Perhaps she’s the sweetie-pie in class at preschool. Maybe a mom called the name out to a little love running around at the park the other day. But whoever it was, it was simply adorable to hear a cute little girl called by — let’s face it — a total grandma name.
Retro, old-school, and unique as can be (for this day and age, in any case), names that sound like the monikers of little old ladies are actually super popular right now. Am I right?
In recent years, stars and regular people, alike, have found a way to be unique by turning to names that, well, aren’t traditionally names. Then there’s also the whole thing where parents pick titles traditionally used as last names and give them as first names for their babies.
And then there’s the trend of taking it back — way back — and reviving some classics that were common for the generations that came before us, a few before us, actually.
Yes, folks, they’re golden for a reason. They’re class acts. They’re cute as a button, and as pretty as a petunia.
They’re names moms and pops are learning to love all over again: Ruth and 25 other grandma names we’re bringing back.
A grandma name? To be sure. A popular one to give to a baby today? Actually, yeah, pretty much.
The girl name Ruth is fairly high up in the rankings right now, at number 265, according to the baby names site NameBerry.com.
It’s Hebrew, and it means “compassionate friend.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love, love, love the name Rose. And yes, when my hubs and I were last talking about baby names a few years back now, it did come up more than once, but was dismissed as — you guessed it — just a bit too much of a “grandma name.”
But you know what? That was then, and this is now, and the name Rose is not only lovely and classic — it’s also pretty trendy.
Is it in the top 100? Nah. NameBerry.com has it at number 141, though, which isn’t too shabby.
The stuff of great-aunts, grandmothers, and classic literature, alike, Alice is a sweet name that sounds old-fashioned but, to me, in a lovely and still youthful way, probably largely because of Alice in Wonderland.
The name Alice is German, it’s way up at number 70 in popularity right now, and it means “noble.”
Will you go down the rabbit hole and choose this stylish name for your own little girl?
Given the opportunity, I think I really might!
Well, flower names are lovely names, indeed. And they also can tend to be quite grandma-ish names. Let that, alone, inspire you as you stroll through the garden or peruse your favorite botanical guide at the local library, perhaps…
But in the meantime, let’s talk about Iris. It’s a quite exciting flower that blooms in a variety of colors and patterns. It grows tall with thick, strong stalks, and it all starts with bulbs planted in the ground.
It’s in position number 149 right now as far as popularity, notes NameBerry.com.
And the Greek name means “rainbow”! Love.
At its core, it is a nickname for the longer classic name Elizabeth, which you may have guessed, or gathered as much from the name and nickname of a grandma or great-aunt in your own life.
Beth means “pledged to God.”
That’s what they think… We’re bringin’ Beth back, buddies…
I’m pretty proud of myself for this one, and it’s also one that actually didn’t come to me right off the bat when I sat down to brainstorm about super awesome grandma names.
And yet, it’s both as pretty and as old-lady as they come.
It’s Sue, and it is a shorter form of the name Susan, which is also a nice name to consider, even if it doesn’t have that sweet one-syllable charm.
NameBerry.com has it rising in popularity by an entire 39 percent this week.
The name Candace actually goes back to the New Testament, or further, notes BehindTheName.com.
It was from the “hereditary title” of the queens of Ethiopia, the same site says. It is also said to come from the Cushitic kdke, which means “queen mother.”
Puritans were loving it after the Protestant Reformation, and it really got popularized by a movie character (from Meet the Stewarts) in the early 1940s.
Candice is simply another variation in spelling, as are Candis and Candyce, or even Kandace.
The Greek name Daisy means “pearl,” which sort of makes me love it even more if I’m totally honest. (And see a bit lower down in this list for that awesomely iridescent stunner of a grandma name, by the way…)
Daisy was actually originally a shorter name for another sort of old-lady name: Margaret.
It was recently listed at number 170 on the popularity charts, according to NameBerry.com, so not in the top 100 or anything, but certainly pretty high up there.
There is a Provencal French name, Alienor, that has no known meaning, according to NameBerry.com.
And that name gave rise to this English variation: Eleanor.
It’s as grandma as they come, people, and it is way up there at number 35 in popularity! So in case you were still feeling a bit wishy-washy about whether this whole grandma naming trend was really a thing, there you have it.
Ellie and Nellie might make cute nicknames for what the same site as above describes as a rather “serious” name.
The name Fran has been used for both males and females, and that might just make it kind of cool in this particular day and age, too.
And then there’s also the fact that it sounds like it came straight out of an earlier century.
Fran means “from France” or “free man.”
NameBerry.com also notes that Frances is the common longer form, with Franny or Fanny, or the name Frankie, being used more often than Fran these days (for now…).
I mean, any female name that means “strength of a spear” has to sound at least a little awesome — am I right?
I just cannot think of anyone but that bold expat writer friend of Hemingway back in Paris. But the German name might just tick all the boxes for someone looking for the right antique name for a modern little girl.
For some positive associations, NameBerry.com throws out the fact that Gertie was the adorable little Drew Barrymore’s character in E.T.
For a little European flair, let’s now turn to the cute little name Hilde, which certainly is unique, don’t you think?
The female name Hilde is the Scandinavian form of the name Hilda (you’re welcome for yet another awesome idea with this one, by the way), which sounds even MORE grandma-ish.
Hilda, to explain further, is a German name that means — wait for it — “battle woman.”
NameBerry.com even specifically mentions that Hilda is often added to lists such as “Old People Names.” That’s how you know it’s good…
Okay, I refuse to bring up that little blonde on the Swiss mountaintop. Or that other blonde who was livin’ in The Hills in Southern California shortly after the turn of the millennium, as was broadcasted on MTV.
Let’s just talk about the name Heidi itself -- all of those associations aside.
Heidi is a German name, and it means “of noble birth.”
After the movie (I said I wouldn’t talk about) came out in 1937, the name started appearing on the charts, notes NameBerry.com. Although, currently, it’s down at number 364… for now…
It’s as cool as Old Hollywood glam and as European as can be. It’s Ingrid, and there’s a lot to love about the pretty first name for a girl.
It’s recently been way down at number 932 on the popularity charts, notes NameBerry.com.
Will you be part of its revival?
Ingrid is a Norse name, and it means “fair, beautiful.”
It is not plain Jane, it’s just-too-cute Jane. It’s as classic as can be. It’s one sweet syllable wrapped in tradition and boasting a history that goes all the way back to Tudor times.
The girl name Jane is at number 282 on the popularity charts at the time of writing, notes NameBerry.com.
The English name means “God is gracious,” and the similar Jean and Joan might just not quite cut it as compared to this cutie.
Not only is it way old-school; it also means something pretty fun: “light.”
Lucy has English and Latin origins, notes NameBerry.com, and this Grandma name is not only quite popular — it’s actually pretty high up there in the top 100 girl names, at number 52.
It was first super popular over in England and Wales, and then it started to spread in the United States, as well, says the same site as above.
And honestly, along with the rest of America, I Love Lucy.
Put the “Y” and “I” in this name wherever you want — it’s still gonna be a name that once sounded like the stuff of the elderly and now sounds current all over again.
It’s on the rise, this week going up a full 29 percent in popularity, notes NameBerry.com.
The English name is, of course, a combination of two names: Mary and Lynn.
Star Marilyn Monroe was actually given the name Norma Jean, reminds the same site as above, and perhaps strangely, the famous blonde’s stage name choice didn’t spread as much as you might think — yet.
Get this: Martha means “lady,” and so might just be the perfect old-fashioned choice for your own lovely little lady.
Let’s explore more...
It is an Aramaic name, notes NameBerry.com, which is a Semitic language (information one can find after a quick Googling if one doesn’t already happen to know that as they should.)
It’s way down at number 750 in popularity right now, and the biblical name is apparently commonly added to lists such as “How Old?” on the same site as above.
As promised earlier, here we are at Pearl, a treasure of a name, to be sure.
It is a Latin gem name, so yeah, it’s pretty awesome.
You better believe people associate it with old ladies, as is noted on NameBerry.com, and quite frankly, seems kind of obvious.
The name Pearl came back into the top 1,000 names in 2010, says the same site as above, and looks like it’s getting ready to make one shining, glamorous comeback.
She may have sold seashells by the seashore in that old tongue twister, but this cute classic is just too adorable to leave behind in the past.
And get ready to love it even more because it is said to mean none other than “princess.”
That’s what’s listed on NameBerry.com, which explains that Sally is the diminutive of the name Sarah, actually.
It’s considered a classic, and it was last a huge hit during the 1920s through the 1960s.
It had to be done because it’s pretty much as “grandma” a name as they come. I didn’t feel that I could write this little list of old lady names without including the clearly antique Trudy.
And, I did a little more research on this name that easily came to mind when I was trying to think of old-school ones, and there you have it: It’s on the rise this week by a full 37 percent, says NameBerry.com.
The name is German, and it means “spear of strength.”
Ah, such a pretty name… Vivienne… It seems beautifully full of life, vivacious, if you will.
Vivian would work just fine, too, but that wouldn’t be nearly as French, so I mean…
Vivienne does indeed mean “life,” says NameBerry.com, and although it’s down at number 252 in popularity (so still fairly high up in the top 1,000), it’s recently been recorded as being on the rise, this week by about 4 percent, actually.
And I suppose it sort of has to be said that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used the name for one of their daughters.
I actually didn’t think of this association right away for some reason, but NameBerry.com notes that Wendy is, of course, the name of the older sister in Peter Pan.
That was a 1904 play before it was the Disney movie I grew up watching wide-eyed after borrowing it from the local library on VHS for the weekend.
The all-time low for the English name was apparently back in 2015 when it was down at number 936, says the same site as above, and now it’s perked up and is number 854 (and soon to be higher??).
The female name Barbara means “foreign woman.”
It’s Latin. It’s classic, for sure. And there’s a nickname for it that you just may have heard of (or owned dozens of dolls called by it): Barbie.
Saint Barbara is said to have been locked in a tower, and many other famous Barbaras have surely followed, along with plenty of everyday moms and grandmas in our own lives.
Remember that character with pursed lips and black hair and huge eyes, Betty Boop??
And yeah, there’s that gal who’s arguably the coolest (fictional) grandma in television (in history?), Betty White.
Betty may be the stuff of Golden Girls (and far beyond, and staying spunky as can be), but it also might make a really cute choice for the children of today. (And no, I couldn’t quite bring myself to include the name, Blanche. I just don’t think we’re quite ready for that.)
It’s another nickname for that old classic Elizabeth, confirms NameBerry.com.
I was sitting here wondering how it was possible that I actually knew a grandma-type named Ronnie growing up, and then I looked around and confirmed that it was probably a nickname, most likely for the very vivacious name Veronica.
That might make a pretty epic choice for a name, in that it means “she who brings victory,” according to NameBerry.com (and also “true image”).
It is said to be a Latin alteration of the name Berenice, and also related to the phrase vera icon (to explain a bit about the second meaning included above).