It’s the single most popular first initial for our daughters in recent years. It leaves runners-up E, M, and S in the dust.
In some ways, that’s nothing new. Anna, Anne, Annie, and Ann alternated their tours in the Top 100, and many appeared in the Top Ten. Classic choices like Abigail and Alice enjoyed plenty of time in the sun, too. But today, it’s not just the traditional picks. In fact, the Anns are at something of a low-point, while former staples like Agatha and Antoinette fail to make the current Top 1000 at all.
One word of caution: many of these names represent multiple spellings of the same favorite choice. Some could start with antoher letter of the alphabet. Is Alivia really different when Olivia tops the charts? Others are powerfully popular, if all the variants are tallied up. Aaliyah, for one, is even more popular than first glance suggests.
Still, A names for girls span every style. From stylish mini names to vintage revivals, intriguing imports to elaborate romantics, there’s no shortage of possibilities beginning with A.
Read on for more girl names starting with A, from the current chart-toppers to names you might not have considered.
MOST POPULAR GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH A
Sweetly vintage, Amelia was popular in the late nineteenth century. But it’s even more popular today. Perhaps it’s the combination of antique style with the image of high-flying, world-changing aviator Amelia Earhart.
Short on letters, big on style. Ava carries all the glamour of Hollywood’s Ava Gardner, but still feels spare and minimalist. Bonus? It’s a palindrome: spelled the same forwards and backwards.
Musical Aria hits all the right notes. It’s a lovely liquid name reflecting the sound of our times. It fits with so many word names, from Willow to Grace. And the one-two punch of Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones introduced it to lots of parents.
A long-time Top 25 name for girls in the US, nearly every Abigail is actually an Abby. It comes with a great meaning, too: my father is joy.
Surname Avery was nearly unknown until the late 1980s. That’s when we met Avery Brown, mother to fictional journalist Murphy Brown. After Murphy named her son after her mother, Avery rose for boys and girls alike, but today it’s far more popular for girls.
The Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora has a long history of sparing use. But it’s never been more popular than it is today.
A logical successor to Allison and Madison, Addison soared into the Top 100 back in 2006. Add in alternate spellings like Addisyn and Addyson and it’s even more popular than the current rankings suggest. While it means “son of Adam,” this name is overwhelmingly used for girls, likely because of friendly nickname Addie.
A classic favorite, equally at home in Wonderland or in the real world.
With all the charm of Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn, this name feels like a modern traditional choice for a daughter.
Aaliyah means sublime in Arabic, which makes this lovely, vowel-intensive name even more appealing. The late singer Aaliyah put it on parents’ radar in the 1990s and it has been in the Top 100 since 2001.
Seasonal and tailored, Autumn has become a modern staple.
Ancient Greece’s goddess of wisdom, Athena follows the equally wise Sophia into greater use.
A 1972 song by Bread transformed Aubrey from sometimes-heard male name to fast-rising favorite for girls. It entered the Top 100 in 2006, long after the song faded from playlists.
A classic among classics, Anna is currently the reigning Ann- name. And yet, even as a Top 100 name, it feels surprisingly rare.
A slimmed-down version of the mythological Ariadne, powered to the top of the charts by singer Ariana Grande.
The most popular of many spellings of this vintage name.
Some probably first heard this name in 1980 novel Clan of the Cave Bear, but Ayla might be Hebrew or Turkish, too.
A style star from the 1980s and 90s, still going strong today.
Alternate spelling of Aria, fueled by Game of Thrones.
Another Adeline spelling option, one that looks something like an Ada-Lynn smoosh.
Alina might have started out as a nickname for names like Adelina, but it has long stood on its own.
A Basque name meaning joy, Alaia has shot up the charts in recent years. In 2009, just 44 girls were named Alaia. As of 2020? 2,280. That’s a meteoric rise seldom seen even before the many alternative spellings are considered. The name has cooled slightly in recent years, but again – factor in the many possible spellings, and Alaia is the sound of a generation.
A globe-spanning name, Amara means grace in Igbo, and undying in Sanskrit. It’s one of many names made popular by character on The Vampire Diaries.
A 1980s staple, still seeing some use a generation later.
A feminine form of Andrew, big in the 1980s.
A graceful, elaborate name with a powerful meaning: resurrection.
Flowing Amaya claims several meanings, but sounds very much at home today.
A Hawaiian inspired name, like so many rising favorites ending with -lani.
Ariana with another N.
Tally up all the spellings, and Adalyn/Adeline might be among the most popular choices for our daughters right now.
As spare and simple as Ava, but with more of a homespun, vintage vibe.
The Little Mermaid meets Isabella.
A regal classic with a muscular meaning: defender.
A tree and a place name, Aspen is right at home with Willow and Rowan.
Perhaps a more phonetic take on classic Elena, or simply another Helen name.
This mini name was a smash hit in the age of Jennifer. Doubtless it would be right up there with Mia and Ivy now, if only so many moms didn’t answer to Amy.
Casual Annie is short for so many longer names. And yet, with girls answering to Mille and Sadie, maybe Annie works well as a formal name, too.
The sparer spelling of Anna, popular in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as some Slavic languages.
A name rising across much of the world, Amira has Hebrew or Arabic roots.
A Hebrew name meaning “lion of God,” Ariel is originally masculine. But it went under the sea with Disney in 1989, and has been popular for girls in the US ever since. With a live action remake comign in 2023, Ariel might catch on again.
Depending on your point-of-view, Angela is either a spiritual name (becuase angels), a traditional one (especially in Italian families), or simply a fading 1970s favorite.
Chances are that Annabel inspired Arabella, with some help from the Latin term orabilis – prayerful.
Plenty of popular names have more than one possible spelling, and Aaliyah is no exception. The single-A version is second only to Aaliyah.
A feminine form of Alan.
After so many years in the Top 100, Aubrey has inspired several alternative spellings.
Ada meets Adeline.
With multiple possible origins, Alora feels like a twenty-first century name, and an update to classic Laura.
Like Alayna, probably an attempt to provide a phonetic take on Elena.
Regal and relatively uncommon, at least compared to the many spellings of Adeline.
Another Adelyn option.
A romance language cousin to Alice, or possibly a name inspired by the alyssum flower, Alyssa surged into the US Top 100 in the 1980s, and remained there well into the 2010s.
An Arabic name meaning truthful.
Every Top Ten name encourages a few similar choices, and #1 Olivia is no exception.
Thoroughly modern Amari is one of several rhyming names on the rise, along with Damari, Jamari, and Kamari. They might come from an Arabic word meaning “long life.”
Immortalized by poet Edgar Allan Poe, this pretty name remains familiar, but not wildly popular.
The name of a mountain in eastern Spain. Celebrated twentieth century Spanish poet Rafael Alberti gave the name to his daughter, and immortalized it in his work.
An Italian name, borrowed from a port town in northern Italy, which also inspired the name of the Adriatic Sea.
Just when it seems like all the spellings of Adeline are already listed …
Like Alessandra, an Italian import. This one is boosted by pop singer Alessia Cara.
Once a powerhouse of a 1990s name, Alexis has fallen in use, but remains familiar.
Likely another spelling of Aaliyah.
Take Aria, layer in all the letters of Aaliyah, and Ariyah is the logical outcome.
Probably inspired by the Latin amor, meaning love, Amora also means blackberry in Portuguese.
Probably a creative take on Aaliyah, influnced by Ana names.
The Italian version of Alexandra, less expected but very wearable.
Juliette outranks Juliet, and Annabelle is more popular than Annabel. While Ariel remains the preferred spelling, it’s no surprise that Arielle is popular, too.
Probably another cousin for Aaliyah.
Adeline with a trailing A, making this familiar name a little more romantic.
A Norse name, Astrid has been boosted by everything from How to Train Your Dragon to Vikings.
Daring flower name possibility.
Possibly a twist on Amaya, or maybe an elaboration of Naya.
A more elaborate Alexandra, with the bonus tie to Alexandria, Egypt, once home to the greatest library of the ancient world.
Before there was Olivia and Sophia, parents loved Alicia, a romance language form of Alice.
The Dutch and German Anneliese is a combination of Anne and Elisabeth. Annalise is the preferred English-language spelling, and familiar to some thanks to an Animal Crossing character.
Possibly a cousin to Amaya, with a little bit of Aaliyah’s spelling mixed in.
A Turkish name meaning moonlight, with a tailored, modern appeal.
An elaboration of Ava, with a nod to Ariana and company.
Either Aria with an H, or Mariah without an M.
A casual nickname name for any of the many Al- names.
A Scottish surname, this one caught on after popular television drama The West Wing introduced character Ainsley Hayes in 2000.
A short form of Alexandra, Alexa was a Top 100 staple in the US. But then, Amazon introduced their virtual assistant, Alexa, in 2015. As the technology has moved into our homes, the use of the given name has plummeted.
Another potential spelling for Adeline, this once resembling a smoosh between Addi and Lyn.
A designer label, now popular as a given name.
This might be a Hebrew or Scandi name, in which case it’s traditionally masculine. But it might also be short for Ariana, Aria, or other girls’ names with a strong Ar- sound … of which there are many. And that makes it every bit as feminine as Allie or Annie.
The single-L spelling of former favorite Allison.
A traditional Arabic name with a great meaning: alive.
Maybe you think of Amanda as stuck in the 1980s with Allison, listening to Duran Duran on cassette. But, but, but it’s been around since the seventeenth century – at least – and has history to spare.
One of several Hawaiian-language names on the rise.
Multiple meanings and origins apply, but Alma is likely rising because of its Spanish roots, where it means soul.
A Russian nickname for Anna. Spell it Anja, and it’s a Scandi and German short form, too.
A golden name by way of the ancient world and Italy.
From the Spanish word for lark.
Popular Avery with an -IE ending.
A noun name twist on Angela.
A lovely month, and a well-established name for a daughter.
An Antonia elaboration that expands the name’s nickname potential dramatically.
Another take on Avery.
Probably a slightly fancier take on Aria.
Borrowed from the gemstone.
A name from the legends of the indigenous people of Brazil, made famous by a Mexican singer and actress.
The Spanish-language version of Alexandra.
Alana with a double-N.
Classic and enduring, Anne-with-an-E outpaces just Ann.
Amira, add the H.
Amelia’s cousin, with a slightly different sound.
An Arabic name meaning wishes.
Abigail’s logical short form, sometimes given independently.
Perhaps the sparest possible spelling of Aaliyah, though it may also be a separate Arabic name meaning lofty, or one with Germanic roots.
A masculine name in the Old Testament, meaning “God has helped,” Azariah succeeds on sound in the twenty-first century.
Another spelling of Amaya.
Possibly a smoosh of names like Ana and Lucia or even Ana and Lia.
A creative take on Elena and Alaina, Alia and Ana, or Eliana.
Hadley – or maybe Bradley – with a letter (or two) dropped.
Another spelling of popular Alina.
Angelina ranks higher, but the Schuyler sisters put Angelica on this list – and on parents’ radar, too.
One more take on Aaliyah, this one influenced by Old Testament favorite Leah.
Either a double name – Ada Lee – or perhaps a phonetic take on Adelie.
Amaya with an H.
The single-N spelling is more popular, but Adrianna also charts.
The logical nickname for all of the Ang- names in the US Top 1000.
A Scottish and Irish cousin to Helen.
Amora with an additional vowel.
Slimmed-down spelling of Arlette, currently a bit more popular than the -lette spelling.
Ava meets Ana.
Another cousin to Alina and Aleena.
Mini name Aya is heard across the world. It means “sign” in Arabic and color or design in Japanese. And Aya has been popular across much of Europe, too.
A Hebrew name meaning joyful, or possibly just Eliza spelled with an A
One more spelling of Allison.
The go-to nickname for Andrea.
An update to Ashley with the -lyn ending, or an Anglicized version of the Irish Aisling, meaning dream.
Ashlynn, with another N.
It might be an import from Scandinavia, where it’s a smoothed-out version of Helga, meaning blessed. But Aila could also be an invention based on Layla and so many similar-sounding favorites.
An old school French name, Arlette shares the popular -ette ending of Scarlett and Juliette, but feels far less expected.
Aspen with a Y.
A spare, sophisticated alternative to Adeline, made even more familiar thanks to chart-topping singer Adele.
Sometimes another spelling for Anne nickname Annika, and sometimes a Sanskrit name meaning splendor.
Yet another Alexandra short form.
One more take on Aileen.
Once again, the double-N Annika trails the single-N spelling.
A French and sometimes Spanish form of Anna.
The French form of Angelica.
Perhaps a more phonetic attempt at Aaliyah.
Azariah, hold the H.
Another possible spelling of Allison.
While August as a name is traditionally masculine, it’s status as a month puts it in the same category as April, May, and June.
Unisex name with Arabic roots, as well as ties to Japan.
An on-trend possibility of uncertain meaning.
Midway between Amelia and Emily, this French name owes a little to both.
Sweet surname name Aubrey spelled with an -IE.
Borrowed from a title of the Virgin Mary used primarily in Spain, Araceli means “altar of the sky.”
Greek mythology gives this name to their goddess of the moon and the hunt. It’s been used in small numbers over the years, for both boys and girls. The masculine version is sometimes spelled Artemas.
Possibly the feminine form of an Old Testament name.
Sleek surname Aubrey meets the elaborate Gabriella.
Avah, add the H.
Aliana, but with a double N. It’s worth noting that in nearly every case, the double-N spelling is less popular than single-N version.
Ava plus Lynn.
Can it be? Yes, it’s another spelling of Aaliyah.
A Hindi name with an appealing meaning: first power.
A French place name, famous for an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the 1800s.
RARE GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH A
A Sanskrit name meaning wave or ocean.
Another take on Aria, perhaps meant to emphasize the name’s connection to Persian and Indian roots.
Place name with Scottish roots.
Unconventional path to Abby, with plenty of Texas flair.
Tree name with that lovely -ia ending.
National park name that brings to mind the wonders of Maine.
For every chart-topping surname name like Avery or Addison, there’s an Adair. Originally a Scottish form of Edgar, that connection isn’t well-known – or particularly obvious. And if you’re after something bold for your daughter’s name, the “dare” sound makes this one doubly appealing.
Either an Ada-Maris mashup or a play on the Latin adamo – to fall in love.
Addison with a Y … in a different spot.
Addison with a Y.
Lyrical Yoruba name, often given to a long-awaited child.
Hebrew name meaning strong.
The name of a Scottish river immortalized in a Robert Burns poem, Afton has flowed into greater use as a girls’ given name over the years. A little bit literary, with ties to the natural world, few names hit the same sweet spot as Afton. As a bonus, Burns’ poem has been set to music, most recently by Nickel Creek.
Classic name with a long history of use, out of favor today.
Another traditional favorite that everyone recognizes, but few parents choose. Shorten it to Aggie, and it’s at least as wearable as Margaret/Maggie or Abigail/Abby.
One of the Thee Graces in Greek mythology. Her name means beauty.
A French-inspired spelling of Amy, still less common than the three-letter version, but with possibility.
Ayanna and Ayana peaked around the turn of the twenty-first century. Aiyana is likely the last spelling standing. The name could come from an Amharic word for flower.
From a Greek word meaning truth.
AMABEL, AMABELLE, AMABELLA
Likely the original form of Annabelle, from the Latin name Amabilis – lovable.
Heard in New Orleans, Amenaide looks like an Amelia-Adelaide mash-up with an extra syllable added. Flawlessly French and ever so rare.
Fellow virtue name Felicity ranks comfortably in the US Top 500 – but it had a saint and a television series to boost familiarity along the way. The far rarer Amity offers a great meaning – friendship – and an equally appealing sound.
If you know your Latin – or Spanish or French – you can unpack Amoret. It comes from amor love. Poet Edmund Spenser invented it for his 1590 epic poem The Faerie Queene. It’s seldom heard as a given name, but fits right in with Juliet and Scarlett.
A possible nature name that nods to the flower and the sea anemone, too.
An Arabic name meaning friendly, Anisa is rare in the US, but heard elsewhere in the world. It’s sometimes spelled with a double ‘s’ but that might confuse the pronunciation. Anisa rhymes with Lisa.
Likely a creative take on Amaya and Aaliyah, with a N swapped out for the M.
We love Annabelle and lots of other Ann- names, so how about Annemor? It’s an import from Sweden and Norway, only used since the middle of the twentieth century. The first syllable is the classic Ann; mor means mother.
In Greek myth, she’s principled and heroic – and also tragic. But the name has potential, especially with so many similar Greek favorites rising in use.
Frilly, French feminine form of Anthony, Antoinette was made famous by a doomed queen. Marie Antoinette casts a long shadow, and yet, Antoinette ranked in the US Top 200 during the 1910s and 20s.
Vintage gem with literary roots.
Another word name possibility, arbor comes from the Latin word for tree. While it more commonly refers to a garden now, the annual observance of Arbor Day keeps the meaning top of mind. Arbor fits with similar-sounding Harper, as well as nature names like Willow and Rowan.
A mythological name, we know Ariadne from the story of the Minotaur. She helped Theseus outwit the monster, but they don’t exactly have a happy ending. Still, in our age of Penelope, it’s easy to imagine Ariadne wearing well.
A name with Welsh roots, and a shimmering meaning: silver and blessed.
It might be a Latin American form of Harriet, or a take on another Ari- name, or even Arlette.
An elaboration of goddess name Artemis. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, was commissioned by Artemisia II of Caria. It honored her husband-brother, Mausolus. While she’s mostly remembered for her outpouring of grief, she ruled her country and commanded its military way back in the fourth century BC – an impressive feat.
Okay, it could be mistaken for Atlanta, the city in Georgia, time after time. But the Atalanta of myth has a great story to tell. She refuses to marry unless she can find a husband who can outrun her. In other tales she sailed with the Argonauts and hunted a wild boar.
Another Aubrey elaboration, just like Aubriella.
Possibly an attempt to make Austin feminine.
A mystical island paradise in Arthurian legend, Avalon has been borrowed as a place name over the years. It’s also a famous Roxy Music album, and very occasionally, a given name.
Especially for Anne fans.
What are your favorite girl names starting with A?
Originally published on May 18, 2020, this post was revised and updated on September 22, 2020; May 31, 2021; and September 19, 2022; and May 29, 2023.