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Alternatives to Isabella

Alternatives to Isabella
Isabella is one of the classic baby names that are hugely popular right now — perhaps too popular for you. You may love Isabella for its femininity, multiple syllables, or Italian roots — maybe all three! — but be looking for a name that will make your daughter stand out from the crowd.

Along with other -ella names such as Gabriella and Annabella, other alternatives to Isabella in the US Top 500 include Alessandra, Arabella, Aurora, Camilla, Eliana, Francesca, Luciana, and Valentina. Popular names in Italy that mimic Isabella’s qualities include Ginevra, Chiara, Vittoria, and Alessia.

There are a lot of things to love about Isabella, although its popularity among Americans may not be one of them. If you adore Isabella but want something more distinctive, consider one of these alternate baby names.
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AureliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the golden one"
  • Description:

    Aurelia is the female form of the Latin name Aurelius, an ancient Roman surname. Aurelius is derived from the Latin word aureus, meaning "golden," which was also the name of a gold coin used in Ancient Rome. Aurelius was a cognomen, a third name in Roman culture that often referenced a personal characteristic or trait, likely used for someone with golden hair.

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.

ArabellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "yielding to prayer"
  • Description:

    Arabella was used as a given name beginning in the 12th century with the birth of Arabella de Leuchars, granddaughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland. It is derived from the Latin orabilis, from which Arabella gets its meaning. Some scholars tie Arabella to Amabel, claiming that the former developed as a variation of the latter in Scotland, much like the name Annabel.

SeraphinaHeart

  • 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, which was brought into the contemporary spotlight when chosen by high-profile parents Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their second daughter, following the influential choice of Violet for their first.

AnastasiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
  • Meaning:

    "resurrection"
  • Description:

    Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.
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CeciliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine form of Cecil, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "blind"
  • Description:

    Cecilia is a feminine form of Cecil, which was derived from a Roman clan name related to the Latin caecus, meaning "blind." The martyred Saint Cecilia was designated the patron of musicians, either because she supposedly sang directly to God while the musicians played at her wedding, or because she sang to God as she was dying. The name was popularized in the Middle Ages as an homage to the Saint.

AmaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Igbo, Sanskrit, Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "grace, immortal, tribe"
  • Description:

    Amara is the Italian word for bitter, from the same root as Mary and Miriam. It has separate roots in West Africa as a name that means "grace" in the Igbo language. These two meanings are the best-known, but Amara is also a Sanskrit name meaning "immortal", an Arabic word meaning "tribe" and a Mongolian name meaning "peaceful".

ElenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning "torch." Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.

IsabellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Isabella is the Latinate form of Isabel, a variation of Elizabeth which originally derived from the Hebrew name Elisheba. Variations Isabelle and Isabel are also popular, with the Scottish spelling Isobel another possibility. Newer alternatives include Sabella and Isabetta.

IsoldeHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ice ruler"
  • Description:

    Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.
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EmiliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "rival"
  • Description:

    Emilia is the feminine form of the Roman clan name Aemilius, which derived from the Latin aemulus, meaning "rival." In Shakespeare’s Othello, Emilia is the wife of Iago and confidante of Desdemona. Amelia, although homonymous, has a different root and meaning.

ElianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "my God has answered"
  • Description:

    The Hebrew variation of Eliana was taken from the elements el, meaning "God" and ana, meaning "answered." Eliana also has roots as a variation of the Late Latin name Aeliana, a feminization of the male given name Aelianus, itself derived from the Roman family name Aelius. Aelius is related to the Greek word helios, which refers to the Sun.

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.

CassiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine form of Cassius or Greek
  • Meaning:

    "cinnamon"
  • Description:

    Cassia is related to the cassia tree, which has yellow flowers and produces a spice that can be a substitute for cinnamon. Keziah, the name of Job’s daughter in the Old Testament, derives from the name of the plant as well. Cassia also has ties to the Ancient Roman name Cassius, an Ancient Roman family name meaning "hollow."

FrancescaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "from France or free man"
  • Description:

    Francesca is a lighter and much more feminine choice than the classic Frances, and one that is increasingly popular with upscale parents.
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NataliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "birthday [of the Lord]"
  • Description:

    Natalia was derived from the Latin word natalis, meaning “birthday.” It refers to the birthday of Jesus Christ, and thus originated as a name for girls born on Christmas Day. Related forms include the French Natalie, Portuguese Natalina, and Russian diminutive Natasha.

CressidaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gold"
  • Description:

    Cressida is a pretty mythological and Shakespearean heroine name much better known in Britain than it is here — an imbalance the adventurous baby namer might want to correct. For although the Trojan heroine of that name in the tale told by Boccaccio, then Chaucer, then Shakespeare, didn't have the greatest reputation — she was faithless to Troilus and broke his heart — the name today sounds fresh, crisp and creative.

ValentinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valentina is a more romantic and artistic ballerina-type successor to Valerie; a pretty, recommended choice. Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault named their daughter Valentina Paloma.

BiancaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "white"
  • Description:

    Bianca, the livelier Italian and Shakespearean version of Blanche, has been chosen by many American parents since the 1990s, just as Blanca is a favorite in the Spanish-speaking community. It's meaning of white relates to snow, making it one of the prime names for winter babies.

EsmeraldaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Portuguese
  • Meaning:

    "emerald"
  • Description:

    Esmeralda came into use as an applied use of the Spanish word for emerald, esmeralda. In the 1831 Victor Hugo novel Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the heroine was born Agnes, but called La Esmeralda in reference to the jewel she wears around her neck. The name Esmeralda got increased visibility via the Disney version of the story.
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AdrianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, feminine variation of Adrian
  • Meaning:

    "man of Adria"
  • Description:

    This a-ending feminine form of Adrian, from the northern Italian city of Adria, is a soft and lovely Italian choice. It appears as a character in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.

CosimaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian feminine variation of Cosmo, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    Cosima, the kind of elegant and unusual name the British upper classes love to use for their daughters, will almost certainly come into wider use here after being chosen by two high-profile celebs in the same month; cool couple Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars as well as supermodel Claudia Schiffer. It was used earlier by celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, while the male form, Cosimo, was given to the son of Marissa Ribisi and Beck.

LilianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish variations of Lilian
  • Meaning:

    "lily, a flower"
  • Description:

    This melodious and feminine Latin variation of the Lily family is a favorite in the Hispanic community and would work beautifully with an Anglo surname as well. It's among the Spanish and Italian names for girls that make smooth transitions to the English-speaking world. The late Sopranos star James Gandolfini has a daughter named Liliana Ruth.

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.

AlessiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Alexis
  • Meaning:

    "defending warrior"
  • Description:

    Young Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara has given this spicy-sounding name a new lease on life, propelling it into the Top 1000 in 2016. (It was one of the year's fastest-rising girls' names.) The main risk is that it feels so close to Alexa, Alicia, Alexis and Alyssa-- all becoming overused -- that it could be mistaken for one of those more familiar names.
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ViolaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "violet"
  • Description:

    Viola has several positive elements going for it: the rhythm of the musical instrument, the association with the flower, the trending 'Vi' beginning and its leading role in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

TatianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Latin family name
  • Description:

    Tatiana was derived from Tatius, a Sabine-Latin family name of unknown origin. Titus Tatius was the name of an ancient king who ruled over the Sabines, an ancient Italic tribe who lived near Rome. The Romans used the name Tatius even after the Sabines died out and created the short forms Tatianus and Tatiana. The names were eventually disseminated throughout the Orthodox Christian world, including Russia.

GabriellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian feminine variation of Gabriel
  • Meaning:

    "God is my strength"
  • Description:

    Gabriella is the feminine form of Gabriel, a name derived from the Hebrew Gavri’el. Gavri’el is composed of the elements gever, meaning "strong," and ’el, referring to God. Gabriella is used among a variety of cultures in the US, including Italian Americans, Latinos, and in the Jewish community. Gabriela is the Spanish spelling.

AllegraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "joyous"
  • Description:

    In music, the term allegro means "quickly, lively tempo," which makes this quintessential Bohemian ballet dancer's name all the more appealing. Allegra is one of the most distinctive yet accessible girl names starting with A.

LeonoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian diminutive of Eleonora or Eleanor, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Its mellifluous sound makes Leonora--which has a rich history and a tie to the popular Leo names-- a keen possibility for revival. Though it's been hiding below the Top 1000 since the 1940s, Leonora is being rediscovered by stylish parents in the US and Europe.
    Leonora has the distinction of being three major opera characters, including the heroines of Beethoven's Fidelio and Verdi's Il Trovatore. It was also the name of two characters played by Elizabeth Taylor--in Secret Ceremony and Reflections in a Golden Eye.
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CamillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "young ceremonial attendant"
  • Description:

    The Spanish Camila, pronounced ka-MEE-la, is the fastest rising version of this ancient Roman name, but recent royal Camilla may have helped promote the British brand. In Roman myth, Camilla was a swift-footed huntress so fast she could run over a field without bending a blade of grass.

GiannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Giovanna
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is gracious"
  • Description:

    Gianna originated as a diminutive for Giovanna—a Latin feminization of John. The root name among these is the Hebrew name Yochanen, meaning "the Lord is gracious." Common nickname include Gia and Gigi, and the English form of Gianna is Joanna.

OrianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Oriana is a dashing medieval name, with a meaning similar to Aurora. At this point, though, Oriana is much more unusual than Aurora and makes a unique choice if you're searching for names that mean new beginnings or dawn.

OlympiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "from Mount Olympus"
  • Description:

    With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.

VivianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Lively and rhythmic version of Vivian heard in Italy and Spain. A vivid choice.
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ArianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Ariadne, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "most holy"
  • Description:

    The smooth, attractive Ariana is on the rise along with the fame of pop princess Ariana Grande. Also famous is twin spelling Arianna, which is associated with Greek-born online presence Arianna Huffington. Both Ariana and Arianna are widely used names and are equally acceptable spellings.

MarianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Portuguese combination of Ana and Maria
  • Meaning:

    "grace + drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
  • Description:

    Combination of popular traditional names Maria and Ana.

EstellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinate form of Estelle
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • Description:

    Estella is a pretty Latin name that's sounding more and more stylish, remembered as the ward of Miss Haversham in Dickens's Great Expectations. Though Estella ranked as high as Number 110 in the 1880s, it now sits near the bottom of the US Top 1000 along with near-twin Estelle. Either would be well worth considering as an alternative to the popular Stella.

AriellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Ariel
  • Meaning:

    "lion of God"
  • Description:

    This variation of Ariel, with the extra-feminine suffix, has been on the rise in recent years. It entered the Top 1000 in 2008.

LucianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Lucianus
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lushly elaborate name that makes Lucy more grownup and sensual. Carnie Wilson chose it for her daughter. Lucianus is an ancient Roman family name and Lucianus of Samosata was an early satirist. Heard most often in the Italian and Spanish cultures, Luciana is usually pronounced loo-chee-anna.
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AvianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Avis, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    Aviana is a name that's kinda like the megapopular Ava, and kinda like the popular Ariana, and not quite as widely appealing as either of them. But it's on everyone's scope now as the choice of actress Amy Adams for her new daughter -- ironic as she was quoted as saying she wanted a "normal" name. Turns out that Adams was born in Aviano, Italy, explaining the mystery. The first syllable of the name can be pronounced ah, ay, or (most commonly) to rhyme with have.

AntoniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "priceless one"
  • Description:

    Antonia is stronger than most feminized boys’ names, reflecting the pioneer spirit of Willa Cather's classic novel My Antonia. Antonia is hovering near the bottom of the US popularity list, which may be an excellent reason for you to use it.

IsobelHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish variation of Isabel
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    The Scottish spelling of Isabel has a definite character of her own, the 'o' giving her an extra infusion of strength but also an element of confusion. How do you pronounce that? Answer: Exactly like Isabel or Isabelle.

ClarissaHeart

  • Origin:

    Elaboration of Clara
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Clarissa, the daintier version of Claire, has a long literary history of its own, having been featured in the novels of Samuel Richardson, Charles Dickens, and Virginia Woolf—Clarissa was the title character of Mrs. Dalloway—not to mention the 1990s teen sitcom, Clarissa Explains it All.

AngelicaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, Polish, Russian diminutive of Angela
  • Meaning:

    "angel or angelic"
  • Description:

    Angelica is by far the choicest form of the angelic names -- more delicate than Angelina, more feminine than Angel, more modern than Angela. But though Angelica is so lacy and poetic, it lags behind the bolder Angelina (probably for obvious reasons).
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ValenciaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "brave, strong"
  • Description:

    This lovely orange-scented Spanish place-name would make an inventive namesake for an Aunt Valerie.

ValeriaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valeria -- the original form of the name, used by early Christians -- is now more popular than the Franco-American Valerie.

EleanoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinate form of Eleanor
  • Description:

    Eleanor is back, Nora is back, and soon Eleanora will be too. Off the charts since the 1930s, this elaboration of the classic Eleanor was in common use for decades before falling from favor. Spelling Eleonora adds yet another syllable to make the pronunciation el-LAY-oh-nor-a, and you can try to instruct people to say Eleanora that way too, but most will pronounce it like Eleanor with an a at the end and that's just fine. That final vowel gives a serious, stately name a little flip at the end, making it more distinctive and modern if not right for every taste.

AstoriaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name
  • Description:

    Long more associated with the New York Waldorf- hotel and the neighborhood in Queens than as a baby name, Astoria is finally beginning to emerge from their shadow and find favor with parents looking to move beyond Brooklyn. The name Astoria is drawn from the surname of titan of industry John Jacob Astor, theorized to mean "hawk."

AlessandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish variation of Alexandra
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    This softened version is even prettier than the original.
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