If you want a sweet and simple baby name, Ava is probably at the top of your list. The short, two-syllable name is a popular choice, but still has plenty of timeless appeal. So, what if you love it, but want something different? These baby names if you like Ava might be just what you're looking for.
Ava Name Meaning & History
The origin of the name Ava is pretty complex for such a simple moniker. The baby name Ava is derived from the Latin word "Avis," which means "bird.” Additionally, German origins for the name can be traced back to medieval times with the name meaning "island" or "water." It is also possible that Ava is a shortened version of the name Chava, the Hebrew form of Eve, meaning "life" or "living one.” Common variations on the name Ava include Avalee, Avaline, Eva and Evelyn.
Notable figures throughout history have helped to popularize the name, dating all the way back to Saint Ava, a 9th-century princess, and the medieval
German poet Ava (the first named female writer in the German language, according to Poemhunter). Famous Avas in the U.S. include socialite Ava Lowle Willing (1868–1958), wife to John Jacob Astor IV, and their daughter, socialite and heiress Ava Alice Muriel Astor (1902–1956), according to House Histree. Actress Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was one of Hollywood’s brightest stars from the 1950s to 1970s, her fame solidifying with her performance in The Killers (1946). Known for her striking beauty and gossip-worthy romantic life (including a marriage to Frank Sinatra), Gardner also starred in such films as Mogambo (1953), which earned her an Academy Award nomination, and The Night of the Iguana (1964).
Maybe Ava is a name you've loved since your own childhood, but you already bequeathed that title to your firstborn. Perhaps you had a dream where you met a grown-up version of your child and they let you know that Ava was off-limits. (Crazier things have happened, right?) Whatever your reason for straying from the baby name is, take a look at this list to see if any Ava alternatives strike your fancy.
Similar to Ava in sound and syllable-length,
Emma ranks just above Ava in popularity, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA ranks Emma as the second most popular baby name of 2019, with Ava in the number three spot. Emma means "universal," which is fitting for such a popular name. 2 Eva
Similar to Ava, Eva is a short baby name that has the letter "v" sandwiched by two vowels at the beginning and end. Also like Ava, the name Eva is a derivative of the Hebrew name Eve, which means "life," according to Nameberry. Less popular than Ava, the SSA ranked Eva the 84th most popular baby name in 2019.
The beginning of the baby name Avery has the same root sound as the name Ava, making it a wonderful choice if a name that sounds similar to Ava is music to your ears. You can also use alternative spellings for Avery such as Averie or Averi to make it more unique.
Just like the baby name Ava, the name Evelyn means "water" or "island," so it's meaning has a similar tropical feel. However, Evelyn is of English origin, according to Nameberry. Unlike Ava, there are alternate ways to spell Evelyn including Evaline, Evalyn, and Eveline, so the name offers a bit more versatility.
If you love the baby name Ava and are also fond of the name Evelyn, combining the two into the name Avalyn might be an option for you. The SSA did not rank the name Avalyn in 2019, but reported 282 births bearing the name in 2018, making it the 940th most popular name that year.
6 Ella LaylaBird/E+/Getty Images
Ranked the 13th most popular baby name of 2019 by the SSA, Ella has been in the top 20 most popular baby girl names in the U.S. since 2008. The shortened version of Eleanor or Ellen, Ella can mean "light," "other," or "all" depending on which origin of the name you look at.
Lovers of baby names with just three letters can turn to Eve as an alternative to Ava. By simply inserting an "e" where each "a" appears in Ava, you get another short and sweet moniker that rolls right off the tongue. Plus, there's hope that your little one might master writing their own name sooner rather than later since they just have to learn to write two letters to do so.
Since one of the meanings of the baby name Ava is bird, those who love this particular meaning may find the name of an actual bird to be an attractive name choice. Robin was a popular baby girl name throughout the 80s, but the name actually saw peak popularity from 1953 to 1979, waffling between the top 30 and top 90 most popular names, per the SSA.
Also in the bird family, Wren might be just the name you're searching for if you love the meaning of the baby name Ava. Despite an increase in the popularity of the baby name Wren over the past decade or so, the name was ranked 428th most popular by the SSA in 2019.
Aya is another short, vowel-filled name choice for parents who are considering Ava, but aren't sold on giving their baby a hugely popular moniker. In 2019, the SSA reported only 383 babies born with the name Aya. The name Aya means "colorful one" in Japanese, but also has roots in other cultures including Native American and German.
Game of Thrones fan would tell you, the name Arya is one full of strength and power that has surged in popularity over the past few years. A Sanskirt name meaning "noble," Arya is similar in sound and structure to Ava, but offers a bit more gusto and vibrato. 12 Ida
Baby names that could be deemed "old-fashioned" or "grandma-like" are often the ones with the most timeless appeal, and Ida (although similar enough to Ava) has this quality. Legendary civil rights leader Ida B. Wells boasts the classic name, so using Ida as your baby's name would most certainly put her in the company of greatness.
If you're looking for a baby name that offers a similar spunky appeal to Ava, Mia is a spirited alternative. Ranked the eighth most popular baby girl name in 2019 by the SSA, Mia means "beloved" in Scandinavian. The name is also shared by soccer legend Mia Hamm, the iconic actress Mia Farrow, and was the name of Anne Hathaway's treasured character in
The Princess Diaries. 14 Ada
German for "noble," the baby name Ada is an easy switch from a name like Ava. Replacing the "v" with a "d," you can have a similar-sounding name to Ava with a completely different meaning. You're also less likely to have multiple kids in your child's preschool class bear the name, as less than 1,500 parents chose the name Ada for their babies in 2019, per the SSA.
15 Bria Tanja Ristic/E+/Getty Images
The baby name Bria is a derivative of the Italian word "brio" which means "liveliness and vigor.” Like Ava, it's a short, sassy moniker that is quick to say and sounds downright peppy. Bria can also be used as a nickname for a longer, more traditional name like Bridgette or Brianna.
I will never hear the name Clara and not think of the character from
The Nutcracker. This stately name offers a more lyrical style than Ava, but still has a similar sound to it. Clara is Latin for "bright" or "clear" and was ranked the 95th most popular baby girl's name in 2019, according to the SSA. 17 Daviana
A variation of the Hebrew name Davina, the name Daviana is of Scottish origin and means "beloved.” Although it might seem like quite a stretch from Ava, the name Daviana has both the letter "a" and "v" within it and ends in the same vowel sound.
The baby name Lila is derived from the Arabic word for "night," but also has roots in the Sanskrit language meaning "play.” Like Ava, Lila is a short, two-syllable name and can be used as a nickname for longer, more formal names like Lillian.
Unlike the popular Ava, Myra was ranked the 536th most popular baby girl name in 2019 by the SSA. Since the name has never been particularly popular, it's fair to say that Myra is also a beautiful choice if you want a name that is similar in sound to Ava but not overly used.
20 Zola Grey's Anatomy fans may recognize Zola as the name of the baby girl that characters Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd adopted in season 8 of the show. Short, sassy, and vowel-filled, Zola is a fantastic choice for parents who love the appeal of Ava but want something more unique.