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TV Mom Names

TV Mom names take their inspiration from the perfect (and sometimes highly imperfect) television mothers who typically vacuumed in heels and cooked their children hot lunches. Names that honor these paragons of domesticity range from Alice to Winnie, with detours to Peg and Tami.

Along with Alice and Winnie, other TV mom names in the US Top 1000 include Caroline, Harriet, Helen, June, Katherine, Lily, Nora, Vivian, and Xiomara. Names with particularly strong ties to their fictional mothers include Endora, Marge, Moira, and Rainbow.

While some of these may seem hopelessly dated (they are mom names, after all), many names of TV moms — especially ones from earlier sitcoms — would be quite charming on a modern baby girl.

For more, consider our list of TV character names.

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OliviaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "olive tree"
  • Description:

    Olivia is one of the top US baby names as well as one of the top girl names in English-speaking and European countries around the world.

AliceHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "noble"
  • Description:

    Alice was derived from the Old French name Aalis, a diminutive of Adelais that itself came from the Germanic name Adalhaidis. Adalhaidis, from which the name Adelaide is also derived, is composed of the Proto-Germanic elements aþala, meaning “noble,” and haidu, “kind, appearance, type.” Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland popularized the name in modern times.

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.

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.

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.
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AudreyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "noble strength"
  • Description:

    Audrey is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Aethelthryth, the name that later evolved into Ethelred. St. Audrey was a seventh century saint who was particularly revered in the Middle Ages. Her name led to the term tawdry, as cheap lace necklaces were sold at the St. Audrey fair. Shakespeare bestowed her name on a character in As You Like It.

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.

EdithHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "prosperous in war"
  • Description:

    Edith was a hugely popular name a hundred years ago that's being revived among stylish parents in Stockholm and London. It's currently beginning to gain traction in the US among those with a taste for old-fashioned names with a soft but strong image.

ElizabethHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Elizabeth is derived from the Hebrew name Elisheva, formed by the components ’el, meaning “God,” and shava’, “oath.” In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, and two of England's most notable queens have been Elizabeth I and II. Another memorable bearer was Elizabeth Taylor—who hated to be called Liz.

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.
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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.

RebeccaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "servant of God"
  • Description:

    Rebecca is a name representing beauty in the Bible, an Old Testament classic that reached the heights of revived popularity in the seventies but is still a well-used choice. It derives from the Hebrew name Rivkah, from the verb ribbqah, meaning “noose.” The biblical Rebecca was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah was a common spelling of the name in the Bible.

MargaretHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Margaret is derived from the French Marguerite, which in turn came from Margarita, the Latin form of the Greek Margarites. Margarites was based on the Old Persian word margārīta, meaning “pearl.”

HarrietHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of French Henriette
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Harriet has long been considered a stylish, upscale name in England, but it's still waiting to be revived in the US—though some parents seeking a solid, serious semi-classic are beginning to consider it.

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.
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RuthHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "compassionate friend"
  • Description:

    Ruth, with its air of calm and compassion, was the third most popular name in the 1890s, remaining in the Top 10 through the 1920s. It's still in use today as some parents tiring of Rachel and Rebecca are giving Ruth a second thought. Some see such Old Testament girls’ names as Ruth and Esther rising on the heels of boy equivalents Abel and Moses.

WinnieHeart

  • Origin:

    English diminutive of Winifred
  • Meaning:

    "holy peacemaking, gentle friend"
  • Description:

    This pet form of such names as Winifred and Edwina and Gwendolyn has loads of vintage charm, a la Millie and Maisie, with a decidedly winning vibe. And it just got celebrity cred as the baby daughter of Jimmy Fallon.

NatalieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Russian Natalia
  • Meaning:

    "birthday of the Lord"
  • Description:

    Natalie is the French variation of Natalia, a name originally derived from the Latin phrase natale domini, meaning “birthday of the Lord.” It was historically given to girls born around Christmas for this reason. Nathalie is an additional, though less common, spelling of the name.

AmyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "beloved"
  • Description:

    Amy is the English variation of the Old French name Amée—Aimée in modern French. Amée was a translation of the Latin name Amata, which derived from amatus, meaning “beloved.” Other spelling variations include Amie and Ami.

VivianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Vivian, once an elderly lady name, is on the rise, along with all form of girl names that mean life -- from Zoe to Eva to those who share the vivid Viv syllable.
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SarahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "princess"
  • Description:

    Sarah was derived from the Hebrew word sarah, meaning “princess.” Sarah is an Old Testament name—she was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. According to the Book of Genesis, Sarah was originally called Sarai, but had her name changed by God to the more auspicious Sarah when she was ninety years old.

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.

MaggieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Maggie is a cute, earthy short form that has been in style for several decades now, still sometimes used as an independent name by such parents as Jon Stewart. First used in Scotland, it got a large bump in popularity via the 1971 Rod Stewart hit song "Maggie May." Today's Maggie might just as well be short for a more adventurous name such as Magdalena or Magnolia as for the classic Margaret.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal was born Margaret.

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.

KatherineHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Long one of the top girls' names starting with K, Katherine has now been unseated on the popularity list by upstarts Kennedy and Kinsley, but a dip in popularity only adds to its charm.
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DorothyHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Greek Dorothea
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    In the 1930s, Dorothy left Kansas and landed in the Land of Oz; by the '80s she had become a Golden Girl, living in Miami with roommates Blanche and Rose, giving her a decidedly older image. But parents today seeking a quiet classic are bringing Dorothy back—she reentered the Top 1000 in 2011 after almost completely disappearing.

AnnieHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Ann
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.

HelenHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.

LouiseHeart

  • Origin:

    French and English, feminine variation of Louis
  • Meaning:

    "renowned warrior"
  • Description:

    Louise has for several decades now been seen as competent, studious, and efficient—desirable if not dramatic qualities. But now along with a raft of other L names, as well as cousin Eloise, Louise is up for reappreciation—sleek and chic, stylish in Paris, and starting to become so in the US as well. Louisa is perhaps more in tune with the times, but Louise has more edge. Louise has been on the rise lately, and reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time in a quarter century in 2016.

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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JessicaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    When Jennifer was ready to give up her throne, her crown was passed to Jessica, who reigned for not one but two decades; Jessica was the top name of both the 1980's and 90's, never sounding quite as trendy as its predecessor, maybe because of its classic Shakespearean pedigree. Jessica has declined a bit in popularity but is still a popular choice.

FrankieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "from France; free man"
  • Description:

    Vintage nickname name, with a down-to-earth country feel. This renewed interest placed Frankie back in the US Top 1000 in 2015 after a 41-year hiatus. For girls, it's a popular choice in England and Wales, Australia, and New Zealand. Drew Barrymore, who helped popularize and glamorize boyish names for girls, has a daughter named Frankie. On TV's Better Things, Pamela Adlon's middle daughter is named Frankie (sister to Max and Duke, both girls).

LoisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "most desirable"
  • Description:

    The eternal fiancee of Superman turned sweet gray-haired lady who's always available to babysit her grandkids. Lois is actually a New Testament name of Greek origin: she was converted by Paul and was the grandmother of Timothy, who became one of Paul's disciples. Other s-ending names are making a comeback, as is Louise, so why not Lois?

MoiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of Mary
  • Meaning:

    "bitter; beloved; drop of the sea"
  • Description:

    Well-established Irish and Scottish name that has never really caught on across the pond. Remembered by an older generation as the beautiful red-haired ballerina in the film The Red Shoes, Moira Shearer.

LorelaiHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Lorelei
  • Description:

    Lorelai is the spelling used for the character played by Lauren Graham on The Gilmore Girls, as well as her daughter, who preferred the nickname Rory. The television show reintroduced this name to a new generation, but the Lorelai spelling could be confusing -- is it lor-ah-LAY? -- to those unacquainted with the Gilmores.
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KittyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Katherine
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    This endearing nickname name is one Katherine pet form that predates all the Kathys and Katies, having been fairly common in the eighteenth century. With the current mini-craze for animal-related names, Kitty is sounding cute and cuddly again—she's already jumped back onto the U.K. list, at number 199.

SallyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Sarah
  • Meaning:

    "princess"
  • Description:

    Sally is a cheerful, fresh-faced girl-next-door name that was originally a nickname for Sarah, but has long been used independently. Sally was popular in the eighteenth century and then again from the 1920s to the 1960s--it was just outside the Top 50 around 1940. Though it hasn't been heard as a baby name for decades, we can see Sally bouncing back, especially after her exposure as young Ms. Draper on Mad Men--the Nameberries rank it at Number 621, and it's a Top 100 name in Sweden.

EllenHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Helen
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    An Old English form of Helen, the sensitive but clear-eyed Ellen has swung in and out of style for centuries, often alternating with the parent name. Ellen was the more common in medieval England, until after the Renaissance, when Helen overtook her. In Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, set at the end of the nineteenth century, one character wonders why another has not changed her "ugly" given name to something prettier, like Elaine—a statement few would make today.

LisaHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Liza, diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Elvis naming his daughter Lisa Marie and Nat King Cole's hit song "Mona Lisa" conspired to catapult one of Elizabeth's many offshoots to Number 4 in 1970. Its star barely twinkles now.

AnnHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Hebrew Hannah
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Ann, 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 and show no signs of returning, with Anne is the middle of the US Top 1000 and Ann dropped out of sight. Once a go-to middle name, Ann has lost its stature in that position as well. Still, it's one of the most common names for girls of the 20th century.
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BettyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.

AngelaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "angel"
  • Description:

    Angela was a Top 10 name from 1965 to 1979, the fifth most popular name for three years, and staying in the double digits until the turn of the 21st century.

JeanHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish, from French variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Originally a feminine of John, Jean was popular in Scotland long before it found favor elsewhere, and had its most shining moment here in the era of Jean Harlow (born Harlean), ultimate symbol of silver screen glamour. Now, though there are many grandmas and even moms with the name, it doesn't seem all that baby-friendly. Though that could change, and Jean could join Jane.

JoanHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Johanna
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Joan was the perfect name choice for one of the leading characters on Mad Men, being a quintessential girls' name of the period. A Top 10 name in the 30s, a Top 50 name from the 40s through the early 60s, it was the fifth most popular name in the country for three years running and ranks as one of the most common names for girls in the 20th century. But alas, Joan hasn't even appeared in the Top 1000 for a dozen years, and these days it's primarily associated with Joans of the generation of Joan Crawford, Joan Collins and Joan Rivers--just a few of the noted Joans whose ranks also include the singers Joan Sutherland, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading and Joan Jett. But it's possible that modern parents who are reviving Jane might move on to Joan, inspired by Joan Hollaway Harris.

JanetHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Jane
  • Meaning:

    "God's gracious gift"
  • Description:

    Janet started as a pet form of Jane but has long been used independently. Jane is a feminine form of John, which derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan. Janet can also be considered a variation of Jeannette, a derivative of Joan and another feminization of the name John.
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ElyseHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Elise or Elysia
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Elyse hasn't been heard much since the 80s, but it's beginning to be reconsidered as a possibIlity again, now that it's not so much seen as a Mom name, as it was in the TV show "Family Ties." A spelling variation of Elise, it's another variation of Elizabeth. Many parents today would opt for Eliza.

BarbaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "foreign woman"
  • Description:

    If you can get the lively young Barbara Bush to replace her grandmother's white-haired image, you might discover a rhythmic classic with an interesting history. Barbara is undoubtedly among the most classic girl names starting with B.

MurielHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "of the bright sea"
  • Description:

    Once a poetic Celtic name, that of the angel who governs the month of June, Muriel became the mom or grandma on TV sitcoms. She does have literary cred via Edinburgh-born author Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and also appears as a character in Anne of Green Gables. Muriel was a Top 200 name from 1912 to 1933.

ShirleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "bright meadow"
  • Description:

    All Shirleys were born in 1937, when Shirley Temple was America's princess -- or at least sound as if they were.

XiomaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Guiomar, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Meaning:

    "famous in battle"
  • Description:

    The gorgeous and romantic name Xiomara popped into the Top 1000 from 2004-2011 after a contestant on America's Next Top Model increased interest in her rare name.
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