Category: feminine 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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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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Girls’ Names 2010: Most Popular So Far

Three-quarters of the way through the year, we check in again with the most popular girls’ names 2010, nameberry style.

Once again, Charlotte heads the list of most-searched girls’ names on nameberry. In the number two spot is Violet, and former number two Seraphina has dropped to third place.

A note on tabulation: These lists represent the most-searched names on nameberry for January through September of 2010. Previously, we published the lists of most-searched girls’ names 2010 for the first half of the year, and before that for the first quarter.

This time around, a surprising 11 new girls’ names vaulted onto the Top 100. The newly-popular choices (in order of appearance on the list) are:

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Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” introduces us to the wide world of great Italian girls’ names beyond Isabella. Elisabeth, a writer, artist, and mom, lives in Brooklyn, New York.

You don’t have to be Italian to fawn all over Isabella.

She’s lyrical, historical, and even practical with nicknames Bella and Izzy at the ready.  It’s no surprise that she and cohorts Olivia and Sophia would be storming up the charts, now assuming spots 1, 3, and 4.  But are these the only options for little girls if you want to honor your Italian heritage?

Let’s take a look at what people are choosing in New Jersey.  As housewife fame has evidenced, they’re heavy on Italian pride.

Top picks for the state include:

Adriana (#64), Adrianna (#95), Angelina (#30), Ariana (#46), Arianna (#43),
Gabriella (12), Gianna (#11), Julia (#19- Giulia in Italy), Isabella (#1), Juliana (#49), Julianna (#63), Maria (#65), Natalia (#72), Olivia (#2), Sophia (#3), Valentina (#92), Victoria (#22- Vittoria in Italy).

Italian-American mothers often lament that all the good names are taken by their family and friends.

I assure you the options are vast!

If you’ll be summering with Nonna in Toscana, you may want a choice that is both well loved there and reads undeniably Italian here (rankings are from Italy in 2008): Alessia (#8), Chiara (#5), Federica (#21), Francesca (#9), Giada
(#13), Giorgia (#6), Ludovica (#27)Ilaria (#25), Vittoria (#26).

Italy also has a few popular names that wouldn’t necessarily scream Carbonara: Alice (#10), Anna (#11), Beatrice (#18), Elisa (#12), Emma (#14), Greta (#14), Marta (#29),  Martina (#3), Matilde (#15), Nicole (#30)Noemi (#19), Sara (#4).  Note Alice and Beatrice are pronounced ah-LEE-che and be-ah-TREE-che.

A triumvirate of recent Cosimas, Claudia Schiffer’s child, Sofia Coppola’s baby, and a Windsor 22nd in line to the throne, remind us that there are still other genuine Italian names to cull from the history books.  Some are quite antique, but just as we have “old lady chic” here, so too do they in Italy.

I urge you to take a chance on an ancient beauty:

Agnella

Alessandra

Anastasia

Antonia

Artemisia

Aurelia

Aurora

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