Menu

Names to Substitute for Josephine

Names to Substitute for Josephine
Josephine is definitely not overused, but now that it’s among the Top 100 baby names it might be too common for your taste. Popularity aside, Josephine has many great qualities — French roots, vintage charm, and a dose of quirkiness. Many girl names share these traits with Josephine — perfect if you’re searching for alternatives for any reason.

Along with fellow French names Juliette and Emmeline, other names to substitute for Josephine in the US Top 1000 include Amelie, Cecilia, Clementine, Eloise, Lorelei, Matilda, Phoebe, and Rosalie. Popular names in France that match Josephine in style include Louise, Margaux, Apolline, and Faustine.

Josephine is a beautiful name and a lovely choice for a daughter. But if Josephine is off the table and you need another name that emulates its sound or style, browse our list of alternatives below.

OttilieHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of German OTTO,
  • Meaning:

    "prosperous in battle"
  • Description:

    Ottilie and its diminutive Ottiline are a pair of names heard among the British upper crust, but have rarely been seen here since the 1880's. Though it has German roots via Otto, Ottilie has a distinctively delicate French feel.

EloiseHeart

  • Origin:

    French and English variation of Heloise
  • Meaning:

    "healthy; wide"
  • Description:

    To some, Eloise will forever be the imperious little girl making mischief at the Plaza Hotel, while the original version Heloise recalls the beautiful and learned wife of the French philosopher Peter Abelard, admired for her fidelity and piety.

    Along with many other names with the El- beginning and featuring the L sound in any place, Eloise is newly chic. Eloise jumped back onto the popularity list in 2009, possibly thanks in part to the Eloise Hawking character on the popular TV series Lost. Eloise was the name of Jennifer Aniston's character in Love Happens. Denise Richards named one of her daughters Eloise.

OpheliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "help"
  • Description:

    Ophelia is a beautiful name that has long been hampered by the stigma of Hamlet's tragic heroine—for whom he seems to have invented the name—but more and more parents are beginning to put that association aside. There is also a gutsy Ophelia in Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin, which seems to have had some influence on baby namers at the time.

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.

EsmeHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "beloved"
  • Description:

    Esmé comes from the past participle of the Old French verb esmer, meaing "to esteem" or "to love." It can also be considered a derivative of the Spanish name Esmeralda, which means "emerald".

ClaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright, clear"
  • Description:

    Long relegated to an Olde World backwater, the European-flavored Clara has been speeding up the charts on sleeker sister Claire's coattails for the past few decades. Now, many would say the vintage chic Clara is the more stylish of the two names. Actor Ewan McGregor was an early celebrity adopter of the name for one of his daughters.

ElodieHeart

  • Origin:

    French, variation of Greek Alodia
  • Meaning:

    "foreign riches"
  • Description:

    Elodie derives from Elodia, the Spanish variation of Alodia, a gothic German name associated with Saint Alodia. Saint Alodia was a child martyr in 9th century Spain, along with her sister Nunilo. In France, Elodie is spelled Élodie, with an accent over the E.

AmeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Amelia is derived from the German name Amalia, which in turn is a variation of Amalberga. The root, amal, is a Germanic word meaning "work," and in the context of female given names suggests themes of fertility as well as productivity. Aemilia, the name from which Emily is derived, is unrelated to Amelia.

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.

DaphneHeart

  • 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.

ClementineHeart

  • Origin:

    French feminine version of Clement, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "mild, merciful"
  • Description:

    Clementine is a Nameberry favorite that has finally broken back into the US Top 1000 after more than half a century off the list. Still, its style value may mean there are more Clementines than you might guess in your neighborhood—it may be a name that raises Mom's eyebrows, but it won't surprise your friends.

PhoebeHeart

  • 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.

BeatriceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "she who brings happiness; blessed"
  • Description:

    Beatrice is derived from Beatrix, a Latin name meaning "she who brings happiness." In the earliest sources it is also recorded as Viatrix, meaning "voyager", so there is some weight in both meanings.

EvangelineHeart

  • 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.

PenelopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "weaver"
  • Description:

    Penelope is a name from Greek mythology; she was the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. It has two possible origin stories—Penelope was either derived from the Greek pēnē, meaning "thread of a bobbin," or penelops, a type of duck. Mythological Penelope was cared for by a duck as an infant, and later was known for delaying her suiters by pretending to weave a garment while her husband was at sea.

MatildaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "battle-mighty"
  • Description:

    The comeback of this sweet vintage name, one of the most stylish girls' names starting with M, has been prompted by a boomlet of starbaby Matildas, beginning with chef Gordon Ramsey's in 2002 and Moon Unit Zappa's two years later. But the renaissance of this name of the charming Roald Dahl heroine was assured when Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger chose Matilda for their daughter.

ImogenHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "maiden"
  • Description:

    The story goes that Imogen originated as a Shakespearean printer's misspelling of the traditional Celtic name Innogen, used by him for a character in one of his last plays, Cymbeline. The Innogen of legend, who Shakespeare’s character was based on, was the wife of Brutus of Troy, the first king of Britain. Earlier versions of her name, including Ennoguent, Innoguend, and Innoguent, were found in Brittany from the 9th-11th centuries. They are probably derived from the Gaelic word inghean, meaning "daughter" or "maiden," and possibly have a connection to the Proto-Celtic word for "white," from which the suffixes -gwyn and -gwen evolved.

MaeHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Mary or Margaret
  • Meaning:

    "bitter or pearl"
  • Description:

    Mae is derived from May, the month name that was chosen for its connection to Maia, the Roman goddess of growth and motherhood. Mae can be used as a nickname for the names Mary and Margaret — actress Mae West was born Mary. Alternate spellings include May, Mei, and Maye. The May spelling makes it more of a month name, while Mae makes it an antique nickname name. Both can stand on their own, as seen by Hilary Duff's choice of Mae as her daughter's first name.

CordeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin; Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "heart; daughter of the sea"
  • Description:

    Cordelia, the name of King Lear's one sympathetic daughter, has style and substance, and is exactly the kind of old-fashioned, grown-up name that many parents are seeking today. If you're torn between Cordelia and the equally lovely Cora, you can always choose Cordelia for long and then call her Cora for short—or Delia, Lia, Del, or even the extremely different Cordie. Cordelia is a Nameberry favorite—Number 106 on the site—and it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2014 after a 60+ year absence.

FlorenceHeart

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

SylvieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Sylvia
  • Meaning:

    "from the forest"
  • Description:

    Although Sylvia seems to be having somewhat of a revival among trendsetting baby namers, we'd still opt for the even gentler and more unusual Sylvie. Despite being dated in its native France (where it was popular during the 1950s and 60s), in English-speaking regions it still feels fresh and international without being unfamiliar and has a cosmopolitan, international air. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2016.

FrancesHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from France; free man"
  • Description:

    Frances is the feminine form of Francis, the English variation of the Latin name Franciscus. Franciscus, meaning "Frenchman," was taken from the Germanic tribe the Franks, which got its name from the francisca, the axe they used in battle. Until the seventeenth century, the spellings Frances and Francis were used interchangeably for both sexes.

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.

TheodoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Theodore
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names, softly evocative but still substantial, as is the reversed-syllable Dorothea. It was borne by several saints and by the beautiful ninth wife of the Emperor Justinian, who became the power behind his throne. A later royal was Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the older sister of the present Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

GuinevereHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "white shadow, white wave"
  • Description:

    Guinevere was the name of the beautiful but ill-fated queen of Camelot, for so many years eclipsed by its modern Cornish form Jennifer. Today, Guinevere could be a cool possibility for adventurous parents intrigued by this richly evocative and romantic choice.

RosalieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Rosalia
  • Meaning:

    "rose"
  • Description:

    Rosalie hit its apex in 1938 and then slid straight downhill until it fell off the U.S. Top 1000 completely in the 1980s, only to spring back to life in 2009 as the name of a character in the Twilight series. The beautiful vampire Rosalie Hale has breathed fresh life back into this mid-century name, and the fact that the character is both sympathetic and relatively minor means Rosalie has the chance to thrive again as a baby name without feeling unduly tied to Twilight.

DelphineHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dolphin"
  • Description:

    Delphine is a sleek, chic French name with two nature associations—the dolphin and the delphinium, a bluebell-like flower, a well as to the ancient city of Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the womb of the earth. It is definitely a fresher choice than over-the-hill Danielle.

EmmelineHeart

  • Origin:

    Old French form of archaic German Amal
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Emmeline is an Emma relative and Emily cousin that is destined for greater use in the wake of the megapopularity of those two names. A recommended Nameberry fave, Emmeline hopped onto the US Top 1000 in 2014 for the first time ever. While it is genuinely an old name, it was rarely used a century ago; only 17 baby girls were named Emmeline in 1915, the same number as were named Ernie!

WinifredHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "blessed peacemaking"
  • Description:

    One of the few remaining unrestored vintage gems, with a choice of two winning nicknames--the girlish Winnie and the tomboyish Freddie--as well as the slight stretch Freda. Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.

FelicityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "good fortune, happy"
  • Description:

    Felicity is as accessible a virtue name as Hope and Faith, but much more feminine -- and dare we say, happier. The hit TV show did a lot to soften and modernize the once buttoned-up image of Felicity, and it got further notice as the red-haired Colonial doll, Felicity Merriman, in the American Girl series. A current bearer is actress Felicity Huffman.

OdetteHeart

  • Origin:

    French, from German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Odette is the good swan in Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, a role for which Natalie Portman won an Oscar ---and it would make a particularly soigne, sophisticated yet upbeat choice, unlike some of the more dated other 'ette'-ending names.

EstelleHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • Description:

    Maybe it's because she shares that winning -elle sound with Isabel and Bella, but Estelle is no longer seen as a muumuu-wearing canasta player of a certain age (think George Costanza's mother on Seinfeld or Joey Tribbiani's talent agent in Friends). This could be in part thanks to the young Royal Couple of Sweden, who chose it for their firstborn daughter, or the single-named British R&B singer. It reentered the US Top 1000 in 2012 after a nearly fifty-year absence.

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.

PearlHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin gem name
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Pearl, like Ruby, has begun to be polished up for a new generation of fashionable children after a century of jewelry box storage. The birthstone for the month of June, Pearl could also make a fresher middle name alternative to the overused Rose. Cool couple Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson named their daughter Pearl Minnie, followed by Jack Osbourne, and several celebs have put it in the middle spot, as in Busy Philipps's Cricket Pearl, Jake Owen's Olive Pearl and Caleb Followill's Dixie Pearl .

LoreleiHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "alluring, temptress"
  • Description:

    Its double role as the mother and daughter -- and even grandmother -- on TV's The Gilmore Girls modernized, humanized, and popularized a name previously associated with the mythic seductive siren and the gold digger portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

AmelieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Amelia
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Emily gets a Bohemian spin and a French accent when it becomes Amelie. This favorite among French girl names has been gaining notice here thanks to the charming 2001 French film Amelie; it entered the American popularity list in 2002 and is now solidly established in the Top 1000.

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.

TabithaHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic
  • Meaning:

    "gazelle"
  • Description:

    Though never as popular as the name of her Bewitched mother, Samantha, Tabitha has its own quirky, magical charm. The name of a charitable woman who was restored to life by Saint Peter in the Bible, it was a popular Puritan choice. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick chose it for one of their twin daughters, which gave it a slight boost. Nonetheless, Tabitha remains in decline.

HelenHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "torch; 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.

MarinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "from the sea"
  • Description:

    This pretty sea-born name was used to dramatic effect by Shakespeare in his play Pericles for the virtuous princess who says she is "Call'd Marina, for I was born at sea."

JulietteHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "little Julia"
  • Description:

    Juliette, pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable, adds a little something extra to Juliet. In the past years it has been rising up the chart.

ValerieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Valeria
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    The name of a martyred medieval saint, Valerie has been on the popularity list since its earliest publication in 1880. Though it peaked in the 1960s, remaining in the Top 100 until 1988, it still doesn't sound terminally dated; the association with the word valor gives it a sense of boldness and makes it one of the special group of girl names that mean strong.

MinervaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents.

RosalindHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "pretty rose"
  • Description:

    Rosalind has a distinguished literary history --it started as a as a lyrical name in early pastoral poetry, probably coined by Edmund Spenser. It was further popularized by Shakespeare via one of his most charming heroines, in As You Like It --and, along with a bouquet of other Rose names, might be ready for a comeback.

GwendolynHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Gwendolen, Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "white ring"
  • Description:

    One spelling variation that's more popular than the original, this somewhat old-fashioned name might be in honor of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer prize for poetry, or may be a way to get to the modern short form Gwen.

DorotheaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Dorothea is a flowing and romantic Victorian-sounding name which was popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, but has been off the charts since 1970. Definitely on the brink of a revival!
Loading ...