These Maximalist Girl Names Are Unapologetically 'Extra'2023-03-14
Short-and-sweet girl names like Ava and Mia may hold regular spots in the U.S.’s top 10 most popular baby names — and there will always be a place for their beautiful simplicity. But baby naming experts predict that this year, maximalist names are the vibe: a lot of letters, a lot of flourish and flair, and a lot of impact. These maximalist baby names are long, glamorous, and evoke just the right amount of dramatic appeal.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing of all about these maximalist baby names, though, is their versatility. If your little Andromeda or Valencia gets a little older and develops a personality that doesn’t quite fit the elegant feel of her name, it can always be shortened to Andi or Val or Leni — and this is the case with almost all the maximalist names we’ve listed here. They are gorgeous as-is, but have the option of being whittled down into a super-cute nickname as well, which makes them extremely adaptable.
We’ve put together a gallery of some of the most elegant and “extra” maximalist girl names we could find, so read on for our top picks and prepare to be inspired.
Vincenza is the feminine Italian form of the name Vincent, which comes from the Latin “vincere” meaning to conquer. We love a strong girl’s name, and this one is both powerful and elegant.
With its roots in mythology, Andromeda was the wife of Perseus, the son of Poseidon. The name is derived from the Greek words ἀνήρ (aner) and μέδω (medo), meaning “man” and “to protect,” respectively — so Andromeda basically means “protecting like a man” which is a strong girl-power meaning we can seriously get behind. And with a constellation also named Andromeda, the name is a nod to the galaxy as well!
People tend to think of Ophelia as a gorgeous literary name from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (and, later, in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin), but its origins are actually much older — it is derived from the Greek ὠφέλεια (opheleia), meaning “help.”
The elegant French form of Vivian, this name is derived from the Latin word vivus, meaning “life” or “lively.” Designer Vivienne Westwood is a famous bearer, but the name’s popularity skyrocketed after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt chose it for their daughter in 2008, and it has only become more popular since then.
Seraphina sounds like a beautifully angelic name, and it is — if we’re talking about fiery angels, that is! The name has its roots from the Biblical word seraphim, which was derived from Hebrew and meant “fiery ones.” Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner chose this name for their second daughter, but it’s still barely breaking into the top 1000 most popular baby names, which puts it into the “sweet spot” of names that are gorgeous and yet still rare.
This beautiful name is as opulent as they come — it literally means “gold” or “golden!” It’s derived from the ancient Roman surname Aurelius, likely used to refer to people who had golden-colored hair (and it was the name of Julius Caesar’s mother!).
This is an alternate (and more straightforward to pronounce) spelling of the name Esmerée, which was likely derived from the old French esmer, meaning “to love and respect.” In Arthurian legend, Esmerée was the beautiful Queen of Wales in a poem written by Renaut de Bâgé.
Theodosia is the feminine version of the Greek name Θεοδόσιος (Theodosius), meaning either “giving to God” or “given by God.” It’s one of those beautiful vintage names that was popular in the 1880s and 1890s, and then gradually forgotten, replaced by other baby name trends. But it’s experiencing a long-overdue resurgence now, and we can see why!
This gorgeous and unusual pick is a combination of two Latin words: stella maris, meaning “star of the sea.” Stella Maris is the Latin title of the Virgin Mary, and has been used to refer to the Virgin’s Mary’s guidance and protection over seafaring people.
This bold Z-name is the feminine version of the male name Zephyr, derived from the Greek Ζέφυρος which means “west wind.” Zephyrus was the Greek god of the west wind, ushering in the beautiful spring weather.
Alluring and exotic, Xiomara’s only drawback might be that it can be hard to pronounce for many people who aren’t familiar with it (psst — it’s see oh MAR ah). Although it’s origins aren’t entirely clear, many believe it’s derived from the male name Guiomar, which itself may be derived from a German name meaning “famous in battle.”
The lovely Evangeline is derived from two Greek words: εὖ, meaning “good,” and ἄγγελμα, meaning “news” — so, essentially, it means “good news!” It’s the name of Longfellow’s 1847 epic poem Evangeline, which gives it a solid literary connection. It’s also the name of a relatively new song from Stephen Sanchez, which means your little Evangeline will have a poem and a ballad all her own.
The name Valencia is a powerhouse, both strong and elegant. Don’t let its ultra-feminine sound fool you; it’s derived from the Latin root word valentia meaning “strength” or “brave.” It’s also the name of the third-largest city in Spain … and a very popular variety of orange!
This melodic name is derived from the Greek words κάλλος (kallos) and ὄψ (ops), meaning “beautiful voice.” In Greek mythology, Kalliope (with a K!) was one of the nine Muses — a group of goddesses who represented art, music, and literature; she represented epic poetry and eloquence.
Believe it or not, Amariah is traditionally a male name — but given its proximity to the female name Mariah, we think it fits equally well, if not even better, on a girl! It’s a name with Hebrew origins that means “the Lord says.”
This is a beautiful twist on an unexpected name: Violet! Iolanthe — pronounced yo-lan-the — is derived from the Greek words ἰόλη (iole) and ἄνθος (anthos), meaning “violet” and “flower.” The name was used in Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera Iolanthe in 1882, and also in a Tchaikovsky opera by the same name in 1892.
What better name for the little light of your life than one that literally means “light?” That’s exactly what Luciana means, derived from the ancient Roman given name Lucius, which itself came from the Latin word for light, lux.
Antoinette is the French feminine form of Anthony, whose meaning is unclear, though many sources suggest it means “highly praised.” Though the name is often associated with the ill-fated French queen Marie Antoinette, it’s also the name of a character in Phantom of the Opera. And it lends itself to the cute nickname “Nettie” if Antoinette is too much of a mouthful!
At its heart, Delphina is a lovely place name; it’s the feminine form of Delphi, a city in ancient Greece. In terms of meaning, it may be a derivative of the Greek δελφύς, meaning “womb.” It could also be a meaningful nod to sea-lovers — just like feline describes cats and equine describes horses, delphine describes dolphins.
Melisande is the French variation of the stodgier-sounding Millicent, which is derived from a German root word that means “strong work” or “determination.” Melisande was the titular character in Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1893 play Pelléas et Mélisande, which was later adapted into an opera by Claude Debussy — so it’s a name that’s both elegant-sounding and has ties to the arts.
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