For some people, choosing a name for their child can be a complicated process, fraught with stress, on a par with trying to tiptoe through a minefield of family thoughts and feelings while blindfolded.
When you have long histories of family names on both sides of the parenting equation there are bound to be some people who are upset you didn’t choose this name or that one, and you might even end up with several middle names you don’t really care for but which you have picked to prevent an all-out war.
Well, the time has come to liberate yourself and to say no to feeling beholden to a particular moniker for your offspring. Instead, throw off the shackles of family tradition and choose a name for a more straightforward reason. Why not decide to give your little one a particular set of initials or, as in this case, choose a name based on the number of letters.
When the relatives ask you why you chose a particular name tell them “because it had five letters and we liked it” and enjoy the look of confusion on their faces. There are hundreds of fabulous names with five letters that would be wonderful for a daughter and here are just a few of our favorites.
As in many things, when you surf the internet and look for the meaning of the name Chase, you get a handful of slightly differing explanations. On some sites it is classed as coming from the French word chasser, meaning to hunt. Other sites claim the meaning is from the Old English surname Chase which allegedly means “dweller at the hunting ground.” Another explanation is that chase was merely a nickname used for good hunters.
Whichever piece of information is or isn’t true this name has been popular for many years as a boys name and has begun to appear as a girl's name, which I think is fabulous.
The only slight downside for me is that one baby name site had this tagged in a list of “Names Associated With The Power Rangers” and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that is why I chose the name!
Agnes is a Latinized form of the Greek name ‘Αγνη (Hagne). This name had in turn derived from Greek ‘αγνος (hagnos) meaning "chaste." Saint Agnes was a 13-year-old Roman virgin who was martyred for her Christian beliefs during the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The name became associated with the Latin word agnus "lamb," resulting in the saint's frequent depiction with a lamb by her side. Due to her renown, the name Agnes became common in Christian Europe, being especially popular in England from the Middle Ages right up until the beginning of the twentieth century.
Sometimes considered somewhat old-fashioned and a bit of an old lady's name in some parts of Europe and the United States, Agnes is currently a trendy name for little girls in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
You could be forgiven for assuming this is a female version or is closely related to the name of a certain actor, Mr. Elba, but you would be wrong. The boy's name Idris is found in both Welsh, where it means Lord or Prince, and in Arabic where it is the name of an ancient prophet in the Qur'an.
Edris, however, is an old English girl's name which is the feminine variant of Edric and means “wealthy ruler” or “rich and powerful lord.” Prevalent in the middle ages, Edris is one of those names that you just never hear these days. I had never even known of its existence until I began researching this article, let alone ever heard of or met someone with this lovely name.
Irene comes from the Greek word Ειρηνη (Eirene) which is derived from a word meaning "peace." It was the name given to the Greek goddess who was the personification of peace, one of the ‘Ωραι (Horai). It was also the name of several early Christian saints.
The name was common in Europe and the Middle East, notably being borne by an 8th-century empress, who was the first woman to lead the Byzantine Empire. This particular Irene initially served as regent for her son, but later had him killed so that she could rule alone.
This name was traditionally more popular among Eastern Christians but is currently a well-loved name in Spain, Italy, Galicia, and Catalonia. The regular modern pronunciation is ie-REEN, but the more common, older pronunciation is ie-REE-ne.
Betsy began as a favorite nickname for girls who had the name Elizabeth but stands well as a name by itself. If you are intending to use the shortened version of a name from the outset, it is worth considering if you want to bother with the full name at all and just use the nickname. That is exactly what I would do with Betsy. That also avoids the less pretty diminutives like Liz being used instead of your preferred shortening.
The name Elizabeth comes from Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), which is the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע ('Elisheva') meaning "my God is an oath" or possibly "my God is abundance."
The Hebrew form appears in the Old Testament where Elisheba is the wife of Aaron, while the Greek form appears in the New Testament where Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist.
Cecil is the traditionally male version of the name Cecilia, a Latin feminine form of the Roman family name Caecilius, which was derived from Latin caecus "blind." Saint Cecilia was a 2nd- or 3rd-century martyr who was sentenced to die because she refused to worship the Roman gods. Initial attempts to suffocate her failed, and she was eventually beheaded. Sometime later Saint Cecilia was considered the patron saint of music and musicians.
Due to the popularity of the saint, the name became common in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. The Normans brought it to England, where it was commonly spelled Cecily until the 18th century when Cecilia became the more popular form.
This cool name is pronounced by some people as SEE-səl, but personally, I prefer the English way of saying it which is SES-əl.
Leola has its roots in two places. First of all, it is a version of the old French name Leala which means loyal or faithful. Secondly, it is the female version of Leo. Leo is a Latin, shortened version of the Greek λεων, Leon, meaning "lion" and during the Christian era, Leon was merged with the Leo resulting in the two names being used interchangeably across most of the European languages.
Popular among early Christians and the name of 13 popes Leo is also used as a name for a child born under the fifth sign of the zodiac, Leo making Leola a fabulous choice for girls born under this constellation.
It is highly unlikely you will ever meet another Leola, and your daughter would also have the option of shortening her name and going by the rather fabulous Leo when she is older.
Pronounced KIH-tee this name was the original nickname for girls with the name Katherine or Catherine, long before Kate, Katie and other shortened versions evolved. After being a favorite nickname for so long, Kitty became a name in its own right sometime before the 16th Century.
There is much debate over where and how the name Katherine evolved, but I am going to go with the theory that it comes from the Greek and means pure. This story of the roots of the name is an excellent counterbalance to the fact that in the 17th Century, Kitty was used as a slang term for a woman of, erm how should we say this, loose morals.
Kitty is also one of those rare names that work as a super cute little girls name and still works for a grown woman.
Another nickname that has become a name that stands alone. In fact, Eddie has been on the top 1000 name list since the 1800’s and was very popular for boys in the 1950’s. Eddie started out as a shortened version of Edward, Edmund, or any other name that started with the sound Ed. Both Edward and Edmund were used interchangeably and are old English names that derive from the words that mean “protect or guard” and “guard or protect.”
It is also the nickname for the female version of Edward, Edwardina which later became Edwina. The name Edwina, for me, has an old, witchlike sound to it and I cannot imagine a baby with this name. Eddie, however, has a softer, younger, feel to it and will also sound great on a “grown-up.”
Pronounced PA-o-la in Italy and, pa-O-la in Spain, Paola is a widespread but not common, girl's name in Croatia, Mexico, Spain, and Italy. Overused in Italy in the 1950s and 1960s, it was the 2nd most popular name in Rome in 1951, 1956 and 1961.
Although this is a charming name be prepared for a lifetime of correcting people's mispronunciation. You will get a large number of people saying either Paula or pronouncing it PAY o La to rhyme with Crayola.
This name is just uncommon enough in the United States to pretty much guarantee you will never meet another but not so out there that you will be forever harangued for lumbering your daughter with a ridiculous name. You can always, honestly say that in some parts of the world it is an entirely common name.
Elois is said by some to be a variation of the old German name Eloise, which means healthy or wide and is pronounced el-o-WEE and not el-o-Wees. Others claim it is derived from the old French Éloise which is a variant of Louise meaning famous warrior. I for one would go with the second definition because what girl wants to think her name labels her as wide?
Saint Eloise was the wife of a French theologian Peter Abelard. The young woman secretly married Abelard, and they had a son despite her uncles' intense disapproval. Abelard sent Eloise to hide in a convent to avoid her uncle, and in the meantime, her uncle sent men to castrate Abelard. Abelard became a monk and made Eloise become a nun which seems a bit unfair as she was still in full working order but that's 12th century France for you!
Popular in France, Portugal, Italy, and England, Alice comes from the Old French name Aalis, a short form of Adelais, which is in itself a short form of the Germanic name Adalheidis meaning “noble-type.” This name became popular in France and England in the 12th century and despite a slight dip in popularity between the 1960’s and 1990’s, Alice has been a consistently chosen name since records began in the United States.
Alice is a marvelous choice if you are looking for a classic girl's name that is dainty and delicate but also has a hint of strength. After all, this is the name of the protagonist in Alice In Wonderland and the given name of Alice Cooper the glorious singer-songwriter who is the epitome of dark, yet intelligent rock.
With the meaning “sweet” or “candy” in Spanish, Dulce is pronounced DOOL-seh in European Spanish, or DOOL-se in Latin American Spanish.
The name is of Latin origin and became popular during the Roman period before falling out of favor for many centuries. Once Dulce was “rediscovered” it slowly gained traction and became a popular Spanish and Portuguese Catholic name mostly as a result of the phrase "dulce nombre de Maria" the sweet name of the Virgin Mary.
Although this is a sweet name (yes I know that is a terrible pun, but I had to go there) it always makes me think of the milk based caramel Dulce de leche, and in fact, I really need a pot of dulce de leche ice cream right now having just written about it.
Olive trees, olive branches, and olive wreaths have long been associated with peace, and in many ancient texts, they are seen as symbols of fruitfulness, beauty, and dignity. The much trendier version, Olivia, was coined by Shakespeare and used in his play Twelfth Night which he wrote in 1599.
Whenever I think of a girl named Olive, I think of the character in “Little Miss Sunshine” who is one of the coolest, most rockin little girls in recent(ish) movie history.
We feel it is about time to bring back the original name, Olive and take back the trendy crown from the now overused Olivia and we are not the only ones. Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen, possibly one of the coolest couples around, chose it for their daughter and if it’s good enough for them, it is good enough for us.
Traditionally seen as a name given to a boy, Louie is a form of Louis which means “renowned warrior.” The advantage of Louie over Louis is that it only has one pronunciation LOO-ee whereas Louis can be said as LWEE if you are French, LOO-is or LOO-ee by the English), and loo-EE by the Dutch. I cannot imagine spending my entire life correcting other people when they speak to you after having read your name.
The disadvantage of using Louie for a girl is that I can see people thinking that the name is Louise but someone accidentally missed out the s. So, not only will you have to correct this misconception but then you will be explaining why you have a “boy's” name. If you can imagine your daughter being strong enough for this, then I say go for it.
Culturally speaking this name is a variation of the Irish Gaelic name Cara which means friend and an Italian term of endearment meaning dear. Pronounced KAR-ah, KEER-ah, KAHR-ə, or KER-ə depending on who is saying it and where in the world you are Carra is not, as you might imagine a nickname but a standalone name of its own.
Carra works as both a pretty name for a little girl and as a strong name for a grown woman. It is also challenging to mash Carra up into any nicknames which is a huge advantage in my book.
If you are looking for that unique name that is not too unusual, you could do worse than choosing Carra for your daughter. You will Just decide from the outset which of the many pronunciations you are going to use
Do you remember when you were a kid and you wanted to find out the meaning of your name for the first time? All of your friends would have cool meanings like “super terrific fighter who is the greatest” or “the most totally best person in the world who was ever born” then you would look up your name and discover it means “table” or “door” or something equally uninspiring and uninteresting.
At first, this was a disappointment, but then when you started to see other kids teased for their name meanings yours was so bland, you escaped any ribbing. If you want this for your daughter, then consider naming her Adria, a shorter version of Adrianna, the female form of Adrian, which comes from the Latin Hadrianus which means “from Hadria.” Luckily they dropped the anus at the end.
As you might expect, this name is from the English word faith, which is derived from the Latin fidere which means "to trust." This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century, and its simplicity has caused it to remain a popular name, especially within religious communities who wish to convey a virtue upon their child.
Luckily not all of the Puritans virtue names made it to the modern day. We may still use some virtue names like Joy, Grace, and Hope but thankfully their choices of “Help-on-High,” “Jesus-Christ-came-into-the-world- to-save,” and “If-Christ-had-not-died-for- thee-thou-hadst-been-damned” didn’t really take off in the popularity stakes.
Rather unwittingly this Puritan use of virtue names has had a bit of a resurgence with more modern names like “heavenly,” “chastity,” and “serenity.”
An ancient name with a combination of Greek, Hebrew and Persian origins, Eppie means "good to speak; my delight is in her; myrtle, bride, star." If you are looking for a name that is pretty, girly, and not going to be used by at least ten other parents of girls in the same year at school, then Eppie is an excellent choice.
The mix of cultural origins gives the name an appeal to many different backgrounds, if that is important to you, and you can guarantee it is different enough to any name any member of your family might have there will be no suspicions that you are secretly honoring somebody on one side of the family while ignoring the other side.
The only downside I can see is that when I was shortlisting names for this article I was saying them aloud and when I said “Eppie” my youngest daughter said, “Like the pen?”
I have always been totally and utterly in love with the name James. Luckily enough for me, it was also a well-used name in my husband's family and so it was a given that when I fell pregnant, we would call the baby James. Girl or boy, it didn't matter. We discovered, at the eighteen-week scan that our baby wouldn’t be making it to birth and called her James the first. Her younger brother was then named James and would have been if he had been a girl or boy.
Apparently, we were trendsetters because James for a girl is now becoming popular. This means she is likely to end up being “girl James” to distinguish her from another Jim in her class but I think that is a small price to pay for having such a kick-ass name.
Sources: behindthename.com, babynames.net, nameberry.com, meaning-of-names.com, babynamewizard.com, namepedia.org, thenamesdictionary.com.
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