Another year has come and gone, and more Avas, Sophias, and Isabellas have been born, keeping those names at the top of the popularity charts. If you love the name Isabella but want something less common, fear not: there are lots of
baby names like Isabella that are just as gorgeous and meaningful.
Isabella began as a Hebrew name meaning “devoted to God.” The Social Security Administration reported it was the
fifth most popular girl name in 2019, falling behind Olivia, Emma, Ava, and Sophia. Baby Center noted that it dropped to the sixth most popular position in 2020, but that still means naming your little girl Isabella will make her one of many in her classes growing up. Take it from a Katie: that gets old fast.
Isabella has so many adorable nickname options you could pick from for your baby’s first name as a fun twist. Think Bella, Belle, Izzy, Ella, or Ellie. Or, think about why you love Isabella — is it the faith-based meaning, the way it sounds, or the number of syllables that make it work perfectly with your last name? Once you figure that out, you’ll see just how many equally lovely options are out there in the world of baby names.
Nameberry explained that Arabella is a
12th century name that originated in Scotland, and it means “yielding to prayer.” It’s been used in lots of English novels since, and is also the name of the first American woman to become a lawyer (Arabella Mansfield). It was the 197th most popular name in the U.S. in 2019, so it still ranks as more rare than Isabella.
Mirabelle means “wonderful," according to The Bump, and if your baby girl is one thing for certain, it’s wonderful. Mirabella is also an option for those who are attached to the ‘a’ sound at the end of Isabella. And wouldn’t Mira just be the cutest darn nickname in the world?
If you love the name Isabella because of its first two syllables, Isadora is another name to consider. It’s a name of Greek origin
meaning “gift of the moon,” according to Baby Center. Their data shows that even at its most popular time back in 2014, only 155 out of every million babies got this name, so little Isadora won’t have a lot of classmates stealing her thunder.
The Bump explained that Marcella has some serious origins in mythology, not to mention a strikingly similar sound to Isabella. It’s a girl’s name of Latin origin meaning “dedicated to Mars.” Mars, aka Ares,
was the Greek god of war, so it’s strong name for your little fighter. The month of March is also named after him, so it’s a sensible choice for spring babies.
A Hewbrew name
meaning “pledged to God,” you may be hearing Eliza more often these days thanks to the character in Hamilton, noted Baby Center . It's also a literary moniker, having been used in My Fair Lady and Pride and Prejudice. Stand-up comedy fans will know about the alternate spelling even more similar to Isabella, Iliza, thanks to Iliza Shlesinger.
Alessia has some similar sounds to Isabella, and is
also of Italian origin. It means "defending warrior," per Nameberry, so, you know, strong-woman-in-the-making alert. Pop singer Alessia Cara made it popular again in 2016, making the name break into the top 1,000 most popular in U.S. births. Basically, it's familiar enough that people will know how to pronounce it, but very few others will actually have it. Win-win.
Isabella has an old-fashioned beauty to it. If that's what drew you in, Alice may be the perfect replacement. It means
noble and kind, according to BabyCenter, and is currently ranked the 76th most popular girl's name in the U.S. There are plenty of famous Alices who will make worthy role models to boot, like Alice Walker.
Latin for “star,” noted Baby Center, so what better name to give the new light of your life? The name peaked in popularity around 1911 so it carries a special, vintage vibe. Also, it’s hard to ignore the similarities between the nicknames Stella and Bella. Este would be an adorable shortened version, too.
Stasi, Anya, Nastia — the beautiful nickname game is strong with this one. The name Anastasia is probably the most recognizable because of the
animated movie by the same name, which told a more fanciful version of the real-life Russian royal. It would be a precious name for your little princess, especially if you think she’ll have a scrappy side.
Nameberry reported that Annabelle is originally
a French name that means “loving,” making it a super sweet choice. It was most popular in the early 1900s, so now it has an upscale, Gatsby-era vibe to it. It incorporates the ‘belle’ ending similar to Isabella, so it’s a similar choice that’s just different enough.
Just like Isabella, Gabriella also
means “devoted to God,” so it’s a solid option if you want to preserve the meaning but pick a less popular name. It even has the same ‘ella’ ending. Also, Gabby isn't the only nickname choice with Gabriella. Brielle is a pretty, uncommon option that sounds similar to Belle or Bella.
Camilla Cabello has brought this girl’s name back into the spotlight. The Bump says it means "helper to the priest," and in Roman mythology,
Camilla was a bad*ss warrior who could run so fast she could turn an entire field of grass into ashes. That alone earns some extra cool points for Camilla.
Sable shares a lot of the same letters and sound as Isabella, but shortens the name into two syllables. Nameberry
explained that Sable Colby, a character from the classic soap opera Dynasty, is probably the most famous person by that name. Historically, a sable was an animal hunted for its fur, and also describes the dark hue of its coat.
BabyNames.com noted that Sienna is
currently #82 on their popularity charts, so it’s a well-liked choice that’s still a little off the radar. The word sienna refers to a deep reddish-brown color, so it’s a perfect name for your little redhead or auburn-haired babe. It's Italian in origin, and brings to mind the beautiful and talented Sienna Miller.
Looking for that beautiful 'Belle' or 'Bella' sounding name without using something you've heard before? Bellamy is a unisex name of
English, Irish, and French origins, noted Nameberry. It means "fine friend," something any parent hopes their child grows up to be. It’s not very popular yet, so now’s the time to set this trend.
means "god has answered" according to The Bump, so if you have waited a long time to meet your little one, this name may feel extra special to you. It rolls off the tongue just like Isabella, but is way further down on the popularity charts right now. It’s definitely a name that works at every age, from cuddling your beautiful newborn to sounding super professional in her future career.
BabyNames.com explained that Giselle (aka Gisselle, Gissel, Gisele, and many other possible spellings) is a
French name meaning “pledge.” It feels high-fashion, probably thanks to its French origins and famous Giselles, like Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen. The site adds that it’s currently not on any popularity lists, so it would make a unique, Isabella-adjacent name choice.
Again, if it’s Isabella’s old-fashioned charm that first drew you in, you should definitely consider Clara. It’s
Latin for “bright” and “clear,” making it a fitting moniker for your little prodigy. Maybe she’ll follow in the footsteps of Clara Barton, who founded the Red Cross, or become a talented performing artist in the same vein as Clara, the main character in The Nutcracker.
If you like Isabella for the length, maybe Annaliese is the next name to consider. Annaliese has lots of possible spellings, but they're
all considered rare by Nameberry. Elise is a super elegant, shorter version that's just as unique. It’s a German and Dutch name originally, but has just as much appeal anywhere in the world.
means "lion of God," so between a fierce meaning and that Isabella-like ending, it's a solid choice for parents looking for a name no other girls on the playground will have. It’s got just as much femininity as Isabella, and the same number of syllables, but ranks #480 in popularity.
We often think of the baby name Noelle (also spelled Noel) as being just for
babies born around Christmas, but it’s a beautiful moniker fit for any little angel. It offers the same ‘elle’ ending as Isabelle, but is one of those names you can’t really shorten into anything, which some parents love.
If you like the name Isabella basically just for the nickname Bella, Pippa is a great alternative. It ends in the same ‘A’ sound, has the same number of syllables, and brings to mind the fashionable (and stunning) Pippa Middleton. Pippa usually serves as nickname for Philippa,
which means “lover of horses,” according to Nameberry.