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12 Girl Names That Deserve More Love

12 Girl Names That Deserve More Love

Why do some baby names make it big, while others remain under the radar?

Sometimes, it’s a simple question of sound and style. Other times, a celebrity or pop culture connection might be to thank for a name’s sudden rise (or fall). 

But sometimes, even baby name experts are left scratching their heads!

We’ve picked out the 12 best baby girl names that tick multiple trend boxes right now, but are – to our surprise – still super rare in the US.

None of these stylish choices was given to more than 50 baby girls last year, but all feel like they should be getting way more love, based on current baby name trends.

So if you're looking for a girl name that feels both fashionable and original, that stands out on its style merits rather than its shock factor – these are our top picks right now.

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Top Girl Names That Should Be More Popular

The figures in brackets show the number of baby girls who received each name in 2020. For reference, the #1000 girl name (Kadence) was given to 252 girls last year.

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Arbor (32)

We recently highlighted woodsy names for boys as one of the top trends we’re watching right now. But girl names that fit the highly fashionable cottagecore aesthetic are trending in a big way too. 

Flower names like Violet, Iris and Rose, tree names like Hazel, Willow and Aspen, and names with botanical meanings, like Sylvie, Daphne and Flora, are all climbing the charts at the moment. 

Strong yet serene word name Arbor fits right in, plus it shares the sleek shape of popular surname names like Harper and Piper.

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Fia (34)

In its original Gaelic spelling Fiadh (also given to fewer than 50 girls in the US last year), this spirited Irish name has been a smash-hit in its native country in recent years. In 2020, it reached an all-time high of #2 in Ireland and leapt a massive 14 spots to #4 in Northern Ireland.

Lovers of light, bright micro names like Mia, Lia and Aria should appreciate its soft yet feisty sound, and Fia boasts a strong meaning to match: “wild, untamed”.

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Gioia (18)

Joy is fast becoming a vintage middle name du jour – a lesser-used alternative to Rose and May, with a perfect meaning for these turbulent times. The lively Italian form Gioia (JOY-ah) feels like a natural successor to the likes of Gianna, Gia, Georgia and Giulia, but it remains astonishingly rare in the US.

In its native Italy, this sweet and exuberant choice has ranked among the Top 50 girl names since 2014.

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Halston (48)

Designer baby names were one of our top trends to watch last year – and Halston made the list then too! Its tailored style and association with minimalist glamor make it a more subtle option than Armani or Dior, but still with a luxurious flair.

Though super rare for both sexes, Halston made the switch from mostly male to mostly female for the first time in 2019, given a slight boost for girls by up-and-coming actress Halston Sage.

But with the fashion for N-ending surname names for both sexes, as well as the popularity of choices like Harlow, Hadley, Haven and Harper for girls, we’re amazed that this stylish option still sails so far below the radar!

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Junia (48)

June, Juno and Juniper are all darlings of the hipster naming scene right now. All three rank within the Top 200 most viewed girl names on Nameberry, and all are rising in real-life usage across the English-speaking world.

But classical Junia, despite its familiar sounds, doesn’t even make the Nameberry Top 1000, and ranks far below that in the US. In fact, it’s only ever appeared on the American list once, way back in 1883. 

We think it’s a great alternative to Julia that manages to feel classic and totally unexpected all at once.

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Lilac (24)

This delicate flower name has more than just its fragrant natural namesake to recommend it. The double L pattern is huge in girl names right now: think Lily, Layla, Lila, Lola and Lillian.

Color names are also trending, and fellow purple hues Violet, Indigo and Lavender are all on the rise. Lilac makes for a quietly quirky addition to the palette.

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Madigan (25)

Between Madison, Madelyn and their various alternative spellings, there are eleven Maddie names for girls in the US Top 1000. It’s one of the most enduringly popular sounds in girl names for younger Millennials and beyond – joined more recently by soundalike Addie.

But quirky Irish surname Madigan has somehow evaded the mainstream for all that time. It retains its slightly offbeat charm and has a fresh, jaunty sound reminiscent of fashionable choices like Finnegan, Callahan and Sullivan for boys.

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Marvel (39)

The Marvel franchise has boosted countless baby names into the spotlight, from Odin, Loki and Rhodes for boys to Pepper, Harley and even Valkyrie for girls. But how about Marvel itself?

It may sound like a wild new word name along the lines of Legend or Majesty, but Marvel actually has a long history of use in the US. It was a Top 1000 girl name for more than half a century, from 1889 to 1941. Bob Dylan’s high school sweetheart and muse was named Marvel, and Marvel Crosson was the first female pilot to earn a commercial license in Alaska. 

More recently, Brie Larson played the eponymous heroine in Captain Marvel, the first female-led superhero film from Marvel Studios. And rock star Pete Wentz chose the name for his daughter in 2018, sister to the now super trendy Saint.

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Rafaela (47)

Considering the popularity of brother name Rafael, especially among the Hispanic and Latin American community, it’s amazing how underused Rafaela remains! Even when you add together all possible spelling iterations, it still comes in at well under 150 births in 2020.

Romantic Rafaela is a Top 50 choice in Chile and Portugal, and feels like a natural successor to the likes of Isabella, Arabella and Gabriella.

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Seraphine (31)

Saintly Seraphina was thrust into the limelight when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner chose it for their daughter in 2009 – a big surprise after sister Violet! It has been gradually climbing ever since, but is yet to crack the US Top 1000.

The sleek French form Seraphine is far rarer, despite its similarity to the classic Josephine. The chic maternity brand of the same name is a favorite of celebrity parents including Jessica Alba and the Duchess of Cambridge.

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Vega (27)

Luna, Nova and Lyra are all white-hot right now… so why is Vega still such an underused gem?

The name of one of the brightest stars in the night sky is already a Top 20 pick in Spain. Its wonderful dual meanings of “swooping eagle” in Arabic and “meadow” in Spanish also put it in two further fashionable categories: nature names and avian names.

With that punchy initial V and cool, compact shape, we’re convinced that Vega will start to soar in the near future.

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Vivia (26)

Talking of vibrant V sounds, here’s a highly uncommon choice that gives you two for the price of one! Vivia is a rare and romantic relative of Vivian and Vivienne, which shares their lively meaning and the sweet and spunky nickname Vivi.

Livia is starting to be picked up as a more unusual alternative to Olivia, but Vivia is a more distinctive option whose strong sounds are less likely to be misheard as the more popular name.

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

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