Biblical Baby Girl Names in the Top 1000 (2013 edition)

Hello readers! I have a confession to make. I am a name nerd! That's a specific type of nerd that loves names! I frequent name forums online and I spend lots of time naming the characters in the fiction I write. Every year something exciting happens in the world of naming: the Social Security Administration puts out a list of the top 1000 names that were used for boys and girls in the previous year. That's 2000 exciting names to comb through. It's like panning for gold! One of my favorite categories of names is biblical names. There are plenty of biblical names that have remained steadily popular over the years and in recent years there has been a new wave of popular biblical names. Today I wanted to reflect on the biblical names in 2013's top 1000 for girls (boys names coming soon). You might be surprised about what made the list!

*Note: I limited the list to *Note: I limited the list to names of people, places, and book of the names, all in forms that are found in some version of the English Bible with the addition of the Hebrew musical term Selah mentioned in Psalms. There are other popular names with biblical connotations but I didn't include them in this list.


  • Ava
    • Ranking in 2013: #5
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: Overturn or ruins
    • Bible reference: 2 Kings 17:24
Ava's a name that's pretty trendy right and you might be surprised that it can be found in the Bible. Well, it's not a person's name in the Bible, rather it's a place name. Ava or Avva as it is spelled in some versions is the name of a city in Assyria. Maybe that's not the most positive reference... Alternative spelling Avah is in the top 1000 as well.

    Image result for abigail in the bible
  • Abigail 
    • Ranking in 2013:
    • Language:
    • Meaning:
    • Bible reference:
               Abigail is a name that I love and would probably use regardless of how popular it is. "My father's joy" is just such a beautiful meaning! Plus, the Abigail of the Bible is one of my favorite characters. Alternative spelling Abbigail is also in the top 1000.

  • Elizabeth
    • Ranking in 2013: #10
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "pledged to God" or "devoted to God"
    • Bible reference: Luke 
Here's another great Bible classic that's worth using despite it's popularity. It too has a fantastic meaning and a righteous biblical woman to back it up. In addition to the Elizabeth of the New Testament, the name of Aaron's wife in the Old Testament is sometimes translated Elizabeth (in other translations it's Elisheba). Elizabeth's variant forms such as Elise and Eliza as well as alternative spelling Elisabeth can also be found on the top 1000 list too.

  • Chloe
    • Ranking in 2013: #14
    • Language: Greek
    • Meaning: "young green shoot"
    • Bible reference: 1 Corinthians 1:11
This is a cute trendy name with a nice sound, positive meaning and a positive (though briefly mentioned) lady behind it. Chole certainly has a lot going for it! The spelling Khloe comes in at 79.

  • Hannah
    • Ranking in 2013: #23
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "grace"
    • Bible reference: 1 Samuel 1
Yet another beautiful name with a beautiful meaning that belonged to a woman with beautiful faith. It's a classic that never feels dated. Other spellings are popular as well.

  • Leah
    • Ranking in 2013: #33
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "weary" 
    • Bible reference: Genesis 29 and following
This is not one of my personal favorite Bible names. The meaning is not the best and the character of Leah in the Bible is hard to figure out. However it does have a lovely sound and it and its international forms are popular worldwide. Other spellings are found on the US top 1000 list as well.

  • Anna
    • Ranking in 2013: #35
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "grace"
    • Bible reference: Luke 2:36
Anna is popular worldwide and another timeless classic with a lovely meaning and a strong woman of faith behind it. Anne, which is found in some versions, is on the list at #519. Ann is at #916, Annie comes in at 354 and Ana, the spelling found in Spanish versions of the Bible for both Anna and Hannah, comes it at 237. Many names that include the "Ann-" or "Anna-" sound are also in the top 1000 such as Annabelle and Annalee.

  • Sarah
    • Ranking in 2013: #48
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "Princess"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 18-23, 1 Peter 3:6 and many others 
This beautiful name is barely hanging on to the top 50. It was a top 10 name for decades so maybe it feels a little dated to some but it's still a lovely name with a lovely sound. The meaning 'princess' would be a appealing for just about any parent or little plus the biblical Sarah is the mother of faithful women according to 1 Peter. Variant spelling Sara makes the top 1000 at #154 and cute diminutive Sadie is neck and neck with the original at #50.

  • Genesis
    • Ranking in 2013: #55
    • Language: Greek
    • Meaning: Begininng
    • Bible reference: first book of the Bible
This book of the Bible name is rising in popularity. It's a on trend alternative to the formerly super-popular Jennifer.

  • Julia
    • Ranking in 2013: #75
    • Language: Latin
    • Meaning: "youthful"
    • Bible reference: Romans 16:15
This lovely name is classically classy. We have very little information on the Biblical Julia other than she was a Christian in Rome that Paul mentioned in the greetings to his letters to the Romans. Longer forms such as Juliana, Julianna, and Julianne are all featured in the top 1000 as well.

  • Naomi
    • Ranking in 2013: #87
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "pleasent"
    • Bible reference: the book of Ruth 
This amazing name has unique sound and a sweet meaning. The Naomi of the Bible went through a lot and displayed real emotions but I still appreciate her character.

  • Lydia
    • Ranking in 2013: #96
    • Language: Greek
    • Meaning: from Lydia
    • Bible reference: Acts 16
This beautiful name has gotten some attention lately. Lydia in the book of Acts is a strong woman of faith. The only downside is the lack of a solid meaning.


  • Mary
    • Ranking in 2013: #121
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "bitterness"
    • Bible reference: Matthew 1, Luke 1, Mark 15:47 and many others
It's no surprise that this mainstay is still in the top 1000. Many people are given Mary as a first name but it's not something I hear very many young people called by. The meaning bitterness might put some people off but there are many women of great faith in the Bible who are named Mary, most notable the mother of Jesus. Other forms of Mary are also featured on the list such as Molly and Maria.




  • Delilah
    • Ranking in 2013: #135
    • Language: possibly Arabic
    • Meaning: possibly "to flirt"
    • Bible reference: Judges 16
I'd heard some interest in Delilah on the name forums but I am a little surprised that so many parents would choose it for their daughters. Not every biblical name is good. I'll admit that Delilah has a lovely sound but the Delilah in the book of Judges is completely off-putting. In my opinion, unrelated but similar sounding names Lila and Lilah (both in the top 1000) give you the beauty of the name without the downside of the namesake.

  • Rachel
    • Ranking in 2013: #138
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "ewe" or "lamb"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 29 and following
I'm surprised that Rachel isn't higher up on the list but it used to be. In 1996 it was in the top 10. "Lamb" is a lovely meaning but just like her sister Leah, I find the biblical Rachel a little hard to figure out.


  • Eden
    • Ranking in 2013: #158
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "delight"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 2:8, Ezekiel 27:23 and others
This name is hip and modern but it seems nostalgic to me, a longing for the days in the garden before sin. It's even featured as a person's name in Ezekiel, although most likely a male's name. This is a trendy girl's name with the 'en' ending  but with great connotations and history.


  • Esther
    • Ranking in 2013: #228
    • Language: Persian
    • Meaning: Star
    • Bible reference: Book of Esther
With a book of the Bible named after her, a strong female behind her, and a meaning of 'star', it's kind of a surprise Esther isn't more popular. For me, Esther isn't my favorite type of sound for a girls name but other than that it's got everything going for it. Essie is an adorable nickname.


  • Jordan
    • Ranking in 2013: #260
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "descent" or "flowing downward" 
    • Bible reference: Joshua 3:5, Mark 1:9 and many others
This name of a biblical river has been popular for both boys and girls for some time. I definitely prefer its original spelling but Jordyn and Jordynn are also in the top 1000. Jordyn is actually more popular for girls, coming in in at #133. Jordan is still more popular for boys than for girls. Its just outside the top 50 on the boys list. Jordana, a lovely feminine sounding version of Jordan, is outside the top 1000.


  • Diana
    • Ranking in 2013: #270
    • Language: Latin
    • Meaning: "divine"
    • Bible reference: Acts 19:24
Diana is a lovely name but you might be thinking, "Wait. Isn't Diana the Roman goddess of the moon?". Well, you'd be right. Diana is mentioned in the Bible (although in most modern versions refer to her by her Greek name Artemis) but in reference to the pagan goddess.


  • Miriam
    • Ranking in 2013: #292
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "bitterness"
    • Bible reference: Exodus 15:20-21 and others
This is a beautiful and underused biblical name. Miriam is a prophetess in the Old Testament and the older sister of Moses. Her strength and leadership did get her in some trouble at times but I really like her as a sometimes good, sometimes bad example of a woman in an appropriate place of leadership. The meaning leave something to be desired but along with the great biblical woman, it has a nice sound. Alternate spelling Mariam is at #603 and Maryam at #662.


  • Phoebe
    • Ranking in 2013: #301
    • Language: Greek
    • Meaning: "light"
    • Bible reference: Romans 16:1
Phoebe has apparently lost the stigma it gained in the 90's from Friends and has had a resurgence of popularity. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the sound but the meaning is great and Paul obviously thought a lot of the biblical Phoebe.


  • Ruth
    • Ranking in 2013: #392
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "friend"
    • Bible reference: book of Ruth
Ruth is one of the most beloved biblical women, known for her loyalty and compassion. The meaning of "friendship" makes this name even sweeter. I'm surprised more people haven't caught on to its loveliness.


  • Joanna
    • Ranking in 2013: #342
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "God is gracious"
    • Bible reference: Luke 8:3, 24:10
This beautiful name makes this list twice. Alternate spelling Johanna is found in some versions of the Bible and also at number 531. Joanna and Johanna have a beautiful sound, a servant-hearted woman behind them and a great meaning.


  • Bethany
    • Ranking in 2013: #389
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "house of grace" or "house of figs"
    • Bible reference: John 11:1 and others
This biblical place name has a sweet meaning and was home to a wonderful family of faith. However, because of the abundance of Beths several years back, Bethany feels a bit dated to me.


  • Sarai
    • Ranking in 2013: #419
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "princess"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 11:31 and others
This is a name I was genuinely surprised to see in the top 1000. Since it's the biblical Sarah's original name and so similar, it feels like a fresh take on the once mega-popular Sarah. Spanish version Sarahi also makes the list.


  • Rebekah
    • Ranking in 2013: #468
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "bound"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 24 and following
This is another name that used to be more popular than it is today but its still clinging to the top 500. The biblical spelling Rebekah is actually less common than the Rebecca spelling not found in the Bible. The Rebecca spelling is at #178 and was #10 in the mid-1970's.  I like this name because I find the passage in Genesis 24 to be particularly beautiful and definitely prefer its original spelling. Shockingly a spelling closer to the original Hebrew, Rivka is at #957.


  • Priscilla
    • Ranking in 2013: #485
    • Language: Greek
    • Meaning: "ancient"
    • Bible reference: Acts 18:2 and others
This lovely and distinguished name has been in the top 500 ever since record have been kept and even reached #127 in 1940 but has never been overly popular. The prospect of being called "Prissy" is a bit off-putting but their's always the option of the nickname Cilla instead. The Priscilla of the Bible is quite a worthy woman to be named after.

  • Eve
    • Ranking in 2013: #490
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "Life"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 3:20 and others
The mother of all the living comes in barely above the 500 mark. Eve is short and sweet with an alluring sound and positive meaning.


  • Selah
    • Ranking in 2013: #548
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: musical term
    • Bible reference: throughout the Psalms
This musical term with a rather unknown biblical meaning found throughout the Psalms. Despite it's unknown meaning, it has musical connotations and a lovely sound.


  • Shiloh
    • Ranking in 2013: #633
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "peace"
    • Bible reference: Joshua 18:1
Shiloh has an appealing sound, great meaning and is important in Biblical history. It's a place name in the Bible so it can't be authoritatively by either gender but I prefer it as a boys name. It seems that modern parents don't share my preference as Shiloh does not even make into the top 1000 on the boys list.


  • Mara
    • Ranking in 2013: #751
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "bitter"
    • Bible reference: Ruth 1:20
Mara is similar to other biblical names such as Mary and Miriam. It's the name that Naomi asked to be called in the book of Ruth because she claimed that the Lord dealt bitterly with her. Despite it's pretty sound, the meaning "bitter" is a bit of a negative.


  • Tabitha
    • Ranking in 2013: #759
    • Language: Aramaic
    • Meaning: "gazelle"
    • Bible reference:Acts 9:36 and following
Tabitha is a beautiful name that belonged to a woman with a beautiful faith. Tabby is a cute nickname, possibly an alternative to the very popular Abby.



  • Hadassah
    • Ranking in 2013: #761
    • Language: Hebrew 
    • Meaning: "myrtle tree"
    • Bible reference: Esther 2:7

This is an absolutely gorgeous name that I was surprised to see in the top 1000. On the other hand, I'm a little surprised that more people haven't caught on to it's loveliness. Hadassah is Esther's Hebrew name so it's history is solid. I much prefer the name Hadassah to Esther. It has more the sound that I like in a girl's name and the nickname Haddie is very appealing.





  • Martha
    • Ranking in 2013: #803
    • Language: Aramaic or Latin
    • Meaning:"lady" or "warlike"
    • Bible reference: John 12:2 and others
Martha is another name that I'm surprised to see still in the top 1000. The height of it's popularity was many years ago and it sort of feels like a 'grandma' name to me. However, 'grandma' names are coming back into fashion so that might explain it's popularity. The Biblical Martha is certainly a worthy namesake.


  • Deborah
    • Ranking in 2013: #814
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "bee"
    • Bible reference: Judges 4 and 5
Deborah has experienced a true arc of popularity. In the early 1900's it was low in the top 1000, in the 1950's it was in the top 5 and now it is low in the top 1000 again. The nickname Debbie might not appeal to some but Deb could be an acceptable alternative. The biblical Deborah is a beacon of strength in a time when strength was thought of to belong only to men.


  • Zion
    • Ranking in 2013: #820
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "highest point"
    • Bible reference: Obadiah 1:17 and many, many others
Zion, like Jordan and Shiloh, is a biblical place name that can't be claimed for certain by either gender. It is significantly higher on the boys list coming in at #236. Despite it's deep spiritual significance, Zion doesn't appeal to me as a name for either gender.


  • Salma
    • Ranking in 2013: #822
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: possibly "peace" in Hebrew, different meaning in other languages
    • Bible reference: 1 Chronicles 2:54
In the Bible, Salma (sometimes translated Salmon) is a male's name in the Bible but I can't picture it on a boy today. Although it is found in the Bible, Salma has heritage in other cultures as well. I don't imagine anyone who named their daughter Salma intended it as a Bible name.


  • Micah
    • Ranking in 2013: #878
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "Who is like God?"
    • Bible reference: Book of Micah and Judges 17
Micah has long been one of my favorite names...for boys. It's exclusively a male's name in the Bible and ranks much higher on the boys list at # 107. There is a girl named Michal in the Bible but she's not really the best namesake. Some have sought out Micah as a feminine form of Michael but in my opinion, if you're looking for a feminine form of Michael, try the more traditional Michaela. To each their own, I guess.


  • Sharon
    • Ranking in 2013: #882
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "a plain"
    • Bible reference: Song of Solomon 2:1
Sharon is a simple yet sweet place name that has always been reserved for girls in the US. It has distinctive charm about it, especially with the rose of Sharon biblical reference, but given it's booming popularity about 50 years ago, it does feel a lot like a 'mom' name.


  • Moriah
    • Ranking in 2013: #948
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "The Lord will provide"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 2:22
This is stunning Biblical place name has one of the best spiritual meanings I've seen in a name. I'm surprised it isn't more popular than it is. Alternate spellings such as Mariah and Mariyah have by far surpassed the original Moriah but in my opinion the original spelling is the prettiest.


  • Judith
    • Ranking in 2013: #996
    • Language: Hebrew
    • Meaning: "praise"
    • Bible reference: Genesis 26:34
Judith is barely in the top 1000 but I'm shocked it's there at all. It rings of an era gone by to me, being in the top five many years ago. Personally, I don't care for the sound of the original or the nickname Judy and I think the namesake of one of Esau's wives isn't the best. Obviously, some parents out there disagree and think Judith is ready for a resurgence. To each their own.




Biblical names have influenced parents in their naming choices for millennia and it seems they still do. I'm in the process of writing a similar commentary on the boys names in the top 1000 where we will see that there is even more of a stronghold for biblical names. 

What about you? Which biblical girls names do you like best? Any you dislike? Were there any on the list that surprised you? Any that shocked you? Let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!

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7 comments

  1. So interesting! I always love reading about names and their meaning. Especially Biblical ones. Thanks so much for sharing and joining in on our Link up. :D Xoxo Heather@ A beautiful Ministry

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  2. My favorite Biblical girls name will probably never make any popularity lists, but it is Damaris--the woman who believed from Acts 17:34. We gave each of our children a Biblical middle name, and Damaris, Rebekah, Elisabeth and Ruth are the girl names we've used so far.

    I enjoyed reading your list and commentary. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Wow what a great sib-set! Damaris is gorgeous! I featured it in my article Awesome but Underused Girls Names from the Bible. I met a Damaris once and she was from Peru so she pronounced it with a Spanish accent. I've always wondered how you'd pronounce it with an American accent.

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  3. I agree that not all Biblical names are a good choice for a child. Some parents name their daughter Jezebel!

    Really enjoyed the list and commentary. I used to read all my mum's baby name books as a child so reading this post felt somewhat nostalgic :)

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    Replies
    1. I've been into baby names since I was a little girl, too. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  4. I enjoyed reading the list of names and your take on them. Thanks for linking up and sharing with us at Funtastic Friday. Hope you join us again this week.

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