From classic Sarah to stylish Samara, there’s no shortage of appealing possibilities.
MOST POPULAR GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH S
We don’t even have to venture beyond the US Top 100 to find the ten most popular girl names starting with S.
Sophia sounds traditional, and maybe it is – the name has been around for ages. But it’s far more popular in 2020 than it was in 1920 – or at any previous point. A flowing sound combined with a great meaning – wisdom – make Sophia a favorite for our daughters.
Add up all the girls named Sophia and Sofia, and this starts to rival #1 Emma in terms of popularity. But Sofia, the preferred spelling in Spanish as well as Italian and many Slavic and Scandinavian languages, comes in just a dozen spots behind the ‘ph’ version of the name.
A colorful choice that started out as a surname for someone who dyed or sold fabric, Scarlett brings to mind two women: Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara and Hollywood A-lister Scarlett Johansson. The first convinces us that the name has a long history of use; the second makes us see it as twenty-first century ready.
The Latin word for star, Stella directs our gaze towards the heavens. Or wait, is that Hollywood? Cinematic history includes Marlon Brando bellowing “Stella!” in A Streetcar Named Desire. Stella fits with all the Ella-Bella names we’ve loved in recent years.
Ages before we embraced place names for our children, Savannah Smiles became a modestly successful 1982 movie. Suddenly, Savannah went from sometimes-heard to the Top 1000. It hasn’t slowed down much since, remaining in the Top 100 from 1993 onward.
A simplified form of Dutch surname name Schuyler, this spelling fits with our love of last-names-first. But it also feels a little bit like a nature name, thanks to the first syllable sky.
A meaning-rich word name, Serenity succeeds because it shares the same three-syllable, ends-with-y structure of so many girls’ names, from traditional Emily and Dorothy to surnames Kimberly and Kennedy to old school virtue picks like Felicity and Verity.
A feminine form of classic Samuel, Samantha emerged many years later, probably in the 1700s. It remained rare, until a television character cast a spell on us all, in the 1960s supernatural sitcom Bewitched. The show also gets credit for launching Tabitha.
Classic, traditional Sarah stepped straight out of the Bible and on to birth certificates. It’s never left the US Top 1000 – in fact, only rarely has it left the Top 100.
The French form of Sophia also makes the Top 100.
A spunky, sassy nickname name that feels equal parts vintage and modern, Sadie was boosted – in a big way – by reality television’s Duck Dynasty. The series – and Sadie Robertson – have faded from the spotlight, but Sadie helped popularize a wave of nickname names.
Sarah-with-an-h has always been more popular, but Sara-without-an-h is nearly as classic.
FASTEST RISING GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH S
Which S names for girls gained the most spots on the Top 1000 charts? Here are the twelve biggest gainers.
A name with poetic roots and ties to an iconic Audrey Hepburn role, Sabrina’s boost likely comes from Kiernan Shipka’s turn on Netflix’s fresh take on long-running character Sabrina.
A Biblical place name, real Salems appear all over the map. The Massachusetts town, with its legendary witch trials, takes this name in a spooky direction. But maybe that’s not fair. Depending on the name’s origin, it might mean peace or safety, both positive meanings.
A mix of nature name, colorful choice, and meaning-rich successor to Sophia, all in one compact, unisex package.
Saylor feels like a mix of surname-names Piper and Harper, and 90s favorite Taylor. Sailor – with an ‘i’ – doesn’t make the Top 1000 at all.
With Scarlett so popular, the elaborate Scarlette is gaining. So is the straight-up noun name Scarlet.
Seven recently debuted in the boys’ Top 1000, but on the girls’ list, it’s Sevyn instead. The number name conveys ideas about good fortune, but also spiritual ones tied to the seventh day of rest.
An Old Testament place name, rich with meaning, and derived from a word meaning peaceful.
Names like Skylar and Skyla and Skye have all been more popular, but lately it’s just Sky – like just Scarlet – that’s climbing fastest.
A nickname-name, Stevie brings to mind two women: iconic rock star Stevie Nicks, as well as popular sitcom Schitt’s Creek’s Stevie Budd. The latter likely explains the name’s recent boost, but Nicks – born Stephanie – makes it feel like a name we’ve always known could be used for a daughter.
A warm and sunny seasonal name, Summer has gone from hippie chic to mainstream favorite.
Sadie may feel casual Friday, but Sunny? Sunny is a long weekend of a name, born on the beach. Comedian Adam Sandler has daughters named Sadie and Sunny.
Another surname name, Sutton falls on the girls’ side thanks to actor Sutton Foster. It’s a sister for Harper or Sloane.
The French form of ancient Sylvia, credit Ivy and Ava and all of those middle ‘v’ names for the rise of Sylvie.
RARE GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH S
We meet “the daughter of Herodias” in the New Testament. Tradition tells us she’s named Salome. Her mom puts her up to dancing for King Herod – and demanding the head of John the Baptist as reward. That’s given Salome a bad girl vibe, but there’s more than one side to her story.
The blue gemstone fits in with color names, as well as more traditional picks like Ruby and Pearl.
Fiery Seraphina comes from a Late Latin name associated with a class of six-winged angels. It sounds a little bit like Sarah mixed with Josephine, and it also brings to mind to many elaborate girl names we love, from Alexandra to Isabella.
An Irish import, Shea might signal that the parents are baseball fans. That’s because of legendary Shea Stadium, long-time home to the New York Mets. It’s named for Bill Shea, who brought baseball back to New York, and was heavily involved in professional sports in the region.
A place name that feels every bit as wearable as Roman or Siena.
A Spanish place name, it refers to somewhere “exposed to the sun,” from the Latin solanum. It’s a lovely, sun-drenched image, and an appealing mix of modern Sol and traditional Ana, too.
The French word for sun, Soleil is pronounced soh-lay … maybe a little bit of a challenge, but only a little. It’s summery and meaningful, a bright name with an upbeat, sophisticated sound.
A Persian name, Soraya refers to the Pleiades constellation. It also brings to mind Princess Soraya, wife of the Shah of Iran in the twentieth century. Their marriage ended in divorce in the 1950s; Soraya remained internationally famous throughout her life.
A calendar name in the key of Summer, Sunday feels spiritual and meaningful – and very rare.
Surprising, but true – Susanna hasn’t appeared in the US Top 1000 for years. Susannah-with-an-h is even rarer. But this traditional, lyrical girls’ name could wear well today.
What are your favorite girl names starting with S?
This post was first published on June 1, 2020. It was revised and updated on October 10, 2020.