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Urban Prairie Names

Urban Prairie Names
Urban Prairie is one of the hottest styles on the fashion runways, and one that translates perfectly to baby names. Fusty vintage names and conservative nature names collide in Urban Prairie, exemplified by such names as Alma and Amos, Fern and Field, even Prairie itself.

Along with Alma and Amos, other Urban Prairie names in the US Top 1000 include Clyde, Elsie, Harold, June, Mabel, Otis, Solomon, and Wren. Among the most avant garde names in the Urban Prairie style are Bly, Calico, Petal, and Weaver.

These names are a little bit city and a little bit country, sophisticated yet artless, traditional yet edgy, so far out they're very very in. Take a look at our roster of Urban Prairie baby names.
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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.

CoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "maiden"
  • Description:

    In classical mythology, Cora—or Kore—was a euphemistic name of Persephone, goddess of fertility and the underworld. Kore was the name used when referencing her identity as the goddess of Spring, while Persephone referred to her role as queen of the Underworld. Cora gained popularity as a given name after James Fenimore Cooper used it as the name of his heroine, Cora Munro, in his 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans.

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.

WrenHeart

  • Origin:

    English bird and nature name
  • 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.

ElsieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Not so long ago, Elsie might have been on a list of Names Least Likely to Succeed—but look at her now! She is currently ranked very highly in the U.K., and in the US, she's widely used as well, having returned to the popular names list in 2005 after a thirty-year hiatus. Elsie is now one of the fastest-rising girl names starting with E.
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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.

MabelHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Amabel
  • Meaning:

    "lovable"
  • Description:

    Mabel is a saucy Victorian favorite searching for its place in modern life; if you love offbeat old-fashioned names like Violet or Josephine, only sassier, Mabel is one for you to consider--it's started making a comeback and could rise to popularity a la Sadie. Several celebs have chosen it, including Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry, Bruce Willis and Dermot Mulroney.

ElizaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Eliza originated as a diminutive of Elizabeth and eventually became used as a name in its own right. Despite its similarity to the Hebrew name Aliza, meaning “joyful,” the two are unrelated. Eliza Schuyler Hamilton was the wife of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, recognizable today as one of the lead characters in the musical “Hamilton.”

WillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.

OtisHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Otis has a double image: it's cool and bluesy a la Otis Redding, but also an upscale, high-society name of the past. Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk.
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EstherHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • Description:

    Esther was derived from the Old Persian word stāra, meaning “star.” In the Old Testament, Esther, originally named Hadassah, was the captured Jewish wife of the King of Persia who risked her life to save her exiled people from annihilation. This story is celebrated by Jews on the holiday of Purim, so that it has traditionally been given to girls around that time.

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.

LeonHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek variation of Leo
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leon is one of the leonine names that is extremely hot in Europe right now. Although it peaked here in the 1920s, it is slowly making its way back, and it could climb further with parents wanting a more serious and studious alternative to Leo.

RuthHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "compassionate friend"
  • Description:

    Ruth, with its air of calm and compassion, was the third most popular name in the 1890s, remaining in the Top 10 through the 1920s. It's still in use today as some parents tiring of Rachel and Rebecca are giving Ruth a second thought. Some see such Old Testament girls’ names as Ruth and Esther rising on the heels of boy equivalents Abel and Moses.

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 .
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JuneHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, month named for goddess Juno
  • Description:

    June, a sweetly old-fashioned month name derived from the goddess Juno, was long locked in a time capsule with June Allyson (born Ella) and June Cleaver, but is rising again especially as a middle name.

AlmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "nurturing, soul"
  • Description:

    Alma is a somewhat solemn, soulful name that had a burst of popularity a century ago, then faded into the flowered wallpaper, and is now finding its footing once more.

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.

RayHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Raymond
  • Meaning:

    "wise protector"
  • Description:

    Ray, still and forever, is one of the all-time hippest boys' names, with its jazzy Ray Charles biopic overtones. It's one of the coolest middle names), but works perfectly fine as a first.

AmosHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "carried by God"
  • Description:

    Amos is a robust biblical name that's being discovered by a new generation of parents in a major way.
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LinusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "flax"
  • Description:

    Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

SolomonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Solomon, a name that evokes wisdom and peace, is an Old Testament name that, along with other patriarchal classics, is finally beginning to shed its long white beard and step from the pages of the Old Testament into modern nurseries.

ChesterHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fortress, walled town,"
  • Description:

    Chester is a comfortable, little-used teddy-bear of a name that suddenly sounds both quirky and cuddly.

ClydeHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish river name
  • Description:

    Even though in the past Clyde may have been identified as half of the infamous outlaw duo with partner Bonnie Parker—especially after the 1967 movie in which he was played by Warren Beatty—Clyde has always had an element of jazzy cool that could overcome all the rest.
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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.

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.

RoscoeHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "deer forest"
  • Description:

    Fairly popular a hundred years ago but out of sight now, the quirky Roscoe deserves a place on every adventurous baby-namer's long list. It joins Rufus, Roman, Remy, Romulus, and Ray as one of the R names that sound fresh again after too many years of Robert, Richard, and Ronald.

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.

FernHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Of all the botanicals, Fern has been one of the slowest to move back from the front parlor into the nursery, despite the appealing girl character in the children's classic Charlotte's Web. Fern was most popular from the turn of the last century through the 1940s, reaching a high of #152 in 1916. We can certainly see her rejoining the long list of popular greenery names.
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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.

VerityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "truth"
  • Description:

    If you love Puritan virtue names and want to move beyond Hope and Faith and Grace, this is a wonderful choice, both for its meaning and its sound. A rare find here, though occasionally heard in England. It was used in Winston Graham's Poldark novels, was Madonna's name as James Bond's fencing instructor in Die Another Day, and made a brief appearance in Harry Potter. Not to mention being a fixture on British and Australian soaps. Verity also appears in one of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries.

EugeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wellborn, noble"
  • Description:

    Eugene is a classic that has rather lost its way. On the one hand, it's a grandpa, even great-grandpa name that hasn't been one of the cool kids recently—or to quote Jim Carrey, who bears this name in the middle spot, "You can never get too cool with a name like Eugene." The hero of Disney's Tangled felt the same way, when he changed his birth name of Eugene to the more romantic Flynn.

AgathaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "good woman"
  • Description:

    Agatha until recently summoned up visions of martyred saints, mauve silk dresses, and high lace collars, but now that some dauntless excavators have begun to resurrect it, we're sure more will follow their lead. Actor Thomas Gibson used it for his daughter in 2004.

ErnestHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "serious, resolute"
  • Description:

    Ernest is one of those sober, so-far-out-they're-beginning-to-be-reconsidered Great Uncle names. It was a Top 40 name from 1880 to 1926, and has never been completely off the Social Security list.
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JethroHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "excellence"
  • Description:

    Jethro, though the biblical father-in-law of Moses, has suffered for a long time from a Beverly Hillbilly image, but some really adventurous parents might consider updating and urbanizing it and transitioning it into the hip o-ending category.

WarrenHeart

  • Origin:

    English from French
  • Meaning:

    "park-keeper"
  • Description:

    Long lingering in limbo, Warren suddenly seems to be on the cusp of revival. One of the oldest recorded English surnames, Warren's popularity in the U.S. dates back to the nineteenth century, and by 1921, reached its peak at Number 24.

MarthaHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic
  • Meaning:

    "lady"
  • Description:

    The name of our first First Lady still has something of a prim and proper image, academic and efficient. That quiet, traditional, and tasteful gestalt is exactly what makes Martha appealing to some parents today.

ClarenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.

MinnieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Minerva
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minnie was wildly popular at the turn of the last century—it was the fifth or sixth most popular name throughout the 1880s—but is completely obscure today. Blame Mickey's girlfriend. Regardless, it's possible that the up and coming trend toward old-fashioned nickname-names—think Maisie, Mamie, Millie—may give Minnie (all on its own, not as a short form of anything) a new moment in the sun. Minnie Driver (born Amelia) has given it some modern celeb cred.
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MayHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret and Mary; month name
  • Description:

    May is a sweet old-fashioned name that hasn't been on the national charts in several decades, but is definitely sounding fresh and springlike. Parents are beginning to see it once more as one of the prettiest middle name options. May was as high on the list as Number 57 in the 1880s; it's now 228 on Nameberry.

VirgilHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "staff bearer"
  • Description:

    The name of the greatest Roman poet and an early Irish saint who believed the earth was round, Virgil is heard most notably today as the name of designer Virgil Abloh of Off-White.

SallyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Sarah
  • Meaning:

    "princess"
  • Description:

    Sally is a cheerful, fresh-faced girl-next-door name that was originally a nickname for Sarah, but has long been used independently. Sally was popular in the eighteenth century and then again from the 1920s to the 1960s--it was just outside the Top 50 around 1940. Though it hasn't been heard as a baby name for decades, we can see Sally bouncing back, especially after her exposure as young Ms. Draper on Mad Men--the Nameberries rank it at Number 621, and it's a Top 100 name in Sweden.

MelvinHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "council protector"
  • Description:

    This once perfectly respectable surname has suffered decades of abuse, not least by Jerry Lewis's character in the fifties. NFL running back Melvin Gordon stars for the Los Angeles Chargers.

PollyHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Molly
  • Description:

    An alternative to the no-longer-fresh Molly, the initial 'P' gives Polly a peppier sound, combining the cozy virtues of an old-timey name with the bounce of a barmaid.
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EdgarHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy spearman"
  • Description:

    Edgar is an Old English name historically associated with the tenth century English king known as Edgar the Peaceful. There was also a King Edgar of Scotland.

VirginiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "virginal, pure"
  • Description:

    Virginia is a lovely place name starting with the fashionable V and having deep historical roots, yet, unlike some other other girls' classics, has been sorely neglected in recent years.

BettyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.

DollyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Dorothy
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Hello, Dolly! Okay, we couldn't resist, but be warned: Most people who meet your little Dolly won't be able to either. This nickname-name, rarely heard since whatever decade Dolly Parton was born, is singing a fashionable note again along with sisters Dottie and Dixie; it was chosen for one of their twin girls by Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell.

BlancheHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "white"
  • Description:

    Blanche, which originated as a nickname for a pale blonde and then became associated with the notion of purity, was in style a century ago, ranking in the double digits until 1920. She then had to fight the stereotype of faded Southern belle, a la Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Blanche Devereaux in TV's Golden Girls. Now all three of the Golden Girls--Blanche, Rose and Dorothy--could be ready for revival, with Blanche sounding like a stronger, simpler alternative to Bianca.
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