From favorites like Daisy to vintage gems like Dorothy, plenty of these feel instantly familiar.
But rare choices abound, too. There’s Doveva and Drusilla, to name just two, plus a nature name that seems ready to soar in the coming years: Dove.
As of 2020, D was the fifteenth most popular letter for girl names. That’s solidly in the middle of the alphabet.
Among the most popular D girl names of all time? Deborah. Along with slimmed-down spelling Debra, they were Top Ten favorites from the 1950s into the 60s. But Debbie is all grown up, and Deb is more likely to be the grandparent than the newborn these days.
MOST POPULAR D NAMES FOR GIRLS
A hit 2005 song from The Plain White Ts pushed this Biblical name up the popularity charts in recent years. (And yes, it’s inspired by a real-life Delilah.) It helps that it includes the stylish Ls shared by Lily, Layla, and Lila, too.
Cheerful Daisy feels as traditional as Rose, but with a more casual vibe. Sometimes associated with Margaret, Daisy most often stands on its own. From The Great Gatsby to Daisy Miller, the name surfaces in literature over the last 150 years or so. Daisy Duck, Daisy Duke, and Daisy Ridley take the name in all sorts of different directions.
The French Danielle’s heyday was the 1980s, but the more international Daniela became a twenty-first century sensation, popular from Spain to Romania.
The name of a beloved princess, as well as one of the world’s best known superheroes, it’s easy to forget that Diana is, originally, a goddess. In Roman myth, she’s the equivalent of Artemis, a moon goddess and huntress. The name feels classic
North and South Dakota were both named for the Native American tribe. Tens of thousands of children have shared the name, too, both male and female. For every Dak Prescott, there’s a Dakota Johnson.
A surname name in the key of former favorites like Kimberly and Ashley, Delaney ranks among the most popular D names for girls. And yet, it’s never really caught on. Call it a sweet spot surname name – instantly familiar, but not too often-heard.
Once a name reserved for Hollywood’s Demi Moore, it’s slowly become a mainstream possibility. Singer Demi Lovato gave it another boost, as did the rise of Remi.
A word name with a rich meaning, Destiny peaked around the turn of the twenty-first century. Today, you’re more likely to meet a newborn Serenity.
Gorgeous, antique Dahlia is a flower power name from another time. But it still wears well in our age of Lily and Rose.
Telemundo reality series Larrymania followed the career and personal life of Mexican-American singer Larry Hernandez for eight seasons. That includes Larry’s wife Kenia Ontiveros, and their creatively-named daughters. Their first daughter, Daleyza, arrived in 2010. As the couple’s reality series gained traction, so did Daleyza’s distinctive name.
A word name used by Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna for their daughter in 2016, and parents took note.
Like Daniela, it’s another feminine form of Daniel in favor today.
At home in the Mystery Machine with Scooby Doo, this mythological name feels vintage and sparky. It was already on the rise, even before Netflix sensation Bridgerton put the name on everyone’s lips.
Danielle has gone from girl next door to mom name. But just like Josephine (and Genevieve and Claire and Estelle and Blanche and …) it will be back in a few more generations.
Is Danna another feminine form of Daniel? An update to Donna? A name in the key of Della and Hanna? Maybe it’s all of the above. What’s certain is that Danna continues to quietly rise in use.
A name borrowed from the boys, Dylan remains a solid favorite for our sons. But, like Ryan and Cameron, a significant minority of girls receives the name every year, too.
Legendary fashion designer Christian Dior puts this name on parents’ radar. But it also helps that Dior looks quite a bit like d’or – of gold.
In 1939, she wore ruby slippers. By 1985, she was one of The Golden Girls. But with this new generation, Dorothy feels like a vintage name ready for revival.
There’s a South American orchid called the Dayana, but the name’s popularity in Latin America suggests that it’s a Spanish (and possibly Portuguese) spin on Diana.
A feminine form of David featuring that stylish letter V.
A place name with ties to a blockbuster prime time soap from the 1980s and recently rebooted, Dallas has become a unisex choice in the key of Phoenix.
A Spanish word meaning sweet, Dulce has been a recent favorite. But it has a history of use dating back to medieval Europe.
A mini name, short for any of the Daniela/Danielle names, or a feminine form of Daniel that stands on its own.
Fueled by a reality television contestant on Spanish-language competition Exatlón, Denisse made a comeback decades earlier than might’ve been expected.
The more traditional English spelling for this feminine form of Dennis also returned to the rankings in 2020.
If Dallas followed Phoenix, then this Colorado place name appears poised to follow them both. It’s even more popular for boys.
An Old Testament classic, Deborah – and slimmed-down spelling Debra – dominated the 1940s and 50s.
A Bella-Stella-Ella cousin, rarer than any of those.
Remember Daleyza? Larry and wife Kenia Ontiveros are also the parents of Dalary, a name clearly paying homage to dad. Prior to her 2013 birth, no one named their daughter Dalary. Since then, it’s become a (nearly) mainstream possibility, though it’s not as big a sensation as big sister Daleyza’s name.
Originally short for Andrew, Drew has been sometimes-used for girls for ages. While she wasn’t the first, much of the credit goes to Drew Barrymore. It’s a family surname for the actor.
VINTAGE GIRL NAMES BEGINNING WITH D
From the word darling, Darla brings to mind The Little Rascals. It’s so far out that it’s in.
A sweet name borrowed from Irish legend.
An ancient Greek name once associated with Artemis, Delia brings to mind a mournful Johnny Cash song called “Delia Gone,” based on a real-life tragic tale. That taint might put parents off, but the name itself is quite lovely – and blameless.
A lovely French rarity, Delphine is associated with flowers, as well as dolphins.
Sparky Dinah sounds like a midcentury favorite – and it is! But it also feels like a great choice in our age of Norah and so many stylish girl names starting with D.
Originally short for Dorothy or Dolores, Dolly has languished, even while rhyming name Molly soared. Dolly Parton makes this name iconic, a powerhouse of a nickname name.
In Spanish, Dolores means Sorrows. That seems like strange inspiration for a child’s name, but it comes from a title for the Virgin Mary: Our Lady of Sorrows. Nicknames like Lola and Dolly keep it accessible.
An Italian name meaning lady, Donna may also have stood in as a feminine version of former favorite Donald. Ritchie Valens’ hit single “Donna” made the name a smash hit in the late 1950s, but that’s probably why it’s in style limbo today.
If not for the animated Dora the Explorer series, this name could be big right now, just like Nora and Cora. Instead, it’s stuck in style limbo – for now.
A 1920s favorite, Doris Day pins this name firmly in the past. But if Dorothy is making a comeback, maybe Doris has a shot, too.
RARE D NAMES FOR GIRLS
An Old Norse name, Dagmar is just right for parents worried that Ingrid and Astrid are too obvious.
A delicate New Testament name, Damaris means calf in Greek.
Strictly speaking, it’s Danaë – pronounced with three syllables, dah nah ee. But most Americans seem to say it more like Renee – dah NAY. In Greek myth, she’s the mother of Perseus.
In Slavic folklore, Danica is the morning star. It’s familiar thanks to retired racer Danica Patrick and actor Danica McKellar, but remains relatively rare.
A sometimes-surname, as in Peter Pan’s Wendy, John, and Peter Darling, it’s an affectionate word well-suited as a middle.
Along with Devorah, the Hebrew form of Deborah benefits from the modern ‘v’ sound.
A short form of the many Dominic-related names, Domino feels musical (thanks to musical legend Fats) but also brings to mind a Bond girl (in Thunderball and Never Say Never Again) and British bounty hunter Domino Harvey.
A long and elaborate Italian name, designer Donatella Versace made it famous world-wide.
A bird name that feels likely to soar in the coming years, thanks in part to a list of high profile birth announcements, as well as Disney Channel star Dove Cameron.
A Hebrew name meaning whisper, with an appealing sound.
A New Testament name that may ultimately trace back to a Celtic element meaning strong, Drusilla comes with a modern built-in nickname: Dru.
A name that may have been coined by Miguel Cervantes for his 1605 masterpiece Don Quixote, it’s a long, elaborate cousin to Dulce, with the same meaning – sweet.
What are your favorite D names for girls?
First published on December 7, 2020, this post was revived and republished on October 18, 2021.