For parents expecting a lovely little girl soon, or maybe they’re hoping they’ll turn from Team Green to Team Pink at the big reveal, the thought of having a baby girl can be pretty exciting. In the middle of buying bows, washing tiny clothes, and prepping a swoon-worthy nursery, parents should be thinking of a name to adorn their daughter with that is just as beautiful as she is!
Whether parents want something classically pretty, not too trendy, but not totally obscure either, there’s a ton of names that will make everyone the baby is introduced to say, “How beautiful!”
Perhaps a name with femininity, but without any flakiness. Then these names that have been voted to be the most beautiful are exactly the choices parents need!
When looking for a name that says “beauty,” some draw inspiration from the arts, such as ballet, music, and poetry. Literary characters, authors, and dancers are all lovely sources for names both classic and unique. Others see the beauty in nature’s adornments of flowers, rainbows, and water—and they are not just hippie names either!
Not all beautiful names need to be soft and subdued, however. Strength is beautiful after all, so it should be no surprise that resilient women throughout history have motivated many of the list-topping baby names we see today. Astronauts, politicians, and scientists all make the list, and would make perfect role models for more than just their pretty monikers.
Whatever the inspiration, she is sure to appreciate her name as she grows when it is as inspired and charming as these all-time favorite beauties as voted on various top baby name websites from around the world. Get ready to pick your new baby girl’s name!
The French feminine version of Charles, Charlotte is a classic favorite. Often seen as an elegant, stately name, it appears in names for royalty, literary characters, and pop culture.
The royal couple Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton named their daughter, Princess of Cambridge, Charlotte. Additionally, England’s Queen Charlotte Sophia ruled with her husband in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
The name brings to mind wonderful, whimsical characters such as the spider in E.B. White’s famous children’s book Charlotte’s Web. Also, the author Charlotte Bronte shares the name.
Coming back with the trend of newly-loved classics, celebrities such as Colin Hanks, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Chelsea Clinton have dubbed their daughters with the name Charlotte. The name has also appeared on characters on television shows such as Sex and the City, Lost, Gossip Girl, and Revenge.
Although it has only reached number 141 in America, the name Isla breaks the top five in England, Scotland, Ireland, the top ten in New Zealand, and the top twenty in Australia.
Taking its inspiration from a beautiful Scottish river, Isla sounds soft and feminine with its gentle vowels and breathy pronunciation. With just enough exoticism to sound distinctive, Isla is a blend of new and old-fashioned. Joining in with the trend of new classics, this name will stand out among all the other names that can sound overused or plain next to it.
Though it is relatively new to the United States, its popularity is quickly rising—which could be a downside to any parents looking for a rare and unique name for their little girl. You might see a few more backpacks and lunch boxes with “Isla” written across them in the next few years as it continues to soar on the popularity charts.
If you want a beautiful name that also has popularity along with it, Olivia is a perfect choice and has been shooting to the top of baby name lists in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Scotland.
Inspired by the stately and proud olive tree, Olivia comes from the Latin word olive literally meaning “olive.” As a result of its historical usage and bucolic inspiration, the name comes across as both feminine and strong. Ancient Greek culture held olives as beloved symbols of peace and fertility—how much more feminine can you get?
If you have great literary aspirations for your daughter, giving her a name first popularized by the great Shakespeare would be an excellent start. Scholars generally agree that his play Twelfth Night written in 1602 is the first use of the modern spelling.
For a beautiful name with lots of options and cross-cultural appeal, you can’t do much better than Isabella. Whether you choose to shorten it with the lovely “Belle” or “Bella”, or the cheeky and modern Izzy, it seems everyone throughout history agrees that Isabella is a classic worth remembering.
Proudly representing usage in Italian, German, English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, and Romanian, this name is a world-traveller’s dream. This spelling is a more feminine form of Isabel, often seen on medieval royalty in English, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. One of its most reputable usages is Queen Isabella of Castile.
This name seems to be popular in countries around the world including making the top twenty in Mexico, Chile, Denmark, Iceland, and New Zealand just to name a few.
Also a favorite for screenwriters choosing names for their characters, you can see it used in the movie Twilight and television’s Scrubs and The Young and the Restless. Author Jane Austen seemed to like the name too, as she used it in both Emma and Northanger Abbey.
What could be a more beautiful nickname for a little girl than Penny? Perhaps its classic appeal and adorable nickname is why so many celebrities use the name, such as Tina Fey, Taylor Hanson, and Kourtney Kardashian. Recently it has experienced a burst in popularity, thanks to these celebrities’ offspring and, of course, the gorgeous actress Penelope Cruz.
Many literature majors would recognize the name from Greek mythology. Odysseus’s wife was named Penelope in Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey. In the story she proves herself to be quite a match for Odysseus with her strength, quick thinking, and fierce loyalty—pretty great traits that any parent would want their daughter to live up to.
In the 1940s the name had a relative spike in popularity, climbing up the US charts to spot 267, but then it plummeted to number 945 by the year 2001. Now it is experiencing a new resurgence with other classic names and has grown to number 34 in 2015.
A simple, timeless name with broad appeal, Cora is a name that has been relatively popular in America for centuries. Ranking at number 15 in the year 1880, it took a dip for a few decades, but began its quick climb again in the early 2000s.
Currently it ranks at number 88 on US charts, but there is every reason to believe we will only see more and more little girls named Cora on playgrounds around the country.
Cora was the name of a smart and stoic character in James Fenimore Cooper’s great American novel The Last of the Mohicans. As the classic book was published in 1826, perhaps it had an influence on the name’s popularity in the late nineteenth century. Adding to its literary appeal, one of Zeus’s daughters, Persephone, was often called Cora in Greek mythology.
Evoking images of glamour, probably thanks to beautiful actress Ava Gardner, the name Ava is another two-syllable name that has old-fashioned roots but still sounds modern and fresh. It wavered back and forth on the charts—between 400 and 600—until it dropped straight down to spot 988 in 1975.
But Ava wasn’t finished yet! In the mid-nineties this elegant and classic name blew up the popularity charts when a whole slew of celebrities decided it would fit their little girls just perfectly. Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman, Martina McBride, Heather Locklear, and Eli Manning have all dubbed their daughters Ava.
Now it is experiencing an international boom and is ranked at number 4 in the US, 5 in England, 5 in Scotland, 5 in Ireland, 4 in Australia, and a not-too-shabby 19 in New Zealand.
Pronounced ad-a-LEEN in French and AD-a-line in English, this name adds to the popular Addie names. This is a strong name with many alternative spellings, including Adalyn and Adalynn, so there is still some room for variation.
Meaning “nobility” it is no wonder why so many parents have seen this as one of the most beautiful names for a little girl for decades. Holding strong in the top 200s during the late nineteenth century, it suddenly tanked in the 1920s—all the way down to spot 999. It wasn’t until 1999 that Adeline took off up charts.
Now ranking a respectable 135 in the US, this range means that it is still well liked but you won’t be running into many other babies with the same name.
Of course after Ross and Rachel named their baby Emma on the uber-popular television show “Friends,” this name rocketed to the number 1 spot in America. Never an unpopular name, however, it did see a remarkable dip from the late 1940s to the early 1980s.
Meaning “whole” or “universal” with Germanic origin, the name has a solid history and some truly wonderful fellow women who share the name. Jane Austen’s central character, Emma Woodhouse, in the book of the title Emma is probably one of the first that comes to mind in classic literature.
More contemporary examples include Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, and Emma Roberts—all beautiful, successful actresses.
Again playing off of the two-syllable trend that is oh-so popular right now, Emma feels feminine, historical, and sophisticated without even a hint of pretension. A lovely alternative to Emily or Amelia, it is safe to say that Emma is here to stay.
When it comes to beautiful inspiration, Aurora is hard to beat. Meaning “dawn” and often associated with the mesmerizing and awe-inspiring Northern Lights, this is a name that drips with whimsy. Even Disney saw the princess potential and named their Sleeping Beauty Aurora.
Also the name of the Roman goddess of the sunrise who poetically cried tears that turned into the morning dew, Aurora is feminine, fanciful, and graceful. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote Aurora Leigh, an epic poem about a strong-willed young woman determined to prove women have the intelligence and creativity to be great writers.
Another well-known literary character is Aurora Sinistra from the Harry Potter series.
Drawing a line full of ups and downs on the popularity chart over the last 130 years, Aurora never cracked the top 300 until the early 2000s. From there it has seen a fairly steady incline as such romantic and fantastic names have become more popular. Currently it ranks at number 79 in the US.
Is there a more beautiful and romantic source for a name than ballet? Odette’s most famous reference is from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, where she is a princess trapped in the body of a swan by an evil sorcerer. The animated movie The Swan Princess is based on the ballet, so your little Odette can dance along with her namesake.
Because of the story’s popularity, Odette is seen as a name graced with poise, refinement, and sophistication.
Meaning “wealthy” the name certainly sounds fit for royalty, and its French heritage lends a distinctly attractive air. Balancing out its prim past is the legacy of Odette Hallowes, the French WWII heroine.
Parents who want a unique name for their daughter can certainly count on Odette to be a standout. The name does not even rank in the top 1000 names in America, which means this beautiful name will be all yours to enjoy. Though the public hasn’t embraced this name quite yet, some celebrities have adopted it for their daughters, such as Mark Ruffalo and James Mercer.
Chloe is a fresh-sounding name with a solid history. With a fun, young sound it simply shines with youthfulness. Meaning “green shoot” in Greek, it’s no wonder that it brings about thoughts of airiness and youth.
As far as popularity goes, the name has been on a roller coaster ride since the late 1800s. Gradually, it made its way down to its lowest point in the 1940s, but has shot right back up since the 1980s. Now it sits pretty at number 17 in the US and 18 in England. Australia absolutely loves the name, with Chloe taking the number 9 slot.
Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest and agriculture, was also called Chloe. She reigned over the fertility of the earth, giving the name Chloe a very important and majestic background. Also, a little-known fact about American novelist Toni Morrison is that her birth name was actually Chloe Ardelia Wofford. She is famous for her novels The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Love and A Mercy, so any little Chloe will have some big literary shoes to fill!
How could a name that means “fairy maiden” not be one of the most beautiful names you have ever heard? Ella is an old name that is basking in a recent resurgence. It was a favorite for decades, easily taking spots in the top 50, until it took a sharp fall in the 1950s. In the early 2000s, however, parents dusted it off and made it a new favorite (along with its other two-syllable classic cousins).
In England it was the 6th most popular name last year, and in America it was the 18th.
The slew of celebrities who have used the name for their own daughters could have added to its recent renaissance. Actors John Travolta, Ben Stiller, Mark Wahlberg and Warren Beatty have all used it, as well as singer Eric Clapton.
A pure and classic favorite with timeless beauty and appeal, Elizabeth holds a history that is hard to beat. The name is sprinkled heavily throughout American and British history. With a list of royalty as her namesakes, what little girl wouldn’t feel like a princess?
There was also Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the English poet, Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross, who sewed the first American flag, and Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the US for some extra inspiration for greatness. If you want a little more glamour with the name, there is Elizabeth Taylor, the smoky-eyed actress.
The name has never fallen out of favor in the US, sticking staunchly in the top 26 names since the late 1800s. Currently it ranks as the 13th most popular name in America. Though quite popular, with adorable and numerable nicknames like Lizzie, Beth, Eliza, and even the throwback Betty, you will always be able to make your Elizabeth feel like one of a kind.
Nora is a quiet classic that is set apart from some of the more overused options. Still a follower of the recent trend requiring a two-syllable name ending in a vowel, it sounds a little more posh and distinctive.
While Nora used to be exclusively a name for those honoring their Irish heritage, now it is a much more popular option for anyone wanting an old-fashioned name with a modern sound. After taking a relative dip in popularity, it has come back into fashion with the help of some pop culture references and famous namesakes.
Nora Roberts, the American novelist shares the name, as well as Nora Ephron, he film director. Nora is also used for characters on the super popular television shows How I Met Your Mother, American Horror Story, and Parenthood.
Along with other similar names, Nora was once quite popular in the late 19th century, fell a few hundred spots, and has been climbing the charts since the old-fashioned name explosion of the early 2000s.
A super popular name amongst those who hang out in Hollywood, Stella is a beautiful name with star appeal—fitting since it means “star” in its Latin roots. Actors Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott named their daughter Stella, and so have Molly Shannon, Dave Matthews, Jennifer Grey, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, and Melanie Griffith amongst many others.
It has a unique and literary history, as Sir Philip Sidney created it in the 16th century to use in his collection of sonnets entitled Astrophel and Stella. Tennessee Williams also used it in his 1947 play A Streetcar Named Desire and Marlon Brando made it famous as the name he belts out in the classic movie moment of the film adaptation.
Literally translating to “pretty” in French, the name Jolie has an exotic air about it that many parents just love—isn’t it begging for your best attempt at a French accent?
If you are looking for a beautiful name that is rare enough to fall outside the top 500, this very well could be it. The most popular it has ever been in the US was number 564 in 2008. Now it is a rarely used name in America, sitting at number 751, and it almost never used as a name in France. Parents in the Netherlands have been cozying up to it recently, as it is perched just outside the top 100 at number 113.
Possibly the most famous Jolie is actress Angelina Jolie, who decided her middle name was too lovely to be ignored and took it as her stage last name.
Maya is a favorite for television writers, as characters of the name appear on shows such as General Hospital, Just Shoot Me, Pretty Little Liars, and Girl Meets World. It is somewhat as popular in real life, as it is currently the 69th most popular name in America. This makes it a comfortably used name that is common enough not to incite questions, but just rare enough to avoid running into many others.
Many parents are drawn to the name’s earthy, exotic feeling as it is inspired by the Mayan culture in southern Mexico as well as Buddha’s mother in the Buddhist religion. It also takes on a mystical meaning with its Sanskrit interpretation of “illusion”.
A relatively new name to the top 1000 charts in America, Maya has been climbing higher since the late 1980s as internationally inspired names have become more widespread. Some of the most famous women who share the name are Maya Angelou, the poet, Maya Rudolph, the actress, and Maya Ying Lin, the architect.
A beautiful alternative to the classics Emily and Amelia, Emilia is a feminine name with international appeal. Although it is at 145 here in America, it ranks inside the top 60 in England, Ireland, and Sweden. Germany really loves it, as it is the 5th most popular name there.
Meaning “rival”, Emilia is a strong, powerful name that even the Bard couldn’t pass up taking advantage of. William Shakespeare used it in his play Othello as a youthful and virtuous, yet worldly, character. More recently the movie The Princess Diaries uses Emilia as the central protagonist.
Sure to be an interesting and unique choice of a name, Emilia is just familiar enough to avoid too much confusion and just exotic enough to stand out in a crowd. However, it looks poised to scoot its way up the popularity charts as parents continue to look for names with old-fashioned roots and modern appeal.
We have just recently welcomed the name Grace back to the top 20 most popular girl names, and it is no wonder why. Conjuring images of sweetness and purity, Grace is a sweetheart of a name with history. Along with other names calling up characteristics, such as Faith, Charity, and Hope, Puritans accepted it with open arms in the 17th century.
Then it shot up in popularity, sticking strongly in the top 25 for decades in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Currently it ranks at number 19 after a comeback beginning in the early 1990s.
Of course the most famous Grace is Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco and American actress, who stunned the world with her beauty and, yes, grace. Other famous namesakes include Grace Bannon, American novelist, and Grace Min, the tennis player.
If you are a Boston Red Sox fan, you could get your baby name inspiration from the soft-rock Neil Diamond hit that has become the theme at Fenway Park. The song “Sweet Caroline” is a sweet ditty that was inspired by eleven-year-old Caroline Kennedy.
Not a baseball fan? Caroline is also a beloved name by authors and has been used by both Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice and, more recently, by John Green in Fault in Our Stars—which was adapted to a well-loved movie, most likely boosting the name’s popularity.
As a beautiful, feminine version of Charles, the youthful Caroline is a nice mix of classic and modern. Perhaps that is why it has been a pretty consistently popular name for a couple centuries now, and now sits at number 62 in the US. You can also come up with some cute nicknames, including Carrie, Lina, and Care.
An ultra-feminine and dreamy name, Evangeline sounds regal and majestic. Meaning “good news” in Greek, this is a name any little girl would love. While it experienced lots of ups and downs in its lack of popularity over the years, it has recently become more appreciated and lands at number 261 in the US and 287 in England.
So this might be a great choice for the parent who loves a good classic, but wants her little one to stand out.
Thought to be the first widely-known use of the name in English, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow named his 1847 epic poem “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie”. The name also appears in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, and the movie Nanny McPhee.
Though there are not many famous Evangelines, there are some notable ones, such as actress Evangeline Lilly and American author Evangeline Walton.
A perfect fit for parents who have wanted a daughter for a long time, Evelyn means “wished for child”. A lovely name that has lived at the top of the charts over time, Evelyn is making a grand comeback as a poised and proper moniker for little ones. Echoing its popularity in the early 1900s (topping out at number 12), it currently takes the number 15 spot in the US.
Truly a classic, Evelyn sounds wonderful on little girls and more mature women. A flexible name, it is feminine while also being strong—a winning combination. Though it is not a common name among famous women, there are some great examples such as Evelyn M. Witkin, the American geneticist, and Evelyn Ashford, the American Olympic sprinter.
When it comes to beautiful names, this one has class, style, and familiarity. Surprisingly it was more common as a boy’s name in the 17th century, but now you can count on everyone recognizing your little Evelyn as a girl.
A charming and romantic name, Juliet is probably most popular from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. However, the name is a beautiful alternative to the more common Julia or Julie. Meaning “youthful”, could there be a more enchanting name for a little girl?
The name’s popularity has been all over the place in America, bouncing up and down the charts, but it has always remained rarely used. Currently it is enjoying its most popular spot ever landing at number 240. The French spelling Juliette is slightly more popular, coming in a 226. Why such a clearly beautiful name is left in the dust is unclear, but this gem is just waiting to make a strong comeback.
Valentina is an exotic and artsy sounding name just dripping with panache. A more unbridled cousin to Valerie, the name is surely something to live up to. A newcomer to the American top 1000 names, just making its first appearance in the mid 1990s, it has slowly but steadily risen up hundreds of spots.
Now it sits at 114, a pretty respectable place for a name so new to American appreciation. Parents in Spain, however, love the name as it is currently the 17th most popular name used for baby girls.
If you are looking for an impressive role model, Valentina has an inspiring namesake. Russian-born Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space in 1963. Additionally, Valentina Cortese is an accomplished actress who has received an Oscar nomination, and Valentina Ferrer was crowned Miss Argentina in 2014.
Actress Salma Hayek and model Adriana Lima also named their daughters Valentina.
Sources: Nameberry.com, BehindTheName.com, Biography.com
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