From Roman Goddesses and Greek oracles to flowers and historic ladies, there are so many darling names that parents could choose for their little princess. Why go for one of the top 20 most popular names when mom could choose something a little more unusual? Whether mom is looking for cute, trendy, beautiful, girly or strong, names from all over the world and from throughout history are just waiting to be rediscovered and reused.
Naming a daughter can be a difficult task. Do mom and dad want to give her a princess style cutesy name that will always make her sound feminine and maybe even a little helpless? Or do they want to go for something reminiscent of a strong historical or literary figure? Finding one that will grow well from baby to lady can also be difficult. Do mom and dad want a name that could be shortened or one that definitely that could not?
Think carefully when selecting the name. Consider its meaning, if it goes well with a middle name, what surname it has to precede and consequently, the initials she will have. Once mom and dad have considered all of these factors, they have found the perfect name.
Have a look at this list of 25 darling names for little girls and maybe find some inspiration.
If Goethe’s ‘Faust’ of 1808 hasn’t helped Gretchen remain popular, this pretty girl’s name is still well-used thanks to dramas such as ‘Heroes’ and ‘Breaking Bad’. German in origin, Gretchen means ‘little Grete’, which in turn is a diminutive of Margaret. So ultimately the name means ‘pearl’. Girls with this name are often highly practical and competent. They make great leaders and can be very successful in business. Whilst they are great at achieving material dreams, Gretchen often neglects her personal life.
This super cute name is short for the much grander Cleopatra or Cleophus. It can be spelt as ‘Clio’ and in Greek means ‘pride, fame or glory’. Although it is extremely modern sounding, Cleo is an ancient name. Currently ranked at number 883 in the baby name charts, it enjoyed its peak in the 1910’s. As well as being the name of David Schwimmer’s daughter and Pinocchio’s goldfish, Cleopatra was, of course, one of the greatest rulers of all time. She was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt.
This gorgeous flower name dates all the way back to the Anglo-Saxons. A clover is said to be lucky, particularly if it has four leaves, and is linked with the shamrock symbol of Ireland. With nicknames such as Clove, Chloe and Coco, Clover has lasted the centuries because it is filled with good fortune. It is currently the 1,171ist most popular girl’s name. Clover is drawn to the arts and to activities that will put her in the spotlight. Clover is creative and loves lots of attention.
If you know anything about 19th century English literature then you will probably automatically be thinking of the three sisters Emma, Charlotte and Anne, who are now famous authors of the time. This beautiful name would make a great tribute to them and their works. However, if you are not a reader, this name actually comes from the Irish surname ‘Ó Proinntigh’ meaning ‘descendant of Proinnteach’. The given name Proinnteach means ‘bestower’ in Gaelic. This is an incredibly rare name, being outside the top 1000 currently.
Thanks to the ‘Harry Potter’ series this name, which had been languishing and little used for decades, is currently in the top 2000 girl’s names. Shortly after the books were published, character Hermione Granger clearly inspired a whole new generation of Hermiones. This darling name dates back to Ancient Greece and means ‘messenger’ or ‘well-born’ or even ‘stone’. In Greek mythology, Hermione was the daughter of King Menelaus of Sparta and Helen of Troy. Also a female version of Hermes, who was the messenger of the Olympic gods and son of Zeus.
This gorgeous name is the result of a misspelling, although whether that was purposeful or accidental, no one knows! The name ‘Innogen’ is a Celtic name from the Gaelic ‘inghean’, meaning ‘girl or maiden’. It also has links to the Latin word ‘innocens’ meaning ‘innocent’ Imogen is first found in Shakespeare, where she is the heroine in the play ‘Cymbeline’.
Currently ranked at number 1,213, Imogen is a fairly popular name with cute nicknames such as Immy and Gen.
Whilst Isabella is a very popular name for little girls, the very similar Isadora seems to be widely ignored. Meaning ‘gift of Isis’, Isadora dates back to ancient Greece. Currently, just outside the top 1000 names, Isadora is increasing in popularity this century. Current examples of Isadoras include Bjork’s daughter and the character Isadora Quagmire in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’. She was named after the dancer Isadora Duncan, who tragically died in a car accident in 1927 when her scarf wrapped around the axle.
Jemima is an Arabic name meaning ‘little dove’. Jemima stars in the Bible, where along with her sisters Keziah and Keren, she was known as the most beautiful woman of her time. Although it was a popular name in the 19th-century, it has declined in use and is now ranked at number 3,344. In America, the name has links with pancakes and syrup, but elsewhere in the world the name is a warm and peaceful moniker linked with the fictitious ‘puddle duck’ and the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
This beautiful Cornish name has two different meanings. It translates as ‘thy sweetness’, a great name for any little girl, from the Cornish ‘De’ meaning ‘thy’ and ‘melza’ meaning ‘honey or sweet’. It is also a Cornish place name for ‘fort of Maeldaf’. Demelza appears most famously in Winston Graham’s ‘Poldark’ novels which have been televised several times. Nicknames include Demi, Mel and Elza. Incredibly rare, Demelza is currently down at around number 16,000 in the baby name charts.
This Roman name is the female version of Marcello, or ‘Mark’. It means ‘warlike’ or ‘strong’ so is a great combination of pretty but not to be messed with. The urbandictionary.com tells us that Marcella is very outspoken and even bossy at times but always for a good reason. Currently just outside the top 1000 names, you have a choice of pronunciation here between ‘mar-CHE-lla’ and ‘mar-SEL-a’. Marcela was the world’s most beautiful woman in ‘Don Quixote’ as well as a Roman saint.
Margot, or Margo, is a short form of the French version of Margaret, which is Marguerite. Pronounced with a silent ‘t’, Margot comes from the Greek ‘margarit’ and translates as ‘pearl’. Margot has many noble and distinguished examples, including the 16th century Queen Margot of France and Margot Fonteyn, one of the greatest English ballerinas. Margot Kidder is an actress whilst Anne Frank’s older sister was also a Margot. Although you don’t seem to meet many Margots, the name is ranked inside the top 500.
Any name ending in ‘belle’ is very popular at the moment, from Belle on its own to Isabelle, Annabelle and Christabelle. Maribel or Maribelle isn’t as popular although it has the stunning meaning of ‘beautiful Marie’. This is the Latin meaning, but in Hebrew, it means ‘bitter or sour’. In Spanish-speaking countries, this name is used as a short form for girls with the name María Isabel. Girls with this name strive for harmony and balance and like to be surrounded by beautiful things.
Nell started life as a pet form or endearing term for ‘Helen’, meaning ‘light’. It is also used to abbreviate Ellen and Eleanor. It is now used as a short and simple standalone name.
There are many famous ladies by this name through history, including the fictional ‘Little Nell’ by Charles Dickens. King Charles II of England had a mistress, actress Nell Gwynn. Eleanor Roosevelt was called ‘little Nell’ by her father, whilst Nelly Furtado is a modern day singer.
Another darling name for any little girl, Belinda grows well into adulthood. This is a name with two meanings and uncertain origin. It could come from the Italian ‘bella’, meaning ‘beautiful’. Alternatively, it may come from the Old High German name ‘Betlinde’, meaning ‘bright serpent’ or even ‘bright linden tree’. With so many different options it may just be best to focus on the fact that it sounds nice and is quite underused, being ranked currently outside the top 2000 names.
Sunrise, dawn, golden. These are all words relating to ‘Oriana’. Starting out as the medieval Oroana or Ouroana, Oriana now has various versions including Orianna, Oriane or Orianne. From the Latin meaning ‘dawn’, it is pronounced ‘or-ee-AH-na’ and is a very pretty name for your little girl. Currently ranked at number 1,911 it has increased in popularity steadily over the past 40 years. Oriana has appeared in literary works for years, including Tennyson’s poem ‘The Ballad of Oriana’, three 17th-century plays and as the lady of Knight Amadis in medieval tales.
If you type this cute name into a search engine, the first article will undoubtedly be all about Minnie Mouse. If you choose this name for your daughter be prepared for a lifetime of Disney jokes! However, the name is actually from ancient Hebrew and has a few different meanings. A short form of ‘Miryam’, it can mean ‘sea of bitterness’ or even ‘sea of sorrow’. Some sources translate it as ‘rebellion’. If this is all a little negative then it can also mean ‘wished for child’, which is a little more positive.
Strangely, Polly is related to Minnie. Although Polly is often now used as a name in its own right, it started out as a pet name for Mary or Miryam or even Dorothy. This comes from the human habit of loving rhyme! Mary turns to Molly, Dorothy to Dolly and Polly just rhymes with both! As a result, what does Polly really mean? It could be ‘wished for child’ or ‘sea of bitterness’, but equally it could be ‘little’ or ‘humble’.
Along with Sadie, Sallie and Sarina, Sally is a pet form of Sarah. It translates as ‘princess’ and comes from the Hebrew language. As with a typical fairytale princess, girls with this name tend to enjoy beauty and thrive in a peaceful and harmonic atmosphere. Sally is an independent girl who will make an effective leader. Variants around the world include the Spanish ‘Sarita’, the Yiddish ‘Tzeitel’, the Swedish ‘Sassa’ and the Finnish ‘Saija’. Very popular in the 1930’s, Sally is currently just outside the top 1000 names.
This pretty name comes from the Aramaic language and means ‘gazelle’. In Hebrew, this has turned into ‘beauty’ or ‘grace’, which are terms closely related to the movement of a gazelle. In some cultures, the gazelle is an ancient symbol of beautiful gracefulness. In the Book of Acts in the Bible, Tabitha was a woman who was noted for her good works. Girls with this name love to inspire others and are excellent at learning. They tend to be quiet, introspective ladies.
Whilst Roxie can be a short pet form of longer names such as Roxanne and Roxette, it is also a name on its own. In Persia, Iran and Greece it means ‘star’, ‘bright’ or ‘dawn’. This name peaked in popularity in the 1880’s, with up to 783 girls per million born being named Roxy or Roxie. Since then it has declined in use, and now only around 25 girls per million have this name. It is the 3,602nd most popular name.
Una has two distinct origins. It is a Latin name meaning ‘one’ or ‘only’, which is a great name for your darling little girl. It is also an Old Irish name from ‘uan’, meaning ‘lamb’. It is sometimes spelt as Oona or Oonagh. Irish mythology has two distinctive Unas, both of whom were feisty characters. One Úna was the queen of the faeries and wife of King Finnbheara. Another Úna was the wife of Finn McCool who tricked the Scottish giant Bennandonner and saved her husband’s life.
Vida is the feminine form of David, and in Scotland, it translates as ‘beloved’ or ‘friend’. In Spain, it means ‘life’. Girls with this name are generally broadminded and generous people who love helping humanity. They are affectionate and romantic girls who love to fall in love. Vida’s popularity peaked at the turn of the 19th century and although it had fallen out of favour, this delightful name is now seeing more use. It is currently the 1,319th most popular girl’s name.
Sybil was a popular Victorian name that is currently ranked just outside the top 2000. It comes from the Latin word ‘Sibylla’, meaning fortuneteller or prophetess. In Ancient Greece and Rome the sibyls were known as mouthpieces of the ancient oracles. They were believed to be receptors of the words of the gods, so Sibyl became an acceptable name. They were also known as fortune tellers. Sybil can be found in modern popular culture in the TV comedy ‘Fawlty Towers’, the drama ‘Downton Abbey’ and the ‘Harry Potter’ films and books.
This beautiful girl’s name is the female form of Peter. Coming from the Greek ‘petros’, it translates as ‘stone’ or ‘rock’. It is a very popular name in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Germany. Petra has been steadily popular over time and is currently just outside the top 1000. Other versions of the name include Peta, Petrina, Péťa, Peťa and Petruška. Petra seems to be a hugely popular name for athletes and one notable saint - the blessed Petra of Saint Joseph Perez Florido.
In the Victorian era, when flower names were massively on trend, over 4000 babies per million were named Flora. Sadly, this pretty name is now down to only 130 babies per million. Flora, meaning ‘flower’, was the Roman goddess of springtime and flowers. She was the wife of Zephyr, the west wind and has lent her name to ladies since the Renaissance period. Flora was first found in France but is now used worldwide. A notable Flora is the Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape.