Choosing a baby name isn’t easy. For some a baby girl names come easy, and baby boy names are hard. Others really want to make sure they’re choosing names that are pretty gender neutral and many other factors that must hit to find their perfect name. There is so much that goes into a name — it’s one of the first things people know about you. It’s one of the first ways we make a first impression, and some people believe you can tell a lot about a person’s personality from their name. (You know… Karen… or Becky… those probably strike a picture of an adult you know with those names).
Here are 19 baby girl names that are short, sweet, and pack a big punch:
There are a few different ways to spell this name, pronounced like “al ee,” this is a cute name that could be a full name, or just a nickname. According to BabyCenter, the name means “noble” or “light” and is of German origin. If you are looking to use Ally as a nickname, consider Allison, Alexandra, or Alexa as a first name! Of course, it stands on its own as an amazing name. Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman captured our hearts in 2016, proving that little names can pack a big, powerful punch! It’s not the size of the package that matters, right?
There is so much about this name that just makes it pretty. It sounds good rolling off the tongue and it’s the perfect balance between unique yet not too out there. According to Nameberry, Anya is a Russian diminutive of the name Anna, and it means “grace”. It’s a name found mostly in Russia, Poland, and other Eastern European countries, but it’s also popular in Germany, Norway, Denmark, and The Netherlands (in these countries, it’s typically spelled “Anja”). It’s also a pretty popular name in pop culture! Audrey Hepburn’s character in Roman Holiday was named Anya, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will recognize the name from the cult classic TV show.
There are many people who take inspiration for their baby names from places around the world. This is one that’s gorgeous and doesn’t scream OMG you named your kid after that, while still having a flair there. If you want to use the name Asia, but don’t want to spelling to be so obvious, you have some options! Other spellings include Aja, Azha, and even Eja (how pretty is that?!). Geographical names are pretty popular, but you don’t have to sacrifice wanting a short, sweet name if you decide to go in this direction. Funnily enough, Nameberry lists Asia as one of the more popular girl’s names in Italy!
It’s hard to come up with a baby name that has only three letters, is feminine, easy to spell, and sounds really classy. When we hear this name, we realize that yeah, that’s going to be good for someone when they’re trying to spell their name for kindergarten. Aside from the ease of your little one learning how to spell (and write!) their name, Ava is such a classic name that you really can’t go wrong. The name is of Latin origin, meaning “life”, and has some pretty significant religious connotations (St. Ava was the daughter of King Pepin and was cured of blindness and became a nun).
Nickname or not, Bay is something that shouldn’t be over looked. If you’re a fan of nicknames instead of full names, this one is a beautiful mix of masculine and feminine. We’ve seen Bay used as a nickname for Bailey (but Beyonce fans may use it to pay homage to their Queen!). There are a couple of different meanings: as an English name, Bay means “auburn-haired”, but in Vietnamese, Bay means “born on a Saturday”. You could also use Bay if you’re looking for a nature-inspired name, or (just for fun) if you’re from the East Coast and have an affinity for Old Bay seasoning!
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These names with the duplicating vowel are just always so pretty sounding. They’re the best way to make a name cute, short, but powerful, too. Cara is one of our favorite names, for its simplicity, beauty, and classic feel. Its origins are rooted in Latin, Italian, Irish, and Spanish, and it means dear, friend, or face. It’s gotten a bit of a boost lately, since model and actress Cara Delevingne came onto the scene. We all want her eyebrows, so it makes sense what we would want to copy her name, too! Whether you pronounce it Care-ah or Car-ah, it’s a beautiful name.
This is one of the cutest names we’ve ever heard. It’s one of those that sound super classic and feminine, but has a uniqueness to it. According to SheKnows, the baby name Della has “been used commonly as an independent name since the late 19th century.” It’s of German origin, and means “noble”, which makes it even more perfect! You may recognize it as the name of actress Della Reese, but here’s a bit of pop culture name trivia for you: Donald Duck has a twin sister named, you guessed it, Della! So this would be a great option for Disney fans who don’t want something super obvious.
This name gives old school feel to it and seriously those names are classic for a reason. We really do need to be using them more often. We all know that an iris is a flower, but the name Iris also has origins in Greek, and means “rainbow”. The Greek goddess Iris is the human embodiment of a rainbow, and she was a messenger of the gods. According to Nameberry, in ancient times an Iris was a symbol of power and majesty. The three petals of the flower represented faith, wisdom, and valor. Sounds like a name befitting of a strong little girl.
This name kind of looks like a few letters were left off the end of it, but it’s gorgeous the way it is. According to BabyCenter, the name does mean Island, which is why it looks like those letters are missing. Isla as a baby name is a lot more popular in the past few years than before, now sitting in spot #70. Its origins are Scottish and Spanish (Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”, anyone?). In fact, there’s a River Isla that flows through Perthshire in Scotland. So if you’re looking for an obscure geographical name, this might be the one for you! Of course, you could also go with Isla because of its pop culture influences: actress Isla Fisher and Isla Black Hitchens from the Harry Potter series.
Sure, it might be most popularly known right now as a last name, but it’s not stuck to be only used like that. Seriously, how cute is this as a first name? Jolie is a French name meaning “pretty”, and we have to say, it would make an absolutely beautiful first name! The funny thing is, even though it’s a French name, it’s rarely used in France! If you want to use Jolie but don’t want people to assume you named your daughter after Angelina, you could change up the spelling a bit. Joely is a cute play on the name, too!
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OK, so the name probably automatically makes you think of that movie with the same name where the person does something that was probably not the best timing given they were in high school. But, Juno actually has some pretty cool origins! It’s a Latin name, meaning “queen of the heavens”, which sounds downright regal if you ask us. It also has origins in Roman mythology. Juno was the sister and wife (oops) of Jupiter, and the mother of Mars and Vulcan. She was the patron saint of Rome, and considered to be the protector of women and marriage. So definitely a strong, feminist name (minus that marrying your brother part).
Luz is not a baby name you hear too often, which makes it pretty special in my books. Urban Dictionary gives the best definition of a girl with the name Luz, “She can be really nice unless you mess with her, you’ll end up regretting it.” In all seriousness, this Spanish name meaning “light” has some pretty significant history. The name Luz refers to the Virgin Mary, or Our Lady of Light. It’s one of the most popular Spanish names for girls, and the “z” at the end gives it a nice modern touch. It’s also a great nickname for longer names like Lucinda or Luzana.
Mara isn’t a super popular name hitting at number 618 in the baby name chart in 2018, according to BabyCenter. But the name has a great reputation with Urban Dictionary saying, “This girl is someone you can trust and talk to. She is sooo beautiful in the inside and out. If you meet her get to know her. Before you know it you’ll already want to be her best friend.” Now, its meaning isn’t exactly … sweet. It’s derived from the Hebrew word marah, which means bitterness. BUT, if you’re looking for a sweet name with biblical connotations, Mara is a good one! You can find it in the Book of Ruth. Plus, actress Mara Wilson is in our hearts forever as Matilda, right?
This Russian name can be used for any gender and according to SheKnows, “People with this name have a deep inner desire to use their abilities in leadership, and to have personal independence. They would rather focus on large, important issues, and delegate the details.” Personally, we love a good androgynous name, and Misha is high on our list. Misha means “god-like”, so it definitely works for a boy or a girl (but she’d be goddess-like, we suppose!). It’s short and sweet as a girl’s name, but also different! And if you’re a believer in numerology, you’ll like this from SheKnows: “People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom.”
Yes, there’s a movie with this name. And yes, it’s still amazing. Nell is of English origin, and is a diminutive of Helen or Eleanor (nickname potential, perhaps?). It means “bright, shining one”, which is just so incredibly perfect for a little girl. It’s definitely an old-fashioned name, but it has so much potential! Did you know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used it as a pet name for his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt? So obviously, it’s a name with some star power and strength behind it. We definitely love the idea of using Nell as a nickname, but it totally makes a great first name in its own right.
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Classic name and we can’t get enough of it. You know when you hear the name Nora that she’s going to be some badass awesome you don’t want to mess with. But it’s also sweet and feminine! While it’s a popular Irish name (comes from the name Honora), it also has Greek origins, and means “light”. It’s a pretty popular name, coming in at #28 on Nameberry’s popularity charts, and we’re sure the pop culture references have a little to do with that. Late writer Nora Ephron (well known for her romantic comedies When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle) is one of the most famous Nora’s. But soulful crooner Norah Jones also hails by the same name, with an “h” added for oomph.
Many parents are fans of names that are as unique as their kid. If you are trying to steer clear of names that are on any top 100 list, this is a great choice. It’s absolutely gorgeous! Oria is an Italian name meaning “golden”, so it would be a great name for your shining star. It also has origins in Greek, where Oria means “from the mounatin”. In numerology, Oria gets lucky number 7. According to SheKnows, people named Oria “are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning. They tend to be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers. Because they live so much in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective, and are usually introverts.”
This name isn’t common and to be honest, we’re not sure why. Sana is perfection and has such a good ring to it. It’s simple, yet beautiful. Sana in an Arabic name, meaning resplendence or brilliance. Which makes sense, since Urban Dictionary says, “Her laugh can light up the world and her humour can bring happiness to the saddest of places. Very athletic, very motivated and very social, Sana is a person who makes the most of her opportunities and loves her music. She is an amazing friend, crazy awesome best friend, mind-blowing lover and stunning girlfriend.” Brilliant and resplendent, indeed.
It’s rare to find a name that starts with a Z and is short, sweet, and pretty. Zara hits all on that must have list. Zara is derived from Sarah, which means princess or flower. It has origins in both Hebrew and Arabic. It also has a royal history! Zara Phillips is a world champion equestrienne, and the only daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. That makes her the eldest granddaughter of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II! Obviously, we probably all know Zara as a clothing brand, but even if that’s your inspiration, it’s a good one. We love Zara’s stuff, and it couldn’t hurt growing up with your name on an actual label!
Do you have a favorite short baby girl name? Let us know what your favorite is in the comments below!
(Image: iStock / katrinaelena)