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Gender: Female Meaning of Caroline: "free man" Origin of Caroline: French, feminine variation of Charles Caroline's Popularity in 2017: #55

The name Caroline is a girl's name of French origin meaning "free man". Caroline is ranked #55 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Vintage Girl Names and discussed in our forums with posts like "Favourite Names in the last signature".

From the experts:

Caroline is a perennial classic, in the Top 100 since 1994. Caroline is elegant, calling to mind the Kennedy Camelot years and Princess Caroline of Monaco.

Caroline came to England with George II's wife, the German Queen Caroline of Ansbach in 1705, and then George IV married another German Caroline in 1795. In the US, Caroline has been a First Lady name via President Benjamin Harrison. Jane Austen named one of her less pleasant characters in Pride and Prejudice Caroline, and the name was also borne by Lady Caroline Lamb, the mistress of the poet Lord Byron, as well as the mother of the Little House on the Prairie brood.

The song "Sweet Caroline" was a huge soft-rock hit for Neil Diamond in 1969, inspired by then-eleven-year-old Caroline Kennedy (for whom he sang it at her fiftieth birthday party).

Carolina is the more feminine (and place name) version, as opposed to the trendier Carolyn.

Find other names based on Caroline using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Caroline

(Wilhelmina Charlotte) Caroline of (Brandenburg-)Ansbach, Queen consort of George II of Great Britain
Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, Queen consort of Christian VIII of Denmark
Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick(-Wolfenbüttel), Queen consort of George IV of Great Britain
Caroline of Baden (born Friederike Karoline Wilhelmine), Queen consort of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
Caroline Matilda of Great Britain, Queen consort of Christian VII of Denmark and Norway
Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi, Princess of Hanover (Monaco)
Caroline Celico Leite (née Lyra), Brazilian socialite and singer, wife of football player Kaká
Caroline Stilwell Burckle, American Olympic swimmer
Caroline Catz, English actress
Caroline B. Cooney, American novelist
Caroline Corinth, Danish model
Caroline Costa, French singer
Caroline Watson, British stylist
Caroline D'Amore, American DJ
Caroline Grace Elizabeth Williams, singer of Christian pop group pureNRG
Caroline Louise Flack, English television presenter
Caroline Cruice Goodall, English actress
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador, daughter of President John F. Kennedy
Caroline Patricia Lucas, English MP
Caroline Jackson, English MEP
Caroline Leaf, Canadian-American film director
Caroline Leavitt, American novelist
Caroline Brasch Nielsen, Danish model
Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls, mother of novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder
Caroline "Carrie" Ingalls Swanzey, sister of novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder
Caroline Adelaide Shaw, American musician
Caroline Amelia Smith, daughter of William Smith & Abigail "Nabby" Adams
Caroline Sunshine, American actress
Caroline Aparecida Trentini, Brazilian fashion model
Caroline Ann O'Connor, Anglo-Australian singer
Caroline Pennell, American singer
Caroline Glaser, American singer
Caroline Glick, journalist
Caroline Hjelt, co-member of duo Icona Pop
Caroline Myss, American author
Caroline Manzo, TV personality
Caroline Proust, actress
Caroline Quentin, English actress
Caroline Ellis, actress
Caroline Rhea, Canadian comedienne
Caroline Wozniacki, Danish tennis player
Caroline Zhang, American figure skater
Caroline Herring, American singer-songwriter
Caroline Ognibene, American child model; twin of brother Peter
Caroline Herschel, German astronomer
Caroline Weir, Scottish footballer
Caroline Judith Botelho, American actress
Caroline Olivia Manning (b. 2015), daughter of NFL player Eli Manning
Caroline Boone Estabrook (b. 2016), daughter of actress Megan Boone
Caroline Dhavernas, French-Canadian actress
Victoria Caroline Beckham, English fashion designer

Pop Culture References for the name Caroline

Caroline Channing, character on TV's "2 Broke Girls"
Caroline Forbes, character in book and TV series "The Vampire Diaries"
Caroline Bingley, character in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"
Caroline Mathers, character in John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars"
Caroline McKinley, character in book "Monument 14" by Emmy Laybourne
Caroline Farrell, character on TV's "Dollhouse"
Caroline Kraft, character in movie "Mean Girls"
Caroline Holden, character on TV's "Baywatch"
Caroline Abbott, character in the American Girl series
Caroline Mortier, character in 1951 French movie "Edward and Caroline"
Caroline Duffy, character on TV's "Caroline in the City"
Caroline Mitchell, character in movie "Serendipity"
Caroline Julian, character on TV's "Bones"
Caroline Wu, character in the "Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls" series
Caroline Martha Hubbard, also known as Linda Arden, character in Hercule Poirot series
Caroline, character in video game "Portal"
Caroline Thibodeaux, main character in musical "Caroline, Or Change"
Caroline Irene "Carreen" O'Hara, character in "Gone with the Wind"
Caroline "Carol" Ferris, character in DC Universe
Caroline Penvenen, later Caroline Enys, character in TV's Poldark
Caroline Frankenstein. character in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Miss Caroline, character in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Caroline Records, record label
"Caroline No", a song by the Beach Boys
"Caroline, Yes", a song by the Kaiser Chiefs
"Sweet Caroline," song by Neil Diamond
"Caroline," song by Old Crow Medicine Show
Radio Caroline, one of the first pirate radio stations in the UK


carocraisin Says:


My name is Caroline and I'm so happy to see so many little Carolines running around! I'm 22 now and genuinely love my name. I only knew two other Carolines growing up.

Nicknames were always confusing for some people, but thank goodness no one my age jumps to "Carol" as a viable nickname. Generally I go by Caroline, and my friend group calls me Caro, which I love. Only downsides growing up were that elderly southern women often pronounced my name "Care-oh-lynn" and I often get serenaded with the song Sweet Caroline.

Aside from Caro, some nicknames that could work include Liney and Cara.

ClassyCarolinaGirl Says:


Caroline is sharp and elegant. Coming from the south and knowing lots of Carolines, I think the name ages beautifully from toddler to adult. Classic and refined for sure.

ClassyCarolinaGirl Says:


Totally agree! Charlotte has unfortunately become overrated...maybe something to do with baby princess...

Kaylon O. Centres Says:


Caroline is the perfect alternative to the overly popular, overused Charlotte, considering this for a daughter in the future.

briarblossom Says:


You can’t go wrong with Caroline . Lovely, timeless, classic. Pretty but not fussy simple but not boring.

Kaylon O. Centres Says:


Caroline is a rarer, more beautiful alternative to Charlotte.

Kaylon O. Centres Says:


Caroline is beautiful in full form. In fact, this is the name I want if I have a daughter.

Mhill46 Says:


Such a beautiful, classy, elegant name that works well on a girl of any age. I'm really crushing on it right now.

Ella Says:


I only know one other Caroline so I would use it.

raefrank Says:


Depending on middle name....Caroline Olive, Caroline Odette, Caroline Olivia.... you could use Coco as a nickname.

Carolinekalmes Says:


Could be confusing! I actually very often have people accidentally calling me Catherine just because of the somewhat similar feel and sound of the name. Not even because there are other Catherines that I know.

Carolinekalmes Says:


I'm in my late twenties and haven't come across too many other carolines in my generation. Just a couple. I've always liked my name as its classic and feminine but not terribly common.
Nickname-wise, I have friends who occasionally call me Caro, but mainly go by my whole name. Some guys would jokingly called me Carol to tease-- mainly because it sounds so much like an elderly woman's name.

kgmst Says:


Callie is my favorite nickname for Caroline. It's the one I've heard most often, too.

hermioneameliastyles Says:


I've never met anyone with this name. I love it. I guess I like it because of Little House on the Prairie. I have always liked this name.

marythefourth Says:


I love this name, but I am such a nickname person and I just don't like any nicknames for this one :(
I hate Carrie, Caro and Liney sound forced and weird to me, Carly and Carol are a little dated. Cara is okay I guess, but I don't love it. I'm expecting my third and I keep coming back to Caroline if it's a girl, but I just don't think it will happen unless I can figure out a nickname I like.

Caroline Kome Says:


I love my name Caroline.Its a very unique name...

WhatKatieDid Says:


I adore Caroline. I like most, if not all names ending with -line but this would be my favourite. It's feminine yet strong and pretty without being frilly. It's not all that common here in the UK but it's certainly not unheard of and if it was pronounced ca-ro-LINE (ka-roh-line) it's clear how to spell it. Lovely name.

kxlly0614 Says:


Caroline and Catherine would be perfect sister names!

Daiseymae Says:


I love Carrie! This was my gr-gr-gr-grandmother's name, and she went by Carrie.

Daiseymae Says:


Charles is male version.

anniebrown01 Says:


I love this name so much! It is classic and old-fashioned while still feeling modern enough for a baby now. Plus, nn Callie is super cute!

Caroline Jennings Says:


Anyone know if there's a unisex version of Caroline?

TheSlothPrincess Says:


Very pretty name! Sounds cheery and sophisticated.

actingfun Says:


I love this name. It's so sweet and "sunshine-y". It's just such a happy sounding name.

snowsbeloved Says:


Yes! I prefer the -LINE versus -LYN pronunciation. I feel the same about Madeline/Madelyn. No Madeline for me because no one will pronounce it right.

Haids1987 Says:


I used to hate this name, thinking it was too "old lady" and unattractive. But the older I get the more I can appreciate its sweet classic sound. It's lovely and historical, and will always be a classic.

katinka Says:


Love Caroline - it's elegant, feminine and really underused now (in the UK - no. 989 in 2014!) Caro is my preferred nickname, but there are lots of wonderful options.

Daiseymae Says:


I agree with almost everyone on here that Caroline is a beautiful name.

SoDallas3 Says:


No problem! Glad to be of help, I think it's very pretty. :)

Bobcat108 Says:


I hadn't ever thought of using Callie as a nn for Caroline, but it definitely works & I love it. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

SoDallas3 Says:


Caroline isn't very popular in Australia at all. But I like it and have always seen it as a lovely classic name. I've heard of Linney (Lin-EE) being used as a nickname for Caroline, as well as Care, Caro and Callie. I like Callie best!

ThistleThorn Says:


most people cal me Caro, but my parents call me Lino.

Margot_86 Says:


I liked this name so much before but then one of the two main characters from a show I DESPISE (called 2 Broke Girls) was named Caroline and I thought that kind of ruined it for me.

scarletbegonias Says:


No way is Caroline too popular! Only 1/500 girls (0.222%) were named Caroline last year.

Zelliew Says:


Yes it's a lovely name

headintheclouds Says:


I love Caroline. In my opinion, it's one of the best classic and timeless girl's names. It's strong and weighty, yet also feminine and graceful. It's the ultimate elegant name to me; Caroline just exudes class and refinery. Plus it suits all ages, from baby to little girl, teenager, young woman and older lady. Can't go wrong with Caroline!

(I actually really dislike Carolyn/Carol/other variants of Caroline. Plus, on pronunciation, Care-oh-LYNN doesn't have the same loveliness as Care-oh-LINE, IMO)

Jinxgirl Says:


Caroline is strong, feminine, and pretty, classic, with many cute nicknames. A good choice

alchemicallypurplefairy Says:



Jennish Says:


I prefer Cara.

RebeccaRose Says:


Sweet Care-oh-LINE (bum bum buh...)

kalanigirl Says:


My sister's name is pronounced care-oh-line (but a lot of people say care-oh-lynn, much to her chagrin). She was named after the Beach Boys song "Caroline, No"

CatBug Says:



ladybug99 Says:


I never thought of Rolly! I like that! Alternatively Lolly would be such a sweet nickname, but maybe with Lucille or Olive...

ThistleThorn Says:


I love this, because it's my name!

lynn_wentworth Says:


Way too popular, but I love this name! It always made me think of a sweet southern belle.

PuppyPaw Says:


I like caroline.

PuppyPaw Says:



thythy Says:


Plain Carol, or Rolly will be cute too.

ladybug99 Says:


What is your favorite nickname for Caroline?

JessicaRose Says:


I don't think we pronounce "cat" the same way either. :D

Caroline Says:


It sounds so elegant and sophisticated!!

Leah3456 Says:


I never really liked this name, until recently. Hearing it over and over again made me really like the name.

Patricia13 Says:


This is one of my favorite names and I love the meaning of it: "Free Man".

ldougie Says:


To me, a Caroline seems like a very very kind and selfless person. That's what comes to mine.

Addie88 Says:


This is my number one choice for a baby girl someday. I love it. It's traditional, refined, and adult, yet still feminine and light.

Nooshi Says:


The pronunciation also depends upon where you live: I've never heard care-oh-line or care-oh-lynn (I'm in Australia). I have only heard it pronounced ca-ro-line, the 'ca' as in cat. It is a lovely name though.

HollyMaxSpencer Says:


I've always thought that it was Care-oh-line, but it's my name so I might be a little biased. Usually care-oh-lynn is the general pronunciation of Carolyn and similar names.

caroblaise Says:


I pronounce my name care-oh-line, along with every other Caroline I know.

CocoWhite Says:


Just wondering: is the generic pronunciation for this name "care-oh-lynn" or "care-oh-line"? I've heard it pronounced both ways before but I've never really been able to tell which is right.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Not bad, but I like Carolina better.

raevynstar Says:


I'm so loving this name! It's wonderful X 5!

caroblaise Says:


My name is Caroline, and I absolutely love it. But the name is growing in popularity, and I know tons of Carolines... just keep that in mind.

Alltheprettynames Says:


This is a beautiful older name that is not even in the top hundred here in Australia, unlike many many other names I like. I'm not a massive fan of Americana and I know it has been popular there for ever but I loved the little house on the prairie series as a girl and I like the reference to that as well.

MaryKathryn Says:


This name is so American to me and I love it! I will forever love this name!