New Alternatives To The Most Popular Girl's Names

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 
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When naming their bundle of joy, most parents aim for the sweet spot. They don’t want a name that’s too “out there” (we’re looking at you, Frank-Zappa-who-named-your-daughter-Diva-Thin-Muffin), but they also don’t want their kid to be one of 20 in their grade (raise your hands, Jessicas of the world).

Popular baby names become popular because, well, they’re good names: Pretty, trendy, and likeable. But sometimes people like them so much that they start to feel a little … over-saturated. If you feel like the baby name you love is becoming a bit too mainstream, we’re here to help. This list of alternatives to popular girl names is perfect for you!

RELATED: Unique Middle Names For Your One-Of-A-Kind Baby Girl

1. Emma

This name has reigned supreme as the #1 most popular girl name for the last five years, so needless to say there are a lot of Emmas out there. If you like Emma, you’ll love …

Embry. This name, with Old English origins, keeps true to the “Em-” beginning. The “-bry” suffix (you could also spell it Embree) gives it a peppy feel. You could also go with Ember.

Mila. Still four letters, still keeping with the “a” ending, still retains the “m” sound. While Mila is popular — currently #14 on the charts — it’s not quite as widespread as Emma.

Amelie. The French form of Amelia, Amelie’s beginning sound is close enough to “Em” to appeal to people who love that name. It’s kinda like Emily, but French-ier.

Alma. This name shares both its “-ma” suffix and its vintage charm with Emma; in 1900, it was #57 on the Social Security Administration’s baby name popularity list. (That same year, Emma was #13.)

Remi. Between the first and last letters of this four-letter name we hear that perennially-popular “em” sound … which makes this name close, but still distinctive.

Etta. We could have just as easily gone with Ella on this one — following Emma’s “e, double-letter, a” pattern — but while Ella sits at a lofty #15 on the charts right now, Etta is much lesser-used but still in the top 1000: #951, to be exact.

2. Ava

Short and sweet, this name has been a top-five fave since 2006. And if you like Ava, you’ll love …

Savvy. An up-and-coming favorite — it isn’t even in the top 1,000 (yet), but was given to 40 baby girls last year — this one is unique and makes good use of that strong V in the middle … twice!

Nova. Still the same number of syllables and the same “-va” suffix that we love about Ava. It’s currently at #56, but its alternate spelling, Novah, is at #981.

Vada. Strong V? Check. Long “A” sound? Check. Two syllables? Check. Top ten? Nope … Vada is much more unique than Ava right now, standing at #986.

Ada. Wanna get slightly more similar to Ava than Vada? Knock off the front V, and you’re only separated by one letter. It’s a very similar sound, and has the same old-fashioned appeal.

Vivi. If you like short names that prominently feature the letter V, then Vivi is a perfect fit (you could even shorten it to simply “Viv” if you’re not partial to having more than one syllable). This could also be a fantastic alternative to the wildly popular Olivia (and Liv) as well.

Geneva. Granted, this one is definitely longer than Ava, but it has the same ending. It could be shortened to the nickname Gen, or you could even call her Neve.

3. Isabella

This name has been in the top ten since 2004, and was #1 in 2009 and 2010. It has many offshoots (does Bella ring a … well, you know?), but if you like Isabella, you’ll love …

Bellamy. With nearly the same amount of letters and the same “bell” sound, Bellamy has all the qualities of Isabella — but currently at #962, it sits at the opposite end of the popularity chart. Which, if you’re reading this, is probably exactly what you’re going for!

Gabriella. An Italian flair and the “-ella” suffix make this one a perfect substitute. Plus, where Isabella has the cute and spunky “Izzy” nickname possibility, Gabriella has the equally-spunky “Gabby.”

Alessandra. Another Italian beauty, Alessandra has the double-letter factor going for it (even if those letters aren’t L) and the feminine “-a” ending. Similarly, you could go with Alexandra, though it’s more common than this version, and doesn’t have that flowy, “romantic” feel that Isabella and Alessandra share.

Elizabella. If you’re stuck on that “-bella” suffix, you can’t get any better than Elizabella: A little bit Elizabeth, a little bit Isabella (at numbers 13 and 4, respectively), but this modern mashup of two favorites isn’t even in the top 1,000.

Estella. Firmly in the 700s, this name has every bit of the appeal but none of the overuse of Isabella. As a bonus, it means “star,” which is way cool.

4. Sophia

Probably bolstered by the sizzling glamour of legendary screen star Sophia Loren, and the wit of fiery “Golden Girl” Sophia Petrillo, Sophia has been in the top ten since 2006 — and in the top 20 since 2003, when it went from “old lady name” to new favorite. If you like Sophia, you’ll love …

Zosia. This one actually is Sophia — just the Polish version! With its similar-but-not-too-similar sound and its dazzling Z at the beginning, it’s the perfect substitute. And it’s never, not once, hit the top 1,000. You could call her “Zo” … how cute is that?!

Fiona. It isn’t Greek, like Sophia; in fact, it’s Irish in origin. But it does share the same long “E” and soft “F” sounds and the “-a” suffix. So while you may not immediately think of these two as similar names, they’re actually pretty close when you compare them side by side.

Soleil. “So” this may not be Greek either, or have that A at the end, but “so” what? It’s “so” perfect because of — you guessed it — the “So-” beginning! And soleil (pronounced so-LAY) is the French word for sun, which is fitting for the daughter who’ll be the light of your life!

Ophelia. This one actually is a Greek classic, like Sophia. And in terms of naming trends, it almost sounds like it could be a mashup of Sophia and Amelia, both of which are super hot (Amelia is at #8 right now).

Malia. This name might not appear very similar at first glance, but it shares the same number of syllables and the same sound at the end. Unlike Sophia, though, this isn’t one you’ll find in every classroom; it’s currently at #254. (Maleah, another spelling variation, is even further down the charts at #796.)

5. Charlotte

This has always been a popular name; the lowest it has ever been on the charts (since 1900!) is when it hit #308 in 1982, so it has literally never been out of the top 500. But it has been steadily rising since 1999, and thanks to a certain little princess, its popularity got another boost. If you like Charlotte, you’ll love …

Colette. Like Charlotte, Colette is a French name, and it shares its “C-” beginning, its “-tte” suffix, and that L in the middle.

Scarlett. With the same double-T, this is probably the only name out there that actually rhymes with Charlotte. Plus, color names are a trend right now, so Scarlett fits in perfectly with that too.

Caroline. They don’t exactly sound similar, but they look similar — nearly the same length, both ending in the same letters — and they both fall into the vintage comeback category. And surprise: both these names are feminine versions of the male name Charles!

Charlie. Speaking of Charles, this one nails the “Ch-” prefix like Charlotte, but it’s a less buttoned-up sounding version. And while this has been a longstanding favorite for boys, it has experienced a huge surge for girls; in 2005, Charlie was at #959, and now it’s at #152.

Lottie. This one is actually a diminutive of Charlotte, but less popular — it’s been out of the top 1000 since 1959. And according to Duchess Kate Middleton herself, Lottie is what friends and family call Princess Charlotte.

6. Everly

While Everly isn’t in the top ten names, it’s certainly destined to make it close to the top if it continues on its upward trajectory. It made its first appearance on the charts a mere seven years ago, when it was at #904; since then, it has skyrocketed 851 places to its current spot at #53 … and climbing! If you like Everly, you’ll love …

Everett. While it may not sound as overtly feminine as Everly, it does share the same beginning letters. And like Elliott — once considered a boy’s name but now standing at #535 for girls on the charts — it holds definite “crossover” appeal. If you wanted it to be a little more girly, you could spell it with an E at the end: Everette.

Eisley. The same first and last letters (and the same number of letters, too) make this a suitable substitute for Everly. Like Harper and Marlowe, Eisley is a surname-turned-given-name … and we see how well the transformation worked out for those!

Waverly. The similarities between these two are clear, but the “Wave-” beginning of Waverly makes it almost sound like a nature name. Which, by the way, is also a trend right now.

Novalee. A relative newcomer to the charts, Novalee has only been in the top 1000 since 2016 — but since then, has risen an impressive 170 spots (122 of those within a one-year span!). Its strong V in the middle, the similar-sounding ending, and overall cadence make it an excellent Everly alternative.

Ivvy. This one has never cracked the top 1000, but maybe that’s because it’s such a modern name. It might look like Ivy, but it’s pronounced IH-vee, with a short “I” sound. And given its proximity to names like Everly, Liv, and Izzy, it has a lot of potential for growth.

7. Amelia

Another example of a name that has literally never been out of the top 500 most popular, Amelia now stands at #8: its highest-ever rank. If you like Amelia, you’ll love …

Amelie. Hear us out: It’s Amelia, but in French. And while Amelia may be in the top ten, Amalie isn’t even in the top 700!

Cecelia. The parallels between these two names aren’t hard to spot, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why this is viable alternative. And it has the bonuses of so many cute nicknames: Celie! Celia! Cece!

Emmeline. This one sounds similar because it shares a root with Amelia: the Germanic element “amal.” It also features the adorable “Em-” prefix everyone loves — but unlike Amelia, and all its Em-name counterparts, Emmeline is at the bottom half of the charts. #784, to be precise.

Aurelia. Same first letter, same ending … the only difference is that it’s “me” in the middle of one and “ure” in the middle of the other.

Millie. Because it can actually be used as a nickname for Amelia, Millie is a shoo-in! It’s got the “m” and the “l” sound of Amelia, but with a slightly less fancy feel.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a popular name for your baby. They’re popular because they’re awesome and everybody likes them! But if you’re torn between the name you love and a desire to be a little less mainstream, these alternatives to popular girl names could be just the ticket.

For more baby name inspiration, check out Scary Mommy’s baby name section!

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