greek myth, Philomena was an Athenian princess who was transformed by the gods into a nightingale.
Opal is on the verge of getting a new shine following other jewel names like Ruby and Pearl. A top 100 name during the first two decades of the twentieth century, Opal has an excellent chance of coming back today. It’s an old lady name on the rise! Opal has Sanskrit origins and means “gem.” It was a favorite gem of Queen Victoria. The opal is the birthstone for October so this could be very attractive for new parents expecting a fall baby.
Sadie has been soaring in popularity recently. Its last hoorah was a century ago. Sadie is a diminutive of Sarah and thus, means “princess.” Sadie has way more sass than the serious Sarah. We are thrilled that this vintage name is finding love from new parents.
Kay has been out of sight since the mid-eighties but was in the double digits from 1936 to 1945. The name was attached to several glamorous actresses of the period, such as the fashionable Kay Francis. Kay is considered a casual, shortened form of Katherine which means “pure.”
Mabel reentered the US top 500 in 2017. The name had been off new parents’ radars for about fifty years. We are so excited to hear this charming, retro favorite once more. At its height in 1880s and 1890s, Mabel proved an amicable alternative to Amabel, a Latin appellation that means “lovable.”
Avis is a bird name that’s been in hibernation for a while, possibly due to the car rental association, but it could make a return on the wings of Ava. In fact, the last year this old lady name found widespread favor was in 1966! She’s past due for a return! Avis has Latin origins and means “bird.”
The year was 1954 when Enid last made the US top 1000. A largely forgotten old lady name for many US parents, Enid lives on in Arthurian Legend and Celtic folklore. Enid has Welsh origins and means “spirit.” Enid will sound terminally old-fashioned to many, but we think it holds plenty of charm.
Fay was most popular in the U.S. in the early decades of the twentieth century, reaching Number 202 in 1907. Fay is an English old lady name that comes complete with a sprinkle of magic dust in the meaning “fairy.” British novelist Fay Weldon is a famous namesake that might inspire this choice.
Cora is a top 100 name again but it took plenty of time to climb back to this point and it is nowhere near as popular as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. Cora Greek origins and is associated with mythological queen of the underworld, Persephone. The name means “maiden” and it was the Greeks used when Persephone transformed into the goddess of spring, making this name a perfect choice for a spring baby.
Geraldine was at its height from the 1910s through the 1940s, peaking at number 38 in 1931. The appellation was invented in the time of Henry VIII by a noble poet who fell in love with a Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald and, inspired by her surname, referred to her as the “Faire Geraldine.” Geraldine is considered to mean “ruler with a spear” coming from the elements that compose the name Gerald.
After a solid century on the top 1000 list, Letitia fell off in the early 1980s and has not yet returned. We are absolutely nuts for this classic old lady name as it yields some of the best nicknames in Tish, Tisha, Lettie, and Tia. Spelled Laetitia, the name belongs to the Roman goddess of celebration, happiness, and gaiety. Letitia has Latin origins and it means “joy.”
Alma is one of those surprising names that has always been in the top 1000, but after sinking to its lowest point ever in 2011, we think it could use some more love from new parents today. Alma Mahler was a celebrated 19th-century composer and musician with this estimable name. Alma has Latin origins and it is frequently used in Spanish-speaking communities. It means “soul.”
American photographer Berenice Abbott was a famed photographer who excelled at capturing captivating portraits of cultural figures. Berenice is a storied name belonging to Ptolemaic Egyptian queens and a 4th-century Saint. The name enjoys Greek origin and means “she who brings victory.”
In Greek myth, Eudora was one of the Hyades, a set of sisters transformed into the star cluster that bears their name. This name has not been used on a bunch of birth certificates since the 1920s! Eudora has a pleasant sound and offers new parents nicknames Eu and Dora. The Greek elements that form this name mean “generous gift.” We’ll take it!
Despite a return to such feminizations of male names as Josephine, Clementine, and Theodora, clanky Henrietta has not made it into that group. We have a soft spot for this name that fell out of favor in the sixties. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of the poor black woman whose cells became one of the most important tools in medical research, has brought this name back to the spotlight in recent years. The name shares its meaning with Henry, “estate ruler.”
After spending 30 years off the charts, Vera has finally began trending for baby girls. Perhaps we have Vera Wang and Vera Farmiga to thank for this renaissance. Vera has Russian origins and is found wherever Slavic languages are spoken aplenty. This vintage charmer means “faith.”
Wilhelmina was a lot more commonly heard in the U.S. centuries ago. It was as high as number 215 in the 1880s but has been off the top 1000 list completely since 1955. The name has a history as a royal moniker belonging to the Queen of the Netherlands who became a hero during the World Wars. Wilhelmina is the femme form of Wilhelm, a German name meaning “resolute protector.”
Miriam is currently the number one name for girls in Israel. Miriam appears in Exodus as the older sister of Moses and Aaron, a prophetess who led the triumphal song and dance after the crossing of the Red Sea and deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. This name comes from the same Hebrew elements as Mary which means “drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved.” The name is a top 1000 pick in the US today but is nowhere near its glory days in the 1920s.
Mildred is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that became popularized in England because of an eighth century saint. In the US, she was a top 10 choice from 1903 to 1926. Mildred is often considered unattractive along with other names like Bertha and Gertrude, but we think it’s actually perfect. Mildred has English origins and means “gentle strength.”
A top 100 name from 1896 to 1921, Leona reached as high as number 72. Since then, Leona had seemed to be one of the most unfashionable of the “lion” names. Leona does indeed mean “lioness” which helps to give it some bite. Leona returned to the top 1000 in 2009 and has been very slowly rising ever since. People clearly see what we see in this name.
The third century St. Eugenia, an early Roman Christian martyr, is remembered for disguising herself as a man to escape persecution. Eugenia, a name barely used at all since the 1980’s, is another that flourished a century ago and could be due for a revival. Eugenia has Greek origins and means “wellborn.”
Golden Girl Bea Arthur was born a Bernice but Bea typically is a nickname for Beatrice. Bea is an oldy lady name but we think it has potential to return as a standalone, casual, appellation. Bea can trace its origins to Latin, meaning “she who brings happiness.” Both Bea and Beatrice have fallen from fashion, with Bea leaving the top 1000 list completely in 1910, never to return. Let’s change that!
There you go! We hope you enjoyed and feel inspired by these old lady names that would sound just as good on a baby as they would belonging to a grandma. Classic names hold history and famed namesakes that make for fun conversations with your child later in life. We encourage you to go antique with it and reap the charming rewards!
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