Names to Substitute for Samantha
Samantha may have long been your favorite among baby girl names, but there are fresher substitutes you may want to consider today.
Origin:Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
Description:Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.
Origin:Feminine variation of Theodore
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names, softly evocative but still substantial, as is the reversed-syllable Dorothea. It was borne by several saints and by the beautiful ninth wife of the Emperor Justinian, who became the power behind his throne. A later royal was Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the older sister of the present Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Meaning:"shining or excelling man"
Description:The name of the tragic mythological Trojan princess who was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but was condemned never to be believed, Cassandra has been used for striking characters in movies and soap operas. Ethereal and delicate, Cassandra was in the Top 70 throughout the 1990s but is now descending in popularity.
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:Latinized variation of Greek Selene
Description:Selena is smooth, shiny, and sensual, a nineteenth-century name that found new life in the Latino community, following the biopic of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, starring Jennifer Lopez. But you don't have to be Latin to love Selena, which is both distinctive yet in step with stylish modern names such as Seraphina and Celia.
Meaning:"flat tropical grassland"
Description:A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.
Description:Though never as popular as the name of her Bewitched mother, Samantha, Tabitha has its own quirky, magical charm. The name of a charitable woman who was restored to life by Saint Peter in the Bible, it was a popular Puritan choice. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick chose it for one of their twin daughters, which gave it a slight boost. Nonetheless, Tabitha remains in decline.
Description:Spelled with either one 'l' or two, Calista came to the fore in 1997 when Calista Flockhart hit it big as Ally McBeal. Flockhart, who bears her mother's middle name, didn't just introduce a name, she introduced a whole sensibility. Pretty and delicate, Calista is definitely worthy of consideration, especially for parents with Greek roots.
Meaning:"under God's rule, companion in night conversation"
Description:Alluring and lovely — and much more distinctive now than Samantha or Tamara. Samara is a city in western Russia, a winged seed like the whirlygigs that fall from maple trees, as well as a bona fide first name that could make a more unusual update on Samantha or Mara. It can also be a variant spelling of the Arabic name Samira or Sameera.
Origin:English, feminine variation of George
Description:Long a popular upper-crust form in England, where it's pronounced George-ee-AH-na, Georgiana has been been neglected here. But with Georgia growing more popular and the general fashion for elaborate feminine names, Georgiana might have room to grow.
Description:Susannah is by far the most stylish form of the classic name now that Susan and Suzanne have retired. Susannah has biblical and musical pedigrees, is impervious to trends, and has an irresistible, flowing rhythm. It can be spelled just as properly with or without the final 'h.'
Meaning:"date palm tree"
Description:Adding a final a to Tamar lends it a more sensual Slavic tone, making it a more popular choice than the original.
Origin:Italian and Polish combination of Maria and Anna
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved + grace"
Description:While Marianna looks like a spelling variation of Mariana, the two names have different etymologies. Marianna was on and off the US Top 1000 list throughout the twentieth century, and it has now ranked consistently since 1995. While it has never appeared in the upper half of the US popularity charts, it's a very popular choice in Italy and Poland.
Description:Diantha, a mythological flower of the supreme Greek god Zeus, is a melodious and more unusual cousin of Diana, heard most often in The Netherlands.
Description:Spelled with one 'n', this was the name of the wife of Alexander the Great, and is more attractive than the better-known Roxanne.
Description:Georgia and Savannah are already popular, but Atlanta is just entering the baby-name map. Atalanta takes it mythological.