Old lady names: best old-fashioned names for girls
50 of the prettiest retro names for your daughter
Content Editor / November 16 2018
If you’re searching for a classic name for your baby daughter, consider choosing popular old lady names which will stand the test of time. Check back through your family tree and give a nod to your ancestors by picking a beautiful name that belonged to a beloved great-grandmother or cool aunt, or choose one of the common old lady names below. Here are 50 of our favourite old fashioned girl names.
Origin and meaning: The name Abigail is of Hebrew origin and means ‘my father is joyful’.
Famous namesakes: Actresses Abigail Breslin and Abigail Spencer.
Origin and meaning: Ada is of German origin meaning noble, nobility.
Famous namesakes: Actress Ada Nicodemou.
Origin and meaning: Adelaide is of German origin and like Ada also means noble or nobility.
Famous namesakes: Actresses Katherine Heigl and Rachel Griffith both named their daughters Adelaide.
Origin and meaning: The name Agnes is a girl's name of Greek origin meaning ‘pure, virginal’.
Famous namesakes: Model Agness Deyn. Agnes is also one of the characters in the funny movie Minions, while Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their daughter Agnes Lark.
Origin and meaning: Annabelle is of French origin and means “loving”. It’s a combination of the names Anna and Belle and a variant of Amabel.
Famous namesakes: New Zealand chef Annabel Langbein, British socialite Lady Annabel Goldsmith.
Origin and meaning: Arleen or Arlene is an Irish female given name and variant of Carlene or Charlene and in the French derived from feminine diminutive of Charles.
Famous namesakes: Mountaineer Arlene Blum, 1950s actress Arlene Dahl.
Origin and meaning: Beatrix is believed to be derived from the name Viator, which means ‘voyager, traveller.’
Famous namesakes: Children’s author Beatrix Potter, also French actress Beatrice Dalle. Beatrix Kiddo was the main character in Kill Bill, played by Uma Thurman.
Origin and meaning: Bernadette is of German origin and means ‘brave as a bear.’
Famous namesakes: St Bernadette was an Irish saint who saw a vision at Lourdes. Bernadette Peters in an American actress and singer.
Origin and meaning: This name is of Latin origin and means ‘heavenly’. Celeste has been in the top 1000 names every year since 1880. Well-known Celestes including comedian Celeste Barber and actress Celeste Holm.
Origin and meaning: This popular name is of French origin and means ‘free man’.
Famous namesakes: Well-known Charlottes include the Princess of Cambridge, English author Charlotte Bronte, and Charlotte York, a character in Sex and the City.
Origin and meaning: This pretty name is of Latin origin and means ‘bright, clear.’
Famous namesakes: Famous Claras include actress Clara Bow and musician Clara Rockmore.
Origin and meaning: From Latin and French origin, meaning ‘mild, merciful.’
Famous namesakes: Feminist author Clementine Ford. The name is also featured in the song “Oh, My Darlin'”. Claudia Schiffer and Ethan Hawke both chose this name for their daughters.
Origin and meaning: This name is of Latin origin and means ‘steadfastness’.
Famous namesakes: Australian blogger and author Constance Hall, and American actress Connie Britton.
Origin and meaning: This name is of Greek origin and means ‘maiden’.
Famous namesakes: Cora was a daughter of Zeus and Cora Munro is the heroine of The Last of the Mohicans.
Origin and meaning: Daisy comes from the phrase ‘day’s eye’, because the petals open at daybreak. It’s also a pet name for Margaret.
Famous namesakes: Fashion model Daisy Lowe, TV host Daisy Fuentes and British actress Daisy Ridley.
Origin and meaning: A name of Greek origin meaning ‘gift of God’.
Famous namesakes: Essayist Dorothy Parker and actress Dorothy Dandridge. Perhaps the most famous Dorothy, however, is the main character in the Wizard of Oz.
Origin and meaning: Of English origin, Edith means ‘prosperous in war.’
Famous namesakes: Famous Ediths include American novelist Edith Wharton and French singer Edith Piaf.
Origin and meaning: While not as pretty-sounding as many other old-lady names, Edna has a pretty meaning: ‘rejuvenation, delight.’ It is Hebrew in origin.
Famous namesakes: Author Edna O’Brien and Barry Humphries wonderful character Dame Edna Everage.
Origin and meaning: Eliza is of Hebrew origin and means ‘pledged to God.’
Famous namesakes: My Fair Lady’s Eliza Doolittle, Australian actress Eliza Taylor.
Origin and meaning: This Scottish name means ‘my God is bountiful’ or God of Plenty.
Famous namesakes: Actors Ioan Gruffudd and Zooey Deschanel both named their daughters Elsie.
Origin and meaning: A beautiful unisex name, Evelyn means ‘wished-for child’.
Famous namesakes: Famous Evelyns include British author Evelyn Waugh, and Bruce Willis and Carey Mulligan both have daughters named Evelyn.
Origin and meaning: This strong name is of German origin and means ‘strength of a spear’.
Famous namesakes: Writer Gertrude Stein and British stage star Gertrude Lawrence.
Origin and meaning: This relatively uncommon but sweet Welsh name means ‘land, nation.
Famous namesakes: Singer Gladys Knight.
Origin and meaning: An English variation on Harriette, this name means ‘estate ruler.’
Famous namesakes: Author Harriet Beecher Stowe and political activist Harriet Tubman.
Origin and meaning: An English name meaning ‘the hazelnut tree.’
Famous namesakes: Actresses Emily Blunt and Julia Roberts both have daughters named Hazel.
Origin and meaning: Isadora is a Greek name meaning ‘gift of Isis’.
Famous namesakes: Dancer Isadora Duncan.
Origin and meaning: A British name after the popular climbing plant. In the language of flowers, Ivy represents fidelity.
Famous namesakes: British novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett.
Origin and meaning: Of Latin origin. In Roman mythology Juno was a protector of women and marriage. In modern times June is known as the bridal month.
Famous namesakes: Actress June Squibb and singer June Carter Cash.
Origin and meaning: Of Greek origin, meaning ‘pure.’
Famous namesakes: Actress Katherine Hepburn, Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton and American dancer Katherine Dunham.
Origin and meaning: Of English and Latin origin, Lillian is derived from Lily, meaning a flowers.
Famous namesakes: American actress Lillian Gish, singer Lily Allen.
Origin and meaning: Of English origin meaning ‘bay laurel’.
Famous namesakes: Country singer Loretta Lynn. Loretta was also immortalized in The Beatles song Get Back.
Origin and meaning: Of Greek origin meaning ‘pearl’.
Famous namesakes: Politician Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of England. Author Margaret Atwood.
Origin and meaning: This pretty name of French origin means ‘songbird.’
Famous namesakes: Singer Mavis Staples and Canadian writer Mavis Gallant. Mavis is also the main female character in the Hotel Transylvania trilogy.
Origin and meaning: Another floral name, of Greek origin. Myrtle is a plant associated with love, peace and fertility.
Famous namesakes: Actress Myrtle Sarrosa.
Origin and meaning: A diminutive of Ann or Nancy meaning ‘grace’.
Famous namesakes: Actress Nanette Newman. Hannah Gadsby also named her famous Netflix show Nanette, after a woman she had met.
Origin and meaning: Derived from the English word pearl.
Famous namesakes: Fashion designer Pearl Lowe, actress Pearl Bailey.
Origin and meaning: This feminine moniker is of Greek origin and means ‘weaver’.
Famous namesakes: Actress Penelope Cruz. Also a Harry Potter character.
Origin and meaning: Of Greek origin meaning ‘green bough’.
Famous namesakes: American actress Phyllis Diller.
Origin and meaning: Of English origin meaning ‘Queen’.
Famous namesakes: Indigenous artist Queenie McKenzie.
Origin and meaning: A lovely moniker of Spanish origin meaning ‘pretty rose’.
Famous namesakes: Movie star Rosalind Russell. Uma Thurman also named her youngest child Rosalind.
Origin and meaning: Of Latin origin and derived from the rosemary plant.
Famous namesakes: Singer Rosemary Clooney.
Origin and meaning: Of German origin meaning ‘Godly helmet.’
Famous namesakes: Actresses Selma Blair and Selma Hayek.
Origin and meaning: A Latin name meaning ‘from the forest.’
Famous namesakes: Author Sylvia Plath.
Origin and meaning: The female version of Theodore, meaning ‘gift from God.’
Famous namesakes: Keith Richards and Robbie Williams both have daughters named Theodora.
Origin and meaning: A sweet name of Latin origin meaning ‘little bear.’
Famous namesakes: Writer Ursula Le Guin and actress Ursula Andress.
Origin and meaning: Of Latin origin meaning ‘violet’ (see below).
Famous namesakes: Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis.
Origin and meaning: Of Latin origin, after the flower and also meaning purple.
Famous namesakes: English actress Violet Farebrother, Violet Affleck, daughter of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
Origin and meaning: Of Slavic origin meaning ‘shepherdess; wanderer’.
Famous namesakes: Actress and comedian Wanda Sykes.
Origin and meaning: A cute Welsh name meaning ‘blessed peacemaking’.
Famous namesakes: Winnie Mandela. Winnie was also one of the female characters on the TV show The Wonder Years.
Origin and meaning: Zadie is a variation of Sadie and means Princess in Hebrew.
Famous namesakes: British author Zadie Smith.
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.