Strong, Feminine, Uncommon Girl Names
Just when I think I love a name the next day I feel I sort of hate it, and throw it out completely. Then I put it back on when I re-discover it later. I’m just being indecisive is all.
My current list is:
Marigold – But would this work well in an executive office?
I want the name to be at least a little feminine and pretty but strong. I want it to be not too popular and cool, but not weird or made up, either.
The Name Sage replies:
Many parents feel greater freedom when naming daughters. It’s not just imaginary, either. Nearly 79% of boys receive a Top 1000 name. For girls, that figure drops to around 67%. But more freedom means more choice, and that brings another set of challenges, just like the ones you’re experiencing now!
The good news is that you’ve chosen great names for your sons – familiar, cool, but still distinctive and different. And your current shortlist is packed with promising choices.
Let’s look at a few of your general concerns before we talk about names.
First, pop culture gives many parents pause. Yes, there’s a Primrose Everdeen in The Hunger Games series. She’s an appealing, even heroic character. The name was seldom heard before the first book’s 2008 release. As of 2015, there were 50 Primroses born in the US. Does that mean the name is too tied to the series to use? No. Primrose fits perfectly with many traditional Rose names. And for a child born in 2017, The Hunger Games won’t be such a current pop culture reference that it would cause a headache. Plus, it makes a great name for a daughter born in early Spring.
Now, let’s talk about Marigold Shore-with-an-M, accomplished professional.
As a generation grows up, so do their names. Sandra (Day O’Connor, first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court) probably seemed as frilly as Ariana or Gemma when she was young. Today, it’s squarely in grandma territory.
Lastly, conventional wisdom holds that a one-syllable last name requires a longer first. But that’s not necessarily the case. I think Maeve Shore-with-an-M sounds quite stylish and memorable. Dave Grohl, Ty Cobb, Jack Black, Mae West, Glenn Close … there are plenty of examples where the combination works beautifully.
Let’s take a look at a few more uncommon girl names that you might want to consider.
Briar – Briar entered the US Top 1000 for girls and boys in 2015. It’s a modern choice with some interesting ties – one of the many names for Sleeping Beauty was Briar Rose, which makes it feminine. Sound-wise, it seems more unisex.
Iris – If you love flower names, but worry that Primrose or Marigold might feel too tied to pop culture, or just too out-there, you might consider a name like Iris. It’s been a favorite before; it is gaining in use again. While Iris feels feminine, famous women who have worn it before lend it considerable strength.
Juniper – Juniper feels more like Dash. It’s not a name we were using fifty – or even twenty – years ago. But there’s history behind this choice, and today it feels mainstream. One advantage – like Dashiel, it shortens nicely, to Junie or June.
Margot – Margot is a rising name – just like Rory and Dash – but remains relatively uncommon. Like Marigold and Maeve, it has the alliterative quality that seems to appeal. It feels modern, but has plenty of history. And while we instantly recognize it as feminine, it’s a frills-free name.
If you’re looking for something safer, I can’t recommend Margot enough. While it’s definitely rising in use, that’s because it hits the exact qualities you like – feminine, without being frilly; traditional, but with a modern sound.