Short girl names ending with A are enjoying a moment.
Emma sat atop the US Top Ten for years. Even though it’s now #2, right behind Olivia, it remains powerfully popular.
Ava and Mia also rank in the US Top Ten baby girl names.
And even more two-syllable, ending with A names round out the Top 100 and Top 1000.
If that’s the sound that you love? There are girl names ending with A that range from classic to modern, familiar to unique. They’re too short to feel truly frilly, but most remain clearly feminine.
Of course, some former favorites feel a little dated by today’s standards. Wilma is stuck in Bedrock, and Beulah and Velma are only for the most daring of baby namers. Then again, nearly every name makes a comeback … eventually.
Whether you’re naming Emma’s sisters, choosing popular names like Nora, Stella, and Mila, or branching out to the something more daring, this list is for you.
It’s a logical substitute for Ava, one with a slightly more old-fashioned feel, but also a lot of smarts, thanks to pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace.
A name borrowed from a Scottish island.
Equally vintage Alma has the advantage of a great meaning in Spanish: soul.
From the Greek word for flower, Antha could fit in with names like Thea.
ANA and ANNA
Sure, it’s part of longer names like Joanna and Julianna, Annabelle, Ariana, Adrianna, and Marianna. But the spare simplicity of Anna – with one N or two – is the hallmark of a true classic. Worn by saints and queens, writers and politicians, it’s easy to think of world-changing women who answer to this name.
An affectionate Slavic form of the classic Anna, this name is spelled Anja in Scandinavian countries.
A mini name with style to spare, Ava sounds a little bit Hollywood glam, but still plenty wearable.
Arabella, Isabella, and Annabelle all include the Bella sound. But it’s just Bella that coincides with the Italian word for beautiful. And that makes it a worthy independent name, too.
A 1960s favorite, sister to Brendan and Brandon and company, this name has fallen out of the US Top 1000 in recent years.
Brenna had a good run in the 1990s, but was never too popular. It’s probably connected to the Celtic bran – raven, making this an avian name.
It could be short for 90s favorite Brianna, or it might be a feminine form of Brio, an Italian musical term meaning zest.
From the Spanish word for breeze, Brisa feels unexpected, but accessible.
Calla shares some of the Bella-Stella-Ella sound, and – bonus – is a type of lily.
A twentieth century newcomer, Cara means “beloved” in Italian.
A little bit of a throwback, this feminine form of Charles is also spelled with a K – Karla.
It shares sounds with more popular, longer names like Cecilia, Sienna, and Selena, but Celia wins for simplicity.
When it comes to unique girl names, Cleo’s cousin Clea might be one of the best. It’s often pronounced CLAY-uh, like actor Clea DuVall.
Despite a Greek origin, Cora only caught on after James Fenimore Cooper used it for his tale of eighteenth century America.
Do your tastes run to the elegant? Dahlia might be the name for you. Botanical, refined, and relatively rare in our age of Lily and Rose.
Originally unisex, Dana soared for our daughters in the same age as Danielle.
The Little Rascals name conjures up images of the 1930s, but the name actually peaked in the 1960s. A Buffy the Vampire Slayer vampire also answered to Darla. It’s a darling name with a certain amount of bite.
This name is all sorts of lovely and old-fashioned, but still sparky. Plus, Delia is associated with the goddess Artemis in Greek myth, which seems quite appealing.
This could be another in the Ella-Stella-Bella family, or it might be short for Adelaide and company. But Della is also cousin to Dale, meaning valley.
An Old Testament name with a throwback vibe.
The D is silent in cool, unexpected Djuna, a name invented for author Djuna Barnes.
Donna means lady; it’s a noble title in Italian. In American English, however, Donna peaked in the 1950s, making it feel like a familiar, midcentury choice.
A Greek name meaning gift, Dora often appears in compound names like Theodore and Dorothea.
A name for a Norse goddess of healing, or a Welsh word meaning snow.
A brief, but complete, mini name, wildly popular in the the twenty-first century. In some cases, it could be short for longer names like Gabriella, but just Ella is more popular than most of the longer versions.
The snow queen in Disney’s Frozen, a re-imagining of the traditional Hans Christian Andersen tale.
A logical successor to Emma and Ella, Etta is gaining in use.
Take a Hebrew root, translate it across centuries, add in some Latin origin, and you’ll arrive at Eva, meaning life.
Flora rhymes with favorites like Nora and Cora, and fits right in with all of those flower names we’re so fond of for our daughters.
Also spelled Frida, it’s a Germanic name meaning peace.
Another goddess name, Freya comes from Old Norse. She’s love and beauty – but also war and death. It’s also spelled Freja or sometimes Freyja.
Gaia rhymes with Maya, and it refers to Mother Earth herself in Greek myth.
If we can name our daughters Leah and Mia, Gia makes every bit as much sense. It can also be short for names like Gianna and Giovanna.
It could be short for Galatea, or it could stand on its own. Gala sounds fun-loving – it comes from an Old French word meaning “to make merry.” It’s the name of a common variety of apple, too.
An Italian name meaning jewel.
Originally a nickname for Margaret, Greta feels more like an independent given name today.
It looks like a slimmed down version of long-time favorite Hannah. Except it’s also a Japanese name meaning flower.
Greek mythology goddess name Hera is rare, but familiar.
If Ava leads to Ada, shouldn’t Ada lead to Ida?
A new favorite throughout the English-speaking world, made famous by actor Isla Fisher.
In many European languages, traditional John is Jan. That makes Jana a feminine form of the enduring name.
Jenna followed Jennifer straight up the popularity charts in the 1980s.
If not for the Volkswaeon sedan, Jetta might’ve already caught on. In Dutch, it’s short for names ending in -ette and -etta.
Rarer than Janna, and sometimes spelled Johnna, it’s another possible feminine form of Jana.
A 1970s and 80s favorite, the recent Supergirl reboot put the spotlight back on Kara.
A smash hit invented name, boosted in the 1980s by a popular character on Days of Our Lives.
A Jenna spin-off, and possibly a feminine form of so many Ken names.
Long before Reign ranked in the US Top 1000, Kinga was a popular Polish name for girls. It comes from the eleventh century Saint Cunigunde. A number of women by similar names appear in royal family trees across medieval Europe.
Or Keira, Kyra, Ciara, Chiara, Keira, or Kirah. The Kira spelling is typically considered Slavic, but this name can also be Irish, Italian, or just plain invented.
A rarity found in small numbers in the US beginning in the 1970s.
Hollywood icon Lana Turner was born Julia Jean. Years after she dominated the box office in the 1940s, she still lends the name plenty of glam.
In Roman mythology, Lara is a nymph who stands up to Jupiter and suffers for it. But Americans know Lara thanks to Doctor Zhivago, the best-selling 1957 novel turned smash hit 1965 film. “Lara’s Theme” – also known as “Somewhere My Love” is the reason we all recognize balalaika music.
Richly traditional, Laura traces its history from the ancient world to the twenty-first century. A Top 100 favorite from the 1940s all the way through 2001, it’s waned in popularity recently – but there’s no question that it will be back.
Also spelled Laila, Leyla, and Leila, to name just a few. It means “night'” in Arabic; a famous Persian poem titled “Layla and Majnun” makes it famous. In the English-speaking world, it became a hit after Derek & the Dominos borrowed the name for a song about real-life romantic drama.
An enduring Old Testament favorite, also sometimes spelled Lea or Lia, depending on language and parents’ preference.
Spelling counts for this name. Leda brings to mind the myth of Leda and the Swan, while Leta means joyful or glad. Lida and Lita have multiple origins, too.
In most cases, Lena comes from longer names that end with these letters. (Think Marlena and Helena.) But it feels like an independent name now. Lina – with an I – also has Sanskrit roots or an Arabic origin – and multiple possible meanings, too.
Sometimes Lila – and Lilah, Lyla, and Lylah – get mixed up with Layla and company. But typically, Layla takes a long ‘A’ sound while Lila is a long “I” instead.
Originally an Elizabeth nickname, Lisa become one of the popular choices for girls in the 1960s, spending most of the decade in the #1 spot.
Another Elizabeth nickname, never anywhere as popular as Lisa. But actor and singer Liza Minnelli – daughter of the legendary Judy Garland – helped put this possibility on parents’ lists.
Once a Dolores nickname, Lola feels casual and modern – easily an independent choice.
Invented for the 1869 novel Lorna Doone, it’s probably best known today as the name of a cookie. But in the story, Lorna was the Juliet figure in a far-ranging family conflict.
Once short for Louisa and other Lou-/Lu- names, Lula fits right in with short girls names ending with A. Actor Liv Tyler’s youngest is a daughter named Lula Rose.
A fast-rising favorite, Luna is the Latin (and Spanish) word for moon. Wizarding World heroine Luna Lovegood made it familiar to a generation of future parents, but it appeals for so many reasons beyond the popular series.
From His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, Lyra is another fictional heroine. It’s also the name of a constellation modeled after Orpheus’ lyre. The musical name is, appropriately enough, also the one singer Ed Sheeran chose for his firstborn, Lyra Antarctica.
An Old Testament name, and a cousin to Mary and Maria, too.
Marta is just a European form of Martha, but it feels different and distinct.
An old-fashioned name that feels right at home in a field of flowers, Martha could follow fading favorites like Hannah into the spotlight.
Along with Moira, this name has centuries of history, crossing cultures and languages. It’s straightforward, complete, and warm.
A culture-spanning favorite, also spelled Maia.
Mini Mia starting out as a short form of Maria, but it’s long since become a stand-alone favorite.
A twenty-first century newcomer with Slavic origins and a great meaning: gracious.
Mika is a Japanese name meaning beautiful; it’s similar to Micah, an Old Testament name used more often for boys, but with unisex roots.
Another culture-crossing choice, Mina might be a Sanskrit name, or a short form of longer names. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it’s short for Wilhelmina.
Both Nahla and Nala might be Arabic or Sanskrit. Halle Berry spelled with with the H for her daughter, but the Lion King character is Nala.
A rarer -ella name than many.
Short for Vanessa, possibly, or borrowed from Irish myth.
The Spanish word for a girl, but also short for longer names like Angelina or Antonina.
Once again, Nola can be a nickname for choices like Magnolia. But it’s also an abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana. (Since Louisiana is abbreviated LA.) That makes it Southern and high-spirited.
From the Latin word for new, Nova is associated with stars.
While it feels a little bit old-fashioned, Olga is associated with a fearless tenth century ruler of Kiev, as well as other world-changing women.
In Irish, Órfhlaith means golden princess. It’s simplified as Orlagh or the even more accessbile Orla. Irish designer Orla Kiely makes the name more familiar.
A feminine form of Paul.
The Spanish form of Pearl.
Like Peter, this name comes from the Greek word petros, rock. It’s also the name of an ancient city in southern Jordan.
Short for many a longer name, or possibly a feminine form of Pius.
Silent film star Pola Negri put this possibility on our lists. The actor was born in Poland, with the given name Apolonia.
The brilliant woman at the heart of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.
A name from Hindu legend, Priya comes with a sweet meaning – beloved.
In Inca myth, Mama Quilla is the moon goddess. The name is also spelled Killa, but that’s a non-starter as a given name.
A Sanskrit name with an auspicious meaning: success.
As in the Disney hero at the center of Raya and the Last Dragon, though Raya has been used in small numbers since the 1970s.
The Spanish word for queen, Reina is also spelled Reyna and Rayna, to name just two options.
Originally short for Aurelia or other names ending with the right letters and sounds.
A mother goddess, as well as the actual mother of Romulus and Remus, legendary founders of Rome, in ancient myth.
A rare name, Rhona is most often heard in Scotland, where it coincides with the name of two islands in the Hebrides. Ailsa and Isla have similar backstories.
A twentieth century favorite, Rhonda is immortalized in a hit Beach Boys song from 1965. “Help Me, Rhonda” hit #1, and the given name peaked that year, too, at #37.
The Hebrew form of Rebecca, Rivka sounds intriguing and unexpected, even as Rebecca seems classic and sunshiny.
Another Rose name.
Also spelled Sanaa, it means radiance in Arabic.
Short for Alexandra, Sandra had a good run from the 1930s into the 70s. Peak Sandra coincided with the stardom of model-turned-actor Sandra Dee. Grease gave us another famous Sandy, called “Sandra Dee” in song.
Among the most classic of girls’ names, Biblical Sarah was a Top Ten favorite from the 1970s into 2002, with Sara-without-the-H not too far behind.
Originally short for Alexandra or Alexander – it’s unisex – Sasha tends to lean feminine in American English, especially since Beyonce released I Am … Sasha Fierce in 2008, revealing the name of her on-stage alter ego.
Sean-with-an-A, Seana is a feminine form of the Irish answer to John. Shauna and Shawna make slightly more phonetic spellings.
From a musical term used in the Book of Psalms, Selah could be a distinctive choice for a daughter.
A mix of Sheila and Kayla, influenced by Irish import Shea.
An Irish import big in the US from the 1940s into the early 1970s.
Borrowed from the singer.
A meaning-rich name with Arabic or Hebrew roots.
Take nature name Sky, mix in Kyla, and this is the result.
A Star-Darla mash-up.
From the Latin word for star, Stella is forever edgy and cool thanks to Marlon Brando screaming it in cinematic classic A Streetcar Named Desire.
A modern twist on the Scandi Svanhild, this is a rare swan name – even in Sweden.
Speaking of Sweden, Svea is a favorite there.
It might be pronounced with three syllables, but say it TAHL-YAH and this name fits right in with short girl names ending in A.
Originally short for Tatiana, this Slavic name works well on its own.
It looks like a cup of tea, but pronounce it with two syllables, like actor Tea Leoni, and it fits with this list of short girl names ending with A.
Part-Tess, part-Elsa, and all science.
Short for classic Teresa, and more popular than the original now.
Traditionally short for Theodora or Dorothea, Thea feels like an update to Leah.
Another name once related to Theodora, but now rare.
A name popular thanks to a nineteenth century novel, though today it’s more Scooby Doo.
The feminine form of Thor, and a surprising alternative to Nora.
A Matilda nickname made famous by British actor Tilda Swinton – born Katherine Matilda.
An operatic rarity.
Big in the 1970s.
Take the creative force of dancer Twyla Tharpe, add Schitt’s Creek Twyla Sands, and this offbeat name has possibilities.
As in model turned television personality Tyra Banks.
Uma Thurman made her unusual, goddess-inspired name more familiar in the US. Fall Out Boy’s hit single “Uma Thurman” introduced it to another generation.
Rare Una might come from the Latin una – one, or it might be another spelling for the Irish Oona, meaning lamb.
Television personality Vanna White spells it with two Ns; either way, it probably started out as a nickname for Giovanna and Jovana.
1991 film My Girl put Vada on parents’ radar.
Vintage Vera comes from the Russian word for faith, but we tend to associate it with the Latin verus – true.
Borrowed from the Roman goddess of the hearth.
Night sky name Vega is borrowed from a star.
Probably from the Latin word for life, though there’s also a Persian name meaning visible.
Another borrowing from the Latin vivus – alive.
A Top 100 favorite from the 1920s into the 1960s, a new genertion knows Wanda as the Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gentle, old-fashioned, and sweet.
One-part nature name Wren, and two-parts ends-in-enna names like Jenna. It just so happens that the avian name Wren comes from Old English – where it was actually Wrenna.
If Sandra is back in the 1950s dancing to Summer Nights and Greased Lightnin, Xandra might feel a little more current in our age of Xander.
Game of Thrones used the name for a warrior; actor Yara Shahidi makes the name even more familiar.
It sounds like Sarah-with-a-Z, but Zara has a long history of its own. There’s also Zahra.
Possibly a feminine form of Zane and Zayn, or maybe an invention based on so many long A favorites.
A literary surname name boosted by that zippy initial Z.
As in author Zora Neale Hurston. It’s from a Slavic word meaning dawn.
Actor Zosia Mamet pronounces it more like Zasha. It’s originally a Polish nickname for Sophia.
A jazz age name extraordinaire, as in Zelda Fitzgerald.
An Italian saint’s name.
What are your favorite short girl names ending with A?
Originally published November 27, 2015, this post was revised substantially and re-published on August 4, 2022.
Greta is an time fave of mine. I wanted it for my last child but my husband wasn’t enthusiastic. From this list, love:
Eira (although I always mispronounce as Ira in my head…prob prefer that pronunciation anyway)
Rivka (I know a lovely one IRL)
Others that I like:
Ones I like that weren’t mentioned in the article:
Adah, Anna, Audra, Aya, Ayda, Clara, Ebba, Ella, Etta, Eva, Giada, Hilda, Isa, Isla, Laila, Lana, Lara, Lea, Leah, Leela, Leia, Lila, Lina, Luna, Lyla, Maya, Nova, Rosa, Sonya, Sora, Stella, Tia, Wanda, Wenda.
Our next child will almost certainly be Clea if it’s a girl, although I have suggested Quilla a few times as well. I also love Vega and know a 2 year old My own middle is Petra, after my great grandmother.
My daughter’s name is Nola! definitely bookmarking this list for when it’s time for another babe!
I keep coming back to this list! My great-grandma was Clea, but it was pronounced Clee-uh. I prefer the Clay-uh pronounciation. I would automatically pronounce it Clee-uh. Do you think she would always be correcting people?
Also, I know Selah is too close to Sadie, but I want to use it SO badly!!
I adore Zelda. It’s on our list. I love that you included Hera too. I’ve suggested it before in comments, I think it’s both pretty and strong. I think Hera of Greek legend gets overlooked, which is too bad!
I prefer Asha over Yara when it comes to Greyjoys.
I have a cousin Nelle – in her case it’s short for Jenelle.
I’d also submit Nova, Mara, and Maura (I have a friend who spells it Mora, which I think makes it more contemporary.)
Our ENTIRE girls’ finalist list is in this post! 😀 Oh wait, you missed one I love: Tova (or Tovah).
How about Lara?
I love Ada, Delia, Dahlia, Flora, Ida (well, I really like Ida but don’t know if I’m brave enough), Lena, Martha, Twila, Willa, Zelda(!) and Zara, though the last two are maybe too popular out here. Zara might be Top 20 actually…
Some of the others I can’t stand. I split a lot on this list. And I realized that I love 2 syllable names but most of my first picks don’t end in a…
My faves of other letters, that weren’t listed:
A – Ayla. Love it. Isla is far more popular out here, but ‘halo of moonlight’ beats ‘island’ for me. Eye-la either way is nice though.
C – Chaya – but it’s so unphonetic it might not work. I realized I liked lots of C-names but hardly any both 2 syllables and end in -a….
E – Eartha. But I am a huge, huge fan of Miss Kitt. And it feels mythological and not too cutesy.
G – Golda. Clunky, retro Golda. Gwenna would be softer though. And Gytha is kind of awesome IMO.
K – Katia! Any spelling, but Katia/Katja/Katya, is so much more appealing to me than Kara. I also like Kira.
L – Luna is rare enough. Leeba/Liba shoots past that to weird, but I like it too. Lita is less weird than Liba but maybe rarer than Lena?
M – Mara. Spare and somber but somehow lovely. Maura is more Irish and less Biblical but similar in style. I also like Mira, which sounds lighter.
N – Nina is underrated. A slim ballerina name.
O – Secretly fond of Oona.
P – Phaedra. Truly I prefer Phaenna but Phaedra gets me to the syllable count.
R – Reina/Raina is probably my favourite, I like both the Katherine- and Regina- related meanings. I also like Réka. Rhea is growing on me.
T – Tzvia. Probably does not win ‘not as out there as Thelma.’ (Just quietly, I don’t mind Thelma…)
V – Vita. Much sassier seeming to me than Vera. My Mom suggested it as a usable nod to Chaya
X – I heart Xanthe. Is Xantha a thing? If not, Xia.
Z – One of my favourite letters. I love Zia and Zvia, and Zella will always beat Stella for me.
Thank you – what a great list!
Love this list! Lana and Lara are two other greats. And Marla, though the Marla Hooch and Marla Singer associations hold strong.
I love Yara/Asha; I hope they do more with her character this season!! She could be Ygritte 2.0 …. just saying. 🙂
What a gorgeous list! Thank you!! I added Wrenna and Nella to my list. So many favorites!
Nola is also the name of a city in Italy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nola), which would make it a fun nod to Italian heritage.
I love thea and twyla!
Please can you do the same sort of list for boys one syllable names…we love carl and hank but our best friends just sole both naming their son hank carl!! Thanks