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Ugly Baby Names (And Names So Ugly They’re Actually Cute)

Is there such a thing as an ugly baby name?

Like all things beauty, the beauty of a name is in the eye (ear?) of the beholder. This post is not at all meant to insult anyone with these names or anyone who chose these names.

I’m sure there are many lovely people in the world with all of these names.

That said, there are some names that are either harsh sounding or have some feature about them that sounds unpleasant to a lot of English speakers.

Some of these names are just plain ugly. I’m sorry, but I can’t get behind a little Gertrude or Gretchen.

Other names are strattling the line between ugly and cute. Like the pugs of baby names, it is precisely their awkward, quasi-ugliness which makes them endearing.

Or at least that was my whole argument during my first pregnancy, when I begged and begged my husband to agree to the name Mabel.

“It’s ugly,” my husband said.

“But it’s so ugly, it’s cute!” I argued.

I was unable to convince him of that one, but let’s see if I can convince anyone of these so-ugly-they’re-cute baby names.

Ugly baby names

As much as I hate to be a jerk, first we need to separate the just-plain-ugly names from the ugly-but-cute names.

Ugly baby names for girls

You might be able to create a little girl gorgeous enough to pull off one of these. But I don’t recommend trying.

(And if you had your heart set on one of these, remember there’s always the middle name spot!)

Ugly baby names

Ursula

I don’t know if Disney called the sea witch Ursula because it’s ugly, or if we just think of it as ugly because of the sea witch. But that’s not important.

Gretchen

Some people truly like this name. All I hear is the “retch”. And vomit is pretty much the ugliest possible thing.

Gertrude

It doesn’t roll off the tongue, that’s for sure. The sound is just unappealing.

Mildred

I highly doubt anyone reading this was ever considering naming their baby Mildred. So for that, I thank you.

Irma

I’ll tell you what Irma is the perfect name for: a horrid, destructive, category 5 hurricane. Let’s keep it that way.

Helga

The name Helga peaked in 1899, and unlike some old-fashioned baby names, it should stay buried.

Virginia

What if the kid ends up with a speech impediment and goes around calling herself Vagina??? That’s a risk I’m not willing to take.

Bernadette

I know some cool people with the name Bernadette, but honestly I’ve always wondered what in the world their parents were thinking.

Myrtle

Myrtle is just begging to be made into a joke. Is the joke fertile Myrtle? Myrtle the turtle? I don’t even know. But it’s there.

Barbara

This name sounds like words that aren’t at all feminine. Barber, barbarian… nothing cute or sweet about those. And the nickname Barbie would just be cruel.

Esther

Esther isn’t rolling off anyone’s tongue. The “s” followed by “th” combo takes serious effort.

Greer

Another name that’s hard to say. Greer is reminiscent of the sound an angry cat makes.

Fern

If you’re into nature names, there are so many more beautiful choices out there. Violet, Rose, Lily, Meadow, Autumn, Ivy… there’s no need to use harsh-sounding Fern.

Delores

Remember the episode of Seinfeld about the name that rhymes with a female body part?

Bertha

The first word that comes to mind when I hear Bertha is “big”. Do you want your daughter to be “Big Bertha”?

Any overly froo-froo made up name

Honestly I’d prefer any of the aforementioned unattractive or old lady names on this list over some of the nonsense people make up. Brynlynn, Eliannalee, and Amylbella just don’t need to happen.

Names that are ugly cute

Ugly baby names

Mabel

My favorite of the ugly-cute names, it has an old-lady vibe but isn’t too weird or unpleasant sounding.

Martha

A cute little girl could totally rock Martha. Sure it’s old, but in a classic/historical way. Don’t we all have a bit of affection towards Martha Washington?

Ingrid

It’s definitely dancing on the ugly-cute line, but the uniqueness has some appeal.

Enid

Girls names that start with “E” are all the rage now. Maybe Enid will be next?

Agatha

Yes, I would be surprised if the next birth announcement I received was for sweet little baby Agatha. But there is definitely something ballsy about it. No one would want to mess with Agatha.

Ida

The uber-popular name Ava has caused a subsequent surge in the popularity of Ada. It’s only logical that Ida will be the next step.

Henrietta

This name makes a statement! It’s bold, but with a feminine side. I can picture a super cute little Henrie or even Etta with this name.

Georgina

All variations of George are on the rise since the birth of Prince William and Duchess Kate’s son George. Georgina is just as good of a female version as Georgia, so don’t shy away!

Matilda

It feels a little dated and possibly a little nerdy, but if you don’t think about it too hard it’s pretty cute.

Edith

Edith would fall on the good side of old lady names, not the ugly.

Wilhelmina

Go big or go home! Wilhelmina is a great formal name choice for cute nicknames like Willie or Willa.

Elna

With the Frozen-explosion dying down, people are starting to break away from the name Elsa. Elna would be a likely replacement hitter.

Ugly boy names

Ugly baby names

Why has this whole post been focused on girls names? I have no idea.

I’m an equal opportunity name snob and there is certainly no shortage of ugly baby names for boys. Here are just a few:

Milton

Nerd alert! There is nothing cute about Milton. Martin would be a more appealing alternative.

Bruce

If you’re hoping your baby boy comes out of the womb with a beard, try this name.

Earl

It sounds like whining even if you aren’t trying to.

Virgil

Virgil is a different style than most names, but not in a good way. If you’re looking for unique baby names, I’ve got much better!

Buford

I can’t put my finger on what makes Buford ugly. But I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Adolf

No explanation needed. Pick another name.

Angus

In addition to the association with beef, Angus has a uniquely unappealing sound.

Elmer

Elmer Fudd, Elmer’s glue… can’t think of anything cute about Elmer.

Eugene

Eugene Fitzherbert knew what he was doing when he changed his name to Flynn Ryder. (If you picked up on that reference, you should definitely check out my list of Disney-inspired boy names).

I know you’ve all heard of more ugly baby names! Let’s hear them in the comments.

French Baby Names That Are Très Adorable

Not-so-secret confession: I am obsessed with all things French. If I see an article of children’s clothing with the Eiffel Tower on it, there’s no way I’m not buying it. Everything French just feels classy and sophisticated to me. If you feel the same way, you’ll love these French names for your petit bébé!

French names

In the 18th century, French law dictated that first names must be Saint names, explaining the prevalence of traditional Christian names like Jean, Pierre, Marie, and Anne. Thankfully in 1966 liberties were given to parents to get more creative with their naming choices. Just like in the U.S., nowadays it is common for the French to name their children after international celebrities, objects found in nature, mythology, or whatever strikes them as beautiful.

French names for girls

Unlike traditional Italian girl names that tend to end in “a”, French girl names typically end in “e” which may work better with your last name, or just suit your personal taste. Here are some of the French girl names that are les plus belles!

French names

Apolline 

Less cumbersome and more chic than the Italian Apollonia, the French Apolline also derives from the mythological Apollo and means “strength”.

Solange

It’s not just Beyoncé’s sister’s name, it’s also a gorgeous French name meaning “dignified”.

Clémence 

This lovely name meaning “mild” is even more beautiful when pronounced with a French accent, like this: Clay-monce.

Noémi 

This Classical Latin version of the Hebrew Naomi means “pleasantness”.

Lilou 

French names

A very different sounding name (but at the same time easy to spell and pronounce) Lilou is a flower name meaning “lily”.

Amélie 

Now mainstream following the popular movie “Amélie” (which you need to see if you haven’t yet!), this is a charming variation to Emily or Amelia.

Lisette 

The diminutive form of Elisabeth, Lisette strikes the perfect balance between strong and feminine.

Vivienne 

After Angelina Jolie chose it for her youngest daughter, Vivienne saw a spike in popularity but has yet to break into the top 100. Use it in its full sophisticated form or shorten it to the super cute “Vivi”.

Coralie 

Meaning “coral”, Coralie is popular in French-speaking regions of Canada but underused in the U.S.

Amandine 

A sweet and refined diminutive for Amanda.

Elodie 

This name is picking up speed in France and England, and with the current trend of “El” names for girls, will likely soon jump across the pond and be popular here too. It means “foreign riches”, which is perhaps a good omen for your daughter’s future.

Angelique 

If you’re a fan of Angelina but prefer fewer syllables, Angelique could be your winner! And like all these names, it’s even more beautiful with a French accent.

Isaline

French names

Like the name “Isabelle” but lesser known, more unique, and more French-sounding.

Lucienne

Meaning “light”, Lucienne is a sophisticated name reminiscent of the popular choices Lucy and Lillian.

Marguerite

Classic and beautiful, this French variation of Margaret has been used among French royalty.

Have you found the right first name? Finish it off with the perfect middle name! Guidelines for choosing the right middle name plus a list of inspiration found here: The Perfect Middle Name For Your Baby Girl

French names for boys

Move over, Claude and Jacques! The new wave of French boy names are super cool- perfect for your little beau.

French names

Baptiste

Not just for the religious (while it does pay homage to John the Baptist), this name becomes adorable when you say it the French way: Bah-teeste. The “p” is not pronounced, which explains the alternate spelling “Battiste”.

Benoit

A very handsome name that could become popular in the U.S. with the trend of “Ben-” names like Bennet, Benson, and Bentley. Just watch out that it doesn’t get butchered! It’s pronounced Ben-WAH.

Théo 

Popular all over Europe, Théo is a short-and-sweet contemporary nickname for Théodore.

Remy 

The modern and handsome Remy (alternate spelling “Remi”) is on the rise after Disney’s Ratatouille in 2007 and other movie and TV characters in the last 10 years.

Roux

This popular name in France means “red” and can be used for a boy or girl. Pronounced “roo”, you may find it spelled “Rue” in the U.S. due to the Hunger Games character.

Bastien

French names

An ultra-fashionable name in Europe, Bastien is more casual and cool than its longer form “Sebastien”.

Maxime

Another unisex name, Maxime means “the greatest”.

Blaise

A historical name with a modern feel. Just try not to be annoyed when people misspell it “Blaze”.

Canaan

This Biblical name with French origins meaning “lowlands” started appearing on the U.S. baby naming charts in 2015.

Dax

The name of a French town, Dax has been made hip thanks to actor/comedian Dax Shepard.

Justus

A Latin alternative to Justice that still means “just”, Justus is growing in popularity both in France and the U.S.

Pascal

Traditionally given to boys born around Easter, this makes a handsome name choice all year round.

Lancelin

An Old French name meaning “servant”, Lancelin is a more sleek version of Lancelot. Lance makes for an easy nickname.

Mathis 

A very cute variation of Matthew or Mathias, Mathis is pronounced like “Matisse” and means “gift of God”.

Laurent 

French names

Handsome and cool (think Yves Saint-Laurent), this name has gained popularity thanks to the vampire from the Twilight series.

Luc 

Ok so it’s basically the same as the regular American “Luke”, but somehow more stylish.

Do you have a favorite of these French names? Share in the comments!

Or if French baby names aren’t for you, browse these old-fashioned baby names or unique baby names for more naming inspiration.

And for more pregnancy, baby, and parenting posts every week, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!

 

Middle Names For Girls (And How To Choose the Perfect One)

Still scouring lists of middle names for girls trying to find the perfect one to round out your baby’s name? We might be able to help! Here are some guidelines for choosing a middle name as well as a list of great middle name choices.

 

middle names for girls

Balancing syllables

The perfect middle name for your baby girl should complement the first name melodically. One way to do this is to pair a 2 or 3 syllable name with a short and sweet one syllable middle name.

Examples of 2+ syllable first names paired with 1 syllable middle names:

  • Olivia Grace
  • Chloe Jane
  • Aria Lynn
  • Isla Mae
  • Gabriella Faith
  • Emily Rose

In contrast, if you are using a short first name, balance it with a longer middle name:

  • Sloan Alexandra
  • Joy Christine
  • Grace Victoria

Potential Problems

Consider each of the following to avoid a potential naming mismatch.

1. Meaning

When choosing a middle name, avoid creating a name that makes an actual phrase with meaning, such as Scarlett Rose or Summer Rain. While these names might be cute for a baby, keep in mind your daughter will grow up to be an adult. She may not find it as adorable when she matures.

middle names for girls
Sadly, this little cutie won’t stay little forever

2. Slurring/sliding sounds

Another middle name problem to watch out for is “sliding” sounds. Avoid having the last sound of the first name be repeated in the first sound of the middle name, which gives the effect of the two names sliding or slurring together. Examples of this would be Delores Sabine, Faith Thelma, or Joy Yasmine.

3. Rhyme/repeated sounds 

Names with the same sound in them don’t tend to flow well together. It would sound repetitive to pair Danielle with Gabrielle, for example, because they both end with “-elle”. Other examples would be:

  • Cambree Riley
  • Julianna Ariana
  • Aria Myra

It can be tempting to go with two ultra-feminine names that both end in “a”, but two “a” names rarely sound good together. Try going with an alternate version of the one of the names so they complement each other better:

  • Brianna Elle instead of Brianna Ella
  • Gia Camille instead of Gia Camilla

Multiple a-ending names together can sound sing-songy. Remember, you want the two names to complement, not match!

online prenatal class

4. Alliteration

Lastly, be careful with alliteration. You don’t need to always avoid it, but if you use it make sure it flows well and doesn’t sound like a Dr. Seuss reader.

Examples of alliteration done well:

  • Rebecca Renee (has enough other sounds to break up the Rs)
  • Emma Elizabeth (the repeated E sound is subtle, not in-your-face)

Examples of alliteration done badly:

  • Reese Rose (too repetitive/choppy)
  • Cora Catherine (two hard-c’s is harsh sounding)
  • Lillian Lee (too much of the same sound)

Style

Most people opt for first names that are more fresh and unique, while sticking to classic and traditional for middle names. This works well because it avoids having a name combination that is too trendy or “out there”. Then again, if you choose a more simple old-fashioned name for the first name, feel free to get a little more creative with the middle.

  • Brinley Anne (trendy + classic)
  • Sara Everly (classic + trendy)
middle names for girls
She is perfect. Her name should be too!

The First Place to Start When Choosing a Middle Name

Before even browsing middle names, the first place to look is your family tree.

Middle names are a great way to honor family members without having to actually use the name on a daily basis. It’s also nice to have a story to give your daughter when she someday asks you how she got her name. “We named you after Great Aunt Sara, who loved gardening and always made the best pies for Thanksgiving” is a more meaningful than “we just liked it”.

Looking through the family tree is also a great way to find more timeless, classic names which make great middle names.

So sit down with your partner. Write down the first and middle name of your mother and grandmothers. Then list off all your aunts and great aunts. Go through all the female relatives you can think of. Even call older family members and have them name all the women in the previous generations that you may not know. Then browse both lists and look for anything you both like.

If those lists still don’t have any standouts for you, by all means check out this list!

Middle Names for Girls LIST

You will find mostly classic, timeless and traditional names on this list, since those tend to work well as middle names.

One Syllable Names

  • Jane
  • Elle
  • Rose
  • Pearl
  • Lane
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Lou
  • Mae
  • Eve
  • Lynn
  • Faye
  • Rain
  • Grace
  • June
  • Dawn
  • Lee/Leigh
  • Joy
  • Jean
  • Rae
  • Belle
  • Jade
  • Paige
  • Ruth
  • Anne
  • Jo
  • Claire
middle names for girls
Does she look like Nora Louise? Or Ava Leigh?

2 or More Syllable Names

  • Catherine
  • Elizabeth
  • Eleanor
  • Margaret
  • Caroline
  • Evelyn
  • Josephine
  • Rebecca
  • Elise
  • Willa
  • Samantha
  • Charlotte
  • Marie
  • Louise
  • Elaine
  • Camille
  • Renee
  • Juliet
  • Abigail
  • Mary
  • Lucille
  • Victoria
  • Tabitha
  • Suzanne
  • Beatrice
  • Jillian
  • Ivette
  • Jacqueline
  • Audrey
  • Diane
  • Isabelle
  • Madeline
  • Alice
  • Lucy
  • Melina
  • Molly
  • Hannah
  • Helen
  • Lorraine
  • Alexandra

What is your favorite first+middle girls name combination?

If you are pregnant and planning to breastfeed, don’t miss my popular breastfeeding tips!

Italian Girl Names for Your Little Bambina

Whether you want to honor your family’s heritage, or just enjoy their melodic and feminine style, Italian girl names are a popular choice both in the U.S. and abroad.

 

You can stick with the Italian theme whether you’re looking for a more popular name like Sofia or Mia, or a stand-out name like Lorenza or Maddalena.

Or, be even more authentic by choosing a name that is currently popular for baby girls in Italy but is nowhere to be found here across the pond (yet!). Ginevra, anyone?

Celebrities who have used Italian girl names

Italian names are a favorite among celebrities, including:

  • Salma Hayek with Valentina
  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner with Serafina
  • Matt Damon went with Italian names for all his girls: Isabella, Gia, and Stella
  • Mario Lopez also has a daughter named Gia (short form of Giovanna/Gianna)
  • Claudia Schiffer’s daughter Cosima
  • Kevin Jonas went with an Italian double-header for his baby girl Valentina Angelina

Pronounciation considerations

Keep in mind that Italian pronunciation is different than English (if you are familiar with vowel sounds in Spanish, they are similar in Italian). For example Camilla could be pronounce with a short “I” sound in English, but in Italian it’s said “Cah-MEE-la”.

Another rule of thumb in Italian is that the letter C followed by an e or i makes the C pronounced “ch”. So Marcella is pronounced “Mar-CHEL-la”, not “Mar-SEL-la”.

Lastly, the letter combination “Gi” is the equivalent the English letter “J”. So Giulia is essentially Julia, and Gianna pronounced “Ji-ahn-na”.

Italian Girl Names List

Italian girl names

Adelina “noble”

Alessia “defender of mankind”

Angelina “God’s messenger”

Antonia “priceless, praiseworthy”

Aria “air” or “melody”

Arianna “the holiest one”

Aurelia “golden”

Aurora “sunrise”

Bianca “white, shining”

Camilla “Priest’s attendant”

Cara “darling”

Carina “little darling”

Carmela “garden”

Cassandra “shine upon mankind”

Chiara “bright, clear”

Concetta “pure”

Cosima “order, beauty”

Damiana “the taming one”

Daria “owner of goodness”

Delia “woman from Delos”

Elena “shining light”

Eleonora “bright, shining one”

Emilia “competitor, rival”

Eugenia “woman well-born”

Evelina “wished-for child”

Fabiola “lovely bean”

Faustina “the lucky one”

Filippa “lover of horses”

Flavia “golden, blond”

Flora “flower”

Francesca “woman from France”

Gabriella “God is my strength”

Gaia “from Gaeta”

Giada “jade”

Ginevra “fair one”

Giorgia “farmer”

Giovanna “God is gracious”

Giulia soft-haired”

Giustina “fair, rightful”

Gloria “woman of glory”

Isabella “promise of God”

Italian girl names

Ladonna “ladylike”

Lorena “woman from Lorraine”

Lorenza “laurel tree”

Luciana “light of the day”

Maddalena “woman of the high tower”

Marcella “warlike”

Marina “from the shore”

Mattea “gift of God”

Mia “mine; bitter”

Micaela “who is like God”

Milana “from Milan”

Mirabella “wonderful”

Noemi “my delight”

Oriana “golden”

Ottavia “eight”

Paola “tiny, petite”

Perla “gemstone”

Pia “pious”

Priscilla “old fashioned, ancient”

Raffaella “God heals”

Regina “queen”

Renata “reborn”

Rosalia “beautiful rose”

Rosetta “rose blossom”

Rufina “woman with red hair”

Sabina “from the Sabine tribe”

Serafina “ardent”

Serena “placid, calm”

Siena “from Siena (a city in Tuscany)”

Sofia “wisdom”

Stella “like a star”

Italian girl names

Teresa “harvest”

Valentina “healthy and strong”

Venetia “from Venetia”

Verona “from Verona”

Vincenza “conquerer”

Violetta “violet”

Vittoria “conqueror”

Viviana “victor”

Which of these Italian girl names is YOUR favorite? Let us know in the comments!

When naming our second daughter, we wanted to use family names and Carmela was all over our family tree. We decided to put a little spin on it and use the diminutive “Carmelina” for her middle name. Another fun option that works with a lot of Italian names!

Or, if it turns out these aren’t your style, browse our list unique baby names or these old-fashioned names!

Pin it for later:

Italian girl names

Old Fashioned Baby Names That Are Ready For a Comeback

Newsflash: vintage is always IN. Whether you’re expecting a little boy or girl, taking a look back through the history books can be just the way to find classy and beautiful baby name inspiration. If you’re looking for a gorgeous name that is more timeless than trendy, you’ll love these old fashioned baby names that are ripe and ready for a comeback!

old fashioned baby names

OLD FASHIONED BABY NAMES FOR GIRLS

Is there anything cuter than a precious little girl with the same name as your Grandma? We think not.

Alice

Adeline

Anastasia

Anita

Anna

Bessie

Betty

Bryony

Clara

Delilah

Edith

Edna

Eleanor

Eloise

Elsie

Evangeline

Evelyn

Fannie

Florence

Genevieve

Harriet

Hattie

Helen

Henriette

Ida

Iris

old fashioned baby names

Judith

June

Lola

Louise

Marion

Marjorie

Margaret

Martha

Matilda

Millicent

Minnie

Nora

Olive

Opal

Patsy

Pauline

Pearl

Priscilla

Rose

Scarlett

Thelma

Thora

Tillie

Wilma

Now complete the name with the perfect middle name! Read this post of guidelines on choosing just the right middle name for your baby girl plus single syllable and multi-syllable name ideas.

OLD FASHIONED BABY NAMES FOR BOYS

You can tip your hat to these handsome vintage gentlemen’s names.

Alastair

Arthur

Atticus

Bernard

Bertram

Cassius

Cecil

Charles

Chester

Clarence

Clyde

Conrad

Desmund

Edgar

Edwin

Floyd

Gabriel

George

Gideon

Harold

Harvey

Homer

James

John

Kenneth

old fashioned baby names

Levi

Louis

Luther

Lyle

Martin

Murray

Norman

Orville

Oscar

Percy

Reginald

Robert

Roy

Samuel

Seymour

Silas

Theodore

Thomas

Tobias

Vance

Vincent

Wallace

Warren

William

Winston

Don’t forget to pin it!

Still haven’t found the perfect name for your little one? Check out this post of 200 unique baby names and their meanings!

Or maybe French names or Italian names are more your style.

And if you are planning to breastfeed, don’t miss this post about setting yourself up for breastfeeding success.

For more baby names, pregnancy and breastfeeding tips, and all things parenting, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

old fashioned baby names

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