Sometimes being pregnant with a girl is a bit like being the queen of Rumpelstiltskin. You find yourself yelling to the nearest helper, "Quick, get as many names as you can find! I need all the names!" I mean, you have to meet a multitude of requirements: it has to roll off the tongue, not be the same as everyone else's, be easy to spell, be easy to pronounce, and mean something passably complimentary.
Well, there are a few names that fit so well in the pretty-sounding and practical category that they tend to top the name charts for years, nudging out other worthwhile names. This, of course, leads to girls going to school with the last initial attached to their name: "I'm Olivia Y. That's Olivia B."
This leads to all those little girls to go looking for new names when they either can legally change their names or have kids. But what if you can get ahead of the curve? You can give your child a name that has not yet had its time in the top ten charts but will, given time. Then your girl will sound unique throughout school, and when the next crop of girls come along with her name, she can claim that they are all named after her. Pick one of these beauties, and you will not only avoid the curse of the last initial but be a trendsetter.
There are currently less than 300 women in the US with the name Dolkar, which isn't a surprise when you consider where it is very popular as a girl's name: Tibet. Basically, Tibetans are a very small group in the US, so their names aren't as common. The name itself should catch on. It is the name of an important deity in the Tibetan pantheon, the Green Tara, who is credited with helping to bring Buddhism to Tibet. As far as namesakes go, a goddess beats everything, including a princess, a queen, and your mom.
There will be more Dolkars in the next 10 or so years because His Holiness the Dalai Lama is 84 years old, and when he leaves this life for the next, there will likely be a lot of unrest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, pushing many more ethnic Tibetans to other countries, including this one. Then your daughter won't be the only one rocking the name of a goddess.
This is another Tibetan name that is likely to explode in popularity because of more Tibetans coming to America. It doesn't have quite the pedigree of Dolkar, but it means 'luck' in Tibetan. You are free to interpret that as 'my girl will be lucky,' 'I'm lucky to have this girl,' or 'the girl brings good luck,' at your whim.
Russians also have the name, spelled and pronounced exactly the same way. It's a derivative of Natasha, which means 'birthday.' I mean, everyone has a natal day, so you don't have to worry about it not fitting your girl.
Whichever source you use, your girl won't be sharing it with anyone under the age of 10. It has barely made the top 2000 names since the 1990's.
Do you remember 'Gone With The Wind?' The plantation in the movie and book was famously called Tara, after the Stone of Destiny where Irish kings used to be crowned. Well, it is also a good name for people from all sorts of places. It is Gaelic for 'star' and Sanskrit for 'hill,' and was the name of one of Shiva's wives. It's hard to go wrong with so many good associations, and yet it is ranked #1006 in popularity.
The name peaked in the 1970s and has slowly lost popularity since. I look forward to seeing more Tara's. It's easy to spell and pronounce, and you get to pick what you tell your weirder friends when they ask what her name means. That's always a fun conversation starter.
This is one of those names that were once popular but dropped out of sight for a while. It's due for a comeback as new parents offer to name their daughters after their older female relatives. It was the 10th most popular name in the 1960's, so you are guaranteed to know at least one woman in her 60's with this name. But I would get on that quickly because it is currently #28 on the charts.
And it has great name-bearers. It was one of the names of the Greek goddess, Artemis, and it refers to where she was supposed to have been born, Mt. Kynthos. Queen Elizabeth (the first one, the one depicted in paintings with a ruff and red hair) used the name Cynthia to emphasize her virginity, and 17th century poets used it in their love poetry, and the Victorians used it with enthusiasm. If you want to give baby boomers a thrill while also giving your daughter serious legitimacy, Cynthia is a good choice.
Another name that is probably the name of your aunt or mom, Karen was #4 on the name charts in the 1960's. However, it dropped to #504 in the 2000's. It means 'pure' and comes from Greece and Denmark as the name of one of the 7 Parthian feudal families from Persia. (These were dynasties with serious roots, going back before the 700's. I guess everyone wants to be known as pure.)
Despite the historical roots, it does seem to have been a home-grown name. Americans were the first to use it as a girl's first name, (in Armenia, it's a guy's first name) and it has spread through the English-speaking and Dutch-speaking world from here. That's not a bad legacy to give your daughter.
If this sounds like the name of someone who is happy, it's because it is. Gail, as we spell the girl's name, means 'father of exaltation' in Hebrew. It can also be spelled Gael and mean 'person of Gaelic origin.' Either way, it makes a cheerful sound and is easy to spell. Gail is typically a shortened version, or nickname, for the more popular Abigail, but for parents looking to avoid nicknames entirely, going with Gail might be the best choice.
So that is one reason that we should expect more Gails soon. The other reason is the family-naming effect. (I made up the effect, but someone will confirm its existence soon.) Gail is the name of a lot of women born in the 1950's. It was #44 on the charts at that time, which means there are many new grandmas with a splendid name to pass down to the next generation.
Yes, exactly like the name of the main character in 'The Wizard of Oz.' It was on the list of 10 least popular names in 2017, but it does seem to be making a comeback. For one thing, it is highly complementary: it's Hebrew for 'gift of God,' and who doesn't think their kid is divinely given?
At least, most people's great-grandmothers thought so. Dorothy was the second most popular name for a girl in the 1920's (possibly inspired by Frank L. Baum's book). This may explain why so many grandmothers are nicknamed Dot, Dora, or Doll. It is #642 on the charts now, so I would catch this chance to please great-grandma before there is a spike in popularity.
Anita is a Spanish name meaning 'little Anne.' Anne on its own is a Hebrew name meaning 'grace,' so if you pick this name, you will be calling her 'little grace.' You have to admit, it does beat Anne at sounding pleasing, and your daughter will be little when she arrives. Bonus points if most of your family tend to be diminutive and your daughter winds up being 5 feet tall and 110 pounds as an adult.
Anita was never really be popular, so it won't benefit from the family-naming effect. At its most popular in the 1960's, it was #89 on the charts. Still, it's due for a moment in the sun. A couple of writers and actresses in the 1950's had this name, and you can always point out how desirable it is to have a 'little grace' in your life.
Edna as a name has two awesome origin stories. The first one is the name of a character from the biblical Book of Tobit (it's apocryphal, meaning that someone tried to tack it on, but editors took it out). It stems from the same word as Eden, and means 'delight or pleasure.' The second, slightly more mundane, the origin is from the Irish Gaelic name Eithne, which mean 'kernal.' English-speakers anglicized the name to Edna in the 17th century.
Edna was #15 on the popularity charts between 1900 and 1910, but it barely even ranks these days. This is a pity, but it does give your daughter a name that is fun to look up. See, there was a famous, and fabulously scandalous, poet by that name early in the 1900's. You can always tell your girl that you named her after Edna Saint Vincent Milay.
It might have seemed like there were a few Marcias in the middle of the century. It was the name of one of the sisters in the Brady Bunch, and it was the name of a minor character in the Peanuts comic strip. (Marcia was the one who was always driving Peppermint Patty crazy.) This popularity is a little bit of an illusion, though. It was never more than #90 on the list of popular girl names, and that was in the 1940's.
Marcia is a Latin name, meaning 'warlike' (which might be why it was more common during one of our biggest wars). The male version is Marcius and ultimately comes from the god of war. So, there we have another girl rocking the name of a deity. In this age of feminine empowerment, this is Marcia's moment to shine.
Get on your kilts and bring out the haggis, because your wee Bonnie is sure to bring admirers. It's a Scottish name meaning 'pretty' and is also a diminutive of the French word for 'good.' So why don't we see more girls with this name? It's not like people don't think their little girls are pretty or good.
I can't say, personally. I can say that it was 33rd most popular name in the 1940's and that it is now #843 on the popularity charts. Maybe people find it too on the nose as a name for a girl, but it's got all the ingredients for a modern name: easy spelling, nice meaning, and retro charm. I nominate it as a future top 10 name. It would also pair well with a hyphenated name, like Bonnie-Lynn, or with a nice, snappy middle name.
In the 1910's, practically every little girl was named Mildred. It was the 6th most popular name for girls, and there were plenty of literary characters with that name. Books and plays such as 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' used it in the 1920's as the archetypal name of the flapper.
Where did the name go? It isn't even in the top 1000 names now and tends to only show up as an older woman's name in the media. This shouldn't be. It's an Old English name from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'gentle strength,' and it's most famous bearer was a saint and nun who was well known for being gentle and kind. With such a pleasant meaning, it deserves a moment in the sun.
If ever a book should popularize a name, Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline' should be it. The creepy animation used in the movie, the plucky heroine, and the surreal story is eye-catching. Then there is the overarching moral- the heroine, Coraline, saves her parents by refusing to see the Beldame's illusions. You can point to this book as a reason to name your daughter Coraline with joy.
The name in itself, without the book, deserves some time in the limelight. It is a Latin name meaning 'coral,' and it is as lovely as the material it is named after. It only ever reached #576 in popularity, but that was in 2015. It might have dipped a bit in the past 3 years, but the book is a classic. It should stick around.
This name is definitely on the rise. It first appeared in the US in 2000, and it was #827 in 2016. Why would you want to contribute to its rise? Well, we can start with the meaning. Alessia is a Greek name that means 'help and man's defender.' It's a form of Alexandra or Alexia, which are pretty names all on their own. However, Alessia has the advantage of being easy to spell and uncommon. You are unlikely to find too many Alessias in the baby ward.
Another advantage is that you can still shorten the name to the unisex name Alex. It's always nice to have the flexibility to sound both gender-neutral or distinctly feminine, depending on her whims. However, one thing to keep in mind is the overpopulation of Alex's right now - so if you don't want a name that can turn into a super common nickname, it might be best to skip this one.
Anya is probably most associated with Russia. It's used as a diminutive of Anne there, and, you have to admit, it's a cute version. This isn't the only source for the name, though. In Hebrew, Anya means 'favored by God,' and in Hindi, it means 'inexhaustibility.' It's not too surprising, then, that it should be sneaking up the popularity charts.
It is actually a relatively new name to the US. It first appeared in the 1970's and reached its peak in 2009 at #362. With a little time, this sweet little name is going to come into its own. It's got the right stuff: nice sound, easy spelling and nice meanings. Since the name has so much spunk on its own, it doesn't really need a middle name to pair with it.
People speak of their kid being 'golden,' but few people literally name them 'gold.' This should change, especially for girls, because there is a name with that meaning that is very pretty. Aurelia is the feminine equivalent of Aurelius, which is a Latin name that means 'golden.' The meaning and Latin origin gave it a boost in the Victorian era and it reached #420 on the name charts in 1890. It never went away entirely after that, but these days it is #673 on those same charts.
You can, of course, call your daughter Ora or Oralia, but Aurelia is simply prettier and has a better heritage. There was, after all, the famous Roman Marcus Aurelius that you can point to when asked about the name. Is there a more empowering name for a little girl?
Do you want to hear a strange name origin story? Once upon a time, there was a Latin name that meant 'voyager through life, bliss.' It was Viator. The feminine version of it was Viatrix. The 'v' sounded like a 'b' to English speakers in the Middle Ages, and thus we got Beatrix or Beatrice.
Despite the twisty path the name took, it got quite a bit of literary recognition. It was the name of the love interest in Dante's 'Inferno' and again in 'Much Ado About Nothing.' It was the name of a 4th century saint and a British princess. Why is it due for a spin at the top 10 name chart? For one thing, it is slowly creeping up from a low of #1200 in the early 2000's. For another thing, it comes packaged with a nifty nickname, Bea. Most importantly, it is the name of many great-grandmothers, so it is a safe way to name a kid after a family member without confusing people.
The word ivory comes from the Middle English word for elephant tusk, which makes sense. It's typically viewed as an American baby name, and means 'white and pure'. Few things are actually made out of ivory these days, but the soft off-white color is still reminiscent of beauty, purity, and refinement.
As a girl's name, it brings a halo of these virtues around the girl. More practically, everyone can spell it, and no one is likely to have it. It is also used for both sexes, so you can use the name even if you aren't sure you're having a boy or a girl. It was most popular in 2016, but it was never more than #640 on the charts. Still, with its many advantages, it is set to climb in popularity.
A little-known secret about the name Vivian is that it was originally a boy's name. In fact, the lady who wrote 'The Secret Garden' had a son by that name. The girl version was Viviane or Viviana. This was the name of Merlin's paramour in Le Morte d'Arthur. Vivian only became acceptable as a girl's name after the star of 'Gone With The Wind,' Vivian Leigh, made it trendy.
Vivian was never a really common name, anyway. Viviana appeared in the 1970's in the US, and it was never higher than #362 on the charts. You know what? This should change. Vivian is a Latin family name meaning 'lively,' and we could all use some liveliness around here. The good PR alone will give it a boost soon.
This is a gender-neutral name, so it has that trend to ride. It is also the name of Angelina Jolie's daughter, so that got it a bit more PR. And why shouldn't it get more popularity? This Hebrew name means 'His gift' and is also a place name from the Bible. It has also been interpreted as meaning 'peaceful.' Though you might have to answer questions like "did you name your daughter after the Angelina Jolie's daughter"?, I wouldn't take this as a reason to write off the name just yet.
Despite all those things going for it, it has never been more than 96th most popular, and that happened in 2009. However, it might come out on top soon just because it sounds pretty and it works well with any middle name. Plus, you can shorten it down to 'Shy' when you want a nickname.
Joline was the name of the Dolly Parton song about a beautiful woman. The story went that the singer actually knew a Joline and liked to tease a male acquaintance about her. She was really lucky with friends, is all I can think because Joline has never been a very common name. It was most popular in the 1930's, but even then it was #1618 on the charts. It isn't even on the charts these days.
Joline is a Hebrew name and means 'Jehova increases'. It's also a variation of Josephine, also Hebrew in origin. I actually know people who have daughters named Joline. It is edging up in popularity as the retro charm and definitely, feminine ring is coming to be appreciated. The song about a beautiful temptress named Joline doesn't hurt.
Sources: Names.org, ThinkBabyNames.com, BabyCenter.com