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German Names for Girls

German Names for Girls
German names for girls include such classics as Alice and Emma along with many girls’ names that rank among the most fashionable today, both in Germany and the English-speaking world. Along with Alice and Emma, the top German girl names in the US Top 1000 today include Adele, Amelia, Annalise, Ella, Elsa, Emmeline, Millie, and Zelda. In Germany, unique girl names with modern style include Anja, Frieda, Ida, Maude, Romy, and Tilly.

The top girl names in Germany include both those popular throughout Europe and North America, such as Emma, Mia, and Sophia, along with girl names particular to Germany, such as Milan, Leni, and Neele, a German short form of Cornelia.

In Germanophone Switzerland, Emma and Emilia are the most popular German names or girls.

The roster of top German girl names includes German variations of many familiar names, often with a spelling twist. Emilia ranks among Germany’s top names rather than Amelia, Klara takes the place of Clara, Emilie stands in for Emily, Sofie and Lilli are used instead of the usual English versions Sophie and Lily.

You can browse the complete roster of German girl names on Nameberry on this page, continued below. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.

You may also want to explore our list of German boy names.

EmmaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "universal"
  • Description:

    Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with the ermen root. A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries—Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002—Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.

AmeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Amelia is derived from the German name Amalia, which in turn is a variation of Amalberga. The root, amal, is a Germanic word meaning "work," and in the context of female given names suggests themes of fertility as well as productivity. Aemilia, the name from which Emily is derived, is unrelated to Amelia.

EllaHeart

  • Origin:

    German; English
  • Meaning:

    "all, completely; fairy maiden"
  • Description:

    Ella has parallel derivations, first as the Norman variation of the Germanic Alia—itself a nickname for names containing the element ali. It’s also a Hebrew name, referring to a tree in the pistachio family or in modern Hebrew, "goddess." In English speaking countries and Scandinavia, Ella developed as a diminutive for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor and Elizabeth.

AliceHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble"
  • Description:

    Alice was derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis. Adalhaidis, from which the name Adelaide is also derived, is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning "noble," and haidu, "kind, appearance, type." Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland popularized the name in modern times.

EmeryHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious"
  • Description:

    The superpopularity of Emily and Emma has recently boosted the unisex Emery, especially since it's also a starbaby via Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn. Emery now ranks among the girls' Top 100 names in the US, though Emma, Emily, and even Emilia are more popular. Emerson and Emmeline are two other popular girl names in the same vein.

AndreaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Andrew, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andrea — a feminine form of Andrew (and a male name in several European cultures) — comes with a good selection of pronunciations — ANN-dree-a, AHN-dree-a, or ahn-DRAY-a — each with a slightly different image: girl next door/slightly affected/downright mysterious

EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    The combination of Emily and Emma's popularity -- and the fact that Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher's daughter is named Emerson -- have put this formerly strictly boys’ name, embodying the gravitas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the limelight for girls.

AdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Ada is derived from the German name Adelaide, which came from the ancient name Adalheidis. The root, adal, is a Germanic word meaning "noble." Ada can also be considered a variation of the biblical name Adah, pronounced AH-da, one of the first girls’ names mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

MillieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Mildred or Millicent
  • Meaning:

    "gentle strength; strong in work"
  • Description:

    Millie is back. It's a Top 100 name throughout much of the English-speaking world, though not yet in the US. Millicent would be an appealing long form, but many people are using Millie all by its cute self -- so many, in fact, that it returned to the Top 500 in 2015 for the first time since World War 2 and continues to climb.

AngelaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "angel"
  • Description:

    Angela was a Top 10 name from 1965 to 1979, the fifth most popular name for three years, and staying in the double digits until the turn of the 21st century. Today, though, Angelina or Angelica would be more fashionable options.

JocelynHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "member of the Gauts tribe"
  • Description:

    Jocelyn has gotten new life and popularity as a result of the current passion for lyn endings. Though it was a male name in medieval times, now Jocelyn couldn't sound more softly feminine.

AdelaideHeart

  • Origin:

    Variant of Adelheidis, German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.

GiselleHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "pledge/hostage"
  • Description:

    Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen undoubtedly gave this name a boost. The French pronunciation (jiz-ELLE) gives it a more graceful, balletic, gazellelike feel.

WillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.

HeidiHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Adelheid; German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Heidi became known—and popular—via the 1880 eponymous children's classic by Swiss writer Johanna Spyri and, despite decades of American Heidis of all sizes, shapes, and personalities, the name seems permanently tethered to that spunky little girl on the Alpine mountaintop in the book and Shirley Temple movie.

AnnaliseHeart

  • Origin:

    Combination of Anna and Lise
  • Description:

    Variously spelled Annalise and Annaliese, this is not a modern smoosh but a traditional German combo-name (the liese part coming from a short form of Elizabeth, with a definite Heidi-esque feel). But though it may be seen as old style in Germany, it's a recent success in this country: Annalise jumped onto the popularity list for the first time in 1997.

MatildaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "battle-mighty"
  • Description:

    The comeback of this sweet vintage name, one of the most stylish girls' names starting with M, has been prompted by a boomlet of starbaby Matildas, beginning with chef Gordon Ramsey's in 2002 and Moon Unit Zappa's two years later. But the renaissance of this name of the charming Roald Dahl heroine was assured when Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger chose Matilda for their daughter.

LoreleiHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "alluring, temptress"
  • Description:

    Its double role as the mother and daughter -- and even grandmother -- on TV's The Gilmore Girls modernized, humanized, and popularized a name previously associated with the mythic seductive siren and the gold digger portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

ZeldaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Griselda
  • Meaning:

    "gray fighting maid"
  • Description:

    Classified as an early beauty, Zelda has long and often been used as such for characters in books and films. Since 1986, Zelda has been a prime Nintendo name, as in the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

AmaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Amalia is a widely cross-cultural name, heard from Italy to Romania, Germany to Scandinavia. The current heir to the Dutch throne is Princess Catharina-Amalia of Orange. It can be pronounced ah-MAH-lee-a or ah-mah-LEE-a. Like Amelia and Emilia, this name is likely to continue to climb. Frequently in the US Top 1000 in the early twentieth century, it spent nearly eighty years off the list until rejoining in 2011.

JohannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Johanna is the version of this name used in Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia. The extra h makes Johanna a slightly more dignified version of Joanna.

MinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish diminutive, also Hindu equivalent of Pisces
  • Description:

    Most famous as a Dracula victim (where Mina is short for Wilhelmina), Mina is an all-purpose name.

KarlaHeart

  • Origin:

    German variation of Carla
  • Description:

    Both Karla and Carla are sliding down the ranks, though Karla remains far more popular in the USA than Carla.

LinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic; Latin diminutive
  • Meaning:

    "tender"
  • Description:

    This pretty, succinct Arabic name is also commonly used as a nickname for names like Carolina.

GretaHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Margarethe
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Greta is an Old World name long tied to the iconic Garbo. Along with other Old Hollywood glamour names, Greta seems to be showing slight signs of a comeback; it was chosen by David Caruso and by Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline for their daughters.

RebekahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "to tie, bind"
  • Description:

    Many parents prefer this spelling of Rebecca, used in some versions of the Bible. Still, it's slipped considerably since its heyday in the eighties and nineties.

AdeleHeart

  • Origin:

    French diminutive of Adelaide
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Credit the award-winning single-named British singer for taking the girls’ name Adele from a quiet semi-retirement back into currency. Adele reentered the US Top 1000 popular baby names in 2011 and has remained there ever since.

    Adele is both a saint's and a royal name, having originated as the French version of the German Adela. It's one of the most stylish girl names starting with A.

    Molly Ringwald chose Adele for one of her twins, and Fred Astaire's first dancing partner was his older sister Adele.

AmelieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Amelia
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Emily gets a Bohemian spin and a French accent when it becomes Amelie. This favorite among French girl names has been gaining notice here thanks to the charming 2001 French film Amelie; it entered the American popularity list in 2002 and is now solidly established in the Top 1000.

EmmelineHeart

  • Origin:

    Old French form of archaic German Amal
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Emmeline is an Emma relative and Emily cousin that is destined for greater use in the wake of the megapopularity of those two names. A recommended Nameberry fave, Emmeline hopped onto the US Top 1000 in 2014 for the first time ever. While it is genuinely an old name, it was rarely used a century ago; only 17 baby girls were named Emmeline in 1915, the same number as were named Ernie!

FridaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    The dynamic personality and paintings of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo have inspired growing numbers of parents to resurrect this form of the name. It does much better in certain European countries, especially in Denmark and Norway. The Frieda and Freida spellings were more popular in the US until the middle of the 20th century.

ClarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Elaboration of Clara
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.

ElsaHeart

  • Origin:

    German diminutive of Elisabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Lost in limbo for decades and decades, Elsa now stands a good chance of following along in the progression from Emma to Ella to Etta, thanks to the ice queen heroine who "Let It Go" in the wildly popular Disney movie Frozen. The name shot all the up to Number 286 (its highest ranking since the 1890s) in the year after the release of the movie, though it's now dropped back down the list in the US.