Old Fashioned Girls Names

Old-fashioned girls’ names. They sound just so, yesterday. As if they belong to some bygone era and were good names for grandmas and even great grandmas.

Yet, some names relegated to girls back 50 years ago or even a hundred years back are becoming popular once again. 

Names like Belinda and Olive are being unmothballed, dusted off and reintroduced. 

The rise in interest comes from parents who are going against the trend of trying to be fancy and giving their daughters retro and modern names. These parents are opting for vintage names maybe for retrospective reasons such as honouring a past family member. 

If you are wanting to find an old-fashioned name for your daughter, we have created a list of some of the tried and true names from the past. 

A

Abigail

Coming from the Hebrew word avigáyil this name means “father’s joy” or “fountain of joy”. Such a happy, bubbly name!

Ada

A shortened form of Germanic monikers starting with adai- Ada means “nobility”. 

Alma

Coming from the Latin, Alma means “nourishing”, “kind”. It speaks of someone who wants to encourage and uplift others.

Amelia

Here we have another name that has the German compound amal (“vigour”, “courage”). The main meaning of this name is “work” and indicates a person who is thorough and doesn’t slack off.

Annabelle

This name comes from combining Anna with belle (“beautiful) so that it means “beautiful Anna”.

Anne

Anne stems from the Hebrew ḥannâ (“grace”, “gracious”). A female that is so gentle and compassionate.

Anthea

A name that originates from the Greek ánthē (“blossom”). Just picture a young girl growing and blooming into her full potential.

Arlene

This name started as a reference to coins, then became a feminine name. It means “pledge” or “promise”.

Audrey

Audrey is a compound name made up of the Old English æþel (“noble”) and þryþ (“strength”). It means “noble strength”. A female that has dignity and confidence. 

Augusta

Roman emperor wives were given this title as an honour and means “great, magnificent”. 

Aurelia

Stemming from the Latin aureus (“golden”), this name means “the golden one”. It evokes images of one who is precious, with a shining personality. 

B

Babette

A name with French connections, Babette means “God is my oath” or “pledged to God”. A person who takes their word as their bond.

Barbara

Don’t be too concerned when you find out that this word comes from the root for “barbarian”. In Greek, it is bárbaros and simply means “strange” or “a foreigner”. Someone who is new to a place and is open to discovery.

Beatrice

Early Christian saints were given the Latin epithet, beatrix, meaning (“one who makes you happy”). From this root word we get Beatrice, a female who takes happiness and blessings wherever she goes.

Belinda

Two words come together to make this name. The Italian belle (“beautiful”) and the Latin form of the German word linde (“soft”). Belinda then can be taken to mean “the soft and beautiful one”. 

Bernadette

A name that comes from the French and means “brave bear”. A female that is strong, courageous and fearless!

Blanche

Okay, imagine blanching something. What happens? It turns white. Now you are onto the meaning of this name. It comes from the Old French word blanc (“white”) and means “fair in colour”.

Bonnie

A Scottish name which means “fine”,” beautiful” and “charming”. A true lady-like female!

Bridget

Coming from the Irish Brighid, this name means “high” and “exalted”. Someone who is held in good regard and well-respected.

C

Caroline

A feminine form of Karl (Charles), Caroline means “free man”.

Catherine

Having its stem in the Greek adjective katharos (“pure”), Catherine means “one who is pure and clear”. It indicates honesty and openness. 

Celia

A name that comes out of the Latin caelum (“heavenly”). A person who comes across as though being sent from the divine. 

Clara

The feminine form of the Latin Clarus, Clara means “clear”, “bright” “famous”). Someone that is known and identified from far away because of her amazing personality!

Clementine

When we are pleading for mercy we ask for some clemency. Now you have an understanding of the meaning of this old-fashioned girl’s name. Clementine means “merciful”

Constance

This is a variation of the Latin Constantia. It is a name that means “consistency”, someone who is the same and doesn’t change. 

Cora

From the Greek kórē, Cora means “maiden” or “young lady”.

Cordelia

Having its root in the Latin cor (“heart”), Cordelia is an old-fashioned girls name that can mean either “heart” or “daughter of the sea”.

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D

Daphne

From the Greek dáphnē (“laurel”, “bay”), Daphne appears in Greek mythology as the guardian of freshwater sources. She eventually was turned into a laurel tree and so the name means “laurel tree”.

Delilah

A name that comes from the Hebrew Dəlīlāh (“delicate”), it means “she who has weakened”. A female that needs to be treated with care and love. 

Diana

Diana is translated as “goddess”. No mucking around there, it is a name all about the divine and heaven. 

Dorothy

An old-fashioned feminine name that is made up of the Greek dôron (“gift”) and theós (“god”). So Dorothy’s are “a gift from the gods”.

E

Edith

Here is another name comprised of two Germanic words, audaz (“wealth”) and gunþiz(“battle”). Edith means “success in battle”. Celebrate the victories in life!

Eleanor

Many girls may turn their noses up in disgust over having this traditional sounding name. Yet it carries an awesome meaning of “bright” and “shining one”. A girl who lights up the room with her personality.

Eliza

A shortened form of Elizabeth and an alternative spelling of the Hebrew name Aliza (“joyful”). Eliza means “My God is an oath” and “joyful”. It indicates a girl who has faith in her beliefs and from that flows her happiness. 

Eloise

An old-fashioned French name that means “healthy” and “wide”. A female who is vibrant and prosperous.

Emmeline

A variation of Amelia, this name means “vigour” and “bravery”. 

Emily

Stemming from the Latin aemulus, Emily means “rival” or “those in the other valley”. 

Esme

Okay, so this name may conjure up images of grandmas that smell like mothballs, but Esme is a great name. It comes from the French word esmé and means “esteemed”. A female that is held in high regard (like your grandma!).

Eugenia

This name may send shudders down the spines of most girls, but it comes from the Greek eugenes (“well-born”). Someone that is a blessing to all those around her.

Evelyn

Be thankful that you have this name, it means “desired” or “wished for”. Your parents really wanted you, and they still do. 

F

Felicia

Stemming from the Latin felix (“happy”, “lucky”), this name has fortune and good luck written all over it!

Florence

This old-fashioned sounding name come from the Latin flōs (“flower). Florence carries the meaning of “flourishing”. A female who is constantly growing and prospering.

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G

Georgia

A name that comes from the Greek geōrgós (“farmer”). So Georgia means “one who works on the farm”.

Gladys

This comes from the Welsh Gwladys and carries the idea of royalty. Some interpret the name to mean “land” or “nation” which ties in with the idea of royalty overseeing their land or territory.

Gloria

This name is Latin for “glory”. Short and simple.

Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn is Welsh and is made up of two words, gwen (“white”, “fair”) and dolen (“ring”, “bow”, “hair”). So the name is taken to mean “fair bow”. 

H

Hilda

A name coming from the Norse hildr (“battle”). A name that may sound old-fashioned yet contains strength and girl-power because it means “battle woman”.

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I

Irene

Irene is formed out of the Greek Eirḗnē and means “peace”.

Iris

A traditional name that comes means “the messenger of the gods” or “rainbow”.

Ivy

A name inspired by the Ivy plant. 

J

Joanna

Coming from the Hebrew Yôḥānnāh, Joanna literally means “God is gracious”.

Josephine

This is the feminine form of Joseph and in Hebrew, it means “Jehovah will increase”. An indication of a devout life.

June

June comes from the Latin iūnius, and means “vital force” or “youthful vigour”. Someone who is full of energy and life.

L

Lillian

A traditional name that stems from the Latin lillium (“lily”).

Louise

This is the feminine form of Louis and comes from the Frank words, hlūdaz “famous”) and wīgą (“battle”). So, anyone who is a Louise is “famous in battle”.

Lucille

Lucille comes from the Latin lux (“light”) and that is what it means…light. A girl who shines her light into the world.

Lydia

Lydia originates in the Greek ludía and means “beautiful one” or “noble one”. A girl who acts right is always a beautiful person.

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M

Mabel

A girl that you can’t help to adore, no matter that she has an old-style name. It’s because Mabel means “lovable”.

Maggie

Maggie is a shortened form of Margaret, a name that comes from the Old English word meregrot (“stone from the sea”,”pearl”). Maggies are the pearls in our life. 

Martha

Martha comes from the Aramaic martā and means “mistress” (not that kind, but one that looks after a house) or “the lady”. A lady who takes care of a household. 

Matilda

With this name, we have someone who is mighty in battle. Matilda comes from Old Gream meht (“mighty”) and hilta (“battle”). A strong female who has confidence.

Miriam

This name comes across as sounding a bit formal and old, but it’s a strong name. The Hebrew is Maryām (“bitter”, “rebellion”, ruling one”, “wished for child”). Here we have a female that is wanting independence but also feeling part of the family as she had been wished for by her parents.

N

Nadia

A Russian inspired name coming from the word Nadéžda. Nadia means “hope”.

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O

Octavia

October (was the eighth month, not any more). An octopus has eight legs. An octagon is an eight-sided shape. Can you spot what all these have in common? Yep, eight and the prefix oct- (which means “eight). What does all that have to do with the name Octavia? Simply this, the name means “eight born”. That’s quite a large family!

Olive

A name that is simply a reference to the olive tree. 

Ophelia

Ophelia comes from the Greek ōphéleia, and means (“help”, “aid”). A selfless girl who is full of empathy and compassion. 

Oriana

For those who love mornings, then this name is an ideal choice for your daughter. It comes from the Latin meaning “sunrise” or “dawn”. 

P

Patricia

From the Latin word with the same spelling, Patricia is the feminine form of Patrick and means “noble”.

Paula

Paula is the female version of Paul and both names mean “small”

Pearl

This name means…yep, “pearl”. That prized stone from the sea. 

Penelope

Here we have a traditional name that combines the Greek pēnē (“weft”) and ōps (“face”) and means “weaver”.  

Phillipa

The feminine version of Philip. Both names mean “one who is fond of horses”. So, if you name your girl this, get ready to buy her a pony!

Phoebe

Phoebe is the female form of Phoebus, which means “bright” and “shining”.

R

Ramona

In Spanish, Ramona is the feminine equivalent of the name Ramon and means “protecting hands”. 

Rosalind

An old-fashioned sounding name but Rosalind has such a beautiful air to it. It comes from the Latin rosa linda and means “lovely rose”. 

Rose

We are carrying on our rose related names here, where Rose is inspired by the flower. 

Rosemary

There are two theories about the origination of this name. One suggests that it’s a combination of the names Rose and Mary. The second theory is that it comes from the Latin ros marinus (“the dew of the sea”).

Ruby

Girls love jewellery and what girl wouldn’t love to be named after a jewel, no matter how antiquated the name sounds. Ruby comes from the Latin rubeus, meaning “red”. 

Ruth

There is uncertainty around the origination of this name, but some tie it back to Ruth in the Bible. If that’s the case then this name means “companion”.

S

Sadie

This is a shortened form of the name Sarah (Hebrew śārâ). The name means “lady” or “princess”. Every girl dreams of being a princess!

Scarlett

Traditionally a surname, Scarlett earned first name status around 1936. It comes from the Persian word siqillāt which refers to luxurious silk dyed scarlet red.

Selma

A couple of theories crop up around the development of this name. It is claimed that Selma comes from the Arabic selim (“peaceful”). Another idea is that the name comes from the Celts where it is interpreted as “beautiful view”. Whichever way you swing regarding the origination of this name, one thing that can be agreed on is that it carries a tranquillity in its meaning.

Sophia

Let’s cut to the chase, Sophia is the Greek word for “wisdom”. The name may come across as old-fashioned but your daughter is sharing a name with a lot of girls from Ancient Greece. That’s exciting.

Susan

Here we have another word that has a foundation in Hebrew. The word is šōšannā and means “lily”.

Sylvia

Stemming from the Latin silvia (“wood”, “forest”), this name means “from the forest”. Also, the Latin word referred to woodland sprites. So, if you have a thing for fairies, elves and sprites, then you definitely want to consider this name for your girl.

T

Tabitha

A name that comes from the Aramaic Ṭabītā’(“doe”, “gazelle”). It is reminiscent of the grace with which the gazelle and deer move. A great name for a ballerina!

Thea

Thea is an alternative spelling of Theia. It means “divine” or “goddess”. 

V

Vanessa

This is a name that was created by the writer, Jonathan Swift, inspired by one of his students,  Esther Vanhomrigh. Jonathan combined the words Van (from his student’s last name) and Essa (a cute variation of Esther) and, voila, the name Vanessa was born!

Vera

A name coming from the Russian Véra. It means “faith” or “true”. 

Victoria

 Although a female name, it is Latin for “victory”.

Violet

This name means “purple” and was inspired by the colour of the violet flowers. 

Virginia

Derived from the Latin virgo, Virginia means “virgin” or “young lady”

Vivian

Vivre, life! Vivian is formed out of the Latin vivre (“life”). So much excitement with this name even if it does come across as a bit old-timey.

W

Wilma

This is the feminine form of William and both names come from the German Wilhelm. Wilhelm is a construction of Old German willo (“will”, “desire”) and helm (“protection”). Therefore, Wilma (and William) mean “one who has the will to protect”. 

Winifred

Let’s be honest, Winifred does come through as an old-fashioned name. But the meaning of this name is incredible. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon wine (“friend”, “protector”) and friþ (“peace”). So, that means Winifreds are “peaceful friends and protectors”. Be proud you have this name!

Z

Zara

This is an alternative spelling of Sara and it means “flower” in Arabic.

Zelda

A diminutive form of Griselda. It means “grey battle-maid” or “dark battle”. Be strong!

Zorina

Zorina comes from the Slavic language and the name means “dawn”.

Which name in the list did you put in your “maybe” list? 

Girls may not love the name you have chosen, yet you can come up with a variation of the name to modernise it. 

Other girls may appreciate the fact that they bear the name of one of their most beloved ancestors and wear the name like a badge of honour. 

Have you given any of your girls’ old-fashioned names? If so, let us know which name you chose and why.

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