Warrior Girl Names: Finding the Right Fit for a Fighter

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

Their new daughter will need surgery shortly after birth. Time to find a strong name with the right meaning to encourage their little fighter!

Kristen writes:

We recently found out we were having our third girl and we were absolutely thrilled. Of course, I immediately dug up the master list we used for the last two, Daphne Evangeline and Adele Emmanuelle. We knew we wanted Elizabeth for a middle, but other than that we were at a total loss.

My husband jokingly calls our naming style “Old British Ladies”, but it seems we’re not the only ones with that taste. The remaining names on our list that we loved three years ago have either shot up the popularity charts (Hazel, Isla) or sound too similar to our daughters’ names (Elodie, Mabel).

But then we got some news that put name confusion on the back burner. Turns out our little lady has a hole in her heart. We’ve met with specialists and they’re optimistic, so we are too. In the meantime, we are back to hunting for the perfect name. Our search has definitely acquired some new parameters now. We’d like to give her a name that is inspiring, encouraging, the perfect name for a little fighter. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know that our daughter is already strong. But every name we’ve found with a meaning we like doesn’t seem to work. I love the idea of “strong protection,” but Walburga isn’t really doing it for us.

We’re hoping that the fresh eyes of naming expert can give us a few options.

The Name Sage replies:

This is one of those moments where the right name can be so very powerful. It’s not just a name; it’s a talisman.

While meaning matters, I think it’s equally important to find a name that feels like a sister for Daphne and Adele. Vintage, but at home in the twenty-first century; tailored, but clearly feminine; and familiar, but not too common.

That certainly rules out Walburga!

Let’s look at meaning and history to find some strong warrior girl names.

Bridget Bridget means strength, which is perfect. But there’s more. In Irish myth, she’s a goddess associated with spring, poetry, and healing. That’s a lot of optimism packed into one name. It fits the other requirements nicely, too, a familiar name that’s seldom heard, with a tailored sound that doesn’t conflict with Daphne and Adele.

Diana – In Roman myth, Diana is the huntress, fearless and strong. It’s also, appropriately, the given name of Wonder Woman. Is that a little too obvious? That’s up to you, but I think it’s a classic name that evokes tremendous courage.

Edith Edith comes from the Old English words for prosperous and battle – so, one who fares well in a fight. This one nails the Old British Ladies style exactly, and while all three names share a D sound, Daphne, Adele, and Edith all sound distinct.

Louise – We’ve ruled out Walburga, but those Germanic choices pack a punch! Louise means famous in battle, or renowned warrior. That’s quite the sentiment. There’s the Latinate Louisa, too, but I think spare Louise sounds more like a sister for Daphne and Adele.

Maeve How do you feel about legendary warrior queens? Boudicca and Mulan might not be wearable, but Maeve is a fast-rising twenty-first century favorite. In Irish legend, she’s the strong-willed, ambitious Queen of Connacht. There’s also a Westworld character by the name, but that goes to show how very wearable Maeve feels today.

Matilda – This name came to mind immediately. Matilda means battle-mighty. Roald Dahl’s Matilda makes this a literary hero name, too. Maud was the medieval English form of Matilda, so I think that also has potential. But Matilda strikes me as a sister for Daphne and Adele.

Millicent – Another name with Germanic roots, Millicent sounds demure. But this name means strong in work. Vintage nickname Millie feels vivacious and upbeat, but Millicent is someone to be reckoned with, a name with quiet strength.

Tamar Tamar the Great ruled Georgia in the late twelfth century, a woman so powerful they referred to her as king rather than queen. The name’s meaning is gentle – it comes from the Hebrew word for a date palm tree. That makes it a subtle nature name, just like Daphne.

Valerie – In Latin, valere means to be strong. It’s ranked in the US Top 200 since the 1940s, but has never reached the Top 50. I’m not sure that’s quite your style – but the meaning is a lock.

Willa – We list Willa’s meaning as “resolute protection,” just like William, another Germanic gem. I’d call Willa homespun and understated, but still quite substantial. It makes me think of all those great Willa Cather tales of the American frontier.

My favorites are Matilda and Louise. I think they make great sister names for Daphne and Adele. But more importantly, they’re rich with meanings that will uplift and encourage you and your daughter. Let’s have a poll to see if one of those is a favorite, or if there’s another name that would be just right.

Readers, let’s hear your best strong names for girls!

What's the best strong girl's name?

  1. ALouise
  2. BMatilda
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About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.
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26 Responses to “Warrior Girl Names: Finding the Right Fit for a Fighter”

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Vnsmith7 Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 12:17 am

I think Matilda would be great! Matilda Elizabeth sounds fabulous. You could give her little nicknames like Mattie, Millie, or Tillie. Matilda was one of the girl names we had picked out but, unfortunately, we are having a boy. The second choice of mine given the names the name saga gave you would be Bridget. Both sound excellent with Elizabeth. Good Luck!

mymel0dy Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 12:32 am

Of the names listed, Bridget is my favorite though I honestly prefer Brigid to Bridget. I think Brigid Elizabeth sounds great and works well with her sisters’ names. I also really like Matilda, but really love Maud(e) and Maud(e) Elizabeth is amazing. I think after saying Maud(e) Elizabeth out loud I like it a little more than my former favorite Brigid Elizabeth.

josephinedagnall Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 2:52 am

I like the suggestions of Edith, Maeve, and Willa.

ruolan Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 3:51 am

My first thought was Louise for the meaning, but I can’t get over Edith Elizabeth! Runners up from Abby’s list are Diana and Maeve. Best wishes for a safe delivery, surgery, and healing for this little lady!

hml Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 7:40 am

I love Bridget with Daphne and Adele! Millicent is one of my favs, but it doesn’t feet with the sibset quite as well, for me.

aurebet Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 8:04 am

My vote goes to Willa! I’ve had that name on my list for a while, so my mind immediately jumped to Willa for a beautiful name meaning strength and resolute protection.

Courtney Lee Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 8:44 am

I’d go with Willa, Bridget, or Edith! I don’t love Matilda, and it sounds off with Daphne and Adele to me.

beynotce Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 8:45 am

Bridget was the first name that came to my mind, but I also love Matilda. Sound-wise, though, I suspect our expectant parents might find Matilda just a little too close for comfort to Adele, in which case Bridget or Louise are better fits. Both sound very distinct from both Daphne and Adele, while fitting right in, style-wise.

Kipperbo1 Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:03 am

I love Louise, Willa, Matilda, Edith, and Bridget, but I have to say…Daphne Evangeline both names end in “ne”. Adele Emmanuelle both names end in “le”. I don’t know if that was intentional but if it was Edith Elizabeth sounds like it’s exactly what you are looking for.

niteowl13 Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:17 am

As Kipperbo1 says Edith Elizabeth would be perfect! It may be a bit cliche, but Faith works too.

Kew Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:30 am

Doesn’t Bridget mean “exalted”, rather than “strong”? It’s a great option either way though.

I like the idea of Maude or Edith with the softly European Daphne and Adele. Audrey (“noble strength”) would work for something more retro, if you don’t mind repeating initials.

Titus245Mama Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:31 am

I really like Louise! I was actually going to suggest Josephine, after the strong and courageous “Jo” from “Little Women”, but Louise could also make that connection to the author, Louisa May Alcott. I’m also a big fan of Edith (I know a strong little 2 year old with that name), but I’m not sure I’m crazy about it next to the middle name Elizabeth. Congratulations on your little one!

ariesgirl Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:54 am

I also like Maude or Edith for you.

mermuse Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 9:57 am

Great list! I immediately thought of Louisa.

morgantaylore Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 10:48 am

My vote goes to Matilda or Diana. Best of luck for your little girl !

K8ting Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Positive thoughts to your daughter.

When a friend recently had a baby facing health challenges, I suggested Valentina. I love the association with love, strength and the heart for you.

Gabe1216 Says:

August 8th, 2018 at 11:58 pm

What about Cordelia? The name wasn’t suggested but I absolutely love it! Some places have the meaning as daughter/jewel of the sea, but I have seen the meaning several times as heart or heart of a lion. Just a suggestion. Congrats on your little one and best wishes!

moraea Says:

August 9th, 2018 at 3:00 am

Of the names suggested i like Willa & Bridgit. Other names that make me think of strength are Joan (as in Joan Of arc) Seraphina (fiery one) Alexandra (defender) & Lorraine (named for Lothair I & frequently given the meaning ‘ warrior’)

onomastodon Says:

August 9th, 2018 at 4:23 am

Great suggestions. I think Matilda (or Maud/e) and Edith are great fits.

Some more suggestions:

Eloise (probably comes from words meaning ‘healthy/whole’ + ‘wood’, though it’s often listed as ‘healthy’ + ‘wide’)
Florence (‘blooming, flourishing’)
Victoria (‘victory’, ‘victorious’)
Rosamund (from elements meaning ‘horse’ + ‘protection’. Later came to be associated with the Latin phrase ‘rosa mundi’, or ‘rose of the world’)
Camilla (the name of a warrior queen in the Aeneid)

These are a little different stylistically from your other girls’ names, but they have strong meanings and I think they wouldn’t stand out too much from her sisters:

Hilda (‘battle’ – it’s the same as the ‘ilda’ in Matilda)
Gertrude (‘spear of strength’ or ‘spear maiden’)
Veronica, Berenice (‘bringing victory’)
Nicola (‘victory of the people’)
Romilda (‘famous battle’)
Sigrid (‘beautiful victory’)

alpharelic Says:

August 9th, 2018 at 11:13 am

My suggestion would be one of my all-time favourite names – Thora, which means ‘Thunder Goddess’! Thora Elizabeth would be perfect.

Rhii Says:

August 9th, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Empress Maud or Empress Matilda is one of my favorite historical women. When her father King Henry I died with no male heirs, he intended her to take the throne to hold for her son (Henry II) Her cousin Stephen of Blois fought her for the throne in a civil war that lasted for well over 10 years and her son wound up being king after Stephen anyway! She was famously trapped by Stephen’s army and escaped multiple times, and I love that she never ever gave up!

My vote goes to Matilda or Maude! She’s just the kind of girl you’ve got! 🙂

ARead Says:

August 10th, 2018 at 11:31 am

I like Millicent/Melisande and Willa best from the Namesage’s list. I’d also add Esther, a Biblical queen who (while not a warrior) risked her life to save her people. I think Esther sounds great with Daphne and Adele.
Good luck!

tfzolghadr Says:

August 11th, 2018 at 2:32 pm

If you’re willing to really go out there, there’s Artemisia. There’re a few generals with this name and a feminist Renaissance painter. Also, not old British lady style, but Pari or Parisa couldn’t be a a nod to the general.

HistoryGirl Says:

August 11th, 2018 at 5:06 pm

I’m not sore where you got the information on some of the meanings. Brigit means “exalted one.” Willa means “helmet, protection, will, desire.”

HistoryGirl Says:

August 11th, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Iphigenia means “strong, stout born.”

Mildred means “gentle strength.”

Sylvi means “sun strength.”

Valencia means “strength.”

Bellatrix means “female warrior.”

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