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20 Amazing A Names for Girls

From Abilene to Azalea

By Clare Green

Girl names starting with A are first in the alphabet and first in parents’ hearts. A has been the most popular initial for American girls’ names for years.

Our favorite A names for girls change with each generation. Thirty years ago, Amy, Amber, Ashley and Amanda dominated the charts. Today you’re much more likely to meet a young Ava, Abigail or Amelia (all are in the Top 10).

We’ve assembled some of the very best A names for girls, the ones we’d suggest to a friend. They range from vintage to modern, popular to rare, and from traditional classics to borrowings from other cultures. What they have in common (apart from the letter A) is that they’re all absolutely awesome.

Girl Names Starting with A

Abilene

Like Abigail but much rarer, this place name combines two cool styles: biblical and Wild West. Unlike other -lene names, it was barely used before the 1990s, so you’re not likely to know a grown-up Abilene. You probably won’t meet  many young ones either, as it’s given to under 100 girls each year.

Adelaide

Once buttoned-up and dusty, Adelaide has had a huge revival in recent years. Part of the appeal is its distinctiveness. There are many variations of Adeline/Adelyn/Adalynn, and they risk getting lost among all the other -lyn names. But there’s only one Adelaide.

Ada

What a difference a letter makes! Ada has all the simplicity of Ava, but isn’t so…everywhere. In an age where coding is a valuable skill for kids to learn, the namesake Ada Lovelace, the grandmama of computer programming, is very relevant. Her first name, Augusta, is another possibility.

Agnes

This gentle great-grandma name is so old it’s new again. (I actually did have a great-grandmother called Agnes.) The revival has already begun in the UK, where it’s a Top 400 name. Aggie is a cute nickname, but if you find the “g” too harsh, Annis and Anise reflect the historic pronunciation.

Alba

The name of the child in The Time Traveler’s Wife captured the world’s imagination: Alba has doubled in use since the book was first published. Part of the appeal is that it works across several languages, with great meanings in all of them. It’s the Gaelic name for Scotland, it means “dawn” in Italian, and you could also see it as the feminine form of Albus.

Alice

A true classic that never goes out of style, Alice declined in the 1980s and 90s but is now firmly back in favor. The Alice in Wonderland movie remake may have helped. The recent royal babies certainly did. Alice was a frontrunner for a girl each time, and although William and Kate didn’t use it, it came to public attention as a name fit for a princess.

Amabel

That’s not a typo! Amabel is more distinctive than its sister Annabel, with the attractive meaning “likeable” or “lovable”. Nowadays it’s a real rarity, never used more than 10 times in any year.

Amelie

Amelie is to Amelia as Sylvie is to Sylvia: fresher, more streamlined, and with added French chic. It’s been in the Top 100 in England and Wales for over a decade. Will it ever get there in the States?

Amethyst

One of the lesser-used jewel names, Amethyst didn’t seem like a possibility until rapper Iggy Azalea (real name Amethyst Amelia Kelly) came along. Now it’s not only usable but also cool. It’s especially good for a February baby, as Amethyst is the birthstone for that month.

Amity

Who can argue with friendship? Unlike the more grandiose word and virtue names, sweet Amity has a meaning that everyone can aspire to. It could be a way to honor a name from the same root, like Amy or Amanda.

Anais

Is it a diminutive of Ana? Or from the Persian goddess Anahita? Either way, parents are starting to take notice of this streamlined French name. It’s easily recognisable, thanks to the author Anaïs Nin, but still below the Top 1000.

Antonia

Roman gravitas meets the four-syllable rhythm that’s so popular in names like Olivia and Emilia. If you’re going to use a nickname, Annie and Nia are fresher options than Toni.

Aphra

A true rarity with a kickass namesake in Aphra Behn, the early modern writer and spy. Fun fact: it may come from the Anglo-Saxon name Æthelthyth, making it a cousin of Audrey.

Arabella

Long popular in the UK, classy Arabella has finally made an impact across the Atlantic. With its elegant sound and several possible nicknames, it seems destined for the Top 100 soon.

Aspen

One of the most usable tree names, Aspen is a great option for nature lovers – or skiing fans, as in the Colorado resort. It’s a unisex name, but more popular for girls.

Astrid

The hottest Nordic name on the block, part of Astrid‘s appeal is its distinctive sound: there’s no mistaking it for any other name. It ranks 714 in the US, but 44 for Nameberry users, a strong sign that it’s likely to climb higher. Annika is a more established but still lovely Scandi import.

Athena

Deity names aren’t just for boys. Athena (or Athene), goddess of warfare, wisdom and weaving, is one of the most powerful figures in the Greek pantheon, and a strong namesake. It’s also the Greek form of Athens.

Aurelia

Sound-wise, Aurelia has all the appeal of rising stars Aurora and Ophelia. Meaning-wise, gold has all sorts of significance, from autumnal color for a fall baby, to honoring grandma Goldie. (Which would be a cute nickname for Aurelia.)

Avalon

A dreamy place name that you won’t find on many maps. We love the connection to King Arthur‘s resting place, and that it sounds like a fresh twist on Ava. Similar-sounding Avonlea is another literary place name option.

Azalea

Beyond Lily and Rose, there’s a whole bouquet of modern floral names. With its bold pink blooms, Azalea is striking as both a flower and a name.  Acacia, Aster and the French version Azelie are other options.

What’s your favorite of these amazing A names?

(photo credit: Reana @ Dreamstime)

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9 Responses to “20 Amazing A Names for Girls”

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jjayx Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 4:12 am

Adelaide, Ada and Arabella have long been favourites. Alma is another A name I love and can see taking a rise up the ranks soon. A major guilty pleasure of mine is Aphrodite.

metami43 Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 6:23 am

On the list Avalon was my favorite. I also like Arabella. Others for me are
Autumn (named my daughter that)
Ayla
Anya
Aurora
Audrey
Azizi

Afton is a GP.

Janie_Larkin70 Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 8:30 am

I think I love every single one of these! Abilene is particularly darling and so, so different, yet familiar sounding. Nice list! I don’t currently have any expectant parent friends, but, this would be a list to share.

QuirkFlower Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 8:38 am

I love Avalon, Avonlea, and Azalea. I agree with pp about Alma, as well. So much warmer than Alba.

katinka Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 2:00 pm

I especially love Agnes, Alba, Astrid and Athene here (one of them is on my list for #3!)

Other A names I adore are Anna, Anouk and Anoushka, Antigone (Tiggy!), Arrietty, Apolline and Ariadne. Such a versatile letter!

CocoaPuff Says:

November 19th, 2018 at 3:49 pm

Athena is great, one of the most interesting meaningwise.

marlena1300 Says:

November 20th, 2018 at 7:00 am

Ada and Aspen are lovely names!

livialucille Says:

November 21st, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Araminta nn Minty is a rarer variation on Arabella.

jame1881 Says:

November 24th, 2018 at 7:04 pm

I like Anwen too. Anything with the nickname Annie is good imo!

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