baby name FelicityThe baby name Felicity combines a gentle, antique appeal with an upbeat meaning.

Thanks to Katharine for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day, and to Saranel for suggesting an update.


At heart, the baby name Felicity belongs with the virtue names. It’s not quite as familiar as Grace, Hope, and Faith.

But neither is Felicity a newcomer, a new age virtue like Destiny or Journey.

Instead, like Felix, this name comes from the Latin felicitas, which means – as any Harry Potter fan knows – lucky or happy.

A minor Roman goddess known as Felicitas served as a symbol of Imperial Rome’s success.

Then there are the saints:

  • Legend tells us of saint Felicitas or Felicity, a wealthy Christian widow and mother to seven sons.  It is said that they were all martyred in the second century.
  • Another enduring story is of the noblewoman Perpetua and her slave, Felicity.  Both were martyred in Carthage, in the arena with wild beasts, leaving behind young children.  It is believed that some of the writings about their experience were taken from an autobiographical account authored by Perpetua herself.

All of this lends cheerful Felicity quite a bit of substance.


The saints’ renown ensured that the names endured.

In the Middle Ages, the name became Felice in English. The Latin Felicia was also heard.

The lacy, elaborate Felicity developed a little later. We can thank the Puritans for this one. As they searched out names to set them apart from the rest of society, virtues appealed to them.


Data on given names pre-1880 is elusive. But we tend to think of Felicity as a historical favorite. That’s probably thanks to Felicity Merriman, the American Girl character introduced in a series of books in 1991.

And, of course, the American Girl doll was released the same year. The character grows up during the American Revolution. She’s a fiercely independent, horse-riding ten-year-old.


Just a few years later – right as those American Girl fans grew up and headed for high school – another fictional Felicity captured our imaginations.

In 1998, fictional Felicity Porter ditched Stanford to move clear across the county to New York. For four seasons,  we followed her adventures at the University of New York on Felicity, a break-out hit for The WB and for actor Keri Russell.

It pushed the name into the US Top 1000 for the very first time.

The baby name Felicity debuted in 1998 at #818. A year later, it reached #390.

1999 also gave us Heather Graham as a Bond girl-esque character named Felicity in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.


After all of those late-90s pop culture references, the name peaked in 1999, only to slowly decline.

But then it made a comeback, rising again. Today it ranks in the 300s – meaning the baby name Felicity is at its most popular.

Actors including Felicity Jones, of Star Wars: Rogue One fame, have raised the name’s profile. There’s also Oscar-nominated, Desperate Housewives alum Felicity Huffman … though she’s better known for a college admissions scandal these days.

Overall, Felicity combines so many appealing traits. Take a great meaning, add in a stylish sound, and make it all nicely familiar, but still relatively uncommon. What’s not to love?

Would you consider the baby name Felicity? Do you think it will be more popular in the future?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on July 2, 2008, and substantially revised and re-posted on June 4, 2012. Thanks to Saranel for the suggestion! Additional revisions took place on June 4, 2020.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Don’t forget the King family of L.M. Montgomery’s books (and the Road to Avonlea TV series)- siblings Felicity, Felix, and Cecily. Love all three names!

  2. Doing some digging on this name as it’s on the top of my girls list this time around. My hesitation here is the nickname issue–while there are a LOT of possibilities, I’m not sure I LOVE any of them. Granted, Felicity on its own is definitely doable and rolls off the tongue quickly for being three syllables, so doesn’t necessarily need a nn. Still, what about these:
    Sid (a stretch? the name comes out “feh-liss-ih-dee” sometimes to my ear, so…?)

    I think my favorite is Ellie, although it feels a tad trendy. FYI, our sibset is Meredith (Mere) and Nolan.

  3. My husband and I chose Felicity for our second daughter, born on Christmas Day. She is an extremely happy and content baby! Her sister calls her ‘Wicity, and we often call her Baby Fe. I have always loved Felix, but had not considered it a shortened option for Felicity! Hooray!

    Also, I just discovered Appellation Mountain! I am loving it.

  4. Coming a bit late to this thread but loved it! I am a Felicity who’s very very happy with her name – always liked it, and so good to hear about some new little Felicities coming along, congrats to Saranel, and to Erin. I have Felix as my nickname, especially when I was a teenager and not so keen on the femininity of my name, but now only old friends use that and I revel in my joyful name. Plus, I have a sister called Penelope… so they do go together well. Now what to call our baby, due in April? A bit arrogant, not to mention confusing, to go for another Felicity if it’s a girl. But seriously tempted by Helena or Elizabeth. I wouldn’t say Gemma is lower class in the UK, but it’s a little bit unfashionable at the moment. More popular in the 1980s/90s, is my feeling…

  5. I see you have Elizabeth as the middle name for both Helen and Hattie, what about useing it as the first name? I think Felicity and Elizabeth sound great as sister names, and there are so many good nicknames for Elizabeth!

  6. Too funny. 🙂 I’m the one with Felicity who was born this last forth of July. For a LONG time I tried to talk DH into naming her Felicity Helen Elizabeth. So clearly I love those names paired together. I also love Gemma with Felicity but I would hesitate to use it because they are both names of main characters in the Gemma Doyle series. I totally get your issue about Felicity and Helen as sisters though and I do think that turning Helen into Helena helps a little. I also really like your idea of using Hattie which I kind of see as similarly upbeat. If you decide you don’t like any of your choices, I recommend Phoebe, Penelope, Evangeline, Genevieve, or Cordelia.

  7. Abby,
    I commented last year on this name as we named our daughter Felicity. We are now expecting our second daughter in 2 months and still stuck. It was so easy with Felicity, for all the reasons you mentioned. She was classic while still upbeat; not overused, but still easily recognized. We love the nickname Fliss.

    Well, anyways…we’d love any input anyone can offer on this second baby’s name. The names that we can agree on are:
    Helen Elizabeth H—s
    Harriet “Hattie” Elizabeth H—s

    And I like Gemma Caroline H—s, but unfortunately my husband hasn’t gotten on board yet. But I’m thinking I could maybe sway him. (Though I did read somewhere that this name is seen as lower-class in the UK, which, for some reason, gives me pause.)

    My fear with the above names is that baby #2 will be shafted and like she got the “old grandma” name (though I, of course, don’t see it that way), while Felicity got the bright, happy name. Is that silly or valid?

    Any thoughts are much appreciated!!

    1. Congratulations, Erin!

      I’m torn – I know an adorable baby Helen, and it wears really, really well. It’s not that different than Lauren or Maren, if you really think about it.

      But I feel like Felicity and Harriet – Felicity and Hattie – are the sisters here. Or Felicity and Gemma. Actually, Felicity and Gemma feel very well paired to me.

      Another possibility might be Helena. Helena and Felicity, Felicity and Helena … Helena is definitely a little bit lighter than Helen.

      I’m not certain about Gemma’s vibe in the UK … let me ask.

      1. Wow, I thought had subscribed to this thread but somehow I didn’t know that anyone had responded, so I apologize for the delayed response!
        But thank you all for the input! The few people we’ve shared our options have responded positively, which has been encouraging. But most have liked Harriet/Hattie the best. My new concern is that our last name is Hick$ and I’m wondering if Harriet Hick$ sounds ok. Or if anyone would ever be so crass as to call her Hairy Dick$. What do you think?
        And others have suggested Helena, but I just can’t get excited about it. And DH refuses to budge on Gemma so that is out. I do think Penelope is such a great name but the Kardashian craze gives me pause. All this to say, I think it’s between Helen and Harriet.

    2. Hi. My 14 month old daughter is Felicity and her big sister is Harriet Elizabeth, known as Hattie! I’m really happy with my choice of names – they go well together and suit them so well! (I also have an older boy named Adam.)

      1. My name is Catherine as well, and I have an 11-year old named Felicity. Her younger sister is Sophianna. We wanted to be sure to give our second daughter an equally feminine name, but also with the same 4 syllables, because we worried her name could be overshadowed by Felicity. Sophianna was a choice we are still happy with. (She is 8 now.)

  8. Just wanted to let you know. My little lady was born on the forth of July. We named her Felicity Elizabeth Louise. Thank you again for updating this wonderful post.

  9. I’m pregnant right now and if it’s a girl, her name will be Felicity. I have thought about nicknames for a long time and think Effie would be really cute.