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Girls' Names With Gravity

For many parents, girls' names (and boys' names too) should carry more than an attractive sound and appealing image; they should have real history behind them. These names relate to a range of impressive personages, real and imagined, and also have both breadth and depth in terms of the meaning they convey. Inspired by a fascinating discussion on our forums, here are some girls' names with history and weight.
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  • Isabel

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    The charming Isabel is hugely fashionable again, a century after its first wave of success. And it's easy to see why: it's ladylike (a la Isabel Archer in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady ) and mel... Read More 

  • Jane

    Gender: F Rate:

    No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan. A very old na... Read More 

  • Josephine

    Gender: F Rate:

    With its large measure of class and character and a gently offbeat quality, plus an intriguing number of vivacious nicknames, it's no wonder Josephine is a Nameberry favorite and climbing up the na... Read More 

  • Julia

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    An enduring classic, Julia has so much going for it: ancient roots but a modern, fashionable feel, simplicity and sophistication, and connections to both saints and celebs, including actress Julia ... Read More 

  • Katherine

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    Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Katherine also has a profusion of spellings, short... Read More 

  • Laura

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    Laura is a hauntingly evocative perennial, never trendy, never dated, feminine without being fussy, with literary links stretching back to Dante. All this makes Laura a more solid choice than any ... Read More 

  • Lydia

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    Lydia is a very early place name, that of an area of Asia Minor whose inhabitants are credited with the invention of coinage and of having strong musical talent--as well as great wealth. Although... Read More 

  • Margaret

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    Margaret is a rich, classic name used for queens and saints. Margaret was replaced for decades by less starchy forms like Maggie and Meg, but some stylish parents are reviving Margaret in full, att... Read More 

  • Mary

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    Mary, the quintessential New Testament name, was Number 1 for girls for four hundred years. Though still close to the Top 100, at 123, Mary is used now mostly for religious or family reasons. If it... Read More 

  • Minerva

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    Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength--which might appeal to adventurous feminist parents. Minerva Pott is a character in D... Read More 

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