15 Daring, Darling Girl Names Starting with D

15 Daring, Darling Girl Names Starting with D

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Can you guess which initial letter is one of the very few that’s missing from the girls’ Top 100 list?

No, it’s not Q (Quinn) and it’s not Z (Zoe). Surprisingly enough it’s the letter D, with no girl names starting with D among the Top 100. Yes, the era of Debby and Diane and Danielle as girl baby names is long over. The only D name coming close is Daisy—a Top 25 name in England and Wales— which is 183 in the US.

But why? There are dozens of delightful D names for girls that deserve more use—and here the Nameberry picks of 15 of the most interesting neglected candidates.

DagnyDagny has a lot going for it: a touch of the exotic (Scandinavian) but easy to spell and pronounce, a lovely meaning (new day), and literary/feminist cred (the strong heroine of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) and rarity (has never ranked in the Top 1000).

Dahlia—An offbeat flower name (it’s the national flower of Mexico), Dahlia used to have a very Olde British, P. G. Wodehouse, almost la-de-dah feel, but has now gone the other way, even appearing in a couple of video games. On the SS list since 1906, Dahlia is now at its highest point ever—Number 412. Daphne has a similar image.

DeliaThis charming Southern-accented charmer with Greek roots has been MIA since 2007, before which it had been a mainstay on the list, ranking in the 200s for several years. But if Celia is back, why not Delia? A current bearer is writer Delia Ephron. Della and Delta are two other possibilities.

DelphineA gorgeous French name with a soigné, sea-swept image—it means dolphin—Delphine is another name that hasn’t been widely used for about 75 years—except on TV shows like Orphan Black and _American Horror Story—_as well as on Nameberry, where it’s rated Number 211.

DesdemonaThere was a time when tragic Shakespearean heroines like Ophelia and Desdemona were not considered fair game, but Ophelia is now an incredible Number 30 on Nameberry, perhaps opening the door for this more challenging but equally lovely four-syllable name from Othello.

Destry—I’ve always had a soft spot for this obscure French surname, known mainly through the old western novel and film, Destry Rides Again. Though that character was a male—played by Jimmy Stewart in the film—Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg used it for their daughter in 1996, making it fair game for either gender.

DianthaA completely undiscovered lovely and lyrical Greek name meaning ‘divine flower’— a mythical flower associated with Zeus— making it far more distinctive than either Diana or Samantha. Another good Greek possibility is the New Testament Damaris.

DinahWhere has Dinah been hiding since 1966, I often wonder? (Full disclosure: It was my almost-name for daughter Chloe.) A neglected Old Testament name and the heroine of the bestselling novel The Red Tent, Dinah was worn by two great songbirds—Dinah Washington and Dinah Shore—both of whom adopted the name. themselves.

DixieDixie, Trixie and even Pixie have all suddenly started being seen as viable options by parents seeking a saucy name with that trendy-for-boys X in the middle—and not just Southerners anymore. You might be surprised to know that Dixie was as high as Number 167 in the 1930s.

DjunaThe D is silent, as in the boy name Django, bringing it into the cool _ju-_sound family, along with Jude, Juniper, Juno, etc. And it has impeccable literary cred via novelist Djuna Barnes.

DollyAn old nickname for Dorothy/ea that’s been familiar since the days of Dolley (_born Dorothea) Madison and was all over the map during the many incarnations of _Hello Dolly. Plus our British correspondent, Elea, recently blogged about its big UK success, so maybe it’s time to say hello to Dolly again.

DoraCould be that Dora just needs a character as strong as Downton Abbey’s Cora to bring it back, beyond Dora the Explorer. And don’t forget, Dora falls right smack in the middle of aDORAble!

DorotheaThe more flowing and romantic version of Dorothy is very much in tune with our times, especially with the appealing short form Thea—and yet this once high-ranking appellation hasn’t been heard from since 1970. Sad! We take heart though that this name of the admirable heroine of Middlemarch does rate on the NB list.

Dove—Like Wren and Lark, this soft and gentle bird name—also an international symbol of peace—has been used more often as a middle name, but it could easily move into first place. Dove could actually be found among the Top 1000 names around the turn of the last century, as high as Number 628 in 1880.

Drucilla/Drusilla—Two spellings of a quirky and quaint vintage feminissima name that both made brief appearances in the pop charts of the early 1900s. Seen as a great beauty in the New Testament, Drusilla has also appeared in the works of Thomas Hardy and William Faulkner, and as a vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Bonus: The cute, modernizing nickname Dru.

**Trivia note: Darcey, Darcie and Darcy are all in the England and Wales Top 100.

So, what’s your favorite of these names?

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.