There are many ways to find the perfect girl’s name. You can go old school and pick a classic that has been popular for centuries, or you can look to pop culture and choose one of today’s hottest stars.
But if you want your daughter to stand out from the crowd in more than just her appearance, then you need something special. Something with meaning behind it. And while there are literally thousands of names available, some will work better for your child than others depending on her personality traits and interests.
Perfect Baby Names for a Girl
So before you start browsing baby name sites in search of the best possible moniker for your little girl, take a moment to consider these possibilities:
- Alana: This name means “precious” and has been a top choice for girls since the mid-1950s. It’s also thought to be derived from two other names: Alan, which is English and Scottish Gaelic for “little rock,” and Lana, an Italian word meaning “beautiful.”
- Arianna: This name means “lioness” in Hebrew and was once used for boys before it became a popular choice for girls in the 1960s.
- Caitlin: Caitlin is an Irish form of Katherine in which the C has been replaced with a K, making the name both softer and more feminine. It also means “pure.”
- Cerise: This name means “cherry” in French, making it perfect for a little girl who has a sweet personality.
- Elora: This Gaelic name means “maiden.”
- Kaya: This Japanese moniker is also used as a word to describe the pith of the bamboo plant, which becomes stronger over time and is valued for its resilience and flexibility.
- Juliette: This French name means “soft, gentle.” It’s also the title character in Shakespeare’s classic play Romeo and Jetlette.
- Lorelei: Lorelei is a German name that comes from an old myth about a maiden who lured fisherman to their deaths on the Rhine River with her enchanting songs.
- Nadia: This Russian name means “hope” and has been a popular choice ever since it was featured in the 1983 film The Big Chill.
- Serena: In Latin, this moniker means “calm” or “serene,” making it perfect for a girl who is always composed.
- Viva: This name is derived from the word “live” in Spanish and means “long life.”
- Zara: Derived from Zarah, this Hebrew name means “princess” has been ranked highly among baby girls every year since 1980.
- Aurora: This name, which means “dawn” in Latin, has been a top pick for girls ever since 1959.
- Olivia: This moniker is derived from the word olive and was an extremely popular choice among parents-to-be from 1990 through 2007.
- Elizabeth: Elizabeth came out on top as the most popular American baby girl’s name for more than 200 years, from 1750 to 1950. It means “consecrated to God” in Hebrew.
- Aleigha: This is a Latin name meaning “manly” that’s been steadily gaining popularity since the 1980s.
- Elia: Derived from Elijah, this name means “the Lord is my God.”
- Erika: Erika has been in the top 100 baby girl names for more than 30 years and can be traced back to Scandinavia and Germany. It means “eternal ruler” in Old Norse.
- Emerson: This English name is derived from emmer, which means “to work the soil,” and it made its first appearance on record more than 100 years ago.
- Francesca: These days this moniker may conjure images of Angelina Jolie’s troubled character in the film Girl, Interrupted. However, it was once a popular choice among parents for its feminine nature and meaning (which means “French”).
- Georgina: This name is thought to have evolved from Georgia, where it’s ranked as one of the top 50 girl names every year since 1990. It means “farmer” or “earth-worker” in Greek.
- Harper: This moniker is a traditionally male name whose meaning has been held for centuries (meaning “harp player”). However, it’s been used for girls since the 1930s and became particularly popular during the 1990s.
- Isabella: This Spanish name means “devoted to God,” and while parents may be sick of it by now, this moniker has been consistently popular among parents-to-be since the 1980s.
- Kiara: This name is thought to have evolved from the Spanish word ciar, which means “black.” It’s also associated with Kia, a luxury automobile.
- Madison: This English name derives from Madasyn, which is the short form of Madeline. It ranked in the top 10 from 1990 through 2002 and remains popular today.
- Tyler: This English name means “tiler of roofs” and has been steadily gaining popularity since 1981.
- Zelda: Zelda is a Polish name with Germanic origins that is most famously associated with the video game, The Legend of Zelda. It means “pledge.”
- Blake: This English name has been popular since the 1980s and derives from Old Norse words meaning “dark” or “black.”
- Caden: Caden is a traditional unisex name that traces back to Gaelic and Celtic cultures. It’s been used for boys and girls alike since the 1990s.
- Hayden: This name originates from an Old English word meaning “hay valley.” It has been a top pick for parents-to-be every year since 1991.
- Liam: Liam is derived from William, which means “will helmet.” It has been associated with famous actors, including Liam Neeson and Liam Hemsworth.
- Levi: This moniker is thought to have evolved from the Hebrew name Eliezer, which means “God has helped.”
- Rylie: Rylie is an unisex name that traces back to Ireland. It means “rye field.”
- Zoey: Zoey is a Greek name said to have been derived from Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology.
Mix and Match to find the perfect baby name for a girl:
There are endless ways to mix and match these names into creative combinations, like Ariana Elora or Caitlin Cerise.
A girl can also be named with a boy’s name in the middle of her own. Examples include:
Kaya Juliette, Lara Jade, and Natasha Alana.
What to consider when picking the perfect girl name:
- Names that end in y and ie (Miley, Addie, Hayden) are more likely to be pronounced incorrectly.
- The most popular names don’t always make the best choices.
- While your child’s name won’t affect his or her happiness or success in life, it’s an important part of their identity and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- Finally, think of the name as a gift you’re giving your child that they can carry with them forever.
- Earning potential attached to names: The first name can have a big impact on the life and career of your baby girl. Names that end in -son and -stein, for example, almost always belong to men. Women with names like Taylor, Jordan, and Cameron are more likely to work in fields typically dominated by men. They also make about 8% less than their counterparts with “gender-neutral” names. Similarly, the name Ashley has traditionally been used more for girls than boys. Those with this name tend to favor blue and play sports such as basketball and softball. They also make an average of $15,400 less than those with “gender-neutral” names like Tyler or Ryan.
- Consider ease to pronounce: Your child’s name should be easy to spell and pronounce. A name with several syllables can become a tongue-twister for others, making it annoying for them to have to say the same thing over and over. Furthermore, if your daughter has a unique spelling or pronunciation of her name at school, she might not fit in as well socially.
- Possible name origin: Where a name originates from can make a huge difference in the strength of its meaning. Names hailing from Hebrew, Greek, and Latin cultures often carry strong meanings that your child may appreciate throughout his or her life.
- Avoiding naming trends: Popularity is not always a good thing when it comes to baby names. Once the world starts to notice your child’s name, it can become popular very quickly. Suddenly, everyone will be spelling it the same way and pronouncing it the same way. Your daughter could end up standing out for all the wrong reasons.
- An ethnic name authenticates your family’s background: A unique baby name that fits into your culture or ancestry can help your daughter connect with her roots. A good example is the name Anaya, which means “miracle” in the Native American Diné language of Navajo Indians. This name has risen more than six-fold since its introduction to the US Top 1000 baby names list in 2014.
Hi there! I am Amanda, a mom of two and a baby names expert since 2006. I have written two highly-rated books on baby names and have conducted peer-reviewed and published research on evolving naming trends over the years. I founded this site, Perfect Baby Names in 2016 as a way to share some helpful guides on baby names. I also provide guidance on various baby naming tips which are also available in the books which you can buy today on Amazon.