32 Popular Old Lady Names and Their Meanings

Old Lady Names

The most famous old lady names and their meanings. It may surprise you that many famous old lady names have stood the test of time, throughout history and across cultures! 

In some instances, the meaning behind these names has changed over time, whereas others remain true to their original purpose.

Whatever their goal, there’s no doubt that each of these classic old lady names is timelessly feminine and fashionable.

Check out our list of the most popular old lady names and their meaning.

Table of Contents

  1. Mabel 
  2. Lillian
  3. Clara 
  4. Charlotte 
  5. Verna 
  6. Edna 
  7. Esther 
  8. Mildred 
  9. Agnes 
  10. Ava
  11. Bessie
  12. Freda
  13. Ella
  14. Audra 
  15. Olive 
  16. Nell 
  17. Lucy 
  18. Lena 
  19. Iris 
  20. Sadie 
  21. Winifred 
  22. Juno 
  23. Calliope 
  24. Belig 
  25. Sanura 
  26. Elizaas 
  27. Amelia 
  28. Alice 
  29. Camellia 
  30. Alma 
  31. Bess 
  32. Adele 

Mabel

As an old lady’s name, Mabel may have a younger ring to it now, but in 1880, Mabel was as old lady-like a character as you could get. Even then, it was probably only given to women over 40! 

Mabel’s meaning is lovable, making it an appealing name for women. It fits them like a glove; well, if gloves were made for your hands when you’re 80 years old. Therefore, it would suit any grandmother very well indeed!

Lillian

Lillian, short for Lilly, is often considered an old lady name. It’s been on the top 1000 list of baby names since 1900 and rose in popularity from 1949 to its peak in 1988. 

Since then, it has fallen out of favor. Lillian is a good choice if you are looking for an old lady name with a motherly and sweet connotation. The name means delicate flower. 

Some famous Lilians include actress Lily Tomlin, author Emily Brontë (author of Wuthering Heights), and comedian Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show).

Clara

Clara, as an old lady’s name, is a derivative of Clarissa, and it means bright, shining one. Clara was first seen as a baby girl in 1881. In 2015, Clara became more popular, with 921 baby girls being named C

Also, in 2016, 895 girls were named Clara, making it an increasingly popular girls name. Other old lady names include Katie (which originates from Greek and means pure). Maggie (which derives from Gaelic and means bitter).

Also included is Florence (which originated from Latin and means flourishing) and Rosemary (which comes from the Latin language)

Charlotte

A feminine form of Charles, meaning free man. It is sometimes used as a masculine name, usually combined with words like Lottie (meaning little Charles) or Charlie, and named for Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre.

In addition to being one of the old lady names and a character from Sex and The City, Charlotte, an old lady name, is also one of only two female students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who were sorted into Gryffindor.

Norma

As one of the old lady’s names, Norma, which means law in Latin, is a feminine given name. Normas were popular during the 1920s-1930s as people hoped for stability in an unstable world

With all due respect to Normas of yore, however, it’s tough to be a person named Norma these days (try Googling your name).

Furthermore, if you plan on having children and want them to have super weird characters, maybe because that makes your family cooler than other families, I hate to break it. 

But kids with weird old lady names are probably less likely to get into Harvard. Also, they have little chance of ever making an impression on their peers or teachers (sorry, kiddos). Other than that, enjoy being an average person named Norm!

Verna

According to BabyCenter, Verna is a name that became more popular in 2014. While Vernie has only risen in popularity among babies (meaning it hasn’t hit its peak for becoming an old lady name). Naming your daughter Vernie could be a cute way to pay homage to names like Vera or Bernice. 

So why is it on our list of most famous old lady names? Its meaning as a first name comes from authentic, while its definition as an old lady name is the color green.

Edna

Edna, an old lady name, was famous in 1890, and it is still today. The moniker means ‘wealthy and happy,’ which should be music to any parent’s ears. Edna says: wealthy and happy.

However, that has been popular in many names, such as Phoebe (or Faye) and Beatrice (Bertie). Daphne (Daffy) and other old lady names are more commonly used than Edna.

Esther

Esther is Hebrew for the star. In recent years, Esther as an old lady name has become popular as a name for both girls and boys.

The most famous Esthers include singer-songwriter Esther Phillips, actress Esther Rolle (from Good Times), and Queen Esther of Persia, who saved her people from genocide. 

Other English names with similar meanings include Stella (Latin for star) and Aurora (dawn). The modern popularity of both girls’ names is due primarily to actress Jessica Alba’s decision to name her daughter Star in 2008.

Mildred

You might not think of Mildred as a particularly colorful name. But according to Nameberry, it’s been given to more than 2,500 baby girls in the U.S. in recent years.

Mildred is also a variant of Melinda as an old lady’s name, ranked #91 on Nameberry’s most popular baby names list for 2017. 

The meaning of Melinda is soft and tender like honey which could be why it resonates with so many parents.

Agnes

Agnes, as an old lady’s name, comes from a Greek word meaning pure. It was popular among early Christians, who would baptize newborns with names that symbolized traits of God. 

However, It’s been steadily declining in popularity for 200 years, until it reached its lowest point in 2009, with less than 400 babies named Agnes (in England). Agnes is one of the old lady names that has been revived in recent years by celebrities. 

Such as 30 Rock star Tina Fey chose it for her character on that show. We’re betting she won’t be naming any children after Agnes anytime soon.

Ava

Ah yes, Ava. Such a popular name for babies that we can’t help but wonder why it doesn’t hold such esteem as an old lady name. Maybe it’s because most little girls named Ava grow up to be country singers.

But there is no denying that Ava is where it’s at if you want to give your grandma a cool new old name. Just don’t make her mad.

Bessie

I meant wealthy. This old name has an old-fashioned charm and is so pretty. Bessie is such a lovely name, and it would be great to be called Bessie! 

Of course, you can’t say how people will react when they hear your name; Maybe they won’t like it because they can’t say it right! The good thing about old lady names like these is that they don’t change much over time.

But then again, I suppose you could always shorten your first name by simply going by Beth. It wouldn’t hurt to try out a new nickname, and it’s certainly better than being stuck with something no one wants to call you.

Freda

A Funny Name for a Granny! However, Freda is more than just an old lady name; it’s also an Australian name meaning peace or calm. In Irish mythology, you can even see Fredas: They were warrior women who fought alongside men.

Though they’re often called grannies, some fierce ladies are grandmothers, and others are much older. Either way, they all deserve a thank you for supporting those close to them.

It was also helping with chores and acting as a confidante when no one else was around. But who was first? Was it Grandma June? Great-Aunt Gertrude? Let’s look at some of history’s most legendary old lady names!

Ella

Don’t call Ella an old lady’s name. Ellas is funny, cool, and fun to be around. She’ll make you laugh more than any of your other friends, and she’s excellent at everything she does. She’s a natural leader with a vibrant personality that makes others want to follow her lead. 

As one of her friends, you’re in for a ride through whatever adventure she chooses for you two. Don’t let her pick anything but amusement parks, though, because then it might not be so fun for everyone else! Follow through on anything Ella sets out to do.

If there is anyone who deserves loyalty from their best friend, it’s Ella. And as a bonus? Whether as a modern or an old lady’s name, Ella’s unique name makes her easy to find!

Audra

Audra as an Old lady Name was used most frequently in 1890 and then again in 1910. It means noble strength. While we don’t think you need aristocratic power to be a great lady, it’s a pretty powerful name! The choice is yours!

Olive

We all know that Olive Garden is a fancy name for Italian food. But did you know that Olive was once a popular old lady name? It means Olive fruit. 

But if it’s not your style, how about something like Gertrude? That translates to Gift of God or Hilda, which means: Bright Battle. If neither of those is your cup of tea, you could always go with Penelope. 

Can you see what we mean when we say old lady names? Penelope was an ancient Greek queen; who spent most of her time weaving cloth and waiting for her husband Odysseus to return from his travels, or so the legend goes.

Nell

Nell, as an old lady’s name, was a diminutive of Ellen, which came from Helen. In Britain, Nell can also be a short form of Eleanor or Natalie.

These old lady names have had several famous bearers, including Shakespeare’s tragic heroine from As You Like It, whose maiden name was Nell of Woodstock.

American singer and songwriter Nellie Wallace is most remembered for her wartime hit song Memories Are Made Of This.

She also hosted her top-rated radio show during WWII called My Music Day, where she introduced hundreds of new songs to America.

Lucy

Lucy, as an old lady’s name, comes from a Latin word that means light. St. Lucy is one of three women celebrated by the Catholic Church on December 13th, along with Joan of Arc and Teresa of Ávila.

Her story is particularly romantic, and she was said to have rejected all suitors because she already had a spouse in Heaven.

Meaning she gave up any possibility of being married in real life so that she could serve her husband in Heaven. Also, it’s thought that Nicholas Cage named his daughter Lucille after her (his character was named Nicky). ​ 

You may not love your grandma Lucy now, but you might come to appreciate how charming and timeless her old age name is once you become an old lady yourself!

Lena

As an old lady’s name, Lena (pronounced LEE-nuh), is German in origin. It comes from an old variation of Helena that means bright or light. (Think Helen of Troy.) 

While it’s not precisely a grandma name, Lena was famous in 2016 and hasn’t gotten out of style since. Moms are especially likely to give their daughters names like Emily, Ava, and Isabella. This Lena fits right in and will probably be as popular as ever by 2026. 

Then again, after that, it might be a little too reminiscent of sure gooey dolls who seem to keep coming back over and over again. In other words: Scary!

Iris

Iris is a flower and a name, although more popular for use as a first name than an old lady name. It’s used in classical mythology to refer to the Goddess of rainbows and messenger of Hera (Zeus’ wife). 

As one of the old lady’s names, Iris can be used as an official first or middle name. The meaning of Iris is rainbow which is suitable for any old lady who wishes to give herself an extra bit of color. An excellent choice for an adventurous parent looking for something slightly different. 

While many good boy names can also be given to girls, Iris is one of those few girl names that sound equally beautiful when given to both genders. For example, Khloe Kardashian chose it for her daughter in 2015.

Sadie

Sadie is another name you would never expect to hear in old lady circles. It’s a nice, soft name, and if you add Sadie Sue to it, it becomes even more peaceful. Sadie derives from an Aramaic word for happiness or pleasantness and does have religious ties. It means righteous. 

Furthermore, this could make for an exciting name for little old ladies who seem to have everything already! One last thing about Sadie as an old lady name is that it is almost always spelled with an I instead of a y, as in Sally. Just so we’re clear on that one!

Winifred

An old lady name Winifred was an English form of Winfrith. A compound name composed of two Old English elements meaning friend and peace. However, Winifred isn’t just an old lady’s name; it’s also a given name. 

Today, it’s a middle name for girls and is considered slightly old-fashioned. It rose in popularity during Victorian times because of authors like Charlotte M. Yonge, who wrote The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), In which Winifred is one of the main characters.

Juno

Juno was a Roman goddess known as Queen of Heaven, representing purity and marriage. As an old lady, Juno described women often overseeing childbirth and protecting pregnant women. 

Sometimes Juno is associated with Greek gods Zeus and Hera because they’re all considered king and queen of their respective realms.

Thus, some have theorized that old lady names derived from these gods are perfect for baby girls. And there’s no question that any name containing Juno would fit that bill!

Calliope

Calliope, as an old lady name, is a name that means most beautiful. It is derived from Greek mythology and was initially used as an adjective. Its derivative Calliopia was later used as a name in its own right.

Truly, it has occasionally been used in English-speaking countries since around 1910. Variants of these old lady names include Kalioke (Hawaiian), Kalliope (Romanian), Kalliopi (Greek), and Qalayuq (Finnish). 

More familiar forms include Calypso, Kalpeney, Calise Ocray, Kaliboe Crayfooke, Caliphie Bowerman-Gladwin, Kalipha Gradyglenmore Jorgenstern, and Cailey Leigh-Harvey.

Belig

In England, several towns are named with belle in their name. In French, belle means beautiful. A female given this old name derived from Belle is a version of Bella (English) and Belita (Spanish). 

The feminine form of Bello. Possible nicknames include Belle, Bessie, and Lola. The origin of Bellagio as an old lady name is Medieval English Variants of Belig have Belia, Belizia, and Beila. 

Also used as a surname, this old lady name could have originated as a nickname for someone who played a bell or Bellagio casino game.

Sanura

Sanura as an old lady name is an Egyptian name that is a variant of Anuradha. Sanura means woman or female. The female Sanura possesses exceptional inner beauty and seems to bring out the best in people she meets. 

Likewise, Sanura may be used as a Hindu and Muslim name because each religion values inner beauty over outward appearance.

Elizaas

As an old lady’s name, Elizaas is used to represent several different meanings. There are two different Elizaas used in modern English, although they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. 

The first is Elizabeth, which means God is my oath. The second, Elizaaj or Elizabith, means My God is an oath, often spelled with just one l. Both versions have been used for centuries, and both names have enjoyed enormous popularity. 

It’s thought that over 5,000 boys were named after Saint Elizabeth (better known as St. Elisabeth). She was a German princess who lived from 1081 to 1165 and became famous for her charity work and devotion to God.

Amelia

Amelia as an old lady name was extremely popular in its heyday, ranking as America’s fourth most popular name in 1895. The meaning is Latin and refers to industrious, diligent or strength; or valor. 

By 1900, Amelia had fallen out of favor, and being named after Amelia Earhart proved unlucky for some. We’re glad that modern parents are giving it another shot.                                                               

Alice

Alice, as one of the old lady’s names, has several meanings, one of which is noble kind. If you name your daughter Alice, she may grow up to be a kindhearted woman. With noble qualities and characteristics.

Another meaning behind it is a noble battle so she might be pretty aggressive! You could give your daughter a middle name such as Doris or Gladys as these names mean old lady.

Camellia

Camellia is a beautiful, vibrant plant in various colors and shapes. In all those flowery varieties, it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular old lady name for people of many different backgrounds. 

Despite its exotic appeal, many are unaware that camellia was first popularized in North America after World War II. When veterans returned from Japan, they brought back seeds and plants as souvenirs. 

Camellia also happens to be a native plant of Australia and South Africa. There are over 100 different species of camellias found around the world.

Alma

Alma refers to a character in Adam Bede, George Eliot’s 1859 novel, as an old lady’s name. This old lady’s name also means soul in Spanish, Italian, and German. It comes from an alma mater, Latin for fostering a mother. 

In addition to being a central figure in Adam Bede, Alma is featured in Daniel Defoe’s 1719 work Robinson Crusoe. Many people might connect with Alma as an old lady name since it recalls Daniel Defoe’s classic novel about survival on a deserted island.

Bess

One of my favorite stories of a name and its namesake comes to us courtesy of Bess Truman. Wife of Harry S. Truman, president from 1945-to 1953. 

Supposedly, a reporter asked her what she thought her husband should do if he were elected president. Mrs. Truman replied: Whatever you feel is best, Mr. President. 

Many old lady names have been inspired by our Bess and are probably not as sweet as that story.

Adele

You don’t see Adele being given as a name for baby girls that often. But it is one of my favorite old lady names out there. The name means noble, and it used to be popular in England. 

A famous bearer of this name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. Her first single, released at 21, topped charts in 30 countries, and she sold over 10 million copies worldwide and earned five Grammy Awards. 

Of course, I think she is a fantastic person. Her parents must have loved classical music to give their daughter a traditional name. This is an excellent old lady name if you are looking for something that is not too common nowadays.

Conclusion

As you can see, old lady names encompass a large and diverse range of women. With these lists of old lady names as inspiration, you can select just the right name for your grandmother or your elderly aunt. 

Or maybe you will choose one of these top popular old lady names for yourself. Whatever choice you make, I’m sure it will be good! 

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