Little Old Lady Names

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Are these names too old or too cute? You be the judge!

Agnes
Agnes is a polarizing name that you’ll either feel is dusty and way-too-dated or darling and dainty. Agnes is a Greek name meaning virginal that does lend herself to the soft nickname “Aggie.” Fans of the Bronte sisters may associate this name with the novel Agnes Grey as I do.

Dorothea
Believe it or not I’m seeing Dorothy pop up on lots of instagram and Youtube favorites list! The Greek Dorothea has a similar but different vibe and the wonderful meaning of gift of God. Perhaps the best part of Dorothea is the nickname potential she brings, a few of which include; Dori, Dot, Dottie, and Thea.

Frances
A family name for me, Frances is a Latin name meaning from France or free man. Frances has a very classic and grounded vibe. Less vibrant than her sisters Francesca and Francine, Frances ranks at Number 439. An infant named Frances may be hard to picture but Francie, Franny, or Frankie are fun and youthful vintage nicknames for her.

Gertrude
Gertrude may be one of the first names people come up with when asked to pick an old-timey Grandma name. Trudy is adorable and Gertie has her charm (Drew Barrymore in E.T. anyone?), but Gertrude like many old German names isn’t quite catching favor for modern American babies. Gertrude means spear of strength and hasn’t ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000 since the 1960s.

Ida
Could Ida be the next Ava? It may follow a similar sound pattern though it does have a stronger beginning sound which isn’t as well-received in girls names. Ida screams sweet little Granny at a deli to me. A German name meaning industrious one that hasn’t been in the US Top 1,000 since the 1980s.

Mildred
As delightful as the first syllable is, the second syllable in Mildred does have a much heavier sound. Millie is rising on its own but can Mildred come out of the attic to play too? Mildred is an English name meaning gentle strength.

Opal
Opal is a rarely used gemstone name, currently ranked at Number 859, that means gem in Sanskrit. Opal is October’s gemstone and is considered a symbol of good fortune. Opal’s vintage sister Pearl is on the rise, so perhaps Opal will be the next come-back gemstone.

Selma
Emma aside, many names ending in “ma” like Irma, Thelma, Wilma, and Selma have an older vibe to them. Selma is a German name meaning godly helmet. Actress Selma Blair makes this name feel much more youthful and usable. Selma may have a dated stigma but she does have a soft sweet sound.

Weigh-in below and let me know which of these names are too old and which are too cute!

One response to “Little Old Lady Names

  1. Reblogged this on My Inner MishMash and commented:
    Many interesting names here…
    As for my opinions, well I guess I can’t say for Americans and my view may be slightly different on these names.
    I really really like Agnes. It has such an elegant, vintage charm to it, but if I didn’t know already that many people think it’s so very dated, I’d be really surprised to hear that, to me it sounds really girly and I just can’t comprehend why anyone can think it sounds elderly. 😀 Maybe that’s because our Polish Agnieszka, although maybe not the freshest of baby names these days, had been overwhelmingly popular since 70’s all the way to 90’s, and although not as favoured now, is still rather liked by people and doesn’t feel dusted at all, and I’d be happy to see it coming back in the English-speaking countries, but maybe it’s just too cute.
    Dorothea probably is a bit too cute.
    I definitely can’t see Frances and Gertrude coming back, they do sound rather old to me, even though last year I read a book where the main character was named Gertrude and she was a young girl. I can’t imagine it on a real life child in 21st century.
    Ida is liked by namenerds and other quirky individuals in Poland, though we pronounce it EE-dah here, it’s maybe not my style or anything that I would use, but I think it’s perfectly usable overall and as opposed to Meagan’s view, what I imagine first thinking about this name is a little, hyperactive and inquisitive girl.
    I’ve become more convinced to Mildred in recent months or years, and grew to even like it a bit, but I guess too many people dislike it to make it successful again and it will stay among the geeky, quirky and evoking extreme emotions. Unless someone makes a bestseller with a protagonist named Mildred.
    Opal could be indeed a nice alternative to Pearl.
    And I actually love Selma! I primarily associate it with Selma Lagerlöf – Swedish writer – and I think it has both some youthful charm but also a lot of strength to it. Though with this -elma ending it probably won’t be the next Emma.
    And what do you guys think about these names Meagan wrote about? DO you like any of them? 🙂

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