Category: classic girl names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The other day we took a look at all the boys’ names in the Alexandrian clan, now we move on to the girls. Here we find 11 direct descendants on the Social Security list. The big surprise is that Alexandra, the direct feminization of Alexander, does not come first, but is superseded by a unisex offshoot. And it’s not Alex!
What’s your very favorite classic girls’ name? And yes, sure, you can mention more than one.
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).
A cartoon in a recent New Yorker features a little girl and her mother surveying Halloween costumes in a shop window. “I want to be whichever Disney princess is the most badass,” the girl says.
Badass princess is an image that not only appeals to contemporary little girls but to their parents when choosing a name.
Like the hipster cowboy names we wrote about recently, badass princess names are appealing not so much because of their sound or their style but because of the complicated image they convey. These are girl names that are both decidedly feminine and rooted in tradition, but are not at all conventional or conservative. They’re creative and edgy, but not invented or unorthodox like Blue or Bellamy.
The badass princess names are classy and sassy, cosmopolitan yet earthy, chic but never trying too hard. It’s an image that many an urbane parent can embrace for her daughter, and that a little girl can have fun living up to, in Halloween costume and beyond.
Classic baby names can encompass several different categories. There are Biblical names, from Anne to Zachary. There are names rooted in ancient cultures, including Atticus and Juno, which have survived or are being revived today.
And then there are the classic names that have been well-used in English-speaking cultures over the decades and centuries. While classic names by any definition do move in and out of style just like other names, some manage to endure better than others and become, well, the most classic classic names.
Here, our picks for ten of the best classic baby names today.
Catherine — The Duchess formerly known as Kate has done much to swing fashion toward the C-beginning version of this most classic of girls’ names. Catherine, classic in any spelling, has been borne by saints and queens along with some of the most inspiring literary heroines, including Heathcliff‘s Cathy of Wuthering Heights. Greek for “pure,” Catherine comes in countless international variations and with a wide range of nicknames. Most stylish today are Cate or Kate or the vintage-feeling Kay or Kitty.