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Girls Baby Names: Fresh Possibilities

Looking for names like Henley and Waverly

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
baby girl names

New girl names needed! Their shortlist consists of Ainsley, Henley, and Waverly, but they’re not sure if any of those is The Name for their new baby.

Julie writes:

I am a few days from my due date and my husband doesn’t seem sold on any of the girl names that we had on our short list. We don’t know if we are having a boy or girl and planned on having a few options for both gender. My husband hasn’t been that interested in discussing names through most of the pregnancy but wanted to go over our list yesterday. Now I feel like I need some more girl suggestions but I’m at a loss for anything new.

The two girl names that he kept on the short list are Waverly and Henley, and we also added Ainsley.

Our top boy name is Drake, and it feels like the right fit since we both came up with the name separately.

He doesn’t like anything too feminine or old-fashioned, so Norah, Adelaide, Davina, Freya, Martha, and so on are all out.

The Name Sage replies:

Here’s the challenge with looking for modern names. We want something that sounds fresh and interesting and new. But we usually don’t want something that seems more like a science fiction heroine than a real girl. It still needs to feel like a child’s name circa 2017.

Landing on that new-but-not-out-there quality can make for a very short list.

The good news? I think Henley, Ainsley, and Waverly all work well. They’re not nearly as popular as Avery, Aubrey, and Harper, but they’re in the same style family.

And yet, it sounds like none of them is quite right, so let’s add to your list. We’re looking for fresh, modern names with a certain tailored quality. And while you haven’t said that you’re specifically avoiding more popular choices, I’m going to look for names on the rarer side.

Avalon Adelaide and Davina make me think of Avalon. It’s a rarity, a literary place name – and a real one, too, thanks to Avalon, California. It might be mistaken for Evelyn or even Avery, but Avalon seems like a distinctive and different choice for a daughter.

Bellamy – Since ends-in-y names seem to dominate your list, would you consider Bellamy? The meaning is great – fine friend – and the sound is on-trend. It’s more modern than Isabella, but still on the right side of feminine.

Esme – While most of the names on your list are surnames, I wonder if Esme might fit? It’s an older name, but the sound is modern. And it was seldom heard in the US until recently.

Malou Malou comes from a French nickname for Mary Louise. Like Esme, it sounds modern – and rare – today.

Maren – Tailored Maren could come from the Latin word for the sea, or it might be a form of Mary. Either way, it’s modern, frills-free, and familiar without being common.

Rory The Gilmore Girls made this Irish boys’ name a possibility for our daughters, too.

Sloane – If you love Drake for boys, would you consider something equally short and sleek for a daughter? Sloane ranks in the current US Top 400, but it’s still fairly uncommon.

Vesper – With names like Harper and Piper in vogue, rarer ends-in-r names for girl seem appealing. Vesper comes from the Latin word for the evening star. That puts Vesper in the company of other night sky names like Stella and Luna.

I think your current shortlist of Waverly, Henley, and Ainsley is a great starting point. I’d be curious to know if your husband likes choices like Esme, Rory, and Malou – names with history, but seldom heard until recent years. If not, I think a name like Sloane might be exactly what you’re looking for – as brief as Drake, and with just as much style, too.

Readers, now it’s your turn! What would you suggest to Julie and her husband?

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About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.
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comments

34 Responses to “Girls Baby Names: Fresh Possibilities”

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BrittanyBrown Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 12:32 am

Quincy
Porter
Doheny
Rigney
Emerson
Maven
Prinslow
Epperly
Temperance
Jae
Elliette
Gellar

clairels Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 2:53 am

Sloane immediately came to mind when I saw this post. I love Waverly, too. I also suggest:

Paige
Claire
Blair
Blake
Hadley
Adley
Tenley
Isley
Ismay

Eu Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 4:25 am

I love Vesper! And thumbs up to previous posters’ suggestions of Quincy and Isley.

WhiteGardenia Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 4:45 am

I love Esme and Sloane, and would add Delaney as one that seems to fit.

amylette Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 7:20 am

Sloane is lovely. Short, sweet and strong! Waverly is also lovely.

tfzolghadr Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 7:43 am

Phoenix
Flannery
Tierney
Teagan
Clancy
Ellery
Every
Eleni
Fyfer
Posey
Rhapsody
Poet
Sonnet
Indigo
Shay
McKinley
Kearney

marisarose Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 9:03 am

Love Bellamy! Such a great name and while it sounds “similar” to popular names in the Isabel family, it is it’s own unique flare.

One name that I immediately thought of is from a show I saw as a child based off a book about a girl raised in a circus hotel: Mirette.
It is a little more feminine sounding than the slightly more unisex sound of your other names, but it has the no-nickname like Drake and I doubt you’d run into another Mirette!

jo1654 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 9:06 am

Love Bellamy. Fallon popped into my head too.

siouxsey Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 10:03 am

What about Kinsley?

jpruitt76 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 10:13 am

Blair
Merritt
Collins
Sheridan
Tierney
Torrance
Tiernan
Brynn
Skylar
Quinn
Rory
Romy
Remy

Love Ainsley!

aliciamae_ Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 11:10 am

Arden
Avonlea
Bronwyn
Coralie
Eden
Everly
Ezra
Finley
Hadley
Harlow
Ivy
Teagan
Wren
Zoey

holly6174 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Hadley was the first name I thought of when I read that list.

Beau Jean Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Brin
Cecily
Delaney
Everly
Kinley
Leslie

denmama9 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 12:31 pm

To me, Sloane leans more masculine than feminine, more so than Waverly or Henley.

I’ll add a plug for my sister’s unique name: Delaina. I’ve seen lots of Delaneys but no other Delainas. Feminine but not frilly, unique but not weird.

clairels Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 12:58 pm

@marisarose I loved “Mirette on the High Wire” as a kid!

zsazsa00 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Some that seemed to suite the style of your favorite picks:

Irving (Unisex and cute with a nick name like Vi)
Harleigh (Varient of Harley)
Bryony
Cambrie
Dagny
Addison
Maisy
Auden
Ridley
Briley
Hayden
Jerilyn
Zhane
Britta
Gwin

MissMarshall Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Vesper made me think of Reverie. Could be shortened to Evie, Eve, Ev, Rev, etc. Not sure if nicknames are important to you!

miridral Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Tenley was the first thing that came to mind, also Hadley and Teagan

Gondolin Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Sloane makes me think of Clarke – as in Clarke Griffin, a character in “The 100”.

Riley
Briar
Briony
Pacey

mamabear01 Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Everly for sure. But I think I’d chose Henley.

kennamoon Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Daphne
Azra
Cecily
Doy
Delia
Etta
Effie
Ellery
Quinta
Wynn
Flora
Hattie
Hazel
Margaux
Nadia
Ottilie
Perry
Ramona
Sunny
Teagan
Thea
Valerie
Veruca
Xaviera
Zara

kennamoon Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Dory not Doy*** lol

kennamoon Says:

March 1st, 2017 at 11:56 pm

I really like Sloane though!!

Gondolin Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 6:27 am

I don’t know if it’s etymologically true, but your original suggestions really seem like the surname-turned-firstname-names. So I dug through some records of British surnames and I think these might be some options:

Amary
Imbrie
Edie, Eade
Ellary
Elleray
Ellaby
Elmslie
Elwyn
Ilsley

jpruitt76 Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 11:04 am

Darby
Adler
Sutton
Tenley
Tennyson

cmariac Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 12:40 pm

I think Sloane fits your style best, but I like Maren (or Marin) best 🙂

willa_cather Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 4:14 pm

First name I thought of was Quinn!

willa_cather Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Or Greer?

Sweetchariot Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 8:21 pm

So many comments mentioned Tierney in a list and I have to call this out as a great choice for an extended list. In case it’s the -ey ending that’s making the name list seem a little stale, I’d add Piper and Skye for variety. I know Piper is popular but it’s a bird name like Drake and the two together is adorable in case you have a girl and a second child who is a boy. Skye also has a feel like Drake to me, and I’ve met great Skyes. Easy to spell, fun to say, and still rare in most areas.

thorn144 Says:

March 2nd, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Tenley
Hadley
Remington
Briar
Isla
Lydia
Sutton
Trinity
Campbell
Ayelet
Everly
Huxley
Oakley/Oakleigh
Paisley
Rayleigh
Tatum
Wilder
Reese
Piper / Fifer
Tenan / Teanan

KirstGee Says:

March 3rd, 2017 at 6:20 am

Elodie
Ellery
Arden
Maeve
Juniper

Slang434 Says:

March 3rd, 2017 at 2:36 pm

I love Ainsley, and it is currently on my short list for our July 2017 baby if we have a girl. Sorry that your husband isn’t a fan.

I am very partial to Vesper (we named our February 2016 baby Vesper Aurora), we get so many compliments on the name as it is unique, and has a beautiful meaning.

I have to I also love Sloane and think it fits your style very well.

Good Luck in picking a name!

ARhythmofNames Says:

March 5th, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Waverly is beautiful, I also like Sloane and Bellamy 🙂

Here are a couple suggestions:

Delancy or Delaney
Romilly
Loxley/Loxlee (one of my favorite names)
Evony (this is the first one that came to mind, it means Archer in French and Old German)
Cielle (I love this French name that means ‘Heaven’ or ‘Sky’)
Ilee (Short and sweet)
Hartlee/Hartley
Thessaly

TheMoonlight6 Says:

April 1st, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Marin, Loxley, Ellery and Sloane! Good luck.

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