If you’re expecting a new little girl to arrive in your family and are looking for the perfect name, it can feel like you just hear the same five names over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with the
most popular names, a lot of them are really beautiful and popular for good reason. But if you want your little girl’s name to stand out from the crowd (and to make sure she doesn’t spend her school days being Sophia M. or Olivia B.), looking at names that start with certain vowels, like girl names that start with “I,” might help break you out of the rut.
If you want to really go off the beaten track, look at “
U” names for girls. There are probably some names you’ve never even heard of that start with that unusual letter, which very rarely begins names in English. But if you want to consider baby names that aren’t heavily used but that still sound somewhat familiar, consider some girls names that start with “I.” A lot of the baby names on this list have Germanic roots, or just aren’t ones you hear every day. Plenty are old-fashioned names that are due for a comeback. These lovely “I” girl names might just be lovely enough to earn a spot on your “maybe” baby names list. 1 Iris
Iris just had her most popular year ever in 2021, coming in at the 107th most popular name, but it’s still not not super common. And it’s just so pretty, much like the purple flower that bears its name. It comes from the Greek word for “rainbow.”
From the German word meaning “industrious,” Ida is a serious name for a little lady who means business. There are lots of impressive Idas, from the journalist and advocate Ida B. Wells to the jazz singer Ida Cox.
3 Ilaria d3sign/Moment/Getty Images
I went to middle school with an Ilaria and was always jealous of the name, because it has serious princess vibes. It’s much more common in Italy than the United States, so might be perfect if you have Italian family heritage. It has Latin roots, and means “cheerful.”
There are a lot of ways to spell this pretty name: Alanna, Elana, or Ilana. Interstingly, Alanna has different roots and a different meaning than Elana or Ilana, which both have Hebrew roots and mean “tree.”
If you choose this name, be prepared for the toddler years, because it means “strong-willed.” If you’re a fan of the comedian and author Issa Rae, you could also adopt her spelling and pronunciation, which is Ee-sa. The name can alternately be pronounced Eye-sa or Ee-sa — it’s really up to you.
Ishtar was an ancient goddess of divinity of love, fertility, and war: a pretty awesome origin for this I name. She’ll almost certainly be the only one in her class.
If love the movie Casablanca, Ilsa might have to be at the top of your list. Meaning “pledge to god,” it will probably also delight your little girl that her name is almost
that of the princess from Frozen. 8 Ila
If you like the name Isla but are worried it’s becoming too popular, this spelling has the same pronunciation, but is much more unusual: it was the 761st most popular name in 2021. It also has a similar meaning as Isla: “from the island.”
Isla’s star is on the rise After falling off the chart completely between 1908 and 2008, it roared back and last year came in as the 33rd most popular girl name in the United States. It means “island” and is typically pronounced as “Eye-la.”
This classic name has grown in popularity in recent years, but still isn’t in the top 50 most popular girl’s names. A little Ivy will find lots of fun characters who share her name, from the spunky Ivy in the
Ivy and Bean series to the heroine of the Christmas classic The Story of Holly and Ivy. 11 Iphigenia drewhadley/E+/Getty Images
If you were a fan of Greek mythology, you’ll recognize this name from the Iliad, in which she’s sacrificed to appease the goddess Artemis. It means either “strong born” or “royal born” and is a great choice if you want something unique.
Imani is an “I” girls name that hits the sweet spot between being too unusual and too common. It’s a popular name in Arabic-speaking countries, but in the United States, it’s consistently in the top thousand names but never in the top hundred. It means “belief” or “faith.”
More commonly spelled “Eilish,” you might best know this name from Billie Eilish (whose real name is quite something: Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell). This pretty name has Hebrew and Irish roots, and means “pledged to God.”
14 Irene Ol'ga Efimova / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
You’ll have a built in lullaby if you choose this sweet name: “Goodnight, Irene” (I’ll see you in my dreams). It has both French and Greek roots and means “peace.”
Whether you love the vibrant color or love the idea of the “indigo child,” your little girl will stand out from the pack with this beautifully
blue baby name. It just squeaked into the top thousand names for the first time in 2021. 16 Ilsbeth
One of many lovely variations on Elizabeth, Ilsbeth means “God is my oath.” If you love the name Elizabeth or want to honor an Elizabeth in your family but want something more unique, this name might be perfect.
This “I” name is popular in Israel, but hasn’t really crossed over the states yet. It comes from Hebrew and means “amber.”
18 Isabel Anna Frank/E+/Getty Images
The most classic “I” name of all: you can spell it Isabelle or Isobel, fancy it up to “Isabella” or shorten it to the cute nickname “Izzie.” “Isabella” is by far the most popular “I” girl name, coming in at number seven in 2021, but its variants are significantly less common. Just like Ilsbeth, it means “pledge to God.”
You might get some jokes about shoes from people in your parent’s generation — the most famous Imelda was best known for her enormous shoe collection — but today’s kids aren’t going to get that reference. The name means “powerful fighter.”
20 Imogene Images By Tang Ming Tung/Stone/Getty Images
Imogene was last in the top thousand most popular name in the United States back in 1950 — it’s fallen off the charts since then. But maybe your little girl is the one to bring it back. It has Celtic and French roots and means “innocent.”
If you have Scottish roots like names that evoke locations, you might want to consider this lovely name, which is the name of a Scottish island with a storied past.
Whatever you choose to name your baby girl, she’s sure to be imaginative, impish and irresistable.