Most Common Names for Girls
Along with Mary and Elizabeth, other common girl names that remain in the US Top 150 include Alice, Anna, Emma, Grace, Katherine, Olivia, Sarah, and Victoria. The common names for girls that have dropped the farthest in popularity include Cheryl, Debra, Donna, and Carol.
Some of the top names for baby girls today, such Sophia and Isabella, don't quite make it onto the Most Common Names list yet, but as older names such as Doris and Joyce fade away, they'll be replaced by newer popular names such as Ava and Charlotte. These are the 100 most common girl names of the past century.
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.
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.
Meaning:"rose, a flower"
Description:Rose is derived from the Latin rosa, which referred to the flower. There is also evidence to suggest it was a Norman variation of the Germanic name Hrodohaidis, meaning “famous type.” In Old English it was translated as Roese and Rohese.
Origin:Hebrew, feminization of Samuel
Meaning:"told by God"
Description:The origins of Samantha are not entirely clear, although it is commonly thought to be a feminization of Samuel with the suffix derived from the Greek anthos, meaning “flower.” Samantha has been in English-speaking use since the eighteenth century, particularly in the American South, and drew attention via Grace Kelly's Tracy Samantha Lord character in High Society, featuring the song "I love you, Samantha.”
Origin:English, virtue name
Description:Grace is derived from gratia, the Latin word for “grace.” It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not in common use until the Puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century. It was used as a virtue name, in reference to divine grace—the love and kindness of God.
Meaning:"youthful or sky father"
Description:Julia was an ancient Roman imperial name given to females in the house of a Julius, as in Caesar. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".
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.
Origin:Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
Description:Anna is the Latin form of Hannah, a Hebrew name that derived from root chanan, meaning “grace.” European Christians embraced the name for its associations with the Virgin Mary’s mother, Saint Anna—known in English as Saint Anne. While Hannah and Anna are the most common forms of the name, variations including Annie, Annalise, Anya, Anika, Nancy, and Anais also rank in the US Top 1000.
Origin:Arabic and Hebrew
Description:Kayla is a modern invented name that emerged in the late 1950s. Despite its similarity to the name Michaela, Kayla most likely began as a combination of the then-popular name Kay and -la suffix. Alternatively, it may be a variation of the Yiddish name Kaila, which derived from the Hebrew name Kelila. Kayla can also be considered an Anglicization of the Gaelic surname MacCaollaidhe or MacCathail.
Meaning:"servant of God"
Description:Rebecca is a name representing beauty in the Bible, an Old Testament classic that reached the heights of revived popularity in the seventies but is still a well-used choice. It derives from the Hebrew name Rivkah, from the verb ribbqah, meaning “noose.” The biblical Rebecca was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah was a common spelling of the name in the Bible.
Description:Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with the ermen root. A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries—Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002—Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elizabeth is derived from the Hebrew name Elisheva, formed by the components ’el, meaning “God,” and shava’, “oath.” In the Bible, Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, and two of England's most notable queens have been Elizabeth I and II. Another memorable bearer was Elizabeth Taylor—who hated to be called Liz.
Description:Catherine is one of the oldest and most consistently well-used girls’ names, with endless variations and nicknames. The Catherine form feels more gently old-fashioned and feminine than the more popular K versions. Most stylish nickname for Catherine right now: Kate...or Cate, a la Blanchett.
Origin:Feminine variation of Emil, Latin
Description:Emily was derived from the Roman name Aemilia, which may have evolved from the Latin word aemulus, meaning “hardworking” or “rival.” Amelia, although similar, has separate origins — it was derived from the Germanic name Amalia. Emilia, however, has the same Latin root as Emily.
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.”
Origin:Danish variation of Katherine
Description:Karen is a Danish diminutive of Katherine, an English name derived from the Greek Aikaterine. The etymology of Aikaterine is contested, but generally considered to have arisen from the Greek root katharos, meaning “pure.” Kaja is a related name, as it is another Danish variation of Katherine.
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.
Description:Rachel was derived from the Hebrew word rāchēl, meaning “ewe.” In the Old Testament, Rachel was the favorite wife of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. International variations include the Spanish Raquel and Israeli Rahel.
Description:Diana, the tragic British princess, inspired many fashions, but strangely, not one for her name. For us, Diana is a gorgeous and still-underused choice.
Description:Hannah originated as a variation of the Hebrew name Channah, derived from the word channan, meaning “grace.” In the Old Testament, Hannah is the mother of Samuel. Names including Anne, Anna, Nancy, Anya, Annika, and Annabel are all related to Hannah. Alternate spellings such as Hana, Hanna, and Chana are also used.
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.
Meaning:"my father is joyful"
Description:Abigail comes from the Hebrew name Avigail and is derived from the Hebrew elements ab, meaning “father,” and g-y-l, meaning “to rejoice.” In the Old Testament, Abigail was the wife of David, said to be beautiful, wise, and prophetic. In the early nineteenth century, Abigail became a term for a maid.
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.
Description:Victoria is the Latin word for “victory” and a feminine form of Victor. It is the name of the ancient Roman goddess of victory, the equivalent of the Greek Nike, and also a popular third century saint. Queen Victoria, for whom the Victorian Era is named, ruled over England for over sixty-three years.
Origin:French variation of Russian Natalia
Meaning:"birthday of the Lord"
Description:Natalie is the French variation of Natalia, a name originally derived from the Latin phrase natale domini, meaning “birthday of the Lord.” It was historically given to girls born around Christmas for this reason. Nathalie is an additional, though less common, spelling of the name.
Origin:Welsh diminutive of Margaret
Description:Megan originally evolved from Meg, which itself derived as a nickname for Margaret. Margaret ultimately comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning “pearl.” Megan is no longer a common nickname for Margaret—it is most often used as a full name. Other spellings include Meghan, Meagan, Megyn, and Meaghan.
Meaning:"moon goddess or, woman from Kynthos"
Description:Cynthia is an attractive name -- in classical mythology an epithet for Artemis or Diana -- that was so overexposed in the middle of the twentieth century, along with its nickname Cindy, that it fell into a period of benign neglect, but now is ripe for reconsideration in its full form.
Origin:Variation of Sarah
Description:Sara, the streamlined form of Sarah, makes this ancient name feel more modern, but perhaps a bit lighter weight. Some Old Testament sources give Sara as a variation of Sarai, the Biblical personage's original name, and some give it as the authentic form of the new name of Isaac's 90-year-old mother. But most sources authenticate Sarah as the Biblical classic and Sara as the variation.
Description:Amy is the English variation of the Old French name Amée—Aimée in modern French. Amée was a translation of the Latin name Amata, which derived from amatus, meaning “beloved.” Other spelling variations include Amie and Ami.
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Stephen
Description:Stephanie is the feminine form of Stephen, derived from the Greek name Stephanos, meaning “crown.” It’s been the name of several royal women throughout history, including the medieval Stephanie, Queen of Navarre, and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, the daughter Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. International variations of Stephanie include the German Stefanie, Italian Stefania, and Spanish Estefanía.
Origin:Hebrew or Egyptian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).
Origin:Cornish variation of Welsh Guinevere
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Jennifer is the Cornish variation of Guinevere, which ultimately derived from the Welsh name Gwenhwyfar. It has been in use in the English-speaking world since the 18th century but came to prominence in the 20th. Playwright George Bernard Shaw chose Jennifer for the name of his leading lady in his play The Doctor’s Dilemma, which drew more attention to the name.
Origin:French feminine variation of Nicholas, Greek
Meaning:"people of victory"
Description:Nicole was derived from Nicholas, the English variation of the Greek Nikolaos, composed of the compounds nike, meaning “victory,” and laos, “people.” The variation Nicole arose in the Middle Ages in France to honor St. Nicholas. Names related to Nicole include Colette, Nicolette, Nika, Nicola, and Nicolina.
Origin:English variation of Laura
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.
Description:Laura is a hauntingly evocative perennial, never trendy, never dated, feminine without being fussy, with literary links stretching back to Dante. All this makes Laura a more solid choice than any of its more decorative counterparts and one of the most classic girl names starting with L.
Description:Sarah was derived from the Hebrew word sarah, meaning “princess.” Sarah is an Old Testament name—she was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. According to the Book of Genesis, Sarah was originally called Sarai, but had her name changed by God to the more auspicious Sarah when she was ninety years old.
Description:Katherine is one of the oldest, most diverse, and all-around best names: it's powerful, feminine, royal, saintly, classic, popular, and adaptable. Long one of the top girls' names starting with K, Katherine has now been unseated on the popularity list by upstarts Kennedy and Kinsley, but a dip in popularity only adds to its charm.
Origin:English diminutive of Ann
Description:Nancy originated as a contraction of “mine Ancy,” with Ancy being a nickname for Annis, a Medieval English variation of Agnes. In the 18th century it began being used in its own right, as well as a nickname for Ann. Related names include Nan, Nance, Nanette, Nanny, and Nanou.
Origin:Word name, English
Description:Though perhaps not as currently stylish as Ruby, Jade, or Pearl, Amber has a colorful history (remember the notorious Forever Amber heroine?). Unfortunately, it does come with the "Amber Alert" connotation for modern parents (and their children).
Origin:French, feminine diminutive of Jacques
Description:Jacqueline originated as a feminine form of Jacques, the French variation of James, and therefore Jacob. Jacob was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov, and gets its meaning, “supplanter” from the story of Jacob supplanting his brother Esau as the first-born son in the Bible. Jacqueline was first used in France in the Middle Ages.
Description:Christina, a pretty and feminine, crystal clear classic, may be trending downward, but it's never out of style. Christina's short forms Chris, Christie, and Tina all seem dated—making the royal Christina best used in its full glory.
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
Origin:English variation of Greek Dorothea
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:In the 1930s, Dorothy left Kansas and landed in the Land of Oz; by the '80s she had become a Golden Girl, living in Miami with roommates Blanche and Rose, giving her a decidedly older image. But parents today seeking a quiet classic are bringing Dorothy back—she reentered the Top 1000 in 2011 after almost completely disappearing.
Origin:French variation of Michael
Meaning:"who is like God"
Description:Michelle is the feminine form of Michel, the French variation of Michael. Michael was derived from the Hebrew name Mihka’el, meaning “who is like God.” The alternate spelling Michele, with one “L,” was the original version of the name. Michelle appeared as a later Anglicization in the 20th century.
Meaning:"bright, 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.
Description:Melissa derives from the Greek word mélissa, meaning “bee,” which was taken from the word for honey, meli. In Greek mythology, Melissa was a nymph who nursed the infant god Zeus with honey. Melissa was used as a given name by the early Greeks, as well as for fairies by Italian Renaissance poets.
Origin:English name of the French region Bretagne, meaning 'from Briton'
Description:Brittany first arrived on the US popularity list in 1971, and rapidly zoomed up the charts, in the Top 100 a decade later. By 1986 it had entered the Top 10, becoming the third most popular girls’ name in the country by 1989. After such immense popularity, there has been a steep decline, but it remains a name evocative of one of the most beautiful and culturally interesting areas of France -- and much preferable to the contracted Britney. Brittany evolved as a modern coinage from the ancient French duchy Bretagne. Celtic Bretons emigrated from France to become the Bretons of English; later the name Britain came to signify the country.
Origin:English short form of Susannah, Hebrew,"lily"
Description:Although Susan had her heyday from the thirties to the sixties, and is now common among moms and new grandmas, and though most modern parents would prefer Susanna/Susannah, we have spotted some flickers of interest in a revival. It still retains a certain black-eyed-Susan freshness.
Origin:English, meaning unknown
Description:When Jennifer was ready to give up her throne, her crown was passed to Jessica, who reigned for not one but two decades; Jessica was the top name of both the 1980's and 90's, never sounding quite as trendy as its predecessor, maybe because of its classic Shakespearean pedigree. Jessica has declined a bit in popularity but is still a popular choice.
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Create an account and you can create lists, keep track of favorites, and even be alerted when there is new content posted about a name.