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Traditional Girl Names: The Ultimate Guide

November 16, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
traditional girl names

Traditional girl names feel warm and familiar – even those that are far from common for babies born today.

First, there are the core classic girl names, popular since naming records began in the US in 1880. True classics like Anna, Elizabeth and Katherine have all ranked in – or just outside of – the Top 100 for at least a century and a half.

But there is also a large number of uncommon traditional girl names which have a rich history, but are rarely used today. Cool categories of traditional names for girls include vintage names and Biblical names, which are full of stylish choices with a strong, timeless feel.

Here, Nameberry’s ultimate guide to finding the perfect traditional girl name.

Top Classic Girl Names

The most enduring traditional girl names are the elite group of timeless classics that have proved popular throughout the centuries.

The top traditional girl names include classic royal names like Charlotte, Elizabeth and Victoria – as well as some that might surprise you! Who’d have thought that Cecilia, Josephine, Nina and Veronica have all ranked in the US Top 500 since records began?

Many Biblical names for girls, like Sarah, Lydia and Ruth, also belong in this group. But there are so many Biblical choices that qualify that they deserve their own category (see below).

Here are 25 timeless traditional girl names that have always ranked in the US Top 500.

Alice
Amelia
Anna
Caroline
Cecilia
Charlotte
Christina
Elizabeth
Emily
Emma
Evelyn
Grace
Helen
Jane
Josephine
Julia
Katherine
Laura
Lillian
Margaret
Maria
Nina
Rose
Veronica
Victoria

Unique Traditional Girl Names

When it comes to girl baby names, traditional doesn’t always have to mean popular!

There are a whole host of rare classic girl names that are rich in history, but rank outside of the current US Top 1000 – just waiting to be rediscovered by vintage name lovers.

Some of these are once-popular choices which now feel ripe for revival, like Agnes and Viola (already very popular in Italy). Others are simply highly unusual names with a long history of use, like Eulalie, Guinevere and Verity.

Here are 25 unique traditional girl names below the Top 1000.

Agnes
Antonia
Blythe
Cecily
Constance
Cordelia
Delphine
Dorothea
Eulalie
Georgina
Guinevere
Honor
Isadora
Lavinia
Leonora
Lilia
Marguerite
Marianne
Rosalind
Therese
Una
Ursula
Verity
Viola
Wilhelmina

Cool Vintage Girl Names

Vintage names are a stylish subset of the traditional girl names. They have a sweet, old-fashioned feel, but also a cool, current appeal.

The most popular vintage girl names of the moment include botanical choices like Iris, Ivy and Violet – which have all more than doubled in use over the past decade. Less common vintage options with quirky retro flair include Beatrix, Opal and Zelda.

Here are 25 of the best cool vintage names for girls, from fashionable favorites to forgotten gems.

Adelaide
Beatrix
Clementine
Cleo
Colette
Daphne
Edith
Emmeline
Flora
Frida
Greta
Harriet
Hester
Iris
Margot
Matilda
Maxine
Odette
Opal
Pearl
Sylvie
Violet
Virginia
Winifred
Zelda

Traditional Biblical Girl Names

Bible names for girls have proved enduringly popular throughout the ages, with classic Biblical choices like Esther, Lydia and Rachel ranking in the US Top 500 since naming records began in the late 19th century.

But even rare Biblical girl names like Dinah and Magdalen have a cultural and historical weight behind them which grants them traditional status.

Here, 25 Biblical girl names from all over the popularity spectrum, which all share that cozy traditional feel.

Abigail
Adah
Bethany
Carmen
Dinah
Esther
Eve
Hannah
Jemima
Joanna
Judith
Leah
Lydia
Magdalen
Martha
Mary
Miriam
Naomi
Rachel
Rebecca
Ruth
Sarah
Susannah
Tabitha
Tamar

Traditional Nicknames for Girls

If some of the traditional girl names above feel a bit too heavy or formal for you, there’s always the option of using a short form on its own.

The nickname-loving Brits are streets ahead of the US on this trend: Evie, Rosie, Daisy, Millie and Maisie are all Top 50 picks in England and Wales. But there is actually a long tradition of nickname names in America, too. Annie, Elsie, Lena and Sadie have all ranked in the Top 50 in the past, and feel sweet and youthful again today.

Here are 25 traditional nicknames for girls which feel substantial enough to stand alone.

Annie
Belle
Billie
Bonnie
Caro
Daisy
Dora
Elsie
Etta
Gwen
Josie
Kate
Lena
Lula
May
Maggie
Molly
Nancy
Nell
Pippa
Polly
Romy
Sadie
Tess
Thea

To read next…

Traditional Boy Names: The Ultimate Guide

180 Victorian Girl Names

50 Cool Vintage Baby Names

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles