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Coolated Names for Girls

Cool girl names can sometimes be made from less-than-cool ones. Sometimes, all you have to do is add an a to the end to bump them up several coolness levels: Natalie to Natalia, Susan to Susanna — you get the picture.

Coolating can be a good strategy if you’re looking to honor someone with a less-than-stylish name. Grandma Wilma? Meet baby Willow. Aunt Crystal? This is Gemma.

The point is that with a bit of ingenuity you can ramp up a name you like to a similar one that's cooler or tone it down if you want to go in a quieter direction. Here are some examples:
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AuroraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of sunrise whose tears turned into the morning dew. She was said to renew herself by traveling from East to West across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun each dawn. Aurora is also associated with the scientific term for the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.

AvaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, Latin or Germanic
  • Meaning:

    "life; bird; water, island"
  • Description:

    In medieval times, Ava was a diminutive of Germanic names beginning in Av-, in particular Aveline, from which the name Evelyn would eventually arise. It may derive from a Proto-Germanic root meaning "island" or "water". However, the medieval name eventually fell out of use entirely, only to resurface in contemporary times. This suggests that today’s Ava may be a modern variation of Eva. Alternatively, Ava could also derive from the Latin avis, meaning “bird.” Ava has separate Persian roots as a name meaning “voice” or “sound.”

IvyHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical name
  • Description:

    Ivy is derived from the name of the ivy plant, which got its name from the Old English word ifig. Ancient Greeks presented an ivy wreath to newlyweds as a symbol of fidelity. In the language of flowers, Ivy signifies faithfulness.

GenevieveHeart

  • Origin:

    English from French
  • Meaning:

    "tribe woman"
  • Description:

    Genevieve is derived from the Germanic medieval name Genovefa, or Kenowefa, which consists of the elements kuni, meaning “kin”, and wefa, meaning “woman.” The medieval saint Genevieve, patroness of Paris, defended the city against Attila the Hun through her rational thinking, courage and prayer.

VioletHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "purple"
  • Description:

    Violet is soft and sweet but far from shrinking. The Victorian Violet, one of the prettiest of the color and flower names, was chosen by high-profile parents Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, definitely a factor in its rapid climb to popularity. Violet cracked into the Top 50 for the first time ever in 2015.
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CharlotteHeart

  • Origin:

    French, feminine diminutive of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Charlotte is the feminine form of the male given name Charles. It derived from Charlot, a French diminutive of Charles meaning “little Charles,” and the name of Charlemagne’s son in French literature and legend. The name was popularized by England's Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III.

NoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Nora has two separate origin stories, as a derivative of both Honora and Eleanor. The Irish and Anglo-Norman version derives from Honora, based on the Latin word honor. The Hungarians spawned Nora as a short form of Eleonora, a variation of Eleanor.

SamanthaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, feminization of Samuel
  • Meaning:

    "told by God"
  • Description:

    The origins of Samantha are not entirely clear, although it is commonly thought to be a feminization of Samuel with the suffix derived from the Greek anthos, meaning “flower.” Samantha has been in English-speaking use since the eighteenth century, particularly in the American South, and drew attention via Grace Kelly's Tracy Samantha Lord character in High Society, featuring the song "I love you, Samantha.”

LucyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, variation of Lucia
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucy is the English form of the Roman Lucia, which derives from the Latin word "lux" meaning "light." Lucy and Lucia were at one time given to girls born at dawn. Lucy can alternatively be spelled Luci or Lucie.

WillowHeart

  • Origin:

    English nature name
  • Meaning:

    "willow tree"
  • Description:

    Willow came into use as a given name after the willow tree, whose name was derived from the Old English word welig, meaning “willow.” Willow trees are associated with grace and elegance, which gave way to the adjective “willowy.” Other names with meanings related to willows include Arava, Willoughby, Dozier, Wellesley, Selby, and Salton.
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StellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • Description:

    Stella was derived from stella, the Latin word for “star.” It was coined by Sir Philip Sidney in 1590 for the protagonist of his poem collection Astrophel and Stella. The title literally means “the star lover and his star,” but unlike Stella, Astrophel did not catch on as a given name.

PoppyHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "red flower"
  • Description:

    Poppy, unlike most floral names which are sweet and feminine, has a lot of spunk. Long popular in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #5 in 2014, Poppy is just starting to catch on in a big way in the US, where it entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2016 and – just three years later – the Top 500 in 2019.

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.

JuliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful or sky father"
  • Description:

    Julia was an ancient Roman imperial name given to females in the house of a Julius, as in Caesar. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".

JaneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.
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RubyHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "deep red precious stone"
  • Description:

    Ruby, vibrant red, sassy and sultry, has definitely outshone the other revived vintage gem names, with its sparkling resume of cultural references.

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.

LilyHeart

  • Origin:

    English flower name
  • Meaning:

    "lily"
  • Description:

    Lily came into use as a given name as a direct influence of the flower. The floral name was derived from the Latin lilium, itself derived from the Greek leirion. Lily later became an adjective to describe whiteness and purity.

ElizaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Eliza originated as a diminutive of Elizabeth and eventually became used as a name in its own right. Despite its similarity to the Hebrew name Aliza, meaning “joyful,” the two are unrelated. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton was the wife of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, recognizable today as one of the lead characters in the musical “Hamilton.”

WillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.
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DaisyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret or flower name, from English
  • Meaning:

    "day's eye"
  • Description:

    Daisy, fresh, wholesome, and energetic, is one of the flower names that burst back into bloom after a century's hibernation. Daisy is now second only to Delilah among most popular girl names starting with D. Originally a nickname for Margaret (the French Marguerite is the word for the flower), Daisy comes from the phrase "day's eye," because it opens its petals at daybreak.

LuciaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, feminine variation of Lucius, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucia is derived from lux, the Latin word for light. It is considered to be the feminine form of Lucius as well as the Latinate spelling of Lucy. Due to its connection to light, Lucia was traditionally given to babies born as daylight was breaking.

JulietHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful or sky father"
  • Description:

    One of the most romantic names, the lovely and stylish Juliet seems finally to have shaken off her limiting link to Romeo. In Shakespeare's play, it was Juliet who said "What's in a name?"

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.

AveryHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "ruler of the elves"
  • Description:

    Avery originated in the Middle Ages as a Norman-French pronunciation variation of the Anglo-Saxon name Alfred and the Ancient Germanic name Alberich. The elements aelf, meaning “elf” and ric, meaning “ruler” give Avery its meaning. While Avery is considered by many to be a surname name, it was a given name first. It was used as a patronymic surname when England began to require last names.
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CarolineHeart

  • Origin:

    French, feminine variation of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Caroline is a perennial classic, in the Top 100 since 1994. Caroline is elegant, calling to mind the Kennedy Camelot years and Princess Caroline of Monaco.

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).

DianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "divine"
  • Description:

    Diana, the tragic British princess, inspired many fashions, but strangely, not one for her name. For us, Diana is a gorgeous and still-underused choice.

GeorgiaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, feminine variation of George
  • Meaning:

    "farmer"
  • Description:

    Georgia is so rich, lush and luscious, it's almost irresistible. Georgia's now a rising star among the feminizations of George, helped by associations with the southern state (named for British King Geogre II) and painter Georgia O'Keeffe, with the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind" or maybe "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing in the background.
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JuneHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, month named for goddess Juno
  • Description:

    June, a sweetly old-fashioned month name derived from the goddess Juno, was long locked in a time capsule with June Allyson (born Ella) and June Cleaver, but is rising again especially as a middle name.

IsadoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Isis"
  • Description:

    Why is Isabella megapopular while Isadora goes virtually ignored? Too close a tie with tragic modern dancer Isadora Duncan (born Angela Isadora), who was done in by her long flowing scarf, perhaps, or with fusty male version Isidore. But we think Isadora is well worth reevaluating as an Isabella alternative. Quirky couple singer Bjork and artist Matthew Barney did just that and named their daughter Isadora. Isidora would be an alternative, just as proper but not quite as charming spelling--the one used as the spelling of a fourth century saint's name.

ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Cool meets Born Again meets Brad and Angelina, who made Shiloh an instant star when they chose it for their daughter. While Shiloh has risen from obscurity thanks to its celebrity baby use, it hasn't become a star the way brother names Maddox and Pax have. It entered the Top 1000 in 2007, one year after the birth of Ms. Jolie-Pitt.

MollyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Mary, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "bitter"
  • Description:

    Molly originated as a diminutive of Mary, spawning from medieval variations Malle and Molle. Molly has been used as a stand-alone pet form of Mary since the Middle Ages, and has been consistently popular as an independent name in the U.S. over the past several decades.

ZoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Serbo-Croatioan
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
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CassandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "shining or excelling man"
  • Description:

    The name of the tragic mythological Trojan princess who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but was condemned never to be believed, Cassandra has been used for exotic characters in movies and soap operas. Ethereal and delicate, Cassandra was in the Top 70 throughout the 1990s, but is now descending in popularity.

SerenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil, serene"
  • Description:

    Serena, a name used since Roman times, was given fresh life by tennis star Williams, and then again with the leading character on Gossip Girl, Serena van der Woodsen. There have also been Serenas on soap operas and other shows from Bewitched to Law & Order.

StephanieHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Stephen
  • Meaning:

    "garland, crown"
  • Description:

    Stephanie is the feminine form of Stephen, derived from the Greek name Stephanos, meaning “crown.” It’s been the name of several royal women throughout history, including the medieval Stephanie, Queen of Navarre, and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, the daughter Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. International variations of Stephanie include the German Stefanie, Italian Stefania, and Spanish Estefanía.

LauraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bay laurel"
  • Description:

    Laura is a hauntingly evocative perennial, never trendy, never dated, feminine without being fussy, with literary links stretching back to Dante. All this makes Laura a more solid choice than any of its more decorative counterparts and one of the most classic girl names starting with L.

SavannahHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "flat tropical grassland"
  • Description:

    A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.
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BriannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Brian
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous and honorable"
  • Description:

    Many different versions of Brianna are in the Top 1000 -- a sure sign that, though pretty, Brianna's gotten more and more difficult to make distinctive. This is the most popular spelling. It entered the US list in 1976, rose to the Top 100 in 1988, then got as high as Number 14 in 1999. Country singer Trace Adkins called his daughter Brianna. Though it sounds like it might be a modern invention, the name actually appeared as far back as the sixteenth century in Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queen.

RosemaryHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin or English
  • Meaning:

    "dew of the sea, or rosemary (herb)"
  • Description:

    Despite appearances, Rosemary is not a “smoosh” name, not even a traditional one. The name derives from two Latin terms “Ros” meaning ‘dew’ and “Marinus” “meaning “of the sea”. The plant was termed ‘dew of the sea’ due to its salty texture and its ability to thrive in coastal climes. Only after the Middle Ages did the English names of Rose and Mary become interchanged with the name Rosmarinus and give us the modern name we use today.

JamieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of James
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Jamie is typical of the relaxed unisex names starting with J that seemed so cool in the sixties after decades of Jeans and Joans, though now pretty tepid. Jaime and even Jamey and Jayme are alternate spellings.

AnneHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of English Ann and Hebrew Hannah
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    The name of the sainted mother of the Virgin Mary was among the top girls’ names for centuries, in both the original English Ann spelling and the French Anne. Both left the Top 100 around 1970 but Anne is still among the most classic names for girls, although others are more likely to choose the original Hannah, the Anna variation, or even Annabel or Annabella.

ChiaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "light, clear"
  • Description:

    Chiara is a lovely and romantic Italian name that's familiar but not widely used here: a real winner. You might consider Chiara instead of Claire, Clara, Cara, or even Keira.
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GwenHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Gwendolen/Gwendolyn
  • Meaning:

    "white circle"
  • Description:

    While Gwen may have originated as a short form of Gwendolen and Gwendolyn, these days it frequently stands on its own. Rocker Gwen Stefani has given it a shot of cool, and parents are choosing it as a standalone more and more often—Gwen hopped back onto the US Top 1000 in 2013 after an absence of over 30 years. Gwen could also be short for Guinevere.

SelenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized variation of Greek Selene
  • Meaning:

    "moon goddess"
  • Description:

    Selena is smooth, shiny, and sensual, a nineteenth-century name that found new life in the Latino community, following the biopic of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, starring Jennifer Lopez. But you don't have to be Latin to love Selena, which is both distinctive yet in step with stylish modern names such as Seraphina and Celia.

AnnikaHeart

  • Origin:

    Swedish diminutive of Anna
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Annika is a surprise hit of recent years, inspired by golfer Sorenstam; for Trekkies, it was also the name of a 'Star Trek:Voyager' character. Some people's first memory of it might be as Pippi Longstocking's friend. A nice namesake for an ancestral Ann.

JoannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Joanna derives from the Greek name Ioanna, which in turn came from the Hebrew name Yohannah. It is featured in the New Testament as a woman who accompanied Jesus on his travels and eventually reached saint status. Other names related to Joanna include Joan, Joanne, Johanna, and Jana.

LucilleHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Lucilla
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucille is a name that had long been overpowered by its link to Lucille Ball, with an image of tangerine-colored hair, big, round eyes, and a tendency to stage daffy and desperate stunts. But with the newfound craze for double-L names like Lily and Lila, Lulu and Luna, and as the choice of Lucille by hipster parents Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson, Lucille is breaking free from its old clownish image, moving rapidly up the charts over the past decade after a long nap.
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