Historical girl names are mostly inspired by some of the greatest women who tried to bring a radical change in our society’s patriarchal mindset. These women fought for the entire women tribe and began a new era of freedom and equality. Thanks to their courage, women’s lives are far better than before. As a result, the girls of today experience a fair-minded future. Going through history, you may find that most of these women succeeded in adversity and became an inspiration for future generations. If you name your daughters after such powerful women, you would be honoring their contribution to society. So keep scrolling through the list of powerful historical names and choose the one that suits your little princess.
100 Famous Historical Girl Names, With Meanings
Having thought of the existence of computers, the English mathematician Ada Lovelace is considered the First Computer Programmer. She is a scientific icon, especially for women. Ada means “grace” in German.
The first Hispanic woman to run for the US Congress, Adelina Otero-Warren, was a famous politician and activist who participated in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Her moniker is derived from the Old German, where Adelaide means “noble strength.”
Alice Paul was an iconic figure who led the Women’s Suffrage Movement. It is also the name of the main character of the adventure book Alice in Wonderland. The moniker Alice means “noble” and is of Old German origin.
The stylish and elegant name Althea is Greek-derived and means “healing herb.” The name is popularized by the American tennis player Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win the Grand Slam Title.
The name is inspired by the first female aviator, Amelia Earhart, who flew solo over the Atlantic Ocean. Her story is full of courage, which your child can take inspiration from. Derived from Latin, the name Amelia means “industrious.”
Angela Davis, the American political activist, is known for her fight against sexism and racism. Her name is of Latin origin and means “messenger of God.”
Angelina Grimké Weld was one of those firsts who spoke against slavery and set a course for the path of freedom for many. The name Angelina is a name derived from the Greek Angelos, which means “angel.”
As an advocate for civil rights and the first African American woman to serve on the cabinet of a New York mayor, Anna Arnold Hedgeman, earned popularity for her dedication throughout her life. Anna is of Hebrew origin and means “grace.”
The name is inspired by the German and Jewish personality, Anne Frank. Even during the toughest times of the Holocaust, Anne radiated courage. Her name will boost your child’s confidence indefinitely. Anne is of Hebrew origin and means “God has favored me.”
The unique Hebrew name Aphra means “house of dust.” It is a name inspired by the English playwright Aphra Behn, known for her short novel Oroonoko.
Inspired by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, we present to you this name. The famous American singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist had a marvelous and motivational musical career. The name Aretha means “excellence” and is of Greek origin.
Artemisia is a name that comes from Greek and Spanish, meaning “perfect.” This artistic name is inspired by the Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, known for her revolutionary Baroque paintings.
The British actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn overcame many difficulties in her life, which would set an example for your baby girl. Coincidentally, her name of Anglo-Saxon origin means “strength.”
Austen is a name of Latin origin that means “magnificent.” The English novelist Jane Austen, who’s our inspiration behind this name, was ahead of her time for feministic rights. She is an inspiration to many writers, and we hope she’d be the same to your baby too.
Betty Friedan, the writer of the book, The Feminine Mystique, whose work started the second feministic wave in America, had to be on our list of the most inspirational historical figures. The beautiful name of Hebrew origin means “oath of God.”
The prominent American activist, Bella Abzug’s acts for liberty and equality of women gave her the nickname Battling Bella. Her name is of Italian and Latin origin, meaning “beautiful.”
The Hebrew, Dutch, and English name Bessie means “God is my oath.” Bessie Coleman was the first Native American woman to fly across the sky in 1921.
The greatest Jazz singer of the ’30s, Billie Holiday, moved the hearts of many during her era with the supreme performances. Billie is a name of English origin, meaning “determination.”
Boudicca is a classic name of Latin origin, meaning “victory.” It is a name that historians would know due to the influential queen of the British-Celtic Icenic tribe, Boudicca.
Being the longest reigned empress of Russia, Catherine the Great inspired us behind this name. She westernized Russia and boosted Russia’s development during her reign. The moniker of this powerful queen means “clear” and is of Latin origin.
The beautiful name means “heaven” and is of Latin origin. It is a popular name in the music industry due to the Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz.
The name is inspired by the notable figure Coco Chanel, who revolutionized fashion. It is a name of American origin, meaning “chocolate bean.”
intended to make the Little Black Dress affordable, comfortable, and widely accessible in the market.
The civil rights leader and activist Coretta Scott King inspired us for this name. Her name is of English origin and means “from the round hill.”
There are many inspirations behind this name. Clara Barton, the founder of Red Cross, and Clara Fraser, who led the Freedom Socialists Party. This moniker of Latin origin means “bright.”
The name of the famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra needs no introduction. During her rule, Egypt was considered a dynamic and influential country. Her classic name of Greek origin means “father’s glory.”
There are several Daisy’s through the course of history to take inspiration from. Daisy Bates, the American journalist, and Daisy Ashford, the English writer, are a few popular historical figures. The name of Old English origin means “day’s eye.”
It is a popular name, thanks to the Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer. This moniker is of Latin, Greek, and Indo-European origin and means “divine.”
Dolores is a name of Latin origin meaning “sorrow.” The American Labor leader Dolores Huerta is famous for her stand towards the betterment of farmers.
This Greek origin name means “gift of God.” The name is inspired by the American activist Dorothy Irene Height, who fought for the equality of African Americans and women from an early age.
The Australian social reformer Edith Cowan was the first woman to be elected as a member of the Australian Parliament. Edith is a moniker of Old English origin and means “blessed.”
The Former First Lady of the US, Eleanor Roosevelt, who addressed the rights of African-American and Asian-American women in the workplace, is a motivational figure for any girl. Her name of Greek origin means “shining one.”
Derived from the Roman Aemilius, Emily means “rival.” The poet Emily Dickinson, known for her poem Hope is the Thing with Feathers is an impactful figure for many English literature enthusiasts.
A twist on the popular name Emmie is its ancient and classical version, Emmeline. It is a name of Old German origin meaning “industrious.” The name is notable due to the British social reformer and the founder of Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmeline Pankhurst.
The great rulers of England, Queens Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II inspired us for this name. Both the Queens ensured that their territories flourished inarguably, thus, making this name a powerful one in history. The name Elizabeth is of Hebrew origin, meaning “God is my oath.”
Ella is a name of Spanish origin and means “feminine.” This name is based on the popular Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, known for her songs Cheek to Cheek and Miss Otis Regrets.
The charming Old English origin name Ethel means “noble.” A prominent figure with this name is the English composer and women rights activist Ethel Smyth.
This moniker is inspired by the American geneticist Evelyn Witkin, who is remembered for her notable works on DNA repair and DNA mutagenesis. Evelyn is a Norman French origin name meaning “wished-for child.”
Flo is a name of Latin origin meaning “flower.” The notable figure with this name is Florynce Kennedy, who advocated the feministic and Civil Rights Movements.
The name is based on the English Statistician, also known as the Founder of Modern Nursing. It is also a name for nature-inclined parents as it means “flowering” in Latin.
This name of Old German origin means “peaceful.” It is a name of elegance as the historical figure, Frida Kahlo, is known for her profound self-portraits.
This popular European name is of French origin and means “God is my strength.” The Chilean poet and author of Desolation and Tala, Gabriela Mistral, was the first Latin American author to receive the Nobel Prize in literature.
Georgia is the feminine form of the Latin and Greek name George meaning “farmer.” This moniker is inspired by the American artist Georgia O’Keeffe, whose stunning nature paintings are eye-catching.
Germaine is an attractive unisexual name, meaning “brother.” The women’s sexual empowerment writer, Germaine Greer, was one of the leaders behind the Radical Feminist Movement.
Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across the English Channel between France and England. This famous athlete is celebrated by the women’s community all around the world. Her German name has an adventurous touch to it, as it means “strong spear.”
It is a name inspired by the American activist Gloria Steinem, who led the fight for women’s rights. The name means “glory” and has Latin origins.
The name Grace is of Latin origin and means “grace of God.” This name is inspired by Grace Hopper, one of the few women to pursue her Ph.D. in Mathematics during the ’30s. She programmed several computer languages and then retired as a naval officer.
Harriet Tubman, the American abolitionist, also known as the “Moses of her people,” is our inspiration behind this name. Her beautiful Old German origin name means “home-ruler.” She freed herself from slavery and assisted others, despite turmoil in her path.
The jazz singer Hazel Scott was the first Black American woman to host her own TV show. She also portrayed many roles that inspired women to pursue their dreams in the field of entertainment. Her name Hazel refers to a “hazel-nut tree” and is of Old English origin.
The name Hedy is of Greek and Hebrew origins. It means “delightful.” This name is famous due to the actress of the Golden Age of cinema, Hedy Lamarr. She is also known as the co-inventor of the radio signaling device used in World War II.
Helen Keller, an American author, is an inspiration to many people, and so she stands tall in our list of historical figures. She encouraged many physically challenged people around the world. Coincidentally, her Greek origin name also means “shining light.”
It is a popular name in the astronomical world, thanks to the mathematician and philosopher Hypatia. She is the genius behind the inventions of ancient astronomical devices—the astrolabe and hydrometer. Her moniker means “highest” and is of Greek origin.
Ida is a beautiful name of Old German and Old Greek origin meaning “hardworking.” You must be familiar with Ida B. Wells, the American abolitionist, and journalist who fought for the equality and justice of African American women during the 1890s.
The Spanish and Italian moniker Isabella means “God is my oath.” This is the name of the famous 19th-century British explorer and writer Isabella Bird, who is known for her book A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains.
Inspired by Jane Goodall, the English primatologist, the name of Hebrew origin means “Yahweh is gracious.” She made many significant discoveries about chimpanzees, which helped us understand the animal kingdom a bit more.
Known as the National Heroine of France, Joan of Arc has been an influential figure for women worldwide for several decades. This feminine name is a version of the Hebrew name, John, which means “God is gracious.”
It is the feminine form of the anglicized name Joseph and means “Yahweh shall grow.” The name is popular due to the social worker and pivotal campaigner of women’s suffrage, Josephine Butler.
Junko, meaning “obedient,” is an adventurous name of Japanese origin. It is inspired by the first woman to climb Mount Everest, Junko Tabei. She was also the first woman to climb the seven highest peaks in the world.
Kate is a French origin name meaning “clear.” It is a name popularized by the American trans activist and author Kate Bornstein, who is an inspiration for many restricted by gender norms and identities.
The name is inspired by the pioneer Katherine G. Johnson, who helped humans advance the first step to the moon. The name of this American mathematician is of Greek origin and means “pure.”
Kennedy, meaning “chief with helmet,” is the anglicized version of the Celtic name Cinnéidigh. It is inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the First Lady of the US, whose dedication towards her country and her children was inspirational to many during her times.
Laura is the feminine version of the Latin name Laurus and refers to a “bay laurel plant.” A notable personality with this name is the Italian physicist Laura Bassi, the first female professor to earn a Ph.D.
The unique Hebrew name Lise is the stylish version of Elisa or Lisa and means “God’s promise.” Lise Meitner, the prominent and influential Austrian scientist, helped discover nuclear fission and also coined that term.
This name is inspired by the activist, Lola Hendricks. She played a prominent role in Fred Shuttlesworth’s Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. The name Lola is of Spanish origins, and it means “sorrow.”
The beautiful name Lucy of Latin and Latin origin means “light.” This is a popular name in the entertainment industry, thanks to the comedian Lucille Ball.
Lucretia, meaning “succeed,” was popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name is based on the American abolitionist Lucretia Mott, who co-wrote the Declaration of Sentiments, the document that urged many to fight against the women’s sufferings during those times.
Lucy means “light” and is of Latin origin. The name is based on the American activist Lucy Parsons, who broke down barriers as she fought against slavery and towards woman’s equality.
The Greek origin habitational name Madelaine means “woman from Magdala.” This name has been trending on charts and has been inspired by the Former United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Madeleine Albright.
The name is inspired by the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize winner. The moniker Malala of Arabic origin means “grief-stricken.”
The name is inspired by the notable figure, Margaret Sanger, who was behind oral contraceptives. She also familiarized the world with the term birth control. The name of this powerful educator is derived from Latin, Ancient Greek, and French and means “pearl.”
Maria Stewart was the first black woman to publish a political manifesto, through which she played a leading role in the anti-slavery movement. Her moniker means “star of the sea” in Latin.
The Polish and French physicist Marie Curie discovered radium and polonium had been an impelling figure for the women of science. Marie is a name of Latin origin meaning “star of the sea.”
The outspoken gay rights activist and advocate Marsha P. Johnson symbolizes strength to many. Her name is the feminine form of Marcus, which means “mars.”
Of Armani and Hebrew origins, the name Mary means “beloved.” It was a popular name during the 18th century, thanks to Mary Wollstonecraft, who advocated for women’s equality in society.
If you love poetry and seek a name inspired by that genre, you may pick Maya. It means “good mother” and is of Greek origin. This moniker is inspired by the famous American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
Of Egyptian and Hebrew origins, Miriam means “drop of the sea.” This name is known for the African singer Miriam Makeba, who showed the world the indiscrimination of the South African apartheid through her performances.
It is a name of Hebrew origin meaning “pleasant one.” The name is inspired by the American war worker Naomi Parker. You must have seen her many times as a model in the American war poster, We can do it!
The Latin, Greek, and English name Nellie is a modern twist to Elanor and means “sunray.” The name took the world by storm due to the American journalist Nellie Bly, who stepped out of her comfort zone to reveal the oppressions of an asylum.
It is a name of Latin origin meaning “pearl.” The legendary actress Rita Moreno is the only Latin-origin woman to earn all the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) awards.
A name that belongs to the mother of the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, showed undeniable strength even through the smallest acts. Her graceful name of Latin origin means “rose.”
Rosalie Edge, the notable historical figure with this name, advocated women’s rights. She is also a known environmentalist. Even her name symbolizes grace, feminism, and nature as it means “flower of life.”
Rosalind Franklin was the pioneer and mastermind behind the discovery of the density of DNA. She is the mastermind behind the Genetic revolution of the past century. Her beautiful name of Old German origin means “gentle horse.”
It is a name that refers to the shiny gem “ruby.” We took inspiration for this name from the American activist Ruby Bridges, who played a predominant role in the Civil Rights Movement.
The Old Testament name Ruth is of Hebrew origin, and it means “friend.” It is a name inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the US.
The unique name Sacajawea is of Shoshoni origin, and it means “bird woman.” She was the guide during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Her presence affirmed to the Native Americans that the former explorers came in peace.
Sandra is the diminutive form of Alexandra, and it means “man’s defender.” This Greek origin name is a familiar one to many due to the Former Associate Justice of the US, Sandra Day O’Connor.
Serena is a name of Latin origin that means “calm.” The ace tennis player of the world, Serena Williams, is an inspiration to many young girls. She revolutionized women’s tennis and is considered one of the best players in the world.
The name is inspired by the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Shirley Chisholm. The name Shirley means “bright meadow” and is of Old English origin.
Inspired by the French writer Simone De Beauvoir, the name is suitable for your little girl. Her theories on feminist existentialism are inspiring and would motivate your child too. The moniker Simone is the feminine version of the Hebrew Simon and means “hear.”
The name Sonia symbolizes perseverance and courage and it is inspired by the first Hispanic woman, Sonia Sotomayor, who served as a judge in the US federal court. The name of English origin means “wisdom.”
The American origin name Sojourner means “traveler.” It is popular due to the American women’s rights activist and the daring advocate, Sojourner Truth.
It is a popular name, thanks to Susan B. Anthony, the American women’s rights activist. This elegant girl’s name of Hebrew origin means “lily.”
The name Sylvia is of Latin origin and means “forest.” It is a name that is known to many literature enthusiasts due to the American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. Her works are revolutionary, which gave her a courageous stamp in the women’s world.
Teresa is a classic name of Greek origin, and it means “late summer.” We take inspiration for this name from the empathetic Saint Teresa, who dedicated her life in service to the poor.
The name reminds one of Margaret Thatcher or the Iron Lady of Britain. She was the first female Prime Minister of the country and ruled the country to progress even during the unsettling times. Her last Thatcher is used as an English first name, and it means “roof thatcher.”
The Greek origin name Theodora means “God’s gift.” It is the name taken after the most influential queen of Byzantium, Theodora, wife of Justinian I.
The British intelligence officer Vera Atkins trained secret agents to attack the Nazis during World War II. Her incredible strength and courage inspire women even today. The Slavi name Vera means ”faith.”
The name Victoria is of Latin origin and means “victory.” As a leader of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, Victoria Woodhull broke several boundaries. She was the first woman to hold a firm on Wall Street.
A name popularized due to the prolific English writer Virginia Woolf and physician Virginia Apgar. While Woolf was considered the most contemporary writer of the 20th-century, Apgar developed a measure to know the health status of a newborn. Their names of Latin origin mean “maiden.”
Wangari is a name of Kenyan and African origin, meaning “a leopard.” The environmentalist Wangari Maathai is known for her efforts in reducing deforestation and desertification, which eventually won her a Nobel Peace Prize.
The American author and novelist Zora Neale Hurston inspired many young writers with her works. Zora is a name of Slavic origin and means “dawn.”
Discover More Names
When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How have historical girl names evolved and changed over time?
There are various ways in which historical girl names have evolved and changed over time. Some names have become increasingly popular and well-known, while others have fallen out of favor and are now less commonly used. Additionally, some names may have changed pronunciation or spelling due to linguistic shifts or cultural influences.
2. What are some considerations when choosing a historical girl name for a modern baby?
When selecting a historical name for a modern baby, parents should consider how the name sounds and is spelled, the meaning and origin of the name, and any cultural or historical significance associated with it. Additionally, parents may want to research how popular and socially acceptable the name is in contemporary society.
3. Can a historical girl’s name have a modern twist?
You can give a historical girl’s name a modern twist by changing the spelling slightly, combining old and new names, or adding special touches to make it more unique and contemporary. However, you must finalize a name only after carefully analyzing its pronunciation, historical and cultural significance.
4. Are any cultural or religious historical girl names popular today?
Some cultural and historical girl names popular even today include Elizabeth, Catherine, Isabella, and Victoria. These names have a classic feel but have stood the test of time and continue to be used even in modern times.
The women mentioned in the list of historical girls names above have exemplified unwavering bravery, for which we are grateful today. These women smeared courage on the world with their intrinsic sense of equality, fairness, and honor. So, choose any name from the above list for your baby girl, such as Alice, Amelia, Billie, Cleopatra, Dorothy, Eleanor, Frida, Harriet, Kennedy, Malala, Naomi, Sylvia, Teresa, and so on, and she will be motivated to do big in her life.
Infographic: Girl Names Based On Women Who Changed The World
Now that you’re the parents of a baby girl, you need to work hard to make her strong and independent. Naming her after an influential woman who changed the world despite all challenges could be the first step towards her glorious future. The infographic below will acquaint you with several powerful women from history who impacted everyone significantly.
The names of many trailblazing women in the past can serve as an inspiration for your baby. Watch this video to find out about the leading names in women’s history.