Help us name our daughter
November 7, 2015 6:20 AM   Subscribe

We're looking for strong girls names with spunk for our daughter. No wilting flowers need apply. Ideally the name wouldn't be in the top 50-100 most popular, but we're struggling a bit for ideas. What should we name her?
posted by david1230 to Grab Bag (117 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
The strongest girl I can think of, Scout.
posted by kinetic at 6:22 AM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Our daughter Shoshana is named after the strong female lead of Inglourious Basterds.
posted by amro at 6:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Victoria
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lyra. Heroine of His Dark Materials books: smart, strong, clever, and brave.
posted by Mouse Army at 6:28 AM on November 7, 2015 [20 favorites]


Athena, Ramona. Seconding Lyra!
posted by leslievictoria at 6:31 AM on November 7, 2015


Faye or Stella would be great.
posted by christinetheslp at 6:31 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Our daughter's middle name is Beatrix, after Beatrix Kiddo. We also know a Ripley, which is pretty damned cool.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


I have a wee list like this for any future children! Here are some I've been collecting:

Athena
Pepper
Harper
Verity
Lois
posted by ukdanae at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Piper.
Philippa (Pippa).
Mackenzie (Mack).
Charlotte (Charlie).
posted by kellygrape at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jane, like Jane Eyre - smart, resourceful, independent, and loaded with integrity. I also like the sound of the name - it sounds firm and decisive. Also Jane Goodall!

Elizabeth, like 2 very impressive queens. "I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too" said Elizabeth I. Also lends itself to many nicknames. Liz (Liz Lemmon), Liza, Lisa, Beth, etc.

Lucy, because Lucy Liu plays such smart, tough characters - also for Lucy Pevensie, who is brave and honest. Also Lucy Van Pelt who is kind of an ass but definitely marching to the beat of her own drum.

Congratulations!
posted by bunderful at 6:35 AM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Min or Minerva when she's in serious trouble.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:37 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


We were very close to naming our daughter Ripley.
posted by killy willy at 6:37 AM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


One way to do this might be to look at historical databases of popular names, and see what the women who participated in big social movements may have been named. For instance, there are a number of great names on this list of popular names from the 1890s, girls who would have come of age in the US perhaps campaigning for women's suffrage.

My favorites from there:
Rose
Margaret
Helen
Hazel
Cora

You can use the Baby Name Voyager to see when particular names peaked in popularity. I think one of the tricks to finding a "unique" but solid name is to find a once popular one that has more or less died out.
posted by phunniemee at 6:39 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


HA! I was going to say Ellen, for Ellen Ripley.
posted by mochapickle at 6:39 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aurora (Rory)
posted by debgpi at 6:41 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Frankie or Maxine....ran across an older woman named Frankie (not Francis, it wasn't a nickname) and she had spunk.
posted by irish01 at 6:42 AM on November 7, 2015


Artemis
Diantha*
Florence
Iris*
Alethea

*I know you said no flowers, but these can also refer to godesses.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:44 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Waverly
Hadley
Barlow
posted by Sassyfras at 6:48 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tess
Clare
Gwen
Nora
posted by katie at 6:56 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Roberta
Frances
posted by fancyoats at 6:56 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Faraday
posted by unknowncommand at 6:56 AM on November 7, 2015


Delia
Phoebe
posted by Lucinda at 6:58 AM on November 7, 2015


Bridget, the Irish goddess of poetry, fire and wisdom.
posted by Grumpy old geek at 7:03 AM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Frida
posted by palliser at 7:05 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would like to chime in on behalf of Athena, which is a really excellent name that was common among the Greeks I knew growing up, but which is weirdly underused by non-Greeks! GO FOR IT
posted by Greg Nog at 7:06 AM on November 7, 2015


I love the name Artemis, because Homer called her "Artemis of the wildland, mistress of animals".
posted by lollymccatburglar at 7:09 AM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Della, my favorite name, means "noble" and is #796 in popularity.

Min or Minerva when she's in serious trouble.

Ooh, or Mia, also short for Minerva.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:10 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was eyeing up Artemis, Ianthe, Ursula, and Micah for our little one. I would caution that I now know both a baby Artemis and a baby Athena, so others may be thinking along those lines too.
posted by teremala at 7:10 AM on November 7, 2015


Alexandra (protector of men.) But fairly popular. Could modify as Alexis, Alexia.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:15 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hannah, for Hannah Szenes.
posted by Slinga at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love all of these names, and my vote is totally for Athena. Who WOULDN'T want to be the goddess of wisdom?

To go in a different direction, though: I don't know that avoiding "wilting flower" names is going to have any effect at all in how your daughter turns out. I think with such an awesome, forward-thinking parent like you, she isn't going to have a problem being a kick-ass woman. Example: My Chinese name is 珊珊 (shan-shan), which means "coral". It is suuuuuuuuper feminine, and to be honest, I kinda like how when people hear it, they expect me to be a little 5-foot-nothing straight out of the pages of a manga, and then I'm . . . not (I am almost 5'11", olive-skinned, and have been described as "loud" and "blunt"). It makes people notice me for sure.

Just saying, if you fell in love with a "girly" name, you could be raising the most brutal "Violet" ever. :-D
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


I really like the name Ada, after Ada Lovelace.
posted by KernalM at 7:21 AM on November 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


I know a young lady named Maverick.
posted by corey flood at 7:32 AM on November 7, 2015


Serena or Venus
posted by gt2 at 7:36 AM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


My choice has always been Eleanor. She can be Ellie, the spunky kid from the movie Up! and then grow into Eleanor, the bad-ass gamechanger.
posted by kimberussell at 7:38 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nymbler is great for that. You put in the names you like and it comes up with adjacent names.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:44 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Harriet - Harriet Tubman (real life hero) & Harriet the Spy (fictional hero).
posted by sallybrown at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Joan
Jodie
Ruth
Vivian
posted by maloon at 7:47 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Francesca
Amelia
Marian
Julia
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:51 AM on November 7, 2015


I knew an Augusta some years ago. That was a cool name.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:52 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Quinn
posted by marimeko at 7:55 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dagmar
Hypatia
posted by Tchad at 7:58 AM on November 7, 2015


Catriona
Althea
Emmeline
posted by zennie at 8:05 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Riley, with Leia as a nickname.
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:09 AM on November 7, 2015


Eliot, Elis, Eloise - something along those lines
Penelope
Marlowe
Alethea
Fallon
Emerson
Romy
posted by hyperion at 8:10 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Janeway.
posted by daisystomper at 8:21 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Always a fan of women with "male" names that can derived from "female" names. Mike. Sam. Bobby. Mel. Mitch. Jake.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ooh, or Alana like the Alana books. Or Tamar?
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:24 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Zenobie, Zena for short (the "e" is soft, so "zeh-nah" not "zee-nah").
posted by lafemma at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2015


I had a baby this spring and spent countless hours brainstorming names. He's a sweet boy, so I didn't get to use my girl choice and I'll share it with you.

Margo Lois

This happens to be a family name, but I think it stands as a stylish name for anyone. Consider Lois as a first name too. It's classic and is similar to some popular current names (Iris, Lola), but unique. Plus she'll have Lois Lane as a reference! My kid would LOVE to see her name in a comic!
Margo is my all-time favorite, but I think it is trending up in popularity. I'd still use it in a second.
You may find some fun ideas reading the "Duana Names" column on laineygossip.com. Congrats on the baby!
posted by areaperson at 8:28 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also... How about Helen?! Classic and lovely and a tribute to Helen of Troy. I love Helena too.
posted by areaperson at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2015


Frances - means free
posted by Heloise9 at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Emma.
posted by zadcat at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Been listening to a lot of Hamilton lately, so...Eliza.

Diana is pretty fierce, too. Goddess of the hunt...and also the name of Wonder Woman.
posted by inturnaround at 8:34 AM on November 7, 2015


Emma is a lovely name that is also the #1 girl name in the US for several years.
posted by areaperson at 8:36 AM on November 7, 2015


Morgan
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:48 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I used the Supreme Court test--"Chief Justice Agatha Marshall" had a nice sound. But badass is as badass does--one of the most powerful women I know is named Trixie.

I like Dorothea.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:50 AM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Moxie" is probably too on the nose but I admit I kinda love it.
posted by babelfish at 8:55 AM on November 7, 2015


Assata
Bell
Angela
Harriet
Octavia
Audre
Zora
Laverne
Marsha
Sylvia
Alice
Bessie
Betty
Ruth
Alison
Portia
Marlene
posted by bile and syntax at 8:57 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ruth just conjures up strong women for me.
posted by delight at 8:58 AM on November 7, 2015


We also wanted a strong (but feminine) name for our daughter, and picked Veronica.
posted by hovizette at 9:05 AM on November 7, 2015


Edie.
posted by VioletU at 9:06 AM on November 7, 2015


Britta and Freya are some of my recent favorites.

What kind of last name do you have? You might want to look at myths and legends from the culture of the kid's last name.
posted by littlewater at 9:08 AM on November 7, 2015


Our little mountain climber is Josephine, aka Joey or (likely down the road) Jo. Her daycare folks like to call her JoJo. Wedidn't name her after anything/anyone in particular, but I admit being inspired by Jo March and (obliquely) the song "Joey" by Concrete Blonde. Yeah, I know it's about dating a drunk :P I love the power behind the sound and it really spoke to me about coming to terms with the realities of life because that's what you have to do if you love someone.

Plus we get to refer to her as Joey Jo Jo Junior Shabadoo.
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:12 AM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


Leonie and its lion-derived variants. The Misses Snickerdoodle all have variations of an Asian "lion" name for their middle names, and it's common in many languages so you can adapt it easily to fit your last name.

Also from nature are the tree names (Logan, Rowan, etc.) and water names (River, Oceane, Bay).

Or perhaps the trait names, such as Honor, Sage, etc. are more to your liking?

Good luck -- whatever you pick will be perfect.
posted by snickerdoodle at 9:20 AM on November 7, 2015


Also, I am reminded by the sounds coming from the living room that you must practice using said name in real-life situations. "Hypatia, no! NO!" Or "Janeway. JANEWAY!!! Get down from there THIS INSTANT!"
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:30 AM on November 7, 2015


Wow, no love for Simone?
posted by town of cats at 9:32 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alia.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:45 AM on November 7, 2015


Maeve
posted by pecanpies at 9:54 AM on November 7, 2015


My daughter's middle name is Eleanor, for Eleanor of Aquitaine.
posted by gaspode at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Alethea

My daughter is Aletheia. It's Greek for "truth", the name of a minor goddess, and the word that is being translated whenever you see "truth" in the New Testament. As we quote John 8:32 in our house, "You shall know Aletheia, and Aletheia shall set you free." The kid loves having a rare name, and it's worked out really well. In a pinch, she's Allie for short.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:00 AM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


So many beautiful names here! I wish I had AskMe when I had my daughters. Among the names I would've used if my third child had been a girl are

Alice
Rhea
Isabel
Virginia
Anaya

and my favorite of all time

Louise
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 10:02 AM on November 7, 2015


When we were pregnant, my #1 girl name choice was Signe, which to me speaks of legendary warrior women of the north. My husband vetoed it hard, much to my disappointment. Then we had a boy anyway so it didn't matter.

Other short-listers for us were Ada and Jane.
posted by trunk muffins at 10:13 AM on November 7, 2015


Samus
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:16 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Meredith
Eleanor
Arden
Quinn
Anneke
Marijke
Katja
Cora
Tamsin
Astrid
Carys
Freya (quite popular in the UK, apparently, though not breaking the top 500 in the US)
Zoria
Marion/Marian
Thora
Tegan

You can also join the Baby Name Wizard site and use their Matchmaker function to put in names that are almost right, then have it return its guesses for similar names (and you can adjust the popularity slider).
posted by wintersweet at 10:28 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Anthea
posted by brujita at 10:44 AM on November 7, 2015


Way back in my family there were a 'Heck' and an 'Indiana'. Both wonderful, spunky names for a little girl.
posted by tayknight at 10:47 AM on November 7, 2015


We named our baby girl Fiona, we thought that was a spunky name.
posted by cabingirl at 10:59 AM on November 7, 2015


Valerie
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 11:08 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really love the name Emma, but it won't pass the too popular test.

Here are some other maybe less common names that I like:

Cara
Margo
Margaret
Morgan
Isabel/Isabelle/Isabella
Penelope
Helen

If you're okay with some specifically Greco-Roman inspired names, in addition to Athena mentioned above (although Penelope and Helen also show up in Classical texts):

Ariadne
Hera
Persephone
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:12 AM on November 7, 2015


Seconding Verity and Harriet. I'll add Theodosia (I've been listening to Hamilton a lot too). She could be Theda for short, like actress Theda Bara.
posted by atropos at 11:20 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


We almost went with Harriett but daughter was christened a Hero.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:31 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any female last names in your family you'd like to carry on? I know women who have first names like Larkin, McCall, McKenzie, etc. because they were a grandmother's or female family member's last name. It's a cool way to carry on a woman's name when a family has adhered to the sexist practice of only carrying a man's name for generations. Unfortunately, I think it only works with classic American-sounding names (think Campbell, Callahan, Holbrook, Ellington, etc.) but maybe you can get a variation.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


These are totally ripped from the Iron Druid series but if I was to have another daughter she'd be named Granuaile Brighid Flidais.

Flidais is the Goddess of the Hunt.

Brighid is the Goddess of Poetry, Fire, and the Forge.

Granuaile is one of the most remarkable women in Irish history Granuaile or Grainne Ni Mhaille (ang. as Grace O’Malley) was a renowned sea captain who led a band of 200 sea-raiders from the coast of Galway in the sixteenth century. Twice widowed, twice imprisoned, fighting her enemies both Irish and English for her rights, condemned for piracy, and finally pardoned in London by Queen Elizabeth herself, her fame was celebrated in verse and song and in James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake.” Granuaile anglicizes as Grace if she ever wants to go by something easier for the average American to spell.
posted by Mitheral at 11:38 AM on November 7, 2015


Xena

Enough time has passed that she shouldn't be one of many kids her age with the same name (unlike Katniss, Arya, etc.)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2015


Selena

Nickname Lena.
Selena was the goddess of the moon, also half-Titan, which to me makes her stronger and more powerful than any other goddesses.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:50 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nimona. Boudica. Elphine. Zora.
posted by LucretiusJones at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2015


Vida.
posted by mdrew at 12:20 PM on November 7, 2015


Andromeda (meaning 'ruler of men').
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2015


Sisu pronounced see-soo. My gadget is not letting me copy and paste, but it's basically a Finnish word that means strength in the face of adversity.
posted by bendy at 12:44 PM on November 7, 2015


Zita!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:26 PM on November 7, 2015


Coraline. (Just read Neil Gaiman's book of the same title. She's a spunky little girl)
posted by LaBellaStella at 2:24 PM on November 7, 2015


I've always loved Fred/Freddie for a girl. It's cute & strong, a bit unusual, but not so unusual as to be difficult for folks to spell or pronounce. (maybe some y/ie confusion, but that's not too bad)
posted by imbri at 2:27 PM on November 7, 2015


Roxie
posted by subsupra at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2015


Going to put in a plug for my name, Margaret. Classic, strong but feminine, lends itself well to nicknames if you or your daughter end up going in that direction, and passes the supreme court justice/president test, IMO.
posted by MadamM at 3:03 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you want a strong name which isn't in the most popular list, you can go with mine (it's my username). I don't mind sharing and there's not many of us.

I'm named after Alan Moore's character, a.k.a. "what Wonder Woman should be if she hadn’t been destroyed by generations of idiots”. She's a very strong character, and, trying not to spoil anything from the graphic novel in case you haven't read it, I can tell you that the fact that it's the feminine form of the name Prometheus is not by chance.

For those times when the whole name sounds like too much she could go by Prom (as I do among English speakers) or Thea.
posted by Promethea at 3:29 PM on November 7, 2015


Annora (means honor)
Ailith (noble battle)
posted by gudrun at 3:31 PM on November 7, 2015


If I ever have girl twins (and that's a big if, but I dream), they would be Ursula and Octavia for Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler.
posted by theweasel at 4:24 PM on November 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Seconding Aurora, Maverick and Lois
posted by vintagequeen at 4:39 PM on November 7, 2015


There are many names listed above that make me think of strong girls, but I was surprised not to find Malala, arguably the strongest girl of our time. Per her book, she's named after the heroine Malalai, another beautiful name for a strong girl.
posted by kbar1 at 4:46 PM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


My daughter's name is Imogen. I love her name. We adopted her through foster care so I can't take credit for it. It's more common in Europe. Its a great name and she's hella strong. :)
posted by orsonet at 4:56 PM on November 7, 2015


Congrats! I love and find strong the names Zora, Maya, Alexandra, Siobhan and Alexis.
posted by soakimbo at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mavis is a name long overdue for a comeback. It's also my Grandma's name and the name I use as a pseudonym at my work. I used to think it was such an old fashioned and unpleasant name when I was a kid but I really love it now.
posted by h00py at 6:01 PM on November 7, 2015


Had my child been a girl, her name would have been Fiona Faye. Fiona from Burn Notice and Shrek are both pretty strong women.

Sonja was a secondary choice if not for my husband's memory of "Red Sonja".
posted by jillithd at 6:11 PM on November 7, 2015


Judith?
posted by Hypatia at 7:04 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amalia
posted by moons in june at 7:07 PM on November 7, 2015


If my son had been a daughter, we were planning to name her Ada after Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. It's a strong, old-fashioned name and we both loved it. It's trending up in popularity, but not as much as, say, Ava or Grace.
posted by Aquifer at 8:01 PM on November 7, 2015


Valor. Odessa. Flannery. Linnea. Iolanthe. Séverine. Aurelia. Capucine.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:45 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Stella
posted by txmon at 8:56 PM on November 7, 2015


Lyric, Ricky for short.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:27 AM on November 8, 2015


You need a name that will last her a century or more of shifting styles these days.

Elizabeth has been a solid name for centuries and is still going strong. There's nothing trendy or silly about it.
posted by pracowity at 1:37 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love Max as a strong girl's name. Not Maxine. Just Max. Jessica Alba's character in Dark Angel was Max and she was very strong and feisty. I fell in love with the name all the way back then.

Maverick is just awesome. Pick Maverick!
posted by Zaire at 3:20 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bianca
Cecilia
Lavinia
Laurie
Adeline
posted by momochan at 5:52 AM on November 8, 2015


Tilda.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:19 AM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


What's the family or ethnic history? Something from there might be a nice nod to her predecessors.

(I ask because sometimes taking names from outside your ethnic background can come out odd: I have a greatnephew who is white/Filipino/Chinese/Mexican/Apache, and his first & middle names are Hawaiian and Japanese....)
posted by easily confused at 6:48 AM on November 8, 2015


Freya is the worst name and you should definitely not choose it. Read: My oldest is named Freya and I don't want it to become super popular.

If I had another daughter, Brigid would be my first choice for badass names.
posted by 256 at 10:30 AM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nthg Quinn, Jane & Lucy (my grandmothers).
I also really like Zoe or Chloe.
Or Sera
posted by Kitty Cornered at 5:15 PM on November 8, 2015


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