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Girls Baby Names: Fresh Possibilities

February 28, 2017 Abby Sandel
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?

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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