Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials
That’s good news if you’re considering the second letter of the alphabet for a girl name. Whatever you choose, it won’t be overused, and like some of the names listed here, it may be surprisingly rare.
We’ve gathered 15 of the very best girl names that begin with the letter B. Whether you prefer ancient or modern, short or long, surname or word name, there’s bound to be something for you here. Let the browsing begin!
A nature name with multiple meanings, Bay makes a modern alternative to May and Faye. Two recent celebrity babies – Justin Bieber’s little sister and Zoe Kazan’s daughter Alma Bay – show that it works equally well as a first or a middle.
This energetic name feels vintage but has always been surprisingly rare in the US. It’s royal, it’s literary, it’s rich in nicknames, like Bea, Beattie and Trixie. It’s also a favorite with Nameberry readers for their own children – what better recommendation can you get? More popular Beatrice and European Beata are other options.
One of the best insect names around, Bee can be short for any name beginning with B, but it doesn’t have to. As a standalone it’s sweet, simple, and calls to mind everything associated with bees: busyness, buzziness, hard work, wisdom, and their importance to the ecosystem. It’s sometimes used as a middle name, but is extremely rare in first position. Time to show Bee some love?
Maybe it’s the Beauty and the Beast effect, maybe it’s the rise of Isabelle and Annabelle, or maybe it’s the sleek French sound. Whatever the reason, parents have fallen hard for Belle in recent years. Belle isn’t as popular as her Italian cousin Bella, but it looks like she’ll keep rising. The 2013 movie Belle, starring Guga Mbatha-Raw as the mixed-race heiress Dido Belle, gave the name an extra boost.
A stylish surname that parents have recently fallen in love with for both sexes, though it’s slightly more popular for girls. Bellamy combines a positive meaning – “fine friend” – with nickname options including Bella and Mimi. It looks set to enter the Top 1000 very soon.
Beth is dated, but Bethia makes it fresh again. This Old Testament name is surprisingly rare, considering it’s made up of familiar sounds. It’s the kind of name that may crop up in family trees, as it was used steadily, though not frequently, in Britain from the 16th century. Bithia is an alternative spelling.
This vintage nickname is so old it’s new again. Betty was a star of the roaring 20s, and has an air of glamor and sass, thanks to figures like Bette Davis and Mad Men’s Betty Draper. It would be a sweet way to honor an Elizabeth without using the full name.
From the language that brought you Elle, Fleur and Soleil, comes another French word name. Most of us didn’t consider it as a name until actress Bijou Phillips came along – but with its shiny meaning, it makes an elegant, rare choice.
This is the gentle end of the animal name trend, as well as a lost vintage nickname that deserves more love. Thanks to Busy Philipps and wrestler Brie Bella using it for their daughters, it’s back in the running as a sweet, usable name in its own right.
This cool unisex surname has been big for boys for years, and now the girls are catching up, helped by the rise of Blake Lively. It has a modern sound, but it’s full of symbolic meaning: it can mean either “dark” or “pale”, and brings to mind the visionary poet William Blake.
The happiest name on this list, Blythe is a real namelovers’ name. It ranks 310 on the Nameberry chart, but is not in the US Top 1000. Part of its appeal – besides the Anne of Green Gables connection – is that it sounds as modern as Blair and Blake, but is an old-fashioned word. It would be especially good for a “bonny and blithe” Sunday’s child, as in the rhyme.
You’ll find this sound in plenty of popular names, from Brielle and Brianna to Aubrey – so why not crop them down to friendly, no-nonsense Bree? With namesakes from all kinds of books and shows, from Narnia to Fancy Nancy, it’s a name many people will recognise. If you feel it needs just a little more, consider Breeze or Bria.
Bridget is a modern classic that’s currently in a bit of a slump, making it familiar but not overused. It could be a nod to Irish roots, after one of the island’s most beloved saints. Although it’s lovely in full, there’s also the potential for daringly old-fashioned nicknames like Biddy, Bidu and Bridie. Or for a cosmopolitan vibe, try Brigitte or Birgitta.
If you like Celtic names like Gwendolyn and Elowen, this down-to-earth Welsh export may appeal. Bronwyn is a less traditional but equally lovely spelling, while Branwen is a legendary figure in Welsh tales.
Fresh from the hedgerow, Bryony is truly a sweet spot name: most people have heard of it, but hardly anyone is using it. It has a more feminine sound than popular Bry- names like Brylee and Brynn, and something of a British flavor. Ian McEwan used the spelling Briony for the main character in Atonement, played by Saoirse Ronan in the movie. Other brilliant B botanicals include Briar, Blossom and Betony.
Which B names for girls do you like best?
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.
I’d really appreciate your help with our name choice. We are in Australia, so name trends are different than in the US.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Vowel names have been fashionable for several years now, but while A, E, and O names predominate, we’ve had relatively few great girl names starting with I.
I never cease to be intrigued by the fact that not only do names go in and out of style, but letters do too. And especially vowels. And especially vowels at the start of names.
We’ve had a long period of names beginning with the letter A, which was followed by E-names for both girls and boys, and lately parents have been showing their love for names started with O.
But the letter I has had a pretty paltry presence on the SSA list. There are only 16 I-initialed girls name out of the 1000 total, and of those, four are Isabel-related, and just Iris, Ivy and Isla in the Top 150, and Ingrid and Iliana just hanging in in the Top 900s.
But there are still a number of I candidates for success—or there for the taking for those avoiding popular examples. Here are some recommended off-list names for girls that start with the letter I:
What actually makes a name female or male? Most names seem to have been assigned a strict gender based on previous usage, but recently more and more we are seeing boy names used for girls and girl names used for boys. You could say this is the age of the gender reshuffle.
We make assumptions about the gender of unusual and unfamiliar names based on similarities between them and other names that are maybe more familiar to us, so many of us may take one glance at names such as the Nigerian Ajani, and add them to our girls list (due to the long ‘a’ sound in the middle and the -ee sound ending that also appear in typically ‘girly’ names such as Lana and Emily), when, if we researched a little more, we’d find out that they are typically used for boys in their native cultures. This is how ‘namenapping’ between genders starts – with names that most people are unfamiliar with. If I met a little girl named Ajani, I probably wouldn’t even give it a second thought since I’d have no strong gender assignment in my mind, but this gender swapping opens a gateway to more familiar names being used on different genders.