Baby girl names
If you've found your way here, there's a good chance you're expecting a baby girl – in which case, congratulations! Here comes the difficult part though…what exactly to name her? Do you go traditional? Choose something guaranteed to stand out in a sea of more popular names? Or just go truly off-piste and make up something yourself? We've rounded up some of Mumsnetters' favourite names for girls, from traditional to cross-cultural, to help you get the ball rolling.
Most popular girl names
First thing's first – here are the top 10 most popular girls' names in England and Wales, according to the Office of National Statistics, who released the past year's data in September this year.
Traditional girls' names
If you're looking for a classic, traditional name for your daughter, this little lot should get you started – and if you're still stumped, we've got plenty more classic names to choose from. Here are a few of Mumsnetters' favourites:
Baby names by origin
Whether you're looking for a traditional name that speaks to your own heritage or are just intrigued by those from elsewhere in the UK, grab a notebook and prepare to start your shortlist…
Irish baby girl names
Even those with little to no connection to the Emerald Isle are tempted by their musical names – and we can't really blame them with stunners like these to choose from. If you're not Irish yourself, remember that there will be regional differences in pronunciation, and fadas (the accents above the letters) to get right, but we've included a general decoding for anyone who's not sure of some of the more puzzling ones. And if you'd like full details on the most popular names in Ireland last year (regardless of how, ahem, Irish they are), we've got you covered.
- Áine (pronounced awn-ya)
- Aislinn (pronounced ash-lin)
- Aoibhinn (pronounced ai-veen)
- Aoife (pronounced ee-fa)
- Cadhla (pronounced ky-la)
- Caoimhe (pronounced kee-va)
- Cliona/Clíodhna (pronounced clee-ona)
- Clodagh (pronounced clo-da)
- Fionnuala (pronounced fin-oo-la)
- Gráinne (pronounced gron-ya or gran-ya)
- Mairead/Mairéad (pronounced mur-aid)
- Nuala (pronounced noo-la)
- Réaltín (pronounced ray-al-teen)
- Róisín (pronounced ro-sheen)
- Saoirse (pronounced seer-sha)
- Sibéal (pronounced shi-bul)
- Sinead (pronounced shi-nade)
- Siobhan (pronounced shi-vawn)
- Síofra (pronounced sheef-ra)
- Siún (pronounced shoon)
- Sorcha (can be pronounced sor-ka or sor-sha)
English baby girl names
When it comes to proper old English names, Mumsnetters have plenty of suggestions that are rooted in history and
probably won't have other kids pointing and laughing at your daughter in the playground. While some of them might find their origins in other languages, like Scandinavian, Germanic, Latin and French, they're included here because of their common usage in England during one era/invasion or another. So, if you're looking for a name that's been around since Arthur pulled the sword out of the stone, or that would fit right in during the Industrial Revolution, you're in luck. Here are Mumsnetters' favourite English names:
Many of these names are still popular 200 years later and can rightly be called classic English names. Others might perhaps be due a revival – Damaris struck me as rather beautiful.
I was in a Saxon reenactment group, my Saxon name was Ceolwyn (pronounced Colwin) from the 11th century. It means 'River'.
An Old English name I like is Verity. This was one of the virtue names adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century.
Old English is quite a broad spectrum, so you've loads of choice! I've gone for a mix of early 20th century, Victorian and Middle Ages.
Scottish baby girl names
If you're after a name with some Gaelic influence of the Scottish variety, you're spoilt for choice. A word of warning though – one piece of advice from Scottish Mumsnetters that keeps cropping up is that Nessie is decidedly not a popular choice in Scotland…or even Gaelic.Ishbel is great. Quite strong-sounding to my ears.
- Ealasaid (pronounced ee-lee-sha)
- Eilidh (pronounced eye-li)
- Marsaili (pronounced mar-sa-li or mar-sha-li)
- Mhàiri (pronounced var-ee or varry)
- Rowan (pronounced with a row that rhymes with cow)
- Sine (pronounced shee-nuh)
- Vaila (pronounced vay-la)
I LOVE Alba – always have since I saw The Timetraveller's Wife (sob)!
You know you're really Scottish if you have a relative called Agnes, but to be honest, I would never inflict that name on a child! Of course, you can go down the traditional route of adding 'ina' onto the father's Christian name. For example Robina, or Hughina (but the 'ina' bit is never pronounced like 'eena'.)
Maternal maiden names were often used as first names which means that a fair few Scottish surnames end up as either boys or girls names or both.
Welsh baby girl names
Unsurprisingly, some of the loveliest names on this page come from that most musical of countries – Wales. Now, if you're Welsh, you'll probably be able to pronounce all of these traditional names without any difficulties at all. If you're not… may we suggest audio clips to learn the proper pronunciation – for a few of them, at least. This is mainly because of the different sounds in the Welsh language – some of which you'll find in the list below. They're tricky to explain phonetically, for example, the sound of Ll, which actually has no English equivalent, so it's worth double-checking that you're getting it right before you add it to (or cross it off) your list.Such gorgeous names – hopefully, I will be up-duffed soon so I can use one!
A lovely and underused Welsh name is Mai – May in Welsh. Stick that with a nature name in the middle – Mai Haf (May Summer), Mai Awel (May Breeze) or Mai Awen (May Muse).
Manon is the nicest name on earth.
We too are struggling with a girl's name, and would really like a Welsh one. I'm English but DH is Welsh and we've recently moved back to Wales. We'd also need to consider my useless English family who struggle to pronounce anything too difficult!
Muslim baby girl names
It's often difficult enough to find and agree on a baby name that you and your partner both like, without factoring two separate religions or cultures into the negotiations, too. To strike a balance between the traditions of both sides of the family, Mumsnetters have often taken to the Talk boards for advice on names that will tick all the boxes – for both parents.
While there are no hard and fast rules in Islam to say you must choose a name from a specific list, parents are encouraged to choose a good and virtuous name, avoiding anything with negative connotations (anything to do with war, for example). Which seems a good rule of thumb for anyone choosing a baby name, if we're honest. Here are Mumsnetters' favourites:Can you please give me some unique western-sounding Muslim names that would work in both cultures? My sister's all-time favourite name is Finlay but there doesn't seem to be a Muslim equivalent – believe me, she's checked!
- Kamilah (pronounced very similarly to Camilla)
- Miah (pronounced the same way as Mia)
- Zoya (OK, not strictly a nod to both cultures, but it's just so striking, we couldn't resist)
DH is Muslim but I am not, so we would like a Muslim name that works well for both his family and mine. We are living in the UK, so that is also a reason for having a name which is easy to pronounce/spell!
Really like Mariam – I've known some very cool Mariams! And I think pronunciation isn't problematic.