12 Zippy Z Names for Girls
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There aren’t very many usable names beginning with Z, and even fewer for girls than boys. Yet the very rarity of girls’ names starting with the last letter of the alphabet immediately gives them an element of distinction, as well as an exotic sound.
Over the years, Zelda has been the longest running American Z girl, in the Top 1000 for most of the years between 1880 and 1967 (and returning just last year). But recently it has been Zoe—and all her spelling variations—that has been the massive hit.
Here they are, along with other, less common, great Z possibilities for girls.
When future novelist Sadie Smith changed her name to Zadie at the age of 14, she knew that it would become more eye-catching. With Sadie having gone more mainstream modern, we might expect to see more Zadies as well.
This evocative multi-cultural name (Hebrew and Swahili) came into the spotlight when Angelina Jolie chose it for her Ethiopian daughter, whose birth name was Teena Adam. Its aural resemblance to Sahara adds a pleasant desert-like feel; Zahara now ranks at Number 502 on Nameberry.
Often used for ‘exotic’ literary characters going back as far as the 17th century, Zara made a modern impact when Britain’s Princess Anne moved out of the royal box and named her daughter Zara in 1981. Zara is now Number 402 in the US, 74 on Nameberry and 28 in Australia. Eddie Murphy used the Zahra spelling for daughter Bella’s middle name. (But bear in mind that Zara is also the name of a popular clothing store franchise.)
Yes, after half a century’s hiatus, Zelda is back on trend, one of the fastest-rising girls’ names of 2015, thanks to Nintendo and renewed attention focused on Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Looking for a Z name with history? This one harks back to the beautiful and intelligent ancient Queen of Palmyra, and is also found in the novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edith Wharton. Tina Fey used it for daughter Alice’s middle name. Bonus: spiritual nickname Zen is an interesting option.
The breezy Zephyr associated with the Greek god of the west wind has been used occasionally for boys, but definitely has crossover potential. The feminine version Zephyrine nudges it closer to Seraphina and Severine. Zephyrine has been used as a royal name.
Both a Hebrew name meaning ‘shadow’ and a German diminutive of Cecilia, Zilla could make a spunkier playmate for Willa.
Different from the other names on the list, with its edgy Z sound a contrast to its colorful floral image. It’s rarely heard in real life, but the seeds are on order from the catalogue and are ready to be planted and bloom in the flower name garden. Zinnia is already Number 516 in Nameberry popularity.
Although it dates back to ancient Greece (it means life), Zoe can be considered a 21st century hit across the English-speaking world, entering the US Top 100 in the year 2000 and then rapidly climbing to its present spot of #33. And variation Zoey ranks even higher! Zooey, as in Deschanel and pronounced Zoe, and Zoie are also in the mix.
With its African roots, literary and athletic (record-breaking runner Zola Budd) ties, this strong, accessible name has found some fans in the celebrisphere, used by both Eddie Murphy and Dweezel Zappa for their daughters. (I kinda love Zola Zappa.) It was in the US Top 100 through 1940.
Once in popular use—it was Number 293 in 1885 and stayed on the list through 1940, Zora has one particularly notable namesake: writer Nora Neale Hurston, one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. Spelled Zorah, it’s a biblical place name.
A name you won’t hear every day—or even every year—Zuleika, an Arabic name meaning fair, has an exotic allure, and is most known as the heroine of the 1910 Max Beerbohm novel Zuleika Dobson, who was so captivating that she caused the entire student body of Oxford University to commit suicide. Equally charismatic was a real-life medieval Egyptian Zuleika. Many spelling variations include Zulekha (as in daughter of model Iman), and Zuleyka.
This charming Slavic version of Susanna is quite common in countries like Poland. And don’t forget that Susanna means lily, so this could make an intriguing namesake for a Grandma Lily, as well as a Suzanne or Susan. And as for the nickname Zuzu, who can forget James Stewart’s adorable little girl whom you watch every Christmas in It’s a Wonderful Life?
So what would be your choice of a girl name starting with Z?
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Toya B Said
on November 15th, 2016 at 2:42 am
the only Z girl I’ve ever met was called Zerlina (eena not eyena), sometimes just called Zee.
on November 15th, 2016 at 2:55 am
I knew sooooo many Zoes in high school. Also there were one or two girls named Zarah spelt wih the h at the end like in Sarah. I think it actually looks pretty good spelt like that.
on November 15th, 2016 at 5:36 am
I would caution against using Zadie, as it’s the Jewish/Yiddish name for Grandfather. However, people are using Poppy, and that’s definitely a grandfather name too.
on November 15th, 2016 at 5:57 am
Our family surname starts with a Z and my name is alliterative so I liked the idea of a Z first name but my partner wasn’t convinced…so now I’m trying to sell him on names with a different letter but similar sound, like Xena and Xenia.
I really like Zinnia and Zellie. In Australia there is an organ donation charity named after a little girl called Zadie
on November 15th, 2016 at 9:16 am
I love Z names, especially Zara, Zelda, Zora, Zephyrine. I find a lot of these aren’t very usable though, the clothing store is really big in my area, the video game (which I hate) is too strong of an association and Zinnia unfortunately thinks of Matilda’s awful mother, Zinnia Wormwood, in the movie/book Matilda.
on November 15th, 2016 at 11:15 am
I knew a girl named Zephira nn Zephy. It was such a cute nn when she was little, and as a young woman the name Zephira made her seem beautiful and exotic!
on November 15th, 2016 at 11:23 am
I appreciate many “Z” names, especially Zoe, Zinnia, Zora, Zara, Zelda, Zephyrine, and Zadie. However I believe some would be hard to wear because their distinctive sound and look makes the associations harder to overlook. I know of young girls with the names Zoe and Zuzu. Personally I would more likely use a “Z” name in the middle over the first name spot.
on November 15th, 2016 at 7:31 pm
So many Zoes! I love Z names and think they are a bold choice. Zoia and Zowia are other Z names I am quite fond of. Zoia is very similar to Sophia and I love how few letters it is.
on November 15th, 2016 at 7:55 pm
Zella should be added to the list!
on November 15th, 2016 at 11:31 pm
my great-grandmother’s middle name was zela, which i always thought was very cool. a much nicer honor name than her given name, dolores 😉
on November 15th, 2016 at 11:33 pm
also, since the traditional spelling of the yiddish is “zayde,” i would count zadie as a different name entirely. i’ve met zadie smith and she would be a very awesome namesake for a little girl!
on November 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am
on November 16th, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Why not Zipporah, the “zippiest” Z name of all?
on November 17th, 2016 at 1:57 pm
“Zenobia” has an awful lot in common with “Xenophobia”… not a trait I’d want for my daughter.
on November 30th, 2016 at 7:38 am
Mine is Zinnia, My best name, Would love to get more baby names, kindly check out this http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_boyname_edwyn.html
on December 13th, 2016 at 4:34 am
Zuleka for a muslim baby girl. See the meaning for the name Kambo http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_girlname_kambo.html
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