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Old Lady Names are Back

By Emma Davies


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We can all agree that Elizabeth, Nora, Alice, and Victoria are sweet old lady names, right? Well, in recent years, more and more babies are being given names like these. Current baby name trends suggest that old lady names are no longer just for old ladies.

Old Lady Names

Florence may be the name of your grandma or your best friend’s baby girl. Ceclia is a name well suited to a Nana doing her knitting, but also a baby girl born in 2023. The baby name popularity charts are filled with traditionally old woman names. No longer are names like Mabel, Edith, and Sophia exclusively used by the older generations.

There is no denying that some old lady names don’t need a resurgence in 2023. For example, we don’t envision many baby girls being named Gertrude or Olga this year! But there are several cute old lady names that sound just as fresh today as they did at the start of the 20th century.

The specific reason behind parents giving older sounding names to their baby girls is difficult to pinpoint. It is thought this trend could be linked to celebrity baby name choices, as well as the popularity of period dramas such as Downton Abbey and Bridgerton.

If you are thinking about giving your baby an old lady name, here are 30 of the best old fashioned names that are making a comeback.

Some of the Best Old Lady Names in 2023

1. Adelaide

  • Origin: German/French
  • Meaning: Noble kind

Adelaide is the French version of the German name Adalheidis. This German girl’s name is derived from the words Adal, meaning ‘noble’, and Heid, meaning ‘type’ or ‘kind’.

This Germanic name became popular in the 1800s, after Princess Adelaide of Germany married William IV, the British king. This name was also given to one of Australia’s cities and has also been bestowed upon several celebrity babies.

Adelaide is one of the names for older women that is shooting up the baby names charts. With various spellings and nicknames to choose from, Adelaide is a cute old fashioned name with a modern sound.

2. Alice

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Exalted/Noble

Alice is another name with German origins. Similar to Adelaide, Alice means ‘noble’ or ‘exalted’. The name Alice may have its roots in Germany, but it is believed to be derived from the French name, Aalis. This feminine French name is itself a version of the German name Adalhaidis.

Alice is one of those names that feels like it has been around forever and has traditionally been considered to be an ‘old lady name’. That being said, this name grew in popularity following Lewis Carroll’s famous story Alice in Wonderland, and is often associated with innocence and charm.

Alice is a sweet, feminine name and ranked number 64 in the most popular baby girl names in the United States in 2021. While it is most commonly used as a girl’s name, Alice can be used as a masculine name too – Alice Cooper being the most famous man to have this name.

3. Ava

  • Origin: Unknown
  • Meaning: Birdlike / Lively

Ava is another old lady name beginning with A, but its exact origins are unknown. This girl’s name is thought to have potentially originated in either Germany, or Persia. Ava has also been linked to ancient Latin and Hebrew.

Ava is often described as meaning ‘birdlike’ or ‘lively’. The German word aval means ‘guarantee’, but the Latin word avis means ‘birdlike’ or just ‘bird’. If you would prefer the Persian meaning, Ava means ‘sound’ or ‘voice’.

An alternative origin to this name is thought to be Hebrew. Ava is thought to be a version of the names Eve or Eva, both believed to have originated from the Hebrew name Havva, meaning ‘lively’ or ‘life’. Ava has been in the top 10 most popular girls’ names since 2009, most recently ranking at number 5.

4. Bea

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Bringer of happiness / Blesses

Bea is an abbreviation of the Latin names Beate and Beatrix. This name has several meanings, but they all focus on positive feelings. For example, Bea can mean ‘bringer of happiness’ or ‘joy’, but the Latin word beatus means ‘blessed’.

Beatrice ranks at number 47 on the list of the most popular girls’ names of the 1900s. Social Security Administration data shows that this name has been steadily growing in popularity since the year 2000 and is an old lady name ready for a comeback.

As the 565th most popular girls’ name today, Bea is a traditional name that is slowly coming back into fashion. If you name your baby girl Bea, you will be ahead of the curve and be giving your daughter an old fashioned name with a fresh feel, before every other little girl in kindergarten is called Bea too.

5. Betty

  • Origin: Hebrew
  • Meaning: Pledged of God

Betty is a cute name for a little old lady and for a bouncing baby girl. Betty is a derivation of the Hebrew name Elisheba, meaning ‘Oath of God’. The name Elizabeth is a version of Elisheba and Betty is a popular abbreviation.

Alternative meanings of Betty include ‘oath of God’ and ‘God is satisfaction’. This is a name that would be well suited for a baby girl born into a family of faith.

There have been many famous women called Betty over the years including actress Betty White and First Lady Betty Ford.

6. Cecilia

  • Origin: Latin
  • Meaning: Blind

Cecilia is an old fashioned name growing in popularity. This name is a female version of the Roman clan name, Cecil.

In the Middle Ages, Cecilia was the patron Saint of musicians and is believed to have sung to God. During this time, Cecilia became a popular name choice and it is having a resurgence today.

Cecilia is an adorable old lady name for a baby girl and there are several spelling variations to choose from. Cece is a cute nickname for Cecilia and popular variations of this name include Celia and Cecily.

7. Cora

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Care / Maiden / Heart

Cora is no longer just an old woman’s name. Thanks to its short and stylish sound, Cora has become a popular choice for modern parents too. This feminine name is of Greek origin and has several different meanings.

In Greek mythology, Cora (Kore) was an alternative name given to Persephone – daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and Queen of the Underworld. Cora is thought to mean ‘care’, ‘maiden’, or ‘heart’.

If you would like an alternative spelling, variations of Cora include Corah and Kora. Cora entered the Top 100 most popular girls’ names chart in 2015 and was most recently ranked at number 87.

8. Daphne

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Laurel Tree

Daphne is a girl’s name that has slowly been growing in popularity in recent years. However, at number 288 in the charts, Daphne still remains a rare choice of old lady name for a baby girl. There are several names for older women in the Top 100 baby names for girls.

This sweet feminine name means Laurel Tree and is derived from Greek origins. In Greek mythology, Daphne was a nymph and, in order to escape Apollo, she was transformed by her father into a laurel tree. The leaves of a laurel tree were used in ancient Greece to create crowns to symbolize victory in sports and the Olympics.

The recent comeback of this name is likely linked to the female character in the popular Netflix show, Bridgerton. Daphne is the lead character in the first season of the popular period drama and is known for her kindness, charm and beauty. Another famous fictional Daphne, is the smart and cunning character from the children’s cartoon Scooby Doo.

9. Delila

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Born on the Island of Delos

Delia is another traditionally old lady name that comes from Greek origins. This darling name means ‘born on the Island of Delos’. According to Greek mythology, Delos is the island where Artemis and Apollo lived. In the 17th, the Island of Delos became occupied by pastoral poets.

Delia is a short and sweet name by itself, but the name can also be an abbreviation of Cordelia and Adelia. Famous people named Delia include the American novelist Delia Ephron, British chef Delia Smith and the musician and composer Delia Derbyshire.

If you wanted to use a sweet old lady nickname for Delia, Dee, and Dee-Dee are popular abbreviations.

10. Dorothy

  • Origin: Greek
  • Meaning: Gift of God

Dorothy was a popular girl’s name at the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1902 and 1927, Dorothy was the second most popular name in the United States. Over the years, Dorothy seemed to lose its appeal and almost fell out of the top 1000 in 2011.

Dorothy has been making a comeback over recent years and was ranked number 483 in 2021, the highest it has been since 1990. If you want a sweet nickname, Dorothy can be abbreviated to Dotty, Dolly, or Dot.

The name Dorothy comes from the ancient Greek name Dorothea, meaning ‘gift of God’. The most famous Dorothy of the last 100 years is sure to be the character from the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz.

More Sweet Old Lady Names

Are you still looking for inspiration for the best old lady name for your baby? Don’t panic, we have 20 more ideas here for you. With hundreds of traditional girl names to choose from, you are sure to find an old-fashioned name that suits your new baby.

Here are a few more ideas to help you on your baby naming journey:

11. Edith

Origin: Old English

Meaning: War / Rich / Happy

12. Eleanor

Origin: Greek / French

Meaning: Shining light / Light-hearted

13. Etta

Origin: English (abbreviation of Henrietta)

Meaning: Ruler of the home

14. Evelyn

Origin: English

Meaning: Wished for / Desired / Island

15. Elsie

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: Pledged to God

16. Flora

Origin: Latin

Meaning: Flower

17. Florence

Origin: Latin

Meaning: Blossoming / Flourishing / Prosperous

18. Frances

Origin: Latin

Meaning: From France

19. Genevieve

Origin: German / French

Meaning: Of the race of women

20. Georgia

Origin: Greek

Meaning: Earth worker/farmer

21. Hattie

Origin: German (abbreviation of Harriet)

Meaning: Estate ruler

22. Ida

Origin: German

Meaning: Work

23. Ivy

Origin: English

Meaning: Vine / Climbing plant

24. Josephine

Origin: Hebrew

Meaning: Jehovah Increases

25. Lillian

Origin: Latin

Meaning: Purity / Lily

26. Mabel

Origin: Latin

Meaning: Dear / Lovable

27. Marjorie

Origin: Scottish

Meaning: Pearl

28. Olive

Origin: English

Meaning: Olive tree

29. Rose

Origin: Latin

Meaning: Rose (flower)

30. Thea

Origin: Greek

Meaning: Goddess / Godly

The Most Popular Old Lady Names

Giving your baby an old lady name is a lovely way to bring an older name back into fashion, while also following current baby name trends. With so many traditionally older lady names to choose from, picking the best for your baby can feel overwhelming.

If you need some help finding your dream baby name, you can check out popular name lists and pay attention to the names celebrities are giving to their baby. For example, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds named their second daughter Betty in 2019.

Recent data from the Social Security Administration shows that the most popular old lady names for baby girls today include: Oliva, Ava, and Evelyn. If you still need inspiration, check out names that were popular at the beginning of the 20th century, many of these are likely ready for a comeback.