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Short and Strong Girl Names

Short and strong girl names hit just the right note between feminine and feisty. Short girl names are great for balancing out a long surname or middle name, and they have the added bonus of being simple and straightforward to say and spell.

Our favorite short and strong names for girls range from classics like Kate, Eve and Anna, to cool vintage revivals like Alma, Ida and Tess, to modern mini-names with a punch, like Nico, Rue and Lux.

Many of the fabulous short and strong girl names on this list have powerful meanings to match. Try Cleo "glory", Veda "wisdom" or Zoya "life".

Here, browse a selection of our favorite short and strong baby girl names that pack a punch. Or, if you're having a boy, check out this post over on our blog about strong names for boys.
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MaeveHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "she who intoxicates"
  • Description:

    Maeve appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful Queen of Connacht, the other as the queen of the fairies. Maeve of Connacht was a warrior queen, famous for starting a war in attempt to steal her ex-husband’s stud bull. Other spellings are Meabh, Medb and Meadhbh, which are connected to mead, a honey-based wine that was produced in many ancient cultures.

FreyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "a noble woman"
  • Description:

    Freya is derived from the Old Norse name Freyja, meaning “Lady, noble woman.” It is the name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Freya can be considered a feminization of Frey or Freyr, the name of the goddess’s brother.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of Conn"
  • Description:

    Quinn is the Anglicized version of the Irish patronymic surname Ó Cuinn, meaning “descendent of Conn.” Conn has two possible derivations—the Old Irish cond, meaning “intellect,” or cenn, meaning “chief.” One of the most notable Quinn clans was from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

LyraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lyre"
  • Description:

    Lyra is a constellation name taken from the lyre of Orpheus. It contains the star Vega and thus could make a melodic choice for a parent interested in music, astronomy, or mythology. It has more depth and history than Lyric, is more unusual than Lila (which it rhymes with). It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.

NovaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "new"
  • Description:

    Nova is a name that has the feel of both newness, from his meaning, and great energy from being an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.
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ZaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew and Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "blooming flower; God remembers"
  • Description:

    Zara has multiple origins, but most notably is a variation of Zahrah, a name derived from the Arabic zahrah, meaning “blooming flower.” Zara can also be a diminutive of the Bulgarian name Zaharina, a feminine form of the Hebrew Zechariah. Today, Zara is heavily associated with the Spanish fast fashion empire of the same name.

AdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Ada is derived from the German name Adelaide, which came from the ancient name Adalheidis. The root, adal, is a Germanic word meaning “noble.” Ada can also be considered a variation of the biblical name Adah, pronounced AH-da, one of the first girls’ names mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name; Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise"
  • Description:

    Sage is an evocatively fragrant herbal name that also connotes wisdom, giving it a double advantage. It entered the Top 1000 at about the same time for both genders in the early 1990s, but it has pulled ahead for the girls. Toni Collette named her daughter Sage Florence.

AnnaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anna is the Latin form of Hannah, a Hebrew name that derived from root chanan, meaning “grace.” European Christians embraced the name for its associations with the Virgin Mary’s mother, Saint Anna—known in English as Saint Anne. While Hannah and Anna are the most common forms of the name, variations including Annie, Annalise, Anya, Anika, Nancy, and Anais also rank in the US Top 1000.

ZoeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    The history of Zoe begins in the third century when the Alexandrian Jews translated Eve, which means 'life,' to the Greek equivalent Zoe. Zoe was in use as far back as the Roman classical period, and was popular with the early Christians, who bestowed it with hopes of eternal life, but it didn't migrate to the English-speaking world until the mid-nineteenth century. Alternate spellings include Zoey, Zoie, and Zooey.
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SloaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "raider"
  • Description:

    Sloane is a sleek, sophisticated surname name that has gradually morphed over to the girls' side. Sloane is definitely a name that's going to continue to rise. Spelled without the final "e," Sloan joined Sloane in the Top 1000 for the first time in 2011.

EmmaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "universal"
  • Description:

    Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with the ermen root. A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries—Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002—Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.

JadeHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "stone of the side"
  • Description:

    As cool as the precious green stone said to transmit wisdom, clarity, justice, courage, and modesty, Jade has been rising in popularity since Mick and Bianca Jagger chose it for their daughter in 1971. Superchef Giada de Laurentiis chose it as the English translation of her own first name. Jade manages to strike the golden mean as one of the familiar-yet-unusual girl names starting with J.

MiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, Slavic, Arabic, Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "admirable; peace; female ruler; ocean"
  • Description:

    This name owes its present life to actress Sorvino. Mira and Mirra have an arty aura. Mira is a true cross-cultural choice, with the literal meaning of "look" in Spanish, a peaceful meaning in several Eastern European languages, a well-used name in Arabic cultures meaning queen-like or a female ruler, and a nature name in Sanksrit. In Greek, it means "fate, destiny". Mira can also be a short form of Miryam or Miranda.

VeraHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian
  • Meaning:

    "faith"
  • Description:

    Vera was the height of exotic fashion in 1910, then was for a long time difficult to picture embroidered on a baby blanket. Now, though, some hip parents are beginning to quietly revive it along with other old-fashioned simple names such as Ada and Iris.
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GemmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "precious stone"
  • Description:

    Gemma is a jewel of a name, an Italian classic that was very popular in 1980s England, but has only recently been started to be used here; it entered the list in 2008.

JunoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "queen of the heavens"
  • Description:

    Juno is an ancient name that feels as fresh as if it had been minted — well, not yesterday, but in 2007. Since the release of the popular indie film Juno, this lively but strong o-ending Roman goddess name has become more and more prominent as a potential baby name — Coldplay's Will Champion chose Juno for one of his twins (whose brother is the kingly Rex).

CleoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "glory"
  • Description:

    Cleo, one of the few girls' names to boast the cool-yet-lively o ending, is of course short for Cleopatra, the name of one of the most powerful women in history.

NyxHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    In Greek mythology, Nyx was a powerful goddess and the embodiment of the night, but when spoken, its negative meaning can't be ignored.

EveHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Eve, the oldest name in the Book, is now coming back into style, having the virtues of simplicity and purity, yet with more strength and resonance than other single-syllable names like Ann. British actor Clive Owen chose Eve for his daughter, as did Jessica Capshaw.
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LenaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Scottish, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, diminutive of various names ending in lena
  • Description:

    This pet form of Helena and other ena-ending names, long used as an independent name, is attracting notice again as an option both multicultural and simple. Lena was a Top 100 name from 1880 to 1920.

AlmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "nurturing, soul"
  • Description:

    Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago, then faded into the flowered wallpaper, and is now finding its footing once more.

FleurHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "flower"
  • Description:

    Fleur is a generic, delicate flower name that emigrated into the English-speaking world when John Galsworthy bestowed it on one of the Forsytes in his celebrated saga. More recently, there was Fleur Delacour, a French witch and the Beauxbatons champion for the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter.

NinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of names that end in -nina
  • Description:

    Nina is as multiethnic as you can get: Nina is a common nickname name in Spain and Russia, a Babylonian goddess of the oceans, and an Incan goddess of fire. Here and now, it's a stylish possibility that's been underused. "Weird Al" Yankovic chose this decidedly nonweird name for his daughter.

RueHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical names or word name
  • Meaning:

    "herb; regret"
  • Description:

    Rue has gone from Golden Girls actress to Hunger Games heroine. This botanical name is also a coincidental double word name, meaning "regret" in English and "street in" French. Despite these unfortunate secondary meanings, Rue has real potential to be one of the most popular new middle names for girls.
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KateHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Katherine
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    Kate, in the headlines via Catherine Middleton, has been as pervasive as Kathy was in the 1950s and 1960s, both as a nickname for Katherine and Kaitlyn and as a strong, classic stand-alone name. Kate has an image that's independent, smart, and energetic, recalling Kate Hepburn, the heroine of The Taming of the Shrew/Kiss Me Kate, and contemporary Kates Winslet, Hudson, Moss, Spade and Beckinsale. Cate Blanchette has helped popularize that spelling of the name.

FiadhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "wild"
  • Description:

    Fiadh is the fastest-rising girls' name in Ireland, derived from the ancient root word for "wild". The Anglicized form Fia is one we might see rising in the US as well – to take the place of its popular cousin Mia.

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

RaeHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Rachel
  • Meaning:

    "ewe"
  • Description:

    All the old ae/ay middle names for girls are back--Kay, Fay, Mae/May, --and Rae is one of the coolest, used as such by celebrities as Mark Wahlberg and Daniel Baldwin. Even more popular in the celebrisphere is the jazzy Ray spelling: among those who used it as their daughters' middles are Bruce Willis, Dermot Mulroney, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Lee Lee Sobieski.

PaigeHeart

  • Origin:

    English, occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "page to a lord"
  • Description:

    Paige is more name, and less word than the occupational Page. Paige is also sleek and sophisticated a la Brooke and Blair and reached as high as Number 47 in 2003, when there was a very popular television show, Trading Spaces, hosted by the energetic Paige Davis.
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EchoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Echo, the pretty, resonant name of a legendary nymph, was the heroine of Joss Whedon's sci-fi series Dollhouse. Nick Hexum, of the band 311, named his daughter Echo Love.

SashaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, diminutive of Greek Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Sasha, largely male in Russia--and also spelled Sascha and Sacha--is an energetic name that has really taken off for girls here, chosen by Jerry Seinfeld (using the alternate Sascha spelling) and other celebs. The Barack Obamas use it as the nickname for their younger daughter, whose proper name is Natasha. But in line with a trend toward softer-sounding boys' names like Asher and Joshua and thanks to Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen, Sasha also still has life as a boys' name too--it's popular in France for boys and girls almost equally.

MarenHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    Maren is one of the many twenty-first-century takes on Mary--but we find the more classic Marin spelling preferable. When spelled Maren, the pronunciation seems more clearly to resemble Mary, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Marin, the spelling also used for the beautiful coastal county north of San Francisco, is often pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable, as in Marie.

NellHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining one"
  • Description:

    Nell, once a nickname for Helen, Ellen, or Eleanor, is a sweet old-fashioned charmer that is fashionably used today in its own right. While Nell is perfectly in tune with contemporary vintage name style, it hasn't taken off the way some of its sisters have and so maintains an air of distinction. Use Nell or Nellie as a short for any name from Eleanor to Penelope or just name her Nell.

LuxHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    This name of a character played by Kirsten Dunst in the movie Virgin Suicides, originally a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, is gaining attention, also thanks to the heroine Lux, Lady of Luminosity in the League of Legends games. Luz is the Spanish version.
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PetraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Peter
  • Meaning:

    "rock, stone"
  • Description:

    An exotic Greek name with something of a Slavic feel, Petra is a relatively recent feminization of Peter, though it relates back to an incredible ancient city in Jordan that was rediscovered in the early nineteenth century.

LaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian, diminutive of Larissa or Larisa
  • Meaning:

    "citadel"
  • Description:

    This is an alternative to Laura or Lauren made romantic by Dr Zhivago, and badass by video-game heroine Lara Croft.

IoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Io may be one of the slightest names in the book, but there aren't many two-letter names with as much substance as this Greek mythological example. Io, a name used for the largest moon of Jupiter, was in classic myth raped by Zeus and escaped from him by changing herself into a cow.

GiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "God's gracious gift"
  • Description:

    Gia is a cute if slight name that calls to mind stylish sisters Mia, Lea, Pia, Tia, and Nia. One of the most familiar Italian baby names in the US, Gia is a short form of Gianna, which in turn is a diminutive of Giovanna, the feminine form of Giovanni, the Italian equivalent of John—all of them meaning "God's gracious gift."

CirceHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    In Greek myth, Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun, was a sorceress living on the island of Aeaea, who could turn men into animals with her magic wand, which is just what she did to Odysseus's crew in Homer's Odyssey, transforming them into swine. All was forgiven, however, as Circe and Odysseus later had a child together—Telegonus. The name and legend have appeared in countless forms, from a section of James Joyce's Ulysses to short stories by Julio Cortazar to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to films to DC comics to a dance by Martha Graham. So is Circe's seductive legend too powerful for a modern little girl to carry? Your call.
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YaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "small butterfly"
  • Description:

    The exotic Yara is also the name of a beautiful green-skinned Brazilian goddess and might make a more unusual spin on Mara or Sara.

GretaHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Margarethe
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Greta is an Old World name long tied to the exotic, iconic Garbo. Along with other Old Hollywood glamour names, Greta seems to be showing slight signs of a comeback; it was chosen by David Caruso and by Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline for their daughters.

LivHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    The fame of actress and Aerosmith daughter Liv Tyler helped to infuse life into this short but solid Scandinavian name that was chosen for her daughter by Julianne Moore.

BrynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Bryn, Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "hill"
  • Description:

    Brynn outshines the original Welsh Bryn in the popularity stakes. This simple, brisk name might be seen as a combination of Bree and Lynn, an androgynous-sounding choice that especially in this spelling is not truly unisex: Brynn, for boys, is not even in the Top 1000. Other variations trendy now include Brynna, Brynnan, and Brynnley spelled many different ways.

MargoHeart

  • Origin:

    French, diminutive of Margaret
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Margo and Margot sound exactly the same, so why has the Margot spelling hopped back onto the Top 1000, outpacing Margo in numbers more than two to one? (Over 350 baby girls were named Margot in the most recent year, versus 150 named Margo.)
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AshaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit; Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "hope; life"
  • Description:

    Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its exotic roots, Asha is part of this group. Asha is finding new life through its Game of Thrones connections.

LumiHeart

  • Origin:

    Finnish
  • Meaning:

    "snow"
  • Description:

    Lumi may be a rare girls' name in the USA and England, but it comes in the Top 50 in Finland, where it means snow. Given the popularity of Winter, Holly, Ivy and many other wintery-christmassy names, we think that short and spunky Lumi definitely has potential for greater usage outside its home country as one of the more unusual names for Christmas babies.

RumiHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "beauty, flow, lapis lazuli"
  • Description:

    Rumi is a Japanese girls' name that sounds like a couple of other choices more familiar in the West -- Rumer and Remi -- that is achieving notice because of its choice by two celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.

KitHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Katherine
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    Kit is a crisp, old-time British-accented unisex nickname that sounds fresh and modern today. Kitty is another so-retro-it's-cool nickname.

BreeHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, from Brid, Brigh, Brigid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    A short, breezy name with a sophisticated yet upbeat image, that doesn't betray its Irish roots. Bree first came to notice here in 1971 via the complex prostitute character in the movie Klute, which earned Jane Fonda an Oscar. More recently, it was tied to the character of Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives.
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