From mini Zoe – no matter how you spell it – to elaborate Zariyah and Zaniyah, more girl names starting with Z appear in today’s Top 1000 than nearly any year prior.
That hasn’t always been the case. In some years, zero names beginning with Z appear on the girls’ charts.
But now, the final letter of the alphabet comes in a respectable nineteenth place in terms of popular first initials – even ahead of the letter T.
Maybe it’s because we love our high-value Scrabble letter names these days. After all, along with Q, Z offers a whopping ten points. Name your twin girls Zoey and Quinn, and their names would add up fast.
But there are some plain great Z names, inspired by a mix of foreign imports, creative inventions, and names that just sound a little zippier when they begin with the letter Z.
Z NAMES FOR GIRLS IN THE US TOP 1000
Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 prompted us to add a ‘y’ to Zoey, just like Joey.
This mini Greek import comes with a big meaning: life.
A Swahili name, Zuri means beautiful.
Sarah means princess, but feels down-to-earth and classic. But Zara? Zara sparkles. The rarer spelling Zarah is sometimes seen, too.
Zariah might be Arabic in origin. Or possibly Hebrew. What’s certain is that Zariah is on the rise.
A name meaning happy, Zelda is forever associated with the jazz age thanks to Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a novelist in her own right.
A third spelling in the Zaria/Zariah category.
An Arabic name with a great meaning – bright.
A cousin to Hailey and Kaylee, but maybe with a nod to the saintly Zelie, too.
A Slavic word meaning dawn, and a slightly more daring alternative to Nora, Cora, and Aurora.
Possibly borrowed from Zaniah, the traditional Arabic name for a star.
A Shona name meaning thankful, Zendaya makes the charts thanks to a talented young actor.
Maria-with-a-Z … or Zariah-hold-the-h.
For years, the popular Kayla inspired baby girl names like Jayla and Shayla. While most of those names have faded, Zayla has soared in use.
An Arabic name possibly meaning beauty. Thanks to a significant figure in Islam, it’s been embraced by Muslim families across the world, in multiple spellings, like Zaynab and Zeinab.
A Slavic spin on popular Zoe.
Another Zoe/Zoey spelling.
It can be a Xhosa name meaning “calm,” or simply a stylish Z-meets-Lola sound. The latter probably explains its popularity in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries. It’s also occasionally hear as a surname.
UNCOMMON GIRL NAMES BEGINNING WITH Z
It’s Sadie-with-a-Z, thanks to London-born author Sadie Smith.
Likely Hebrew in origin, this name means shining. It’s familiar thanks to Jolie-Pitt daughter Zahara Marley.
The name of an eleventh century Muslim princess … who became the ancestor of the current British royals.
Zahava means golden, again with Hebrew roots.
An Arabic name with two possible meanings: shining, or helper.
Also spelled Zayna, this is a feminine form of Zayn – an Arabic name meaning grace.
Today it’s known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, but from the 1970s into the 1990s, it was Zaire. Way back in the 1700s, Voltaire gave the name Zaire to a character in a play. Chances are he borrowed it from another writer, who adapted it from the Arabic Zahra.
An Albanian name, Zamira means nightingale.
Possibly short for Suzanne, or maybe a feminine form of John.
An ancient name with Persian roots, Zarina means golden.
A Spanish surname with an intriguing sound. It’s the middle name of one of Matt Damon’s daughters, Gia.
In French, Zazie is short for Isabelle or Frances, a sparky short name put on the map by actor Zazie Beetz.
If you know your Once Upon a Time, you’ll recognize Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West. The show put this unique girl name on parents’ radar.
Either a cousin to Adelaide or a French form of Azalea, Zelie is on parents’ radar thanks to Saint Zelie Martin, canonized by Pope Francis in 2015.
There are several reasons this rare but lovely baby name might’ve found its way into wider use. The asteroid probably comes from the Greek zelos – zeal. It might also be a form of Zelie or of Celia.
A so-slightly different spin on Bella and Stella, Zella offers several possible origins and meanings.
It might be a phonetic spelling of Xenia, or possibly short for longer names ending with the right sound, Zena has been used in small numbers over the years. Zina is another possibility.
An ancient Greek name meaning “life of Zeus,” Zenaida is also a genus of doves. They’re named for Napoleon’s niece, Zénaïde.
Likely a twist on Xenia, a Greek saint’s name meaning hospitality.
Another take on Zenaida, Zenobia was the name of an ancient queen. Nathaniel Hawthorne used it for a character in his 1852 novel The Blithedale Romance.
Zephyr is the west wind in Greek myth; lovely French feminine form Zephyrine is occasionally heard.
Mozart gave this name to a character in his legendary 1787 opera Don Giovanni. She’s the beautiful peasant girl Don Giovanni pursues.
It’s the very last letter in the Greek alphabet.
A creative spin on Mia, a short form of names ending with the right sound, or maybe from the Zia sun symbol, featured on the flag of New Mexico.
An unusual flower name with a zippy Z.
Depending on your worldview, Zion might refer to the Jewish homeland, or to heaven. It’s popular for boys, but gaining in use for girls, too.
It might be short for many names ending with the right sound, but there’s also a thirteenth century Saint Zita.
From a Hebrew name meaning radiant.
Zoe meets Joelle.
A Spanish take on Zoe.
An Arabic name, Zoraida is most famous as a character in Cervantes’ Don Quixote.
In Polish, Sophia becomes Zofia, and Zosia is the nickname. Actor Zosia Mamet rhymes her name with Sasha.
A rare name used in Persian literature from the Middle Ages onward, usually associated with Potiphar’s wife, a minor – and previously nameless – character from the Book of Genesis, as well as the Quran.
A Slavic take on Susanna, meaning lily.
A nickname for Susan and related names, Zuzu is forever famous as the youngest daughter of George Bailey in Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
What are your favorite Z names for girls? What would you add to this list?
Originally published on March 15, 2021, this post was revised and re-published on October 11, 2021 and again on November 7, 2022.