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Newest Word Names for Girls

Newest Word Names for Girls

By Abby Sandel

Back in 2007, Thirty Rock’s Cerie told Liz Lemon that she already had baby names picked out. “If it’s a girl, Bookcase, or Sandstorm, or maybe Hat, but that’s more of a boy’s name.”

While Hat and Bookcase remain – thankfully – unused, parents continue to embrace the idea of word names – nouns, adjectives, and even a few verbs – for our children’s names.

This week’s celebrity birth announcements highlight the range of possibilities.

Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild went with two word names so familiar we almost forget they have entries in the dictionary: Lily Grace Victoria Hilton Rothschild.

Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Alannis Morrisette and Mario Treadway chose two seldom heard word names for their new arrival, Onyx Solace.

Whether you stick to well-established word names or choose ones that raise a few eyebrows, there are plenty of reasons to swap your baby name book for a dictionary. Word names are usually easy to spell and pronounce. They can be distinctively different while still feeling nicely familiar. Word names tend to be rich with meaning. And it’s easy to argue that they’re not really new. If Rowan, Violet, and Wren can rank in the US Top 1000, why not Alder, Lavender, and Lark?

Let’s take a look at the nine categories of word names that we’ve seen in celebrity birth announcements in recent months.

Pilgrim Perfect – These are the traditional virtue names we imagine might have been right at home on Plymouth Rock. Miss Rothschild’s middle name Grace is one that comes to mind, along with fellow Top 100 name Faith.

Victoriana Florals – Traditional flower names feel vintage and Victorian, like Nicky and James Rothschild’s Lily. Other picks that were popular in the late nineteenth century and have made a comeback today include Iris, Ivy, Daisy, and Rose. Other choices, like Olive, aren’t florals, but fit the broader EcoVintage trend.

Crayon Box NamesEmily Blunt and John Krasinski recently welcomed Violet, a sister for Hazel. Both names are found in the natural world, but they’re also color names. From newer choices like Scarlett and Blue to subtle ones like Rose, colorful word names have been embraced by modern parents.

Jewels & Gemstones – Some gemstone names, like Ruby and Jade, are well-established choices. Others, like Alannis’ new daughter Onyx, are bolder, less common choices.

Modern Virtues – If you’re looking for a rare virtue name, you might choose something like Amity or Constance – a name with history, but seldom heard in 2016. Modern virtues are words that have never been commonly used as names, like Brave or True. Country music’s Preston Brust has a new daughter named Love Lily, and, of course, Alannis’ daughter has the distinctive middle name Solace, meaning comfort.

Musical Names – Up until the year 2000, almost no one was named Aria. Now it ranks Number 29 in the US. Other musical names attracting more attention in recent years include Harmony, Cadence, and Melody.

Literally Literary Soleil Moon Frye’s new baby Story is a boy, but Story is actually more popular for girls in the US. She and husband Jason Goldberg are also the parents of daughter Poet, born in 2005. Other possibilities include Poem, Lyric, Fable, and Sonnet.

Novel Nature Names – While nature names like Lily and Hazel have history, many others are new. They range from night sky names, like go-to middle Moon or the Harry Potter-inspired Luna to names from the animal kingdom, like the avian Wren or Zooey Deschanel’s Elsie Otter. Others include unisex choices like tree name Rowan and Juniper, or names in translation, like the Hawaiian name Kai, meaning sea.

Months and Seasons – From traditional choices, like May and June, to relative newcomers, like Winter and Autumn, word names that convey a favorite season have become increasingly popular. Another possibility is a name related to a season, like Snow, the middle name of Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross’ daughter Jagger.

Are there any word names that you would consider? Would you add additional categories to this list?

About the Author

Abby Sandel

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.