Girl names starting with V are having a moment.
Actually, it’s any girls’ name including the letter V. Just ask Ava, Olivia, and Evelyn. Or Everly, Avery, and Nova.
But V at the top works, too, and a handful of powerfully popular names make this list.
Despite a few blockbuster favorites, a great many girl names starting with V fly under the radar. It’s one of those letters filled with names that really seem like they ought to be more – much more – popular. But they’re not … at least not yet.
In fact, girl names starting with V rank 17th out of the 26 letters of the alphabet in terms of popularity. So while it feels like we’re hearing lots of this letter, maybe it’s not quite as ubiquitous as it can sometimes seem.
Let’s dive into this most stylish letter, and all of those gorgeous girl names starting with V.
GIRL NAMES STARTING WITH V IN THE US TOP 1000
Regal Victoria brings to mind the long-reigning, era-defining queen. Previous generations probably thought of her as dour and aged, a joyless widow. But a recent re-telling of her story gave us Jenna Coleman as a very young Victoria, newly ascended to the throne and newlywed to the man she loved passionately. Couple that with a great meaning – victory – and a stylish sound. No surprise Victoria has become a favorite with parents.
Violet presents a contradiction. For ages, this dramatic purple flower was a “shrinking” Violet – painfully shy. But that doesn’t vibe with the sound or the flower’s beauty. Parents started to rediscover this ecovintage favorite from the early twentieth century. Then along came the Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey as well as the second Incredibles movie featuring shy-but-heroic teenager Violet Parr, and this already-rising name returned to the US Top 100.
A successor to Isabella, count Valentina among the romance language names with big, bold sounds. Like fellow V-name Victoria, Valentina also has a great meaning: strong, from the Latin valens. Saint Valentine layers on a sort of sentimental feeling, but Valentina’s sound is different enough that it works for daughters born on February 14th … or any of the other 364 days a year.
Most agree that Vivian comes from vivus – Latin for alive. But it’s also an Anglicized form of Irish mythological name Bébinn. Or, in Arthurian legend, the Lady of the Lake. With two Vs, it packs a double punch. Plus, Vivian manages to feel timeless – it’s vintage but modern, and at home in nearly any decade.
There’s something surprisingly timeless about Valerie. Technically, it peaked in the 1960s, but it’s been heard in plenty of decades. The Zutons, Material Issue, Steve Winwood, Amy Winehouse, The Monkees … it’s been a pop song staple for ages, too. It’s the English – and French and German – form of Valeria.
Another name with Roman roots, Valeria comes from valere – to be strong. It’s been used in small numbers in the US For ages, but really never caught on until the twenty-first century.
Invented by the writer Jonathan Swift, Vanessa comes from re-arranging the syllables of a friend’s name: Esther Vanhomrigh. That was back in 1726. Since then, it’s become the name of a genus of butterflies.
It means faith in Russian, and coincides with the Latin word for truth. That’s an awful lot of meaning for a mere four letters.
The French feminine form of Vivian, it’s the given name of the youngest Jolie-Pitt sister, twin to Knox. With fellow French girl names like Madeleine and Genevieve so in favor, Vivienne fits right in.
Like Valerie, vintage Veronica crosses decades, defying easy categorization. It’s a mix of Greek name Pherenike and the Latin phrase vera icon – true image. It ranked in the US Top 100 in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s … but it feels more like an overlooked gem than a sister for Ashley or Jessica.
A romance language take on Vivian.
Originally a Roman family name, we’ve long associated Virginia with Queen Elizabeth I – the Virgin Queen – as well as Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World. Today, though, it’s mostly a place name, as in the US state.
A pretty place name that brings to mind waltzes, pastries … and okay, sausages, too. But Vienna’s name-like sound and appealing image is enough to overcome that last association.
A vintage favorite, Vada regularly appeared in the US Top 1000 until the 1940s. 1991 film My Girl put this name on parents’ radar, but it didn’t return to the US Top 1000 until 2016 – fueled, in part, by our love of girl names starting with V.
A Spanish and sometimes Slavic take on VIolet.
Another spelling of Valerie.
This name means knowledge in Sanskrit.
The French form of Violet, though some parents might simply prefer the extra -te ending, just like Juliette, without actually changing the pronunciation.
RARE V NAMES FOR GIRLS
A poetic term for a valley, television’s Savannah Guthrie gave the name Vale to a daughter in 2014. It’s brief, feminine, and still unexpected.
The capital of Malta, Valletta was named for Jean de Valette, who fought off the invading Ottoman army in 1565. As place names go, it’s almost never heard – but has the makings of an appealing choice. Spelled Valetta, it’s seen some use in the US, but Valletta is almost unknown.
You might think of Valencia oranges; they take their name from the Spanish city. Like Valentina, this name comes from the Latin valens – strong. It’s a long and lovely sound that would work well for a daughter.
If you know your Norse mythology, then you know valkyries are a what, not a who – they’re battlefield spirits who escort the dead to the afterlife. But Marvel made Valkyrie a person, and a name. She’s an Asgardian warrior, first appearing in comics in 1970. In 2017, Tessa Thompson played the role in Thor: Ragnarok, and she returned in Avengers: End Game. We expect to see Thompson as Valkyrie on the big screen again soon.
This name appears in the Old Testament, the name of a queen of Persia. Some tellings of her story make Vashti wicked and selfish; others paint her as principled and fierce.
The name of a star in the night sky, Vega appears in the constellation Lyra. It comes from an Arabic phrase meaning “falling eagle.” There are some traditional folktales associated with the star. It’s big in Spain right now, and rising in use in the US – though still quite rare.
A Latin word meaning truth, Verity fits right in with Felicity and other virtue names.
An Italian city, Verona is the setting for Romeo and Juliet. That alone should make it broadly familiar.
Ian Fleming named a character Vesper Lynd, as a play on West Berlin. But Vesper is the Latin word for evening, and, in Greek myth, Vesper is the personification of the evening star – or Venus, in Roman tradition.
The Roman goddess of the hearth, Vesta comes from the Greek Hestia, literally meaning hearth.
VIDA and VITA
A short name with multiple origins and meanings, including the Latin vita – life.
The Latin word for violet, and a Shakespearean hero from Twelfth Night.
Viorica is Viola’s Romanian cousin, and very rare in the US. But, given our love of V and Violet, it might wear beautifully.
The German Wiebke seems tough to wear in the US, but the Scandi Vivica – choose your spelling – crosses cultures beautifully. It can also be a Sanskrit name meaning wisdom, though that’s often spelled Viveka.
What are your favorite girl names starting with V?
Originally published on July 13, 2020, this post was revised and re-published on July 26, 2021.