Girls’ Names: What’s your style? Different for boys and girls?

Today’s Question of the Week is a two-parter: 

Last week we talked about naming styles for boys, now it’s the girls’ turn.

  1. With girls’ names, there are even more style preference category possibilities.  How would you characterize the names you like best?  Girly girl, gender neutral, boyish?  Classic, biblical?  Vintage Old Lady?  Trendy, nouveau?  Family or surname names British-inflected, international?  Creative?  Quirky? Eclectic? Exotic? Good girls or bad girls?   (These are just a few suggestions–we’d love to have your own designations of your style.) 

2.         Now that you’ve looked at your taste in names for both genders, do you see more similarities or disparities?  For instance,  do you find that you judge boys’ and girls’ names by different criteria?  Is a family connection more important for a son?  Can girls’ names be more fashionable than boys’?  Is a nickname name more okay for a girl?

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38 Responses to “Girls’ Names: What’s your style? Different for boys and girls?”

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Other Carolyn Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 1:21 am

I definitely have more variety on my girl’s list than my boy’s list. The boys can be pretty easily separated into the first tier, obviously celtic briton names, and the second tier, slightly foppishly English names, often that are considered girly in N.A. The girls are a little more mixed up, though many fall into the same two categories. They’re mostly very feminine, and I don’t think there are too many that have been in the top 1000…ever (many have not been used once in my province in the last five years). I do have a soft spot for excessive, OTT names like Pandora, Ambrosia, Persephone, etc. That said, I tend to prefer trimmer versions of most names — I like Isobel over Isabella, for an incredibly trendy example.

Other than the broader spectrum of names I like for girls, I don’t think there is too much difference between my lists. There do seem to be a lot more beautiful, distinctive girls names, though, which is why it boggles my mind that parents stick so ferociously to misspellings of Michaela and appropriated boys names.

Claire Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 1:23 am

All I know is that I’m much harsher when it comes to judging boys’ names than girls, i.e. I’ve had the same two favorite boys names for many years, while my girl favorites are constantly in flux.

There’s only a small handful of boys’ names I even like, while my girl favorites would fill an ocean.

Sarah Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 8:41 am

Quirky, Romantic and Vivid I guess describe them best.

Sophie Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 8:43 am

My girl names style is old lady names and also boyish names such as Reagan, Reid, Kyle, Edith, Elsa

I only like a few boys names, and I’m not sure what my style would be called with them.

Lola Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 9:02 am

I’m seriously eclectic with ALL my names. My girls generally are vintage old lady. But I also keep them family related (ie: Cecily instead of Cecilia). But they range from familiar/popular to almost unknown except by namenerds (ex: Penelope/Philippa to Ottilie/Elspeth).
I like girls names with more than one nickname option. And I’m not a fan of boyish nicknames or boys names on girls. Just seems so… uninspired to me. There are better ways to be a creative namer.
But yeah, I’m seriously eclectic with my girls names in particular.

Chelsea Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 9:02 am

For girls I tend to like longer girly, vintage names like Louisa, Prudence, Ingrid, Agnes, Agatha etc.

Boys are much harder for me, I feel like I’m a little bit all over the place. Some of my favorites are Cedric, Nathaniel, Otto, Cohen, Felix, Rupert, Walter, Richter.

I don’t have any children yet but I can’t imagine calling my daughter by a nickname more than her beautiful name. I think I will be more likely to use nicknames with my son(s) than I would with any daughters.

mermuse Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 9:44 am

it’s always been more fun to pick out girls’ names… there’s just so much more variety! and I am kinda old school with boys’ because I want my sons to be traditional gentleman… with girls, there are a lot of names I like, but ultimately I want to go with LOOONG, unique, feminissima names grounded in history. my daughters names will be things you’ve probably never heard of before, or at least are not anywhere near the top of the list.

LyndsayJenness Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 10:05 am

Some of my favorite first names for girls are: Margo, Rose/Rosalie, Beatrix, Violet/Scarlett/Lulette, Viola, Susannah, Elizabeth, Francesca, Fiona, Daphne, Dinah and Zoe. I guess those run from old-fashioned to vintage to classic to quirky to trendy. Many of them have family ties, but most aren’t actually family names. Most of them are rather short. Clearly feminine but not especially frilly.

Nicknames are a priority for me for both genders, but for girls I love really cutesy and vintage, but rather unusual ones, like Goldie, Roxy, Trixie, Lola, Sunny, Betsey, Vivi, Francie etc. I don’t know if I would use a name that didn’t have an -ee ending nickname that I loved. I can’t help it. For boys nicknames I prefer one-syllable, strong nicknames. I still like them to be unusual. And they can’t sound awful with an -ie on the end (i.e. My hubby loves Lincoln “Link” but Linkie kills it for me)

I tend to like more unusual names for boys. I think the styles are pretty similar though, maybe the boys names are more unusual just because people embrace unusual names for girls, so by comparison they seem common. Family connection isn’t more important for one gender over the other, if anything I’d say it’s more important for girls just because they tend to care more about that kind of thing, but really family connections are important to me for both. For both genders I prefer names that are uncommon, but not odd. My boys list is so short because there is such a smaller pool of choices. I don’t think it’s because I’m being more picky for boys, it’s just that there aren’t that many interesting, uncommon, not girly, not weird, strong names out there.

C in DC Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 10:10 am

My taste in girls’ names tend to run to retro-classic, i.e., names that were popular 100 years ago or more and will stand the test of time.

GracePheiffer Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 10:15 am

I guess creative antiquated?

Mavis, Philadelphia, Linnet

agirlinred Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 10:44 am

I’m definitely more adventurous with my girls’ names. My boys’ names are familiar British classics while my girls’ names are energetic foreign choices that only name nerds would be accustomed to hearing.

Ellie’smom Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I tend to like girls’ names that are feminine but not too frilly, mainly vintage but occasionally more modern/trendy (Charlotte, Ruby, Evangeline are tops now) . For boys I lean towards puritan/biblical names, but definitely prefer fresher, less common ones that were NOTdfs commonly used in my own generation (70s/80s – Ezra, Jasper, Miles, Silas).

trich323 Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Victorian. I had the hardest time describing to my husband what I liked, but when I finally realized they were mostly considered Victorian names, I was able to search for lists to show him. I like them familiar but not too frequently used, pretty but not frilly, and strong.

I do like many Victorian boys names, but the ones I like the most are a bit too popular. I prefer Scottish, Irish, and Welsh boys names. (While Scottish, Irish, and Welsh girls names mostly seem dated or unpronounceable to me.)

Olivia Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I think I’m a lot looser about popularity with boys. I even like Noah and Eli, for instance. Girls have to be as rare as they come. I’m all for Araminta and Sylvie.

Trustedwriter Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

There is definitely a difference between my girl and boy name tastes, but there is some overlap and I think they blend together nicely. For boys I love classic names (Charles, James), old Greek, Latin, or Hebrew names, preferably Biblical (Levi, Theophilus, Marcus, Simon, Silas, Adrian).

For girls, I love a sweet, old-fashioned tone (Ella, Sylvia, Sophie/Sophia, Alice, Catherine, Felicity, Marianne, Coraline/Cora), especially those that can sound Victorian but from a much earlier era, even Steampunkish (Imogen, Harriet, Miranda, Marjorie, Theodora, Theona, Athena, Elletta). I also randomly love Sonia, which doesn’t fit in any of these categories and always sounded like a science-fiction name to me. But I wouldn’t use most of those Victorian/Steampunk names for my own daughters, and sadly, my husband doesn’t like any of the others! He finally agreed to Coraline (for a future daughter since our baby was a boy) which happily marries both of the girl styles I like. Hopefully we don’t have a large brood of little girls!

For both genders – mainly boys – there is also the occasional Gaelic or Welsh name I like (Findlay, Ian, Moira).

Trustedwriter Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Wait, let me correct myself…I DO hope we have a large brood of little girls (and an equally large brood of boys!); I just don’t know how on earth we’d name them. 😀

Jenny Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

For boys and girls I like Grandpa names, but for girls I have a secret affection for ancient Greek and Roman mythology names – Andromeda, Minerva, Nyx…

Nic Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Ah, girls names. Like many of you I have about two boys names – Alastair and Peter (but that’s one of my brother’s names so not sure I’d ever use it as another brother shares his name with my husband!) but could name twenty girls without any difficulty. We have an exceptionally short one-syllable surname so lovely long uncommon but not unheard of names is my style. My husband nicknames everything so has to have a spunky nickname too, current favourites include:

Philippa (Pippa)
Felicity (Flick)
Georgiana (Georgie)
Adelaide (Addie/Heidi)
Matilda (Tilly)

Lisa Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

My girl styles are grandma, international, victorian, feminine (Genevieve, Louisa, Paloma, Colette, Sylvie, Amalia, Elodie, Mirabel…).

I would say that the biggest difference between my boy/girl styles is the issue of popularity. I would prefer my boy have a name in the 50-100 range, and my girl to be more like 200+ on the SSA list (not that those ranges were specific criteria for us, just to exemplify where the names we like are more likely to be found).

Stephanie Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Some of my favorites: India, Penelope, Juniper, Anais, Miranda, Magnolia… I think my style is eclectic/creative, and I do need a good nickname for a name to appeal to me. Some times I’m drawn to a name solely because of the potential nickname (i.e. Indie for India).

ycw Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

My style is similar–I like Biblical and family names–but when it comes to what I’d actually use, the girls’ names tend to be more conservative and less numerous, perhaps in part just because there’s so many less female names in the Bible. But I’m not as attracted to obscure Biblical girls’ names either…

I would definitely use: Eden, Elizabeth, Eve, Faith, Joy, Leah, Lucy, May, Mary/Mara, Martha, Natalie/Natalia, Pearl, Rebecca, Rhoda, Rose, Susan, Virginia
And might use: Bonnie, Charity “Kitty” or “Cat”, Christa, Doris, Pia, Selah, Sarai, Vivian, Lindsey, Cynthia, Marie

I am afraid I would run out of girls’ names; usually no such fear with boys’ names.

My daughter is Hannah Jane.

ElsieK Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I like girls’ names that are a bit frilly but have substance. (I like Cordelia, Felicity, Magdalena, Gwendolyn, Tzipporah etc.)

babynamesrule Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Boys: vs Girls:
Logan Leila
Lachlan Allegra
Jackson Abigail
Chase Beatrix
William Cosima
Oliver Aurora
Luke Annabelle
Benjamin Cordelia

Both seem pretty eclectic, although like Olivia, girls names are a bit more rare.

Leslie Owen Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I like classic traditional boys’ names (George, Thomas, William, for example) and the same for girls (Louisa, Jane, Martha). I also like Biblical/Jewish names for both; such as for girls: Keziah, Jemima, Zippora, Rachel. Then there are the Welsh/British/Celtic names: Caitlin, Angharad, Brangwen, Deirdre.

So I’m pretty much the same for both boys and girls.

Isabel Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I have two different styles for girls names: what I love and what i love AND actually would use.

i would use- Rose, Elizabeth, Cecilia, Jane, Claudia, Eleanor, Beatrice etc. so classic, vintage basically.

i love but would not use- Sylvie, Persephone, Hermione, Poppy, etc. i also love names that are too trendy for my style- Olivia, Emma, Sophie.

for boys, i rarely like a name that I’d actually use.Julius, William, Charles, Oliver, George. I have some gp’s, they’re mostly mythological and Shakespearean. Lysander is my top one, I love Alexander but it’s too popular.

vaness1 Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

My girls style ranges a lot. I love soft vintage names (Nora, Mira, Eliza, Pearl, Millie, Lucy), a few more trendy (Poppy, Avalon) and some french (Genevieve, Aveline, Ciel, Amelie).
My boys vary a lot less. I like welsh/irish/scottish names (Declan, Graham, Finlay, Leo, Ellis, Rhys, Davis, Julian) and southern sounding names (Warren, Arlo, Tucker, Darius).
I think that they kind of mesh nicely!

VelvetCyberpunk Says:

May 25th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I guess my favorite names for both genders would be vintage/creative/quirky/bohemian with a gothic edge…

Sarah A Says:

May 26th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Like ycw, my main problem with girls names is that there are so few Biblical picks. Add in the caveat that the name must be able to be pronounced easily in Arabic, and my girls list of names DH and I would actually use is quite short compared to the boys list.

I would use: Magdalena/Lena, Salma, Zuleikha, Hajar, Rachel, Ruth, Khadijah, Noor, Amira, Nadia

I LOVE but couldn’t use: Meredith, Georgina, Evelyn, Agnes, Rosalie

I do think I would be more willing to give a girl an overtly Arabic name more so than I would a boy, though I guess I won’t know for a few years 🙂

Ruth Says:

May 26th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My Daughters are Martha Jane Helen, Annie Elizabeth Frances and Nancy Beatrice Ruth, so I thinks its safe to say I have used traditional names!! However they all have nick names, Babs, Bette and Saucy. I have a traditional/biblical name that I hated as a child, not unique but all my friends had trendy or girly names, as an adult I am pleased I have a name which I have grown into.

QuirkFlower Says:

May 27th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I always have trouble defining my style with girl’s names. For boys, I’m pretty eclectic, but I only like a few names and I can only ever see myself actually using James or Jeremy. Girls are much harder, because so many girl’s names are so beautiful. I like spunky, quirky names like Poppy, Tuesday, Bridget and Clementine, but I also like super sweet, soft names like Bryony, May and Susannah.

Jennisse Says:

May 29th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I’m all over the place. I think my female names are more eclectic.

My favorite eclectic siBset is Giordi Andrew Timothy, Galadriel Leona Tara, Julian Lorenzo Clint and Rosemary Amelie Belle. I think there is another on the way. So awesome.

Kisha Says:

June 26th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Ditto here! Our name lists are both eclectic. Girls’ names have a ‘Wow’ factor (e.g., Ripley, Kruz, Eirilys, Evey, Amory, Talissen) and the boys’ name list is Masculine & Historical (e.g., Romulus, Hastings, Titan, Stokely, Langston). This is the formula that works for us. And we usually get praise for venturing away from the ordinary.

bootsy Says:

July 2nd, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I guess what I aim for in girl’s names would be sophisticated, but possibly iconoclastic. Not overtly girly, but unmistakably feminine. It’s usually not a conscious decision though. A lot of times I just hear a name in a book or movie or on a person I admire and it sticks. I don’t really know how to describe my boy’s name preferences.

Tori Says:

July 20th, 2011 at 10:16 am

I love upper class British girl names, names incredbily feminine and oozing elgance and class for instance my favourites are:
I also have a thing for floral names! So basically with girls anything overly feminine and I tend to like long names for girls too. Elizabeth, Angelica, Genevieve, Alexandra and Charlotte are gorgeous classics and long in length too so obviously a lot of love for them. So yes concerning girls it’s very feminine classics, which are assocaited with upper-class brits.

Tori Says:

July 20th, 2011 at 10:25 am

Where as with boys it’s biblical names! I adore Levi, Jacob and Noah there my favourite boys names followed by Angelo and August which I suppose are ancient classics. Other biblical names I like are Abraham, Isaaac, Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. I also love classics similarly with my girls above; James, Alexander, Edward are all lovely along with unusual classics for instance Arthur, Felix, Frederick etc. I suppose my names for both genders work together nicely and would be commonly used by upper class Brits. Soooo I suppose my naming style is upper class British! How splendid lol 😉

Livi Says:

July 26th, 2011 at 11:33 am

My girls names are quite different from each other. My style is so different from time to time because it’s always changing; as are styles in the real world. Right now, I am adoring names like Hazel, Augusta, and Vivienne–the hidden gems that I hope don’t get too popular so I could use them. But then I have some names like Laken, Noa, Sailor, and Emerson that should make no sense but I just love them all! There are nature-y and trendy names on there too like Autumn and Sage. But the main thing I think you would find the most on my list are short and sweet names. Some are one syllable and others three but they all sound short and sweet all the same. For example: Elle, Mira, Amaya, Cora, Gail, Celeste, Selena, Molly, Marta, Rose, and Anna.

OddCreature Says:

November 24th, 2011 at 3:07 am

I tend to steer towards Celtic/Scottish names for boys. I like things like Hamish, Rowan, Lachlan, Lennon….

Girls though I find myself more inclined to old English names. Evelyn, Annabel, Abigail, Aurora, Beatrice and Claire.

emilymaryjane Says:

December 27th, 2011 at 4:15 am

For girls I like Shakespeare (Miranda), and forever fashionable (Sophie and Emily) but I would mostly call my style girly girl.

For boys I like old man names like Jack, Joseph and Eamon.

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