These old-fashioned names are certainly making a comeback, and not just as middle names.
In the ongoing trend of calling a child something unique and different, while some turn to words or sounds not traditionally used as names, others look backward, to earlier eras.
And dude, there are some seriously cute names hiding back there, especially for little girls.
Have you tried simply looking at your own family tree? Or do you remember the names of some of your own granny’s best friends, even?
Who did she talk about seeing at church that Sunday, and who came over to play cards at the dining room table each week?
Yep, searching your own memory bank might very well produce some quite interesting (and pretty!) choices.
But if that hasn’t exactly turned up a winner in your book, don’t sweat it.
I’ve thought, gathered, and researched dozens for you here today.
I’ve taken famous old-timey movie stars, what was en vogue a century ago, and the little old ladies I’ve encountered in my own life as my inspiration, and I think you’ll enjoy the result.
Without further ado, put your peepers on this snazzy list of 15 grandma names that make the CUTEST baby names.
Can anyone else out there not help but think of the candy bar that starts with “Baby” and ends with this cute classic of a name?
What I like about this stunning and simple-sounding one-syllable moniker is that I have not yet heard anyone I’ve encountered in my own life revive it for their own recently born children.
And I encounter a LOT of people having children lately in my line of work (mom and writer about all things mom), many of them eager to be both trendy and unique.
It even means “friend,” according to BabyNameWizard.com.
I know for a fact that a good amount of girls from my generation had this as a middle name. I think our own parents loved the trend of giving an old-fashioned, sort of grandma-ish name as a middle name back then.
Well this one is so sweet and simple that it might just give you a toothache.
I really love picturing a sweet little girl saying it, or being called “Beth” by her little friends. Awww.
Elizabeth means “God is my oath,” according to BabyNameWizard.com, and Beth was of course originally a shortened version of that.
I almost hesitate to include this one because, greedy human that I am, what if I want to use it for my own family someday?
I’ll try to be generous, though, and offer up this Pearl (he he he) of wisdom to my readers.
I think I’m allowed to make cheesy jokes in an article about grandmas. Just sayin’.
You guessed it: The pretty name for a girl comes from the name for the semiprecious jewel produced naturally in the ocean (as listed at SheKnows.com and elsewhere).
This fancy name means “grace,” according to pregnancy site TheBump.com. Isn’t that lovely? It was actually originally a nickname. And like me, you might have trouble guessing with your modern brain what exactly it was nickname for…
It was something you might have called a lady named Ann or Anne (as included at BabyNameWizard.com). I think the hang-up for me is that it’s not at all shorter, as we might guess a nickname to be.
Now, it is fully established, of course, as a first (given) name.
Why I remember back in the day, when a little show called Seinfeld was on the air and this was the name of a character that was mentioned at least once. I still laugh in my head at the way that they said it.
But grandma-ranty stories aside, what do you think?
It sounds unique for a new little girl in this day and age, to my modern ears.
It’s an Irish baby name, actually, and although it sounds sweet, it means the opposite: bitter (according to baby names site SheKnows.com).
In an old house in Paris… that was covered with vines…
You may have strong associations with this name and related ones due to the popular children’s classic by Ludwig Bemelmans (whom I recall recently departed Anthony Bourdain being a fan of, in an episode of one of his travel shows in which he visited a bar decorated with illustrations by the artist).
Madeline sounds sweet and somewhat romantic, to my mind.
The name has biblical origins if you look way back, to Mary Magdalene (as included at Parents.com and many other places).
I didn’t know, or recall, anyway, that this name was spelled with an E at the end.
But I guess if you’re not talking about a method for cooking vegetables, Blanche it is.
It does have similar roots to the cooking technique, though, it looks like.
Blanchir means “to make white” in French, says BabyNameWizard.com.
It used to be a nickname for someone with light blond hair.
This name is so classic “grandma” that it was one of the main characters on Golden Girls. I’m pretty sure that’s just about as grandma as you can get.
The pretty name Kathy has never really gone away, and although it may be the name of your grandma, it also might just as easily be the name of your best friend’s mom or maybe even someone you went to school with growing up.
It means “pure,” according to SheKnows.com, so there’s another pretty aspect to it
There are many related or similar sounding names to consider here, as well, such as Katherine, Katie, or Cathy, or even Kathlene (there’s a good one!).
For all that is light and bright, and okay, perhaps a bit old-fashioned, how about considering a lovely little name for a lovely little girl? Lucy.
This is the English version of a pretty Roman name, Lucia, according to NameBerry.com. That name comes from the Latin word lux, which means light.
Believe it or not, I somehow just pondered this name for quite a while, myself, before finally thinking about the famous cultural association many may have, especially grandmas and great-grandmas: I Love Lucy.
Shoot, you could even go with Lucille!
It is the name of a famous humanitarian figure, as well as one with historic connections, galore.
Teresa is actually of “uncertain etymology,” according to BabyNameWizard.com. A popular opinion, though, is that it comes from therizein (which means “to reap, to gather in” in Greek). So you might say that it sort of means “harvester.”
St. Paulinus was a Roman bishop of Nola in the 5th century, and one Teresa was reportedly his wife.
So what has three syllables and a heck of a history — and is easy to love? This name.
One great way to live ya life might just be to pick this sweet and pretty old-fashioned stunner of a name, or one of its spelling variants, for your own little girl.
The French Vivien means “alive,” and that name for a male came from a Latin name: Vivianus.
That came from vivus (“alive”), says BabyNameWizard.com.
“Vivien” is the way it is often spelled in the United Kingdom, for girls, with Vivian still the more masculine spelling.
Maybe it is a perfectly interesting choice for your vivacious little girl?
So here’s some history for you whipper snappers (I think I should get to talk like a cartoonish grandma while I write this, too, obviously): There is a medieval French name, Yolande, and that is thought to be a version of the name Violante. Violante comes from the Latin word viola — and viola means “violet.”
That’s one theory, in any case, as presented at BehindTheName.com.
It’s very feminine, apparently quite floral, and a classic, to be sure.
Will you choose it for your own little flower?
My inspiration for this name came to me last night. After a long day of writing and watching after my own to little ones, I finally got to just sit on the couch for a while and found myself scrolling through Facebook on my phone. One group I’m in, in which a woman sells those popular stretchy and boldly patterned clothes from her home, features a top with this style name: Irma.
See, it’s even getting a revival in the affordable mom-fashion world.
Irma means “universal,” according to SheKnows.com, and it comes from the Old German word irmin.
First of all, there is that famous blond bombshell Marylin Monroe, who would have just recently turned 92, earlier this June, if she was still alive today. (I looked up her birthday on Google and did the math.)
This name is two names combined: Mary and Lynn, as is explained on Wikipedia.org and SheKnows.com, and is pretty obvious if you think about it at all.
The name is an English (and of course American) name, says SheKnows.com.
Might it be a fitting moniker for your own little starlet?
Are there any other English majors out there?
Famous expat writer Gertrude Stein may inescapably flood your mind when you think of this zinger of a grandma name, whether you like it or not, if so, as she does mine.
But Gertrude is also so much more than that. It’s a German name, in fact, meaning “strong spear,” according to SheKnows.com.
And its literary associations go back much farther than turn-of-the-century Paris. The Bard himself used the name Gertrude for Hamlet’s mother.
I’ve found about three or maybe even more names all related to the name Elizabeth, here, so I guess there’s just something classically grandma about that name and all of its various relatives, to me, anyway.
Well Isabelle is one of them, according to BabyNameWizard.com. It’s the French form of Isabel, which is a Spanish version of the name — you guessed it — Elizabeth.
That historic name means “God is my oath.”
A fun fact, also included on the same site as above, is that ISABELLE was also (in all capital letters) the name for a government-funded particle accelerator project.
I’ve gotten creative for you here… This name is what, sometimes, people actually call their own grandmas, as in a nickname for “Grandma.”
Gigi is hot right now, or at least Gigi Hadid is a famous person right now, a 23-year-old American fashion model with a presence on social media.
Gigi is included in a list of words people actually use to address their grandmas, especially in the South, at SouthernLiving.com.
While I’m not sure you would want to call your kid Nanna or Honey, Gigi might be pretty darn cute.
I just had to include the full classic form, Elizabeth, too, along with a few other variants of this wonderful old-lady name.
It’s famous British queens. It’s a famous actress of yore (Elizabeth Taylor). It’s likely the name of at least one person you know in your own life, if you’re anything like me.
This name was actually the fourth most popular baby girl name of the 1880s, according to SheKnows.com.
It is a biblical name, and also one from Arthurian legend (the sister of Mark).
Maybe you love Margaret right off the bat, or maybe it makes you think of similar sounding names, such as Marge (and many more).
This old-fashioned stunner was the fifth most popular name for a baby girl in the 1880s, according to the baby names site SheKnows.com.
Many, many grandmas and great-grandmas out there surely have it, in that case.
Will you and your growing family be part of its revival now?
I’ve gotta tell ya, I’ve met a handful of baby girls with super grandma-esque names in my own circles in the last few years here, and their given names always sound lovely and fitting to my modern ears.
The name Bertha comes in at number 8 in a list of the most popular female names of the 1880s, included at baby names site SheKnows.com.
It means — wait for it — sparkling!!! Awesome, right?
For your own glittering little gal, could there be a more fitting choice?
I’ll admit it — this could be considered sort of a bold choice.
Big Bertha is, after all, the name of a giant military weapon used in the first two World Wars. (I had to google that… I knew it was something, but I didn’t recall that it was the name of a huge gun.)
But it is also, of course, just an old-fashioned name.
I know, I know, it’s a mouse. A cartoon one, which adorns countless children’s clothes and toys and bedding and everything you could ever buy for a child.
My youngest is not even 2 yet, and she doesn’t watch much TV, and she already excitedly points out when she sees this character with big black ears and colorful bow, or her boyfriend, Mickey, and calls them by name.
Well it was the 6th most popular baby girl name of the 1880s, according to SheKnows.com. Let’s not forget actress Minnie Driver, either. (Although her real name is Amelia Fiona, as listed on Google results pulled from Wikipedia.org).
This is the most popular name right now. But it’s also a total old-lady name. See how this trend is totally a real one, and going strong?
Emma was the third most popular name for a baby girl way back in the 1880s, as listed at SheKnows.com, and here we are like 140 years later, and it’s topping the charts.
Emma Watson is that young English actress of Harry Potter and live-action Beauty and the Beast fame.
It can me “universal,” “nurse,” or “whole, complete,” depending on which language you are considering, be it Swedish, American, Teutonic, English, or German.
We needed something somewhat more unique to include, and so how about the old-fashioned beauty of a name Ida?
Believe it or not it was actually ranked at number 7 in popularity during the 1880s, according to the baby names site SheKnows.com.
I have never, ever personally met an Ida that I recall. Have you?
Let’s learn a bit about it, for background.
SheKnows.com describes the meaning of the name, for both Anglo-Saxon and American purposes, as “name of a king.”
That still left me wondering, so I checked out BehindTheName.com, which explains that Ida grew out of the German id, which means “work, labour.” Normans are said to have brought the name to England.
A strong revival of the name in the 19th century was partly due to its inclusion in the Tennyson poem “The Princess” (1847).
Mabel, Mabel, set the table…
But seriously, nursery rhymes aside, it is really kind of cute, isn’t it?
Back in the late 19th century, people must have thought it was really cute because parents used it so much that it was ranked at number 20 for popular baby names of the 1880s.
It goes way back, and it is actually a Latin name, meaning “beautiful, loving, lovable,” according to SheKnows.com.
The related name “Amabel” was used often during the Middle Ages as well as somewhat in the 19th century, and now the shorter Mabel has taken over.
At number 19 in a list of the most popular baby names of the 1880s, when perhaps some of the great-grandmas we’ve come to know and love may have been born, Nellie is certainly sweet, isn’t it?
The Latin and American interpretation of the name is “horn,” as is included at SheKnows.com.
For a Greek interpretation, it’s more like “shining light” or “the bright one.”
For the English, the name is related to Eleanor / Helen, and so “shining light” or “most beautiful woman.”
Similarly, in French, it is seen to come from the Greek Helen.