Alternative Girls Names

I have noticed on baby name forums that many perfectly lovely names are immediately dismissed because they are “too popular”. Indeed, I can see how parents may be slightly peeved when they proudly take their little girl Phoebe to nursery for the first time only to find that she is one of three Phoebes’ in a class of 18 and is now ‘Phoebe M’ to distinguish her from ‘Phoebe L’ and ‘Phoebe A’. 

New parents especially are susceptible to this naming faux pas of unwittingly choosing a name which is relatively popular. This is an easy mistake to make, especially if you’ve had little contact with children or babies until your newborn comes along. 

That said, I think if you love a name it’s popularity should not be an issue. Choosing a name you don’t really like just because it is unpopular is a dangerous business. There are no guarantees that even if you choose an unpopular name for your bundle of joy that yours will be the only one in her peer group. The best advice I can give is to go with your heart but at least do a bit of research in the process on the ‘alternative’ names available if ‘the’ name falls within popular territory. 

The list below shows the top 100 most popular girls names for 2009 as provided by the Office of National Statistics. I have suggested some alternatives based upon their origin, meaning, style, sound, amount of syllables and general feel. Some are already increasing in popularity and will no doubt enter the top 100 themselves within the next couple of years whereas others are definitely ahead of the curve and would be a brave (but stylish) choice! 

Do you have any better suggestions for alternative names? Do let us know. Boys list to follow shortly.

Position Name   Alternative Position
         
1 Olivia   Ophelia 421
2 Ruby   Ivy 281
3 Chloe   Clara 239
4 Emily   Cecily 795
5 Sophie   Sylvie 508
6 Jessica   Jessamine 4564
7 Grace   Hope 175
8 Lily   Iris 195
9 Amelia   Eliza 119
10 Evie   Enid 2326
11 Mia   Nina 235
12 Ava   Ida 726
13 Ella   Dora 1105
14 Charlotte   Juliette 621
15 Isabella   Allegra 630
16 Lucy   Elsa 283
17 Isabelle   Mirabelle 2148
18 Daisy   Daphne 1055
19 Holly   Hazel 398
20 Megan   Margot 879
21 Freya   Astrid 664
22 Poppy   Pippa 351
23 Phoebe   Xanthe 664
24 Summer   Meadow 897
25 Scarlett   Violet 135
26 Millie   Romilly 982
27 Ellie   Estella 2759
28 Amy   Mabel 471
29 Hannah   Nancy 157
30 Isla   Lyra 304
31 Katie   Sadie 179
32 Imogen   Genevieve 460
33 Erin   Tamsin 506
34 Maisie   Dulcie 689
35 Sophia   Louisa 255
36 Abigail   Tabitha 207
37 Jasmine   Evangeline 310
38 Eva   Vera 1411
39 Brooke   Blythe 1411
40 Molly   Polly 311
41 Emma   Rosa 250
42 Lola   Cora 537
43 Elizbeth   Penelope 328
44 Leah   Delilah 434
45 Lilly   Belle 525
46 Matilda   Ottilie 1411
47 Lexi   Cleo 471
48 Layla   Tallulah 255
49 Sienna   Cassia 1365
50 Alice   Beatrice 129
51 Isabel   Arabel N/A
52 Amber   Beryl 4564
53 Bethany   Naomi 131
54 Gracie   Eugenie 3031
55 Georgia   Josephine 260
56 Eleanor   Leona 346
57 Amelie   Elodie 324
58 Caitlin   Rosalind 1055
59 Madison   Madeleine 123
60 Isobel   Isolde 2759
61 Lauren   Seren 121
62 Rosie   Elsie 124
63 Keira   Aria 1248
64 Anna   Mary 227
65 Paige   Pearl 379
66 Maya   Luna 565
67 Lacey   Darcey 107
68 Maddison   Emmeline 897
69 Lexie   Trixie 3936
70 Aimee   Anya 147
71 Skye   Eden 150
72 Tia   Thea 260
73 Faith   Dawn 1752
74 Sofia   Sybil 3936
75 Zara   Tamara 530
76 Niamh   Ffion 210
77 Rebecca   Bianca 551
78 Libby   Elspeth 821
79 Sarah   Saskia 444
80 Florence   Dorothy 701
81 Martha   Agatha 763
82 Hollie   Olive 428
83 Zoe   Zeta 3936
84 Julia   Juniper 2759
85 Evelyn   Lavinia 1248
86 Tilly   Willa 2148
87 Alexandra   Miranda 783
88 Nicole   Louise 201
89 Harriet   Frances 647
90 Emilia   Cordelia 958
91 Lydia   Flavia 2759
92 Eve   Faye 144
93 Maria   Gloria 701
94 Rose   Fern 601
95 Esme   Ismene N/A
96 Alisha   Letitia 2148
97 Heidi   Adelaide 850
98 Francesca   Christabel 1526
99 Sara   Susan 865
100 Mya   Gaia 1209
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7 Responses to Alternative Girls Names

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  4. Hmmm… I know of a popular name blogger who recently did a very similar post. Definitely a fabulous idea.

    • Thanks for joining in the discussion Julie!

      I’ve come across several similar lists too but all were based on the US top 100 names. It has been really interesting comparing the two charts – not one single name is equally as popular in the UK and USA. Plus, 61 girls names in the UK top 100 don’t even appear in the US top 100. I must admit I thought that there would be more similarities.

      Do you prefer any of the alternatives to the originals?

  5. Gaelle says:

    Fab! Now you have to do the same for boys!
    G.

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