Classic Girl Names That Aren't Boring

Classic Girl Names That Aren't Boring

Classic baby names for girls are highly covetable — these names are rooted in tradition and hard to argue with. 

But some classic names have been popular for decades, making them feel overused, unoriginal, and dare we say, boring. 

Quirky classic baby names have attitude and are rarer than their more conventional counterparts. Think Eliza and Juliet rather than Elizabeth and Julia. There will be no accusations of Plain Jane here! (Although we’d like to go on record and say we love the name Jane, too).

Along with Eliza and Juliet, other classic girl names that aren’t boring in the US Top 250 include Audrey, Genevieve, Georgia, Iris, Josephine, Lucia, Ruby, and Vivian. Interesting and unique girl names with traditional origins include Cleo, Guinevere, Ione, and Marcella.

If your tastes run toward classic girl names but you want a name that sounds interesting and distinctive, consider these girl names that are traditional but not boring, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Classic Names

Girl Names

  1. Eloise
    • Origin:

      French and English variation of Heloise
    • Meaning:

      "healthy; wide"
    • Description:

      Well balanced between sleek, sweet, strong, and vintage, newly chic Eloise re-entered the US Top 1000 in 2009, following a 50 year absence. In 2022, it broke into the Top 100 in the US and across the pond in the UK. Given to nearly 3000 babies each year, Eloise is showing no sign of stepping out of the spotlight.
  2. Maeve
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "she who intoxicates"
    • Description:

      Maeve is a short and sweet name that has become one of the most stylish Irish names for girls in the modern US. Maeve would make an excellent first or middle name choice, with more heft than Mae/May and more modern charm than Mavis.
  3. Daphne
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "laurel tree, bay tree"
    • Description:

      In Greek mythology, Daphne was the nymph daughter of Peneus, a river god. Peneus saved Daphne from Apollo’s romantic obsessions by transforming her into a laurel tree. It is from this myth that the plant genus daphne, which contains the laurel species, gets its name.
  4. Iris
    • Origin:

      Flower name; Greek
    • Meaning:

      "rainbow"
    • Description:

      Iris has so much going for it. It's a fashionable flower name. It's a mythological name, from the Greek goddess of the rainbow. And it's a classic name, always ranking in the girls' Top 1000 but now at its highest point ever.
  5. Clara
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      Clara is a strong, lovely girls' name that's always ranked among the US Top 1000 girl names but has been climbing since the turn of this century. It now ranks right around Number 100, making it a modern classic that's neither too popular nor unfamiliar.
  6. Cora
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "maiden"
    • Description:

      Cora is a lovely, old-fashioned girls' that has been recently rejuvenated by its contemporary-feeling simplicity. In fact, Cora seemed headed straight for the top of the popularity list when the coronavirus pandemic somewhat weakened its appeal.
  7. Genevieve
    • 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.
  8. Ivy
    • Origin:

      Botanical name
    • Description:

      The quirky, offbeat and energetic botanical name Ivy is enjoying a deserved revival, propelled even higher by its choice by high-profile parents Beyonce and Jay-Z for daughter Blue Ivy. Ivy is also traditionally used at Christmas, make this one of the perfect names for December babies.
  9. Cordelia
    • Origin:

      Latin; Celtic
    • Meaning:

      "heart; daughter of the sea"
    • Description:

      Cordelia is exactly the kind of old-fashioned, grown-up name for girls that many parents are seeking for their daughters today. The name of King Lear's one sympathetic daughter, Cordelia has both style and substance along with its Shakespearean pedigree.
  10. Phoebe
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "radiant, shining one"
    • Description:

      Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning "bright." In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.
  11. Penelope
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "weaver"
    • Description:

      Penelope is an unlikely 21st century baby name success story. Off the Top 1000 for 25 years, Penelope jumped back on in 2001 and has been heading uphill ever since, propelled by the trend for mythological names, Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, and some high-profile celebrity babies.
  12. Beatrice
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "she who brings happiness; blessed"
    • Description:

      Beatrice is back. Stored in the attic for almost a century, the lovely Beatrice with its long literary (Shakespeare, Dante) and royal history is being looked at with fresh eyes by parents seeking a classic name with character and lots of upbeat nicknames, like Bea and Bee.
  13. Josephine
    • Origin:

      French feminine variation of Joseph
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah increases"
    • Description:

      Josephine, with its large measure of class and character and a gently offbeat quality, has been on a gentle uphill climb in the US for over 30 years, now ranking in the Top 100. With an intriguing number of vivacious nicknames, from Jo to Josie to Fifi to Posy, Josephine is a Nameberry favorite.
  14. Adelaide
    • Origin:

      Variant of Adelheidis, German
    • Meaning:

      "noble, nobility"
    • Description:

      Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.
  15. Evangeline
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bearer of good news"
    • Description:

      Evangeline is a romantic old name enjoying a major comeback, thanks to its religious overtones, Eva's popularity, and the star of the TV megahit Lost, Evangeline Lilly. Evangelia and Evangelina — two variants of Evangeline — are sure to tag along for the ride.
  16. Ruby
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "deep red precious stone"
    • Description:

      Vibrant, sassy, and bubbly, Ruby is a vintage gem that hasn’t lost any of its sparkle. Currently popular in a number of English-speaking countries, Ruby is proof of the 100 Year Rule, trending again for the first time since its heyday in the 1910s.
  17. Florence
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "flourishing, prosperous"
    • Description:

      Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.
  18. Matilda
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "battle-mighty"
    • Description:

      Matilda is a sweet vintage name that has been gently climbing the popularity list for the past 15 years, after a half-century slumber. The spunky children's book heroine Matilda is one factor in its rise, along with others of its class like Eloise and Caspian.
  19. Seraphina
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "ardent; fiery"
    • Description:

      Seraphina is one of the most-searched name on Nameberry, destined for even greater popularity. The highest-ranking angels, the six-winged seraphim, inspired the lovely name Seraphina.
  20. Cecilia
    • Origin:

      Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "blind"
    • Description:

      Cecilia is a lovely classic name deservedly enjoying a new turn in the sun. Always among the Top 500 girls' names in the US, Cecilia is now at its highest point ever.