Rio, Rhythm, Winnie and Liv: Bold Names for Girls

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge is just a week old.  We’ve discussed his name – and the names the royals didn’t choose, or might be holding in reserve for future princes and princesses – for months.

But while Will and Kate were welcoming their firstborn, plenty of other babies made their debuts.  Many of them are baby girls, girls with bold, brave names.  Some are retro, some are inventive, and others are just plain great choices.

One name remains unknown.  Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem welcomed a daughter on the very day George Alexander Louis was born.  The famously private Cruz-Bardem family has yet to share the name of Leo’s little sister.

There’s no shortage of names that we do know.  Let’s take a look at the great girls’ names that we have heard on new arrivals this month:

Penelope JoanAnna Chlumsky graduated from My Girl to Veep.  Now the former child star is a new mom to daughter Penelope Joan.  High profile parents have embraced this quirky cool Greek name.  As a middle name, Joan is a bold choice, too.  From Joan of Arc to Mad Men, it’s been worn by strong, determined women.  Together, it is a winning combination.

Eisele Kaye – Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Chris Tyrrell are new parents.  The pair went with Eisele Kay for their new daughter’s name.  Both choices come from their family trees.  Eisele is Chris’ mother’s maiden name, while Kaye honors Hillary’s mom.  Stumped about how to say Eisele?  The surname is pronounced eyes-lee.  She fits right in with Riley, Hailey, and all of those ends-in-ley names that we’ve been in love with ever since Ashley arrived in the 1980s.

Antonella – While I was searching for clues to the name of Penelope and Javier’s new addition, I learned that Monica CruzPenelope’s younger sister, also an actress – welcomed a daughter in MayMonica’s little girl is Antonella, a frilly, elaborate appellation that I’ve heard more and more in fashionable circles.

Rhythm – There’s Aria and Melody, Harmony and Cadence.  Now reality television’s Whitney Whatley, of Big Rich Texas fame, has named her new daughter RhythmWhitney is getting her own spin-off show on Style this fall, so we may hear more of Rhythm.  I’m hoping for an episode where mom explains her unusual choice.

Rio – The Spanish word for river has been used as a baby name for both genders in recent years.  If River and Leo are boys’ names, why not Rio?  Then again, my first thought is Duran Duran’s catchy 1982 pop anthem, and the refrain “Her name is Rio.”  Now it’s the name of Goldie Hawn’s first granddaughter, a daughter for Oliver Hudson and his wife Erinn Bartlett.  The couple also has two sons, Wilder and Bodhi.

Winnie RoseDon’t you just love Jimmy Fallon?  The Late Night host and wife Nancy gave their new daughter a swingy, retro name.  She can share a playground with Christina Applegate’s Sadie and Tori Spelling’s Hattie.  The sharp-eyed might have spotted an almost identical birth announcement from Waltzing More than Matilda’s Australian round-ups for Winnie Primrose.  I like the more elaborate middle a little bit better. (That’s newborn little Winnie Rose Fallon pictured above.)

Tilly ElizabethOne more sassy, throwback name to add to our list this week – Tilly Elizabeth is the new daughter of Big Brother alum Britney HaynesTilly is a sweet short form of Matilda or even Ottilie.  But if Sadie and Hattie and Winnie can stand on their own, why not Tilly?

Maren VirginiaJoe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins is a new dad!  He and wife Maddie welcomed twin daughters last week.  Older sister Emily Teresa has a lovely, traditional name.  Younger twin Maren Virginia’s name is quite stunning.  Maren is one of many variants of Mary.  She feels modern and traditional at once.

Liv – She’s shorter than Astrid, edgier than Ingrid, but equally Norse.  Liv is a Scandinavian name meaning life.  From Liv Tyler to Julianne Moore’s daughter, it is a name that has gotten some attention in recent years.  It helps that she shares sounds with the mega-popular Olivia.  Now actress Alana de la Garza has welcomed a daughter named Liv Elena – a nice blend of the on-trend and the unexpected.

Have you heard any great names for girls recently?  Do you prefer shorter names, like Liv and Rio, or longer ones, like Penelope and Antonella?

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17 Responses to “Rio, Rhythm, Winnie and Liv: Bold Names for Girls”

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Poppy528 Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 2:03 am

Well shoot I thought Eisele was pronounced i-cell (rhymes with micelle); now it’s just kind of meh. Also, isn’t Maren Mauer extremely difficult to say?

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 3:28 am

Liv Elena and Antonella are both lovely – they’re names that I think of as very hip.

Love Winnie Rose and Winnie Primrose – I did wonder if Winnie P’s parents thought that the Fallons “stole” their baby name!

Giinkies Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 4:29 am

I think Rio Hudson is the most perfect name ever.
Rio has the River symolism, there’s the River Hudson/Hudson River pun and then there’s the Rio de Janeiro place-name trendiness… This has to be the best thought out name I’ve ever heard.
The only thing to make her name more perfect would be if the full name was Rio January Hudson. That way her name would have the January new beginnings symbolism and also Rio de Janeiro place name.

namelover77 Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 5:05 am

I adore Eisele and Antonella! I also like Tilly Elizabeth and Winnie Rose.

dindlee Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 7:13 am

I am almost ashamed to say it, but I really love Eisele.

GrecianErn Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 8:40 am

Is anyone else wondering what Maren’s twin’s name is?!? 😉

I like a lot of these names- Maren, Rio, Tilly, Winnie… it really is a great list!

GrecianErn Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 8:45 am

Never mind… I get it. Emily is the other twin. For some reason, I thought she was the twins’ older sister. 🙂

Maerad Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 9:23 am

Winnie Primrose is gorgeous!
I also love Tilly but I know several little Tilly/Tillie/Millie/Milly-s so it seems a little over used to me now…

MissyLynn Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 9:29 am

GrecianErn I thought the same thing. Glad I wasn’t the only one slightly confused 😉

Abby Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 11:05 am

@GrecianErn – You’re right – that IS confusing. But yes, Emily Teresa is a few minutes’ older than Maren Virginia, but she is her twin. The girls are the Mauers first children.

@Waltzing More than Matilda – I know! That was my first thought when I saw Winnie Primrose at about the same time we learned Jimmy Fallon’s daughter’s name. Is JF big in Australia?

@Poppy528 – I was saying it eye SEHL eh, and I’m kind of in love with Eisele pronounced that way now …

iwillpraise Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I must say, Maren Virginia is quite stellar. She is my favorite among this list.

I really don’t care for Liv or Tilly by themselves, but I do like each with their middles~ Tilly Elizabeth and Liv Elena are very nice combos.

joel613 Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

My neighbor had a dog named Rio so for me that will ever be its connection. Even if not it sounds like a boys name to me and not a good one.
Rhythm is something you’ve got or a section of the band not the name of a child.
Antonella is quite lovely as is Maren.
Tilly and Winnie are cute but feel lightweight for given names, better to go with a full given Matilda, Wilhemina or Edwina so if the spunky nn doesn’t suit her she can fall back on the more formal. Liv feels the same although I know its a stand alone and not nearly as spry.
Penelope is nice if not really to my taste and Eisele is different, not something I’d usually favor but it being a family name makes it more meaningful and therefore charming rather than odd.

Nyx Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

From this list, my favorite is Penelope Joan. It is very feminine, is such a classic, and still has a fun/whimsical/fresh sound. A wonderful combination 🙂

I also want to add my 2¢ on Rio. I’ve only ever heard it as a boys name, but I do think that a girl could wear it quite well (it wouldn’t be my style, but that doesn’t make it bad!). Currently I know two Rio’s, both male, one in his mid-twenties and the other about 10 or 11 year-old. My impression regarding this name is of someone who is filled with energy.

Abby Says:

July 29th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

@Nyx – Thank you for this sentence: “it wouldn’t be my style, but that doesn’t make it bad!” It’s always good to remember that plenty of names aren’t meant for us, but they’re perfect for another family.

Rio makes me think of brio – spirit!

Jennai Says:

July 31st, 2013 at 8:02 am

@Poppy528: Maren Mauer is really easy to pronounce – when you’re German. 😉

I love Rion/Ryon nn Rio/Ryo for a boy! <3 For a girl not so much.

sarahmezz Says:

August 1st, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Antonella! Oh my, you may have just given me my new favourite girls name! My grandfather’s name is Antonius (nn Anton) and this would be a stunning honour name for a daughter. Especially since my husband is of Italian heritage. Hmm, I’ll have to do some thinking on this one!

Abby Says:

August 1st, 2013 at 7:39 pm

@sarahmezz – Oh, that’s exciting! Antonella does seem like it could be the perfect name for you.

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