15 Girls' Names That Sound Trendy, But Aren't

Apr 18th 2017

If you like melodic girls' names with a classic but individualistic style, you're in good company today. From Emily to Olivia, pretty sounds and vintage vibes are especially prized. But that doesn’t mean all the good names are taken - they’re just hiding in plain sight!

The 15 girls' name below were chosen for their harmonic tones and cultural substance. They feel timeless, yet unlike Emily and Olivia, they've yet to reach the top-1,000 names list. Let’s take a look.

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Briony. This literary name came to national attention with Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement, featuring a curious and determined main character named Briony (played by Saoirse Ronan in the film adaptation). The name is also botanical in origin, referring to a type of flowering vine. Briony is bright and beautiful - and rare in the United States.

Jemima. While it’s long been associated with the eponymous Aunt, Jemima could surpass its syrupy links with such a pretty sound. It’s similar to Gemma, but with a Biblical twist - Jemima was the daughter of Job, and means “dove” in Hebrew. Quirky yet classic, Jemima is a fabulous choice for lovers of literature, too (Beatrix Potter and William Thackeray both used the name).

Mirabelle. Dozens of -elle, -ella, and -bella names rank in the top 1000, but Mirabelle has stayed far under the radar. How has it avoided such popularity with an attractive melody, the meaning of “wonderful,” and a few great pop culture connections? It can also shorten to Mira or Belle, both excellent vintage picks.

Cecily. Sweet and sincere, Cecily has all the gorgeous qualities of Cecilia with a personality all its own. Cecily was popular during the Middle Ages, but has since been eclipsed by its Latin sister. Though it bears the trendy -ly ending, Cecily’s retro vibe makes it more friendly than faddish.

Isadora. An elegant alternative to Isabella, Isadora maintains the aural harmony with an uncommon ending. The name comes from the Greek for “gift of Isis,” and showed up recently in the children’s books A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s got quite a lot of nickname potential - Isa, Izzy, Dora - but the long form Isadora is truly stunning.

Elodie. Not Melody, Emily, or Eloise - Elodie is a hit in the UK and France, but hasn’t ranked in the United States since 1886. It’s a feminine, French pick that fits in with the El-names, but has a more subdued, melodic sound. There are plenty of great namesakes too, from athletes to actresses - Elodie is bound to find an audience soon!

Camellia. With Spanish Camila becoming a popular pick, why not floral Camellia? It’s soft and graceful, but allows for the edgier nicknames Cam and Cami. It’s especially perfect as an alternative to blossoming Amelia. In Korea and Japan, the camellia flower is a symbol of faithfulness and longevity - another fantastic connotation.

Juno. Mythological yet modern, Juno feels like a twenty-first century choice - but its numbers disagree. Europeans have taken to the name, but the recent indie film starring Ellen Page made Juno a nonstarter in the states. Now that the spotlight has passed, however, Juno could use its queenly history and accessible sound to gain a different kind of notoriety.

Beatrix. Since 1902, Peter Rabbit and his friends have delighted families everywhere, thanks to the impeccably named Helen Beatrix Potter. Beatrix’s connections extend from the literary to the cinematic (Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill) to the royal, with Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands reigning until 2013. If you want something energetic but more offbeat than Beatrice, look no further than this Latin choice.

Coralie. A favorite among francophones, Coralie is a lovely and poetic name that could be an alternative to vintage Cora (or a route to the nickname Cora). French chanteuse Coralie Clément is one notable wearer, with others appearing in film and fiction. It’s derived from “coral,” giving it an attractive nature link as well.

Marlowe. Sitting just under the top 1000 is this appealing surname option, with spelling variations Marlow and Marlo on the rise as well. It sounds like celebrity darling Harlow, but lends itself to being a unique honorific name as well, for Marys, Margarets and Marias alike. Noir detective Philip Marlowe adds an element of mystery to this cool unisex name.

Tamsin. The “in” sound is in, with Quinn, Brynn, and -lyn dominating the popularity charts - but Tamsin’s background gives it real substance, not flash. It’s a traditionally Cornish name derived from Thomas, with a plethora of namesakes in the UK. Tamsin is unexpected yet engaging, a choice that will will with all kinds of personalities and styles.

Avis. It’s got the sassy sound of Mavis and the contemporary feel of Avery, with a bonus connection to birds - in Harry Potter, the spell used to conjure a flock of birds is literally “Avis.” Though the rental car company has monopolized this charming name for a while, Avis may be ready to spread its wings with the rise of Ava and Alexis.

Jessamine. Originally a form of Jasmine, Jessamine is a great discovery for today’s namers: it’s similar enough to Jessica and Jessie to feel familiar, but the botanical link and old-fashioned -mine ending gives it character. Jessamine is a favorite among modern authors, too.

Cleo. Fearless and affable, Cleo works well for parents who like the sound of Chloe but want something with a little more spirit. There’s the obvious namesake Cleopatra, but Cleo names were also popular in the beginning of the twentieth century - Cleola and Cleona among them. Variant Clio is another option, with an ethereal edge. 

 

Read More: Quirky Classic Names for Girls

Comments

1
April 18, 2017 6:24 PM

The problem with Jemima in the US is not syrup, but the blatantly racist branding. For me as an older person, Jemima is still a problem in the US. Do younger people no longer find Aunt Jemima offensive? Of course Jemima has been used all along in the U.K. where it is not associated with slavery.

2
April 19, 2017 1:46 AM

I agree, it's still too soon for Jemima. White people may not be very conscious of the syrup's highly offensive history, but I think most people of color are well aware of it. It strikes me as a rather tone-deaf choice in the US.

The traditional spelling of the first name on this list is Bryony, for the flower. Briony looks like a misspelling, though I suppose it would be justifiable if honoring a Brian. The scientific name for the flower's genus is Bryonia, which would make a pretty alternative for parents who prefer a more elaborate version.

3
April 19, 2017 8:48 AM

How would you pronounce Coralie? Cor-uh-lie (rhymes with Lorelai) or Cor-uh-lee? 

4
April 19, 2017 12:39 PM

It's French, so -lee, like Amelie. It's not uncommon in southern Louisiana.

5
April 21, 2017 10:42 AM

Can you do a list like this for boys? I love all these names for girls, but I feel like girl names tend to be so much eaiser. Boy names that are not overused but have that same combo of classic and individulastic are so hard to find!