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Girl Baby Names: Plain and fancy, from Arya to Tess to Zetta

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This week’s Nameberry 9 by Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel shows us the wide range of girl baby names available to today’s parents.

Did you read Swistle’s post about a woman named Justin?

Some of us probably felt vindicated.  Of course you shouldn’t give a boy’s name to a girl!

Others probably thought: If only they’d chosen Justine instead.

Miss Justin might be an extreme case, but this week’s name news reminds us that the range of possibilities for girls is vast.  From conventionally masculine names to modern inventions to antique revivals, we are willing to be daring when naming daughters.

That’s not just a name nerd perspective, either.  In 2011, almost 79% of newborn boys in the US received a Top 1000 name.  For girls?  Just under 67% received a Top 1000 choice.

So what were the most intriguing girl names from last week?  The baby name news included a little bit of everything:

Scout MargeryKerri Walsh, the much-medaled beach volleyball star, and her husband Casey Jennings, have welcomed a third child.  The couple was already parents to sons Joseph Michael and Sundance ThomasScout Margery falls somewhere between Joseph and Sundance – it’s not a traditional pick for a girl, but with its literary ties, Scout feels like a stylish, modern possibility.

Calla – Speaking of modern possibilities, we’ve been busy borrowing girls’ names from the garden for years.  In our Ella-Stella-Willa era, why haven’t we discovered Calla?

ZettaHigh School Musical alum KayCee Stroh is expecting her first child, and she’s already shared the name: Zetta.  Stroh explained that she’s always loved the letter Z and double ts in names, and Zetta just came to her.  It reminds me of the Italian saint’s name Zita, and of course, the jazzy Etta.

GiordanaPlenty of girls are called Jordan, and I’ve met a few named Jordana, too.  But this alternative came up in the forums, and I’ll admit I’m intrigued.  If we can have Giada, Giuliana, Giovanna, and Gianna, why not Giordana?  Like Scout, Calla, and Zetta, she’s just a little bit different.

Kenzie – That’s true of Kenzie, too, the name Seventh Heaven alum Beverly Mitchell chose for her new daughter.  No word on how Mitchell and husband Michael Cameron arrived at the name, but it is often heard as a short form of the mega-popular Mackenzie.  It also brings to mind Kinsey, a rapidly rising surname name.

Ivy – From z to v, and the US to Australia … Waltzing More than Matilda analyzed fast-rising names in her home country and found that Ivy was the biggest gainer for girls.  Could she catch on throughout the English-speaking world?  We’ve fallen in love with Ava and Evelyn, so Ivy feels like a logical next choice.

Tess – Meanwhile, the first quarter data for the Netherlands indicates that Tess is the new #1 name.  (Can you imagine if the US released data every three months?)  The previous top name was Emma, an international favorite.  Tess isn’t common in the US, but she’s short, sweet, and complete – a sister for Jane or Kate.

Miriam – Proof that everything old is new again, For Real Baby Names found a birth announcement for a baby Miriam Agnes in Louisiana.  She might strike some as fusty, but we’re always discovering new names ready for revival.  Miriam peaked back in the 1910s.  With short forms Mimi and Miri, she sounds ready for a comeback.

Arya – From the vintage to the fantastic, let’s end with AryaGame of Thrones is back for its third season of intrigue, so I can’t resist talking about AryaPretty Little Liars also features the name, spelled Aria – the more traditional spelling, and the one that is rising rapidly in the US.  Still, I suspect the heroic character is a big part of the name’s appeal.

Spotted any great new names for girls lately?  And why does it seem like there are more options for our daughters than our sons?

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