Category: feminine baby names

girly-girl names

Eleonora and Arabella, Scarlett and Juliette.

Whether long-held favorite or guilty pleasure, girly-girl names have an undeniable appeal.

What’s your favorite ultra-feminine name for girls?

And would you use one for your daughter? Why or why not?

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unique girls' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Very feminine names that were unusual and exotic a generation or two ago have risen to the top of the US popularity lists: I’m looking at you, Isabella, Sophia, Olivia.

So what’s the parent to do who loves this kind of elaborate girls’ name but wants something a lot more rare?

Some of the best choices in this style don’t even make it onto the extended list of American baby names: All the names starred below were given to fewer than five baby girls in the US in the last year counted.  And the others were used for only a handful of babies.

Is Cassiopeia or Petronilla too much name for a baby girl (or even a grown-up woman, for that matter)? Maybe, but you can always call her Cassie or Nilla and trust she’ll grow into her august appellation, at least by the time she’s 40.

And if you like super-feminine names for girls, why stick with the safe Gabriellas and Valentinas when there are all these exotic beauties out there?

Thirty rare, feminine names you might consider for your little girl are:

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a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

Shae writes:

My wife and I are expecting our first daughter in early July and cannot lock in a name.

I love distinctively classic feminine names that have a touch of alternative, like Florence, Clementine, and Estelle.

My wife likes more “tomboy” names like Pippa, Hudson, and Quinn. None of these even come close to something I would choose.

Based on this we are trying to find names that fit my criteria with an appropriate nickname that my wife loves. We have come up with Harriet/Hattie and Madeline/Maddie. But neither name feels right.

We do both absolutely love Clementine, but the nickname is always a bit of troublesome here.

Her middle name will be Ila -it’s a family name. Our surname is short, simple, starts with an M, and lends itself easily to almost every name.

If it were up to me, I would choose Florence Ila. I love the romance, but it’s a bit too much for my wife.

Names we love but have crossed off are Lola (clashes with Ila) and Esme (too repetitive with our surname).

The Name Sage responds:

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Nameberry Picks: The 12 best feminizations

In this era of boys’ or at least boyish names for girls, feminizations — classic feminine forms of male names such as Charlotte and Georgia — seem almost quaint.  Why not just name your daughter Charlie….or George?

Well, there are a lot of reasons.  And choosing a more traditional feminization can give you the best of all name worlds.  Most are distinctly female without being frilly, have deep roots yet feel right for the contemporary world, let you honor a male ancestor without creating any confusion about the gender of his little namesake.

There are so many great feminine forms that it was difficult narrowing the list down to just a dozen.  But these are our current favorites:

Antonia Antonia is a lush and gorgeous name that has not found favor the way sisters Charlotte and Georgia have.  In fact, it fell off the US Top 1000 in 2007 — which may be a very good reason to use it now.  While some may find it too Old World, we think it’s lovely in its full form, not shortened to the considerably less classy Toni or Tonia.

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The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.

1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008.  Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree.  There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.

2–AmabelNot to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy.  Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.

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