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
These are the most popular baby girl names starting with A, based on births in the calendar year 2020. (Check the full list for yourself here, at the Social Security Administration’s name site.) A staggering 163 girl names beginning with A rank in the current Top 1000.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A classic favorite, equally at home in Wonderland or in the real world.
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.
Seasonal and tailored, Autumn has become a modern staple.
A style star from the 1980s and 90s, still going strong today.
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.
Ancient Greece’s goddess of wisdom, Athena follows the equally wise Sophia into greater use.
Some probably first heard this name in 1980 novel Clan of the Cave Bear, but Ayla might be Hebrew or Turkish, too.
Another Adeline spelling option, one that looks something like an Ada-Lynn smoosh.
Alternate spelling of Aria, fueled by Game of Thrones.
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? 2,254. That’s a meteoric rise seldom seen even before the many alternative spellings are considered.
Alina might have started out as a nickname for names like Adelina, but it has long stood on its own.
Tally up all the spellings, and Adalyn/Adeline might be among the most popular choices for our daughters right now.
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.
Ariana with another N.
Flowing Amaya claims several meanings, but sounds very much at home today.
A regal classic with a muscular meaning: defender.
The Little Mermaid meets Isabella.
A 1980s staple, still seeing some use a generation later.
A feminine form of Andrew, big in the 1980s.
As spare and simple as Ava, but with more of a homespun, vintage vibe.
A graceful, elaborate name with a powerful meaning: resurrection.
A Hawaiian inspired name, like so many rising favorites ending with -lani.
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.
After so many years in the Top 100, Aubrey has inspired several alternative spellings.
Chances are that Annabel inspired Arabella, with some help from the Latin term orabilis – prayerful.
Perhaps a more phonetic take on classic Elena, or simply another Helen name.
A tree and a place name, Aspen is right at home with Willow and Rowan.
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 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.
A feminine form of Alan.
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.
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.
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.
The sparer spelling of Anna, popular in Spanish and Portuguese, as well as some Slavic languages.
Another Adelyn option.
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.
Every Top Ten name encourages a few similar choices, and #1 Olivia is no exception.
Immortalized by poet Edgar Allan Poe, this pretty name remains familiar, but not wildly popular.
Ada meets Adeline.
A popular Angela elaboration.
Likely another spelling of Aaliyah.
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.”
An Italian name, borrowed from a port town in northern Italy, which also inspired the name of the Adriatic Sea.
Probably a creative take on Aaliyah, influnced by Ana names.
Once a powerhouse of a 1990s name, Alexis has fallen in use, but remains familiar.
An Arabic name meaning truthful.
Take Aria, layer in all the letters of Aaliyah, and Ariyah is the logical outcome.
Just when it seems like all the spellings of Adeline are already listed …
Probably another cousin for Aaliyah.
A more elaborate Alexandra, with the bonus tie to Alexandria, Egypt, once home to the greatest library of the ancient world.
An elaboration of Ava, with a nod to Ariana and company.
Possibly a cousin to Amaya, with a little bit of Aaliyah’s spelling mixed in.
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.
A Scottish surname, this one caught on after popular television drama The West Wing introduced character Ainsley Hayes in 2000.
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.
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.
The Italian version of Alexandra, less expected but very wearable.
Probably inspired by the Latin amor, meaning love, Amora also means blackberry in Portuguese.
A casual nickname name for any of the many Al- names.
Before there was Olivia and Sophia, parents loved Alicia, a romance language form of Alice.
Another potential spelling for Adeline, this once resembling a smoosh between Addi and Lyn.
Possibly a twist on Amaya, or maybe an elaboration of Naya.
Daring flower name possibility.
A Turkish name meaning moonlight, with a tailored, modern appeal.
Either Aria with an H, or Mariah without an M.
Like Alessandra, an Italian import. This one is boosted by pop singer Alessia Cara.
A Norse name, Astrid has been boosted by everything from How to Train Your Dragon to Vikings.
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.
Adeline with an A, making this familiar name a little more romantic.
With multiple possible origins, Alora feels like a twenty-first century name, and an update to classic Laura.
A designer label, now popular as a given name.
The single-L spelling of former favorite Allison.
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.
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.
Popular Avery with an -IE ending.
A noun name twist on Angela.
MORE POPULAR A NAMES FOR GIRLS
A traditional Arabic name with a great meaning: alive.
Hadley – or maybe Bradley – with a letter (or two) dropped.
Multiple meanings and origins apply, but Alma is likely rising because of its Spanish roots, where it means soul.
A golden name by way of the ancient world and Italy.
A lovely month, and a well-established name for a daughter.
Ava meets Ana.
From the Spanish word for lark.
One of several Hawaiian-language names on the rise.
Borrowed from the gemstone.
Possibly a smoosh of names like Ana and Lucia or even Ana and Lia.
Probably a slightly fancier take on Aria.
A Russian nickname for Anna. Spell it Anja, and it’s a Scandi and German short form, too.
Amelia’s cousin, with a slightly different sound.
An Antonia elaboration that expands the name’s nickname potential dramatically.
Alana with a double-N
Abigail’s logical short form, sometimes given independently.
Classic and enduring, Anne-with-an-E outpaces just Ann.
Another spelling of popular Alina.
Perhaps the sparest possible spelling of Aaliyah, though it may also be a separate Arabic name meaning lofty, or one with Germanic roots.
Angelina ranks higher, but the Schuyler sisters put Angelica on this list – and on parents’ radar, too.
The single-N spelling is more popular, but Adrianna also charts.
Amira, add the H.
The Spanish-language version of Alexandra.
Another spelling of Amaya.
One more take on Aaliyah, this one influenced by Old Testament favorite Leah.
A creative take on Elena and Alaina, Alia and Ana, or Eliana.
A Scottish and Irish cousin to Helen.
A Hebrew name meaning joyful, or possibly just Eliza spelled with an A
An Arabic name meaning wishes.
Another possible spelling of Allison.
A name from the legends of the indigenous people of Brazil, made famous by a Mexican singer and actress.
An update to Ashley with the -lyn ending, or an Anglicized version of the Irish Aisling, meaning dream.
Can it be? Yes, it’s another spelling of Aaliyah.
The logical nickname for all of the Ang- names in the US Top 1000.
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.
A masculine name in the Old Testament, meaning “God has helped,” Azariah succeeds on sound in the twenty-first century.
Another cousin to Alina and Aleena.
Ashlynn, with another N.
Perhaps a more phonetic attempt at Aaliyah.
Sweet surname name Aubrey spelled with an -IE.
Another take on Avery.
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.
The go-to nickname for Andrea.
A spare, sophisticated alternative to Adeline, made even more familiar thanks to chart-topping singer Adele.
A French and sometimes Spanish form of Anna.
Avah, add the H.
Midway between Amelia and Emily, this French name owes a little to both.
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.
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.
Amora with an additional vowel.
Sometimes another spelling for Anne nickname Annika, and sometimes a Sanskrit name meaning splendor.
Sleek surname Aubrey meets the elaborate Gabriella.
An on-trend possibility of uncertain meaning.
Addison with a Y.
Once again, the double-N Annika trails the single-N spelling.
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.
Yet another Alexandra short form.
One more spelling of Allison.
The French form of Angelica.
Ava plus Lynn.
Either a double name – Ada Lee – or perhaps a phonetic take on Adelie.
Addison with a Y … in a different spot.
Possibly an attempt to make Austin feminine.
One more Adeline spelling.
Possibly the feminine form of an Old Testament name.
One more take on Aileen.
Borrowed from a title of the Virgin Mary used primarily in Spain, Araceli means “altar of the sky.”
Another Aubrey elaboration, just like Aubriella.
A French place name, famous for an apparition of the Virgin Mary in the 1800s.
Aspen with a Y.
It might be a Latin American form of Harriet, or a take on another Ari- name, or even Arlette.
A Sanskrit name meaning wave or ocean.
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.
Likely a creative take on Amaya and Aaliyah, with a N swapped out for the M.
Azariah, hold the H.
An old school French name, Arlette shares the popular -ette ending of Scarlett and Juliette, but feels far less expected.
Another take on Aria, perhaps meant to emphasize the name’s connection to Persian and Indian roots.
A romantic take on Annabelle.
RARE GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH A
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.