Category: Girl Names
Think you have to pick between names that are classics, with deep roots and centuries of use, and names that are unusual?
You don’t, as these classic girls’ names, all ranked below the U.S. Top 1000, attest.
Some were popular in recent years and are now sinking from view — Pamela, Jean — while others are rising stars we predict will soon appear on the official Top 1000: Imogen is a prime example, along with Mabel, the Margos, and Clementine.
That still leaves dozens of classic girls’ names that are neither coming into style nor sailing out but simply holding steady below the radar.
A note on how we chose the names: We did not include variant spellings of more popular classic names such as Emilee, and for the most part excluded short forms unless they have been traditionally used on their own. Our definition of classic embraces ancient names such as Phaedra and Keturah along with more recent widely-used girls’ names such as Maureen.
If you’re in search of a classic girls’ name that’s both traditional and unusual, consider these 100+ picks, ordered from those given to the highest number of baby girls in the U.S. in 2012 (Aurelia, at 250) to the least (Petal, used for just 5).
When people ask me what letter I would use if I had to name ten children with the same letter, my answer is S. But I also clarify that it is S and not Sh! To me, since they are different sounds they are different “letters” with which to begin a name. As my mind ran with this thought, I wondered how have the two sounds differed in terms of popularity?
To do this research, I used the S and Sh names with percentage of use above 0.01% since 1938*. This cutoff was chosen because the Top 1000 in 2012 include names with a percentage higher than 0.0131% for girls. Because the S and Sh sounds are not exclusive to the letters S and Sh, I also added the names that begin with the letters C and Ch that have the S and Sh sounds. This can be subjective as some of the names can be pronounced with either the S/Sh sound or the hard C/Ch sound, but I went with what I thought would be the mostly likely sound heard.
While the Elizabethan/Jacobean playwright William Shakespeare has had a long influence on the names of children, his Restoration successors haven’t had as much impact on the name game. But when looking through character lists of these Restoration comedies, written between 1660-1710, there are some fabulous names to be found, some that have been heard of since, like Amanda, Julia and Sylvia, and some that are extremely rare. Here are thirteen of the more interesting feminine names from the most popular Restoration comedies of the day.
Amaryllis – As seen in 1671’s The Rehearsal, which was published anonymously, though prominent courtier, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, was most likely the writer. The name Amaryllis is of Greek origin and means ‘to sparkle’.
Araminta – As seen in 1693’s The Old Bachelor by William Congreve, the name is actually a disguise for the character of Sylvia. Araminta is a hybrid of the names Arabella and Aminta as well as having the Greek meaning of ‘defender’.
By Haley Sedgwick
As a child, I remember asking my mum for a videocassette that I had my eyes on in the grocery store. Any normal preschooler would be asking for some sort of cartoon, but not me. My passion was musicals, and one actress, who had blonde curls and dimples, just like me, stood out the most.
Shirley Temple, “America’s Little Darling,“ was that one actress. And that movie I mentioned asking for earlier? No ordinary 1990’s child, I was asking my mother to buy me a sing-along VHS tape of Shirley Temple’s best known songs. That tape stayed with me until I reached the age of 8 – by which point, I had played it so often, that it had actually become unplayable.
When I found out that Shirley had passed away on February 10th – I suddenly felt very emotional, as if I had just lost a part of my childhood, which, in all honesty, I really did. I grew up with her songs and films, I grew up idolizing her, I grew up with this dream of being just like Shirley – and of one day meeting her. Neither of these dreams will become a reality for me anymore – but I know that, along with other childhood favourites, Shirley Temple will always be something I hold close to me.