You might think that the United States and Britain share a lot of baby name trends. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that there are hundreds of names that are popular in either country that are basically unheard of in the other. For instance, if you compare the top 10 most favored names for girls in the US and the top 10 in England and Wales, you’ll find that both love Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Mia, and Amelia. The trend continues out of the top 10 and more broadly for the top 1000 in both. So, there’s a little common ground but still many more names each place can discover.
Let’s take a look at some popular British names that aren’t so popular here. For the most part, the names that you’ll hear there but not here are nickname names, vintage British names, and native British names (that can come from England, Wales, Ireland, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe). This means there’s an abundance of unique baby names that Americans aren’t exposed to because of cultural differences. Let’s correct that! Here are 25 undiscovered British names for girls that we think will have you chuffed to bits!
Aida is a melodic name largely associated with the title character of the 1871 Verdi opera. If this Arabic name isn’t familiar to you, it’s pronounced eye-EE-da. The name has a joyous meaning: “happy.” The name has long been a favorite of Italian and Spanish speaking parents and we absolutely love that it’s currently trending in England and Wales.
You’ll find Amalia in the US, but it’s wonderful cousin, Amal doesn’t crack the top 1000 here. Another wonderful name with Arabic origins, Amal means “hope.” The name is very popular in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries and now, we love hearing it as a favorite in the UK.
Arwen is the beloved princess of the Elves in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The name has Welsh origins making it a favorite in both England and Wales. This fantastic name means “noble maiden.”
As we mentioned in the intro, parents in England and Wales are extremely fond of nickname names. You won’t find Billie on the top 1000 in the US for boys or girls. Before popstar Billie Eilish popularized this name for girls in the US, UK popstar Billie Piper did the same there. It’s long been a favorite nickname in both countries, let’s let it stand on its own in the US as well. The name has English and German origins and means “resolute protector.”
Blossom is a fabulous name that was last (mildly) popular in the US in the 1920s. Flora, Posy, and Blossom are vintage flower names that are making a huge comeback in the UK right now. The very English name means “to bloom.”
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Carys is a perfect name for girls. The name is pronounced CA-riss NOT Care-Iss. This Welsh name means “love.” Which is probably why Welsh-born Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas chose it for their daughter in 2003.
Ciara is very popular across the UK, more familiar here as the Anglicized Kiera or Keira. In the US, the name had a brief moment of popularity in the mid-2000s, but we think it’s time to revisit it. Pronounced, KEER-a this name has a similar appeal as Sara or Clara, with a bit more Gaelic charm. The name means “little dark one.”
Elif is a very popular name in Turkey, pronounced ay-LEEF. It’s skyrocketed in popularity for both boys and girls in the UK in recent years. It’s the first letter of the alphabet and connotes honesty and kindness.
Elodie rhymes with melody and it finally cracked the top 1000 in the US in 2019. While parents are learning this new name here, in England and Wales it’s long been a favorite. Although the name sounds purely English, it comes from French by way of Greek. The name means “foreign riches.”
The vintage name, Fern peaked in the US way back in 1916. However, this botanical name has been thriving in England and Wales for decades now. If you’re looking for a completely chill nature name, Fern would be a great choice for your daughter.
Don’t let the double “F” scare you! This name, although it looks rather exotic, is pronounced FEE-on. It’s a popular choice for girls born in Wales that’s been on the decline for a couple of years. That means it might be time for its American debut! The Welsh name has a wonderful meaning: “foxglove.”
Inaya is another Arabic name that’s become a favorite in England and Wales. This Arabic name means “concerned” or “care.”
Yes, you’ll find plenty of Fionas in the US, but there are very few Ionas here. Iona is a wonderful Scottish name for girls that is a place name. The name comes from a small coastal island near Scotland. The name is pronounced just like you’d expect: eye-own-uh.
Isra is yet another Arabic option that’s very popular in England and Wales right now. The name means “journey at night.” Which is as romantic and adventurous as it gets. You’ll also encounter Isra as a name for boys, however, it’s considered a Spanish form of the name Israel.
Keziah is an Old Testament Hebrew name that’s making a comeback in the UK. We see the same happening in the US. The name means “cassia tree” and is accompanied by the adorable nickname Kizzy. There are a few legit ways to pronounse this name. KEE-zee-ah, KEE-szhah, KEZ-ee-ah, and keh-ZYE-ah are all acceptable. The name is related to Cassia and you’ll also see it spelled Kezia.
Leonie is the preferred form of Leona to Leonia in England and Wales. This chic form of the name has had its ups and downs over the years, but it’s back in style once more. The name means “lion.” We love a sweet-sounding name with a bold meaning.
Neave is the Anglacized form of Niamh, an Irish name that means “radiant.” The name is also commonly spelled Neve or Nieve. Take your pick! We hope this wonderful Gaelic name gets more attention in the US. It’s the perfect answer for parents who love Eve but want to take it up a notch.
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Philippa is a feminine form of Phillip, a Greek name that means “lover of horses.” The name has never been in the top 1000 in the US. The love for vintage names across the UK keeps classics like this one alive. We’re seeing a resurgence of the name in England and Wales due to, royal sister-in-law, Philippa Middleton. She goes by Pippa and we highly recommend the nickname as well.
Like Philippa, Primrose never got to America’s shores. This quaint, vintage name is as pretty as can be. The name actually got its start as a Scottish surname before crossing over as a given name. It means “first rose.”
While we’re talking roses, we couldn’t pass up the chance to tell you about the ever-popular Roisin. The Irish name has broad appeal across the UK probably because it means “little rose.” However, the pronunciation of this name, ro-SHEEN, might throw some Americans.
Another name parents in England and Wales love is Saffron. This gentle spice name is practically unheard of as a name in the US. It’s so charming! This name doubles as a color name as well and we think it’s just golden.
Seren is a top girls’ name in Wales and a lovely choice almost unknown elsewhere. Seren, in the Sirona form, was an ancient goddess of the hot springs. In Welsh, the name means “star.” You’ll also find that Seren is a popular Turkish name that means “baby gazelle.”
Verity is a forgotten virtue name that became popular with Puritans way back in the day. The name stuck in England but quickly faded from favor in the US. The name has Latin roots and means “truth.” We could all use a little more of that these days.
Xanthe, pronounced ZAN-thee, is the perfect name if you’re looking for alternatives to Alexandria or Alexandra. The name has Greek origins and means “golden.” Unfortunately, this very cool name never made it to the US. In England and Wales, it’s thriving. Let’s do as they do with this wonderful name.
You’ll find Zola in the top 1000, but nary a Zoya in the US charts. This completely fabulous name is the preferred Greek and Russian form of Zoe and also means “life.” Zoya is one of the, if not, the most popular names for baby girls in Wales. This vibrant pick is the perfect alternative to the popular Zoe and Zoey.
There you have it! 25 undiscovered British names that need to cross the pond and become widely used by American parents. These wonderful options reflect the diversity of England and Wales and the UK’s preferences for both antique, as well as, casual nickname names. We hope you enjoyed this list and feel inspired to choose one of these names 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. Aida
- 2 24. Amal
- 3 23. Arwen
- 4 22. Billie
- 5 21. Blossom
- 6 20. Carys
- 7 19. Ciara
- 8 18. Elif
- 9 17. Elodie
- 10 16. Fern
- 11 15. Ffion
- 12 14. Inaya
- 13 13. Iona
- 14 12. Isra
- 15 11. Keziah
- 16 10. Leonie
- 17 9. Neave
- 18 8. Philippa
- 19 7. Primrose
- 20 6. Roisin
- 21 5. Saffron
- 22 4. Seren
- 23 3. Verity
- 24 2. Xanthe
- 25 1. Zoya
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