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Names to Substitute for Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn was one of the trendiest baby names for girls over the past few decades, and one of the most defining names for girls born at the end of the Millennial generation and the beginning of Generation Z. Yes, Kaitlyn is college-aged, so if you’re at all concerned about hipness, you may be looking for an alternative.

While Kaitlyn was the most popular spelling, it was far from the only one. Girls born at the turn of the millennium spelled their name Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelyn, Kaitlynn, Kaytlin, Kaetlyn, and more!

Along with current favorites Avery and Kailani, other names to substitute for Kaitlyn in the US Top 1000 include Aubrey, Brynn, Catalina, Finley, Kate, Kennedy, Lennon, and Teagan. If Kaitlyn’s Irish roots are a draw for you, consider another Irish name such as Caoimhe, Fallon, Maeve, or Sheridan.

Kaitlyn is on the fast track toward mom name status and is falling fast for babies. If you like Kaitlyn but want a more contemporary alternative, search our lineup of names to substitute for Kaitlyn below.
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MaeveHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "she who intoxicates"
  • Description:

    Maeve appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful Queen of Connacht, the other as the queen of the fairies. Maeve of Connacht was a warrior queen, famous for starting a war in attempt to steal her ex-husband’s stud bull. Other spellings are Meabh, Medb and Meadhbh, which are connected to mead, a honey-based wine that was produced in many ancient cultures.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of Conn"
  • Description:

    Quinn is the Anglicized version of the Irish patronymic surname Ó Cuinn, meaning “descendent of Conn.” Conn has two possible derivations—the Old Irish cond, meaning “intellect,” or cenn, meaning “chief.” One of the most notable Quinn clans was from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

AdelineHeart

  • Origin:

    French, diminutive of Adele
  • Meaning:

    "noble, nobility"
  • Description:

    Adeline originated as a French diminutive of Adele, which came from the Germanic root adal, meaning “noble.” Adeline was introduced to England by the Normans in the eleventh century, was very common during the Middle Ages, then vanished until the Victorian Gothic revival. Common variants of Adeline include Adalynn, Adalyn, Adelyn, Adelynn, Adelina, and Adaline.

ScarlettHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "scarlet, red"
  • Description:

    Scarlett originated as an occupation surname, designating a person who sold scarlet, a luxury wool cloth produced in Medieval Europe. The word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. The fanciest, favorited color was scarlet red.

SaoirseHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "liberty"
  • Description:

    Saoirse originated as a baby name in 1920s Ireland as an applied use of saoirse, the Gaelic word for “freedom.” The name was first adopted during the Irish War of Independence, when the Irish Republican Army fought the British Army for the liberation of Ireland from British rule. In modern times, Saoirse, as well as a host of other Gaelic names, are being revived in Ireland, the UK, and the US.
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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.

KaiaHeart

  • Origin:

    to rejoice
  • Description:

    The new Maia, the next Kayla, Kaia has been on the charts since the year 2000. You might see it as a female form of the also-rising Kai, which means sea in Hawaiian and is sometimes used for girls as well, or as a Kardashianization of the ancient goddess name Caia.

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!

RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan is the name of a tree with red berries that's commonly found in Scotland (and said to ward off witches). Some scholars say this name has been used for girls as well as boys since the Middle Ages, though no Rowans are found outside literature until modern times. It's also a genial Irish surname choice, especially for a redhead – girl or boy.

EverlyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "wild boar in woodland clearing"
  • Description:

    Everly originated as a toponymic surname derived from the Old English roots eofor, meaning “boar,” and leah, “clearing.” It is related to the Germanic name Eberhard, meaning “brave as a wild boar,” from which popular name Everett also derived. Wild boars represented strength and courage to ancient Germanic peoples, who often took on names with animal meanings.
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CaoimheHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    Caoimhe, pronounced (more properly) kwee-va or kee-va, is a pretty and distinctive Gaelic name but one that could well lead to no end of confusion outside the Irish community. Even in its native habitat, it is sometimes spelled Keeva.

AvalonHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "island of apples"
  • Description:

    Avalon, an island paradise of Celtic myth and Arthurian legend--it was where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds-- and also the colorful capital of the California island of Catalina-- makes a heavenly first name. Actress Rena Sofer and British musician Julian Cope used it for their daughters.

HadleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "heather field"
  • Description:

    Hadley, most famous as the name of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, is more sophisticated, professional, and modern than cousins Harley, Haley, or Hayden. The hit book The Paris Wife, a novel told from the point of view of Hadley Hemingway (born Elizabeth Hadley Richardson), has helped popularize the name, which also appears on the vampire show True Blood. Hadley could become this generation's Hailey.

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.

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.
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FinleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    This was a 100 percent boys’ name until celebs Jason Sehorn and Angie Harmon bestowed it on their daughter, recently followed by Lisa Marie Presley, who used it for one of her (female) twins. Finlay is also now among the most popular unisex names.

KinsleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "king's meadow"
  • Description:

    Kinsley, a name that straddles the line between cute and classy, continues to rise in popularity and is now one of the top girls' names starting with K. Kinsey is the name of the heroine of Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries and Tinsley gives the name a high society spin.

CarmenHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Carmel
  • Meaning:

    "garden"
  • Description:

    Carmen has long been associated with the sensuous, tragic heroine of Bizet's opera, based on a novel by Prosper Merimee; more recently it has called to mind two other bombshells: Carmen Miranda (born Maria) and Carmen Electra (born Tara), as well as the great jazz singer Carmen McRae. In the celebrity baby name world, this classic Spanish name for girls was used by Hilaria and Alec Baldwin for their daughter.

AubreyHeart

  • Origin:

    English from French version of German Alberic
  • Meaning:

    "elf ruler"
  • Description:

    The unisex name Aubrey is scooting up the girls' popularity charts, along with the revived Audrey. After being a 100% male name, it tipped to female in 1974, and is now 98% girls, among the most popular girls' names starting with A.

KeiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Keira is an attractive girls’ name that's gotten a huge boost from the meteoric rise of Keira Knightley. Original spelling Kiera, which relates more directly to the male Kieran, was the more popular form until the rise of Keira Knightley reversed the order. Both are Anglicized versions of the Irish Ciara.
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PeytonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fighting-man's estate"
  • Description:

    Peyton is a unisex surname that's not only survived but continues to grow in popularity because of its rich southern-accented softness combined with the pre-Desperate Housewives naughtiness of Peyton Place. In recent years, more boys have been named Peyton thanks to football star Peyton Manning, but the projected film of William Styron's Lie Down in Darkness which features heroine Peyton Loftis may further popularize Peyton as a girls' name.

EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    The combination of Emily and Emma's popularity -- and the fact that Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher's daughter is named Emerson -- have put this formerly strictly boys’ name, embodying the gravitas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the limelight for girls.

TeaganHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish or Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "little poet or fair"
  • Description:

    As Meghan/Megan and Reagan/Regan show signs of wilting, along comes Teagan to take up the slack: definitely one to consider. The vast majority of American babies named Teagan are now girls. A variant spelling is Teaghan.

AinsleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "one's own meadow"
  • Description:

    While theoretically unisex, this surname name has been edging up the girls’ names list, perhaps originally as an Ashley substitute.

CatalinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Catherine
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    This name of a touristed island in sight of Los Angeles makes an attractive and newly stylish variation on the classic Catherine or overused Caitlin.
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DelaneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dark challenger"
  • Description:

    Delaney has been a popular Irish surname name for a couple of decades, projecting buoyant enthusiasm plus a feminine feel.

BrynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Bryn, Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "hill"
  • Description:

    Brynn outshines the original Welsh Bryn in the popularity stakes. This simple, brisk name might be seen as a combination of Bree and Lynn, an androgynous-sounding choice that especially in this spelling is not truly unisex: Brynn, for boys, is not even in the Top 1000. Other variations trendy now include Brynna, Brynnan, and Brynnley spelled many different ways.

LennonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover"
  • Description:

    A growing number of high-profile (and other) parents are choosing to honor their musical idols, such as Hendrix, Presley, Jagger, and now Lennon, an Irish name for girls as well as boys with a wonderful meaning on many levels. Lennon first came to notice when Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit used it for their son in 1999, and singer-musician Adam Pascal followed their lead two years later.

CallieHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek diminutive
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    This Hallie-esque nickname name is starting to dip, while the sleeker, more nouveau Cali is rising.

FallonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "leader"
  • Description:

    Fallon is one of several boyish surname names introduced in the over-the-top 1980s nighttime soap Dynasty: they sounded cutting-edge at the time, but no longer.
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MadelynHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Madeline
  • Meaning:

    "woman from Magdala or high tower"
  • Description:

    Madelyn is the most popular current spelling of this stylish name -- Madeline is the second most used -- but we prefer the least popular and most authentic French version, Madeleine. The advantage of Madelyn: It does clarify pronunciation and may be the best choice if you definitely want that last syllable pronounced as "lynn".

PaisleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "church, cemetery"
  • Description:

    For a name related to a Scottish town, a richly patterned Indian fabric, and a country singer named Brad, Paisley has been a remarkable success story. She entered the Top 1000 in 2006, and broke into the Top 50 for the first time in 2015, and is now one of the most popular girl names that start with P.

AddisonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Adam"
  • Description:

    Addison, a TV-generated name (Dr. Addison Shephard, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice) took off in hot pursuit of predecessor Madison, sounding sharper and more modern--at least until its own rapid climb up the ladder. Addison, one of the few patronymics ('son of') names to be totally accepted for girls, is now near the top of the girls' charts and is among the most popular of the popular girl names starting with A.

KennedyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "misshapen head"
  • Description:

    This attractive surname name still projects that Kennedy family charisma. While it didn't come into widespread use until long after the deaths of martyred heroes President John F. or Senator Robert Kennedy, Kennedy is now one of the most popular unisex names for girls as well as the top girls' name starting with K. This is one name that manages to sound trendy and classic at the same time.

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.
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SydneyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "Saint Denis"
  • Description:

    A couple of decades ago, nerdy boy Sidney morphed into a polished, poised, creative, elegant girl Sydney. Sydney's been on the rise since the nineties -- it was in the Top 25 from 1999 to 2003 -- but has recently dropped out of the Top 200.

JocelynHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "member of the Gauts tribe"
  • Description:

    Jocelyn has gotten new life and popularity as a result of the current passion for lyn endings. Though it was a male name in medieval times, now Jocelyn couldn't sound more softly feminine.

KaitlynHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Caitlin
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    A huge name in the late 90's and most of the 00's, Kaitlyn's been on a downward trend in recent years. Kaitlyn has at this point been considerably overused and can no longer be seen as stylish. It's especially popular in Canada.

CollinsHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname derived from Nicholas or Colin
  • Description:

    Collins is a surname name that has made the girls' Top 1000 thanks to its use for the daughter of the real-life Blind Side heroine. This derivation of the Greek Nicholas—which means "people of victory"—or the Irish and Scottish Colin—which may itself be a Nicholas derivation or an Anglicization of the word for pup—has a stylish feel made more so by that final s.

BriellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Gabriella
  • Meaning:

    "God is my strength"
  • Description:

    If you feel, as many parents do, that Gabby or Gabi is too harsh a short form for the mellifluous name Gabriella, try Brie, Brielle, or Briella.
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AislingHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dream, vision"
  • Description:

    Aisling is currently a very popular Irish name for girls. Pronounced variously as ASH-ling, ASH-lin or ash-LEEN, it was part of the revival of authentic Irish names in the twentieth century, and is now being sparingly used by U.S. parents in place of the dated Ashley--though often spelled phonetically as Ashlyn or Ashlynn.

CataleyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from English surname
  • Meaning:

    "Cattley's flower"
  • Description:

    Cataleya is the name of a genus of orchids that gained visibility as a baby name after it was used for the character played by Zoe Saldana in Colombiana. Part Caitlin, part Aaliyah, and part Leah, Cataleya is a trendy choice that just might transcend its momentary popularity. It is a spelling adaptation of Cattleya, named after the British horticulturalist William Cattley.

TamsinHeart

  • Origin:

    English, contracted form of Thomasina
  • Meaning:

    "twin"
  • Description:

    Tamsin is an offbeat name occasionally heard in Britain and just waiting to be discovered here. U.K. actress Tamsin Greig is a star of the show Episodes, Tamsin Olivier is the daughter of Joan Plowright and Sir Laurence Olivier..

LeightonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "meadow town"
  • Description:

    One of those names that's suddenly on the map because of a celebrity's influence, Leighton Meester of the TV show Gossip Girl. She pronounces it LAY-ton but some will intuitively say LEE-ton.

WaverlyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "meadow of quivering aspens"
  • Description:

    Waverly, with its literary resonance and lilting three-syllable sound, could well become the next generation's successor to Kimberly. Its upper-crusty surname feel places it among the new stylish English names for girls, successors to Ashley and Whitney.
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KathleenHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized form of Irish Caitlin
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    Kathleen is the early Irish import version that came between Katherine and Kaitlin, and which hasn't been used in so long it's almost beginning to sound fresh again. It was a surprise pick by one of the hip Dixie Chicks, Martie Maguire. Kathleen was a Top 10 name from 1948 to 1951, and it is the subject of several old sentimental songs, such as "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen."

KendallHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "valley of the river Kent"
  • Description:

    Kendall, as used for a girl, was initially propelled by a soap opera character (Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kendall Hart in All My Children) and reality star and Kardashian sister Kendall Jenner.

KylieHeart

  • Origin:

    Aboriginal
  • Meaning:

    "a boomerang"
  • Description:

    Popular pop name, inspired by Australian singer Kylie Minogue. Youngest sister of the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner, is undoubtedly keeping its style going.

BronwynHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "white breast"
  • Description:

    One of the loveliest of the Welsh names, striking the perfect balance between being familiar and unusual. In Wales, the female spelling is always Bronwen, but Americans usually see a "y" as adding femininity.

SkylarHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Schuyler
  • Description:

    Newer, simpler forms of the Dutch surname Schuyler, stylish for both genders, are rising up the popularity list. Skylar is the most popular variation for girls. Skylar has been used by several celebs, including Sheena Easton and Joely Fisher.
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