When soon-to-be parents browse through hundreds of thousands of baby girl names, it can be difficult to find a good balance between names they absolutely love and names that will stand the test of time. In other words, will a baby girl’s name still sound just as beautiful 10, 20, or even 50 years from now? Face it: there are some names for both boys and girls that sound ridiculously adorable as babies, but don’t quite reach the timeless category.
If parents want a timeless name, they may want to focus on vintage names from decades past that still sound beautiful today. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for baby girls, especially because names that used to be popular in our grandparents’ time tend to circle back around to the current generation. Many of the names on this list fall into the category of “vintage” baby girl names that continue to cycle through generations and sound just as beautiful as they once did many years ago.
Others are names that are trendier now than ever before, but ones that will still sound gorgeous when your baby girl is all grown up and ready to start a family of her own. Either way, there are plenty of incredible names for baby girls that can truly stand the test of time, and new parents are sure to find one they love on this list.
Amelia is a Latin name that blends some other names from the Medieval era: Emilie, Emilia, and Amalia. The name translates to “industrious” and is one of the most popular baby girl names in the United States, sitting at #7 for 2017. But, it also is a popular name in other countries, like Sweden, Australia, and Canada. You may recognize the name from the popular book series for girls, Amelia Bedelia, or the famous woman American aviator, Amelia Earhart.
Amelia sounds absolutely adorable as a baby, toddler, or kid name, but it also has a beautiful presence for an adult name. A good mix of beauty and sophistication, Amelia will definitely stand the test of time and will likely continue to come back as a popular name for generations to come.
Audrey almost sounds like a beautiful, sophisticated, leading lady, right? Well, that’s probably because we’re used to hearing the name for some of the most amazing ladies from the past. Audrey Hepburn is likely the first one who comes to mind, with her charm and grace that touched the big screen during her acting, singing, and dancing career. And then there’s Audrey Meadows from the popular TV show, The Honeymooners.
Audrey is one of those names that sounds just as pretty for a baby as it does for an adult, and it’s one that we can see remaining popular for decades to come. The Old English name means “noble strength” and, for 2017, holds the 42nd spot in popularity for girls’ names, making a bit of a decline from recent years, but continuing to hold its own.
Ava is one of the variants of the name Eve, which, of course, is the oldest woman’s name according to the bible, since the first woman God ever created was named Eve. Ava is a German version that translates to “life”. It offers such a simplistic, yet powerful, name for a little girl. The name rose in popularity after Reese Witherspoon named her daughter Ava, and many celebrities since have also chosen the name for their little princesses.
But, it also may be a name that your grandmother or great-grandmother has. Ava Gardner, former wife of Frank Sinatra and Mickey Rooney and one of America’s most famous actresses and pin-up models, is possibly one of the most well-known Avas. The flowing baby girl name pairs well with so many middle names, like Rose, Grace, or Faith, that you can likely find a good match that will stand the test of time.
Belle and Bella are similar names that are equally gorgeous choices for your little girl. The names stem from Isabelle and Isabella, which are variants of each other, as are their shorter counterparts. Bella is a Latin name meaning beautiful, loving, and graceful, whereas Belle is the French word for beautiful. Belle, of course, jumped in popularity after Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and is making a comeback with the recent remake. Bella’s popularity has also risen in recent years, thanks to actresses like Bella Thorne and the character from the hit book and movie series, Twilight.
Bella currently ranks #38 in popularity for a girl, whereas Belle is #591 – quite a big difference for names that are so similar! But, they’ve both risen up the charts in recent years, proving that old names can come back and thrive in new generations.
Interestingly, the feminine Charlotte name is a French name that translates to “free man” as a female version of Charles. The name first became popular during the 18th century when Queen Charlotte Sophia ruled England, and has since carried on some of its English heritage in the kingdom with little Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William and Princess Kate. Soon after Princess Charlotte’s birth, the name had a big jump in popularity, but it’s remained rather steady through past generations and recent years.
It's also the name some celebrities choose for their baby girls, like Freddie Prince, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Dylan McDermott, and Colin Hanks. This timeless name is perfect for baby girls and adult women, alike, and fits well with a lot of middle names. Not to mention that Charlotte has one of the cutest little girl nicknames possible: Charlie!
Claire, also commonly spelled with its English version, Clare, comes from the name Clara, an equally girly, flowy name that has won over the hearts of parents. Claire is a French name that means “bright and clear”. The name has several other closely related that you can also choose if you want something a little different. Chiara, Clarisse, and Clary are all other options that may also give your baby girl a timeless name.
Claire is the name of several actresses and characters you may have heard of. Claire Danes is likely one of the first you think of. But, who can forget the lovable Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show? Or Claire Bennet on Heroes? And, of course, Claire Dunphy on the current Modern Family. But, the name was also given to Saint Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of television.
Claire’s counterpart, Clara, deserves to be on this list of timeless baby girl names, too. This name is one that seems to flow right off the tongue. The Latin version of Claire, Clara also translates to “bright and clear”. This name comes across as very vintage, popular from decades past, but has actually been gaining in popularity faster than Claire, and currently has it beat by a long shot. In 2017, it holds the 88th spot in popularity for girls’ names, while Claire is in #3303. Back in the 19th century, Clara was often in the top ten list of girls' names.
Clarabelle can also be a name that you consider if you want something even more unique (or that combines two of the beautiful names on this list!). And, Clara makes the perfect nickname for it.
Emma is a highly popular name, so it may not be the best choice for you if you don’t want tons of Emmas going to school with your little one. In fact, it’s currently in the #1 position for girls (and has been since 2014!). But, it’s truly a baby girl’s name that has withstood the test of time through generations and will likely continue to do so through your child and grandchildren’s generations. The German name means “universal” and has been in use by royalty of the past, such as Queen Emma all the way back in the 11th century. The name is incredibly common in English history and is also the name of many English actresses and dancers.
Emily and Amelia are distant relatives of the name. And, sometimes Emma can even be a nickname for Emily, as is the case for actress Emma Stone, who was actually born Emily Stone.
Eva is the Hebrew and Latin form of Eve, meaning “life”. The name has made little jumps up and down the popularity list for the last decade, currently sitting at #54. It can be a nickname for other names, such as Evangelina or Evangeline, but it’s most commonly used as a beautiful name all its own, paired with a longer middle name, many of which are also timeless options for girls. Elizabeth, Grace, Sophia, and Charlotte are some of the many middle names that work perfectly with Eva.
Several well-known celebrities have the name Eva, including Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes, and Eva Gabor. But, it first shot up in popularity after the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published and starred Little Eva. Since 2009, it’s had a good comeback, remaining in the top 100 names for baby girls.
Faith is a name you often hear as a middle, rather than first, name. Faith is considered a virtue name, which means that it is also one of the virtues that the early Puritans based their culture on, similar to Grace and Hope. The name is Latin and translates to “confidence, trust, or belief”. If you’re looking for an inspirational name for your little warrior, this name is one of the best you can choose.
The name has stayed fairly consistent in its placing over the last decade or so, hovering around the 70s to 100s. Faith Hill is likely the celebrity you think of when you think of the name, but some celebrities are also opting for the name for their daughters. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are one celebrity couple who named their little beauty Faith.
Grace is another virtue name that’s been in the top 30 names for girls since 2015, and even before that, hasn’t gone too far below. The hit TV show, Will & Grace, perhaps led to its drastic rise in popularity through the 2000s, but its highest peak happened more than a century ago, near the late 19th century, when Americans used the name frequently during the Victorian era. The Latin name means “God’s grace”.
Famous Graces include Grace Kelly and Grace Avery Vanderwaal and it’s also the name of some of the daughters of famous actors and actresses, like Mark Wahlberg and Christy Turlington. And, the name has a few beautiful variations that may also turn out to be timeless, like Gracie, Gracia, or Gracious. Pair it with another virtue middle name for a strong, feminine, timeless name.
Gretchen is a name that people either love or hate, but one thing is for sure: it’s a baby girl name that has withstood generations and generations, and can lend beautifully to your baby girl. Gretchen is a German name that translates to “little pearl”, and other spellings include fun variations like Gretchin or Gretchyn, just to make it a bit different. It’s most recent peak in popularity was in 2009, and since then, it’s gone up and down, making a rather drastic drop since 2016 and now sitting in the 2742nd spot.
So, it’s not a trendy name, which is good for those who don’t want a super common name. But, there’s something about Gretchen that just works for babies and adults alike. There aren’t many famous people with the name, but several TV and movie characters have had it, like Gretchen from Mean Girls and Gretchen on Breaking Bad.
When you think of the name Gwyneth, you can likely picture it as an adorable newborn baby’s name and also a graceful, strong woman’s name. Think: Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwen Stefani, to name a few. The name has Welsh derivatives and means “blessed and happy”, and is actually an English version of the original Welsh name, Gwynedd. And, it comes with a variety of similar names to choose from, like Gwyn/Gwen, Gwendolyn, and Wynnie.
Currently, the name is in the 1478th spot for popular baby names, reaching its most recent high point on the list in 2013. Toward the late 90s – around the time Gwyneth Paltrow became a household name! – the name has moved further up the list, but it is a name that’s been used for centuries. We expect it to stick around for a while and remain just as gorgeous for your little baby girl for decades to come.
Hattie is a German name that evokes a strong, passionate, free spirit. The name even means “ruler”, making it the perfect choice for parents who want a powerful, yet timeless, name for their little girl. Hattie is a variation of Harriet, which is another name that can withstand the test of time and dates back to centuries of the past. Hattie was extremely popular in the mid to late 19th century, remained steadily low in popularity throughout the 20th century, and is now making a comeback once again, after Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott used the name for their daughter.
And, the name has some seriously awesome roots. Hattie McDaniel was the amazing African American actress in Gone With the Wind who was also the first African American to ever receive an Academy Award. Hattie Caraway is also the first woman senator in the U.S. This name’s meaning seems to accurately represent those with the name!
Is Lily the perfect name for your little flower? This name is both pretty and sophisticated, and is one of those names that just never gets old. The name has no other meaning other than related to the flower, which is one of the most gorgeous flowers that exists! But, a lily does have symbolism in Christianity, typically representing the peace and purity of Jesus Christ. Throughout the past decade, Lily has remained in the top 30 for popularity, but it started its steady rise to the top in the early 90s.
Lily is the choice for many celeb parents, most notably Johnny Depp and Kate Beckinsale. It also has quite a few possible spellings if you want something a bit more unique, like Lilee, Lillie, or Lilly, and several variations and similar names, like Lilianne, Liliana, Elianna, or Lila.
Contrary to popular belief, Lucy isn’t actually a derivative of Lucille, although it usually tends to be Lucille’s nickname. Lucy is actually an English version of Lucia, an Italian name meaning “light”. Lucy is one of those names that just works for both young and old – and, quite possible, makes one of the most adorable baby names on the planet.
Lucy’s steadily been in the top 30 for baby girl names in England for quite a while. It may not have as much popularity in the U.S., but it’s close. It’s currently in 47th place and has steadily moved up the ladder since 1998. Of course, no one can forget Lucille Ball, an iconic actress who was best known for her comedy in I Love Lucy, but actress Lucy Liu is another famous Lucy of our time.
Nina has, historically, been a shortened form of girl names that end in “nina”, but people are starting to recognize it as a name all its own. In Hebrew, Nina means “grace”, but it can take on many other meanings if you decide to use it as a nickname for a longer name. Nina is currently number 207 in 2017 for baby girls, a number it’s stayed pretty close to since 1982.
Interestingly, Nina is one of the most cultured names you can pick for your little one. It’s one of the most popular names in Russia and Spain, has several ties to English history, and is also the name of the Incan goddess of fire. Each culture, of course, has its own way to spell the name, including Ninon in France and Niina in Finland.
Nora is an English, shortened version of Honora, an Irish name which translates to “light”, but is also the female version of Norman in Scotland. Norah is another popular spelling for the name, and either one will most definitely stand the test of time. The name has made a rapid incline in popularity since 2000 in the United States, currently in the 29th spot for 2017.
Norah Jones, a singer and songwriter who was hugely popular near the time of the jump, may have been somewhat responsible for Nora’s rapid climb through the 2000s. But, you likely see the name pop up in a lot of your favorite TV shows too, like How I Met Your Mother and Parenthood. This name is truly fit for an incredible beauty of any age.
If you have a kiddo in elementary school, he or she probably has a classmate named Olivia – or two or three. Sure, it’s a widely popular name nowadays – in fact, it’s currently #2 in popularity for little girls and has been in the top 4 since 2008! – but it sure is a beauty. You may even have a distant relative named Olivia, a grandma named Olivia, or even a mom named Olivia. It seems to be one of those names that just sticks, generation after generation, and is as gorgeous now as it was then.
With so many famous Olivias, it’s no wonder the name gets so much attention! The Latin name literally means “olive tree”, which may not be too exciting, but the parents of Olivia Newton-John, Olivia Wilde, and Olivia Munn sure didn’t care. And, it happens to be the name choice for daughters of celebrity parents like Eddie Vedder, Lori Loughlin, and Denzel Washington.
Last but not least on our timeless baby girl names list is Vivian. This name has several spellings and variations (and can even be a boy’s name!), but this version is the Latin form of “life”. The fun thing about Vivian is it’s a name very common for aging women and you may even first think of an elderly woman upon hearing it. But, it works just as well for an adorable, bubbly, baby. Full of sophistication and poise, Vivian is one for the ages.
The name was wildly popular near the 1920s. Then, Rosie O’Donnell named her daughter Vivienne in 2002, giving it quite a jump on the charts. And, of course, Angelina and Brad’s little Vivienne was born in 2008, leading to a rapid increase in popularity. Since then, Vivian and its many versions has remained steadily near the 100s, currently sitting in the 135th spot for baby girls.
Source: BabyCenter.com, Nameberry.com