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?