Classic Baby Names: 14 gorgeous under-the-radar choices for girls

Too often, it can feel like all the classic baby names are too, well, ordinary, while all the under-the-radar names stay undiscovered for a reason.  But swimming beneath the Top 1000 baby names are many choices that are both classic and distinctive.We’ve brought 14 such treasures for girls’ to the surface for your consideration.  They encompass a range of styles and origins, from biblical to literary, buttoned-up to offbeat.  One might be right for your baby.

Manipulated image of Princess Antonia by Linnea-Rose


Picture 1 of 14

The lovely Antonia has plummeted straight off the popularity charts over the past 15 years, which is good news if you’re looking for a strong classic that you won’t hear every day. A royal name that originated as a feminization of Anthony, Antonia was immortalized in literature as the title character of Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia. Antonia is a classy choice, but short forms Tonia and Toni take the name downmarket. Stick with the full form.

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55 Responses to “Classic Baby Names: 14 gorgeous under-the-radar choices for girls”

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lanada Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 12:21 am

TWO of my top picks for baby #2 are mentioned here (one for a first and the other for a middle)! Have you been peeking at my list? 🙂

NellieDellie Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 12:44 am

Oh how I love Harriet. Lucinda is another of my favourites mentioned here. Also noticed a lot of these are Berry favs

sarahmezz Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 12:45 am

I waited until the very last name to see my favourite, Susannah! I think you’ve just confirmed it’s use for my first daughter’s name!

MissusAytch Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 1:02 am

With the exception of Marian, Aurelia and Margo, I like all of these.

I really wanted to use a Mar- name to honor family members, and Marcella was at the top of the list, above Marlena and Mariella. Seeing it in this context makes me want to consider Marcella again.

hayleysaunt Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 2:45 am

I love Mabel, Marian/ Marion, and Aurelia. I’m surprised Louisa is not in the top 1000 – such a classic!

gingerkid Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 2:52 am

Awww, crap. Half of my top secret favorite names are on this list! No joke, since 2009 I’ve hoped that if I had another girl someday, I’d get to name her Aurelia Margot.

Cordelia, Louisa, Lucinda, and Susannah have also been on my girl list for quite a while, too. Guess my names aren’t so top secret after all! What’s kind of funny is that, while I love Nameberry, my life has been in turmoil for quite a while and I have rarely spent time on the website in the past year or two. So, I really have no idea what’s up and coming as far as names go anymore. And yet, here I am, right in line with the Nameberry trends!

I also just wanted to say that I will never complain about someone posting a gorgeous ballet picture whenever possible, but I did want to point out that there isn’t a character in the ballet version of Don Quixote named Lucinda. I imagine you all already knew that, but I wanted to share that just because I’m a mega ballet nerd and I take any opportunity I can to pass on semi-useless ballet trivia, haha! The principal female character in the ballet is named Kitri. Gorgeous choice of a photo, by the way!

livia Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 4:35 am

I love this post. Antonia, Aurelia, Clementine, Harriet, Louisa, and Susannah are all on my list.

Is there going to be a boys’ version?

tori101 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 6:27 am

Honestly love so many of these names…
Aurelia – such a pretty romantic name

Clementine – I have a feeling that Clementine will become popular in the UK I’ve already met two.

Cordelia – I love Shakespeare, the conntations surrounding him, the associations of England and the theories about him. I also love the names, Cordelia being one of them.

India – a teacher I once had, named her daughter India after the country that her married her husband in. I love it!

Louisa – such a fresh classic really pretty surprised by Louisa’s lack of popularity.

Margo – Love as a spunky middle name for Juliet or Claire.

Marian – A strong feminine choice

Mercy – I like Mercy I think she’s sweet.

Susannah – I like Susannah a lot she feels very fruity and sweet. Prefer Susannah over Shoshana

Please say there is a boy’s version?!

JennyJenJen0123 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 6:47 am

I have a Susannah and I must say I’ve always gotten wonderful reactions from people about her name. They always repeat it with a sound of wonder in their voices–almost like they are happy she isn’t just one more Bella or Olivia (two names I’ve always liked until they became soooooooo popular).

Mego0801 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 6:49 am

Susannah and Cordelia aren’t too bad, but I don’t care at all for the rest of these names!! I know it’s a trendy Nameberry thing to like old names or names that aren’t stylish so this blog post will probably please alot of Berries, just not me!

Pam Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 7:37 am

JennyJenJen, I would love to have had the chance to name a daughter Susannah — it’s a personal favorite of mine and just so gorgeous. And of course I love all these others too. There will be a boys’ version but I have to say there aren’t as many great classics for boys beneath the Top 1000. There are some great old names, but they feel quirkier.

littlemissmariss Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 8:00 am

This basically sums up my list!! I wish my partner could be more on board with it though, he prefers more mainstream 🙁 If I had a daughter by myself, I would have trouble deciding between Clementine, Mabel, and Harriet!! Oh my gosh I adore those names more than its healthy!!! <3

On the note of Antonia, I think Annie would be a lovely nick name. I entirely agree about Toni and Tonia being less.. gorgeous.

Ah thanks for the list! I loved it!! <3

melissa2 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 8:01 am

India and Susanna are personal favorites. I’ve never warned up to Harriet, but I’d use the stand-alone nn Hattie in a heartbeat (if my DH wouldn’t pass out at the very idea of it).

I see the appeal of Lucinda, but I had a friend in school who was tormented by adolescent boys calling her “LOOSE-end-a… which end is loosest?” Gack.

HerMajesty Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 8:24 am

Most of these are on my favourites list!Antonia, Aurelia, Clementine, Cordelia, India, Margo, Marian, Mercy, Susannah.
And my moms friends name is Lucinda nn Cindy.I love Susannah, but prefer the Shoshannah spelling. Marian is a fav. of mine because of Robinhood☺ and Cordelia I found in an old book about celtic stuff. The rest, I think are pretty, and it suprises me that some of them arn’t in the top 1,000, but hey, I’m not complaining:)

UselessKitty Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 9:51 am

I really like Lucinda, Clementine, Margo (although I prefer the Margaux spelling). I love Cordelia, still trying to get my hubby on board.

Saracita00 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:02 am

Enjoyed seeing your nominations! I wouldn’t use any of these but it was an interesting read. My favorites are Marian, Margo and Susannah but I know ladies in their 20s and 30’s with these names so they are unfortunately “mom names” to me. I’d love to meet some little girls with these names though.

jpruitt76 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:22 am

Lucinda, Margot and Susannah are long-time faves of mine. And Harriet/Hattie and Clementine are newer loves.

I’ve only known one Lucinda in my life (until recently when a college friend used it, although she calls her daughter Lucy). This Lucinda has always gone by her full name and now that she is a grandmother, all the children in the family call her simply “Cinda” – I love it.

Re: Susannah, another intriguing nickname that I think relates would be Sosie.

Mischa Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:29 am

I love Antonia, Aurelia, Clementine, Louisa, Mabel, Margot and Susannah.

I like Harriet, Lucinda, Marian, Marcella, Mercy and Marian.

Cordelia is a little too ultrafrilly for my taste but it’s still a pretty unique choice.

Personally, I don’t think the name India should be on this list because I wouldn’t define it as “classic”.

R_J Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:39 am

Very good list, and accurate in the way it’s described. I love Susannah; it’s becoming a firm second choice on my list.

I read Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” when I was twelve and ever since then, Margot has been a tragic name for me. Poor Margot!

labelo Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:40 am

Love the lists, but no idea where the name information comes from sometimes. The Story of Susannah and the elders is not a New Testament story, it’s part the book of Daniel (found in the Old Testament) and considered apocryphal by Protestants.

LadyCap Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:49 am

Harriet and Cordelia are both personal favorites of mine.

jame1881 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:50 am

Yay Louisa and Mercy! Mercy’s been in and out of my lists for a while, but I think I’m really warming up to it as a future possibility. It sounds so pretty; much prettier than Hope or Faith but with the same lovely (and obvious) meaning.

Pam Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:50 am

labelo, there was a phrase left out of Susannah entry that combined the Old Testament and New Testament figures with this name. Fixed now.

Trillium Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 10:57 am

My top two are in this list *yikes* Pam please say they’ll stay just a little obscure 😉

campash Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 11:01 am

I love this list! I have a 22-month old Susanna; other front runners for her name were Louisa, Marian, Lucinda, and Petra! These names are delicious.

Jamesina66 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 11:04 am

Love a lot of these names, but Louisa, Cordelia, Marion (this spelling is my preference), and Susannah inparticular. I do like Sanna as a nickname, but am partial to Sukey though I am sure Sukiyaki would be a problem.

norskelove Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 11:16 am

I love just about every name on this list! I would have loved to use Susanna (I also considered Sanna as a stand alone name)….it is gorgeous! I also liked Mabel and Marian, but couldn’t convince my husband so we settled on Maren. The name Antonia is one I have never considered, but it is beautiful and strong. India nn Indi is adorable, I have a friend who may use it. I could comment on all of them, they are all wonderful names……great list!

namesage Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 11:22 am

Antonia, Aurelia, Clementine, Cordelia, Louisa, Mercy…all on my list. Spending so much time on Nameberry has skewed my perspective, I believe. I see these names so often in the forums that in my mind I have been starting to think they are “over-used”!

ottilie Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Oh, I love Marian and Marion. So beautiful.

encore Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I love these names!

norskelove Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 1:29 pm

namesage — I totally agree with you! I see some of these names quite often here on nameberry, so they do start feeling “too popular” or “over-used”
But then I run them by friends and family, and they look at me like I have three heads, LOL! Most of my vintage favorites get poor reception with people outside of nameberry, so it is nice to see all the love for them here.

A few more vintage favorites of mine: Frances, Delphine, Henrietta and Martha. Lois and Mavis are growing on me, too.

OhLuna Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 2:16 pm

namesage & norskelove – I’ve had the same experiences as well!


Aurelia has been one of my favorites for a long time, as has Mercy. Antonia has been growing on me for years, and is now one of my GP names. (I know Antonia is a well known name, but since it usually doesn’t fit with my naming style, I consider it a GP for myself!)

I also love that Marcella is mentioned on here – the Mars connection is great 🙂

auroradawn Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I like most of these and agree with the previous posters who’ve said some of them have begun to feel “too popular,” since they’re such Nameberry favorites! It’s good to step back for a moment and realize they’re not overused at all.

My mom recently met a man named Gartley, nn Gart, and since she knows I’m a name nut she asked about his name (it’s a family name derived from a Scottish town. How cool is that?) He has two kids, 5 and 3 years old, so my mom went on to ask about their names: Leland and Margo. Wow! I was impressed. They are also both family names.

edenlyla13 Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Louisa, Lucinda nn Lucia, and Susannah are some of my favourites 🙂

maggiemary Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I love Harriet, Margo, Mabel, Clementine, Cordelia and Aurelia.

Aurra Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I have a thirteen year old friend named Mabel, and it was the first time I’ve ever heard the name. Instead of an old lady feel, I think of the spunky and quirky girl who made a secret handshake with a statue.
Marcella also reminds me of a girl I know, age fifteen, who fits her name perfectly. She’s a class clown who is quite smart.

Susannah is on my short list. It embodies everything I want in a name: easily pronouncable, tons of nicknames (Sunni is my current fav), well known but rare with a classic pedigree and Biblical link.

nativoyoung Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Since I have a daughter named Harriet, I am clearly biased in its favor! I also have a Miriam, which is similar to Marion. We debated between the two. Love these names!! I would seriously consider many of them, but Mercy would be my top pick from this list. So beautiful. So reminiscent of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. 🙂

StrixOniro Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I love Harriet and Margot. I also think of Margot Frank, Anne Frank’s older sister.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Fantastic choices!

If you live in certain name-nerd friendly areas though, I don’t expect you would get to keep many of these as your secret for long though.

Beautiful_Haiku Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 7:26 pm

There are some good choices here… Susannah, Marcella, Aurelia, Antonia, Cordelia…

But, for the life of me, I can never imagine a girl named Harriet!! Not in the US at least… unless she lived in the Upper East Side.

bigsweater Says:

March 1st, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I have a daughter named Susannah Augusta and an daughter named Caroline Cordelia. She named her daughter Cordelia, and if Susannah has a girl she will name her Augusta.

Netta5187 Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 am

Antonia is on my list! Glad to see it on this post. I also really like Lucinda, a variation of my mother’s name Cindy, as well as Susannah and louisa. I’m surprised they’re not on the top 1000!

CatPai Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 11:34 am

Love Marian! Was planning on naming one of my twins Marianne but might just shorten it down to Marian….too bad hubby veto’d Margot, though. How cute would Marian and Margot be!?

Pam Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 11:40 am

Marian and Margot are very cute! But so many great M names if you want matching initials — how about Marian and Marguerite?

southern.maple Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I absolutely adore India, but there seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding it. I would like to see Pam and Linda (or a guest blogger) address it in a blog post.

KarahL Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I do like a lot of these names but I can definitely understand why some of them have fallen out of style. As much as I like the name Harriet, I think a lot of people just don’t want their little girl to have the word “hairy” in her name. I love Margot.

thompssn Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I have a sweet, sweet little Cordelia. If that name hadn’t been “the one”, Clementine would have been in the top three choices. I had a Great-Aunt Clemmie, who passed away during my pregnancy, at 100 years old. I’d have pushed hard for it, if she hadn’t already been Cordelia in both of our hearts and minds.

1here1ontheway Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Definately, not a list for me. I do not know what the push for Clementine is about.

Katespitty Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I had a baby girl on Wednesday and named her Mabel :0)

Jinxgirl Says:

March 3rd, 2013 at 9:47 am

India, Cordelia, Susannah, and Antonia are all on my list!

rgp19 Says:

March 6th, 2013 at 12:21 am

I love Louisa, it has such a classy feel to it. And I just found out that it is a family name, so I might have to add it to my list. I am surprised that Susanna isn’t in the top 1000 anymore.

lisar Says:

March 7th, 2013 at 11:50 am

I love this list! I have a baby girl named Harriet, so obviously we love that one. Mabel, Clementine and Cordelia are favorites too. I have thought about using Marion after my grandmother, and if I have another girl it will be on my short list for sure.

wickedjr89 Says:

October 31st, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I think some are ok but not so much. The only one I like is Cordelia. I could see using Cordelia.

AllisonMY Says:

June 6th, 2014 at 1:17 am

I so, so wanted to name my youngest Louisa back in 1998, but my husband and older two children vetoed it. I guess I was just a decade too soon. 🙂 Obviously, I love Louisa on this list. I also like Mabel

Haili73 Says:

June 6th, 2014 at 10:28 am

This is apparently my list. Antonia is my favorite name and I plan to use it someday, with the nickname Annie.
The novel I’m writing has a character named Aurelia (sister to Briony and Calista).
I’ve written stories with characters named Cordelia Larkin and India.
And my favorite name used to be Mercy Christine.

Growing up, for some reason, I always gave the name Lucinda to the mean girl in my stories. I’ve always liked Louisa, especially after I did a report in sixth grade on Louisa May Alcott. I had a crazier version of the name, Aloysia, as the main character of a story once as well. (twin sister to Zebulon – Ally and Zeb. That story was full of crazy names)

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