Inside: Looking for beautiful, old-fashioned girl names? This curated list of elegant vintage girl names, complete with meanings and namesakes, will give you plenty of unique choices for your beautiful baby girl!
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word vintage as “of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality: classic.”
Doesn’t that just sum up a mom’s hopes and dreams for her little girl? That others would see and recognize her enduring importance and value?
While certainly a name alone doesn’t dictate a baby’s future, isn’t it great when we can find a name that matches the vision we have for our little girls?
An elegant vintage girl name is a perfect way to show your daughter, right from the start, her inherent value – to communicate that she is timeless, classic, a valuable beauty.
Vintage names usually have a traditional, old-fashioned ring to them that automatically makes us nostalgic for the (seemingly) simpler days of the past.
When we think of vintage things, objects come to mind whose value doesn’t fade over time but only increases. While we are smitten with our daughters at first sight, they will only become more rare and beautiful as they grow into the little girls, teenagers, then the young women they were destined to be.
A girl’s name should reflect her greatness and her bright, bold future.
Related: 55+ More Adorable Classic Girl Names
50+ Old-Fashioned, Elegant Vintage Girl Names
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Sometimes you sift through old-fashioned baby name lists and wonder how anyone could possibly want to bring those names back?!
We tried our best to do the hard work of eliminating several rare baby girl names that, well, how can we can put this? They should probably stay rare and NOT be brought back.
You may disagree with our vetting process, and that’s o.k. (I hear you scoffing at Ethel). We hope you find THE perfect baby girl name on this list!
This Hebrew name means “Joy of the Father” and has been a popular choice in recent years. And who can deny that an adorable nickname “Abby” comes with it?
Two American First Ladies were also named Abigail (Van Buren and Fillmore).
Meaning “noble,” this English name is a favorite for parents wanting a traditional girl’s name. Girls named Adeline have been known to have artistic careers such as Adeline Andre (fashion designer), Adeline Yen Mah (author), and Adeline Canac (figure skater).
If you’re looking for a flower or nature name, Azalea is a great choice! It’s a Greek name that means “dry flower,” and the flower itself is a favorite.
For a name with strictly American origins, Birdie is an adorable choice. It means “little bird,” and it’s just as cute as it sounds. In the 1880s, it was a Top 200 name.
An English name that means “pretty girl,” this is a super-sweet choice! Singer Bonnie Raitt and actress Bonnie Bedelia are two famous women with this name.
Meaning “blade of the sword,” this Scandinavian name is a strong choice for a girl. It became popular due to the heroine in Sir Walter’s Scott’s novel The Pirate, published in 1882, and the red-headed comic strip sensation Brenda Starr in the 1940s.
7. Calliope (Callie)
How sweet is this name?!? If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you will recognize it from the more often feisty than sweet, orthopedic surgeon Calliope Torres.
Call her Calliope or Callie – both are equally adorable. It’s a Greek name that fittingly means “beautiful voice,” as Calliope was also the muse of epic poetry in Greek mythology.
This Latin name means “bright and clear” and is often viewed as “vintage chic.” This was a Top 10 choice in the 1880s.
Most famous as the character in The Nutcracker ballet, it is making a comeback as a choice for modern parents. Actor Ewan McGregor recently named his daughter Clara.
A variant of Clara, this name is also Latin and means “bright and clear” as well.
Clarissa was a main character in novels by both Charles Dickens (David Copperfield) and Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway). Additionally, Clarissa was the given name of the founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton.
Another name from nature, this has become popular in more recent days for parents wanting an alternative to Cora. It rose in popularity in the Victorian Era, when names for jewels were all the rage. It’s an English name meaning “reef formation.”
This is a Greek name derived from Greek mythology. Daphne was the river god’s nymph daughter. She was turned her into a laurel tree as protection from Apollo’s obsession with her. The name, fittingly, means “laurel tree.”
Other famous Daphnes include Daphne Moon from the TV show Frasier and the cartoon character from Scooby Doo.
An English name meaning ‘darling, dear, loved one,” could there be anything sweeter for a little girl?
In Christian circles, Australian worship leader from Hillsong, Darlene Zschech, has provided the most common recognition for this name.
Sometimes seen as a shortened version of Adelia or Cordelia, this name can really stand all on its own. It’s Greek for “born on the island of Delos,” which was the home of Artemis and Apollo in Greek mythology. It was also a descriptive nickname for Artemis, the moon goddess.
An English name that peaked about 100 years ago, it means “prosperous in war.” It’s gaining a foothold again in Europe and rising in popularity here in the U.S.
There are many famous Ediths for inspiration: author Edith Wharton, Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, and the heroine in Louise May Alcott’s very first novel which she wrote when she was 17.
Fun Fact: it is one of the oldest-surviving Anglo Saxon names. How’s that for vintage?!?
This Scottish name means “pledged to God,” and it’s considered one of the fastest rising names on the charts today. It lost some momentum when Elsie the Borden Cow became popular, but it’s on the rise again.
The voice of Agnes in Despicable Me is really an Elsie (Kate Fisher).
This is a name derived from Eastern Europe, said to come from both Amelia and Emilia. However, both of those names have different roots and different meanings.
Amelia, from German roots, means “work.” Emilia, from Latin roots, means “rival.” So the choice is yours!
A Persian name that means “star,” it is most commonly associated with Queen Esther (Hadassah in Hebrew) in the Bible. She was the Jewish girl who became a Persian queen and risked her life to save her people.
Other famous Esthers are swimmer Esther Williams, as well as characters in the films A Star is Born and Meet Me in St. Louis.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ethel was a Top 10 name for 16 years. An English name meaning “noble maiden,” it’s gaining popularity again. A notable Ethel in more recent generations is character Ethel Mertz, on TV’s I Love Lucy. Musical star Ethel Merman is another famous Ethel.
While Eula was popular in the early 1900s, this is a unique choice as only a few girls have this name in modern times. It’s a derivative of Eulalia, which is a Greek name that means “sweetly speaking.”
Think of a girl’s name taking the baby world by storm, and that’s what Gladys was around 1900, taking the #11 spot. It’s a Welsh name that means “land, nation.”
A popular Gladys in the U.S. is singer Gladys Knight.
This is a Welsh name that means “white circle.” Although Gwen is often short for Gwendolyn, it stands on its own today as a vintage name. Singer Gwen Stefani has helped bring this name back into recirculation.
(Notice a theme? Artists and musicians are bringing these vintage baby girl names back into the public eye, and hopefully removing any stigmas attached to them!)
If you like vintage names that also have a nature appeal, Hazel is a great choice! Meaning “hazelnut tree,” this English name was the choice of Julia Roberts as well as John Krasinski for their respective daughters.
This name was in the Top 25 at the beginning of the 20th century, and the wand of hazel symbolically represents protection and authority.
Related: 101 Whimsical Nature Baby Names with Meaning
23. Isobel (Isabel)
A variation of Isabel, this Scottish name means “pledged to God.”
Recently famous T.V. Isobels are Isobel Crawley (Downton Abbey) and Isobel Stevens (AKA Izzie from Grey’s Anatomy).
Although it’s an English named derived from the plant, the Greeks considered a ring of ivy as a sign of fidelity; in fact, a wreath of was often given to newlyweds, as it’s often seen as symbolic of faithfulness.
Ivy is also associated with Christmas, so this could be a sweet choice for a December baby girl.
This name has German roots, and it means “a member of the Gauts tribe.” Though historically Jocelyn was a boy’s name, modern times have designated it for a girl. Joss is a super-cute nickname that goes along with this name.
You may know this name from the Hunger Games book and movie series, and it appears Johanna may already be making a comeback, although it’s still in the 200’s according to most baby name popularity charts.
A more elegant version of “Joanna”, this vintage girl name comes from the Hebrew meaning “God is gracious”. You could always call her “Jo” for short.
Most well-known as the star-crossed teenage female lead in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this name is the purest form of vintage.
Taken from the name Julia, its roots are both French and English, and fittingly, it means “youthful.”
Related: 75+ Cute & Unique Baby Names (Different, but not Weird)
“Bay laurel” is what this English girl’s name means, and it’s making a comeback as a vintage baby girl name.
Sarah Jessica Parker chose this as a middle name for her daughter. Another famous Loretta is country singer Loretta Lynn. “Lorie” or “Lor” are cute nicknames for this beautiful old-fashioned name.
This name was in the Top 100 at the turn of the 20th century and is seeing a rise in popularity again among vintage names. It’s sometimes seen as a nickname for Charlotte, but it can stand by itself as a first name.
Lottie is of English origin and means “free man.”
I mean seriously, how cute is this name? Adorable for a sweet baby girl, it’s most popular days date back to when the social security lists first started back in 1880.
As an Arabic name that means “pearl,” it has a lot of attraction for modern parents who want a trendy but still old-fashioned name.
There are many allusions for this name: the location on Asia Minor, Paul the Apostle’s first European convert, and the youngest Bennett daughter in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
It has Greek origins and means “beautiful one” or “noble one”.
In the 1880s and 1890s, this was a Top 20 name.
Recently, it’s back on the popular names list. This classic name has been chosen by both Chad Lowe and Bruce Willis for their daughters.
It’s a Latin name that aptly means “lovable.”
This is an English name that means “high tower or woman from Magdala.” It has always been an old-fashioned favorite, and as recently as 1998, it was #50.
This name has made appearances in the works of Keats, Tennyson, and Dickens, as well as in the children’s book featuring the French schoolgirl by the same name. And you get the adorable nickname “Maddy” thrown in for free.
Right along with the super-cute Daisy, Maisie is another sweet option. Sometimes thought of as a short version of Margaret, Maisie is genuinely a vintage name all its own. It comes from Scottish roots and means “pearl.”
There are mixed opinions as to the origins and meaning of this name. Some say it has English and French roots, a combination of Mary and Bel; others say it has Egyptian roots.
Its meaning can either be “drop of the sea, bitter” or “beloved + beautiful”. Either way, it’s a musical name that’s an attractive alternative to the similar-sounding Isabel.
This is a German variation of the name Madeline, and it’s thought to be a combination of the names Mary and Magdalen. It was made famous by actress Marlene Dietrich when she put her two first names, Maria and Magdalena, together.
It has the same meaning as the name Madeline: “high tower or woman of Magdala.”
This name is a derivative of Margaret, which has Greek roots and means “pearl.” This goes right along with other month names such as April and June.
It was name #57 in the 1880s, and while it was popular as a middle name in more recent times, it’s making its way to the forefront as a baby girl first name choice.
A Welsh name meaning “great ruler,” this name is full of promise. Originally, it was a boy’s name, but now it’s primarily for used girls.
It peaked in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, but it’s seeing a resurgence as a vintage baby girl name even now, possibly due to Grey’s Anatomy Meredith Grey? (just speculating).
Actress Meredith Baxter Burney is just one example of a famous woman with this name.
This name is thought to be an offshoot of the German name Millicent, which means “strong in work.” Millie came into the top 500 names in 2018, showing that this classic name that was at its height in 1881 still can appeal to modern parents.
This Hebrew name is so cute that you’d never guess that it means “bitter.” Even still, with the vowel “ee” ending that’s so appealing in certain baby name trends, it could be a great old-fashioned choice for a girl.
There are many references to famous Molly’s, such as American Revolution icon Molly Pitcher and actress Molly Ringwald.
This is a Greek name, a reference to the botanical of the same name. In Greek mythology, myrtle is associated with love, youth, fertility, and peace.
Perhaps one of the most famous Myrtles is the fictional character Myrtle Wilson, from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
(I’m betting Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter series isn’t as likely to make this a winner.)
A Hebrew name that means “pleasantness,” it has seen waves of popularity over the years. There are also French (Noemie) and Italian (Noemi) versions.
This name in Japanese stands with a unique meaning all its own: “straight and beautiful.” It’s a popular choice for parents wanting a more uncommon biblical name but with vintage charm.
Model Naomi Campbell and actress Naomi Watts have helped to make this name popular again.
43. Penelope (Penny)
This name has Greek roots and means “weaver.” In Greek mythology, Penelope was Odysseus’ wife and pretended to weave garments to discourage suitors while her husband was at sea.
Penny is an adorable nickname you get with it when you choose this name. Actress Penelope Cruz has helped to make this name popular again, and it’s one of the most popular girl’s names starting with P.
Another girl’s name derived from Greek mythology, this one means “radiant, shining one.” Phoebe is another name for Artemis, the goddess of the moon and hunting.
There have been many famous individuals with this name: a church deaconess in the New Testament, female characters in The House of Seven Gables (Hawthorne) and The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger), and of course, the quirky blonde on TV’s Friends.
A Latin name that means “ancient” only demonstrates that this truly is a vintage name, even in the meaning itself. It dates back to the New Testament, referring to a woman who supported the Apostle Paul.
In more modern times, Priscilla Presley helped bring this name back into the spotlight. Author J.R.R. Tolkien also named his daughter Priscilla.
A beautiful Spanish name that means “pretty rose,” it’s a lovely choice for a vintage name. It’s a literary classic, used by both Edmund Spencer and William Shakespeare.
Rosalind reached its height in popularity as a baby girl name in the 1940s and is still a beautiful vintage choice for today.
This name has Eastern Europe origins, with roots from Russia, Ukraine, and Scandinavia. It means “wisdom,” and with its popularity peaking in the 1940s, it’s still an old-fashioned name choice. This name may be especially attractive to families with Eastern European heritage.
It can be pronounced with either the “o” as an “ah” sound or a long “o” sound – your choice.
This Greek name means “prophetess,” and originally, it was a generic word the ancient Greeks used synonymously. Though most popular in the 1920s, it stayed on the Top Names list until the 1960s. It has recently made a comeback due to the endearing Lady Sybil on TVs Downton Abbey.
This is an alternative spelling of the name Tricia, which is an offshoot of Patricia. Meaning “noble, patrician,” it has Latin origins.
First Daughter Tricia Nixon put this name back on the map.
An old-fashioned name that dates back to colonial times, this Latin word means “virginal, pure.” Interestingly, the state (well, colony really) of Virginia was given its name as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth, who was known as the Virgin Queen.
Fun fact: the first child to be born to an English family in the New World was little Virginia Dare. A more current and famous Virginia is author Virginia Woolf.
This is an old Greek name that means “hunter’s dart.” It also has been said to mean “gifted one.” For parents wanting a more biblical allusion, it is also referenced in Ezra 10:43, meaning “flowing now, selling, buying.”
This is truly a unique choice, as it is outside the top 1000 names.
Related: 60 Cute, Uncommon Baby Girl Names You Don’t Want to Miss
You Can’t Go Wrong with a Beautiful, Old-Fashioned Girl Name
Choosing a name for your little girl seems like an enormous task – a job you only get one chance to get right.
But rest assured – you really can’t go wrong with an elegant vintage girl name. It has already stood through the ups and downs of times and trends.
These names remain strong contenders if you’re looking for an old-fashioned name that will remain a classic throughout your baby girl’s entire lifetime – not just her first few baby years.
Read Next: 55+ Vintage Boy Names for a Truly Timeless Choice
Kate is a former high school English teacher and current SAHM to her 5-year-old twin boys. A lifetime New Yorker recently transplanted in Tennessee, she keeps busy by learning her new way of life in the South, doing home decor and DIY projects, blogging at A Hundred Affections, substitute teaching, and figuring out how to survive in a house outnumbered by boys. And she loves Jesus very much.
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