Only 7 of the top 1000 names for girls start with the letter W - Wendy, Whitney, Willa, Willow, Winter, Wynter, and Wren. This uncommon initial deserves more love, especially since once-popular W names are beginning to sound fresh and usable again. Here are some wicked options from the annals of history!
Willie and Winnie
Adorable diminutives from many popular and uncommon picks, Willie and Winnie are more than able to stand on their own merits. Willie reached the height of #54 in 1909, and Winnie made it up to #162 in 1881. While longer forms are chosen more often, these nicknames have a vintage, feminine sound that work for all kinds of little girls.
Traditionally a surname or a male first name, Willoughby has been given to more than a few girls over the course of history. The name comes from Old English for "farm near the willows," and could work for parents who like Willow but are looking for something more substantial. Willoughby's melody and familiarity definitely lend it to modern trends!
Given to seven girls last year, this pretty word name could fit in with Destiny or Hope as a contemporary virtue pick. It's been used as far back as 1952, but carries the same kind of sound as Harper and Amber. While it may raise some eyebrows, its concision and clarity make it a wondrous choice.
One feminine variant of William, Wilhelmina lives up to its associated meaning of "resolute protection." It's strong and steadfast, the kind of name for an exceptional little girl. Wilhelmina can be shortened into all kinds of friendly retro nicknames - Willie, Minnie, Elma - and it's a great, unexpected honorific for a William or Wilma.
An historic, literary choice, Waverly has been used in novels from The Princess Bride to The Joy Luck Club. Television fans will recognize it from both Friday Night Lights and The Wizards of Waverly Place. But this English pick is more than just a cultural pick - Waverly is energetic and amicable, a worthy successor to Kimberly or Kennedy.
Another turn-of-the-century pick, Willetta combines then-popular name prefixes and suffixes in a burst of vintage feeling. It's another name with a plethora of short forms - Etta and Lettie among them - but it's not so long it can't be used on its own.
This name is beginning to lose its celebrity associations and gain fans of its beautiful, elegant vibe. Winona means "firstborn daughter" in the Dakota language, and has never made it above #407 on the top 1000. Another name that can shorten to Winnie, Winona is a choice that will grow right alongside your little one.
In 1936, then-king Edward VIII shocked the world when he abdicated his throne in order to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. Herself named for her father, Wallis has since been portrayed in fiction and film (most recently in a production directed by Madonna). The name is boyish, but thanks to Simpson, it's assuredly accepted for girls today.
This unisex choice hasn't yet ranked for boys or girls - time will tell which side will claim Winslow! It sounds a bit like Sloane or Winter, and it carries an artistic connotation (thanks to American artist Winslow Homer). Quite a few cities in the UK and the US are called Winslow, making this an unexpected place name pick as well.
A pretty purple vine, the flower that bears this name is also a symbol of devotion. Many will recognize Wisteria via the lane on Desperate Housewives, but this botanical choice has more to offer. It's similar in sound to Victoria or Esther, but Wisteria has only been used a handful of times in US name records.
Once a frumpy, aged choice, Winifred has begun to blossom again. Its nickname Winnie is one reason, but Winifred has a tenacious, noble feeling thanks to a multitude of historical namesakes; from saints to actresses to activists, Winifred is a name borne by dozens of strong, notable women.
Another choice that may hit the boys' list soon, Wilder is an attractive surname with a pleasant, adventurous sound. Beloved actor and comedian Gene Wilder passed away this past year, making the name more timely for devoted fans. Wilder also calls to mind author and educator, Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame.
Are there any particularly pretty W names that I missed? Tell me in the comments!