Old lady names are refreshed and ready for the birth certificate. Celebrities have been at the forefront of the revival of many old lady names, with stars among the first to resurrect names such as Ida, Dolores, and Fern and using established favorites including Adelaide, Violet, and Mae. In fact, the coolest old lady names no longer sound like those of your grandma and her friends; you’re more likely to hear these names in kindergarten classrooms than in nursing homes! Our look at old lady names includes what’s hot, what’s coming up, and what’s currently clunky, but soon will be cool!
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The name Birdie is a girl's name of English, Swedish origin meaning "bird." Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat—but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way.
The name Elsie is a girl's name of Scottish origin meaning "pledged to God." Not so long ago, Elsie might have been on a list of Names Least Likely to Succeed—but look at her now! She is currently ranked very highly in the U.K., and in the US, she's widely used as well, having returned to the popular names list in 2005 after a thirty-year hiatus. Elsie is now one of the fastest-rising girl names starting with E.
The name Etta is a girl's name of English origin. Etta is one of the surprise-hit girl names of recent years, thanks to the surprise hit revival of Etta James' song At Last. Etta has now taken her place as a successor to Emma and Ella
The name Faye is a girl's name of English origin meaning "fairy." Does Fay really need that e at the end? We vote no, but modern parents disagree: The Faye spelling was used for nearly 300 girls in 2014, vaulting the name back onto the Top 1000 after a 35-year absence.
The name Flora is a girl's name of Scottish, Latin origin meaning "flower." Flora, the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, who enjoyed eternal youth, is one of the gently old-fashioned girls' flower names we think is due for a comeback— alongside cousins Cora and Dora. Florence, Fiorella, Fleur, and Flower are translations, but we like Flora best of all.
The name Georgia is a girl's name of English origin meaning "farmer." Georgia is so rich, lush, and luscious, it's almost irresistible. Georgia's now a rising star among the feminizations of George, helped by associations with the southern state (named for British King George II) and painter Georgia O'Keeffe, with the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind" or maybe "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing in the background.
The name Goldie is a girl's name of Yiddish origin. More Sadie than Sadie, this old canasta player—somewhat modernized and energized by Goldie Hawn—looks like it could be making a comeback. It was recently chosen for her daughter by Ione Skye and Ben Lee, as well as by shoemeister Steve Madden.
The name Hazel is both a boy's name and a girl's name of English origin meaning "the hazelnut tree." The word was derived from the Old English hæsel of the same meaning. Historically, a wand of hazel symbolized protection and authority. In addition to being a celebrity pick—most recently by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, Hazel is a nature name, coming from the hazelnut tree.
The name June is both a boy's name and a girl's name of Latin origin. June, a sweetly old-fashioned month name derived from the goddess Juno, was long locked in a time capsule with June Allyson (born Ella) and June Cleaver but is rising again, especially as a middle name. Balthazar Getty has a daughter named June and Amanda Peet used it as her daughter Molly's middle name.
The name Mabel is a girl's name of Latin origin meaning "lovable." Mabel is a saucy Victorian favorite searching for its place in modern life; if you love offbeat old-fashioned names like Violet or Josephine, only sassier, Mabel is one for you to consider—it's started making a comeback and could rise to popularity a la Sadie.
This ready-for-revival nickname name recalls the old Gay Nineties and bicycles-built-for-two era. In the US, Nellie is one of the most popular unique girl names, lying just beneath the Top 1000. About five times as many baby girls are named Nellie in the US today as shorter form Nell.
The name Olive is a girl's name of English origin meaning "olive tree." Though greatly overshadowed by the trendy Olivia, Olive has a quiet, subtle appeal of its own—and is now enjoying a remarkable comeback. Olive is one of only four girl names starting with O on the US Top 1000. Olive has positive associations with the olive branch as a symbol of peace and the ancient olive wreath that celebrated success.
The name Penny is both a boy's name and a girl's name of English origin. Like Peggy and Patsy, the kind of zesty moniker young Judy Garland would sport in her early let's-put-on-a-show flicks. It fell out of favor (and the Top 1000) for a while but has recently rebounded by reentering the charts in 2013. Expect it to continue gaining traction as a result of surprise hit Penelope.
The name Rosalie is a girl's name of French origin meaning "rose." Rosalie hit its apex in 1938, only to spring back to life in 2009 as the name of a character in the Twilight series. The fact that the character is both sympathetic and relatively minor means Rosalie has the chance to thrive again as a baby name without feeling unduly tied to Twilight.
The name Sadie is a girl's name of Hebrew origin meaning "princess." Sadie started as a nickname for Sarah, but their images couldn't be more disparate. Where Sarah is serious and sweet, Sadie is full of sass and fun. While its last heyday was a century ago, Sadie has been soaring in popularity. She's been chosen by celebrities including Adam Sandler and Christina Applegate for their daughters.