Disney Princess Names
Disney Princess names are full of magic and wonder. From the timeless Aurora and Belle to more recent protagonists Elsa or Raya, Disney Princess movies give us a plethora of pretty names to choose from.
Many successful Disney movies have significantly impacted naming trends, and the princess characters are historically some of the most influential. Let's take a closer look at some of the beloved Disney Princess names.
Disney's Wish debuts in theatres tonight (November 22, 2023), introducing the newest princess heroine, Asha. The film is Disney's celebration of 100 years of the Walt Disney Animation Studio, with the premise surrounding the iconic star as referenced in Disney's mantra "when you wish upon a star".
The name Asha is of Sanskrit and Swahili origin, with meanings that may be interpreted as hope, life, or wish (how fitting!)
Asha was used in small numbers in the '90s but has never moved past the bottom of the charts. It is a gorgeous but simple name that we expect to see rise as the world meets this new royal namesake.
Official Disney Princess Names
Disney Princesses are some of the most iconic, recognizable, and marketed faces of Disney, apart from the beloved Mickey Mouse of course.
The most popular Disney Princess name is currently Aurora at #31, but Briar, Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Tiana, Elsa, Anna, and Raya also rank in the Top 1000.
Here are the names of the official Disney Princesses — from 1937's Snow White to 2021's Raya — plus a deeper dive into the history of their names as well as how their films influenced their name's popularity.
The first-ever movie produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1937 was the beloved Snow White. While her full name has never charted — nor will it likely ever due to the harmful message of the damsel's beauty being centered around her fair, "snow-white" skin — her first moniker Snow has a lot of potential today.
Snow is a unique yet obvious nature name that feels very fashionable today. Snow would be a lovely and unexpected middle name (especially for a winter baby), or would make a statement as a first name for either sex. Disney is working on a live-action adaptation of the story to be released in 2024 — will this give the name Snow a boost?
One of the most widely known fairy tales of all time is the rags-to-riches story of Cinderella. From endless international book adaptations of the story to modern romantic-comedy movies such as Ella Enchanted and A Cinderella Story, Cinderella is everywhere.
Disney's Cinderella, released in 1950, was based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, but the story's origins are thought to stem back to ancient Egypt as recounted by Greek geographer Strabo. Disney's story takes place in France, as reflected by the heroine's name.
The name Cinderella is meant to be a mashup of Cinder, as in ashes, and Ella, meaning girl. While Cinderella has not, nor will it likely ever, get any sort of significant use as a given name, some retellings provide a different perspective on the heroine's name.
In Disney's 2015 live-action adaptation, as well as the 2013 Broadway adaptation, the character's real name is Ella, and Cinderella is merely a teasing nickname given by her evil step-sisters due to her job of sweeping chimneys. Ella definitely has a lot more potential, currently ranking at #25 in the US after resurfacing from its 100-year hiatus.
It should also be noted that the name Cindy rose significantly after the original Disney movie's release, reaching its peak a few years later in 1957. Coincidence? Maybe. Cindy was already on the rise, but I like to think a few parents may have been inspired by the sweet Cinderella.
The film Sleeping Beauty was released in 1959, featuring the beautiful princess heroine Aurora. In the Brothers Grimm fairy tale after which the movie was based, the princess is referred to as "Little Briar Rose". Tchaikovsky, however, referred to the princess as Aurora. Disney decided to incorporate both beautiful monikers into their movie adaptation, with the princess's birth name being Aurora, and her alias while in hiding from the evil Maleficent being Briar Rose.
The name Aurora is of Latin origin, meaning "dawn" — the name of the Roman goddess of the sunrise whose tears turned into the morning dew. Aurora is also associated with Aurora Borealis, the scientific term for the Northern Lights. Both of these beautiful associations, along with the Disney Princess, give Aurora a shimmering, magical feel.
Aurora did not see any rise in use following the 1959 Sleeping Beauty — on the contrary, it was at one of its lowest points in popularity during those years. Today it is at its peak, sitting at #31 in the US and consistently rising. Aurora is even more popular on Nameberry, at #10, as well as enjoying popularity in the UK, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain among many other countries.
Briar is rising for girls as well in recent years, after entering the Top 1000 in 2015, and now sitting at #579. This gender-neutral nature name means "thorny patch", and is also on the rise for boys. The full name Briar Rose was used by celebrity parents Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen, but either Briar or Rose by themselves are lovely options.
Ariel was on everyone's lips following the announcement of a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid that was released in May of 2023. The original movie, with its oh-so-catchy soundtrack and lovable, naive, red-headed mermaid, debuted in 1989.
Ariel is a Hebrew name held by a (male) angel in Jewish and Christian mysticism, who was the messenger of Ezra. The name Ariel, meaning "lion of God", also makes several appearances through male figures in the Bible. Ariel was given to baby girls starting only in the late 1970s. Before then the name was strictly seen as a boys' name, and in parts of the world it still is today — In Israel Ariel is Number 3 for boys.
The name Ariel was already rising for girls for a few years prior, but the movie gave it a big boost — it went from Number 276 the year before the movie hit the theaters to Number 66 at its peak in 1991. The more elaborate spelling Arielle had a big rise in those years as well. Today Ariel sits at Number 237, while the variation Ariella has now surpassed the original, ranking at #183. Time will tell if the live-action reboot helped put Ariel back on the map.
The beloved, book-smart Belle debuted in the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. The name Belle quite literally means "beautiful" in its native French, perfect for the French heroine referred to as "Beauty" in the film's title. Belle has become synonymous with a beautiful woman in the US as well, as seen in phrases like "Southern belle" and "belle of the ball".
The name Belle charted until 1934, before falling off for a good number of years. The 1991 Beauty and the Beast caused a small rise in popularity for the name Belle, but not enough to push it into the Top 1000. It made its way up to Number 808 in 2017, the year Disney released the live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson.
Despite Belle remaining rare today, its cousin names have been taking off. From Isabelle to Bella to Annabelle, "bell" names are very stylish today, making Belle a beautiful option for parents looking for a name that stands out while fitting in.
Jasmine took the world by storm as the first POC Disney Princess, beginning a new era for Disney. The film Aladdin was released in 1992, taking place in a fantasy kingdom thought to be located somewhere vaguely in the Middle East or South Asia (although the original fairy tale took place in China).
Jasmine stems from the Persian yasmin, referring to the jasmine flower. The fragrant oils from the flower were used as a perfume throughout the Persian Empire, giving the name a hint of luxury.
The name Jasmine was already in the Top 50 at the time of the movie's release, after a fast rise in popularity throughout the 80s. Jasmine stayed in the Top 100 until 2014 and sits at Number 178 today. Other variations also enjoyed popularity around the years of the movie's release, including Jasmin, Jazmin, and Jazmine, but these have all fallen out of favor much more than the original spelling.
The 1995 film Pocahontas tells a very loosely based, very romanticized, and quite controversial version of the story of the historical figure Pocahontas. Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the chief of several Algonquin Native American tribes in today's Virginia.
The Disney movie features a romantic relationship between a grown Pocahontas and a similarly aged John Smith, whereas in real life Pocahontas was merely a 10-year-old girl when the adult John Smith recounted meeting her, and their relationship was nothing near romantic. The real Pocahontas was named Amonute, and known as Matoaka, but was called Pocahontas as a childhood nickname (the meaning of which is interpreted as "playful one").
The name Pocahontas has never charted in the US, nor should it — the large majority would agree the name, as well as Amonute and Matoaka, should not be used by anyone without Algonquin Native American ancestry.
The film Mulan debuted in theatres in 1998, retelling the story from a Chinese mythological ballad that dates back to the Northern Wei Dynasty in China around 386-535 CE. Mulan is a unique Disney Princess due to the fact that, well, she isn't even quite a princess. She is not royal herself, nor is her love interest Li Shang.
Regardless, the film was very well received, likely due to the dangerously catchy tunes, hilarious sidekick dragon, and the strong, badass character Mulan. Mulan joined the Disney Princess franchise as the first Asian princess and remained the only Asian representation until the 2021 film Raya and the Last Dragon.
Mulan is a Chinese name, meaning "magnolia". The name Mulan has never charted in the US, but began to be used in small numbers in the US starting in the year of the movie's release, and has been used for a handful of baby girls each year since.
Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog brought the world the long-overdue representation of the first (and still only) Black Disney Princess. Tiana's story demonstrates the power of hard work, determination, humility, following your dreams, and more.
The name Tiana is of Slavik origin, meaning "fairy queen", but may also be related to names such as Tatiana, Christiana, and Bastiana. This dainty name had a period of popularity in the '90s, reaching its peak in 1995 at Number 267 before a slow decline. Following the release of The Princess and the Frog in 2009, Tiana had a resurgence of popularity, rising 317 spots. Today Tiana sits at Number 661.
Disney's Tangled introduced the optimistic, bubbly heroine Rapunzel. Based on the well-known fairy tale, Rapunzel is originally based in Germany. The Disney film, released in 2010, did not do much for the name itself — Rapunzel remains a one-woman name due to the unescapable association, similar to Cinderella. Rapunzel has never charted in the US, nor will it likely ever for this reason.
In German, Rapunzel is the name of several varieties of wild-growing, edible leaves. The German fairy tale was recorded and made famous by the Brothers Grimm, along with many other stories that Disney adapted into movies.
This endearing Scottish redhead was the first princess from a Pixar movie to join the franchise. Merida also paved the way for future Disney Princesses by being the first heroine without a love interest. Instead of romance, her story centers around family and responsibility. Her movie, Brave, hit the theaters in 2012.
Merida is of Latin origin, meaning "one who has achieved a high place of honor", and is a place name found in both Spain and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula — long story short, the name is actually not at all Scottish.
Merida has never charted in the US despite having a lovely sound, an appealing look, and a great character namesake. The name did experience a spike in popularity following the release of the film, but not enough to push it into the Top 1000. Merida would make a beautiful and unique way to honor a familial Mary or Meredith.
Frozen took the world by storm in 2013. If you spent any time around kids (or even if you didn't) you likely could not escape the Elsa and Anna merchandise or get the Academy Award-winning song "Let it Go" out of your head.
The name of the snow queen Elsa was slowly rising when the movie was released yet was off most peoples' radars. This shifted quickly, and Elsa shot up in popularity, rising 265 places in two years. After the initial wave of love for everything Frozen, it seems that many parents tired of the Elsa buzz, and the name fell out of favor even more quickly than it rose. Today Elsa sits at Number 994, the lowest it has been since 1998.
Elsa is a German diminutive of Elizabeth, meaning "pledged to God", and has been used consistently in the US throughout history. It may take a few more years for the strong Disney association to die off, but Elsa is such a lovely name that we know it will come back eventually. If you're looking to avoid the frozen references, Elsie is another variation that has been on the rise in recent years.
We can't forget Elsa's freckled, bubbly little sister Anna!
The name Anna is one of the most classic girl names out there. It is a variation of the Hebrew name Hannah, meaning "grace". There are endless variations of Anna, including Anne, Nancy, Anya, Annie, and Anika. The spelling Ana is also a pretty option, being one of the most common Hispanic girl's names in the US since the '90s.
The lowest Anna has ever ranked was Number 106, and today it sits at 83. The Disney heroine pronounces her name "AH-nuh", as it is said in many areas of the world including Nordic regions such as where her movie takes place. Frozen did not seem to have any impact on the popularity of the name Anna as it did with Elsa, possibly due to Anna's prior history of popularity, or perhaps due to the hassles one may face in the US if using the character's alternative pronunciation.
Disney's 2016 film introduced the strong-willed wayfarer Moana. Moana is the first Polynesian princess, with the fictional island taking inspiration from the cultures of Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and other Polynesian islands.
The name Moana (pronounced "mo-AH-nuh") is of Maori and Samoan origin and is heard often in New Zealand. Moana means "deep ocean" or "sea" — very fitting for the sea-loving princess. This attractive and evocative name had a spike in popularity in the US following the release of the movie but never made it onto the Top 1000.
The most recent Disney Princess to join the lineup comes from Disney's 2021 film Raya and the Last Dragon. The movie follows warrior princess Raya as she saves her kingdom — a fictional land in South Asia — along with her sassy dragon friend Sisu. Raya was promoted to an official Disney Princess in August of 2022.
The name Raya is Hebrew, meaning "friend". In the film, Raya is pronounced "RYE-uh", but some may also choose to pronounce it "RAY-uh". Raya is rising fast — it entered the Top 1000 in 2020 and has rise all the way up to Number 402 in 2022. We expect this simple and beautiful name will continue to climb the charts quickly as a fresh alternative to popular Maya and Kaia.
These heroines are not technically Disney princesses — they didn't quite make the cut for one reason or another — but their names deserve recognition and consideration nonetheless.
Disney's Encanto made a big impact with its release in 2021. The quirky and relatable protagonist Mirabel is easy to love, as are the numerous well-developed side characters. Mirabel is not currently a Disney Princess — her movie is too recent — but some speculate she may become one in the near future what with the film's huge success.
The name Mirabel is Latin, meaning "wonderful". Mirabel has a lot of potential — this gorgeous name would fit right in with Isabel and Annabel, and we see it rising into the Top 1000 soon.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, released in 1996, was a big step away from Disney's typical heart-warming films. The film features the protagonist Quasimodo as well as the beautiful Esmeralda. Esmeralda is a young Romani woman who is a dancer as well as an outspoken activist. The film highlights the oppression and horrible mistreatment of Romani people in 15th-century Paris.
When Disney first created their Disney Princess franchise, Esmeralda was included in the lineup. However, the dark plot of her movie was not received well at the box office, and Disney demoted Esmeralda from the franchise as they determined she was not as marketable.
The name Esmeralda is Spanish and Portuguese, meaning "emerald". In the novel on which the Disney movie was based, Notre-Dame de Paris, the protagonist's name was Agnes but called "La Esmeralda" due to the emerald she wore around her neck. The name has charted since the 1950s, but the movie's release pushed Esmeralda to its peak of 134 in 1998. Today Esmeralda sits at Number 371 and feels familiar but never overdone.
Disney put a comedic spin on an ancient Greek legend in the 1997 film Hercules. Hercules' love interest in the film is the head-strong Megara, called Meg for short. In Greek mythology, Megara was Hercules' first wife — a Theban princess "gifted" to the hero by her father Creon. The Disney film paints a different picture. Megara is a cynical young woman who has made a pact with Hades that she will seduce Hercules in return for her freedom, but after falling in love with the hero she has a change of heart.
Megara is a Greek name meaning "great", and is also a place name in Greece and Sicily. Megara has never been given to five or more babies in any year in the US, but Meg has. Meg, traditionally a nickname for Margaret, was used as a given name in the 50s and 60s. Meg would make a sweet and unexpected name by itself today, now that Megan is feeling tired.
While the 2007 Disney film Enchanted may start off animated, this comedic parody of Disney Princess movies switches to live-action partway through. This may be why the protagonist princess Giselle is not considered an official Disney Princess, although some fans speculate it was more of a contractual issue with the character's actress.
The name Giselle was already at its peak (Number 134) at the time of the film's production after a very quick rise in the late '90s. It has since fallen a bit in popularity, now sitting at Number 351.
The Disney Junior show Sofia the First ran from 2012-2018, featuring young Princess Sofia and her journey from rags to riches as she discovers her royalty. The name Sofia was already in the Top 20 at the time of the show's premiere and is at Number 13 today. The name Sofia is a variation of the even-more-popular Greek name Sophia, meaning "wisdom".
Similar to Sofia, Elena comes from a Disney Junior show: Elena of Avalor, airing from 2016 to 2020. The name Elena was already rising fast at the time of the show's premiere and now sits at Number 49. Elena is a variation of Helen, meaning "bright, radiant light", and stems from several cultures including Italian, Spanish, Greek, and German.