Long, Lovely Names for Girls
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By Abby Sandel
Earlier this week, Mike Myers and wife Kelly Tisdale welcomed a new daughter, a sister for Spike Alan and Sunday Molly. Their older kids’ names are bold, unconventional choices, but they went a different direction for their newest arrival: Paulina.
It might be a departure for the Myers family, but it’s in step with many of the names that we love for girls today. Sophia is popular the world over. Olivia and Isabella are Top Ten favorites in the US, and names like Arabella, Ariana, and Valentina are stylish, too.
Could Paulina be part of the next wave of long, lovely, romantic names for girls? And if so, what are some of the other up-and-coming names that could also catch on?
Paulina – In March, Vin Diesel named his youngest daughter Pauline in memory of his good friend Paul Walker. Now Mike Myers has chosen another form of Paul for his daughter. It brings to mind Czech supermodel Paulina Porizkova, and fits right in with choices like Elena and Adelina. The name was given to just 279 girls in 2014, ranking Number 953 in the US. It’s been fading over the past decade, but could be ready for a comeback. A bonus? It comes with built-in nickname Polly.
Louisa – Here’s a surprise: lovely Louisa was given to only 271 girls in 2014. The vintage name is literary, as in Little Women author Louisa May Alcott, and also shortens to Lucy, Lulu, or Lou – all spunky nicknames that make Louisa versatile, as well as classic. Louisa returned to the US Top 1000 in 2014 after more than fifty years’ absence.
Antonia – Could Antonia substitute for the very popular Amelia? The name was given to 270 girls in 2014, up slightly over the last few years. Willa Cather’s 1918 novel My Antonia is considered a masterpiece of American literature, putting Antonia in the company of names from novels like Emma and Daisy. There’s also Antonella, chosen for 216 girls in 2014.
Cordelia – The name of King Lear’s loyal daughter from Shakespeare’s tragedy was chosen for 264 girls in 2014, but that’s a big jump from just 64 girls back in 2000. It’s not only Cordelia on the rise, either. Cora, Coraline, and Corinne all gained in 2014. Could Cora names be the new Lily names? Even if they are, Cordelia has a strength that makes this name a standout.
Ramona – Maggie Gyllenhaal named her daughter Ramona in 2006, when the name was near its lowest point in many years. Now Ramona ranks a few spots outside of the US Top 1000, with 233 newborn girls given the name in 2014. A feminine form of Raymond, Ramona first caught on thanks to an 1884 novel. It also brings to mind children’s book heroine Ramona Quimby.
Ophelia – It’s another lovely name for girls with ties to Shakespeare, though some might find Ophelia too tragic to consider. And yet the name is on the rise in 2014, given to 225 girls. Musician Dave Grohl’s youngest daughter is Ophelia Saint, and Ophelia is very popular on nameberry. It could be a great substitute for Olivia.
Davina – This feminine form of David has never been very popular. A mere 185 girls were named Davina in 2014. But Davina would fit right in with Ava and Avery. It feels slightly British, and indeed there’s a Lady Davina Lewis in the line of succession to the British throne. She’s Number 28, right behind her niece, Lady Cosima Windsor.
Loretta – This list almost included Tabitha, a name popularized by 1960s sitcom Bewitched and chosen by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick for one of their twin daughters in 2009. But it’s Tabitha’s twin, Loretta, that makes the list instead. While Tabitha is still falling, Loretta has climbed steadily over the last five years. 177 girls were named Loretta in 2014.
Seraphina – Let’s end with one more celebrity-inspired baby name: Seraphina, the surprise choice of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their middle child. Firstborn Violet’s name is mainstream, and son Samuel’s name is a classic. But Seraphina was a seldom-heard choice that remains relatively rare. 175 girls were named Seraphina 2014, up from just 50 in 2008, the year before Miss Affleck arrived.
What are your favorite long and lovely names for girls?
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on November 8th, 2015 at 11:05 pm
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Not Loreauanne and Destinneee, but long, lovely names for girls.
on November 9th, 2015 at 1:43 am
Paulina, Davina, Antonia and even Ramona and Louisa I think will be restricted because they are feminine versions of traditionally masculine names. It would seem to me the future may hold a series of little girl Anthonys more so than much of a popularity increase for Antonia. Basically, parents Are choosing to name their girls traditionally male names much more so than feminine versions of male names with few exceptions such as Olivia and Victoria.
Also, I love Ophelia, I hope she doesn’t increase in popularity so I can keep her all to myself!
on November 9th, 2015 at 3:13 am
A shout out to my own name – Jaquetta (pronounced ja-ket-a) it ranks nowhere on nameberry !!!- is it really that bad?? I see wacky and rare names in your lists all the time !! ^sigh^ …..
on November 9th, 2015 at 9:29 am
From this list, I love: Cordelia, Paulina, Louisa and Seraphina.
Other long names for girls I love include,
on November 9th, 2015 at 1:17 pm
Shhh! Nameberry, I wanted to keep a bunch of these to myself. 🙂 Long and lovely must be my style because almost all of these are on my favorites list! I’ve loved Paulina, Louisa, Corinne, Ophelia, and Ramona for a while.
Tabitha, Davina, Loretta, and Seraphina are on my “really like” list. I’m always surprised Raphaela/ Rafaella isn’t more popular, too.
on November 9th, 2015 at 2:29 pm
Davina is a new favorite after hearing it on The Originals which also might help boost it’s popularity.
on November 9th, 2015 at 3:58 pm
What a lovely list! Cordelia and Ophelia are two of my favorites now, along with the lovely Valentina. I have a short last name (three letters, one syllable) so I’ve been really thinking about longer names
on November 9th, 2015 at 6:42 pm
I know a Davina and a Cordelia. I love Cordelia, and I quite like Ophelia in the pronunciation oh-FELL-ee-uh. The oh-FEE-lee-uh way is slightly offputting to me. 😐
on November 10th, 2015 at 12:23 am
Luisa (Lew-EESS-ah, not Lou-EEZ-uh)
Jacquetta/Jaquetta (someone else appreciates your name, Jaquetta!)
All long-time favorites of mine.
Newly developed appreciation for these.
I really enjoyed this blog entry! 🙂
on November 10th, 2015 at 1:13 am
My moms name is Loretta and I’ve only heard it one other time my entire 35 years alive. I’d have a hard time believing anyone would name their baby that.
on November 10th, 2015 at 9:35 am
It was *almost* my aunt’s name, too, but she ended up (yet another) Linda. So it does sound unusual to me for a child’s name. But the numbers say otherwise. In 2009, just 84 girls were named Loretta. It’s increased every year since then, to 177 girls in 2014 – so use has doubled in five years!
on November 10th, 2015 at 9:37 am
Thanks, LoveBugsMama – I didn’t realize it was on The Originals! That could definitely give it a boost.
on November 10th, 2015 at 9:38 am
Sorry, ashbee! 🙂
And I agree – Rafaella fits right in with Isabella/Gabriella/Francesca – always surprised we don’t hear it more!
on November 10th, 2015 at 9:41 am
Jaquetta is gorgeous! And historic, too. We have the spelling Jacquetta in our database with a glowing review: “… Jacquetta adds a good measure of élan and freshness.”
on November 11th, 2015 at 2:53 pm
Tatiana, Georgiana, Marguerite, Lavinia, Nerissa.
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