If you love the name Ava, you’re not alone. Nearly than 50,000 parents have chosen Ava for their daughters since 2005.
And what’s not to love? It’s simple, it’s glamorous, it’s feminine without being frilly. Ava pairs well with a variety of last names, too.
But now that it is well installed in the Top Ten, plenty of parents are looking for an alternative to naming their daughter Ava, too. Read on for a few ideas.
The first option is to simply elaborate on Ava. There is the pitfall of creating an ersatz princess name like Aviella if you go this route, of course. But there are a few choices worth consideration:
- Avery – Borrowed from the boys, this name is familiar to anyone who’s ever ordered office supplies. It’s appealing, frills-free and wears well for a child or an adult. However, it was also the 52nd most popular choice for girls born in 2006 – so while it isn’t quite as hot as Ava, it’s not far behind.
- Avril – While April seems stuck in the 70s with macrame wall hangings, the French version makes for an appealing nature name. Pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne lends the name some familiarity. Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized Moulin Rouge dancer Jane Avril in his paintings, giving the name a certain ooh la la. Avril has never appeared in the Top 1000 names in the US.
- Averil – At first glance, Averil looks like an elaboration of Avril, but its origins are completely distinct. A seventh-century English nun who helped found a religious community, her name is sometimes listed as Everildis, Everilda, Everild or Averil. The latter two versions seem best for the 21st century. Averil has never appeared in the Top 1000 names in the US.
- Avalon – One of our favorites here at ApMtn, Avalon was a paradise in Arthurian legend. The name may translate to island of the apples, making it something of a nature name, as well, and a place name – Avalon, California and New Jersey are both appealing waterfront communities. A choice both unusual and familiar, Avalon has never appeared in the Top 1000 names in the US.
But if it is Ava’s simplicity that draws you, adding an extra few letters might not quite suit. Instead, you might consider other equally simple, two-syllable, ends-in-a choices like:
- Anya – It’s the Russian form of Anna and a Sanskrit name, too. In fact, it’s easy to imagine Anya blending gracefully into almost any language. But its simplicity also makes it a stand out. Perhaps that’s why it is climbing the popularity charts, ranking #405 in 2006. While that’s not obscure, it’s not common, either.
- The -ora family: Cora, Dora, Nora and Zora – While each havs distinct origins, they have a similar appeal. Dora and Nora emerged as nicknames for Dorothea/Theadora and Eleanor, but are comfortably bestowed as independent names. Cora is from the Greek for hill; Zora from the Slovak for sunrise. They’re a nice set of throwback names due for a resurgence in popularity. Circa 1880, Cora was the 15th most popular name for girls in 1880. Along with Nora and Dora, this trio spent the late 19th and early 20th centuries in frequent use – all three charted in the Top 100. Zora might sound like a modern innovation, but in fact, was the 304th most popular name given to girls in 1880. All four have possibilities today, with Dora the most obscure (it has not been in the Top 1000 since 1992), followed by Zora (#960 in 2006) and Cora (#384). Nora is the most common -ora variant, ranking at #245, with the related Norah standing at #513.
- Zara – While this seems like a twist on Sara, Zara is an Arabic name that means shining. It gained worldwide attention in 1981, when Princess Anne chose the name for her daughter. Fashionistas know that Zara is a Spanish clothing chain akin to the Limited, now making inroads in the US. It’s a simple choice, and one that is familiar but still quite rare. In 2006, it was the 858th most popular name in the US.
- Lila/Lilah – Without the final h, this name appears in Sanskrit, Swahili and Persian; with the final h, it is used in Hebrew. The result is an appealingly international name with considerable flair. Lila was #329 and Lilah #867 in 2006.
And if it is Ava’s glamour-girl image that draws you, consider these other choices drawn from Hollywood’s Walk of Fame: Stella, Lauren, Veronica, Tallulah, Natalie or Esther.