Naming your baby is one of the most exciting parts of becoming a parent. If you’re expecting a girl, there are a lot of names out there that have a lot of significance, and there are so many options that you may be a bit overwhelmed.
Some people don’t place much significance on a name, but most people think that a name means a lot. In fact, all names came from somewhere. There’s a meaning behind them, you just have to find it.
Learning the history and the meaning behind a name is really fascinating, and it could help you figure out what you want to name your baby. It can give your little girl a sense of individuality and help her feel special.
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Why Names are Important
Think about how you feel or what you think every time you hear someone’s name. You probably make a few assumptions about their character or who they are based on how their name sounds, don’t you?
For example, if I said my name was Dorothy, how would you picture me? Would I be a 16-year-old blonde high schooler? Probably not. Or if I said my name was Brittney, you probably wouldn’t picture a gray-haired lady with a walker.
However, it also has a lot to do with the generation in which you grew up. All names come back around. When I named my children, I didn’t think of their names as old-fashioned at all, but I got several comments about how people “just love old-fashioned names.”
Names give your child an identity, a sense of social responsibility, and a sense of belonging. When they get to an age where they can learn their own name, you’ll want them to be proud of who they are, so it’s important that their name has meaning.
Most children ask why you picked the name you did or where it came from. You should be prepared to answer that question with a number of responses.
It could be a family name, an important historic name, an old-fashioned name you love, a name from Greek mythology that has a special meaning to you, or a modern name you made up because you wanted them to be unique.
It doesn’t matter what the name is. What matters is that it’s important to you and that you picked it because it symbolizes what your child means to you and how important that relationship is.
Here are some reasons why you might pick a certain name:
It’s a family name
A lot of people name their children after someone in the family. Whether you give your middle name to your daughter as a first name, you name them after a grandmother or an aunt, or you pick a name that goes back for several generations, you’ll be able to tell them that it’s a special name to your family.
They can carry that name with them as a part of where they came from and tell everyone why it’s so meaningful. It’s especially cool if they’re named for a family member who’s famous or who holds a place in history.
It’s a historic name or a famous name
Some people name their children after famous or infamous people. Maybe you want to name your baby Ruth after Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That’s pretty significant. Or maybe you’re thinking outside the box and you want to name your little girl Dutchess because you love John Wayne.
There are no rules. The story behind the name is what makes it so interesting. Names from classic literature, names from the Bible, and names from the arts also tell a fascinating story about who you are and what a name means to you and your family.
It’s an old-fashioned name
Maybe you just love old fashioned names like Betty or Dot. There’s nothing wrong with bringing those names back. In fact, there’s something sweet and angelic about a little girl with an old-fashioned name.
These names are simple, classic, timeless, and elegant. You don’t have to think too hard or try to be too unique to come up with the perfect name for the perfect baby.
It’s a modern name or a name you made up
I have a friend who named her daughter Brighter because she’s the daughter of Brian. It’s a combination of the name Brian and the word daughter. How cute is that? It’s not a made-up word, but I’ve never met anyone with that name before.
It’s cute, it’s classy, and it’s really special to them. There’s nothing wrong with making something up. I think we can all admit that some people take it too far, but as long as it means something to you, the sky’s the limit.
It’s a mythological name
The Greeks and the Romans both place significance on their gods and they each have their own names with unique meanings. My daughter’s name is Penelope, who in Greek mythology, is married to the son of Odysseus. I think it’s just about the cutest girl name ever.
Find a Greek or Roman goddess of something meaningful to you, and use it, or a variation of it, as a name for your daughter.
Great Baby Girl Names
There are so many baby girl names out there that I can’t possibly list them all here, but here are some that convey the strength of mind, body, and character. Consider using one of these or something similar to give your little girl pride in who she is.
These names mean queen, princess, or some variation of it.
This name comes to us as a variation of Regina, and both names mean queen. You can hear the word reign in it. It’s strong, stable, and can be recognized worldwide as a noble name for a girl.
You can choose to pronounce it differently if you like, with options ranging from ry-na to rah-ee-na. The Indian word means rain.
The original form of the name, Regina, was used by Queen Victoria, and it was a top baby name in the 1960s. Parents in the middle ages used it too, to bring honor to St. Regina, who was a martyr in the third century. It’s also the real name of actress Jenna Fisher.
This Hindi name for Queen is another form of the Indian name, Raja. Many Indian parents use the name to mean “apple of my eye.” You can also use Ranee as an alternative spelling for Rani.
Another meaning of the name Rani is “she is singing” which appeals to a lot of parents today. There’s a Bollywood actress who bears the name today – Rani Mukherjee.
Milcah means queen in Hebrew. In the Bible, she was the niece and wife of Nahor. You may choose the more modern spelling and pronunciation of Malka if you like it better. Whichever you choose, the origins are regal.
Another Hebrew name from the Bible meaning queen is Esther. This name comes from the book of Esther, and if you’re not familiar with Esther’s story, it’s a brave and noble one.
Upon birth, Esther is given the name Hadassah (another fantastic name for a little girl), but must hide her identity as a Jew. She changes her name to Esther, becomes queen, and saves her people from eradication.
You can choose the name Esther or Hadassah, as both refer to the same person. However, what you might not know is that the name Hadassah means “righteous” and comes from the Hebrew word from the myrtle tree, so you could also use the name Myrtle.
I had to throw this one in here because it’s my name. But I’m not biased.
Sarah is a Hebrew name meaning princess. In the Bible, Sarah was the wife of Abraham. She was barren, but God answered her prayers for a child and gave her Isaac, which means laughter.
There are several variations of the name Sarah including Sara and Sarai. All are beautiful, and if you really want to get creative, you could vary the spelling even more.
These names mean strength, power, or something similar.
You may recognize this name from the indie film, but it’s been around for a long time. Juno was the sister and wife of Jupiter. She was the mother of Mars and Vulcan in Roman mythology. She was known as the goddess and protector of women and marriage.
It’s a great name to give your little girl if you want her to grow up as a strong, brave, and fierce protector of other women.
Audrey is pretty popular these days, and you could blame that on its connection to the fabulous Audrey Hepburn. It means “noble strength” so who wouldn’t want to give that name to their daughter?
There was also a sixth-century saint by the same name.
This German name means “strong and brave as a bear.” Whoa. You wouldn’t expect such an abrasive meaning to come from such a blatantly feminine name. It’s also the perfect combination of old-fashioned without feeling dated.
It’s used a lot more widely now than it ever has been before, likely due to the popular character on the sitcom Big Bang Theory.
Gabriella is an Italian name. It’s the feminine version of the name Gabriel, which means God is my strength. It’s strong and graceful, and it’s given to thousands of baby girls every year. In Spanish, it’s spelled with only one L.
It also lends itself well to some adorable nicknames like Gabbi, Gabby, Ellie, or Ella.
The feminine Emerson means brave and powerful. It came to England from France after the Norman invasion. You can spell it in a number of ways, which makes it original, and it’s easy to make nicknames out of, too.
Emersin, Emersan, Emyrson, Emmy, Emma, and Emery are just a few of your options.
This beautiful name actually means beauty and strength. It’s a Muslim name that’s popular among Muslim parents and given to thousands of babies each year. You should bring it to the states, because it’s oh-so-cute.
You could even switch it up a bit with Malia or Malya.
Believe it or not, Carla is a Portuguese name. It means “one who possesses strength” but it sounds romantic. It’s a timeless name that doesn’t need shortening to be beautiful. There’s a depth and sophistication to it that your little girl will grow into overtime.
This old-fashioned English name means “gentle strength.” It was popular in England thanks to the eighth-century saint, but in the United States, Mildred was one of the most commonly used names from 1903-1926.
These days, parents use the nickname Millie far more often as a given name. It still has a hint of that old-fashioned vibe while giving it some modern flair. It’s offbeat and highly favored in many countries including the states, Scotland, England, and Wales.
These names come from famous people.
If you’re looking for strong names in literature, you don’t have to look much farther than Maya Angelou. She was a poet and a civil rights activist, admired by nearly everyone. She also wrote a series of autobiographies featuring her own life experiences.
This fantastic name means “water.” You may also associate this name with the smart, strong, funny, and beautiful actress Maya Rudolph.
There’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg and there’s Ruth from the Bible. It’s also a great old-fashioned Hebrew name that means “compassionate friend.” I think we would all want our little girl to grow up to be a compassionate friend, and naming her Ruth sounds like it would be a great start.
Elizabeth is a timeless name given to an endless number of queens. You may also think of Elizabeth Taylor. It’s a Hebrew name meaning “my God is abundance.” You can shorten this name in nearly any way you like.
Bess, Betsy, Liza, Liz, Beth, Betty, or Lissa are just a few of the most adorable options.
I think we all know about Harriet Tubman, who was a former slave who led other fellow slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. She fought for women’s suffrage, and she is an outstanding example of strength and bravery during hard times.
You can vary the spelling if you prefer Harriett, Hariet, or Hariett better, and I’m sure you’re creative enough to come up with some cute nicknames for such a fantastic moniker.
Surnames as names
These are some of the cutest surnames that people have been using as given names.
This is an English surname that means “son of Adam” but a lot of people use it for baby girls. The beginning letter makes it feminine while the masculine roots make it strong. Plus, Adam is the father of all man, and Biblical names are always powerful.
What started out as a surname actually became a very popular baby girl name. However, the word bailey means “steward or public official.” Sounds like the name of someone who takes charge to me.
This surname meaning “priest” makes an adorable given name for a little girl. The sound of the name itself takes charge and commands attention.
Ellson means “son of elder” but you could also derive this name from several famous writers including Ralph Ellison, who wrote The Invisible Man.
Emerson means “brave and powerful” and you can shorten it to something girly like Emmy or Emma. There are also famous people with this last name, like Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Answer: If you truly want your girl to stand out among the rest, you could try naming her after a state or a city. Montana, Cheyenne, Charlotte, Raleigh, Indy, Arizona, Phoenix, and Dallas are all really cool names for a baby girl.
Names that you come up with on your own are bound to be rare and unique, because no one else will have thought of them before. Even family names can be rare if you have one that’s original and hasn’t been used in a few generations.
Answer: Try using literary characters like Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice or even the last name of a beloved author, like Bronte.
You can even take a cue from a Disney princess and use Ariel, Belle, or Aurora. If you don’t want to make it too obvious, you can shorten it to Rory.
Answer: You can always look at what was popular in the previous few years to get some ideas. There’s no reason why you can’t name your baby something that’s already been used. They’re popular for a reason. These names are solid, classic names that people love.
No matter what you name your baby girl, you’re going to love her more than you can imagine. She’ll grow into her name and it will shape her personality and who she is better than you would have ever dreamed possible.
While it requires a lot of thought, whatever you eventually settle on will be perfect for you and your little family.