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Name this baby
October 25, 2011 1:53 PM   Subscribe

My sister is having a girl baby and has requested that I ask for name suggestions from you guys.

She's looked at naming forums, but she wants a sample from less name-obsessed people without involving too many friends or family, too. That's where you all come in.

They're Brooklyn nerds of Irish, Italian, and Russian ancestry (their kid is going to be a badass). They have a super long combined last name, in the trend of Johnson + Mansfield = Johnsfield. This will be their first kid. He wants to name her Pearl because he programs in Perl. She's so scatterbrained and miserably pregnant that she can hardly construe a coherent sentence but says she's upset that she wasted Penelope, Margot, Cat, and Violet on their cats. Thanks for any input!
posted by jingle to Society & Culture (126 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Medora is a Byronic heroine. And North Dakota's number one vacation spot!
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:54 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So funny -- Violet was going to be my first suggestion.

Here are a couple others that I've always loved:

Eva
Maari
Ruby
Olivia

Though I think Pearl is a lovely name --- it fits in with their style (if the cat names are any indication) and it has a sentimental meaning to her dad.
posted by missjenny at 1:57 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imelda is a name with some oomph that I'll hoping will make a comeback. June is also an old favorite.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:57 PM on October 25, 2011


I'm a sucker for Violet, so what about Iris?

other ideas:
Nola
Lucy
Bijou
Ruby
Maisie
Jane
Josie
posted by scody at 1:58 PM on October 25, 2011


They should probably name her Brooklyn.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:59 PM on October 25, 2011


If I was going to have a daughter, I'd totally name her Ursula. I love that name.
posted by Aubergine at 1:59 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Daphne.
posted by sweetkid at 1:59 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rosemary
Anna
Maya
Daisy
Margery
Harriet
(I wasted those last two on my cats; the least she can do is use them.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2011


Anastasia. Stasia. Nadia.
posted by quodlibet at 2:01 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Francesca
posted by Lynsey at 2:01 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rada: Bulgarian/Russian name derived from the Slavic element rad, meaning "happy." Double meaning because the baby herself will be rad in all ways.
posted by mochapickle at 2:01 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


If I had a daughter, I'd name her Delia.
posted by Lucinda at 2:02 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clara
Mae
posted by Leezie at 2:02 PM on October 25, 2011


My husband and I were going to name our child Calamity (Callie for everyday use) if it was a girl. 'Course, we're two huge nerds, so YMMV.
posted by daikaisho at 2:03 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Waverly
Jovi
Hazel
Calliope
posted by Sassyfras at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2011


I love the name Pearl. The general trend for name popularity is that the names that sound old and fuddy-duddy to our parents' generation (i.e. names that our parents' great aunts and grandmothers had) are the ones that come in style big time for our kids' generation. Pearl would be on that list. When she's in 3rd grade, all of the kindergarteners are going to be named Pearl.

See also: any gemstone or flower. E.g. Opal, Poppy, Rose, Ruby
posted by phunniemee at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2011


Well, since the Baby Bartfast due next week is a boy and Mrs. B vows never to be pregnant again, I will bestow our sadly unused girl name upon you: Leela.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:05 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Leela Lucille actually. Leela-Lou for short.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:05 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like Pearl a lot and, as someone else mentioned, it fits well with the style of the cat names. Ruby is another similar name with a programming connection, or they could go with Ada, for Ada Lovelace Byron. And they could always go with Katherine if they like the nickname Kat. No one will confuse the child with the pet. I also love "Kit" as a Katherine derivative.
posted by MsMolly at 2:06 PM on October 25, 2011


Go for a queen's name: Eleanor or Elizabeth or Emma. Give her the whole name and call her Ellie or Beth or . . . Emma. These are dignified names for diplomas, etc. later on and no one will ask how to spell them. In my opinion, parents who get too creative with naming their children deserve the resentment their children may feel later.
posted by Jenna Brown at 2:07 PM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I like Pearl, but it does seem to be trending as pointed out above.

Carmen
Appolonia. You can nickname her Apple!
Drew
Minerva--Minnie.
Femke
posted by oceanview at 2:08 PM on October 25, 2011


Based on Pearl + her cat names - plus something short to go with the double-barreled surname:

Tess
Willa
Ada
Maeve
Rhea
posted by Mchelly at 2:10 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ivy, Martha, or Nora?
posted by ChuraChura at 2:13 PM on October 25, 2011


Lucinda.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:15 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was given a trendy name and I've been disappointed by it since I walked into pre-school and met two other girls with MY NAME. Please avoid: Ava, Ella, Emma and Olivia.

Also, it bummed me out that my name didn't mean anything. Maybe start reading up on awesome, strong, creative women and name her after one of them?

Good luck! I hope we hear an update of what you decide!
posted by smirkyfodder at 2:15 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Katherine (or Catherine) really is a great name with all sorts of fun, youthful nicknames, but it's serious enough to be grown up. I am a huge fan.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


My exwife and I had decided, if we had a child and it was female, we'd name it Maeve Adelle (Adelle being a family name of hers).
posted by Samizdata at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2011


Effie.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2011


Yvette
Viviana
Maeve
Maegwin
Ilyana
Alejandra
posted by Ys at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a popular name. I don't mine now, but it bothered me in elementary school. I suggest taking a look at the the most popular names of the year for the last 5 years, and eliminating the top 20 names from your consideration.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


For a programming connection, go for Ada or Grace (Hopper) or Shannon (after Claude Shannon). I think naming a person after an actual programming language is a little bit declasse. Unless it's C.
posted by miyabo at 2:19 PM on October 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


We looked at the Social Security Names DB for the late 1800's and early 1900's. Lots of long forgotten gems out there.
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1880s.html
posted by Good43 at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


What the young rope-rider said: Catherine=Cath/Cat/Kate/Katie/Catherine - good for whoever she turns out to actually be.
posted by cromagnon at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2011


Cecilia is an awesome name, the patron saint of something cool (music), and can be easily nicknamed to C or Cee.
posted by MsMolly at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2011


Stevie. You could call her Stevie for short.

Or, base it on where she was conceived. My first was named after a beloved family member, but since we were vacationing in Puerto Rico at the time of conception, I wanted to name her Juanita.

I also love Sally.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:28 PM on October 25, 2011


Since Violet is out, what about Viola? Or Vera?

I also like Matilda, Estelle, and Beatrice.

And Mable and Millicent (Millie) should make a return, in my opinion.

I'm kind of meh on Pearl.
posted by looli at 2:30 PM on October 25, 2011


Alma
posted by sciencegeek at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2011


Kari

(Can be pronounced car-ree, which I like better. Or like the word 'carry')
posted by royalsong at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2011


Lola
posted by ouke at 2:36 PM on October 25, 2011


Nthing Catherine. My girl is Laura Catherine. LC, Laurabelle, Laura Cate for short. Classic and will grow with her.

Also like Pearl.....for obvious reasons.
posted by pearlybob at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2011


More from Good43's list:

Lula/Lulu/Lola
Stella
Sadie
Celia
Della/Delia
posted by scody at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2011


Gotta put Winifred out here.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have a little friend named Clover. Makes me want to have another girl child and steal it.
posted by saffronwoman at 2:41 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drifting from programming to math, what about Sophie, after Sophie Germain?

My parents apparently floated Grace as a potential girl name. I hate it as a name for hypothetical baby me, but for someone else's kid, I kind of like it. (Also, we're now far from the Mark Grace association that I had when I found out about my parents thinking of it.)
posted by hoyland at 2:44 PM on October 25, 2011


Rose. Not so much Rosemary or Rosalie or the other variations: just Rose.

And another vote for Katherine: there's a variety of nicknames available (Kate, Katie, Kathy, even Rina!) but the basic Katherine is a lovely, solid name with a great deal of strenght for when she's grown up.
posted by easily confused at 2:45 PM on October 25, 2011


Or for a programmer dad: Ada.
posted by easily confused at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2011


Anya. my little niece's name, I think it is lovely.

Pearl is nice but they need to read The Scarlet Letter to decide if they really want that one. Good thing the Dad does not program in Unix.

Worst name in the world for a girl , "Madison" or any variation thereof.
posted by mermayd at 2:49 PM on October 25, 2011


I can't believe we've gotten this far and no one has said Jessamyn.
posted by introp at 2:55 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maet (met a lovely lady last night with this name. Pronounced mae-et)
posted by latch24 at 2:56 PM on October 25, 2011


I can't believe we've gotten this far and no one has said Carrageenan.
posted by mazola at 2:59 PM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Una

Ella

Sophie

Eva

Jo (short for Josephine, JoAnna, or Jodi)

Andy (short for Andrea)

Charlie

Valentina

Adelaide

Electra

Zoe
posted by seriousmoonlight at 2:59 PM on October 25, 2011


She's so scatterbrained and miserably pregnant that she can hardly construe a coherent sentence but says she's upset that she wasted Penelope, Margot, Cat, and Violet on their cats.

Are the cats all still alive... my parents had a dog with the same name as my first name before I was born, but by the time I was born it had died.

It hasn't psychologically scarred me and it's a funny story to tell people.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2011


I love flower names - what about Dahlia?
I'm really said that Maya is so popular because now I don't want future-child to have the same name as everyone else.
And also, I love russian names - Katia, Anya, Anastasia, and the like
Have they thought about Indian names if thy want to be unique - I love Priya, for example.

My husband just suggested Bella, but that is most definitely a joke. If it's not, I'm in trouble!
posted by echo0720 at 3:17 PM on October 25, 2011


Whatever they choose, invite them to think up every nasty playground rhyme for it they can before they commit it to official paper.

The two coolest girls I went to school with were Elizabeth, shortened to "Libba", and Katherina, shortened to "Rena." But I think they peaked in high school.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:26 PM on October 25, 2011


Another vote for a classic name with various established nicknames for the first name. She can grow with the variants and choose which to stick with later. To put it another way, give her a name that has a cute diminutive appropriate for a child but can ramp up for a resume later. Comb through your family's various last names, as well, for something that might work as a given name. You can call her by her middle name, Pearl. If you go with Pearl as a first name, remember to tell her that she, like wisdom, is a "pearl beyond price."
posted by Morrigan at 3:34 PM on October 25, 2011


All I can suggest is I dated a gal named September and

1. She never got anything but complements for her name.
2. It actually is a fun name to pronounce. Sep-TEM-ber. Roll it around in your mouth for a bit.

Were I ever to reproduce my girl would be named September .. or Samantha, because I like that a girl is named Sam.
posted by elendil71 at 3:37 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't name her Olivia. Everyone has suddenly started calling their baby girls Olivia because they think it's "unique." When she's old enough to go to school she'll be surrounded by Olivias.
posted by John Cohen at 3:47 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wants to name her Pearl because he programs in Perl.

Please do not do this.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


My personal attraction in girl names is simple, strong, not frilly, and well-known enough that you don't have to spell it for everyone but unusual in the sense of "not currently trendy".

Old-fashioned names are a big trend right now so I kinda think one should be aware of what the popular names are, just to be aware, because a lot of people think they're making an offbeat choice only to find every other kid has the same name.

I will reshare my current theory of baby names, typed while I was incredibly impatiently awaiting my latest to be born.

"I keep telling people now is the time to use names like Joan, Donna, Vera, Moira, Laurel, Jeanne, Rosalie, Susannah, Lorraine, Isadora, and Fern because no one is using them! They're all off the top-1000 and are truly unusual right now (well, Vera is starting to rise, because it's an old enough.)"
posted by flex at 3:51 PM on October 25, 2011


Lily. Joanna. There aren't many insulting diminutives, but you want something easy to say and spell and write, too.
posted by lemniskate at 3:53 PM on October 25, 2011


I like Astrid.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:53 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thea.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2011


The computer geeks we know named their daughter Lisa.
posted by apparently at 3:56 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Helen/Helena? Classic, easy to spell, but uncommon.
posted by jabes at 3:57 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Calliope
Sophia
posted by longdaysjourney at 3:57 PM on October 25, 2011


Ava
posted by jasondigitized at 4:29 PM on October 25, 2011


Typing those names into Nymbler gives:

Hazel
Constance
Toni
Amelia
Corinne
Stella
Delphine
Margery
Charlotte
Sophe
Caryl
Lucy
Ivy
Rena
Rose
posted by bq at 4:29 PM on October 25, 2011


cat names can be re-used. My cousin's parents swear they didn't name him (Oliver) after the cat (Olive)

Olive is fun, old timey and not Olivia.

I have a great cousin named Millicent.
posted by titanium_geek at 4:30 PM on October 25, 2011


Alice
Ada
Grace
posted by plinth at 4:36 PM on October 25, 2011


Pearl is a really lovely--- though increasingly popular--- name, programming connection aside.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 4:49 PM on October 25, 2011


Cora
Margaret (Meg, Maggie, Gretta, Margy with a hard or soft g for a nickname)
Briony
Tamsin
Imogen (Immy or Gen/Gennie for nicknames)
Elouise
Norah
posted by rosethorn at 4:51 PM on October 25, 2011


Oh, bummer! Margot is such a great name!

Esme
Wren
Madora (alternate spelling of Medora mentioned above)
Another vote for Astrid
Athena
Lucia
Georgianna
Louise/Louisa

I guess I like -a names, huh? Speaking of, in my previous marriage my secret baby name was Annapurna, since it went so well with my former married name. Not so much with this name, but it may work with your sister's!
posted by apricot at 4:53 PM on October 25, 2011


Aren't there any appealing names among their female ancestors? I've got a bunch of ancestor names I would have used if I'd had girls instead of boys: Dora, Maisie, Cecilia, Jennie, Johanna, Lilias, Lizzie.
posted by mareli at 5:11 PM on October 25, 2011


Amelia
Grace
Nora
Cordelia
Geneva
Clara
Rosemary
Evelyn
posted by McPuppington the Third at 5:12 PM on October 25, 2011


Seren
Boda (longform as Boadacea)
Ariadne
Hero or Hera
Shula
Cass (longform as Cassiopeia)
posted by freya_lamb at 5:13 PM on October 25, 2011


I like both Astrid and its traditional nickname, Asta (Ah-sta).
posted by easy, lucky, free at 5:15 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rosa
Nadine
Helen
Verona
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:18 PM on October 25, 2011


Naming someone is a big deal! We did so much work on choosing a name (ah, for the leisure time to sort through name books and debate names). Check names on the Baby Name Voyager, to get a sense of what's becoming popular, and also check the most popular names for their state or city, so the kid isn't one of 5 Emmas.

I liked the "old-lady names", but one of my favorites was vetoed by my husband, who knew an actual old lady by that name. Sigh.

Here are some of the names from our long list. We got it down to 5 by the time my daughter was born, and read the names to her when she was 1 day old; she raised an eyebrow at one, and that became her name.

Annika
Anya
Ariadne
Bridget
Camille
Claudia
Dana
Daphne
Diana
Gwendolyn
Ingrid
Irene
Linnea
Mara
Nadia
Nora
Petra
Phoebe
Ramona
Renata
Reyna
Vera
posted by mogget at 5:21 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


May
Kyra (since it's a little Russian)
Mia
posted by superfille at 5:24 PM on October 25, 2011


Veronica
posted by govtdrone at 5:36 PM on October 25, 2011


Artemis
posted by bolognius maximus at 5:40 PM on October 25, 2011


As a writer, I keep piles of baby name books. She can check these out for free from the library, copy down the ones she has some interest in, then read them off to Dad-to-Be and cross off the ones they can't agree on. That seemed to be very pain-free and a good way to spend some of the necessary down time while waiting.

Some of the books used: Beyond Shannon & Sean, Baby Names for the New Century, Beyond Jason & Jennifer*, Very Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World, The Literary Baby Name Book (and a few others you can find here). Wish I'd known about Bring Back Beatrice and Cool Irish Names, though! I like baby name books because they can help you narrow things down by giving you good reasons to eliminate things.

The names we initially liked and didn't end up selecting:
Isabel
Sossity
Thalia
Inanna
Alcina
Isolde
Imogen
Clélie
Ianthe
Zemire
Iolanthe
Nadja
Abeni
Adesina
Agata
Ain
Althea
Amaya
Amita
Anemone
Antonetta
Antonia
Beryl
Cailida
Calliope/Kalliope
Cerina
Dylana
Eartha (heh)
Elysia
Fiala
Geneva
Gitana
Madeline
Rusalka
Sidra
Serafina
Emeline


* I'm a 1971 Jennifer (thanks "Jennifer, Juniper" and dad's distrust for creative names!) and I'm here to testify that it is an utter pain in the ass to have the most popular name of your freaking generation. From classrooms to doctor's offices to workplaces to bills to just freaking hearing it one more time and having to tune it out, it just gets to be a huge chore. AND people are forever forming their impressions on whatever you're like by how the rest of the people with that name have presented themselves to them over the years. PAIN.

For that reason, I would strongly advocate not choosing "Grace" - it is immensely popular right now and has been for a few years - loads and loads of Graces out there. I know this because I dumped "Jennifer" to go by my middle name (heck, yeah, Mom liked Grace Slick!), and now find myself constantly reacting to the desperate calls of parents trying to rein in their little Graces.

posted by batmonkey at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love Beatrice! Great name.

Also,

Ruth
Inez
Wilhemina (Mina for short)
Idunn
Hedda
posted by gerls at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2011


Allucquere

Adine
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:59 PM on October 25, 2011


Isobel
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:01 PM on October 25, 2011


We named ours Zoe Clover, my unimaginative husband vetoed my bumper list of names entirely, including gems like Marigold, Tabitha and Phoebe. Ada is a good one! I like Elanor for the LOTR reference, but it's a popular name atm. Beatrice rocks!
posted by thylacinthine at 6:02 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amelie
Annelise
Ever
Diamelen
Christobel
Mia
Avia
Aerin
Clementine
Pomeline
Freya
posted by miltoncat at 6:19 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


They could do Beatrice but in the Dante pronunciation of "BAY-ah-TREE-chay".
posted by miltoncat at 6:19 PM on October 25, 2011


Seconding Millicent, if only because I know a little girl called Millie and I think it's the cutest name ever.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:20 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fiona
Georgia
Una
Antonia
Mary
Ophelia
Alice
posted by cairnoflore at 6:30 PM on October 25, 2011


How about Margaret, it means "pearl".
posted by marais at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2011


I really like Pearl. Then again, I'm a former programmer. A friend recently named her baby Ada, which happened to be both her great-aunt's name and the name of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Geek cred and it's short, to go with the super-long last name!
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:37 PM on October 25, 2011


The girl's name I'm saddest about never getting to use is Verity. It's both pretty and has gravitas. Geek street cred: Verity Lambert was the first producer of Dr Who.
posted by atropos at 6:38 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Offer a name which is easy to spell and won't invite playground taunting. Something well known but not super trendy. Something which has a host of easily derived short forms is useful too. A pretty name which sounds both classy in a ball gown and professional at the office. A name which actually has some history and won't date horribly in a year's time and doesn't sound like an advertising focus group suggestion for a new feminine hygiene product. Something with equivalents in Ireland, Italy and Russia. Something like Katherine.
posted by joannemullen at 6:49 PM on October 25, 2011


I really like Layla (or Leila). It means "night" in Arabic. Popularized thanks to the Eric Clapton song. I may be biased though, because that's what I want to name my future daughter...
posted by raintree at 6:51 PM on October 25, 2011


I had a lot of fun using Nymbler -- she can put in a list of the names she's liked in the past (Pearl, Penelope, etc.) and it'll generate suggestions for her.

Lila
Lucy
Charlotte
Willa
etc...

Look at grandparent and great-grandparent names on both sides - our oldest is named Otto, and we have more than a few of those in our family tree, which I love. :)

And yes, the fact that I was one of many, many, MANY Heather's born circa '70 influenced our choices. I stayed as far as possible from the "popular" name list without getting into weird spellings.
posted by hms71 at 6:54 PM on October 25, 2011


Name the kid whatever you want, and then offer her one free legal name change on her 18th birthday.
posted by hermitosis at 6:55 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here are my cat names, which I would totally name a baby:

Olive
Beatrix (current cat, who also goes by Beetle, which would be cute, I think)
Ramona
Florence
Madeline

And my name, which is Irish, but most people mistake for Russian:

Sorcha
posted by *s at 7:03 PM on October 25, 2011


Alexandra/Alessandra
Cecily/Cecilia/Cecile
Daphne
Ophelia/Ofelia
Jane
Catherine
Charlotte
Natalie
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:17 PM on October 25, 2011


Sorcha (really lovely *s)
Esme
Ireenee
Mahsa
Hero
Twyla
Gloria
Blaine
posted by rainbaby at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2011


Hedy like Hedy Lamarr
posted by turtlefu at 7:59 PM on October 25, 2011


Polly
Pandora
Consuela
Millicent
posted by Ideefixe at 8:02 PM on October 25, 2011


We have a Mary (you never hear that one anymore!). Our boy would have been Freya if he'd been differently-gendered, which was especially cool since one of the other four kids at his daycare is Odin. American Gods: preschool edition!
posted by purenitrous at 8:36 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Irene
Mabel
posted by annsunny at 8:42 PM on October 25, 2011


At the risk of seeming vain, I'm going to suggest Asta. It truly is an awesome name, if I may be so biased.

I like both Astrid and its traditional nickname, Asta (Ah-sta).

Asta (pronounced Ass-ta) actually is a standalone name and not a nickname. The 1st syllable also isn't the Ah sound but rather the shorter A sound like in Apple.
posted by astapasta24 at 9:25 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


LARA
posted by emeiji at 9:31 PM on October 25, 2011


Soda.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:34 PM on October 25, 2011


Name her after me if you must, just don't copy my daughter's name. Dammit. However, my daughter would suggest Rosetta, so I'll throw that out there.

I think good nicknames are too seldom explored (Tess for Theresa/Therese, Lacey for Alice, etc.). I especially like long names where the nickname is derived from the end. Like Ina from Celestina/Clementina, that sort of thing, which my own husband wouldn't even entertain, so I won't bother bother you anymore with that.

I think Pearl is lovely, though if I were the wife I think I'd lobby for Opal instead. Because I know a tiny Pearl, but no Opals. I think it's important to know that these flower/gem/maiden aunt names are back in big, huge way. I know at least one of each of the following tiny ladies under five years old:

Mabel
Hazel
Violet (four)
Olive
Jane
Ruby (there are six, yep, six Rubies that I know)
Rose (six Roses, too)
Poppy
Pippa (all Phillipas, I know three)
Dora
Bea (one is a Beatrice, one a Beatrix)
Sophie/Sophia/Sofia
one Hannah Grace and two Grace Hannahs (Hannah means grace, so...)
Emma and Ella, though not so much Etta
every freaking manifestation of Isobel! Isabel, Isabelle, Isabella, all of whom either have the middle name Grace or Rose
and anything -den. I know a Jayden and a Hayden that are girls. It has migrated. (There are two Aidens, a Brayden, and one each Kayden/Cayden in my daughter's kindy. Poor things.)


I think first time parents, especially if they are among the first of their peers, don't completely get which names are getting popular. But the old ladies? They are back with a vengeance.
posted by Leta at 9:47 PM on October 25, 2011


My name is Madara. I've always gotten tons of compliments. It's pronounced like "Madera" and that's probably a better spelling for it. So I guess I'm putting in a vote for my own name. She won't have any problems with confidence I suppose.
posted by madred at 9:53 PM on October 25, 2011


Former preschool teacher here: Emma, Olivia, Isabella/Bella, and pretty much anything ending in -er (Harper, Hunter, Tucker) are super-trendy right now, so I would personally avoid them, though they are nice (except for Tucker--considering what it rhymes with, that's a mean thing to name your kid). Oh, and Nevaeh (that would be Heaven backwards) is totally having a moment, though maybe just in the South. My sister and I dig Coraline, which can be shortened to Cora or Lina, and I think a kid would enjoy being named after the book. (My 5-year-old nephew overheard this conversation and demanded that I have a baby named Coraline right away, but I demurred.) Hmm, I also like:

Lillian
Zora or Zorah (a derivative of Aurora)
Beatrix
Audra
Thessaly
Jade
Alice

I have an unusual name (Aurelea), and while I wasn't crazy about it in elementary school, I love it now. It's hard to shorten, though--I think it's easier to have a weird name if there's a graceful way to shorten it, like Coraline/Cora.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:15 PM on October 25, 2011


I have an unusual name too: firstdrop. Catherine for short.
posted by firstdrop at 10:31 PM on October 25, 2011


Octavia
Florence
Phoebe
Celeste
Juliet
Anna
Louisa
Coralie
Isla
Stella
Pearl is good too.
And my favourite girl name, that I will never get to use: Ailsa
posted by meringue at 10:42 PM on October 25, 2011


My great-grandmother's name was Lena Pearl. I love that name. My daughter's middle name is Pearl after her. Anyway, some names from our list that we did not use:
Bella Pearl
Clarissa Pearl
Etta Pearl
Pearl Brietta.

I also really like the names Birdy and Laney, but my husband said he thought they sounded more like good names for a Golden Retriever!
posted by sugarbiscuit at 11:38 PM on October 25, 2011


Natasha, Nat for short. Classic Russian name, yet not overly common.
posted by oceanview at 11:41 PM on October 25, 2011


How about Margaret, it means "pearl".

Seconding! You have a lot more nicknaming options with Margaret or a variant. I'm partial to Greta myself, but there's Maggie, Meg, Etta, etc. I really like Margherita/Margarita but the associations with pizza/drink respectively might make those a no-goer for you.
posted by lwb at 1:37 AM on October 26, 2011


Ada Margaret sounds awesome. And it's a little riddle of a name, because the 'Ada' qualifies 'Margaret': 'Margaret, but in a programming sense' = 'Perl'.
posted by Acheman at 2:32 AM on October 26, 2011


I'll jump on the Katharine bandwagon, because that's my favourite name ever. I like the nickname Kitty for it. Strongly dislike nickname Katie--too popular.

Others I like:
Ruth
Agatha
Esther
Edith/Edythe (LOVE! Needs to come back ASAP.)
Athalia
Martha
Nurit (Noor-eet/Nure-eet)
Adele
Elodie
Sarah
Adara
Susannah
Tzipporah
Lila
posted by catwoman429 at 5:06 AM on October 26, 2011


My mother's name is Margaret, which I think is an awesome name. She is called Maggie by a few people, but doesn't like some of the nicknames that come out of it (Margo/Margeaux [I think that spelling is AWESOME], Mags, etc.)

I've always wanted to name a girl Io, but that's probably too damn weird for most people to handle, which is their problem.

I also like Zora(h), Zelda, Imelda, Inez, Imogen, and Marian. My grandmother's name is Marian, so that one's mine for our eventual daughter.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:24 AM on October 26, 2011


Other Victorian-era names, French edition:
Maud (or Maude)
Claude
Clotilde
Jean (or Jeanne, but I think Jean is sweeter)
posted by Mchelly at 7:43 AM on October 26, 2011


Tabitha
Vivian
Cecelia
Cordelia
Claudia
Phoebe
posted by Pax at 8:11 AM on October 26, 2011


Eliza.
posted by queens86 at 8:40 AM on October 26, 2011


My 3 month old little girl is named Clara. It fits the trend of the "grandparents' names," but isn't overly used.
posted by Hop123 at 9:10 AM on October 26, 2011


My grandmother was Leopoldine --- oddly enough, the more time passes the better it sounds. (Nicknamed both Dina and Tina.) There's always the graceful old names like Faith, Hope or Charity, if Grace has gotten too popular; or the flowers, like Lily, Iris, Camillia and Daffodil; and months like April, May or June.

(Please skip getting weirdly creative with the spellings, though, like that poor little girl who recently went missing in Arizona, Jahessye, pronounced Jessie; or a kid I know named Khaitlyen, pronounced Caitlin.)
posted by easily confused at 9:50 AM on October 26, 2011


I also think Olive is good if you want old fashion-y, though I think it's becoming more popular.
Big fan of Astrid!
What about Stella?
posted by sabotagerabbit at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2011


Thanks, everyone. My sister's name is Katherine, actually--she goes by Kit. Her best friend has a little Ava, so she doesn't want to use Ada. She was extremely appreciative of all the suggestions and is now carrying around a printed version of this thread. Off of first impressions, though, Beatrice, Helena, Diana, Iris, Stella, Verity, Freya, Clara, and Irene stand out.

The free legal name change on her 18th suggestion is a great one--it's what I'm doing.
posted by jingle at 9:04 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, I named one of my daughters a name on your short list! As noted, old fashioned names are having a real comeback. My real name is VERY old-ladyish (I think it peaked in 1912) but will never come back. My bibles for baby names was the series that was anything written by Linda Rosenkrantz; imagine my crushing disappointment when I flipped though one of her books praising Bertha and Edna as "new favourites" and then when it came to my name it literally said: "No, just no". With my last girl, I was strongly leaning towards Sybil; my husband was reminded of some book about mental illness however.
posted by saucysault at 7:21 PM on November 13, 2011


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