There are literally thousands of baby names to choose from when you really get down to searching. But though the options may seem endless, most baby names for girls fall somewhere in the ultra-sweet and ultra-feminine category rather than the “fierce” and “badass” one. If you’re looking for strong girl names that are beautiful yet inspiring … well, they’re coming right up.
From Drew to Riley, these baby names embody the powerfulness of true girl power — in sound, meaning, and more.
Origin: English | Meaning: Defender of mankind
No, Alexa isn’t just that thing that sits on your kitchen counter, occasionally answering questions you shout at it. Alexa is also the a shorter, female version of the name Alexander, and its popularity has been just as strong over the years as its meaning: Defender of mankind. (Pretty cool, huh?) It began its rise during the ’70s and has continued to keep its high ranks in recent years as a baby name for girls that’s here to stay.
Origin: English | Meaning: Industrious, hard working
Amelia may sound pretty and flowery, but it is anything but. Aside from its meaning of being a name for the hard-working and industrious, it was also made famous by the ground-breaking female pilot Amelia Earhart, and by the adorably wacky children’s book character, Amelia Bedilia, who was always unapologetically herself.
Andrea has always had some serious staying power, since it first saw a spike in the 1960s. But did you know it had such a strong meaning behind it? The name can be pronounced several ways, from ANN-DREE-ah to AHN-DREE-a to AHN-DRAY-ah — but it’s beautiful any which way you say it!
Origin: English | Meaning: Noble strength
Audrey is one of the most timeless names there is. It first originated from Saint Audrey in the 17th century. Since the rise of Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s, strong girl names like this have been a popular choice for parents — but never more so than now.
Origin: Celtic | Meaning: Strong or exalted
Brienne comes with a variety of nicknames ranging from Bri to Anne to Brinn. And while it seems super feminine at first glance, it’s also the female version of Brian, which is a pretty strong name in its own right for boys. Plus, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you know that Brienne of Tarth is one lady you do not want to mess with.
Origin: Irish | Meaning: Strength; power
Bridget is the mythological Irish goddess of poetry, wisdom, and song, which is why its meaning connotes strength and power. But if we’re being honest, the name Bridget also brings to mind the main character of Helen Fielding’s book, Bridget Jones’s Diary — who was strong and independent (and hilarious) in her own unique way.
Origin: French | Meaning: Victory
Romantic and classic, Colette is a feminine name with a strong meaning behind it. But best of all: You can shorten it to Coco for a sweet and feisty nickname — just like Coco Chanel!
Origin: Scottish | Meaning: Brave
Origin: English | Meaning: Fiery
When most people think of the word Kensington, they think of England — the upscale residential section of London, or the nearby Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana once lived, and where her two sons, Princes William and Harry, now reside. The name Kenzington is a fun twist on the traditional British surname that has a feisty meaning behind it, and great nickname potential, as you can name your little girl Kenzie to shorten it.
Origin: Latin | Meaning: Lioness
After disappearing from the baby name charts for a while, the name Leona suddenly reemerged in 2009, perhaps thanks to British singer Leona Lewis. Its meaning — lioness — gives it a mix of strength and beauty all at once.
Origin: Irish | Meaning: Intoxicating, the name of an Irish warrior queen
Maeve is one of those names that was perhaps relegated to the “old lady names” pile for far too long. But it’s time we bring it have. Not only is it beautiful and unique, but it also connotes a feeling of control, strength, and power.
Origin: German | Meaning: Mighty battle maiden
Matilda was originally introduced by Matilda of Flanders, queen of William the Conqueror. The sweet name has since been popularized by children’s book writer Ronald Dahl, who named the heroine in one of his best-known books by the moniker. It’s also been the pick of countless celebs, including Gordon Ramsey and his wife, and Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger, who each named their daughters by the name.
Origin: Greek | Meaning: Dark red, phoenix bird that rose from the ashes
Another great gender-neutral name, Phoenix has two meanings — but the one we all remember best of course is the mythological Greek story of the Phoenix bird rising from its own ashes. And if that’s not a powerful image of resilience, we don’t know what it is.
Origin: English | Meaning: Brave
Riley first originated as a boy’s name, but began making the crossover into a gender-neutral name option in the ’90s. Since the early 2000s, female Rileys have actually outnumbered male ones, which probably means this fun name will become even more of a girl name in due time.
Origin: French, Latin | Meaning: Wise one
The name Sage isn’t just an aromatic spice — or a baby name pick for so-called crunchy parents. The name, which means wise one, has been rising in popularity since the late ’60s, and is said to be a reference to the Seven Sages of Greece, who were ancient philosophers best-known for promoting popular principles such as, “moderation in all things,” and “know thyself.”
Origin: English | Meaning: Brave
Ever since Valerie first came into use, it’s continued to gain popular attraction for baby girls the world over. It has a close association with the word “valor”, which gives added strength to its meaning. Notable namesakes include actress Valerie Harper and Valerie Burton, but it’s also the title of a popular song, “Valerie”, written by the band The Zutons and made popular by Amy Winehouse’s 2006 cover of it.