Hermione. Frida. Amelia. A single name can say so much, and every one of these strong baby names for girls is synonymous with greatness.

By Lisa Milbrand
March 05, 2012

Want to inspire your daughter as she grows? Name her after a one of these real or fictional women who are known for her remarkable achievements, whether they be in history, film, or literature.

Girl Names Inspired by Historic Women

Emma Watson as "Hermione" from Harry Potter, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhardt
Illustration by Sarina Finkelstein; Alamy (1); Getty Images (2)

Elizabeth England's legendary Elizabeth I was crowned with a strong, biblical name that's perfectly timeless—and suits the current occupant of the English throne as well. Elizabeth offers dozens of nickname options, from Eliza to Bess (as Elizabeth I was sometimes known), making it a versatile option.

Susan The first name of the most famous suffragist, Susan B. Anthony, reached its heyday in the 1960s; despite its beautiful meaning (it's "lily" in Hebrew) and its famous namesake, it's less common today.

Harriet Harriet Tubman, a former slave who helped guide dozens of slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and later fought for women's suffrage, went by her middle name. The name hasn't cracked the top 1,000 since the 1970s, but it's strong and works well for parents who want to go off the grid.

Jane The grande dame of 18th century romance Jane Austen has a name that's classic as her novels—but even though it has seen a surge in popularity in recent years (currently in the 200s), it's likely your daughter will be the only Jane in her class.

Ruth The "notorious RGB" aka Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the most popular Supreme Court justices, and her Biblical first name means "friend." An old-fashioned pick, Ruth is now on the rise again and within the top 300 names.

Rosa The first lady of the American civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, was given a pretty variation of the more common name Rose. It's a sweet substitute for the more popular floral monikers, Lily and Violet.

Clara Born as Clarissa Harlowe Barton, Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton preferred to be called Clara. (Her nickname means "bright and famous.") Clara currently ranks in the top 200, but is still rare enough to stand out.

Margaret This gem of a name means "pearl," an appropriate choice for Margaret Mead, a brilliant cultural anthropologist. This traditional name, currently in the top 200, lends itself to tons of nicknames: Meg, Maggie, Margie, and Marge, to name a few.

Gloria Feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem has fronted the women's liberation movement since the 1960s, fighting for women to have marriage and pay equality, and reproductive rights. Her name, which means "glory," has remained in the top 500 in recent years, which makes it ripe for a comeback.

Louisa Her classic novel Little Women still remains popular, and Louisa May Alcott's name, which means "fame," is currently making a comeback.

Emily Beloved 19th century poet Emily Dickinson has a name that's equally popular these days—Emily has ranked as the top name for girls for the past several years.

Amelia Consider naming your daughter after one of the most famous women adventurers Amelia Earhart—and modern mysteries, after she disappeared over the Pacific during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Although it's currently in the top 100 names, it's a nice alternative to chart-topping Emily and Emma.

Coco Talk about a couture name—this nickname used by the fabled fashion icon Coco Chanel was also the pick of Courteney Cox and David Arquette for their daughter. It hasn't yet cracked the top 1,000, so odds are your daughter will stand out.

Beatrix The name of creator of the beloved Peter Rabbit series Beatrix Potter is a variation on Beatrice. It still hasn't cracked the top 1,000 names (though Beatrice is nearing the top 500), making it a great choice for parents who want a distinctive take on a classic name.

Zora Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston(her claim to fame is the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God) had a relatively popular name back when she was born, but it's just reentering the top 1000 now. Consider Zora, which means "sunrise," in lieu of Zoe.

Ella Storied singer Ella Fitzgerald's name means "bright light," indicating someone destined to be a star. The name has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity and currently ranks in the top 20.

Sandra The nation's first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has a name truly worthy of her post: Sandra means "defending men." The name reached its peak around the time O'Connor was born.

Frida The contributions of brilliant Mexican artist Frida Kahlo weren't recognized until decades after her death—and the same can be said for her name, a German one that means "peace." It didn't crack the top 1,000 until the 1990s, though it's now ranking in the top 700 names.

Laura Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life on the prairie gave readers a vivid description of how our nation grew. The name, which means "laurel tree," reached its peak popularity when the TV series based on her books hit TV.

Fearless Fictional Heroines

Katniss The fictional Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen is named a real-life aquatic plant, making this a rare (but cool) botanical name pick.

Hermione J.K. Rowling picked Hermione Granger's name for her legendarily bright witch after it appeared in ancient mythology and in Shakespeare. Hermione is a variation on the Greek god Hermes, and means "messenger."

Leia The rebellious princess-slash-general Leia Organa from the Star Wars series is solely responsible for the popularity of this name, which has gotten a huge bump in the past decade. The name means "law."

Josephine Louisa May Alcott's alter ego in the Little Women series, the tomboy-ish Josephine March generally went by "Jo." A timeless name that had a small dip in popularity in the late 1980s, it's currently in the top 100 names for girls.

Anne The story of this teen Anne Shirley 's life on Prince Edward Island has been beloved by generations of girls—and the name, which means "grace," is equally beloved.

Sarah The badass Sarah Connor who battled the Terminators has a Biblical name that means "princess."

Rey The heroine of the latest Star Wars films, Rey sports a name that's more commonly given to guys. It mean "king."

Dorothy The girl who adventured along the Yellow Brick Road in Oz, otherwise known as Dorothy Gale, has a name that means "loved by God." After a decline in popularity in the last half of the 20th century, it's currently back in vogue.

Scarlett The ruthless and vivacious Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind has inspired plenty of baby namers—it's currently in the top 20 baby names.

Diana Wonder Woman Diana Princewas named after the Roman goddess of the moon. It's a top 200 baby name that means "divine."

Luna The quirky cool Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter's band of heroes has single-handedly resulted in a huge rise in this name's popularity. It means "moon."

Lisa The brainy Lisa Simpson of The Simpsons has a name that reached its peak in the 1960s and 70s. It's a shortened variation on Elizabeth and shares its meaning, "consecrated by God."

Matilda The telekinetic title character from Roald Dahl's classic Matilda has inspired many modern parents to give their kids this name. It's one of the doubly strong female names—with a cool character and an apropos meaning, "battle mighty," to recommend it.

Elsa The ultracool heroine of Frozen Elsa of Arendel inspired plenty of parents when the movie came out. Elsa's another variation on the popular Elizabeth.

Carol Captain Marvel's alter ego Carol Danvers wears a name that peaked in popularity during World War II. It's a feminization of Charles, which means "free man."

Girl Names That Mean Strong

Adira A pretty name of Hebrew origin, Adira means "strong."

Andrea A variation of the popular boys' name, Andrew, Andrea shares its meaning, "strong and manly."

Audrey A top 100 favorite since the turn of the century, Audrey means "noble strength."

Bernadette This 1940s favorite is a feminization of Bernard—a German name that gets a little French flair from the -ette ending. It means "brave as a bear."

Bridget This Gaelic name and its numerous sisters—BrigitteBirgit, and Brighid, to name a few—can mean strength or "praised one."

Briella A feminization of Brian or a shortened version of Gabrielle, this top 300 baby name mans "God is my strength."

Casey An Irish unisex name, Casey means "brave in battle." It's currently slightly more popular for boys, but could make a lovely pick for ladies as well.

Drew Another unisex name, Drew's a shortened for of Andrew and also means "strong and manly."

Fernanda A top 500 pick, Fernanda is a Spanish name that means "bold voyager."

Gabriella/Gabrielle This pair of variations on the boys' name Gabriel share its meaning, "God is my strength."

Gertrude An old-fashioned name still waiting for its comeback, Gertrude means "strength of a spear."

Keren A Hebrew name that means "powerful," Keren's a nice variant on the still out-of-vogue Karen.

Mildred You can get to the popular nickname Millie with this vintage English name, which means "gentle strength."

Millicent Another path to "Millie," Millicent is a German name that means "strong in work."

Valentine/Valentina A saintly name, Valentine and Valentina literally mean valiant.

Valerie A top 200 name, Valerie is a French moniker that means valor.

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