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Popular English Girl Names

Popular English Girl Names
English names, meaning names that originate in the English language, sometimes get overlooked because we tend to think of all names used by English speakers as English names. But of course, many of the names we consider English are actually Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and so on. So then which names for girls truly might be considered English, and which of those English girls' names are most popular?

The most common truly English girl name is Harper. Along with Harper, other English girl names in the US Top 50 include Evelyn, Scarlett, Madison, Hazel, Lily, Everly, Aubrey, Willow, and Addison. Many nature names for girls are authentically English, such as Marigold, River, Wren, and Clover.

Not all of the English names for girls listed here are currently common, but these are some of the best-known girl names with authentic English roots.

Popular English Baby Names for Girls

IvyHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical name
  • Description:

    Ivy is derived from the name of the ivy plant, which got its name from the Old English word ifig. Ancient Greeks presented an ivy wreath to newlyweds as a symbol of fidelity. In the language of flowers, Ivy signifies faithfulness.

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.

LucyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, variation of Lucia
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucy is the English form of the Roman Lucia, which derives from the Latin word "lux" meaning "light." Lucy and Lucia were at one time given to girls born at dawn. Lucy can alternatively be spelled Luci or Lucie.

WrenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "small bird"
  • Description:

    Wren, a lilting songbird name, could be the next Robin. It makes a particularly pleasing middle name choice, as does her newly discovered cousin Lark. Wren entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 and is among the new wave of popular English names for girls.

EvelynHeart

  • Origin:

    English from French and German
  • Meaning:

    "desired; or water, island"
  • Description:

    Evelyn derives from the French feminine given name Aveline, which is from an obscure Germanic root which may mean "desired, wished for" or "water, island". The name Aveline was brought over to England by the Normans, but it first became popular as a masculine name – a transferred use of the surname Evelyn, which comes from the same source. Variations include Evaline, Evalyn, Evelin, and Eveline.

HazelHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "the hazelnut tree"
  • Description:

    Hazel is a name applied from the English word hazel, referring to the hazelnut tree. The word was derived from the Old English hæsel of the same meaning. Historically, a wand of hazel symbolized protection and authority.

WillowHeart

  • Origin:

    English nature name
  • Meaning:

    "willow tree"
  • Description:

    Willow came into use as a given name after the willow tree, whose name was derived from the Old English word welig, meaning "willow." Willow trees are associated with grace and elegance, which gave way to the adjective "willowy." Other names with meanings related to willows include Arava, Willoughby, Dozier, Wellesley, Selby, and Salton.

LilyHeart

  • Origin:

    English flower name
  • Meaning:

    "lily"
  • Description:

    Lily came into use as a given name as a direct influence of the flower. The floral name was derived from the Latin lilium, itself derived from the Greek leirion. Lily later became an adjective to describe whiteness and purity.

DaisyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret or flower name, from English
  • Meaning:

    "day's eye"
  • Description:

    Daisy, fresh, wholesome, and energetic, is one of the flower names that burst back into bloom after a century's hibernation. Daisy is now second only to Delilah among most popular girl names starting with D. Originally a nickname for Margaret (the French Marguerite is the word for the flower), Daisy comes from the phrase "day's eye," because it opens its petals at daybreak.

OliveHeart

  • Origin:

    English, from Latin, nature name
  • Meaning:

    "olive tree"
  • Description:

    Though greatly overshadowed by the trendy Olivia, Olive has a quiet, subtle appeal of its own -- and is now enjoying a remarkable comeback. Olive is one of only four girl names starting with O on the US Top 1000. Cool couple Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen chose it for their daughter, reviving the name to stylishness, and now Drew Barrymore has a little Olive too, as has country singer Jake Owen.

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.

HarperHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "harp player"
  • Description:

    Harper is a red hot name for girls, having jumped from obscurity to near the top of the popularity list in less than a decade; it entered the Top 10 for the first time in 2015, and has stayed near there since. Harper is a prime example of the trend of surnames that turn into boys' names and then become girls' names. Harper was rarely heard for either sex before the mid-2000s, entering the girls' list in 2004. (For boys, it was in use until 1906 when it dropped off the scope and didn't reappear until a full century later.)

JaneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.

CloverHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from Old English
  • Meaning:

    "key"
  • Description:

    Clover is a charming, perky choice if you want to move beyond hothouse blooms like Rose and Lily, and it's recently become a new celeb favorite, chosen by both Neal McDonough and Natasha Gregson Wagner, who used it to honor her mother, Natalie Wood, one of whose most iconic films was Inside Daisy Clover.

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.

PiperHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "pipe or flute player"
  • Description:

    Piper is a bright, musical name that entered the list in 1999, one year after the debut of the TV series Charmed, which featured a Piper, and it's been a consistent riser since. Piper Kerman is the memoirist whose prison experiences provided the basis for the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

BriarHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a thorny patch"
  • Description:

    Fairy-tale memories of Sleeping Beauty inspire some parents—such as Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen—to call their daughters Briar Rose. But Briar plus a different middle name might work even better. It's one of the newly popular nature-word names, charting in the US for the first time in 2015 for both genders.

FayeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fairy"
  • Description:

    Does Fay really need that e at the end? We vote no, but modern parents disagree: The Faye spelling was used for nearly 300 girls in 2014, vaulting the name back onto the Top 1000 after a 35-year absence, nearly ten times as many babies as received the Fay spelling.

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.

MadisonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Matthew"
  • Description:

    Madison originated as an English surname, a variant of Mathieson, meaning "son of Matthew." It is occasionally translated as "son of Maud," as Maddy was historically a nickname for Maud. It was introduced as a feminine given name in the 1984 movie Splash, in which the main character takes her name from New York’s Madison Avenue street sign.

MarigoldHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from English
  • Meaning:

    "golden flower"
  • Description:

    Marigold, once found almost exclusively in English novels and aristocratic nurseries, is beginning to be talked about and considered here. It has a sweet, sunny, quirky feel. The marigold was the symbol of the Virgin Mary.

RainHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Among a small shower of rain-related names, this pure version can have a cool, refreshing image.

BlytheHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "happy, carefree"
  • Description:

    Blythe originated as a nickname for an upbeat person, coming from the Old English word bliðe, meaning "merry" or "cheerful." Today the homophone blithe shares the same meaning. Blythe was eventually adapted to a surname before it became a feminine given name.

BirdieHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.

HarrietHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of French Henriette
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Harriet has long been considered a stylish, upscale name in England, but it's still waiting to be revived in the US—though some parents seeking a solid, serious semi-classic are beginning to consider it.

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.

NellHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining one"
  • Description:

    Nell, once a nickname for Helen, Ellen, or Eleanor, is a sweet old-fashioned charmer that is fashionably used today in its own right. While Nell is perfectly in tune with contemporary vintage name style, it hasn't taken off the way some of its sisters have and so maintains an air of distinction. Use Nell or Nellie as a short for any name from Eleanor to Penelope or just name her Nell.

WinterHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Fresher, brisker and, yes, cooler than Summer or Autumn or Spring, Winter is now a full-fledged female choice, especially since Nicole Richie and Joel Madden used it for daughter Harlow's middle name, and Gretchen Mol picked it as her daughter's first, as did media mogul Sean Parker. Winter continues to be the preferred spelling and has risen in popularity significantly over the past few years.

LavenderHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "flower and color name"
  • Description:

    Lavender lags far behind sweet-smelling purple-hued sister names Violet and Lilac, but is starting to get some enthusiastic attention from cutting-edge namers. It does have a history as a name, going back to the eighteenth century, when it was also used for boys. But its recent attention comes from Lavender Brown, a witch character in the Harry Potter saga – though Lavender had also been previously featured as a best friend character in Roald Dahl's Matilda.

BrookeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "small stream"
  • Description:

    Brooke has long projected an aura of sleek sophistication, and can also be seen as a stylish water name.

BlakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired, dark"
  • Description:

    The unisex Blake, which indeed has two conflicting meanings, has a briskly efficient image when used for a girl.

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.

SuttonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "from the southern homestead"
  • Description:

    Sutton is a plain-sounding surname most notably worn by Tony-winning Broadway actress Sutton Foster, now starring in TV Land's Younger -- based on a novel written by Nameberry co-creator Pamela Redmond Satran.

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.

LaurenHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Laura
  • Meaning:

    "bay laurel"
  • Description:

    Lauren was derived from Laurence, an English name from the Roman family name Laurentius, meaning “from Laurentum.” Laurentum, an ancient Italian city, got its name from the Latin word laurus, meaning “bay laurel.” Lauren was originally a masculine name but was embraced as a feminine name after Betty Joan Perske chose it for her stage name, Lauren Bacall, in 1944.

HopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Can a name as virtuous as Hope be cool and trendy? Strangely enough -- yes. But though this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it's getting.

KitHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Katherine
  • Meaning:

    "pure"
  • Description:

    Kit is a crisp, old-time British-accented unisex nickname that sounds fresh and modern today. Kitty is another so-retro-it's-cool nickname.

RiverHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Most of the notable Rivers have been male, but this nature name certainly flows as well for a girl. Kelly Clarkson's choice of River for her newborn daughter further raised the profile of the name for girls.

JoyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "joy"
  • Description:

    Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.

MarleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "pleasant seaside meadow"
  • Description:

    Reggae master Bob's surname was one of the biggest risers on the popularity charts for girls in 2008, with spellings Marlee and Marely also leaping in favor. Also used for boys, Marley is one of the top unisex names in the US.

OakleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "oak clearing"
  • Description:

    The Annie Oakley connection makes this a bit more girl-appropriate. Oakley has the dubious honor of belonging to the 'brand' names baby club- after the Oakley sunglasses. This name made it into the Top 1000 for the first time in 2013, one of only four girl names starting with O to rank that high. We're definitely keeping an eye on this chart-climbing choice.

RobinHeart

  • Origin:

    Bird name, or English, diminutive of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Sounded bright and chirpy in the fifties and ranked in the Top 100 until 1980, but by now Robin has lost much of its lilt. For a girl, consider a sprightlier-sounding bird name: Deryn, Lark, Wren. Robin is, however, having something of a style comeback for boys.

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.

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.

LilacHeart

  • Origin:

    English, from Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bluish or lilac"
  • Description:

    Could Lilac be the next Lila or Lily or Violet? It certainly has a lot going for it--those lilting double 'l's, the fabulous fragrance it exudes, and the fact that it's a color name as well, providing a ready made nursery theme. In addition, the lilac is symbolic of first love.

LarkHeart

  • Origin:

    English bird name
  • Description:

    Lark is getting some new and well-deserved attention as a post-Robin and Raven bird name. Although it was first recorded as a name in the 1830's, it has never appeared on the Social Security list.

SawyerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "woodcutter"
  • Description:

    Sawyer is one of the top unisex names, used for their daughters by such parents as Sara Gilbert, co-host of The Talk and former actress on Roseanne, currently on The Conners. Sawyer is is one of those newly-stylish occupational names that can work for either gender. If you want something with less brawn and more brains than Sawyer, try Sayer.

HarleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "the long field"
  • Description:

    Once a macho biker name, Harley is now showing its softer side. In the UK, Harley is predominantly masculine, but it's currently more popular for girls than boys in the US.

SummerHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    The temperature is definitely rising for this popular seasonal name, which began being used in the seventies, and has been heard consistently ever since.

TatumHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "Tate's homestead"
  • Description:

    Tatum is strong, distinctive, energetic, and recommended, especially if your last name is as congenial as O'Neal. The name is now used for both genders, with the balance running about two to one in favor of the girls.
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