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. Several of our picks from previous years, such as Halston and Junia, have gone on to climb the charts for real.

Read on to see the cool, rare girl names we think deserve more love this year!

Best Cool Unique Girl Names Now

None of the stylish choices listed below was given to more than 50 baby girls in 2022, but all feel like they should be much more popular, based on current baby name trends.

The figures in brackets show the number of girls who received each name last year. For reference, the #1000 girl name (Kahlani) was given to 260 baby girls.

Arbor (31)

Wild, woodsy, cottagecore names have proved one of the biggest trends of the pandemic years, as parents reconnect with the natural world and indulge in some much-needed escapism.

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

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

Bluma (12)

The nature-inspired names mentioned above all share a sleek, multicultural sound and style which gives them broad appeal. But if you’re put off by their popularity, Bluma is a much rarer option to consider.

Like Flora, it’s feminine but frills-free, assimilates easily into many languages, and even shares the attractive floral meaning. And cool bohemian nicknames like Bloom and Blu(e) only add to its appeal.

Deriving from the Yiddish word for "flower", Bluma could also make for a perfect fresh and modern Jewish baby name to honor family heritage.

Delphine (50)

French names carry an effortlessly chic aura in the English-speaking world – even those, like Sylvie and Elodie, that are actually past their peak in their native land.

Delicate Delphine belongs in the same category. A 70s hit in France, it has never hit the mainstream in the US and retains a fresh, sophisticated charm bolstered by its proximity to contemporary classics Daphne and Josephine.

Della or Delphi, the sweet short forms, feel very on trend right now. And the latter also comes with plenty of history and connotations of wisdom, as in the famous Oracle of Greek legend.

Isolde (15)

Mythology names are no longer limited to the classical canon of Ancient Greece and Rome! New entrants to the Top 1000 in recent years include Celtic Guinevere, Egyptian Osiris, and Sanskrit Aarna, an epithet of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.

Isolde has its origins in Arthurian romance, but while her mythical lover Tristan has found favor with modern parents, Isolde remains astonishingly underused.

We expect girl names with harder sounds to rise in the coming years, as a reaction to the vowel-rich, flowy, frilly names topping the charts right now. Isolde feels like a natural successor to the likes of Isabella and Isadora.

Lilou (20)

This sweet and lively choice is a quirky European relative of the perennially popular Lily and Lou names. It has ranked in the Top 100 in Belgium, France and the Netherlands in recent years, but is virtually unknown this side of the Atlantic.

Lilou benefits from the alluring double L shape that so many fashionable girl names of the moment share: think Lila, Lola, Liliana, Lula, Layla, Leilani… And yet its distinctive OO ending sound gives it a quirky twist that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Lilou feels like a great alternative to Lou or Lulu for lovers of the upbeat, nicknamey style who don’t want a longer “formal” name to be assumed.

Marvel (30)

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.

Mavi (16)

May names are rivalling even the double L names in the style stakes right now. Maeve, Maisie, Mabel, Mavis and Maven have all risen in recent years, along with May or Mae itself.

Mavi is a cool, contemporary international name that has real potential in the current naming climate. In Turkish it means “blue” and is pronounced with a long A sound: mah-VEE. But in the US, MAY-vee feels more likely.

The I ending has finally bounced back from style limbo following the era of Lori and Teri, and Mavi is one of the most intriguing new options to watch for the next generation.

Nico (31)

A smash hit for boys in recent years, Nico currently ranks at #236 and Niko at #287 on the boys’ side. With the recent popularity of masculine and unisex names for girls, as well as O-ending names for both sexes, we’re amazed that Nico remains so rare for American baby girls!

Like stylish choices from Joni to Stevie, Nico boasts an old-school cool musical namesake, and it could also make an excellent contemporary honor name for an ancestral Nick or Nicole.

Actress Thandiwe Newton has a daughter named Nico, sister to the very on-trend Ripley and Booker.

Odelia (38)

Light, lyrical girl names containing prominent E, L and O sounds are emblematic of the current naming climate. Hot girl names our visitors are searching right now include Ophelia, Olivia, Elodie, Ottilie and Aurelia.

If you love this stylish name sound but dislike the increasing popularity of options like those listed above, Odelia is a pretty and distinctive alternative to consider.

With a double derivation from Hebrew (meaning “I will praise God”) and German (meaning “wealth, prosperity”), it’s a surprisingly cross-cultural option with plenty of appealing nickname potential.

Saffron (18)

Never given to more than 35 babies per year in the US, Saffron is a bold and luxurious nature name that has proved much more popular in the UK. It peaked just outside the Top 100 there in 2000 and still ranks well within the Top 1000 today.

Belonging to a highly valuable, brightly colored spice, Saffron is a great botanical option for parents who prefer girl names with a more androgynous sound than the likes of Lily and Posie.

Nickname Saffy is both sweet and spunky, and we think Saffron strikes the perfect balance stylistically: quirky yet familiar, unexpected yet wearable.

Vega (40)

Luna, Nova and Lyra are all flying high 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 its punchy initial V and cool, compact shape, we’re convinced that Vega will start to soar in the near future.

Vivia (13)

Talking of vibrant V sounds, here’s a highly uncommon choice which 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 sparky 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

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from the top baby name trends 2023 to how not to choose the next big baby name. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking.

Emma's articles on names and naming trends have been featured in publications including the Huffington Post, People, Today's Parent, Fatherly, and Good Housekeeping.

A linguist by background, Emma speaks several languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and four young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.