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Dramatic Heroine Names for Girls Rise Up!

March 13, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
dramatic heroine names

What do Artemis and Andromeda, Octavia and Ophelia, Valkyrie and Viola have in common?

Twenty years ago, they were all languishing well outside of the US Top 1000 — considered far too over-the-top for mere mortals to wear.

Today, they’re among the fastest-rising examples of one of the hottest baby name trends right now: dramatic heroine names for girls.

Dramatic heroine names are big, bold and boast a notorious namesake (or sometimes several) from history, mythology or the arts. They are unapologetically extravagant — that’s part of the appeal!

And, thanks to high-flying examples like Athena, Delilah, Lorelei and Ophelia, they’re really starting to catch on with parents looking for girl names that feel both beautiful and powerful.

Here, we’ve collected 100 of the best.

Top Dramatic Heroine Names

The explosive popularity of Penelope and Luna — both of which have gone from outside the Top 300 to inside the Top 30 girl names over the past decade — has paved the way for more obscure names from Greek and Roman mythology to rise up the ranks, too. Think Andromeda and Persephone, Calliope and Juno.

Similarly, the names of controversial Biblical figures like Lilith and Salome now seem much more wearable, in light of Delilah’s rapid rise up the charts in recent years.

Other fast-rising choices which seem finally to be shedding their problematic associations include legendary Guinevere and balletic Odette. And Ophelia — perhaps the ultimate “tragic heroine” name — has now been well and truly reclaimed. It’s seen a more than eight-fold increase in use compared with a decade ago, and now ranks in the Top 400 girl names in the US (and the Top 200 in the UK!)

These are the 20 fastest-rising dramatic heroine names right now:

Anastasia
Andromeda
Artemis
Athena
Calliope
Coraline
Delilah
Guinevere
Juno
Lilith
Livia
Merida
Nefertari
Octavia
Odette
Ophelia
Persephone
Salome
Valkyrie
Viola

Other Heroine Names Rising

As well as a whole host of positive namesakes, like Shakespearean heroines Beatrice, Cordelia, Hermione and Rosalind, this list contains a cheering number of more complex — or downright dastardly — figures, like Bellatrix, Calypso, Lorelei and Pandora. Well, why should the boys have all the fun?

Many of these names are still well outside of the US Top 1000, but all have seen a marked uptick in usage across the past decade. They range from operatic heroines Aida and Rosina, to ancient queens Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Zenobia, to underused mythological picks like Aphrodite, Morrigan and Vasilisa.

Here, 20 more heroine names on the rise:

Aida
Aphrodite
Beatrice
Bellatrix
Calypso
Cleopatra
Cordelia
Hermione
Isolde
Lorelei
Magdalene
Minerva
Morrigan

Nefertiti
Pandora
Rosalind
Rosina
Vasilisa
Zenobia
Zipporah

Unique Heroine Names

If you love the idea of using a big, bold, dramatic name for a daughter — but hate the idea that it might become popular — then this is the list for you!

These highly unusual heroine names range from the familiar but chronically underused, like Leonore and Morgana, to the little-known and never-used, like Corisande and Seraphita. And their popularity over the past decade has either remained constant, or even dropped.

Although many of these uber-rare names might raise eyebrows (Blanchefleur and Esclarmonde, we’re looking at you!) there are also plenty on this list that feel more than wearable in 2020: think Atalanta and Lucasta, Haidee and Thisbe.

Here are 60 of the best unique heroine names for girls:

Antigone
Arsinoe
Atalanta
Azenor
Bathsheba
Belphoebe
Blanchefleur
Boudicca
Briseis
Ceridwen
Circe
Coppelia
Corisande
Demelza
Demeter
Desdemona
Despina
Electra
Elvira
Endellion
Eponine
Esclarmonde
Eurydice
Fantine
Ferelith
Grazyna
Haidee
Hecate
Hephzibah
Hero
Ishtar
Jezebel
Leonore
Lucasta
Ludmila
Manon
Melisande
Melusine
Morevna
Morgana
Nausicaa
Nimue
Odile
Ondine
Parvati

Perdita
Psyche
Rhiannon
Rusalka
Sappho
Scheherazade
Semiramis
Seraphita
Swanilda
Thalassa
Thisbe
Titania
Tomyris
Tosca
Turandot

Which are your favorite dramatic heroine names for girls? Would you use any of these for a daughter? Share your thoughts below!

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

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