Naming a baby is an exciting task, but it can also feel very overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of thousands of names out there, and narrowing your baby name list down to the perfect one can be a daunting task. But one way to make yourself more creative is actually to set some limits on your name search, including just doing a deep dive into a specific letter. “N”, for example, turns out to be a great letter to try that with, because there are tons of pretty girl’s names that start with “N,” but none of them ever appeared in the top 20 most popular names for girls last year. If you want something really rare and offbeat, you could look at “
U” names for girls, but many “N” names strike the right balance of being a little uncommon without being too out-there, or causing constant pronunciation problems once your new arrival is school-age. So many of them also just have a beautiful sound. If you’re interested in getting outside of the big baby name trends of recent years and are looking for a more unusual pick, one of these “N” names that comes from another language or great works of literature might just be the answer to all your baby naming woes. 1 Natalie
Natalie (sometimes also spelled Nathaly) is of English and French origin, and comes from a Latin phrase:
Natale domini, meaning “birth of the Lord.” It’s been in the top hundred most popular girl’s names for decades, but never at the tippy top of the list, making it a good choice for a family looking for something that everyone will recognize but that isn’t wildly popular. 2 Neko
Most famously held by singer Neko Case, this name has unmistakably cool vibes. It’s derived from Nicholas, meaning “victory of the people.” You can pronounce is Neh-ko or Nee-ko — either way, it’s a name that really stands out from the crowd.
3 Nevaeh Iryna Inshyna/Shutterstock
Naveah is unique in modern names in that it didn’t exist as a name at all until the late 1990’s. That was when a few clever parents noticed that the word “heaven,” when spelled backwards, made a really pretty name. Since then, it’s spent a few years in the top thousand most popular names.
This pretty name started out as a shortening of names like Eleanora or Honora, but has become a popular choice in its own right. It has a great meaning for your little girl to live up to: “woman of honor.” You can also leave off the “h” for a fairly common alternate spelling.
Nadine is an “N” girl name that evokes elegance and wisdom. It also has a beautiful meaning, “shower of blessings,” which your little girl is sure to be. It has French and Russian origins.
Commonly considered to be ancient Egypt’s most famous queen, it’s hard to find a more regal name than Nefertiti. Her name translates to the phrase “a beautiful woman has come.”
If you wear a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt on St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to consider this adorable “N” name. Nola is a shortened form of the Irish name Fionnuala and, translated from
the Gaelic, means “fair shoulder.” 8 Noa
While the boy name Noah, typically spelled with an “H,” is having a real boom in popularity, this feminine counterpart is much less well-known and could be a great choice if you’re hoping to find an unusual baby girl “N” name. Like Noah, it’s of Hebrew origin but while that name means “rest or repose” the feminine version means “motion.”
If you’re a millennial, you might know a lot of Nicoles, as the name was hugely popular in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Since then, though, it’s become much less common, and a little Nicole born today would probably be the only one in her class. It is of French origins and means “victory of the people.”
10 Natasha wagnerokasaki/E+/Getty Images
Despite its literal meaning of “born on Christmas day,” the name Natasha works for a baby born all year round. It has Slavic/Russian origins, and has the cute nickname “Tasha” built right into it.
If you’re expecting a new arrival right around Christmas, this “N” girl name might be just perfect. Noelle, also spelled simply “Noel” comes from the French word for Christmas and is a cute name that almost exclusively belongs to little girls born in December.
Even if you’ve forgotten most of the Spanish you learned in high school, you probably remember that niña means “little girl” in Spanish. The name Nina also has Russian origins, where it’s a variant of the name “Anne” as well as from the Hebrew word meaning “God is gracious and has shown favor.” It’s no surprise that cultures all over the world love this pretty and simple name.
Naomi is a great choice if you want a biblical name that still sounds modern and fresh. It means “gentle” or “pleasant.” The name has gotten steadily more popular over the first two decades of this century, but still isn’t so common that you hear it constantly.
Like many of the names on this list, Niah has two distinct origins: one is the Swahili word meaning “lustrous” or “purpose” and another is the Gaelic word meaning “bright.” You can keep the silent “H” or drop it if you want a short and beautiful name.
The name Nellie (also spelled Nelly) started out as a nickname but has become a name in its own right. If you’re looking for a name with a classic feel that’s still unusual, the cute combination of Nellie and Anne (or Ann) might be just right. The name means “sun ray.”
If you love the name Nicole but want something with a different spin, why not try out this pretty name? The suffix “ette” makes it a diminutive version, but there’s nothing diminutive about this powerful-sounding name. Like Nicole, it means “victory of the people.”
This name has both Urdu and Arabic roots, but means the same thing in every language: Comfort, or tranquility. Just as with the name Naomi, open vowels give it a pleasing sound.
Some names from our grandma’s generation are back in full force, but others are still waiting for their comeback. Nancy is in the latter category: It was a super popular name in the 30’s and 40’s but is only barely scraping the top thousand today. Maybe your family will be part of bringing it back. It means “grace” and has Hebrew origins.
Nessa is considered to be an adaptation of two different names: Agnes, which means “pure” or “holy” and the name “Vanessa” which means “butterfly.” All three meanings are great. This name hasn’t cracked the top thousand yet, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for something a bit unique.
The word “nova” pops up in lots of places, from Nova Scotia to supernova. That’s because it comes from the Latin word “novus” meaning “new.” This name is becoming quite popular and is definitely a perfect name for a new arrival.
This Persian name is too gorgeous for words. It has lots of cute meanings too: Sweetheart, lovely, darling, and delightful. It’s a well-known name in Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey, but isn’t super popular in the United States. You’re likely to hear lots of people saying “what a pretty name!” if you go with this choice.
If you were an English or theater major in college, you might recognize this name as Shakespearean: Nerissa is a character in
The Merchant of Venice. This Greek name means “sea nymph.” 23 Nala
Disney made this pretty name well-known to U.S. audience’s with The Lion King: Nala is Simba’s friend and eventually the queen of the kingdom. It has both Arabic and Sanskrit origins and has the evocative meaning “first drink of water in the desert.”
24 Nannette Mitch Diamond/Photodisc/Getty Images
Nannette is an “N” girl name with lots of cute nicknames: Nan, Nanny, and Etta are just a few. This French name means “favor and grace.”
Nayara is a great name if you love the name Natalie but want something a little more unique. This Basque name might do the trick: It means “desire” or “wish.”
If you love Australia — or even if you don’t — this name should be on your radar. The Narellan Vale is a beautiful area in New South Wales, Australia, and it means “little river.”
If you love Greek myths, Nefeli might be a great choice. It comes from the Greek word “nephos” meaning “cloud” and is the name of a cloud nymph in Greek mythology.
If you like the name Nicole but want something a little jazzier, this elegant name might be the ticket. Like Nicholas and most other “Nic” names, it means “victory of the people.” Nikki or Nick are really cute nicknames for a little girl.
Niobe meets a tragic end in Greek mythology (in short, she turns into a weeping rock), but few characters in Greek myths get out unscathed. This lovely name means “fern” in Greek.
Your little girl won’t be able to help being a cool and free-thinker if you choose this name. The Greek goddess Nyx was the personification of night, and the only goddess who even the all-powerful Zeus was afraid of.
Like Noel or Natasha, this name is tied to a specific day that your child might be born. The Slavic name means “born on Sunday.” Alternately, it shares a meaning with its male counterpart “Ned”: guardian of the riches.
Famously belonging to the American-born Queen of Jordan, Noor is an “N” name with a regal and elegant feel. It comes from Arabic and means either “light” or the “divine light.” Alternate versions of the name include Nura or Noora.
Swahili is a beautiful sounding language, so it’s no surprise that it has beautiful names. Nyuni means “bird” in the Swahili language.
Norma was a big name in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, but hasn’t appeared in the top thousand most popular names since 2002. Vintage
baby names are making a comeback, though, so clearly Norma is due for another moment in the sun. 35 Naria
It might be that it has the word “aria” in it, but something about this name makes you want to burst into song. It means “night sky” in Japanese.
It’s probably been a long time since you’ve read
The Odyssey, but if this Greek name sounds familiar, that’s why. Nausicaa appears in book six of Odysseus’s journey, and helps him when he’s in dire straits. The name means “burner of ships.” 37 Navidad
During December, your little girl is sure to hear her name all over the place in the song “Feliz Navidad.” It’s the Spanish word for Christmas, and might be a great pick for a December baby.
Lots of kids love mermaids, and your daughter will probably be one of them if you choose this name. It means “sea nymph” in Greek, and in myths, the Nereids were deities who lived in the seas.
You’ll have to see
Wicked with your daughter when she’s older if you choose this name: Nessarose is the sweet sister of the hero/antihero Elphaba in that play. It has Scandinavian origins and means “the rose of the peninsula.” 40 Nikki
Though Nikki can be a nickname, it’s moved to being a given name in its own right. There’s no shortage of variant spellings if you want to get creative with it: Nickee, Nickie, Nickey, Nicky, Niki, and Nikkee are just a few.
Whether you’re looking for names inspired by places, myths, or other languages, there are so many beautiful and unique choices that begin with “N.”