It is so easy to get carried away with the beautiful names available out there for little girls. The floral names are delightful --think of Daisy, Violet, and Lily-- as are names that reflect nature like Rowan, Summer, and Heather.
Parents can look to literature to find gorgeous examples of names, and justify any peculiar name with the reason that they loved the book. Victoria Beckham chose Harper, which is a character in To Kill a Mockingbird and the name Hermione has surged in popularity after the character in the Harry Potter books.
There is ample inspiration in Greek mythology too. Athena, Electra, and Ianthe all have their roots in Greek culture, and the meanings can provide ample excuse to give them to a baby girl, particularly if they mean ‘beautiful’ or ‘cherished’ because all baby girls will be exactly that.
Of course, modern culture has a big input on baby names. When a celebrity chooses a name, many fans follow their lead, even if the name is slightly unusual. Charlotte is a popular name in Britain thanks to Kate and William’s choice for their daughter. Thinking up names like Valentina, used by Salma Hayek, jogs people’s memory to remember how pretty the name is.
In Italian, Aria means ‘air’ and it refers to a song or melody. It is also a word meaning a solo performance in an opera. In Hebrew it has the meaning ‘lion of God’ and its Teutonic meaning is ‘bird’ according to BabyCenter. So, it has pretty origins whichever you prefer.
It is known as a saint’s name and has become more popular in recent years, possibly as a result of a character in Game of Thrones, named Arya.
A very pretty, feminine name that Amy Adams chose for her daughter, born in 2010. Its Latin meaning is ‘bird’, or ‘way of grace’ or ‘delicate.’ Other translations have it meaning ‘bearer of good news’. Either way, it is a delightful choice for a girl that trips off the tongue nicely.
Apparently, Amy Adams chose the name in tribute to the Italian town of Aviano, where her father had been stationed. Aviano is also coincidentally the birthplace of Italian aviation, so the bird and flight references feature strongly, according to Oh Baby Names.
The beautiful name Ianthe (pronounced eye-AH-thee) comes from the Greek meaning ‘purple flower’. It has an ethereal quality to it and Ianthe is represented in mythology as the sea nymph daughter of Oceanus, who ruled the sea. It was said that she was so beautiful that when she died purple flowers grew around her grave.
It features in the romantic poetry of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and the poet Shelley called his daughter Ianthe, according to Aunty Flo. It is more popular this century and fits in well with parents who have daughters with floral names.
Fleur is the French word for flower, and has appeared in literature, firstly in the Forsyte Saga and more recently in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Fleur Delacour first made an appearance.
It appeared in England in the Middle Ages and is also a saint’s name. More recently, we heard the name when Fleur East appeared on the X Factor in the UK and released several singles under that name. It is a very popular name in Holland, home of the tulip.
A beautiful name of Greek origin, Pandora means ‘all gifted.’ What a gorgeous name to give to a little girl. Of course, we know of the mythological character Pandora, who opened the box that unleashed the evils of the world, but it has been revived in recent years as a jewelry brand and as a character in the Adrian Mole books.
It is not a popular name but reached its peak of success in the 1950s. Cara Delevingne's mother is named Pandora.
Hermione has become more well known (and better pronounced!) since the publication of the Harry Potter books, as Hermione Granger is one of the main characters. It features as a name in many literary works including A Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare.
In Greek mythology, Hermione is the daughter of King Menelaus and his Queen Helen, also known as Helen of Troy, so it is sometimes used by mothers named Helen in recognition of this. Its Greek meaning is ‘messenger’, ‘travel’ or ‘earthly.’
Another beautiful sounding name, Ophelia, often shortened to Fifi, comes from the Greek for ‘help’. However, it has had some negative press due to its appearance as the tragic heroine in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
More recently, both Roald Dahl and David Grohl have named their daughters Ophelia, according to Nameberry. The subject of Ophelia’s tragic drowning has made an ethereal subject for many works of art and poems, particularly in the Pre-Raphaelite era. The name was first used by an Italian poet in the sixteenth century, in its form Ofelia.
This name means ‘strength’ or ‘health,’ so has positive associations, apart from being a beautiful name. It was chosen by Salma Hayek and Anthony Quinn for their daughter’s name, and of course came to prominence with Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space in the 1960s, and is a popular name in Russia.
It is an obvious choice for baby girls born on 14th February, in tribute to St. Valentine, the third-century patron saint of love and marriage.
Seraphina has a Hebrew origin and means ‘fiery’ ‘burning ones’ or ‘ardent.’ It was inspired by the six-winged angels, the seraphim, and Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck chose it as the name for their second daughter.
This name, given to the most heavenly of beings who are capable of the most powerful love, is a delightful tribute to a parent’s love for their little girl. It is also the name of a saint who made clothes for the poor, so has altruistic connotations too.
This name originates in Ireland and also in Native America. It means ‘lady of abundance’ or ‘leaping water.’ It was the name of infamous actress Tallulah Bankhead, who was named for Tallulah Falls in Georgia.
In celebrity culture, it was used by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, as well as Simon and Yasmin Le Bon as the name for their daughters. Tallulah was the name of a character and song in Bugsy Malone as well as the name of two saints.
The name Flora is of Scottish and Latin origin, meaning ‘flower.’ As floral names are popular for girls in the 2000s, Flora has become more popular, despite its association with a popular brand of margarine.
Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and was given eternal life. In history, Flora was the young lady who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape to freedom. It has many appearances in literature and also is the name of one of the good fairies in the Disney film, Sleeping Beauty.
The meaning of Daisy needs no explanation, but it is a derivative of Marguerite or Margaret meaning ‘pearl’ in Greek. In French, Marguerite is the word for the flower daisy.
We know the name from literature, in particular in the Great Gatsby and in cinema from the film, Driving Miss Daisy. Many celebrities have chosen the name for their daughters, including Meg Ryan, as did chef Jamie Oliver. It was very common in the early part of the twentieth century and received a resurgence after the character Daisy Duke wore those shorts in the Dukes of Hazzard.
Giving birth to a baby in the warm weather is a good reason to call a baby Summer, and it is popular because of the association with sunshine, brightness, and optimism. Seasonal names have had a rise in popularity and Summer peaked in popularity in the late 1990s after initially being born out of the hippy culture of the 1960s and 1970s.
It appears in many films and TV programs and has been used by Christina Aguilera for her daughter, according to News.com.au.
Luna is a name that comes from the Latin meaning for the word ‘moon.’ It is a popular name in Europe and has been more popular since the Harry Potter books introduced Luna Lovegood. Many celebrities have chosen it as a girls’ name, including Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
Luna was also the goddess of the moon and is a good name to choose for a girl born under the sign of the moon, Cancer.
Angelina means angel in many European languages, so is popular among mothers who give birth to their little cherubs. It has been made famous by the actress and activist, Angelina Jolie and of course by the children’s cartoon character, Angelina Ballerina.
Angelina also means ‘messenger of God’ in Greek or Latin, so has beautiful associations in any language. The name leaped up on the baby name charts around the year 2000 when Angelina Jolie came to closer public attention. Obviously, a celebrity who chose the name for his daughter is Jon Voight.
Amelie has become more popular in recent years. It is the French version of the name Amelia that means ‘eager’ or ‘work.’ It was given to more baby girls after the success of the 2001 film of the same name, peaking in popularity in America in 2013.
The Germanic version of the name, Amelia means ‘cherished’ or ‘loved one.’ One famous Amelie is Amelie Mauresmo, the champion tennis player. It was also used by the French novelist, Balzac, in his novel The Vendetta.
The lyrical name Arabella means ‘yielding to prayer’ in Latin, and in Dutch means ‘beautiful.’ Despite being popular in history, it fell out of favor for much of the twentieth century, until it regained popularity in the 1990s.
There are many famous Arabellas in literature and in the celebrity world, including novelist Arabella Weir. Arabella was also the name of a mistress of King James II of Scotland. It peaked in popularity in the United States in 2014.
In Latin, Florence means ‘flourishing’ or ‘prosperous.’ It has delightful associations with flowers and with the city in Italy of the same name. The Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale was named after the culturally rich city.
Florence Welch from the band, Florence and the Machine, has given the name new life. It fell out of favor for much of the twentieth century, making a comeback at the end of the 1990s. It appears in the 1970s children’s program The Magic Roundabout and in Charles Dickens’ Dombey & Sons.
Sicily is a beautiful place in Italy and also an alternative spelling of the traditional British name Cicely. Italian immigrants who have their roots in Italy have chosen the name for their daughters. Both Tina Arena and Natalie Imbruglia have their roots in the Italian isle.
Italia.it describes Sicily as ‘one of the pearls of Southern Italy.’ The variation Cicely means ‘blind’ and was the choice of Sandra Bernhardt for her daughter. Sweet cicely is also a plant that smells of aniseed and is used in medicinal compounds.
The name Aurora is full of magical qualities as it is the name of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty from the Charles Perrault story, and means ‘dawn.’ It is also the name of a Roman goddess whose tears turned to dew.
It is also a name associated with lights, particularly the Northern Lights and their original name of Aurora Borealis. It has been a popular name in the 2000s, peaking in popularity in the United States in 2016, according to Think Baby Names.
A hugely popular and delightful name, Grace means ‘goodness and generosity’ or ‘elegance.’ It has connotations to God’s grace and is, therefore, a very popular name that never seems to date. It has been used by numerous famous people including Grace Kelly, former Princess of Monaco and singer Grace Jones.
It was popular among Puritans in the sixteenth century and those who love the song Amazing Grace. It has strong religious connections and is also the name of a prayer said before meals.
Analia is a Spanish name that is a combination of the names Ana and Lucia. It is a new combination and its heritage is in the derivative of the name.
It first appeared as a name in 2009 and rose to popularity quickly, possibly as a result of a TV program called El Rostro de Analia, but after its initial popularity, it has not reached mainstream popularity. Perhaps it is time for a revival of this pretty, latin name.
Although not a traditional name, it comes from derivatives of Eleanor, which has Hebrew heritage. It became more common after the 1988 film, Willow, which featured a baby princess character called Elora.
Elora is the name of a town in Canada, which in turn was named after the ship that brought the crew to its resting place. It is also a town in Tennessee. It was a popular name in the nineteenth century and as many names of that era have resurfaced, it may be due for a revival.
Zariya is a Quranic name of Arabic and Hungarian origin, which means scattering wind and has been popular among Muslims for some time. It so pretty and unusual that it is filtering into other cultures too.
In Urdu the name means ‘beauty and light’ according to Hamari Web, so is a natural and flattering choice for any gorgeous baby girl. The name was first seen in the United States in the 1990s and peaked in popularity in 2004. It is most popular in California.
This name is of Spanish origin and means ‘old form of miracle.’ Using an alternative spelling, the name Mireya means ‘admired.’ It started to become more popular in the 1990s and has reached higher levels of popularity since. Channa Mereya is a popular song in India according to DNA India.
Mireya is a popular name in South America and is the first name of Panama’s first female president and the title of a poem by Frederic Mistral.
References: Baby Center, DNA India, Oh Baby Names, Nameberry, News.com.au