Norwegian girl names: the best girls’ names from Norway!

If you’re looking something a little different and exotic to call your newborn, why not consider choosing a Norwegian name for your baby girl? Norwegian girls’ names have a strong association with being fit, healthy, sporty and outdoors-loving. 

Why not choose a Norwegian girls name for your newborn?
Photo by PxHere (CC)

Indeed, the classic Norwegian feisty female heroine is Elsa from Frozen – though, surprisingly, the name Elsa doesn’t feature in the top ten favourite names in Norway. 

However, there are plenty of other appealing Norwegian baby names for you to consider. We’ve checked out the ten most popular Norwegian girls’ names and their meanings to help you choose a lovely Nordic name for your newborn.

Top ten Norwegian girls names

Here are the current most popular Norwegian baby girls names, with the number of babies given that name in 2020 shown in brackets .

  • Nora/Norah (416)
  • Emma (362)
  • Ella (337)
  • Maja/Maia/Maya (321)
  • Olivia (315)
  • Emilie (306)
  • Sofie/Sophie (296)
  • Leah/Lea (288)
  • Sofia/Sophia (282)
  • Ingrid (271)

Nora/Norah

The name Nora is very popular in Norway, but actually has Latin roots. It is a shortened version of the Anglo-Norman name Honora, which means “honour” or “honourable”. Other sources suggest it as an abbreviated version of the Greek name Eleanora, which means “light”.

The name Nora is perhaps best-known in Norway as the heroine of Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen’s play The Doll’s House.

Emma

Emma is a popular name in Norway, with Ancient Germanic and Old Norse origins. It comes from the Germanic word ermen, meaning “whole” or “universal”, so is a good name for a well-rounded girl.

The best-known Emma is the eponymous heroine of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, though more modern popular role models include the actors, Emma Watson, Emma Stone and Emma Thompson.

Emma is a popular Norwegian girls' name
Emma Watson / UN Photo Mark Garten (CC)

Ella

Ella is a name that has many different possible origins. It could be derived from Ancient German, meaning “all, complete” a “fairy maiden” or “other”,  or possibly from the Hebrew meaning “goddess”.

In Spanish, Ella means “she” or “young girl” and it’s also an alternative short form of the name Eleonor, which means “shining light” in Greek. So, you can pretty much take your pick of the meanings!

Maja/Maia/Maya

Maja, Maia and Maya are all popular names in Norway – they all derive from the Greek name Maia, which means “mother”.

A nymph in Greek mythology, Maia was the mother of Hermes, and the month of May is named after her. Probably the best-known Maya is US author Maya Angelou.

Olivia

Olivia comes from the Latin word meaning “olive”, and it means peace and fertility. An early use of the name in literature is in Shakepeare’s Twelfth Night, though more contemporary Olivias include the actors Olivias Coleman and Wilde and the singer Olivia Newton John.

Emilie

Popular throughout the whole of Scandinavia, the name Emilie and its variants – Emily, Amelia and Amelie – have French origins and come from the Latin word meaning “rival” and “industrious”. The name may well have seen a boost in its fortunes due to the popularity of the appealing 2001 French film Amélie.

Sofie/Sophie

One of the most popular Norwegian names for girls, especially if you add in the variations Sofia and Sophia (see below). The name first appeared in Norway in the seventeenth century and it comes from the Greek meaning “wisdom” – a fine attribute for a baby girl!

Leah/Lea

The name Leah is of Hebrew origins and means “delicate” or “weary”, though you may prefer the alternative Latin derivation, which means “lioness”. Although it’s a biblical name, its popularity may be more due to the feisty Princess Leia in Star Wars!

Sofia/Sophia

See Sofie/Sophie above. Probably the best-known Scandinavian Sofia is Swedish actress Sofia Helin, star of the Scandi noir detective series The Bridge.

Sofia is a popular girl's name in Norway
Sofia Helin / Gus Kaage (CC)

Ingrid

If you want a truly Scandinavian name for your daughter, why not choose Ingrid? From the Old Norse name Ingiríðr, it combines the words Ing and and fríðr and means “Ing (the Norse goddess of fertility) is beautiful”. 

Princess Ingrid Alexandra is second in line to the Norwegian throne, and is expected to become Queen Ingrid of Norway after her father’s death, while Swedish actor Ingrid Bergman is probably the best-known Scandinavian Ingrid.

Most popular Norwegian girls names overall 

Whilst the names above may be trending at the moment, there are also lots of other appealing Norwegian female names to choose from. We’ve listed below the top ten most popular Norwegian women’s names of all time, with the number of women in Norway given that name in brackets.

  • Anne (58,852)
  • Inger (27,935)
  • Kari (24,491)
  • Marit (24,472)
  • Ingrid (24,333) 
  • Liv (22,150) 
  • Maria (19,708)
  • Ida (19,423)
  • Eva (19,023)
  • Anna (18,944)

Anne 

Anne is the most common name in Norway for women of all ages. It comes from the Hebrew meaning “grace” or “favoured by god”. 

Inger

A Scandinavian name of Old Norse origin, Inger is a variant of name Ingrid and means “guarded by Ing (the goddess of fertility)”.

Kari

A diminutive of the name Karin and Katherine, Kari mean “pure”. The name can be used for both sexes – in Finland it’s more usual for a boy, in Norway and Sweden for a girl.

Marit

Marit is the Norwegian version of the Greek name Margaret and means “pearl”. The best-known Norwegian Marit is Mette-Marit, the Crown Princess of Norway, and wife of the heir to the Norwegian throne.

Ingrid

See above

Princes Ingrid Alexandra is second in line to the Norwegian throne
Princess Ingrid Alexandra, second in line to the Norwegian throne (CC)

Liv

A diminutive of the Latin name Olivia, from the word “olive”, and meaning peace and fertility. The best-known Liv is the Norwegian actor and director Liv Ullmann.

Maria

Of Latin origin, Maria is a popular name in Scandinavian countries and appears in some of the Norse sagas. It and its many variants (which include Marie, Mary and Mariah) mean “wished for child”, “bitterness” and “rebellion”.

Ida

Pronounced Ee-da, Ida comes from the Old Norse word id meaning “deed” or “action”, and the name means “industrious” or “prosperous”.

Eva

Of Hebrew origins but very popular in Scandinavia and northern Europe, Eva is a variation of the biblical Eve, and means “mother” or “life”.

Anna

An alternative version of the name Anne, see above.

Unusual Norwegian names for girls

And whilst these common Norwegian names are very pretty, you might be looking for something a bit more unusual  – more of a traditional Norwegian name perhaps, or even a Norwegian Viking name.

Well, here are a few other options for Norwegian baby girls names, including some of our favourite Norwegian names for girls that you might not have come across before. 

Choose a Norwegian girls name for your newborn if you want a sporty outdoors name.

Alfhild 

In Norse mythology, Alfhild was a princess who disguised herself as a boy to fight in battles and avoid marriage. The name comes from the Norwegian words alfr and hildre meaning “battle of the elves”.

Astrid 

Deriving from the Norse name Ástríðr, Astrid means “divinely beautiful”. Who wouldn’t want this name?

Audhilda 

A traditional Old Norse name, Audhilda means “rich warrior women”.

Jorunn 

A traditional Norse name that combines the Norwegian words jór and unna, and means “love of horses”.

Runa 

An Old Norse name that is popular in Norway and means “secret tradition”.

Tiril 

Meaning “little songbird”, Tiril comes from a nineteenth-century Norwegian poem. It’s a popular name among Norwegian winter sports athletes, including Olympic skier Tiril Eckhoff, cross-country skier Tiril Weng, and free-style skier Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen.

Ylva 

Pronounced Eel-va, this name comes from the Old Norse word for wolf, and means “female wolf”. 

Pronouncing Norwegian girls’ names

And if you need some help with the pronunciation of some of these Norwegian names for girls, check out this clip.

See also:

What is Norway famous for?
21 things you should know before visiting Norway
Seeing the northern lights in Norway

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