Looking for an unusual name for your newborn? Why not check out some Finnish baby girls’ names? Finnish women have a reputation for being strong, fit, healthy and independent, and – to some English speakers, at least – Finnish girls’ names sound interesting and exotic.
Not only that, but many Finnish female names tend to have origins in the natural world, a sporty connotation or suggest a love of the outdoors – all great attributes for your newborn baby girl to grow into!
So, we’ve looked into the some of the most popular Finnish girls’ names and their meanings, to give you some inspiration for a pretty and unusual name for your newborn.
Finnish names for girls
Like many other countries, the Finns have a set of guidelines about what you can and can’t call your child. For example, you can’t name them anything weird or unusual that might cause them stress as a child – so, we’re guessing Frank Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit and Elon’s Musk’s son X Æ A-12 would be no-nos in Finland!
However, you can give them up to three names, and the Finns tend to choose a shorter (one or two syllable) first name, followed by a longer (two or three syllable) second name as this sounds better in Finnish.
Most popular newborn names in 2020
Here are the top ten most popular baby girls’ names in Finland in 2020, but do you know what they mean? Read on to find out the origins of these names and check out the meanings behind them.
This is currently the most common Finnish name to call your baby girl and it means “the only one” or “unique”. One of the best-known Finnish Viking names, it comes from Finnish folk mythology, and was the name of the heroine in the famous folk poem Kalevala.
From Latin roots, Olivia is a popular baby’s name in Finland as well as across the rest of the world. It’s a variation of the word “olive” and signifies peace and fertility.
The popular Finnish girls’ name Sofia comes from Greek roots, and means “wisdom” – and who wouldn’t wish this for a baby girl? The best-known Sofia in Finland is Sophia Jansson, niece of the Finnish author Tove Jansson, who wrote the iconic Moomintroll series of books. Sophia is the model for the granddaughter in Tove Jansson’s beautiful Summer Book.
Pronounced pee-lah, Pilha is a true Finnish name, derived from the natural world. It comes from the word pihlaja, which means “rowan tree” and is a sacred tree in Finnish mythology. The best-known Pihla in Finland is the actress Pihla Viitala.
A variation of Ada, this is one of the most popular Finnish names for girls and means “noble-natured” or “noble person”. Not only does it sound pretty, but it’s got a lovely meaning too!
The appealing Finnish variant of Eve or Evie, this name comes from Latin and means “living”. It has biblical origins too, of course, from Eve, the first mother.
Isla is a pretty name of Scottish heritage, derived from the island of Islay, whose name comes from the Gaelic meaning “rocky place”. It’s popular in all the Celtic countries and in Spain, where Isla means “island”.
Lilja is the Finnish, Swedish and Iceland version of the name Lily, which is derived from the flower. The best known Lilja is the Icelandic crime writer, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, though other arty sources of inspiration may include the singer Lily Allen, the comedian Lily Tomlin and the actress Lily James.
The name Helmi means “gem of the sea”, “pearl” or “bead”. It comes from the Baltic/Finnish word helmes which means “amber”, and is a popular short form of the name Vilhelmina.
Ellen is a medieval English variation of the name Helen, which itself has Greek origins that mean “bright”, “shining light” or “torch” (see also Helena, below).
Most popular Finnish women’s names overall
And if you’re interested in more traditional Finnish names, here are are the top ten most popular Finnish girls names overall, followed by the numbers of women called that name in Finland in 2020.
- Maria (199,632)
- Helena (122,698)
- Anneli (120,080)
- Johanna (112,217)
- Kaarina (96,012)
- Hannele (86,118)
- Marjatta (85,529)
- Kristiina (75,209)
- Emilia (69,177)
- Liisa (65,942)
Maria is the most popular Finnish name for girls. It’s of Latin origins, but has been widely adopted across the rest of Scandinavia, and appears in several Norse sagas. It has more than one meaning, including “bitter”, “wished-for child” and “rebellion”, though other sources suggest it derives from the Hebrew meaning “of the sea”. The choice is yours!
The name Helena (or Helen) is of Greek origins and mean “bright light”, “shining” or “torch”. The most famous Helena was Helen of Troy, who was widely considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world.
This popular Finnish name is a contraction of the name Annalise, which itself is a combination of Anna and Liese. The name means “grace” or “favour”. Famous Finnish Annelis include the country’s first female prime minister, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, the Olympic swimmer Anneli Haaranen, and the singer and actor Anneli Saaristo.
Johanna is the Scandinavian version of the Hebrew name Joanna, which means “God is gracious”. This might be a good name if you want your daughter to be sporty, as the two best-known Johannas are both successful tennis players – Sweden’s Johanna Larsson and the UK’s Johanna Konta.
Kaarina is the Finnish version of the name Katherine, which has Greek origins and means “pure”.
Hannele is a Finnish variant of the Hebrew name Hannah, which means “favoured by God”. Emminent Hanneles include the first female governor of Lapland, Hannele Pokka, and the Finnish writer Hannele Huovi.
Marjatta is a Finnish girls’ name that means “pearl”, “obstinacy” and “rebelliousness”. In the traditional Finnish epic Kalevala, Marjatta is a young virgin who becomes pregnant by eating a lingonberry and is cast out of her home. She gives birth to a son, who later becomes king of Karelia.
Kristiina is the Finnish and Estonian version of the name Christine, which has Latin/Ancient Greek origins and means “follower of Christ”. Famous Finnish Kristiinas include the pop singer Kristiina Brask and the athlete Kristiina Mäkelä.
Emilia is the Finnish female version of the male name Emil and means “to excel” or “strive”, so a good aspirational name for a baby girl! The name has Latin roots originally, and is popular throughout Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.
Liisa is the Finnish and Estonian version of Lisa, and means “consecrated to God”. It comes from Hebrew origins and is a diminutive form of the name Elisabeth. If you’re into skiing this might be a good name to consider, since two Finnish Olympic skiers have the name Liisa, Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi and Riitta-Liisa Roponen.