It does not take much number-crunching to declare that Americans are fond of girls names ending with ia. Sophia, Olivia, and Mia are in the Top Ten. Those three names alone account for about 50,000 newborn girls in 2011.
Factor in Sofia, Victoria, Amelia, Julia, Maria, and Lydia and this could be the most dominant sound in feminine names today.
So let’s say you’re all about one of those ever so popular choices. Are there substitutes that you might consider?
More than you’d ever guess. Girls’ names ending with ia are a rich category, with something for everyone.
Girls Names Ending in ia: Twists on the Familiar
Alexia – Names starting with Alex have been huge for both genders for decades now. Alexia’s -ia ending is fresh, but also brings to mind frozen potatoes and a type of dyslexia.
Alivia – Swap the O for an A, and instead of a Top Ten name you have one of the hottest alternate spellings of the moment.
Emelia, Emilia – Depending on the spelling, this name may share roots with Amelia – or not. But she clearly owes her rise to the success of both Amelia and the Em- names, Emma and Emily.
Lilia, Lillia – Yet another of the lovely Lily names parents may consider.
Livia – She’s a completely separate name from Olivia, but she’s catching on as an alternative.
Girls Names Ending with ia: Place Names
Acadia – A place name in Canada, Louisiana, and elsewhere, Acadia is a corruption of Arcadia.
Alexandria – An ancient Egyptian city associated with the largest library in its day, and a variation on the classic Alexandra.
Arcadia – From the Greek province, but so much more than a place name. Arcadia was an unspoiled wilderness inhabited by nymphs, part-paradise, part-Neverland.
Asia – She’s a place name, though seldom heard on girls.
Astoria – The neighborhood in Queens takes its name from John Jacob Astor, an early (and minor) investor in the area’s development.
Brittania – It’s an ancient Latin name for Great Britain, and sometimes a feminine personification of the country. She appears on stamps and coins and statues, too.
Caledonia – A poetic name for Scotland, and, spelled Caldonia, the name of a 1945 hit song.
Corinthia – Refers to Corinth, in Greece. Rarely used as a given name, but right on trend for the daring parent.
Georgia – A feminine form of George, a former Soviet republic, and, of course, a Southern state with a romantic vibe.
India – There’s more history to India than you might guess.
Laurencia, Laurentia – Inspired by ancient Laurentum, which took its name from the laurel. Laurel wreaths were symbols of victory, so this is an auspicious name, though we seldom hear girls answering to Laurencia.
Lidia, Lydia – It’s a region in Asia Minor and, in the New Testament, a woman’s name.
Valencia – Brings to mind oranges, and a region of Spain.
Virginia – Like Georgia, a place name with a long history of use.
Girls Names Ending with ia: Botanicals & Nature Names
Acacia – A type of tree, known for its thorns.
Astraia – More often spelled Astraea, it comes from the Greek word for star – aster.
Begonia – Begonia is almost never used as a given name, but it is a lively, colorful bloom, so why not?
Calanthia – Calanthe is a type of orchid – and perhaps another possible given name. It comes from antha – flower – and the Greek word for beauty, just like the calla lily.
Cassia – She could be a feminine form of the old Roman family name Cassius, or maybe she’s a type of flowering shrub and a type of cinnamon, too.
Celestia – The name you’d more likely hear is Celeste, but this is another celestial possibility.
Dahlia – There’s an elegance to Dahlia, a flower named for a Swedish botanist, Anders Dahl.
Florencia – An elaborate form of Florence, which actually means flourishing – but sounds at home in the garden.
Gardenia – A flowering plant from Africa and Asia, Gardenia gets its name from Dr. Alexander Garden, an eighteenth century naturalist.
Luscinia – The terribly pretty scientific name for the nightingale.
Olympia – Also spelled Olimpia, it refers to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek pantheon.
Sylvia – Rhea Silvia was the mother of Romulus and Remus, the co-founders of Rome. It comes from the Latin silva – forest.
Zinnia – A zippy Z possibility for girls, and also a botanical choice.
Girls Names Ending with ia: Virtues and Meanings
Aurelia – She’s golden – literally.
Adrasteia – She literally means “not inclined to run away.”
Agalaia – One of the Three Graces in Greek myth, she’s the kid sister. She was in charge of splendor. I’m not sure that’s a virtue, but it’s a heck of a meaning. It’s also a type of tree in the mahogany family, so Aglaia could do double duty. She’s also spelled Aglaea and often Aglaïa.
Alethia – Also spelled Alethea and Aletheia, it’s the word for truth – and sometimes a personification of truth.
Anastasia – A deeply religious name – it refers to the resurrection – Anastasia is fairly popular in recent decades.
Euphrasia – That eu means good, and Euphrasia means good cheer. It’s an upbeat, unexpected name. In Les Mis, Cosette’s real name is Euphrasie.
Felicia – Like Felix, it means happy.
Fidelia – From the Latin fidelis – faithful. It reminds me of Fidelio, the name of Beethoven’s only opera. It’s a great meaning, but perhaps too reminiscent of Fidel Castro.
Gloria – A literary adoption in the late nineteenth century, Gloria comes from the Latin and literally means glory.
Honoria – An elaboration of the word honor.
Laetitia, Letitia – From a Late Latin name meaning joyful, she’s a happy name with a vintage sound.
Nadia – She’s a Slavic short form of a longer name meaning hope.
Octavia – Welcoming baby #8? This could be the name for you.
Ofelia, Ophelia – In Greek, ophelos means help. The name was first used in literature, and Shakespeare’s Ophelia doesn’t make for much of a namesake. But Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth gives the name new life.
Portia – Her name may come from the same roots as pork, but the accomplished Portia drips with meaning to anyone who has read The Merchant of Venice.
Sophronia – From a Greek word meaning sensible.
Theodosia – If Theodora is God’s gift, then Theodosia means God gives. She’s just as clunky, and slightly more obscure.
Valeria – From the Latin valere – to be strong. Valeria and Valerius were worn by early saints.
Girls Names Ending with ia: Short, Sweet, Complete
Bria – The word Brio means spirited. Bria could be a feminine form, or just a creative invention.
Gaia – A primordial earth goddess in Greek myth, mother to the Titans. Gaia rhymes with Maya. Emma Thompson gave the name to her daughter.
Gia – This short form of Giovanna can appeal to parents with an affection for names like Mia.
Lia – A re-spelling of the Biblical Leah, or a short form of many names on this list.
Pia– A mini name with a powerful meaning.
Girls Names Ending with ia: Mythological Maidens
Asteria – Many of the -ia names have ties to myth and legend. Asteria is an especially common name in Greek myth, worn by an Amazon, and a number of minor goddesses. The most famous one was associated with falling stars. The Greek word aster means star.
Cassiopeia – The mother of Andromeda in Greek myth, and a constellation in our night sky. The name is probably related to Cassia.
Cynthia – Cynthia didn’t become a common given name until very recently, but she stretches back to ancient days. Artemis and her twin brother Apollo were born on a mountain called Kynthos on the island of Delos. Cynthia was a title associated with the goddess.
Delia – Cynthia refers to the mountain; Delia refers to the island. Delia is also associated with Artemis.
Hesperia – One of the nymphs tending a garden paradise at the edge of the world.
Idonia – The Norse goddess of spring was called Idunn. I’ve seen Idony and Idonea in use, borrowed into English in the medieval era. Idonia is rare, but there’s an 1891 novel by the name, and this spelling appears in the historical record over the years.
Iphigenia – The daughter of King Agamemnon. The king insulted the goddess Artemis. To make amends, he was required to sacrifice his daughter. Most accounts suggest that the goddess intervened at the last moment.
Ligeia – In Greek myth, one of the sirens. Edgar Allan Poe later used the name in one of his scary stories.
Thalia – One of the nine muses, Thalia’s provenance was comedy. Talia can be an alternate spelling or a separate Hebrew name.
Girls Names Ending in ia: Saints & Ancients
Artemisia – Her name honors the goddess Artemis, but we remember Artemisia as the builder of the Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Cecelia, Cecilia – Could the Simon & Garfunkel song explain Cecilia’s recent rise? Maybe, but I think it is more about the search for alternatives to Olivia and Amelia. The Cecilia spelling is more popular, but both are valid. The original Cecilia was a third century Christian martyr – and the patron saint of musicians. The similar sounding Celia is another possibility.
Claudia – She comes from a Roman family name. There’s a Claudia mentioned in the New Testament.
Cloelia – Legend has it that Cloelia was taken hostage by one of Rome’s rivals, but she escaped. Her bravery made her a heroine. The pronunciation is closer to Clelia, and that spelling is sometimes seen, too.
Cordelia – Shakespeare gave this name to Lear’s loyal daughter. He was borrowing it from the name of a legendary queen of the Britons.
Cornelia – From a Roman family name, Cornelia feels like a vintage nineteenth century revival with a dose of Dutch influence. The original Cornelia was considered a model of matronly deportment.
Demetria – Another name that honors a goddess, this time Demeter. She’s been made more famous by Hollywood’s Demi Moore and Demi Lovato.
Euphemia – Another early martyr name.
Eulalia – Barcelona’s patron saint, and yes, another ancient martyr.
Flavia – Like Aurelia, this is an old Roman family name meaning golden, but the connection is much less obvious with Flavia.
Grania – Irish goddess Gráinne is often Anglicized as Grania.
Hypatia – A fifth century philosopher, astronomer and mathematician, one of the most accomplished women of the ancient world.
Junia – Another Roman rarity, this one is heard in the New Testament.
Lavinia – In Greek myth, she’s a hero’s wife. Lavinia also had a good run in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, lending her a vintage vibe.
Lucia – Another martyr, one who met a gory end. In the Middle Ages, girls were called Lucy, but now this elaborate form is catching on, too.
Lucretia – A wronged Roman maiden whose suffering played a role in the course of history. She’s also been worn by Lucrezia Borgia of the famous Italian dynasty.
Parthenia – A title associated with the goddess Athena, meaning maiden – and hence, the name of the Parthenon.
Zenobia – Worn by an ancient queen, Zenobia was boosted when Tina Fey choose this as her daughter Alice’s middle name. Also spelled Xenobia.
Girls Names Ending in ia: The Moderns
Adalia – A masculine name in the Old Testament, today she would seem like a variant of Adele and company.
Aria – A musical choice, borrowed from opera, and popularized by Pretty Little Liars.
Azaria – Another masculine find from the Old Testament, easy to imagine on a girl circa 2013.
Evania – Some suggest she has Greek roots, but Evania seems to be a modern feminine form of the popular Evan.
Evelia – Add some fanciful endings to Eve and this is what you get.
Leia – Almost certainly invented for Star Wars, this space princess name has crossed over into general use for real girls.
Mahalia – Probably derived from an Old Testament name, Mahalia brings to mind the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, the first notable bearer of the name.
Milania – Probably influenced by Milena and plenty of other Mil- names, Milania was boosted when a Real Housewives of New Jersey castmember chose the name for a daughter.
Kaia – Also spelled Kaja, it’s a Scandinavian short form of Katherine.
Zaria – Likely a modern invention, Zaria could be based on an Arabic name meaning flower or even Voltaire’s tragic heroine Zaïre.
Girls Names Ending in ia: Rarities
Avicia – She appears in the historical record from the eleventh century into the sixteenth, but her origins are unclear. She could be a Latinized form of Avis, sometimes spelled Avice. We associate Avis with bird today, but she likely comes from Aveza – desired.
Bethia – Bithiah is a figure in the Old Testament. Her name was sometimes respelled Bethia, though it is quite rare from the twentieth century into today.
Davinia – The usual feminine form of David is Davina, but this elaboration is sometimes heard.
Elvia – There are plenty of possible sources for Elvia, from a feminine form of Elvis to elf to Gaelic name Ailbhe. But mostly she’s a mystery, with a rather current sound.
Idalia – She’s definitely used by Spanish speakers, though her origins are murky. Perhaps she’s a dressed-up version of Ida?
Leocadia – A third century saint’s name of uncertain origin, boosted by sharing sounds with Leo.
Odelia, Odilia – Yet another of the many feminine forms of Otto, these rarer than some.
Rania, Ronia – The current Queen of Jordan answers to Rania, while Ronia was used by Astrid Lindgren for one of her many fictional characters.
Rohesia – Before Rose was a flower name, it was derived from a completely separate Germanic word. Rohesia was the Latinized form of this earlier name, often spelled Rohese.
Girls Names Ending in ia: Imports
Gracia – The Spanish form of Grace.
Grazia – Grace and Gracia’s Italian cousin.
Hania – In Polish, she’s related to Anna and Hannah. In Arabic, Hania means pleasant. She’s a cross-cultural rarity.
Ksenia – Love crazy spellings? How ’bout the Polish form of Xenia, from a fifth-century saint?
Malia – Generally considered Hawaiian, though her origin is debated. Malia was boosted by First Daughter Malia Obama.
Noelia – The Spanish answer to Noelle, a great name for a Christmas baby.
Saskia – An unusual Dutch name that could wear well in the US.
Sonia – A Russian nickname for Sophia, and a given name in her own right, though the more common spelling is Sonya.
Vittoria – Drop the c, and you have the Italian version of Victoria.
Yesenia – Sometimes spelled Jesenia, she comes from a South American tree – but was popularized by a 1970s telenovela.
Zofia – The Polish form of Sophia.
It’s quite the list, isn’t it? Which are your favorites, or is the -ia ending not for you? Are there any that I’ve missed?