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The 25 Hottest Girl Names on the Rise

One of the biggest and most important tasks for expectant parents is to choose a name for their newest family member. Some people go the traditional route when it comes to names while others opt for names on the unique side. Invariably some of these less popular names catch on and start rising through the ranks on the baby name charts.

The names in this article represents those very names for baby girls. Most of them are far from popular but for whatever reason, more parents chose them this year than last. This list is peppered with some cute and sweet names as well as some undeniably odd ones but maybe one of them will be the right one for you.

And in case you missed it, check our equivalent article for boy names: The 25 Hottest Boys Names on the Rise.

Note: All ranking information can be attributed to the U.S. Social Security Administration website.

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25 Zahra

This unique baby name is on the rise. Zara represents the 25th fastest-rising baby girl name in the U.S. It jumped 224 spots in the rankings and secured spot #690. This means there were 410 baby girl Zahras born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,761 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Zahra. When you think about it, this is less than 10 per state.

While it’s still far from popular, it is getting noticed. Despite this, we say Zahra is a safe pick for a baby girl if you are looking for something different but not weird. You might like that it has an exotic and mysterious feel to it.

Zahra is of Arabic descent and means “brilliant or bright”. With its “a” ending, it is in the company of many very popular girl’s names ending in “a”. Think about Emma, Olivia, Mia, and Sophia, just to name a few. Zahra hops on this trend without being at all common.

24 Analia

This sweet name first appeared on the top 1,000 baby girl name chart in 2009 where it came in at #331. Since then it has dropped in popularity but has climbed the ranks a great deal in the past year.

In fact, Analia jumped 235 spots in the rankings and secured spot #859. This means there were 322 baby girl Analias born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 6,063 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Analia.

Analia has an interesting but very recent history. It’s a Spanish name that is said to have been created by combining the names “Anna” and “Lucia”. It’s been suggested that its appearance as a baby girl name was influenced by a TV program called “El Rostro de Analia” on an American/Spanish network in 2008.

Regardless, it gives rise to several cute nicknames including Ana, Lia, Lee, and Ann.

23 Kalani

This pretty little girl’s name has Hawaiian origins and means “the heavens”. Kalani cracked the top 1,000 baby girl names in the U.S. for the first time this past year. We wonder if it’s here to stay.

It certainly made a splash by jumping 236 spots in the rankings and securing spot #841. This means there were 331 baby girl Kalanis born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 5,898 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Kalani.

Cute nicknames could be Kal or Lani. The full name can also be used for a boy.

22 Dalary

This name is one of the stranger ones on this list. It seems to have come out of nowhere with no information about background or origin, so it appears to be a made-up name.

That said, having come out of obscurity, it jumped 237 spots in the rankings and secured spot #913. This means there were 300 baby girls named Dalary born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 6,507 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Dalary. We’ll be surprised if it makes major waves.

It’s hard to miss that Dalary rhymes with “salary” so we don’t doubt this would be cause for some poking directed at your baby girl in grade school.

21 Amaris

This name is unique and sweet. It's a good pick if you are looking for something different but distinctly feminine.

Amaris as a girl’s name is climbing fast. It jumped 251 spots in the rankings and secured spot #789. This means there were 354 baby girls named Amaris born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 5,515 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Amaris.

This name appeared in the top 1000 U.S. charts between 2003 and 2008 but then dropped off the radar again. It’s never been as popular as it is now. We wonder if it’s here to stay this time.

20 Carter

This name represents an interesting twist to the baby girl charts since Carter has been in the top 100 for boys since 2004! In fact, it came in at spot #24 for a boy's name in the past year. The obvious downside to this name for a girl is that she might get mistaken for a boy frequently.

Despite this, Carter for a girl is climbing fast. It jumped 254 spots in the rankings and secured spot #533, almost breaking the top 500! This means there were 579 baby girl Carters born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 3,371 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Carter.

The name Carter has humble beginnings, being derived from an English surname meaning “one who uses a cart”.

19 Royal

This name, relatively undiscovered for a girl in the U.S., is on the rise. It jumped 270 spots in the rankings and secured spot #755. This means there were 371 baby girl Royals born to American citizens in the past year. In other words, one out of every 5,262 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Royal.

At spot #755, this name is far from popular but it’s getting noticed. It has long been used for baby boys--since before the 1900s. We suppose someone decided it would work well for a baby girl.

We think there are better and more unique choices for a baby girl than “Royal” especially since it could be perceived as a bit arrogant (for a girl or boy). It also doesn’t have a natural feminine short-form, so perhaps another black mark against it.

18 Karter

Déjà-vu? Sort of. It’s Carter with a “K”. Again we reiterate that this name has long been popular for a boy so an obvious downside to this name for a girl is that she might get mistaken for a boy, and frequently. The “K” version only appeared on the girl’s chart last year so parents are obviously trying to get creative.

Rising even faster than Carter, Karter is on the up and up for girls. It jumped 281 spots in the rankings and secured spot #689. This means there were 410 baby girl Karters born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,761  baby girls born in the U.S. was called Karter.

Like Carter, the name Karter has humble beginnings, derived from an English surname meaning “one who uses a cart”.

17 Milani

The likable girl’s name is on the rise! It jumped 295 spots in the rankings and secured spot #667. This means there were 424 baby girls named Milani born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,604 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Milani.

It’s tough to find any historical information surrounding the name but we hypothesize it was inspired by the Italian city of Milan. It is also similar to the more common girl’s name “Melanie” so it’s possible it is another derivation of that.

Sweet nicknames might include Mili, Lani or Ani. We suspect this name is here to stay.

16 Jessa

This interesting spin on “Jessica” jumped 295 spots in the rankings and secured spot #546. This means there were 556 baby girls named Jessa born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 3,511 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Jessa.

Jessa is used as a short form for Jessica so we suspect this is its inspiration.

Some might suggest you choose the more traditional name Jessica if you like Jessa and opt to use the short form until your baby girl can choose for herself.

15 Thea

This name actually appeared in the top 1,000 names for girls around the 1950s and then disappeared again. In the latest year, Thea jumped 312 spots in the rankings and secured spot #464, making it one of the only two names on this list to crack the top 500!

Last year, there were 683 Theas born in the U.S. In other words, one out of every 2,858 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Thea. Thea has typically been used as a short form of Dorothea or Theodora. Several European countries, including Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, claim its heritage.

We think Thea is a cute name for a spunky baby girl, and sheds the matronly baggage of its long forms.

14 Zaylee

Zaylee ranked at #990 in the past year barely squeaking into the top 1,000 names. It’s definitely unique and is one of the stranger names on this list.

Zaylee jumped 314 spots in the rankings. This means there were 270 baby girls named Zaylee born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 7,231 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Zaylee. It’s far from popular but we are surprised that even this many people chose it.

While Zaylee as a baby girl name is on the rise, it’s tough to find much information surrounding its origin. It’s obviously a made-up name, so you’ll have to use your imagination. Perhaps some parent somewhere decided to alter the similar sounding “Hailey”.

13 Heavenly

This everyday word as a girl’s name is on the up and up but don't get too excited. It’s still nowhere close to mainstream. That said, if you choose this name, your little girl may find great inspiration in it.

It jumped 318 spots in the rankings and secured spot #967. This means there were 278 baby girls named Heavenly born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 7,022 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Heavenly.

Its roots are obvious and, for this very reason, we doubt it’s ever going to climb into the top half of the baby girl charts.

12 Adilynn

Adilynn is a variation of Adaline which gets its own spot farther ahead on this list. Stay tuned!

This name, with Teutonic roots, is climbing fast. It means “noble”. This spelling variation jumped 329 spots in the rankings and secured spot #805. This means there were 405 baby girls named Ailynn born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,820 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Adilynn. It was largely unheard of in the U.S. before 2015.

Possible nicknames include Adi or Lynn.

11 Ariyah

This melodic baby name is the eleventh fastest-climbing baby girl’s name in the U.S. It jumped 329 spots in the rankings and secured spot #607. This means there were 478 baby girls named Ariyah in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,084 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Ariyah.

Ariyah is a variant of Arya or Aria and can be pronounced Ah-REE-ah or Ah-RYE-ah. It means “honorable or noble” in Sanskrit.

10 Lennox

Lennox feels like a breath of fresh air on this list! It’s hip and strong, and not particularly feminine. Finally, we have an edgy girl’s name on the rise!

This unique baby girl’s name has been on the top 1,000 charts since 2010 and we think it’s going to keep climbing. Since last year it jumped 416 spots in the rankings and secured spot #740. This means there were 597 baby girls named Lennox born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 3,270 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Lennox.

Lennox has typically been used for a boy and is born from a Scottish surname. We think this name is cool and sleek with a fun vibe to it. Cute nicknames include Len or Lenny, or even Knox if you want to be uber-original.

9 Adley

This name is the popular “Hadley” without the “H”. Hadley came in at spot #102 in the most recent year.

Adley, on the other hand, is nowhere near as popular as Hadley but perhaps represents a way for parents to get close to Hadley without jumping on the trend. Since last year Adley jumped 495 spots in the rankings and secured spot #827. This means there were 337 baby girls named Adley born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 5,793 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Adley.

8 Zelda

Is it possible the legend is resurfacing? Well, it certainly is a baby girl’s name. Since last year it jumped 512 spots in the rankings and secured spot #647. This means there were 439 baby girls named Zelda born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 4,447 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Zelda.

You’d be pretty original if you chose this name for your baby girl! It wasn’t on the radar in terms of popularity before last year. We wonder if it will disappear into obscurity again.

7 Briar

We are pleased to find Briar on this list. It is certainly one we recognize as a baby girl’s name and we say it’s a great pick! Since last year it jumped 597 spots in the rankings and secured spot #844. This means there were 330 baby girls named Briar born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 5,916 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Briar.

We think Briar is cute, spunky, and cool sounding without appearing like it’s trying too hard. You could, of course, call her “Bri” for short, which makes us like the name even more.

6 Adaline

You might remember we already say “Adilynn” earlier on this list and now we find Adaline. As mentioned, this name with Teutonic roots is climbing fast. It means “noble”.

This spelling variation jumped a whopping 1,029 spots in the rankings and secured spot #364! This makes it the second name on this list to crack the top 500 baby girl’s name list. This means there were 901 baby girls named Adaline born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 2,166 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Adaline.

Bottom line is, we like the name. We suspect this one is going to keep moving up swiftly. That said, it has an awfully long way to go before it becomes popular, so don’t worry that your Adaline will be one of many in her class.

Possible nicknames include Adi or Lynn.

5 Taya

This original baby girl’s name is on the up and up. It’s the fifth fastest-climbing baby girl’s name in the U.S. right now. Since last year it jumped 1,107 spots in the rankings and secured spot #982. This means there were 273 baby girls named Taya born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 7,151 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Taya.

It’s another made-up name with lots of close sounding sisters like Tanya, Tyra, and Tala. The name itself feels strong but gentle and is well-suited to a trailblazing thinker.

4 Aislinn

Aislinn misses the podium by one! It’s the fourth fastest-climbing baby girl’s name in the country. Since last year it jumped 1,385 spots in the rankings and secured spot #960. This means there were 280 baby girls named Aislinn born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 6,972 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Aislinn.

Aislinn is likely a variation of Aisling which is Irish in origin and means “dream or vision”. We like this name and its inspirational meaning. Plus, the name itself rolls off the tongue nicely which gives it a harmonious element.

3 Aitana

While far from popular, many more parents have decided Aitana is the perfect fit for their baby girl compared to last year. It’s the third fastest-rising baby girl name!

Since last year it jumped 1,721 spots in the rankings and secured spot #917. This means there were 298 baby girls named Aitana born in the past year. In other words, one out of every 6,551 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Aitana. As mentioned, it’s by no means popular but it is definitely getting noticed.

There is some suggestion the name Aitana came about as a result of a mountain range in Spain bearing the same moniker.

2 Meilani

Meilani is definitely on the rise! Since last year it jumped 1,836 spots in the rankings and secured spot #950. This makes it the second fastest-rising baby girl name in the entire U.S.! In a nutshell, there were 284 baby girls named Meilani born in the past year. This means that one out of every 6,874 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Meilani.

Meilani may be of Hawaiian roots, and is suggested to mean “heavenly”. Possible nicknames associated with this name are Mel and Lani.

1 Alaia

Well, here we have the fastest-rising baby girl’s name in the whole country! This beautiful name is on the up and up. Since last year Alaia jumped a whopping 2,012 spots in the rankings and secured spot #664.

As a result, there were 427 baby girls named Alaia born in the past year. This means that one out of every 4,572 baby girls born in the U.S. was called Alaia.

Just so you aren’t confused, Alaia is pronounced like Ah-LYE-ah. Its abundance of vowels makes it quite feminine and delicate. Alaia means “joyful or happy” in Basque. We think this is a very pretty name and we can’t wait to see where it places next year.

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