Queen Victoria was the U.K.’s monarch for more than 63 years, which is a lot of time for trends to come and go. Consequently, Victorian girl names ranged from the family-born standards to those connected to Puritan virtues, flowers, the arts, ancient history, strong women, and a hefty dose of gothic horror.
Plowing through Victorian records, we found 1000s of names worth sharing but narrowed it down to our favorite 100. We’ve made a list of them to save you some time.
100 Victorian Girl Names and Meanings
These Victorian-era girl names range from fancy to cool to common, but they are all suitable for today’s girls.
The English name Adamantine is from the Ancient Greek adamas, meaning incorruptible, inflexible.
Adamas evolved into the Late Latin diamas, from which the English language word diamond came. Adamant comes from the same root, so this may be a name for a girl who knows what she wants.
The English name Agnes means chaste.
Agnes was in the U.S. top 100 girls’ names until the 1930s. However, what surprised us more was to discover that between 1880 and 1910, there were 112 boys in the U.S. given the name Agnes.
A Latinized form of the Ancient Greek name Alkestis, Alcesta means courageous.
In Greek mythology, Alcesta volunteers to die in place of her husband, Admetus. Hercules saves Alcesta from the underworld as a thank you for her husband’s help, but when she comes back, she refuses to speak.
This name may have come from the Spanish word alta, meaning high.
Alta California was established in 1804 as a province of New Spain. The area included what is now Utah, California, and Nevada and parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming.
Ambrosine is from the Latin name Ambrosius, meaning immortal.
This feminine form of Ambrose was never a wildly popular choice. However, enough of the ancient history-loving Victorians chose this for their daughters that we found multiple little Ambrosines during our research.
The English name Amity means friendship.
The 19th century saw a resurgence of the virtue names which had been popular with the Puritans. Amity is one of those Victorian names for girls that has positive connotations but has still fallen out of use.
An evolution of the Welsh name Angharad, Anchoretta means more love.
In one of the Arthurian legends, The Mute Knight was given his name because he refused to speak until Angharad Golden-hand professed her love for him, even though she did not know who he was.
This Ancient Greek name means to be mindful of a man.
When seen from Earth, the Andromeda Galaxy can be viewed in the area of the Andromeda constellation. The brightest star in the constellation, Alpha Andromedae, is a binary star, and Beta Andromedae is a red giant.
Created for literature, the English name Aramantha has no meaning.
Araminta Harriet Ross is better known to many as abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Called “Minty” by her parents, Tubman is thought to have adopted Harriet as her forename in honor of her mother.
Artemisia is a Galacian form of Artemis which is of unknown meaning.
The Artemisia Geyser is part of the Cascade Group of geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Erupting at irregular periods, visitors know an eruption is imminent because collapsing steam bubbles cause loud thumping in the Earth.
Asenath is an Ancient Hebrew name meaning devoted to the goddess Neith.
Asenath Waite Derby appears in the H.P. Lovecraft horror story, The Thing on the Doorstep. Part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe, the story was published in Weird Tales in 1933.
Aspasia comes from the Greek word aspasios, which means welcome embrace.
Born in the French colony of St. Domingue in 1800, Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault was a free woman of color who built an impressive business and land portfolio. However, she had to entrust someone else to buy land in her name. Her story has been the subject of a book, The Secret Trust of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault.
The Biblical name Bathsheba means daughter of the oath in Hebrew.
A movie, The Conjuring, says Bathsheba Sherman was a murderous witch who hung herself. However, in reality, she was a regular member of the community, and the only suggestions of witchcraft occurred after the movie.
The name Bellamira was created for a play but could mean beautiful, wondrous.
The 16th century English playwright Christopher Marlowe wrote a play called The Jew of Malta. In the play, there’s a courtesan he named Bellamira, and it’s speculated he made the name from the Italian words bella and mira.
The Old French name Bellicent may mean proper, amiable, strong, or powerful.
Bellicent first appears in a medieval Middle English poem called Arthur and Merlin. The name Bellicent was rediscovered when the original poem was reprinted in 1838.
Belvidera is an English name meaning a fair sight or good view.
The British Royal Navy launched HMS Belvidera in 1809. The Victorians, huge fans of heroic military action, began naming their daughters after the ship was involved in the War of 1812 and Napoleonic Wars.
Beulah means married in Hebrew.
Beulah reached peak popularity just as the Victorian era was coming to a close. This name was so popular that 638 girls and six boys were named Beulah in 1892.
Birdie began as an abbreviation of names with a BER sound.
In the 19th century, the information recorded on a birth certificate varied depending on where you lived and who was filling in the record. It wasn’t unusual for a nickname rather than a proper name to be recorded (1).
The Welsh name Blodwen means white flowers.
The 1878 opera Blodwen was the first to be written in the Welsh language. Performed over 500 times by 1896, Blodwen was released in the U.S. in 2019.
Boadicea is from an Ancient Celtic name meaning victory.
Boudicca was a 1st-century queen who led the Ancient Britons in their defense against the Roman Empire. Boadicea is a mistranscription of her name, which became commonplace in Victorian England.
Brilliana appears to stem from a town name called Brielle, which was sometimes called Brill and means marshland.
The 17th-century nobleman Edward Conway held multiple titles and government positions. One of those positions was the Governor of Brill. Conway named his daughter after the town, and within a couple of generations, it saw wider use.
From the Latin Caelestis, Celestia means heavenly.
In reference to her middle name, Laura Celestia Rockerfella, nee Spelman, was known as Cettie to her family. Spelman College in Atlanta was named after her.
Clarimonde may have evolved from Germanic elements meaning bright protector.
The short story La Morte Amoureuse, or The Dead Woman in Love, was published in 1836. It tells of a priest who falls in love with the beautiful Clarimonde but discovers she is a vampire.
Clementina is a Spanish name that means merciful or mild.
Photographer Clementina Maude built up a reputation for herself as a well-known amateur photographer during Victorian times. She mostly shot photos of her daughters.
Cleopatra is an Ancient Greek name meaning glory of the father.
As wealthy explorers sent news, stories, and artifacts back to Victorian England, the public became enthralled with ancient history. Consequently, Cleopatra began to crop up on Victorian birth certificates in the 1800s.
From the Late Latin Constans, Constantina means constant, steadfast.
Roman emperor Constantine the Great named his eldest daughter Constantina, and she was later made a saint in the Christian church.
Crescentia is from the Latin word Crescens which means to grow.
A 12th-century romance, Crescentia tells the story of a woman who is constantly mistreated by those around her. Eventually, she becomes a miraculous healer who cures those same people who mistreated her.
Daisy is an English flower name meaning day eye.
Between 500 and 700 little girls were named Daisy every year from 1880 to 1909 in the U.S., but it steadily declined in popularity before its revival in the 1980s.
An Ancient Greek name, Deidamia may mean to destroy or to tame.
Handel’s opera Deidamia premiered in London on Jan. 10th, 1741. It told the story of Deidamia, the daughter of King Lycomedes of Skyros, who had a son with Achilles.
The Hebrew name Delilah means weak, languishing.
The 17th century Puritans used the girls’ name, Delilah, despite the fact that in the Bible she is the woman who cut Samson’s hair, the source of his strength.
This anglicized Ancient Greek name means earth mother.
You may not realize it, but you’ve already heard of a famous Demetria. Demetria Devonne Lovato. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, singer-songwriter, actor, and producer Demi Lovato has recently finished filming Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil.
From the Greek word dysdaimon, Desdemona means ill-fated.
In Shakespeare’s play Othello, Desdemona is manipulated, falsely accused of infidelity, and ultimately murdered by her husband. However, Victorians still flocked to use this name for their daughters.
Dorcas is a biblical name meaning gazelle.
Today, a child named Dorcas is likely to be nicknamed Dork. Incidentally, the “fact” that dork is a word for a whale penis is an urban legend. Dork evolved from the word dick as an insult, probably in the 1940s or 1950s.
Dorinda can have multiple meanings.
Dorinda is a combination of Dora with “inda” on the end. Meanwhile, Dora can be short for Dorothea, meaning gift of God, Theadora, meaning God’s gift, or Isadore, meaning Gift of Isis.
Drusilla may come from a Celtic word element meaning strong.
In the Victorian era, Drusilla was seen as a suitable alternative to Dracula for little girls. Fans of classic horror that they were, parents in the 19th century weren’t worried about bullying on the playground.
The English name Edith means fortune, riches, or blessed, and war.
British author Edith Nesbit worked as E. Nesbit because during the 19th century, it was more difficult to be published if it was known you were a woman. Nesbit’s more than 60 children’s books are some of the foundational works of children’s literature.
Edna means pleasure in Hebrew.
In addition to being an old biblical name, Edna is also an anglicization of the entirely separate Irish name Eithne, meaning kernel or grain.
Effie was a diminutive of Euphemia which means to use words of good omen.
The other form of Effie is the anglicized form of the Scottish Gaelic name Oighrig, which means new speckled one. If I’d have known about this unusual name, it would have been used for our redheaded, inevitably freckled daughter.
The English name Eleanor is of unknown meaning.
Strong women, especially queens, were a theme in Victorian female names. Eleanor of Aquitaine was the queen of both Louis VII of France and then Henry II of England and was wealthy and influential in her own right.
Emerentiana is from Late Roman and means to fully deserve.
Fabiola: Or, the Church of the Catacombs was published in 1854 and tells a story of early Christian persecution in Rome. Emerentiana is a character in Fabiola, and the name saw a brief flair of use.
Esmeralda means emerald in Spanish and Portuguese.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame brought Esmeralda to the attention of English-speaking Victorians. Used sparingly during the 19th century, Esmeralda has seen steady growth in the U.S. since the 1950s.
Esperanza is Spanish and means hope.
Giving a twist to a mainstream name is nothing new. For English-speaking Victorians, Esperanza was an exotic-sounding alternative to the more common virtue name Hope.
Ethel is from the Old English word element æðel, meaning noble.
Ethel sat in the U.S. top ten names for girls from 1888 until 1903. Since then, it saw a slow but steady decline, falling out of the top 1,000 in 1976.
Etta is a short form of names with an Etta element.
Another nickname or shortening turned proper name, an increasing number of Victorians chose to give their children the names they would be using, rather than a forename that would be shortened.
Eugenie comes from the Greek name Eugenios, meaning well-born.
The most common English language pronunciation for Eugenie is probably yoo-JEEN-ee, but YOO-zhe-nee, yoo-ZHAY-nee, and yoo-JAYN-ee are all also correct.
Eula is from the Greek word eulalos, meaning sweetly speaking.
American opera singer Eula Beal was the only vocalist in the 1947 movie, Concert Magic. Billed as the first motion picture concert, Concert Magic also featured pianist Adolph Baller and violinist Yehudi Menuhin.
Euphrosyne means merriment or mirth in Greek.
In Ancient Greek mythology, Euphrosyne was one of the Charites known as the Graces in Roman myths. The Charites were a source of names for Victorians looking to distinguish themselves from those who chose virtue names.
A Spanish name, Eusebia means pious.
Given the birth name Eusebia, Xenia of Rome ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage. Escaping to Kos, she established a monastery for women and spent her life there, helping others.
Faith comes from the Latin fidere, meaning to trust.
Faith was a popular name for siblings or multiple births, where it was often used with Hope and Charity. For example, Faith, Hope, and Charity Cardwell were born in Texas in 1899 and are the oldest known triplets ever.
Flossie evolved from the Latin name Florentius, meaning flourishing.
This short form of Florence was used by Victorian Christians as a nod to Saint Florence and by non-Christians as a reference to the Italian city. The modern trend for city names isn’t that modern after all.
The Germanic name Gertrude means spear of strength.
Gertrude became a popular girls’ name in the Victorian U.S. in part because of the large number of German immigrants. Written Gertraud and pronounced ger-TROWT in German, it was a highly favored choice for those looking to assimilate.
An Old Welsh name, Gladys may mean country.
Victorian novelist Ouida wrote the novel Puck in 1870. Narrated by a dog, the novel includes a character called Gladys. Consequently, Gladys became a familiar name outside of Wales.
The biblical name Hephzibah means my delight is in her.
Hepzibah Swan was one of the earliest Boston socialites. When her companion Henry Jackson died, Swan had a tomb built for him in her garden and was interred there with him after her death in 1867.
Hesper evolved from hesperos, meaning evening.
Hesper and the slightly more elaborate Hesperia are both excellent Victorian girls’ names for those who are born after dusk but before the night sets in.
The English name Hester may mean star.
Hester also was written as Hesta and is a variation of Ester which may have developed due to mispronunciation or transcription errors. Ester may have meant star in Persian or could be from the Babylonian goddess Ishtar.
Honor means honor.
Honor, or Honour using the British English spelling, was popular among families with Puritan heritage. One of the virtue names, Honor was used for both boys and girls before becoming seen as a girls’ name by the Victorians.
Hortensia is from the Latin hortus, meaning garden.
While some trend-following Victorians chose flower names for their children, others looked for names or words that had a floral flavor. Thus Hortensia was dug up — pun intended. The variation Hortense was also used.
Iris means rainbow in Greek.
While most people see this as a specifically floral name, given the meaning of Iris, we think it would make a beautiful Victorian girls’ name for a rainbow baby.
From the Germanic word element ermen, Irma means whole, universal.
Irma S. Rombauer was an American cookbook author best known for The Joy of Cooking. With over 18 million copies sold and still in print today, Rombauer wrote the book on an impulse after her husband’s death left her penniless.
Evolving from the Greek name Isidoros, Isidora or Isadora means gift of Isis.
Highly acclaimed American dancer Isadora Duncan developed an ahead-of-her-time dancing style that embraced organic, free movement. Famous and in great demand around the world, Duncan is considered the creator of modern dance.
Iva has multiple meanings.
One version of Iva evolved from the Germanic, Dutch, Italian, and Portuguese name Ivo, meaning yew. The Czech and Slovene Iva grew from John, meaning God is gracious. Meanwhile, the Slovak version means willow tree.
Kezia is a biblical name meaning cassia, cinnamon.
In 1890, 137 babies were given the name Kezia in Victorian England. Virtually unknown in the modern world, Kezia and its variant Keziah are thought to be the root of the name Keisha.
The Latinized form of an Ancient Greek name, Laodamia means to tame the people.
Wordsworth published his poem Laodamia in 1815. It tells the story of Laodamia, whose husband, Protesilaus, sacrificed himself in the Trojan war. Laodamia prays for her husband’s return and dies herself when he returns to the underworld.
The meaning of Lavinia is unknown.
The marriage of Lavinia Warren and General Tom Thumb was one of the most extravagant events in 19th century New York. P.T. Barnum sold 5,000 tickets to the reception at $75 each, around $2,500 in today’s money.
The English name Lola means sorrows.
The name Lola was rediscovered after The Kinks released their 1970 of the same name. Lola was banned in many countries while other stations faded the lyrics.
Lucretia is likely from the Roman name Lucretius meaning wealth.
Born in 1793, Lucretia Mott was an American social reformer whose focus was on women’s rights after she was refused entry to London’s World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840. Mott co-wrote the Declaration of Sentiments at the Seneca Falls Convention.
Lucrezia is the Italian form of Lucretia.
The play Lucrezia Borgia was written by Victor Hugo in 1833, loosely following the life of the daughter of Pope Alexander VI. The political intrigue and embellished tales of debauchery appealed to the scandal-loving Victorians.
The meaning of Lystra is unknown.
Lystra Gretta was a nurse, then nursing school superintendent. Along with a committee from the Farrand Training School Grace for Nurses, Gretta wrote the Nightingale Oath, a modified Hippocratic Oath for nurses.
Mable is an English name meaning lovable.
In 1889, the year in which the name was the most popular in the U.S., more than one in every hundred baby girls were named Mable.
Mahala evolved from a Hebrew name meaning weak or sick.
In many countries and cultures, a mahala is a type of neighborhood or area of a larger city. Depending on where or by whom the word is used, it can have negative connotations, similar to ghetto.
Marcellina evolved from the Latin mars, meaning male.
Christian Victorians used the name Marcellina in honor of Saint Marcellina, who was born into a Roman family, raised her siblings after their parent’s death, converted to Christianity, and led a life of abstinence.
Also from the Roman word mars, Marian means male.
This girls’ name is considered by some as a combination of Mary and Anne, but Marian is also a Polish, Czech, and Romanian boys’ name.
Mattie is a nickname for Matilda, which means strength in battle.
As Mattie is also a nickname for boys named Matthew, Mattie could be an excellent choice to honor a male relative of that name.
Maude is a medieval form of Matilda, meaning strength in battle.
Maude and its variant, Maud, became rare after the 14th century. However, after the publication of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1855 poem Maud, this became a popular staple for the Victorians.
From the Greek word medomai, Medea means think or plan.
The Victorians loved a drama, and the myth of Medea tells the story of a woman scorned who murders her ex-husband and his new wife. This type of vengeful woman figure was popular among some repressed Victorian women.
Medora was a name created for literature and has no meaning.
Byron created the name Medora for a character in his 1814 poem, The Corsair. The same year, Byron’s niece was born and named Elizabeth Medora Leigh. It later came to light that Leigh was Byron’s daughter, with his half-sister.
Melvina possibly evolved from Mellville, meaning bad town.
Other possible explanations for Melvina are that it’s from the Scottish Gaelic Mala-mhìn, meaning smooth brow, or Celtic mythology, meaning chieftain. Another idea is that Melvina is a female form of Melvin, used for girls named after their fathers.
Mercy comes from the Latin word merces, meaning reward, wages.
Mercy is a puritan virtue name used by many Puritan descendants during the Victorian period. Recently rediscovered, Mercy has been in the U.S. top 1,000 names for seven years out of the last eight.
Milburga is an English name meaning gentle fortress.
Also spelled Milburgh or Mildburh, Saint Milburga was one of three Anglo-Saxon sisters who were linked to the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
Mildred is an Old English name meaning gentle strength.
Mildred L. Batchelder was an American librarian considered to have been a leader in children’s libraries as well as in the use of non-printed materials in libraries.
The Irish name Morrigan means great queen.
As you might expect, many Victorians were fans of strong women in general and female leaders in particular. This name’s meaning gave rise to its popularity rather than its association with the Irish goddess of death and war.
Morwenna is a Cornish name meaning maiden.
In addition to being a Cornish name, Morwenna is a distinct, separate Breton name from the components mor and gwenn, meaning white sea.
Myrtle is an English name from the plant of the same name.
Queen Victoria had a wedding bouquet of myrtle and snowdrops. Since then, almost every British royal bouquet has included a piece of myrtle taken from the plant grown from Victoria’s sprig.
Narcissa is probably from the Greek narke, meaning sleep, numbness.
In 1836, Narcissa Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding were the first documented European women to cross the Rocky Mountains to Fort Wallah Wallah, Washington.
The English name Ora means to pray.
As an English name, Ora was gender-neutral. However, the Hebrew name Ora is a purely feminine form of the gender-neutral name Or, which means light.
Petronilla is a Latin name of unknown meaning.
Victorians embraced Petronilla because it was the name of an early Christian saint. It’s likely they were unaware that in the 14th century, it had become slang for a prostitute or priest’s concubine.
Philadelphia is Greek and means brotherly love.
The capital city of Jordan, Amman, was once called Philadelphia, as were several places in the Middle East during the Roman period. The U.S. city came from the girls’ name, taken from the Roman towns, rather than the other way round.
Rhoda is a biblical name meaning rose.
Born in 1873, Rhoda Abbott refused her place on the Titanic’s lifeboats because she would have to leave her sons. Swept into the water when the ship sank, she was rescued from the water and survived.
Sadie is a diminutive of the Hebrew name Sarah, meaning princess, noblewoman.
In 1889, Sadie reached peak popularity as a girls’ name in the U.S., going as high as number 68 of 1,000. The name slowly fell out of use before reappearing in 1974, reaching number 50 in 2013, then hovering around number 80.
Semiramis is an Ancient Assyrian name, probably meaning high heaven.
Semiramis was the wife of the legendary King Ninus, and she ascended to the Assyrian throne after his death. An 1853 book, The Two Babylons, portrayed Semiramis negatively, but contemporary historians asserted this was unfair.
Stella means star in Latin.
Stella was first used as a name by a 16th-century poet and wasn’t in broader use until the 19th century. This name is currently popular in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, and England and Wales.
Theodocia evolved from the Ancient Greek name Theodosios, meaning giving to God.
The original Greek names Theodosius and Theodisia were used a handful of times in the Victorian era. Theodocia is likely a result of the mispronunciation of Theodosios, but it happened often enough to become a separately recorded name.
A Creole name, Theodorine is from the Greek Theodoros, meaning gift of God.
A total of 89 girls in the Victorian U.S. are recorded as being named Theodorine. This French-inspired version of Theadora was used predominantly in Louisiana.
Thirza is a Dutch name meaning favorable.
Thirza saw a short-lived flare of use in the Victorian era after William Blake published his poem, To Tirzah. Part of his 1794 illustrated poem compilation Songs of Experience, the poem is based on the biblical story of Thirza.
The English name Trinity is from the Latin trinus, meaning threefold, triple.
Observant Christian Victorians adopted trinity as a reference to the doctrine that there is one God in three forms. The phrase “The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost” is known as the Trinitarian formula.
Tryphena evolved from the Greek tryphe, meaning softness, delicacy.
Tryphena, queen of Syria, was both sister and sister-in-law to Cleopatra IV, whom she hated. After arranging for Cleopatra IV to be murdered in the temple of Apollo, Tryphena was captured and executed by Cleopatra’s husband.
The biblical name Vashti is of uncertain meaning.
In both Jewish and Christian holy text, The Book of Esther, Vashti was banished after refusing to attend a feat and display her beauty. Some tellings cast her as a feminist heroine, others a vain harridan.
The English name Verity means truth.
Puritans and Quakers named their children after virtues to avoid the possible idolatry of naming them after saints. Verity became less prevalent throughout the Victorian era but has seen a recent resurgence in England since the 1990s.
From the Latin word vesper, Vesperina means evening.
This name is an elaborate version of Vespera, which evolved from vespers, the evening prayer or services of some Christian churches.
Virgie comes from the Latin virgo, meaning maiden or virgin.
The Victorian period saw the beginning of the popularity of Virgie as a girls’ name. In 1904, 261 girls were named Virgie in the U.S., making it the 184th most popular female name that year.
Names Reflect Society
As the Victorians made their way through the 19th century, the names they chose reflected the changing attitudes, expectations, and values of the times.
From a small pool of family names to a wide range of exotic, ancient, religious, and arts-based monikers, Victorian girls’ names expanded as the world did.