Z girl names have a certain something, don’t they? Just ask Zoe and Zoey, Zelda, Zara, and Zuri.
Zahra, Zainab, Zaniyah, Zaria, Zariyah, Zariah, Zhavia, Zaylee, Zoie, Zola, and Zora round out the rest of the sixteen Z girl names on the list.
With all of these Z girl names in the current Top 1000, are there more possibilities yet to be discovered?
Of course there are! Some are fresh and modern, recent innovations seldom heard before. Others trend vintage, even ancient, but sound surprising today, too. None of these names appeared in the US Top 1000 when the list was first published in September 2018, but that’s starting to change.
Still, every one of these names remains are – but I think they’re on the right side of wearable.
Here are my picks for twelve fresh, new Z girl almost names that no one is using … yet!
Z Girl Names: Zadie
Number of births in 2018: 159
Number of births in 2017: 154
Sadie is a form of Sarah, so you might guess that Zadie comes from Zara. Not so. Instead, Zadie is simply Sadie-with-a-Z. London-born author Sadie Smith swapped her first initial, and published the bestseller White Teeth in 2000. A nineteenth century favorite, Sadie has returned to the US Top 1000 in recent years. No surprise, then, that a handful of parents have discovered this twist with some literary flair.
I’ve yet to write about Zadie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Z Girl Names: Zahara
Number of births in 2018: 150
Number of births in 2017: 160
The Jolie-Pitts gave this name to their eldest daughter, Zahara Marley. The name claims a mix of roots – Swahili meaning “to flower” or Hebrew and Arabic meaning “to shine.” Either way, that’s quite auspicious. The name has seen a bump in use ever since the celebrity parents made the choice, but remains just slightly outside the mainstream.
I’ve yet to write about Zahara, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Z Girl Names: Zanna
Number of births in 2018: 12, plus 22 girls named Zana
Number of births in 2017: 20, plus 18 girls named Zana
British fashion editor and entrepreneur Zanna Roberts Rassi has appeared on reality shows like Project Runway All-Stars, drawing attention to her unusual name. I’m not sure if it’s Rassi’s birth name, but it probably started out as either a short form of Susannah/Suzanne or possibly a feminine form of John. Or maybe even a creative invention based on Anna and our love of the letter Z. It’s also spelled Jana.
I’ve yet to write about Zanna, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Z Girl Names: Zazie
Number of births in 2018: 9
Number of births in 2017: fewer than five
This name is so rare, you might wonder why it makes the list. Easy: rising star Zazie Beetz, of Atlanta and Deadpool 2 fame. Born in Berlin to a German father and American mother, her birth name is Zazie. It started out as an Isabelle nickname, but years before Beetz’ parents chose it, a best-selling French novel turned 1960 Louis Malle novel gave the name to a precocious tweenaged girl exploring Paris on her own. As Beetz’ star continues to rise, it’s easy to imagine parents embracing her name.
Z Girl Names: Zelie
Number of births in 2018: 79
Number of births in 2017: 84
Zaylee entered the US Top 1000 last year. Was it yet another new twist on Kaylee? Maybe, or perhaps it’s inspired by Zelie. Like Zazie, it’s a old-school nickname for more traditional choices. But in this case, the Zelie in the news was a saint. Marie-Azélie Guérin Martin and her husband Louis Martin were the parents of the wildly popular Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Both of the Martins were canonized – officially declared saints – in 2015. Pronunciations are all over the map for this one – in French, it doesn’t sound quite like either Ellie-with-a-Z or Zaylee, so importing it to American English offers multiple possibilities, though I think it’s the long ‘a’ that is catching on.
Z Girl Names: Zenobia
Number of births in 2018: 42
Number of births in 2017: 39
You might have spotted Zenobia way back in an English lit class. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance gave us the beautiful, privileged Zenobia. But centuries earlier, the name belonged to a first century queen of Armenia, and a third century queen of the Palmyrene Empire. The latter served as regent for her son, conquering neighboring lands – including Egypt – before eventually picking a fight with Rome that she ultimately lost. From Chaucer to Rossini to the modern day, artists, playwrights, and musicians have attempted to re-tell her story. If you love the sound of Olivia and Isabella, but want something far less common, Zenobia might be the name for you.
I’ve yet to write about Zenobia, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Z Girl Names: Zerlina
Number of births in 2018: fewer than five
Number of births in 2017: fewer than five
Once again, Zerlina sounds like an invention. But Mozart gave the name to a character in Don Giovanni in 1787. He may have based it on a Yiddish form of Sarah, Zerla or Zerle. Or maybe he found inspiration some place else entirely. Regardless, she’s gorgeous and street-smart and definitely a flirt. If there were more opera fans out there, I suspect we’d hear more of this name.
I’ve yet to write about Zerlina, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Z Girl Names: Zinnia
Number of births in 2018: 144
Number of births in 2017: 145
Nearly any flower name is heard in small numbers over the years, and we can find women named Zinnia all the way back in the early 1900s. But it’s on the upswing now, part of the new generation of nature names for girls. Bold botanicals like Magnolia and Azalea are climbing, and we’re wild for Violet and Lily. Factor in the appeal of the letter Z, and colorful Zinnia makes an obvious choice.
Z Girl Names: Zola
Number of births in 2018: 275
Number of births in 2017: 236
Zola recently tipped into the US Top 1000. Maybe that’s because we like sassy, retro nickname-name Lola so much, and Zola turns it up with the letter Z. But other associations include nineteenth century French writer Emile Zola, as well as record-setting runner Zola Budd. In the author’s case, it might come from an Italian place name. (His dad was born in Venice.) As for the runner? She’s South African, and Zola means tranquil in Zulu. So that makes this short name global, unexpected, literary, and undeniably vibrant.
Z Girl Names: Zosia
Number of births in 2018: 19
Number of births in 2017: 25
In Polish, Sophia is Zofia. And instead of Sophie, it shortens to Zosia. The pronunciation is tough to capture in English, but the most famous bearer rhymes her name with Sasha. Zosia Mamet played Shoshannah on HBO hit Girls, and remains in the spotlight following the series’ end. While it belongs strictly in nickname category in Poland, it might make an appealing heritage choice for American parents.
Z Girl Names: Zuleika
Number of births in 2018: 17
Number of births in 2017: 25
Zuleika appears in medieval legend, the name given to a figure from the Bible. The Book of Genesis and the Qu’ran, however, only call her as someone’s wife. In Persian, Zuleika means beautiful, and many stories using the name cast their Zuleikas as a temptress. But that’s old news today, and Zuleika might strike exactly the right balance between out-there rarities and overlooked gems.
Z Girl Names: Zuzu
Number of births in 2018: 15
Number of births in 2017: 18
If you know your classic Christmas movies, then Zuzu could bring to mind George Bailey’s youngest in It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s most often a nickname for Susan, but plenty of other names can lead to Zuzu, too. Brazilian designer turned activist Zuzu Angel started out as a Zuleika. It’s a shimmering name, but a cute one, too – a tough combination to pull off. And yet, just like Gigi and Lulu, Zuzu might wear better as a nickname.
Those are my picks for fascinating Z girl names, overlooked but very much ready for rediscovery.
Would you consider any of these for a daughter? What would you add to this list?
Janelle M. Mason says
I like the name Zuleika – not sure of the nationality but possibly Russian. It sounds like a gypsy name to me (and could have the charming nickname “Zuzu”.
C in DC says
I learned this week that there is a St. Zita.
Fiona Jane says
At our preschool we have a Zellah, a Zorayda, and a Zé Zé. All wear well. I know multiple Zarinas both in the 90s, and that wears beautifully too.
I LOVE Zinnia. It was a huge frontrunner when I was naming Clover.
Maureen David says
Zinaida was my Russian name in language class.
My favorite Z name I found researching Cajun and Creole names for something I was writing, Zéolie and another form of it Zéolide, both considered rare possibly French or Arcadian. I fell in love with Zéolie, though I am not so certain I would use it for a child.
Frances Rae says
My cousin named her 3 month old daughter Ziva
British American says
I know a 9 year old Ziva. I like the name.
I also really love Zella (its supposed meaning of “one who knows the way” is hard to beat!). Zuzana (nicknamed Zuzka) is pretty popular in the Czech Republic. I like Zelie and Zuri quite a lot!
Sorry that went through twice! I thought I edited it before sending – apparently I sent, then edited 😉
No worries – I just hit the delete button on one! 🙂
Big love for Zelie. Spunky and pretty. I think I may like Azelie just a little bit more though – bit more complete.
I’d add Zuri to the list. It’s a name in its own right, but it’s also the local name for Zürich. I’d use it as a middle name after my second home.