I believe that a rose by any other name actually may not smell as sweet.
Historically popular, currently unique baby names
Everyone knows that there are traditional names that never go out of style. Think Katherine, Elizabeth, William, Andrew - basically royal family names in a spread of countries. They've been around since Biblical times and continue to surface throughout the generations.
Then, there are trendy names that cycle in in popularity. Names like Emma, Isabel or Henry. Today we would find these names in the history books, amongst your great-grandmother's friends, or the new baby next door. They've circled back around to current times and now they are modern sounding again and common place. There are also names that didn't see a resurgence like Gladys, Mildred, or Earl, though perhaps they just haven't come into their second heyday yet.
At any rate, there's something satisfying about giving your child a name that's been around for centuries. Maybe you already have a stylish first name picked out and you're looking for a more solid middle name. Or maybe you'd like a classic first name paired with a strong family middle name. Below are 10 vintage names for girls that begin with A that were fashionable way back when and will make an impact today.
Adelaide sounds right on trend today with so many Addisons and Adalyns running about. Originally a German name, Adelaide has also been popularized as a large city in Australia. It is dignified (it means noble), and has spanned the European continent from France, to Poland, to the Netherlands. The German princess Adelaide (later Queen Adelaide when she married into the English royal family in 1818) was charitable and much adored by her people.
Similarly lovely and related names are Adeline (with the last syllable pronounce with the long i sound) and Adele. The name Adelaide lends itself to a variety of cute nicknames like Addy, Aidy, or Laidy.
Agnes is certainly an old-fashioned name that sounds modern on a little girl of today. It has Greek origins and it means pure. In medieval times, St. Agnes of Rome was a widely-known virgin-martyr, spurring a rise in the use of the name. Its popularity ebbed and flowed over centuries and while it's still quite common in Scandinavia and nearby European regions, it's fallen into virtual disuse among English-speaking countries, making it ripe for an elegant comeback.
Similar names and translations from different countries include Agatha, Nesta, Agneta, and Inez/Ines. Cute nicknames for Agnes are Aggie, Nessie and Nessa.
This beautiful name isn't much of a stretch after years of Allisons, Alissas, and Alicias; however, it packs far more of a punch than any of the flighty A names we hear today. It's classic and definitely not overly used today, but it isn't weird or "trying too hard." Alice is traditionally a French name that means noble, exalted and truthful. It appeared as a surname in Europe in the Middle Ages, and saw a resurgence in the US in the early 20th century, though it has since dwindled in usage.
Related names include Celia and Eunice.
Alice can be sweetened to Allie or Lissa, and is an adorable start for a combination name like Alice Mae or Alice Eve.
Like many names, Amelia has old Latin roots, but evolved into it's more recognizable form from the traditional German. An early bearer of the name was St. Amelia in the 7th century who is the patron saint of farmers and fishermen. It also has royal historical significance and was the Victorian name of a favorite daughter of King George II - she even had an island named for her off US coast.
Amelia means industrious and hard-working (read Amelia Earhart), and while it sat on the shelf for quite some time, it's seeing a return to glory in the current day as a modern alternative to Amanda or Emily.
Some charming related names are Amelie, Amalia, and Emilia. Amelia can be shortened to cute nicknames like Mellie, Emma, Amy, and Mila.
Amabel has Latin origins as well that got some traction in Medieval France as the feminine version of Amabilis which means lovable and amiable. It saw frequent use in the Middle Ages, and then popped up again in the 19th century. It eventually morphed into the similar Anabel/Annabelle, and the diminutive Mable which was most popular in the early 20th century. Amabel is a lovely and delicate name that has its own classic uniqueness while not straying too far from current trends.
A few similar names are Annabelle, Amabella, Anabella, and Isabel. There are a lot of darling shortenings for Amabel such as Bella, Belle, Mabel, Ami, and Ama.
This 12th century name derives from the Latin word meaning "prayerful." It was given to the granddaughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland and is a sophisticated choice for a 21st century girl. It can also be ascribed the meaning of beautiful because of it's "-bella" suffix which pops up in other lyrical names like Gabriella and Isabella. Arabella was a favorite name in Victorian England but started to decline near the end of the 1800s, though it's been steadily regaining prominence in Western Europe since the early 1990s.
Like others on this list, it's conducive to nicknames like Belle or Bella, Ari, or Ara.
Araminta is a distinct and feminine name, thought to have originated around the 1600s. It's manner and place of origin, however are unclear, with various plausible explanations having been put forth over the years. It is often thought of as a cross between Aminta and Arabella, which would establish the meaning as prayer and defender. It has also been explored as a Hebrew name meaning "lofty and noble."
Despite mixed origin stories, this enchanting name came to popularity in the 1800s during the Classic Revival period, though it was short-lived and became rather obscure as the 1900s and forward.
Variations of this name include: Arminta, Aramitha, and Armitha, and possible endearing nicknames could be Minta, Minty, Ara, Minna, or Amy.
A beautiful name with Greek roots, Ariadne is derived from the elements ari (very, much) and adnos (holy), together meaning "most holy." In mythology, she was a Cretan goddess of fertility, and the name circulates from time to time when there is renewed interest in related names like Athena and Apollo. Adhering to conventional Greek spelling, it's often mispronounced by omission of the final long vowel. Ariadne is a unique and mysterious name that flows easily off the tongue and goes well with a trendier name that's easy to recognize.
Some related names are Ariana, Adriana, and Adrian, while cute nicknames include Aria, Ari, Danni and Ria.
Aurora traces its origins to the ancient Latin word for dawn, and it is borne by the Roman goddess of the sunrise. Her story is romantic and tragic, but the name itself is a gorgeous choice for a baby girl (if it's good enough for the astounding phenomenon of the Northern Lights, it's perfect for a girl with a bright future).
Even though it had been used as a name since the time of the Renaissance, it really took off during the Russian Revolution in the early 1900s after being the moniker of one its famous ships.
Aurora is most commonly found today in Spanish speaking regions, and it's an exotic and exciting name for new babies.
Nicknames for Aurora include Arie, Rory, and Aura.
Another Latin name with ties to ancient Rome, Aurelia means "golden" and was used as a third name to describe a person's attributes (likely "blonde"). There are several minor saints from early times given the name Aurelius, but it has never been a particularly trendy name in recent years which is unfortunate because it has a very pleasing look and feel. It had a small uptick between 1800-1930, but very little use in the later half of the century. The addition of this regal name elevates any ordinary name to exquisite levels.
Variations of this name include Aurora, Oriana, Aria, Ariella, Ophelia, and Auralie. Aurelia has some pretty nicknames such as Ari, Lia, and Raley.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 M Butler Stone