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Strong Girl Names

Strong Girl Names
Strong girl names are a more rarefied group than strong names for boys, with fewer girls' names meaning strong, powerful, or brave.

Girl names meaning strong, powerful, or brave can be long and traditionally feminine, like Gabriella or Valentina, or short and gender-neutral, like Drew or Casey. Which is to say, you don't have to choose a masculine name to confer power on a baby girl; name meanings such as power and strength are separate from any conventional gender identities attached to names.

For more strong names for baby girls, consult our lists of Names of Great Heroines and Short & Strong Girls' Names. And you might also want to consult our list of strong boy names.
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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.

AltheaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "with healing power"
  • Description:

    Althea is a poetic, almost ethereal name found in Greek myth and pastoral poetry, associated in modern times with the great tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win at Wimbleton.

ValentinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, Feminine variation of Valentine
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valentina is a more exotic 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.

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.

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.
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AndreaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Andrew, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Andrea -- a feminine form of Andrew (and a male name in several European cultures)-- comes with a good selection of pronunciations-- ANN-dree-a, AHN-dree-a, or ahn-DRAY-a--each with a slightly different image: girl next door/slightly affected/downright exotic

BriannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Brian
  • Meaning:

    "strong, virtuous and honorable"
  • Description:

    Many different versions of Brianna are in the Top 1000 -- a sure sign that, though pretty, Brianna's gotten more and more difficult to make distinctive. This is the most popular spelling. It entered the US list in 1976, rose to the Top 100 in 1988, then got as high as Number 14 in 1999. Country singer Trace Adkins called his daughter Brianna. Though it sounds like it might be a modern invention, the name actually appeared as far back as the sixteenth century in Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queen.

BridgetHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Gaelic Brighid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    Bridget is the Anglicized form of Brigid, an Irish-Gaelic name that was derived from the word brígh, which means “strength.”

BreeHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, from Brid, Brigh, Brigid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    A short, breezy name with a sophisticated yet upbeat image, that doesn't betray its Irish roots. Bree first came to notice here in 1971 via the complex prostitute character in the movie Klute, which earned Jane Fonda an Oscar. More recently, it was tied to the character of Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives.

MillicentHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "strong in work"
  • Description:

    Combining the mild and the innocent, this sweet and feminine name is worthy of a comeback, in the mode of Madeline and Cecilia. Its original, also attractive form is Melisende, which came from Germany to France and was borne by a daughter of Charlemagne.
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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.

AdiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong"
  • Description:

    Adira is one of those rare names that's both exotic and simple. Pronounced ah-DEER-ah, Adira is given to only a handful of girls in the U.S. each year and could make a worthy substitute for such overexposed favorites as Ava and Ariana.

AilaHeart

  • Origin:

    Finnish variation of Helga or Scottish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "from the strong place"
  • Description:

    Now that Isla Fisher has pushed her once-obscure name into the Top 150, some parents are looking for similar-sounding Scottish names for girls that are further off the beaten path. This one is especially promising, with its cross-cultural appeal. Ayla, a common name in Turkey, is also worth considering.

PhilomenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lover of strength"
  • Description:

    Philomena is an earthy Greek name now used in various Latin countries. While it has felt simply clunky for many years, it's starting -- along with such sister names as Wilhelmina and Frederica -- to sound so clunky it's cool.

BernadetteHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave as a bear"
  • Description:

    Although feminizations ending in "ette" are not particularly popular now, Bernadette is a pleasant, feminine, but strong name that doesn't feel prohibitively dated. And though strongly associated with the saint who saw visions of the Virgin Mary—Saint Bernadette of Lourdes—it is now no longer strictly inhabiting the Catholic diocese.
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IsaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "strong-willed"
  • Description:

    Isa is a name unto itself but might also be a short form of Isabel or Isadora. With the new popularity of Isabel and Isabella and even Bella, Isa may become more familiar.

ValenciaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "brave, strong"
  • Description:

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

CaseyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "brave in battle"
  • Description:

    One of the original unisex Irish surname names, energetic Casey bounced onto the scene in the 1960s, then peaked in the 1980s for both boys and girls.

DrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Drew is an elegant formerly male-only alternative to Andy that joined the stylishly upscale Paige-Brooke-Blair sorority, thanks largely to Drew Barrymore. Barrymore comes by her first name legitimately: it was the maiden name of her paternal great-grandmother, Georgiana 'Georgie' Drew Barrymore, one of many esteemed actors in her family history.

DrusillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fruitful"
  • Description:

    Drusilla is an ancient Roman name, (probably) borne by descendants of Antony and Cleopatra, and is one of the 'illa' names that are ready for a comeback, especially with its cute short form Dru.
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BrigidHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Brighid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    Brigid is the simpler Irish version of the name of the goddess of fire, which may also be spelled Brighid. Other variations include Bridget, the most usual spelling in the U.S., and the French Brigitte.

GertrudeHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "strength of a spear"
  • Description:

    Could cute nickname Gertie, remembered as cute five-year-old Drew Barrymore in E.T., revive the long shunned Gertrude?

AzizaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic and African
  • Meaning:

    "powerful and beloved"
  • Description:

    Aziza is a zippy palindromic choice that is the female variation of Aziz and is found in several Middle Eastern and African languages and cultures. All in all, an attractive and interesting option; a Turkish variation is Azize. In African mythology, the Azizi are a supernatural race of forest dwellers who give practical and spiritual advice.

MildredHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "gentle strength"
  • Description:

    When scientists do research on the effects of an unpopular name, we're afraid that Mildred is one of the examples they cite, often in tandem with Bertha and Gertrude. But with cute nickname Millie on the rise, anything's possible.

LarkinHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rough, fierce"
  • Description:

    While Larkin takes this name from girlish bird to boyish surname, there are actually more female Larkins these days than male, and it's a name that works as well for either gender.
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FernandaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Fernando, Spanish and Portuguese version of German Ferdinand
  • Meaning:

    "bold voyager"
  • Description:

    Fernanda is very popular in the Latino community, with a lot more charm than its male counterpart. The standard nickname is Nanda, and variations include Ferdinanda and Fernandina.

EverettHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave boar"
  • Description:

    Everett is a male name that's a prime crossover candidate, much like Eliot and Ellery. Its newfound popularity for boys stems from its similarity to trendy sisters Eva and Evelyn.

AudraHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "noble strength"
  • Description:

    Used primarily in Scotland, and represented here by singer Audra McDonald, the girls' name Audra has been overshadowed by the return of the classic Audrey. Audra may be to Audrey what Jenna is to Jennifer and Jessa is to Jessica: A variation that will rise as the original falls from favor, which may take another decade.

TrudyHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "spear of strength"
  • Description:

    Innocent, sincere, and bright-eyed, and as outdated as its mother name, Gertrude.

MelisandeHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Millicent, German
  • Meaning:

    "strong in work"
  • Description:

    This old-time fairy tale name is rarely heard in the modern English-speaking world, but it's so, well, mellifluous, that it would make a lovely choice for a twenty-first century girl--a romanticized tribute to an Aunt Melissa or Melanie.
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SolveigHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "the strong house or daughter of the sun"
  • Description:

    Common in Scandinavia, this name has rarely come to our shores. The name of the heroine in Ibsen's Peer Gynt, Solveig is currently a widely-used name in Norway. Pronounced authentically, with a silent 'g', it becomes much more appealing.

AzaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "powerful"
  • Description:

    Aza is an excellent Arabic choice: elegant and simple. Too simple for you? Consider Aziza.

AstaHeart

  • Origin:

    Norwegian
  • Meaning:

    "divine strength"
  • Description:

    This Scandinavian name was made famous in English-speaking countries as the name of the dog in the "Thin Man" series. Danish actress Asta Nielsen was another famous bearer. Asta can be considered as a short form of Astrid or Augusta.

AudrinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Audrey
  • Meaning:

    "noble strength"
  • Description:

    Audrina is a name that owes its fame to overnight reality TV sensation Audrina Partridge, one of the original cast of the MTV reality series The Hills.

EbbaHeart

  • Origin:

    English or German
  • Meaning:

    "fortress of riches, or strength of a boar"
  • Description:

    Ebba, the feminine version of Eberhard and also a form of an old English name, is in the Swedish Top 10 but virtually unknown in the US. However, with the rise of Emma, Ella, Ada, and similar simple-yet-traditional names, Ebba may enjoy more widespread popularity.
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KingaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hungarian, Polish
  • Meaning:

    "brave"
  • Description:

    Thought the name Kinga has penetrated the international consciousness via the Slovakian model Kinga Rajzak, it's a rare choice for American baby girls: Only five were named Kinga in 2013. Is that because Kinga sounds like pseudo-royalty, ala Princessa? Though with names such as Reign and Royal rising through the ranks, the time-honored Kinga may see more widespread usage.

EzriHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Ezra, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "help"
  • Description:

    Ezri is one of the cool new unisex names starting with E, except as a Biblical name, it's not so new. Used for both genders in Israel, in the US it's currently running five to one in favor of girls, surprisingly. Its deviation from the better known and more traditional Ezra makes it feel like one of the more truly gender neutral names.

IrieHeart

  • Origin:

    Jamaican
  • Meaning:

    "positive and powerful"
  • Description:

    A name used in the Caribbean, taken from the Rastafarian term that translates best to "positive and powerful." Rastas often greet each other by saying, "Are you feeling Irie today?"

BrittaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian, variation of Birgit or Britt
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    If you want a pan-Scandinavian name that sounds at once exotic and familiar, Britta may be a perfect choice. It's got energy and style but sounds a bit, yes, brittle.

CyreneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "supreme power"
  • Description:

    Cyrene was a mythical nymph and huntress who was beloved by Apollo. An ancient city in Libya was named after her.
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KerenHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "strength, power, ram's horn"
  • Description:

    Israeli-born singer Keren Ann introduced this traditional Hebrew name to this country, where it could well be mistaken for Karen.

MahoganyHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "rich, strong"
  • Description:

    Dark, woody name that's brings to mind rich panelling, beautiful colors and luxury.

AlcinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "strong-willed"
  • Description:

    Alcina is an operatic name, best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.

ImalaHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American
  • Meaning:

    "strong-minded"
  • Description:

    Distinctive Native-American choice with forceful meaning.

ShaktiHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "power"
  • Description:

    Shakti is the female equivalent of the god Shiva in Hinduism. A sacred name sometimes used in a secular way.
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GerdaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "enclosure, stronghold"
  • Description:

    Mythological goddess of fertility whose name seems, ironically, among the least attractive.

BaliHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name and Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "strength"
  • Description:

    Evokes picture-postcard image of colorful Indonesia. Bali Barret is a Paris fashion insider who oversees women's style for Hermes. Bali rhymes with tally or galley.

EtanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "strength of purpose"
  • Description:

    Girlish for Ethan: attractive and unusual.

BarrettHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "bear strength"
  • Description:

    Masculine sounding surname that kids might confuse with barrette.

RiellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Gabriella
  • Meaning:

    "God is my strength"
  • Description:

    If you have an aversion to Briella, you can shorten it even further to this.
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