Every baby girl has her own personality that is not quite like anyone else's. You love her before you even meet her. You love her little face, her little toes, her little chubby bottom and you want to give her a name that you love just as much. She needs a name that suits her individuality! So you scour books and websites for just the right one, making lists and talking with your partner, getting opinions from your mother, his mother, your friends, all the relatives and even strangers in the grocery line.
I know how frustrating it can be! It’s like a needle in a haystack, so I did some of the work for you if you are looking for a name for your little girl that you have never heard, something unique that doesn’t already belong to anyone you know. These days not everyone is named Jane, Mary or Anne and a lot of older names are actually trending right now because lots of other moms are having exactly the same thoughts! So I made a list of girls’ names which are beautiful and uncommon, but also strong and practical (and spellable!) I hope it helps!
A twist on the fashionable Bella of Twilight fame, this French name isn’t usually found outside of Creole communities. Like a lot of names on this list, it has a familiar ring to it while at the same time having a fresh twist. It means ‘breath’ and will fit a little girl who is indeed like fresh air in your life. Her breath is grounding and with it she maintains her sense of calm and old-world charm. She evokes an impression of sultry air and well-worn streets, kudzu-covered trees shading columned verandas. Abella has her roots in tradition and her eyes focused firmly on the future. She has hit a hot streak in the last couple of years, being ranked number 1,684 in 2018, which is up over 700 from 2017. Abella is on the rise! You can bet she will remain ahead of the curve.
This breezy name comes from the old Greek word that means ‘ethereal,’ ‘of the celestial spheres.’ She is just a step away from the familiar Lea or Arlie, with an uncluttered appeal that can’t be compared. Airlia is dreamy and ready for adventure, but with a solid foundation in the Classics. She has her head in the clouds, but her feet planted securely on the ground. Her appeal is intangible and yet undeniable. She is a rock for her family and an inspiration to her friends. An alternate spelling is Airlea. This name is a very unusual one, never cracking the top 2,000 names in the U.S., and ranked number 15,596 in 2014. Your little lady will have her very own title that she will not have to share with anyone! And why would she want to? With so much personality, that’s all for the best.
Related to Mary or Mara but with a more open and modern feel, this name has a similar origin and the same meaning, ‘bitter’ or ‘grace.’ She has roots in Greece, but Amara is also a Sanskrit name meaning ‘immortal’ and a Mongolian name meaning ‘peaceful.’ In the African language Kiswahili, the meaning is ‘urgent business.’ She doesn’t mess around and is not intimidated by differences of opinion or perspective. Easy to spell, but don’t let her easygoing nature fool you! Amara dwells in the power of a meeting of cultures and eras. This is a mighty girl who can fit in at the local market or city hall. This name has been steadily rising for the last decade, ranked at number 135 in 2018. Probably the most popular name on our list, edged upward by her close relationship with the perennial favorite Mary, but unusual enough to get attention.
Latin for 'little beloved one,' there could not be a more appropriate name for your little lady! She is as popular as she is exceptional, Amorita is dainty and feminine, warm and generous. Ranked number 18,731 in 2017, this name is extremely unusual in North America. She is right next door to Amory and similar to the once-trendy Rita, but with a style and Latin flare all her own. The French have their own variation, Amorette. Regardless which suffix you use, she has an authenticity and panache which she wields with great expertise. Amorita makes friends easily and is difficult to forget. She can be impulsive as her passion pulls her along, but her affectionate nature anchors her to her loved ones and her ambition keeps her motivated when the going gets rough. She is creative and prolific, sharing her gifts with the world without hesitation.
Mainly found in Wales, this name comes from their ancient legends. Arianwen was the daughter of the mighty chieftan, Brychan, in the fifth century and the name means ‘white’ or ‘holy silver.’ Ranked at number 16,279 in 2011, she is one of the more uncommon ones on the list. Her lilting sound brings to mind the misty hills and magic of the Welsh countryside. Sometimes spelled Arianwyn, she is a princess of the forest with a spellbinding quality that never leaves those she touches. There is a fantastical element to this name, perhaps a bit too fanciful for some, but for the right girl it would be an amazing moniker. She will bring her otherworldly magnetism to bear on the modern world and transform her life and those around her. Possible nick-names include Ari and Wynnie, but it’s almost a shame to shorten such an elegant, yet colorful name.
This Slavic name is a bit of a departure from the usual emphasis on all things pretty and delicate, although not unlike the above-mentioned Bella she is much hardier and more down to earth. Belka means ‘squirrel’ and goes with a girl who has no trouble jumping from one activity to another. She is light on her toes, but has a laser-like focus on her goal, which she approaches with inescapable deliberateness. Similar in sound to the more common Blake, this one may not the most poetic perhaps, but she has a spunk to it that might be perfect for your little ball of energy. She is flexible and resourceful and with an eye on the future she stockpiles what she needs for a rainy day. You’ll never catch this girl unprepared! Ranked at 16,434 in 2016, Belka is another good example of an unusual name without being difficult to spell.
This one is Greek, the female form of Cosimo which means ‘universal order’ and ‘harmony.’ Well-loved in Europe, Cosima was the wife of composer Richard Wagner. She has an element of elegance about her, but knows how to dream big. Her universe is large, but organized. She has a place for everything and everything in its place. With a mixture of aristocratic feel and artsy singularity, Cosima could be just about anything she wants. The world is at her fingertips. She is smart and observant, feminine but interestingly individualistic. Ranked at number 5,384, she may someday meet another with her name, but not very often, especially in North America. She on the rise, however, having jumped higher than ever in the last five years. This name can be pronounced either “KOSSima” or “kossEEMa” depending on whether you favor the English or Italian version and which feels more comfortable on your little soon-to-be universalist.
The ancient Roman language of Latin has given so much to world culture and this one is other beautiful example. Damaris means ‘gentle,’ or alternatively, ‘sweet heifer.’ This second meaning may not be the prettiest, but the name sure is and she is a sweet, gentle lady. She values education and likes to think things through. Famously used in the Bible, she was an educated woman who heard Paul speak in Athens and was moved. Damaris is a classy and refined lady, not ashamed to admit her faults and to rethink her conclusions. She is spiritual and philanthropic, but with a serious rebellious streak! She is boldly practical and prefers function over form. Ranked number 1,684 in 2018, Damaris has risen over 1,700 places in a year, so this name has some serious heat. Time to get in on the trend before it peaks!
Italian for ‘sweet,’ this name would be perfect for the little cherub in your life. She has fallen a bit in popularity this year, coming in at 2,214, but is delectable as ever. Her sweetness hides a serious grounding in classical Latin. She has a captivating, picturesque charm that comes seemingly from nowhere and befuddles those she meets with her sophistication. Warm and welcoming, yet knowledgeable and unyielding, she is truly a girl at home in any situation! In the Middle Ages she was Dulcibella, ‘pretty sweet one.’ A name that truly never goes out of style, but keeps fresh for modern times. This name is flexible, pronounceable with either a hard or soft C. Popular in Spanish and Portuguese as a reference to dulce nombre de Maria, the sweet name of the Virgin Mary. Dulcie is an English variation but, no matter how you say it, this name will soothe your sweet tooth!
This one comes from the cooler forests of Northern Europe. She is German and means ‘wealthy’ or ‘happy.’ Not a bad goal for your little one! Maybe she will grow up to be the owner of her own company, or maybe just never want for much. They say you can either be happy or wealthy, but little Eda wants to have both and she may just get it! Straightforward and uncluttered, she goes straight for the goal and almost never misses. She doesn’t stop to ask permission from anyone and it serves her well. In Czech, Eda means ‘wealthy guardian.’ She is accustomed to being in charge and having the bottom line to back it up. No one is going to get the better of her! Lots of riches and authority flow from this name. And ranking at number 4,099, Eda will truly be a standout girl!
Another Latin name, this one means ‘blonde, yellow haired.’ The feminine form of Flavius, they both come from the root word Flavus, which means ‘gold.’ Even if your bundle isn’t fair-haired, this name has a strong Classical favor to it that she will use to her advantage. Flavia is a serious woman who does not permit anyone to take advantage of her. She is the Prima Donna, the top lady and lets everyone know it with her hard work and wide knowledge base. Pronounced with a broad Latin A, 'FLAHvia' has a flair for the dramatic, but has a serious head on her shoulders. She uses her ability to hold others’ attention to motivate and inspire. This name is common in Spanish-speaking countries and though still a popular name in Italy, it is rare everywhere else. Number 6,625 in the U.S. in 2017, she won’t have to worry about creating a primo persona!
Pronouced 'jyAWNah,' this is another name with strong Latin roots. More modern than some, this one comes to us from the Church rather than the ancients. One of many feminine forms of John, it means ‘God is gracious’ and implies a surplus of blessings. Traditionally, names with this meaning are given to children born to parents later in their lives because they are seen as a special blessing. This goes back to John the Baptist’s mother, who was 'graciously' given John when she was considered to be out of her childbearing years. Ranked higher than most of our list at number 735, there are several different spellings that push it up the ranks, like Jiana and Gianna. The double N spelling is traditional Italian, Americans having dropped the second N with our customary uncluttered approach. Whatever spelling you settle on, your bundle of joy is a blessing who will bring blessings with her.
Coming in at number 8,950, Isidra is a genuine rarity. The name means ‘gift of Isis,’ the Egyptian goddess who was queen to Osiris and mother of Horus. Isis was the patron of mothers everywhere and said to be a powerful magician, famously bringing her husband back from the dead. The goddess symbolized the ideal Egyptian woman, content to stand back when things were going well, bu, when the going got rough, watch out! Girls with this namesake will take the iron fist in the velvet glove approach to her subjects. And subjects we are, there is always something elusive and aloof about her, as if she has things on her mind that we would not understand. She is a step away from the English Isadora, with a bit of an exotic twist. Isidra is a popular name among the Spanish. She is responsible and honest; however, she is a little mysterious and definitely one of a kind!
For this name we travel to the tropical islands of Hawaii. Made by putting two words together, ‘kai’ meaning ‘sea’ and ‘lani’ meaning ‘sky.’ This girl is both heavenly and deep. She is expert at bringing together things that seem opposite or unrelated, creatively synthesizing a completely new perspective on whatever moves her. This makes her a natural peacemaker and mediator. Kailani excels at self-expression and enjoys being the center of attention. She will be the star of your life and eat up every second of it! Similar to the popular Kaylee but with a more authentic feel, this name is traditional but has a fresh feel. There are many variations, such as Kalani and Kaylani. Almost unheard of before 2013 but now ranked at number 487, she isn’t as uncommon as some others on this list, but she is definitely a rare jewel on the mainland.
Coming from an Irish surname like McKenzie does, this name feels on-trend without looking like a copy cat. This may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic MacCaollaidhe and O'Caollaidhe, coming the root word ‘caol’ meaning ‘slender.’ Another theory about the origins is 'cadhla' meaning 'beautiful, graceful.' She is playful and lithe with a musical lilt, just like the language she comes from. She has a rare and striking beauty that defies definition. This name was unheard of as a first name in the U.S. until the 1950s, when it was probably inspired by the jazz singer Keely Smith (born Dorothy Keely). This is also a good substitute for the overused Kaylee or the familiar Kiley, having peaked in 1997 at number 455 and never quite attaining trend status. Keely is charmingly off-kilter and disarmingly familiar. Perfect for your little lass, whether she has red hair or not!
For this fierce name, we again have to thank the Greeks. Somewhere between the commonplace Lea and Andrea, this name means ‘lioness.’ She leads the hunt while her man stays at home, but she has a strong desire for tranquility and quiet. Leandra wants to understand the world around her, using that information to improve her ability to communicate and achieve her goals. She knows what she wants and she goes right for it, effortlessly blending sleekness and strength. Efficient and creative, she can be aggressive sometimes but only when the situation calls for it. You don’t mess with Leandra! She doesn’t always respect authority, because she considers herself the authority. She does not have patience for anything that doesn’t promote knowledge or peace. Protective of her family with everything inside her, but at the same time warm, nurturing and generous to those she cares for.
Once a nick-name for Elizabeth, she has come into her own these days. This stand-out handle belongs to a girl who is a natural leader with a passion for justice. With an intellect that cuts like a knife, she gets right to the heart of issues and deals with them expertly. Lizeth is thoughtful, pondering many options before she acts. She cultivates multifaceted understandings of many things. Not just educated and quick, she has the endurance to really make a difference in whatever she puts her mind to. Despite the on-trend sound, she comes from the ancient Hebrew Elisheba, meaning ‘God is my oath.’ This girl has a strong spiritual side. In the bible she was John the Baptist’s sister. Coming in at number 8,990, she is down over 1,000 from 2017, so this name is a real find that will be a memorable moniker for your little lady.
In ancient Gaelic legend, Medb was a warrior queen with her own epic chronicle, The Cattle-Raid of Cooley. The updated spelling only adds to the allure of this name, which means ‘intoxicating.’ She is cool like a sweet wine, with strong roots in the misty Irish past. This girl is very hard- working and will put in the time to accomplish her goals even when others have quit and gone home. She loves her home, but has an independent streak that pushes her further. Maeve is stubborn and practical but also has an eerie ability to know what you want before you do. She is very aware of her own motivations too and is very particular about how things are done. Deceptively high-ranked at number 476, she is actually down over 50 spots from 2017. This name is not too big for a little lady, but dignified enough for a grown woman.
Margolette wins the prize for most obscure on this list. There is no record of it ever even ranking in national statistics, despite originating in one of the most beloved and classic children’s book series of all time. Created by L. Frank Baum for a character in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, this name was actually quite difficult to find any information on. The character is the wife of a magician and gets turned to stone early in the book, motivating the heroes to set out to find the infamous wizard. A fun innovation on the stylish Margo, she has all the cache’ of a classic literary reference while at the same time being totally unique. This girl uses her unique name and the attention it attracts to build social status for herself. She likes the finer things and knows how to get them, never losing sight of the responsibility that comes with that.
Another Hebrew name, this one means ‘I will praise the Lord.’ Ranked number 892 in the 1890s, she dropped off the map in the beginning of the 20th century. A classic variation on the more familiar Delia, she has an air of stately grace about her, invoking a bit of antebellum propriety. Odelia has a strong creative urge that she works hard to channel into her education. She is a quick learner and likes being the most knowledgeable person on any subject. She is methodical and dignified, never letting herself be drawn into arguments unless she is sure she can win! She considers herself above drama but when she does get involved, she cuts down her opponent before they even know what hit them with her quick wit and thorough arguments. This girl is driven and smart, but may get bored quickly when something doesn’t challenge her. She’s a lady on the move with lots to do!
A Polish nick-name for Alexandra, Olesia can stand on her own as an attention-getting title for your little miss. Meaning ‘defender of mankind,’ she is a mighty force for good in the world. This girl has strong intuition, but rarely confronts people with information she feels they don’t want to hear. She enjoys the unknown and can be quite the explorer. Watch out for her wandering off from the playground to explore the woods! Olesia is uncommonly reflective and needs her quiet time once in a while to analyze and understand her experiences. When she has collected herself she is a force to be reckoned with and wields her influence with a steady hand. She values justice and draws strength from a higher plane. Ranked at 13,325 in 2017, she will never have to worry about competing for leadership, or needing to use her last name in school.
For this name we find ourselves back in the sun-drenched rocky hills of Greece. Meaning ‘rock’ or ‘stone,’ it is a feminine version of Peter but has a definite feminine flair. This name belongs to a girl with a flair for words, she can write an evocative story or deliver a rousing speech. Her versatility means she can get along with most people, but tends to keep her deepest feelings closely guarded. Petrina is intellectual and enjoys adventure, but can be a bit shy. In her heart she is a romantic, who longs for a partner in life, work and play. She does her best to be impartial and not let her feelings get the better of her. Integrity is a big deal for her! She fights for what is right no matter what. Coming in at 8,990, she is steadfast and reliable,and absolutely all her own girl.
Somewhat well-known across the Pond in England, this Latin-based name means ‘little plum’ and is barely heard in the U.S., ranking at number 18,241. She could fit in at any ski lodge or upscale party, but has an earthiness about her. This name belongs to the girl with the clarity of sight and of mind to resolve conflict. She makes the best of any situation she finds herself in! Prunella has a lot of energy and uses it to make a difference in the world. She is articulate and can draw people to her cause. This makes her a natural leader who easily brings others along on her journey toward improvement, but watch out for a tendency to want to control the actions of other people. With such an uncommon name, she knows how to be the center of attention, but nourishes those around her with her sweet nature.
A Hindu name meaning ‘queen,’ she has a regal air with an exotic spin. True to the meaning, she is a law unto herself, tempered with an understanding of her own limitations and those of others. This name belongs to a girl who is bold and compassionate. She is spiritual and intuitive, but also interested in science and its ability to explain the unknown. Giving freely of her deep personal resources, she is interested in the big questions of life. Combining these things will give her a visionary style that inspires others to be their best. Rania stands apart from the crowd and we love her for it! Pronounced “RAHnia,” these days it is mostly used in Arabic speaking countries but, ranking number 1,211, she is not unknown in the U.S. She has a regal manner and deep dignity. Giving your little bundle such a regal name will embolden her to use her talents to their utmost.
The name of Irish queens, your wee lass can wear this noble title like a crown. Pronounced 'ShaVON' this is the Gaelic form of Joan and means “God is gracious.” But she is exceptional among the many variations on that theme, this name pulls extra clout from Celtic culture. She has an even hand and knows how to get the truth from others. An original thinker, she knows how to leverage her ideas to make herself comfortable. Siobhan doesn’t need anyone else to provide for her! She does tend to get lost exploring, wandering from one adventure to the next as she avoids being tied down with rules. She may be quite a handful! But she has to follow her vision and search for higher truth. Help her learn to be satisfied with the present moment. Ranked at number 4,128, she is a leader and a diplomat of uncommon stature.
Coming from Classical Greek roots, this name has an old-world feel and means ‘divine.’ Ranked number 18,744 in 2017, she fell 8,387 from the year before. She peaked in the first decade of the 20th century and has been somewhat obscure ever since. A short form of Theodora, she is a charmingly old-fashioned girl with an academic slant. On bad days she may be controlling, using her above-average intelligence to shape the world to her liking. But in her heart she is sensitive and affectionate. This name belongs to a girl who enjoys analyzing the world around her and figuring out how to make improvements. She longs to find meaning in her life. Theola is good at keeping secrets and is a trusted confidante to her friends, who go to her for advice because of her exceptional outlook. This girl will talk your ear off! But most of it will be interesting, if you can keep up!
In Norse this name means ‘power,’ and in German ‘battle heroine.’ She is a mighty force, valiant and brave with a powerful ability to lead. Since a peak in popularity at the beginning of the last century, these days she is ranked at number 6,930. Majestic and courageous, she is an individual of integrity and valor. This girl is firm in her convictions and unshakeable in her friendships. Teach her that sometimes, it’s a good thing to let go. She is a hard worker, but sometimes her emotions may get the best of her. Creating harmony is a high priority for this girl, but her stubborn nature may get in her way sometimes. She dreams of one day being a mom herself, and with her natural attention to detail and steadfastness she is well-suited to the role. It’s more important to her than most that her work is meaningful to her.
Originally meaning ‘sentry’ or ‘something separate,’ this name comes from France and has come to mean ‘leading lady.’ Perfect for your new little leading lady, it will signal that she is a girl who takes center stage. She is set apart and luminous, with a glamour that comes from within. This girl is mercurial, straightforward and practical one minute, dreamy and starry-eyed the next. This name belongs to a girl who is strong in her opinions, even if they change all the time! Vedette is interested in culture and the arts, which may combine with her strong impulse for action to make her an accomplished artist or writer. A girl who is driven, she is on a mission to bring her vision to life! A natural diplomat who can get along with just about anyone, she will set the scene for love and fun in your family’s life.
A step away from the traditional Vera, this lovely Spanish name meaning ‘integrity’ or ‘truth’ is perfect for your hardworking little lady. In Catholic tradition, St Verena was a nurse in the third century who went with a Roman legion to Switzerland. Coming in at number 4,606 in 2017, it rose over 2,000 places since the year before. Verena is moving up! This name belongs to a girl who is a fast learner and quick on her feet. She can be sensitive and looks to her strong sense of right and wrong to guide her. This girl looks for opportunities to build security for herself and those she loves and she is protective of her home and family. Her strong understanding of moral structure makes her a peacemaker and she may be driven to help the rest of the world with her perspective. She is fiercely loyal and will go the extra mile for her friends.
The final entry on our list is another Greek one. The Greeks contributed a lot to Western society, beautiful names being a big area. This one means ‘west wind’ and has a feeling of freedom and adventure, with an ethereal quality. This name belongs to an optimistic girl! She is discrete and polite, making her a helpful child and a trustworthy friend. She always aspires to something higher, even if she doesn’t always know what that is! Zephyrine is often a mystery, even to herself. But this girl can create amazing and beautiful things and she will learn how to use that talent to get along in life. This girl is no quitter! She is courageous and generous, unafraid to put herself out there. This may give you some anxiety when she’s little, but she will inspire you as she grows. Ranking at number 8,990, this girl will waft her way through life with an energy all her own.
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