No-Frills Girl Names for the New Year

Claire, Jane, Kate and Rose

By Abby Sandel

January is the month for resolutions. We want to increase our health and simplify our lives. We look at our new calendar and set goals to make 2017 better than the year before.

Is there a baby name style that goes along with all of this January determination?

There just might be. Call them straightforward girl names. Girl names that feel almost timeless, but are enjoying some popularity today. They’re one-syllable, frills-free options that wear well on children and grown women alike.

If you’re expecting a daughter this month, perhaps one of these fresh start names for a girl will appeal.

Ann, Anne Anna and Ana are both more popular, but there’s something about Ann – with or without the e. Anne of Green Gables longed to be Cordelia, but in an age of girls named Savannah and Sophia, Olivia and Victoria, Ann sounds surprisingly crisp.

Claire – Classic Claire has ranked in the US Top 100 since the late 1990s, but it still feels distinctive. From Molly Ringwald’s teenage character in The Breakfast Club to Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, it’s easy to imagine Claire at any age. The meaning also helps Claire feel like an auspicious New Year pick: bright or clear.

Elle Ellie and Ella are everybody’s favorites, but it’s spare Elle that makes this list. The French word for she, it’s the title of a fashion magazine established in Paris in 1945, and now published around the world. Elle feels like the ultimate minimalist name for 2017.

Grace – A simple virtue name with plenty of Hollywood gloss, Grace has become a go-to name for girls in the early twenty-first century – just like it was in the late nineteenth. Elegant and meaningful, Grace makes for an enduring choice.

Jane Jane was the girl in every child’s school book. Along with her brother Dick, they taught the Baby Boomers to read. Long before that, Jane was a short-lived Queen of England. Add in activist Jane Addams and literary giant Jane Austen, and this makes for a no-nonsense name with considerable depth.

Kate – Argue Katherine versus Catherine all you like, it’s straightforward Kate that feels most appropriate in January. Kate carries a certain classic air. After all, Petruchio uses the nickname for Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew, giving it Shakespeare’s seal of approval. Even as Kaitlyn fades, Kate remains a timeless choice for a daughter.

Liv Liv’s recent rise in the US might be attributed to actress Liv Tyler, or to our affection for all of the OliviaOlive names. But Liv also fits right in with slim, trim names like Kate and Claire. Popular in Scandinavia, it’s a modern name with history and another great meaning: life.

Mae June is sweetly vintage, but Mae feels more vibrant. Credit saucy Hollywood icon Mae West for the name’s energy. A favorite in the middle spot, and sometimes short for Mary or Margaret, Mae stands confidently on her own, too.

Rose – Like Mae, Rose promises springtime in winter. It’s every bit as clear and simple a name as Grace or Kate. In an age of nature names, Rose fits right in – and yet feels like more than another flower name, too. There’s a strength and self-possession to Rose that makes it a natural choice for a daughter born early in the New Year.

What are your favorite short, simple, strong names for girls? I’m sure I’ve left some great ones off the list! Do you feel like this style is particularly appealing at this time of the year?

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13 Responses to “No-Frills Girl Names for the New Year”

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Kara Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 12:31 am

I’m completely biased because I just named one of my puppies June, but I much prefer it to Mae. Mae is so
painfully overdone as a middle name that I don’t want to hear it anymore. Maybe it’s regional?

My favorite short, strong names tend to be nature-related. I’m really loving Fern right now and would love to see it make a comeback. I also love Sage, Skye, Dove, Fleur, and Pearl.

Kara Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 12:55 am

I forgot to add Nell, which is my favorite among all the Ell-names, and Noor, Ruth, and Bea. Dot is cute too, but I think I could only use it as a nickname for Theodora/Dorothea, etc.

Suzannah Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 7:12 am

I love the name Tess.
Also, I like mash-ups of these no-frills names: Annaclaire and Annakate.

paw Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 8:08 am

I would add Beth, Lee, and Hope.

chi1127 Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 8:37 am

Single syllable is never appealing to me. Single syllable surname my whole life. The single syllables just sound so clipped together.

Jo Jo Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 10:23 am

As the mother of a Jane, I am biased towards the simple but classic names in this group. Love Rose and Grace and Claire and feel like Beth and Leigh could be included, as well.

beynotce Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I feel like Ruth was really missing from this list.

Pansy Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I think Lynn/Lyn would have made a good addition. It’s short, no-frills and usually regulated to the middle name spot.

BrittanyBrown Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 6:51 pm

Straight forward names are awesome. But these? They are WAY TOO POPULAR and lacking all LIFE these days. I get how they can be “cool” and traditional names are beautiful. But they just aren’t cool enough to name YOUR CHILD in this grossly populated world, in my opinion. Maybe “Rose”-since it’s sort of stands out as a first name today. But that’s it. There are so many no-frill names that deserved this list… Just my opinion! I love you Nameberry…you are all always are name geniuses. This list just felt weak. lol


fullermom Says:

January 9th, 2017 at 11:18 pm

You nailed it with this list!!!!! We have a 2 year old named Mae Elizabeth and will be welcoming her sister Rose, middle name help still need, this spring! Such a lovely list!!!!

Lo Says:

January 10th, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Love these names! My two girls are Clare and a Katharine who goes by Kate at school (at home she somehow ended up with the nicknames of Kat and Kitty). Grace, Anne, Jane and Nell are all favorites too.

NaomiNY Says:

January 11th, 2017 at 2:40 pm

My favorites:

southern.maple Says:

January 11th, 2017 at 8:55 pm

“But they just aren’t cool enough to name YOUR CHILD in this grossly populated world, in my opinion.”

What does this even mean? LOL

I would love to see some fresh options in this category. Every time “no frills girl names” come up in the blog or on the forums, these are the names that get suggested.

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