What makes a baby name an "old lady" name, and is having an old lady name really such a bad thing? These "old lady" baby names your partner will probably hate are all lovely in their own unique ways, and you could argue that by eschewing painfully hip monikers like Meadow and Logan, you're choosing something as classic and timeless as a little black dress. Still, there's no denying that these names have a whiff of the moth ball about them, and to that end, they're perfect for trolling your unsuspecting partner — or your hip Brooklynite friend.
If your baby name sounds like it once belonged to a suffragette, it might be an old lady name. Likewise, if it sounds like it might have adorned a debutante in the antebellum South. Truthfully, it's hard to say why an 1800s name like Elizabeth is still popular today, while Ida has faded like yellow wallpaper, but such is life.
In defense of old lady names, She Knows kindly called titles like Minnie and Martha "old-fashioned," "classic," and "cultured," and they're right. Any baby can grow into any name, and some of the most vibrant women I know have names that absolutely qualify for old lady-dom. In fact, I chose an old lady name for my own baby, because it also happened to be my great-aunt's name. While this list is compiled with love, I totally understand if you use it to troll your partner.
Now, let the names begin.
According to Nameberry, Agnes was the third most common English girls' name for 400 years, and it means "pure or virginal." Today, the name has decidedly fallen out of favor. Doesn't the "Ag" sound make you think of old lace?
As Nameberry reminded readers, Martha was the first name of the very first First Lady (as the site noted, Martha also means "lady.") Obviously, no name that reminds people of the Revolutionary War could possibly be considered hip, but maybe there's some retro appeal?
According to Baby Center, Ida means "prosperous," but the name itself sounds more old-fashioned than monied. Also, are you craving potatoes, for some reason? Guys, Ida know if I can get behind this name in 2018.
Despite Dora the Explorer, this name still sounds like something out of a black-and-white movie to me — as does its cousin, Dorothy. She Knows reported that this name means "gift of God." How a-Dora-ble is that? (See what I did there?)
When you hear the name Ursula, do you think of the octopus villain from The Little Mermaid? I do, and that movie came out forever ago. According to Behind The Name though, Ursula doesn't have anything to do with aquatic creatures. It actually means "little bear."
Of all the names on this list, Beulah — which means "married," reported She Knows — might be the mustiest. Be forewarned that if Beulah appears on your list, your SO will probably assume you're joking straight away.
With Biblical roots, Esther is actually a beautiful name. But that doesn't keep it from sounding like it belongs to another age. According to Behind The Name, Esther might mean "star" in Persian.
The name Minnie had its heyday in the 1880s, according to Baby Name Wizard, and it's a nickname for Guillermina, Maximina, Dominica, Minerva, Clementine, and Wilhelmina — all of which make great old lady names in and of themselves.
Popular in the 1900s, Eugenia is now a name fit for a golden girl. That's not a bad thing, of course, but think how it will sound on the playground — and of the face your best friend will make when it tops your list.
According to Nameberry, the name means "wellborn" — and if there's a more old-fashioned value, I can't think of one.
There's something a little antique about baby girls names based on male names. (Alberta is the feminine form of Albert, according to She Knows.) PopSugar cataloged tons of such names, all of which have a sepia flavor. Think Wilhemina for William, Matilda for Matthew, and Marcella for Mark.
Interestingly, PopSugar listed Rihanna as a female version Ryan. My mind is blown.
According to She Knows, Tabitha means beauty and grace, and there's no denying the name is graceful. I really want to find a great nickname for Tabitha, but unfortunately, Tabby makes me think of cat ladys, and Tab is a retro soda. There's no escaping it — Tabitha is an old lady name.
To me, this name is an old lady name because it contains instructions — Constance is supposed to be constant and loyal, right? These days, constancy isn't so much of a value as creativity and ingenuity, which is why Constance lands firmly in the old lady pile.
Like Constance, the name Prudence contains a personality description. A kid named Prudence (Pru for short?) is supposed to be prudent — or careful and judicious. But I don't know, in this age of start-ups and gig economy living, a name like Risky might make more sense.
According to Baby Name Wizard, the name Philomena comes from a Greek word meaning "loved." These days, it's a very rare name, and unlike most popular baby girl names in being so darn long. Unfortunately, even the nicknames derived from Philomena sound like old lady names: Meena? Mennie? Minnie? Nope.
The roots of the name Edna are deep, even Biblical. According to Nameberry, Edna means "delight," and it's related to the Garden of Eden. Sadly, though, my first thought when I hear this name is of Edna Crabapple, Bart's crabby elementary-school teacher from The Simpsons. So, old lady name.
According to Think Baby Names, Bernadette means "strong, brave, bear." To me, it also means disco balls and the polyester 1970s — and that's what makes it an old lady name.
According to Think Baby Names, Agatha has its roots in a Greek word meaning "good, honorable." But the specter of Agatha Christie — and her famous old lady protagonist, Miss Marple — looms large over the name today.
Myrtle is actually a horticultural baby name, according to Baby Center, meaning tree, or victory. Rhyming with 'turtle,' the name Myrtle doesn't exactly conjure the zip and vigor of our fast-paced times.
Here's a nutty fact: according to Behind The Name, Winnifred is an anglicized version of the Welsh name Gwenfrewi, making it a very, very old lady name. I actually knew a Winnifred who called herself Freddie for short, proving you can freshen up any old lady name if you try.