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.
Dagny—Dagny 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.
Delia—This 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.
Delphine—A 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.
Desdemona—There 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.
Diantha—A 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.
Dinah—Where 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.
Dixie—Dixie, 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.
Dolly—An 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.
Dorothea—The 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.
So, what’s your favorite of these names?
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on September 14th, 2016 at 11:11 pm
Oh, how I wish Dinah were less rhymey with certain body parts, and less likely to make the boys sing a certain part of “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” out of context.
Dahlia (with the pronunciation DAY-leah) is a favorite of mine, and I do like Delia a lot, too.
on September 14th, 2016 at 11:25 pm
The kids I know don’t even know “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad”! (See, there are some benefits to low cultural literacy!)
I love most of these names — Delia, Dinah, Dahlia (soft a), Daphne, Diantha, Damaris, Dolly, Drusilla…
I also love Demelza, Dosia (short for Theodosia), Dilys, Dulcinea, Doris, Dora, Danica, Daria, Delfina, Dot (can’t remember if you mentioned that one), Dottie, Donna, and Danae.
I like the solidity of the D sound.
on September 15th, 2016 at 2:57 am
I really like Dove, particularly as a middle. I feel it can easily spice up a more normal first. I’ve also come to like Dora due to it being a predominant feature in my favourite name.
However, my two favourite D names are Demelza and Damaris. Demelza has been my top choice for a (hypothetical) 2nd girl for a long while, whilst Damaris (as Duh-MAR-iss) is a newer love.
on September 15th, 2016 at 4:45 am
If you like Dinah, Dina (Dee-nah) is a good alternative and it loses the song association. But I’m not the least bit biased there. ?
on September 15th, 2016 at 9:21 am
I’ll add Danica-it’s the name of the famous NASCAR racer and also Slavic for morning star, so I could see it appealing to many naming styles and parents.
Can’t get behind Dixie. It sounds cute, but isn’t its origins from the Mason-Dixon Line, designating non-slave states from those that permitted slavery? That would be a hard one for me. The alternative for me in style and sound is Didi, which is adorable.
on September 15th, 2016 at 11:34 am
I love the nickname Della. I would use it as a nickname for Adelaide.
on September 15th, 2016 at 11:56 am
I love Dahlia and Delia. Other D names I like are Delilah, Daniela, and Diana.
on September 15th, 2016 at 1:14 pm
I love Delphine, Dorothea, Delia, Dinah and Desdemona from this list. I also love Diana, Daria, Demelza and Daphne. I love D names for both genders!
on September 15th, 2016 at 4:00 pm
I’m slightly partial to “D” names (I’m Dana) even though I don’t love a ton of them! I dig this list and a few I’d consider using are Dahlia, Delia, Delta (probably more for a middle), Delphine (love this for a middle instead of Elizabeth or Danielle or other filler names), Dove and Desdemona. I’ve been crushing on Dove a lot lately (and saw a Youtubber with a 13 year old gorgeous Dove), and I think Desdemona is gorgeous though I’m not sure of it’s usability. I also think Djuna is really cute:)
on September 15th, 2016 at 4:41 pm
I love Dorothy…in my opinion, it’s much more wearable than Dorothea.
on September 15th, 2016 at 6:11 pm
Darcey – or Darcy – I don’t understand its lack of popularity in the US. I also like Deirdre, Dymphna, and Delight.
on September 15th, 2016 at 10:07 pm
Delphine means “woman from Delphi.” Delphi was a city in Ancient Greece. I love the name, as well as Daphne. I’ve crushed long and hard on Diantha (and Diana) as well as Dahlia, Desdemona, Dove and Danica. Good ones!
on September 15th, 2016 at 10:29 pm
Daphne is one of my favorite names! I also really like:
on September 16th, 2016 at 7:51 am
I like Dolly and as a Pride and Prejudice fan, I love Darcy.
on September 16th, 2016 at 12:05 pm
I was surprised at how many D names I do really like.
Delia-as a nickname for Cordelia
Delphine- I’d probably use it as a middle
Dolly- as a nickname for Gwendolyn
Toya B Said
on September 17th, 2016 at 10:46 am
My favourite D names are Dove, Delta and also Doe. I’m not sure what it is with Doe, but I just love it!
on September 17th, 2016 at 11:51 pm
D names I like: Djuna, Diana, Dora, Dorothy, Deborah and Domitille.
D names I don’t care for: Daphne, Delphine, Delta, Delilah, Delia/Della/Dahlia, Darcy, Delaney and Danielle.
on September 20th, 2016 at 7:38 pm
I love D names! One of my daughters is Devora. Also loving Daphne, Delia, Dove, and Dahlia. I think Darcy is charming for boys. Delaney is also a favorite.
Irish baby names: Classics from the works of Yeats – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on September 20th, 2016 at 10:56 pm
[…] Deirdre: Ireland’s best-known tragic heroine, beautiful Deirdre fell in love with the warrior Naoise (NEE-sha) and they eloped. Unfortunately, this didn’t go down well with the king she was supposed to marry. Most people (including the Beach Boys) pronounce it “DEER-dree”, but the modern Irish way is more like “DEER-dra”, which sounds less dated. It’s one to add to the list of underused D names. […]
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.