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100 Old-Fashioned Girl’s Names for Modern-Day Girls

Updated
These names go way back.

There’s something adorable about a tiny bundle of potential with an old lady’s name. However, how do you choose from the thousands of old-fashioned girl’s names available?

Easy.

We’ve done the leg-work for you and compiled this list of 100 vintage names for girls, complete with meanings and some fascinating facts to help. Every one of them can be found on the top 1,000 girl’s names of the 1880s, so you can be sure they are genuinely old-timey names.


100 Old-Fashioned Names for Girls

Especially for you, here are 100 spectacular old-fashioned girl’s names that are ripe for revival.

1. Adah

The Ancient Hebrew name Adah means “adornment.”

American actress Adah Isaacs Menken was famous for the stunt she performed in a stage show, Mazzepa. In it, she wore a nude stocking to give the impression she was naked. Quite the sensation in 1866!

2. Agatha

Agatha is a Latinized Greek name that means “good.”

Agatha is a 1979 movie about the famous 11-day disappearance of British crime writer Agatha Christie. In 1926 Christie left her home, and her abandoned car was found the next day. Nobody has ever known what happened.

3. Agnes

An English form of a Greek name, Agnes, means “chaste.”

In 1899 Agnes was the 37th most popular girl’s name in the US. It saw a steady decline in use until the 1960s when its popularity plummeted, falling out of the top 1,000 forever in 1973.

4. Alma

The English name Alma probably means “nourishing.”

The English form of Alma is thought to be based on the Latin word alamus, meaning “nourishing.” However, the Hebrew form of Alma translates as “young woman.”

5. Arie

Arie is a Hebrew name meaning “lion.”

Names meaning lion are found in many religions, cultures, and societies. For example, Ariel, Leaina, and Azida are girl’s names meaning “lion” or “lioness.” Apollo, Leon, and Singh are masculine equivalents.

6. Arabella

In Catalan, ara-bella means “now beautiful.”

Arabella is also a Medieval Scottish variant, via Annabella and Amabel, of the Late Roman boy’s name Amabilis which means “lovable.”

7. Augusta

The feminine form of the Latin name Augustus, Augusta means “venerable, exalted.”

There are places called Augusta in 23 of the US states, and the state capitals of both Maine and Georgia are named Augusta.

8. Aurelia

An Ancient Roman name, Aurelia, means “gilded, golden.”

Aurelia is a beautiful alternative to Aurora, which has become incredibly popular in English-speaking countries over the last decade.

9. Bertha

Bertha is an Ancient Germanic name meaning “famous, bright.”

Bertha began as a diminutive for girls with names such as Alberta, Ethelbert, and Roberta. In the 9th-century, it became a stand-alone name, and in the 19th-century, it was so popular it also saw use as a boy’s name.

10. Beryl

Beryl is an English name from the gemstone beryl.

The mineral Beryl is colorless when pure. Impurities create colors including red, green, blue, and green. Many people don’t realize that Emerald is a form of Beryl, so names such as Esmerelda can be considered parallel alternatives.

11. Beulah

Beulah means “married” in Hebrew.

In 1937, the Patent Office Society Journal declared Beulah Henry to be America’s leading feminine inventor. Henry held 49 patents, including one for a multicopy attachment for typewriters and a vacuum ice-cream machine.

12. Cecelia

Cecelia comes from the Latin word caecus, meaning “blind.”

Saint Cecelia was a noblewoman in ancient Rome who converted to Christianity. After refusing to make sacrifices to the Roman gods, she, along with her husband, was executed. Saint Cecelia is considered the patron saint of musicians.

13. Constance

Constance is Late Latin and means “steadfast, constant.”

At the age of 14, Constance Hopkins, along with her father, brother, stepmother, half-sister, and two servants, traveled to the New World on the Mayflower. After marrying Nicholas Snow, she had 12 children and 72 grandchildren.

14. Cornelia

Cornelia is from an Ancient Roman name, possibly meaning “horn.”

In 1880 Cornelia was number 147 on the top 1,000 girl’s names in the US. However, because most girls were given a handful of the top names, there were only 94 newborns given the name.

15. Clyde

Clyde is an English name of unknown meaning.

Before the 20th-century, there was less distinction between what was considered a girl’s name and a boy’s name. It was not especially unusual for girls to be given their father’s names, and in 1917, 124 US girls were named Clyde.

16. Delia

Delia is a Greek name that means “from Delos.”

Delia is also an English girl’s name that began as a short form of both Adelia, which means noble, or Bedelia, a diminutive of the Irish girl’s name Bridget which means exalted one.

17. Dahlia

Dahlia is an English name from the name of the plant.

The dahlia flower was named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl. The surname Dahl means valley in North Germanic languages, so this could be a floral girl’s name and a name with the valley meaning.

18. Dorcas

Dorcas is from the Greek word dorkas, which means “gazelle.”

As well as being a Greek version of the Aramaic name Tabitha, Dorcas was sometimes used to record the name, Dorothy. This was the case for 4-year-old Dorothy Good, whose arrest warrant at the Salem witch trials said Dorcas Good.

19. Docia

Docia evolved from the Greek name Theodosios. It means “given to God.”

Worldwide, there are approximately 1,127 people with the old-fashioned girl’s name Docia, and 475 of them are in the US.

20. Dolly

The English name Dolly means “gift of God.”

Born in February 1996, Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult somatic cell. She was cloned from a single cell of a sheep’s mammary gland.

21. Doris

Doris is an English name meaning “Dorian woman.”

In Greek mythology, Doris was a sea goddess of the rich fishing grounds to be found where the mouth of a river meets the sea and the fresh water mixed with the saline seawater.

22. Drusilla

Drusilla comes from a Roman name meaning “strong.”

The Roman name Drusus, from which Drusilla evolved, comes from the Greek word drosos which means dewy-eyed or fruitful.

23. Edith

An Old English name, Edith, means “fortunes of war.”

Edith was a popular name among Anglo-Saxon royalty during the medieval period. By the 15th-century, it had fallen out of style, but in the 19th-century medieval names became popular again, meaning Edith was a popular Victorian girl’s name.

24. Edna

Edna is an Anglicized Irish name meaning “grain, kernel.”

As well as being the Anglicized form of the Irish name Eithne, Edna is also an entirely separate Ancient Hebrew name which means pleasure.

25. Effie

The English name Effie means “to use words of good fortune.”

Effie is also an Anglicized form of the old-school Scottish girl’s name Oighrig. The meaning of Oighrig is new speckled one.

26. Elsie

Elsie is an English name meaning “God is my oath.”

Elsie is one of many short forms of Elizabeth, which is the English version of the Greek girl’s name Ἐλισάβετ, or Elisabet. In turn, Elisabet is the Greek form of the Hebrew girl’s name or Elisheva.

27. Eliza

Eliza is an English short form of Elizabeth.

Another short form of Elizabeth, in 1880, the name Eliza was given to 252 girls and six boys in the US.

28. Elnora

A form of Elenor, which means “the other Aenor.”

In 1889 Elnora Babcock became active in the women’s suffrage movement, becoming the first president of the Dunkirk Political Equity club. Babcock was also in charge of the press for the National Woman Suffrage Association.

29. Emmeline

This Medieval English name means “work.”

You can pronounce Emmeline as either Emma-line or Emma-lean. The downside of choosing this retro girl’s name is that you will probably become fed up with people pronouncing it the way you do not.

30. Erma

Erma is an English name meaning “universal, whole.”

Erma and Irma are essentially the same names, as both spellings are correct. Irma came first, and it is likely the Erma spelling came about because of the limited literacy skills of people recording the names.

31. Ernestine

Ernestine is a Germanic name that means “serious.”

Ernestine Eppenger was active in the gay and lesbian rights movement of the 1960s and the Black feminist movement of the 1970s. She worked under the name Eckstein to protect herself in cities where it wasn’t safe to be out.

32. Ethel

An English name, Ethel, means “noble.”

Ethel comes from the Old English name element æðel. This makes it a name relative of such diverse vintage girls’ names as Adele, Heidi Lina, and Alison.

33. Etta

This English evolution of Henry means “home ruler.”

Although Etta is considered a short form of Henrietta, and subsequently, Henry, this was not the case for the most famous Etta. Legendary blues singer Etta James coined her stage name from her real name Jamesetta Hawkins.

34. Eugenia

Eugenia is an Ancient Greek name meaning “well-born.”

Eugenia Smetisko was born in Austria-Hungary and became a naturalized US citizen in 1929. Smetisko rose to prominence in Chicago, where she claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Nicolas II.

35. Eula

Eula is an English name that means “sweetly speaking.”

Eula Hall described herself as a “hillbilly activist.” In 1973 she founded The Mud Creek Clinic in Mud Creek, Kentucky, a non-profit healthcare facility for the uninsured. The clinic was renamed in her honor after her death in 2021.

36. Eunice

The Biblical Latin name Eunice means “good victory.”

American philanthropist Eunice Kennedy Shriver was responsible for the creation of the Special Olympics in 1968. Shriver used her position as vice-president of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation to ensure the Olympics were funded.

37. Euphemia

Euphemia is an Ancient Greek name meaning “to speak well, positively.”

Although this old-fashioned girl’s name appears tricky to pronounce at first glance, it is surprisingly easy. The English language pronunciation is You-FEE-me-ah.

38. Florence

The English name Florence means “flourishing, prosperous.”

Florence Griffith Joyner, popularly known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete known for her distinctive personal style as much as her athletic ability. Her 100m and 200m World Records still stand, making her the fastest woman ever.

39. Francine

An English name, Francine, means “Frenchman.”

Francine has become a popular name for fictional people and animals. A retro elegant girl’s name, it has been given to a mom in American Dad, a sporty monkey in Arthur, and a snooty villager in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing game.

40. Gertrude

Gertrude is a Germanic name meaning “spear of strength.”

Gertrude is a classic German girl’s name with strong vintage appeal. However, be aware that pretty much every Gertrude in the world has had to contend with being called dirty Gerty at some point.

41. Gladys

The meaning of the Welsh name Gladys is unclear.

Gladys could be from the Welsh word gwlad, meaning country. Meanwhile, it’s been used as the Welsh form of Claudia, which means lame. It doesn’t mean princess, as some claim, nor is it related to the Latin gladiolus or small sword.

42. Gussie

Gussie is an English shortening of Augusta, meaning “to increase.”

While Gussie is usually a nickname, a total of 5,401 people in the US have this shorter version as their name. Of those Gussies, 5,023 are female, and 378 are male.

43. Hattie

Hattie is an English short form of Harriet.

Actress Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind. McDaniel was not allowed to attend the movie premiere as it was in a whites-only theatre.

44. Henrietta

Henrietta is a Latin feminine form of Henry.

When Henrietta Lacks underwent a tumor biopsy in 1951, some of the cells were taken without her knowledge. The cells were cultured and used to create an immortal cell line known as HeLa.

45. Hephzibah

The Ancient Hebrew name Hephzibah means “my delight is in her.”

There are two standard English language pronunciations of Hephzibah. One is to say the first syllable like Pepsi, but with an H instead of a P, and then add baa. The other is HEFF-ze-bah.

46. Hester

The Latin name Hester means “star.”

American archeologist Hester A. Davis was the first official state archeologist for Arkansas. She helped establish several national archeological associations and was instrumental in creating several federal laws that protect archaeological sites.

47. Honora

Honora is a Norman French name meaning “honor.”

A beautiful alternative to Nora, Honora is most common in Ireland and families of Irish descent in the US, England, and Canada.

48. Hortense

Hortense is a French name meaning “garden.”

The French pronunciation of this name makes the H silent, which is probably why it is more prevalent in French-speaking countries than in those where English is the dominant spoken language.

49. Hilda

A Germanic name, Hilda, means “battle.”

Hildr is the Ancient Scandinavian version of this name. The valkyrie Hildr had the power to revive the dead on battlefields which led to war referred to as Hildr’s game.

50. Hulda

The Ancient Hebrew name Hulda means “mole, weasel.”

While Hulda is a variant spelling of the Hebrew name Huldah, it is also a separate name from Norse Mythology, where it means secrecy, and a Swedish name meaning sweet, lovable.

51. Ida

Ida is a Germanic name meaning “work.”

Mount Ida is the highest point on the Island of Crete. In Greek mythology, the god Cronus wanted to devour his son Zeus, so Zeus was hidden in a cave in Ida to keep him safe.

52. Idella

Idella is an English elaboration of Ida, meaning “work.”

Educator, civil rights activist, and historian Idella Jones Childs dedicated her life to teaching and spent 35 years working in segregated schools. Her home became a civil rights meeting place, and she is responsible for preserving many national monuments.

53. Inez

The English name Inez means “chaste.”

Inez is the English spelling of the Spanish name Inés which is, in turn, the Spanish version of Agnes, which is where we get the meaning, chaste.

54. Irene

Irene evolved from a Greek name meaning “peace.”

The original Greek spelling of this name is Eirene. In Greek mythology Eirene was the personification of peace and a bronze statue of her was erected in Athens. It became a popular motif on coins, vases and other decorative items.

55. Jemima

Jemima is Hebrew for “dove.”

As a name, Jemima has a very different impression, depending on where in the world you are, or a person’s cultural heritage. For many it’s a gentle biblical name, for others, it is linked to offensive racial stereotypes and slurs.

56. Keziah

Keziah is an Ancient Hebrew name that means “cinnamon, cassia.”

In the Bible Keziah was one of Job’s three daughters. Her older sister was Jemima which makes these a cute pairing of old-fashioned girl’s names.

57. Lavinia

Lavinia is a Roman name of unknown meaning.

Lavinia Fisher was a 19th-century woman who owned an inn in Charlston, South Carolina. She, along with her husband were found guilty of highway robbery and executed.

58. Letha

Letha is an English name meaning “truth.”

Thought to be a short form of Aletha, Letha is a Marvel character, and part of the Grapplers, a team of female supervillains.

59. Lillian

Lillian is an English name, possibly from the Latin Lilium, meaning “lily.”

Although the name Lillian could be an elaborate form of Lily, it was also used as an abbreviated version of Elizabeth. This makes it an ideal homage to a relative with the name Elizabeth, without using the actual name.

60. Lottie

Lottie is an English short form of Charlotte.

Lottie Graves-Claiborn was an American model and burlesque dancer from the late 1940s until the early 1980s. She was given the nickname Lottie the Body.

61. Louella

Louella is an evolution of the German name Ludwig meaning “famous battle.”

Louella was a popular Victorian girl’s name in the US during the 1880s. There are currently 10,146 Louellas in the United States which is over two-thirds of all the world’s Louellas!

62. Lucretia

Lucretia is a Roman name meaning “money, wealth.”

There are numerous classical paintings titled Lucretia. Each depicts the moment Roman noblewoman Lucretia took her own life, instigating the overthrow of the Roman monarchy.

63. Lula

Lula is an English name evolved from names with a lou sound.

As well as being an English language girl’s name, Lula is also a Brazillian Portugesse boy’s name, short for Luiz.

64. Juanita

Juanita is a Spanish name meaning “God is gracious.”

The Spanish name Juanita is most popular in the US where 1 in every 1,648 girl’s have this name. Compare this to Spain where it’s 1 in 43,004, Mexico where it’s 1 in 2,610, and Argentina where it’s 1 in 22,324.

65. Mabel

Mabel is a Medieval English name meaning “lovable.”

Mabel evolved from Amabilis, an Ancient Roman boy’s name which makes it a relative of Anabel, Annabella, Arabella, and Maybelline.

66. Madge

Madge is an English pet form of Margaret meaning “pearl.”

Madge has also been used as a diminutive of Madeline and in the British tabloid press Madge is a pet name often used when writing about Madonna.

67. Mahala

The English name Mahala means “weak, sick.”

Mahala is a variant spelling of the much older, Ancient Hebrew name Mahlah. Some historians suspect it may have arisen because of the limited literacy skills of someone recording a birth.

68. Mamie

Mamie is an affectionate form of the English names Mary and Margaret.

Although relatively popular in English-speaking countries during the Victorian era, Mamie has fallen almost entirely out of use. It is also an affectionate term, in French-speaking countries, for grandmother.

69. Marion

Marion is a Medieval French form of Mary.

Marion is an early example of a surname being adapted as a first name. In France, Mary had evolved into Marie and then Marion before being used as a last name. It was then adopted as a forename for boys.

70. Martha

From the Aramaic word marta, Martha means “lady, mistress.”

Martha is a good choice for comic book or science fiction fans as this is the name of the tenth Doctor’s companion in Dr. Who and the name of Batman’s mother. The adoptive mother of Superman is also called Martha.

71. Maude

Maude is a Medieval English form of Matilda.

During the 1970s Bea Arthur starred as the protagonist of CBS sitcom Maude. The comedy was a popular topical sit-com in which Maude was a forerunner of today’s overly woke stereotype.

72. Mercy

Mercy is an English name that means “reward, wages.”

One of many Puritain virtue names, Mercy first saw use as a forename in England during the 16th-century. It was recorded in Orpington, Kent in 1554.

73. Meta

Meta is a Germanic form of Margaret.

Meta is a traditional Germanic seen most frequently in Sweden, Slovenia, and Germany. The correct pronunciation is MAY-ta, but in English-speaking countries you’ll have to battle the MET-ah pronunciation.

74. Mildred

Mildred is an Old English name meaning “gentle strength.”

In the Disney animated adaptation of The Little Mermaid Prince Eric tries to guess Ariel’s real name. The first name he suggests is Mildred.

75. Millicent

Millicent is from the Germanic name Amalasuintha meaning “strong worker.”

If you are not a native German speaker, Millicent is much easier to correctly spell and pronounce than its root name, Amalasuintha. Perhaps that’s why this is the version used for Barbie’s middle name. Her full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts.

76. Mina

A Persian name, Mina means enamel, azure.

As well as being an old-fashioned Persian name Mina is also an old-timey Sanskrit name meaning fish and an old-school English name short for other names that end in mina. That makes this a rare multicultural vintage name.

77. Minerva

Minerva is possibly Latin, meaning “intellect.”

Minerva was the Roman goddess of war and wisdom, the equivalent of the Greek goddess Athena. That makes this a great pair of old-fashioned names for twin girls.

78. Minnie

Minnie is a Germanic name that means “will helmet.”

Minnie Mouse’s full name is said to be Minerva with Minnie being the affectionate form of her full name. However, in addition to being a stand-alone name Minnie is more usually the nickname for Wilhelminna.

79. Minta

Minta is an English name of unknown meaning.

Minta Durfee was a silent movie actress and the first leading woman of Charlie Chaplin. Durfee was married to Roscoe Arbuckle, separating from him before his career-ending scandal.

80. Muriel

Muriel is derived from an Irish name meaning “bright sea.”

Muriel’s Wedding is the Australian comedy-drama that launched Toni Collette’s career. The story of Muriel Heslop and her quest to leave behind her boring life for the movies is as touching as it is funny.

81. Myrtle

Myrtle is an English moniker from the plant of the same name.

Until recently Myrtle had fallen off of the name radar. However, with the appearance of Moaning Myrtle, the bathroom-haunting ghost of the Harry Potter universe, Myrtle may once again make an appearance on the top name charts.

82. Nellie

An English and Swedish name, Nellie is short for names with a nel sound.

While Nellie is a cute vintage girls name you do run the risk of subjecting your child to a lifetime of Smelly Nellie or Nellie the Elephant jokes.

83. Nettie

Nette is an English pet form of names with an “ette” sound.

Nettie McBirney was an inventor from Tulsa, Oklahoma who wrote under the pseudonym Aunt Chick. McBirney invented a cookie-cutter known as Gramma’s Cutter, that’s still sold today.

84. Norma

Norma is from the Latin word norma, meaning “rule.”

The majority of people assume that Norma is a feminine version of Norman. However, Norma was created by Italian poet Felice Romani. It is the title and name of the central character of his 1831 opera.

85. Ora

Ora is an English name from the Latin Oro, meaning “pray.”

As well as being an English language name Ora is also a completely separate Hebrew name. The Hebrew Ora is a feminine-only version of the gender-neutral name Or, which is Hebrew for light.

86. Phyllis

Phyllis means “foliage” in Greek.

Greek mythology tells several stories about almond trees. One is the tale of Queen Phyllis who ends her own life in the mistaken belief her husband loves another. The gods took pity and turned her into an almond tree.

87. Rena

Rena is an English name meaning “born again.”

The feminine English version of René, Rena was most popular in the US in the 1880s. It has slowly declined in use, not falling out of the top 1,000 girl’s names chart until 1990.

88. Sophronia

The Ancient Greek name Sophronia means “controlled, sensible.”

There are currently a total of 438 Sophronias in the entire world, so if you want an old-fashioned girl’s name that you are almost guaranteed not to hear anywhere else, Sophronia is for you.

89. Tamar

Tamar means “date palm” in Hebrew.

Tamar is the self-titled debut album of R&B singer Tamar Braxton. The album features guest appearances by Amil and Missy Elliot.

90. Thirza

Thirza is a Dutch name meaning “favorable.”

This modern Dutch reworking of the Ancient Hebrew name Tirzah is virtually unknown outside of the Netherlands. It is an especially meaningful old-fashioned girl’s name if you have Dutch heritage.

91. Thomasina

Thomasina is an English name meaning “twin.”

In the Tom Stoppard play Arcadia, the main character is Thomasina, a precocious 13-year-old with a deep understanding of chaos theory and the second law of thermodynamics.

92. Tillie

Tillie is an English short form of Matilda.

The Palace Amusements building in Asbury Park, New Jersey featured the mural of two grinning faces. This mural was nicknamed Tillie.

93. Tryphena

Tryphena is a Greek name that means “softness.”

Tryphena Sparks was a cousin of writer Thomas Hardy. There is speculation that when she was 16 and he was 26 they became lovers. Sparks was Hardy’s inspiration for Far From The Madding Crowd.

94. Vera

Vera is an English name. It means “faith.”

In English slang, a Vera is a cigarette paper, specifically those used to roll marajuana joints. The name was short for Vera Lynn, rhyming slang for skin and a skin was a name for the roll-up paper.

95. Verna

Verna is an English name meaning “alder.”

The name Verna is the femminie form of Vernon, which is where we get the meaning “alder.” It is not, as some places claim, from the Latin word vernus meaning “spring.”

96. Vesta

Vesta is a Roman name meaning “fireside, hearth.”

The Roman goddess Vesta was symbolized by an eternal fire. Such was the Romans reverence of Vesta it was believed that if her fire were to go, Rome would fall.

97. Winifred

Winifred is an English name of mixed meanings.

First, Winifred is the Anglicized form of the Welsh name Gwenfrewi meaning blessed, white, fair, and peace. Second, the Anglicized spelling was changed to resemble Winfred which means “friend of peace.”

98. Zillah

An Ancient Hebrew name, Zilah means “shade.”

Zillah became more common in the US during the Victorian period, when names from the Bible, Greek and Roman mythology, and medieval royalty were popular.

99. Zora

The Slavic name Zora means “dawn, aurora.”

Zora is a cute old-fashioned name for girl’s and an unusual alternative to the currently popular Aurora. Zorica, Zarja, and Zorana are all similar, from the same name family and with the same meaning.

100. Zula

Zula is a Polish name meaning “lily.”

The Polish Zula is short for Zuzanna, the Polish and Latvian form of Susanna, meaning “lily.” Meanwhile, the English Zula is of unknown meaning.


Want more ideas for baby names? Check out our other articles!


What’s in a Name? History

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of cute, cuddly, edgy, and unique old-timey girl’s names, and if you haven’t found the perfect name here, consider checking out our list of Victorian girl’s names, Elegant girl’s names, or maybe last names as first names.

And if you still haven’t found the right name after that? Let us know what you’re looking for in a name and we may put together a list inspired by you.

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About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.

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