What should two picky parents name our baby girl?
May 17, 2016 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Another baby naming question (girl edition). Parental disagreement and other special criteria inside.

We need to come up with a name for our baby girl, due any day now, and we've been stalled out for months.

Dad prefers names that are simple and casual in sound: Hattie, Addie, and Maisie are his faves. He vetoes, on principle, all biblical names.

Mom wants a name that's classic/timeless and will play as well on a strong, grown woman as it will on a little girl. (Her favorites would probably be Elizabeth and Ruth, which both fail the Bible test—sigh.)

We both prefer names that aren't feminized forms of mens' names, but that's not an absolute requirement.

The baby's surname is one syllable and starts with the letter "K."

The one name we've been able to agree on is Harriet (Hattie for short), and we may use it, but I want to have some other options at the ready, and I can't help but feel there are possibilities out there we're overlooking. What are your favorite timeless, dignified, unpretentious women's names?
posted by toomuchkatherine to Grab Bag (115 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Laura, Jenny, Lily, Jane?
posted by mochapickle at 11:38 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty partial to Rosalie.

And also Elizabeth.
posted by zizzle at 11:38 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


If I had ever had a second girl, her name would have been Eleanor or Eloise. Or maybe Josephine.

(My girl's name is Sophia, which fails your Bible test for sure. But then again maybe Eleanor and Josephine are Biblical names? Idk.)
posted by cooker girl at 11:41 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ava/Eva are a little big lately but timeless. Violet? Anna? Ruby?
posted by getawaysticks at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anna and call her Annie.

(Never read the Bible so apologies if it is in it.)
posted by AugustWest at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like Laura too.
Also Julie, Amanda, Emily, Olivia, Amelia, Rose, and given your surname, maybe Kate or Kaetlin.
posted by bearwife at 11:44 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kathryn (or its many variants) - not a biblical name and has lots of diminutives - Kate, Katie, etc
posted by crocomancer at 11:47 AM on May 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


My great-grandmother was a Maisie. She was actually born in May (of 1871!)and her full name was May Elizabeth. She was a wonderful person and lived a very long life. Perhaps your husband would see that as a good compromise, especially if your baby is born in May.
posted by mareli at 11:47 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gabriella (Gabby, Bria, Ella)
Isabella (Izzy, Bella)
Daniella (Dani, Daisy)
Victoria (Tori, Vicki)
Annabelle (Anna, Annie)
Adeline (Addie)
Susanna (Susi)
Delphinium (Daisy)
Meryl (Maisie)
Gwyneth (Winnie)

(There's an Elizabeth in the bible? Who knew?)
posted by Capri at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Clara
It has old-timey simplicity, I'm pretty sure it's certified bible-free, and is just a nice, solid name.
posted by phunniemee at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Vivian, Eleanor, C/Katherine, Charlotte (you could call her Charlie! so cute!) Samantha (Sam), Adelaide (Addie), Madeline (Maddie), Gertrude.
posted by sutel at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Eleanor is just a lovely, lovely name. Emma. Alexandra.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tallulah.

Non-Bible. It can always be shortened -- Tally, Lulah, etc.

I'm a firm believer that a one-syllable doorstop last name is best preceded by a polysyllabic, musical first name. Plus, Tallulah Bankhead was the best kind of glorious crazy, and if people are going to ask "As in Tallulah Bankhead?", it wouldn't be the worst thing to smirk and say yes.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


Also, the Name Voyager is an amazing rabbit hole of name searching. Here are the results for "Harriet." You might find nicknames or alternative names that are similar through here as well. You can also select or exclude names you're searching for.
posted by zizzle at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2016


Eugenia (Gina, Jenny)
Gillian (Jill)
Twyla
posted by Capri at 11:50 AM on May 17, 2016


Lucy!
posted by thatone at 11:51 AM on May 17, 2016


I think you need three syllables. Gillian, Natalie, Marian, Mary Jo, Alissa, Emily, Adelaide, Virginia, Geneva.. Good luck!
posted by hydra77 at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Elizabeth, call her Libby or Lizzy or Betty.
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ophelia
posted by GrapeApiary at 12:03 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Emmi (a name and nickname rolled into one), not biblical, and a strong female relative was given this name in the 1880's, and the name has been around for quite a while as a first name, though it is not that common in the U.S.. It is pronounced like Emmy.

Also, re Harriet, an alternate nickname for Harriet (should you not be that fond of Hattie) is Hallie.
posted by gudrun at 12:03 PM on May 17, 2016


Hmmm, it's difficult because often have personal associations, but here goes:

Laura
Natalie (Nat)
May (Maisie)
June
Sonia
Elana (Lane, Laney)
Margaret (Meg/ Maggie/Marge)
Jane (Janey)

If you go with a one-syllable first name, I'd recommend a two or three syllable middle name to break up the rhythm. Throw an iamb or dactyl in the middle of your spondees-- it's good music.
posted by tuesdayschild at 12:04 PM on May 17, 2016


I'm an Elinor! Endlessly nickname-able, slightly less common spelling than Eleanor. I like that my parents got it from Austen, too.
posted by dumdidumdum at 12:04 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Given your parameters, I immediately thought of Tess/Tessa (traditionally short for Theresa, which I don't think is actually Biblical, despite all the saints named Theresa)

Also:
Vivian
Violet
Iris
Ruby
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:04 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Zoe?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Penelope (Penny)
posted by zoetrope at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2016


Matilda immediately came to mind for this one. Not biblical, not too trendy, timeless, and Mattie, Tillie, or Tilda would all be adorable nicknames.

Other potential suggestions I would offer are:
Margaret, nickname Maggie, or Daisy (a la Little Women)
Adela, Adeline, or Adelaide, nickname Addie
Tabitha, nickname Tabby
Abigail, nickname Abby.
posted by PearlRose at 12:13 PM on May 17, 2016


Another vote for Anna. Solid. Euphonic, with the K last name. Easy for most people to say. Gives her room to fill it, vs. having to wear it. If research suggesting people with names beginning with letters at the top of the alphabet get a boost, may help her out. Anna, has to be Anna ;)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:13 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why not choose Margaret, call her Maisie as a little girl, and let her decide what to go by as she gets older/in adulthood? You've got the Good Solid Grownup Name and it's one of the ones Dad likes.

Or, if Mom specifically hates the nickname Maisie, there are a lot of other simple casual nicknames to be found in Margaret. Meg, Maggie, Megan, Peggy, Margie/Marga/Margit, Molly, Midge, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 PM on May 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


We know a little Ada. It's a super versatile, simple, classic name, and you get the cool Ada Lovelace association.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've always liked the name Nadine. It's different but not unheard of, and there are a few fun ways to shorten it (Dina, Addy, etc.)

And I know you said you wanted to stay away from feminized men's names, but Victoria is also a good option for the "stately but with fun nicknames" route. (Vicky, Tori, etc.)
posted by helloimjennsco at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Madeline (or Madeleine) with Maddie for short.

My daughter is named this. We wanted something that complemented our single-syllable last name.

Margaret is another great choice, with all of Sara C's nickname options. We have a Maggie in the family already, otherwise it would have been on our list.
posted by kellygrape at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


2nding the idea of a three syllable name.

I humbly suggest that you spend some time reading the lists of top ten names and then promptly rejecting all of them. I have a friend whose child's name is one I also wanted so badly to choose (had I had a girl) and has fallen within the top 10 for the last several years; she tells me that every time she goes into a store and calls her daughter's name, inevitably three or four or five little girls will look her way, as will the parents of those other children. She says it's incredibly annoying.

Look for something top 50 - top 100. Not so unusual as to be weird, but just unusual enough to not be super common and force your child to be forever known as First Name, Last Initial.
posted by vignettist at 12:16 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Name: Emmeline
Meaning: Industrious
Origin: French

Name: Winifred
Meaning: Peacemaker
Origin: Welsh

Name: Penelope
Meaning: Disputed. Could have to do with ducks, looms, or spiders.
Origin: Greek
posted by xyzzy at 12:16 PM on May 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


Lorelei.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:17 PM on May 17, 2016


Alexis with Lexy as a nickname
Francesca with Fran(nie)
Adeline with Addie
Maricela with Mari
Charlotte with Lottie (or Char)
Carmela with Carrie (or Carm)
Amelia with Mellie
Eloise with Ellie

(but really, I love Harriet/Hattie!)
posted by freezer cake at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2016


Simone, Francesca, Hazel, Fiona, Coraline, Nina, Bianca.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2016


The BEST resource I found for girl names before my baby was born (and apologies, but I have no idea where I found the link), was a list of the most popular baby girl names in the approximate years when the American suffragettes would have been born. Lots of strong but simple names that are just swinging back from "grandma" to "charmingly vintage." We fell in love with the name Nellie from the list, and ended up using that for our baby girl.
posted by sarahsynonymous at 12:23 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Caroline, Abigail, Diana, Louisa, Audrey
posted by ChuraChura at 12:23 PM on May 17, 2016


Ann is even more unpretentious and classic than Anna. It's familiar and easy for everyone to spell and pronounce, but also not at all popular these days.

Or maybe you'd like Alice, Allie for short. Or Cora.
posted by Redstart at 12:23 PM on May 17, 2016


Maeve
Jovi
Lydia
posted by Sassyfras at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2016


Josephine. or Josie for short.
posted by Ftsqg at 12:27 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Virginia! It gets you Gin, Ginnie/Ginny, Nia, Vi as possible nicknames, so it can meet both of your criteria (classic as a full name, and 'Ginnie' is simple/casual.)

It was high on my list if I'd had a girl - I hereby relinquish it. ;-)

Also on my list were: Elizabeth (classic with soooo many possible nicknames... and yes, it's in the Bible.. but that's a big book!) and Julia.
posted by Medley at 12:27 PM on May 17, 2016


In my ears, Harriet/Hattie is lovely. Go for it!

Ida is a name that both reminds me of strong and interesting adult women and somehow is very sweet and simple too. It can also be a nickname for Adelaide.

Rather than Catherine, what about Katarina - Kat for short?
posted by mumimor at 12:27 PM on May 17, 2016


Let us not forget that the poster's name is "toomuchkatherine."
posted by AugustWest at 12:29 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Saskia
posted by brujita at 12:29 PM on May 17, 2016


Nature names? Virtue names? Color names?

Coral
Rose
Lily (very popular though)
Violet
Aster
Delphine
Flora
Heather
Iris
Lavender
Opal
Amity
Grace
Sienna
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:30 PM on May 17, 2016


My daughter is also Madeleine with a short, single syllable last name. Works well.
posted by gaspode at 12:33 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Julia?
posted by kevinbelt at 12:38 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rose
Vivian (can be called Vivi, also can be spelled Vivienne if you want to be *fancy*)
I also must suggest my own name, Alexa, which can be shortened to Lexi for a princess and Alex for a...non-princess
posted by tatiana wishbone at 12:46 PM on May 17, 2016


What about an English word? There are a few that are also traditional names:

Grace
Patience
Honor
Amity
Peaceable (maybe a little out there but I love it)
Charity
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:52 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another nickname for Margaret is Daisy.
posted by devinemissk at 12:56 PM on May 17, 2016


Caroline, which I think fits the mom's criteria and to suit dad's preference, they could use a nickname of Cora, Carrie or Cara. Or Carol, which would be downright novel on a baby these days.
I see Adelaide and Ada, Addie mentioned above. I know a little girl with this name (she chose her nickname, Della). I love her name and all the possibilities she has! Strongly considered Adele for my 2nd and still really love it. Just be aware there's a few little girls named Addison out there, so there may be a few other Addies in her peer group. But it's not as prevelant as Eleanor and Ellie.
posted by areaperson at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Violet has been working well for me for a while now..
posted by VioletU at 12:58 PM on May 17, 2016


I love Rosa (totally had it lined up for forthcoming baby who turned out to be a boy!). I think it's strong but can also be sweet, and could have Rosie as a nickname.
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 1:04 PM on May 17, 2016


It looks like it's already come up in passing, but may I suggest Coraline? It has (IMO) a rather classic sound, but is unusual without sounding utterly freakish, and not unusual in the "look at me I'm different" way that Kayden/Ayden/Jayden are. It definitely hits the non-Biblical requirement, and can easily be shortened into "Cora" for a more casual feel.

(I may be biased, as that's our own daughter's name, but we were working under a fairly similar set of criteria.)

Two downsides: "Oh, did you name her after the book/movie?" No. And, even at five, Cora has gotten good at saying "Not CAROLine! CORAline!" Which may annoy her more as she ages. Oh well.
posted by jammer at 1:06 PM on May 17, 2016


For the love of Cthulu, if you have a one-syllable last name, PLEASE do not give your daughter a one-syllable first name, says somebody with a one-syllable first name, a nonviable middle name, and a one-syllable last name, who married someone else with a one-syllable first name and a one-syllable last name. Thud. Thud. About as anti-euphonious as possible. (The eventual Kouti Junior will most emphatically have a multi-syllabic first name.)

Actual suggestions of strong formal names to suit Mom with simple nicknames to suit Dad:

Abigail (Abbie)
Adeline/Adelaide (Addie)
Caroline/Carolyn (Carrie)
Dorothy (Dot/Dottie, though I'd be careful if "dotty" is still a thing)
Elaina (Lainey)
Evelyn (Eve, Evie)
Francesca (Fran, Frannie)
Jacqueline (Jackie)
Julianne/Juliet(te) (Julie)
Linnea (Linnie)
Madeleine/Madelyn/Madeline/etc (Maddie)
Natalie (Nat, Nattie, though another one to be careful of with the beer)
Sylvia (Sylvie)
Samantha (Sam, Sammie)

Less simple but still strong: Sab(r)ina, Sierra, Hermione (okay, that's probably got the Harry Potter popularity effect). Could do Coraline (Cora/Corrie), though I wonder if the Gaiman effect has taken hold with that nickname. I don't think it has to the same extent as Hermione, at least among young kids I know.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 1:15 PM on May 17, 2016


Alice.

Classic, easy to spell, and you get one of the most timeless and kick-ass female protagonists ever in a children's book as a bonus.
posted by anastasiav at 1:27 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Laura
Lauren
Claire
Clara
Anna
Ella
posted by barnoley at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2016


Beatrice. She can be Bea, Bee, Trixie, Beattie, Betty....
posted by jrobin276 at 1:30 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have a Laura. She is a six foot tall, gorgeous bad ass!! Laura gets my vote!!
posted by pearlybob at 1:31 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Also, you're the one giving birth, so you get final say. )
posted by barnoley at 1:32 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Miriam and Lydia (both of which are actually in the bible, but I don't think are really thought of as traditional biblcal names and both of whom have interesting stories tied to them)

Evelyn.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:32 PM on May 17, 2016


FYI, these names from the thread are in the Bible/have biblical roots

Abigail, Anna, Danielle/a, Gabriell/a, Ava/Eva/Eve, Simone, Carmela, Sam(antha), Josephine
posted by Salamandrous at 1:35 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Matilda
Winifred
Blakely
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2016


Anna is in the Bible, but guess what? It's still a beautiful name, and has been mentioned multiple times here. Dad is really limiting his choices by objecting to anything that once appeared in the Bible. There have been many great Annas, Elizabeths, Lydias, Miriams, Deborahs, Abigails, etc. since the Bible was written.
posted by jhope71 at 1:39 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Imogen (Immy for short). Old English origin, popularised by Shakespeare.
posted by mymbleth at 1:40 PM on May 17, 2016


I like girl names that start with the letter M, such as:
Marisa
Marissa
Megan
Meghan
posted by OCDan at 1:41 PM on May 17, 2016


Violet was our girls name and i love it.
Charlotte also works (Charlie, Lottie) but is hugely popular now.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2016


Ellen. It's a beautiful and elegant classic name and one close to my heart -- can be Ellie among friends. Writes out pretty. Also a nod to Ellen Ripley.
posted by mochapickle at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ann, Lydia, Simone, and Julia are all biblical. There are probably others.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:51 PM on May 17, 2016


Came to say Harriet, which we almost named our daughter, for all the reasons cited. (We went with "Hero" instead, which will be amazingly badass until she's a wizened old grandmother.)
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:00 PM on May 17, 2016


Florence, shortened to Flossie, Florrie, Flora or Flo for family.
posted by Hogshead at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2016


Lucia
Olivia
Emily
posted by TheCavorter at 2:07 PM on May 17, 2016


Katya
posted by Sebmojo at 2:08 PM on May 17, 2016


If Mom specifically hates the nickname Maisie, there are a lot of other simple casual nicknames to be found in Margaret. Meg, Maggie, Megan, Peggy, Margie/Marga/Margit, Molly, Midge, etc.

Margaret is derived from the Greek/Hebrew word for Pearl. In French Margarite is Daisy.

I like Margaret because of the MANY different options for nicknames in addition to the above and those listed in the linked article:

Daisy
Peg
Pearl
Margot

And Maisie, which she may want to change in adulthood.

Margaret is also very traditional, and I don't think it's in the Bible.

Of course, I'm with your Mom, Ruth is a fabulous name! =;-)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:20 PM on May 17, 2016


I love names that give a kid a choice. I like WILHELMINA. The nicknames for this name are some of my favorite names- Mina and Willa, also, Minnie, Wim, Willie, and a zillion others.
posted by ReluctantViking at 2:21 PM on May 17, 2016


Miranda. It's Shakespearean, translates as 'worthy of admiration', and is easy to spell, pronounce, and nickname.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:32 PM on May 17, 2016


I don't have any suggested names, except that I would strongly suggest against naming her with a nickname. Hattie, Addie and Maisie are nicknames for Harriet, Adeline and Margaret, respectively. Giving your daughter the full form of whatever nickname you may want to call her will give her a lot more options when she grows older.
posted by slkinsey at 2:33 PM on May 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


I think we had similar disagreements between me & my husband about a girls name - we've named her Genevieve. It's unusual but still classic and has lots of options to be shortened. Ours is known at home as Evie, but could be Viv, Vievy, Gen, Genny, Ginny etc.
posted by smudge at 2:41 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you like Elizabeth you could go with the German Liesl or Liesel.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:42 PM on May 17, 2016


Orla?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:45 PM on May 17, 2016


Daisy would seem to meet both requirements. Alternatively, you could name her Margaret; Daisy is a nickname for Margaret, but of course so is Maggie.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:59 PM on May 17, 2016


I think Edith is due for a comeback.
And Edie is an awesome nickname.
posted by flourpot at 3:33 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Rosamund?
posted by glitter at 3:35 PM on May 17, 2016


Nina
Diana
Antonia
posted by sallybrown at 3:47 PM on May 17, 2016


I taught an Adelaide called Addie and I thought it was a really classy way to get that nickname.
posted by JoannaC at 3:51 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


My daughter's name is Imogen and we call her Imi (rhymes with Jimmy). I love her name. She's came pre-named (we adopted her through foster care).
posted by orsonet at 4:40 PM on May 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


How about Isabel, which often gets nicknamed "Izzy"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:46 PM on May 17, 2016


Mavis.
posted by h00py at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2016


My girl's name is Sophia, which fails your Bible test for sure

Unless you are ruling out names with Greek roots that appear in the Bible (which would really complicate things) Sophia is safely non-Biblical.

Another vote for Tessa. We have a Tessa. It's rare enough that there aren't many others around, but everyone can spell it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2016


If our son had been a girl, he would have been Contessa. Tess, Tessa, or Tessie for short.
posted by brozek at 5:16 PM on May 17, 2016


Ivy
Phoebe
Camille (Cammy, Milly)
Beatrice (Bee)
Elena/Elaine/Helen (Ellie/Lenny)


(Madeleine is Biblical - it's derived from Mary Magdalene).
posted by airmail at 5:18 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Stella?
posted by orange swan at 5:22 PM on May 17, 2016


I knew a Winifred and thought it was a great name - with Winnie and Freddie as nick names.
posted by jrobin276 at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2016


(a Julia appears in passing in the New Testament but the name certainly does not originate in the Bible, it is a Roman name.) Lends itself easily to Jules, Julie.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:12 PM on May 17, 2016


How about Matilda? Nickname could be Tillie, Mattie or Tilda. I think that hits a sweet spot of being classic but not common, known but not trendy.

And I really, really want to suggest Lois, but I believe it's in the bible. Still, give it a try: Lois, nickname Lola? Or Lolo? Just Lo? Great, classic name that will fit in with her pals Ellie, Edie*, Emma and Olivia, but be totally unique.

*Edith and Edie are coming back in style, I believe. Awesome names.
posted by areaperson at 6:13 PM on May 17, 2016


Philippa? (Phil, Pippa, Pippi!)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:16 PM on May 17, 2016


Hazel.

He gets something like Hattie, Addie and Maisie all in one, and you get the 'z' from Lizzie.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:27 PM on May 17, 2016


Lucinda (nn Lulu, Lucie, Cindy)
posted by devinemissk at 6:33 PM on May 17, 2016


Jacqueline is beautiful but I think may derive from Jacques?

I love the name Jessica.
posted by Night_owl at 6:34 PM on May 17, 2016


Nicknames do seem like the way to go. You've got Hattie/Harriet, Maisie/Margaret, and Addie for Adeline or Adelaide. As others have noted, Tillie or Mattie/Matilda fits the same pattern. Alice is another old name with a Germanic root-- it's related to Adeline and Adelaide, via the form Adeliz-- so maybe Allie/Alice is a good bet? You could even make Addie short for Alice, if you enjoy the linguistics joke. I like Hildy as well, but maybe something like Hilda or Hildegard is a bit too Germanic.

On the Romance-languages name front, maybe Bea/Beatrix or Cecy/Cecily?
posted by yarntheory at 6:34 PM on May 17, 2016


Seconding Margaret and Alexandra as very flexible names. Like those, Isabella offers variety in nicknames - and it also gives lifetime free admission to a wonderful museum.

For shorter names, I think the -a names rather than -y are on the right track: Anna, Clara, Cara.

I also think Sophia is safely non-biblical, but you could also look at Sonia as another step removed from the Greek root.

Amanda is a solid three-syllable name that still gives you "Mandy" as a nickname.

I have one of the ends-in-"ee" nickname names as my full name, and while I'm on the whole okay with it now, I've often wished that I had the option of a longer "real" first name. This was especially pronounced when I was younger and desperate to be grown up, but it does still strike me that the first impression people get from my name is more girly and cute than I would prefer. All of which is to say, nicknames are the way to go and thanks for thinking about your daughter as a strong grown woman.
posted by earth by april at 6:44 PM on May 17, 2016


Rosella?
posted by stopgap at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2016


Audrey
Rebecca
Doris
Marian/Marion
(no idea whether any of these are biblical, sorry)
posted by lakeroon at 8:31 PM on May 17, 2016


Marceline (last syllable pronounced '-Lin' not '-Leen')
Ada/Aida
Sonia/Sonja
Etta
Ella
Micheline (same as Marceline above)
Rowena
Noemi
Henriette (sounds nicer in French; similar to 'Onriette'
Aurelia
Ursula
Lena
Lenore
Not sure if these all pass the no bible rule.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 10:48 PM on May 17, 2016


Molly's done all right by me for 41 years.
posted by MsMolly at 11:43 PM on May 17, 2016


Olivia
Justine
Nora
Amelia/Emilia
Sarina/Serena
Sabrina
posted by girasoli at 12:36 AM on May 18, 2016


Esme
Lula
Angela/Angie
posted by Polychrome at 2:45 AM on May 18, 2016


Don't have any offerings for you, but as someone who hated her own timeless, dignified, unpretentious name... most of these sound stuffy & antiquated to me!

Birth name is powerful magic yet it represents your hopes & dreams, not your kid's. You may find young toomuchkatherine is suited to another self entirely.

I say throw her a temp, then let her name herself!
posted by fritillary at 3:31 AM on May 18, 2016


What about Mae/May?
posted by to recite so charmingly at 7:14 AM on May 18, 2016


Cassandra with Cassie as a nickname?
Diana and you could call her Dee or Didi even while she's young.
Lara? Alice? Elena? Sybil? Veronica? Camilla? Sylvia?

I apologize if some of them are Biblical names. I know there's a few saints with those names, but they don't stand out as Biblical the way Ruth would, for example and I'm not an expert on the Bible.
posted by GilvearSt at 8:30 AM on May 18, 2016


My friend just named her new baby Cora, which I love.
posted by greta simone at 9:03 AM on May 18, 2016


Alison.
posted by callmejay at 9:32 AM on May 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Corinne (Corinna, Korin, Karina - same family of names)
posted by palindromic at 7:00 PM on May 19, 2016


Laurel
Jessa
posted by shannonigans at 2:48 PM on May 21, 2016


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