Baby name consultant: Slightly unusual+longer first name with easy nickname

Today’s consultation is for a family expecting their fourth baby — third girl! — and they have a very cool theme going — they like to choose “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname.” Right up my alley, right?! Except I didn’t get it quite right this time, so you all really need to bring the great ideas and suggestions (no pressure!). 😀

Their older kiddos are:

J@cks0n Ar+hur/Jack (“we didn’t realize how popular J@cks0n was at the time!“)
El0d!e M@rie/Ellie
Av!ana Th3r3s3/Ava

Such a handsome group, and I’m such a big fan of going all out with given names and using a friendly, accessible nickname for every day. The mama writes,

We’d like to continue this trend, but so far [my hubs] says all my suggestions are ‘weird’ — which isn’t unusual … The first time around I was in love with Magnolia (Maggie) for a girl — now I wonder what I was thinking! This time around, Bronwyn and Anwyn (shortened to Winnie) have both been rejected and I’m feeling stuck — not even my Baby Name Wizard book is inspiring much, though Sophronia (Sophie) just popped out at me this morning.”

So you all know that I had a lot of fun working on this—I’m all about nicknames, and I love this family’s theme.

I personally love Magnolia, and I love both Maggie and Nola, both of which I’ve seen as nicknames for it. It also made me think of Marigold, which isn’t all that different from Magnolia (and probably the Mister would think it’s just as weird), but is little more mainstream because of the Downton Abbey character by that name, and Marigold’s a Marian name! A Marigold could be Mari or Goldie, and I think Maggie could also work … I think Molly could work as well, but maybe sisters Ellie and Molly are too similar?

Bronwyn and Anwyn nicknamed Winnie made me think of the consultation I posted recently in which the parents are considering Maewyn, which was St. Patrick’s birth name! Though it started as a male name, it’s got such a pretty feminine sound, and one of the readers suggested Winnie as a nickname for it, and I totally thought of this family! Maewyn nicked Winnie is sweet!

Sophronia nicked Sophie is adorable, I love it! Along that same line of thinking, I totally think Sophie could work for Seraphina (as could Sera, Phina/Fina, Phia/Fia), and Josephine as well (I love the idea of Sophie for Josephine! Though Josie is also adorable, and I’ve seen Posy too, which I loooove, and is similar to Magnolia flower-wise).

So I think they’re swirling around some really great ideas, even if they don’t think they’ve hit upon “the one” yet!

As I do, I looked up the names they’ve used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard, which I know this mama’s also done, which is probably one of the reasons my ideas didn’t resonate — in addition to Marigold, Maewyn, Seraphina, and Josephine that I mentioned above, I also suggested:

(1) Rosemary nicked Romy (or Rory)
Rosie is the most common nickname for Rosemary I think, and I love it with sibs Jack, Ellie, and Ava, but Romy is also a traditional nickname for it, and it makes Rosemary—which is “slightly longer” but not really “slightly unusual”—have a more unusual edge, which might be a nice thing for this family moving forward, as it breaks them out of the “need to stick with longer unusual name with common nickname” pattern into “longer given name with shorter nickname, and one of those is ‘slightly unusual,’” which is a bit more freeing/offers more options. Rory is a nickname possibility that takes Rosemary even farther down the “slightly unusual” line—it’s spunky and tomboyish—but I’m not convinced that’s what they’re going for. I wanted to mention it anyway though, just in case (and here’s a sweet Rosemary nicked Rory.)

(2) Louisa nicked Lucy or Lulu
As with Rosemary, Louisa’s not terribly unusual, but I really like the idea of Lucy as a nickname for it, and that gives it a nice unusual twist, as well as two saints! If they didn’t care for Lucy for it, I’m totally loving Lulu recently—it’s a little bit hipster and a lot of chic, and so darling.

(3) Caroline nicked Caddy or Cassie (or Catherine)
Yes, another not-so-unusual given name idea, but I saw Caddy as a nickname for Caroline a while ago and thought it was brilliant. I love Callie too, but thought it was too close to Ellie. And Cassie’s one of my favorite nicknames for a girl, and I think it could work as a mashup nickname for Caroline and the right middle name, like … Caroline Sabeth (Sabeth is so cool! It’s an Elizabeth variant with a cool new patron), or Caroline Sabine, Caroline Sophia, Caroline Seton (for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) … I’ve also seen Cass(ie) as a nickname for Catherine, which I thought was sort of brilliant. If they went with something like Caroline or Catherine for a first name (or Louisa or Rosemary or any other name that might be a bit more “normal” than they’d prefer), an unusual middle is another awesome way (besides an unusual nickname) to jazz it up.

(4) Cassia or Cascia nicked Cass(ie)
The previous idea of Cass(ie) reminded me of Cassia, which is just so cool and pretty. You can say it CASS-ee-ah, or CASH-ah, and it’s a spice name! It’s a form of cinnamon! It’s also a form of Keziah, which is a biblical name—one of Job’s daughters. If they like the CASH-ah pronunciation, they might also be interested in Cascia, which is the name of the town in Italy St. Rita of Cascia came from, and I would consider it an honor name for her.

(5) Bernadette nicked Betsy
I have a friend who considered Bernadette nicked Betsy for her baby, and I thought it was so inspired! She ended up having a boy, but I’ve never forgotten her idea for a girl. St. Bernadette’s a great patron for a girl!

(6) Nickname Sadie (Mercedes, Sara-[something])
Sadie has a similar feel to me as Jack and Ellie especially, and it’s a style match for Maggie and Sophie, and I thought it could be great for this family as a nickname for the right formal name. Mercedes is one—I’ve seen Sadie as a nickname for it spelled S-a-d-i-e, but also Cede, which is pronounced the same way, but is far less obvious. I’d heartily suggest the Sadie spelling to this family, and Mercedes is a great name for a baby born during the Year of Mercy! If they didn’t care for Mercedes, Sadie is also a traditional nickname for Sara(h), and while I thought Sara(h) on its own would be a little too commonplace for them, I thought a hyphenated double might be awesome. Sara-Kate/Sara-Cate is my favorite (and one I’ve had on my list for a long time), but I also love Sara-Mae (or Sara-Maeve, if they’re into Irish names), Sara-Beth, Sara-Claire, Sara-Grace … I used the Sara spelling in these examples because I prefer it to Sarah, but of course Sarah is beautiful and the “h” points to its biblical roots; also, they could do a non-hyphenated double name, like Sara Kate (I prefer the hyphen because it makes it more obvious it’s one name and not a first and middle, but it’s totally a personal preference kind of thing). I think a double first name can make two otherwise “normal” names really sparkle—those two normal names become something unusual when put together.

(7) Beatrix or Beatrice nicked Bea, Trixie, Tris, Betty
Beatrice is a style match for Winnie, and when I saw it I thought I had to add it to my list of suggestions. Both Beatrice and Beatrix are lovely and underused, and I think Bea is an adorable nickname (and lends itself to honeybee decorations, which is so cute!), but there’s also Trixie for Beatrix, and Tris for Beatrice (though be warned that Tris is the name of the main character in the Divergent series [books and movies], and likely pretty associated with just her, since I’d never heard of Tris as a nickname for Beatrice until those books), and even Betty could work and be really cute and retro.

(8) Juniper nicked Junie (or Junia nicked Junie?)
St. Junipero Serra is newly canonized and long beloved, and though he was a man, the English variant of his name totally works for a girl. Juniper is a similar style to Magnolia and Marigold, and has the a-dorable nickname option of Junie, which I just die over. Junie makes me also think of Junia, which is a biblical name, so pretty.

(9) Nickname Pippa or Poppy (Josephine, Perpetua, Philippa)
Pippa and Poppy were striking me as a really cute addition to the other kiddos, and there are several ways to get to them that might appeal. The Posy-for-Josephine idea I suggested above made me think that something like Josephine Petra could totally take the nickname Poppy. How cute and floral! I’ve also seen Poppy for Perpetua, which totally fits their “longer and more unusual” criteria, and it’s super saintly. I’ve also seen Pippa for Perpetua, but more commonly for Philippa, which I also really like.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I received feedback from the mom that my suggestions weren’t quite right for them, and indeed, as I reviewed, I see that I offered a lot of unusual nicknames for “normal” names, which is the exact opposite of what they wanted! Some were okay — I still like Cascia, Mercedes, and Juniper (Cass, Sadie, and Junie) — but I took a quick look again at my notes and thought these might be worth mentioning, as they’re on the more unusual end with easy nicknames:

(1) Amelie
Amelie’s a style match for El0d!e, a French name that’s said AH-mel-lee. Amy could definitely work as a nickname, or Mel/Melly.

(2) Salome
Also a match for El0d!e, and Sally is a natural nickname for it.

(3) Ariadne
Ariadne was, surprisingly, a match for Bronwyn (via Rhiannon, which I also would have suggested if I could think of a good nickname for it … Ree maybe? Annie?), and I think something like Addy could work really well.

(4) Philomena
This one’s a match for Sophronia, and there are a lot of possible nicknames: Fia, Fila, Fina, Finn, Finna, Lola, MenaMinnie, Pia, Pim, Pina, and Pippa. For the purposes of this consultation, I think maybe Lola, Mena, and Minnie might be the most appealing.

(5) Leocadia
Finally, going really far out, what about Leocadia? It’s another match for Sophronia and a saint’s name, and Cady is the greatest nickname for it! I wouldn’t be surprised if Leocadia is just too far out … but maybe not?

And those are my ideas! I’m dying to hear what you all think — please share your ideas for “slightly unusual, slightly longer full names that trim down to an easy nickname” for this baby girl!


87 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Slightly unusual+longer first name with easy nickname

  1. My first thought was actually Marigold, too!

    My second thought was to take a leaf from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and use Susannah, nicknamed Zuzu. 🙂 (Or Susie, I suppose.)

    Other ideas:

    Judith nn Judy.

    Francesca nn Fran or Frannie (I’ve also heard of Chessie as a nickname for Francesca).

    Vivianne nn Vivi

    Faustina nn Tina

    Camilla nn Cammie

    Priscilla nn Pris or Cissy or Cilla (you could also use Cecelia with the latter two nicknames)

    Beatrix nn Trixie (yes, I loved Trixie Belden as a girl…)

    Penelope nn Pippa

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How about Callista – nicknamed Callie (St Callistus’ day is October 14) ; Clementine – Clem (St Clement -Nov 23), Thomasina – Tamsin ( lots of saints day) Apollonia – polly (Feb 9th is her day).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Appoline, “Lina/Lena”

    Adele or Delphine, “Della” (too close to Ellie?)

    Gwendolyn/Gwyneth/Guinevere, “Gwen”

    Georgina/Georgiana, “Ina/Ana”

    Illene or Solenne


    Vanessa or Inessa

    Olympia or Columbia


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seraphina, Magnolia and Philomena seem to be a perfect choice. I’d add the nicknames Sunny to Susanna / Susannah, Anna to Rhiannon, just like a girl I know (and maybe Ria?), Delphi / Fina / Finn to Delphine and the formal name Winifred to get Winnie.
    Other ideas:
    Daphne nn Daffie,
    Arielle / Arianne nn Ari / Arya,
    Mirabelle / Mirabel nn Mira or Belle
    Florence nn Flora
    Imogen nn Ginny or Immie
    Hazel nn Halle or Zellie (I love this one!)
    Leticia nn Lettie or Leti
    Isadora or Isobel nn Izzy
    Esmeralda nn Esme or Emmie
    Christina nn Stina
    Esther nn Essie
    Adelaide nn Addie or Della
    Emilia nn Emmy or Millie
    Veronica nn Vera or Nicky

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your mentioning Bernadette/Betsy reminds me of Betsy, Tacy & Tib 😊

    Caledonia/Callie, Carmella/Carrie or Mel or Mellie if they don’t mind the rhyme, Christabel/Bella, Cordelia/Delia or Cori, Damaris/Mari, Delphine/Fifi, Dominique/Minnie, Dorothea/Thea, Honor or Honora/Nora, Hyacinth/Cindy, Lavinia/Vinnie, Linnéa/Linnie, Madrigal/Maddie, Odile Odette Ottilie? Tillie?, Pascale/Callie, Severine/Evie, Temperence/Perrie some other virtue name?

    I love Josephine/Posey, Jonquil? Tansy? Iris? Primrose? Daisy?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Althea — Allie, Thea
    Amelia, Camilla, Millicent — Millie
    Coraline — Cora, Cori
    Clarissa — Clary, Rissa
    Corinna — Rin, Wren
    Estella — Stella
    Ghislaine — Gigi, Laney
    Gillian — Gilly, Jilly
    Giselle – Gigi
    Gwyneth — Gwynn, Winnie
    Jacqueline — Jackie, Jaxie
    Lavinia — Vinnie or Winnie
    Lucinda — Cindy, Lucy
    Lilliana — Lily
    Magali — Maggie
    Marcella — Cella
    Marguerite — Daisy, Greta, Maggie, Maisie, Margot, Meg.
    Meredith — Merry
    Naomi or Noemi
    Penelope — Nell, Penny, Poppy.
    Rowena — Ro, Winnie
    Susannah — Zanna
    Virginia, Virginie — Gigi, Ginger, Ginny

    Liked by 1 person

      • I read the name in a book somewhere and was hooked on it. It’s actually a variant of Madeleine and not of Margaret.

        Ghislaine is from the same root as Giselle/Gisela, etc. It means “pledge.” I’ve seen people say it should be pronounced gee-LEN or zhees-LEN, but I think the Americanized pronunciation would be Giss-layne or Jis-layne.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I actually knew a woman named Magali years ago and had to run and look up her name right away! It’s exotic and familiar at the same time, I love it.

        Very cool about Ghislaine!


  7. Our daughter is the Rosemary nicknamed Rory linked above, but it goes in the opposite direction (unusual nickname, semi-normal full name. I had never considered it, but our eldest daughter more reflects their style – Kateri nicknamed Kat/Kate/Katie/Teri.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think this family’s taste is a bit more modern than some of the suggestions, but I do agree that they might like cora/cory or mia as nicknames. I’ll add the nickname lily to this list, but maybe it’s too similar to ellie, and izzy! they could go the isadora or isobe routel, for a slightly more unusual choice than isabella. Ellie, Ava, and Izzy really do sound like sisters! Elodie, Aviana and Isobel. Swoon!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Or Isabeau, Izzy or Beau.

      Alexandra, Alexandria, Alexandrina, Alexandrine — Alex, Alexa, Allie, Drea, Drina, Exie, Lexie, Sandra, Sasha, Xie, Zandra
      Anastasia — Ana, Annie, Anya, Stacy, Stasia, Tacy, Tasi
      Annora– Nora
      Arabella — Ari, Bella
      Briony– Bree
      Catriona/Katriona — Cat, Kate, Katie
      Celestine — Sally
      Christiana — Annie, Chris, Christy, Tiana
      Cordelia — Cori, Delia, Didi
      Deianira — Didi
      Francesca — Francie, Frannie
      Gabriella — Bree, Briella, Gabby
      Graciela — Gracie
      Harriet, Henrietta — Etta, Hallie, Hetty, Minette, Minnie
      Johanna — Hanna, Hannah
      Juliana — Jules, Julie, Liana
      Miranda — Mandy
      Morwenna — Winnie
      Natalia — Nat, Tali, Talia,Tasha
      Orianna– Annie, Orrie
      Sabrina — Bree
      Valentina — Val, Tina
      Valeria — Val, aria
      Victoria, Victorina, Victorine — Vicky, Rina, Tori
      Winona — Winnie
      Zarina– Zara

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love the Isobel suggestion, and I agree it would look so lovely next to the sisters’ names! Izzy’s cute, or even Bella (I can totally see Bella working even though it’s not exactly the same ending of Isobel).


  9. Further ideas:

    HAdair nn Addie
    Agustina nn Aggie or Gus
    Amaya nn Maya or May
    Angelique nn Angie or Annie
    Antonella nn Nell or Annie
    Benedicta nn Benny
    Carla or Caro (KAHR-o) for Caroline
    Dominique nn Minnie, Mia or Mina
    Domitilla nn Tillie or Milla
    Liv for Lavinia or Livia
    Lucretia nn Lulu
    Martina nn Tina or Marty
    Nicolette nn Colette or Nicky
    Olivet nn Liv or Livvy
    Ophelia nn Fifi
    Posy for Penelope
    Raphaela nn Rafe or Rafi
    Romilly, Romana or Romola nn Romy
    Sephora nn Sephie or Effie
    Tallulah nn Lulu or Lula
    Valentina nn Vale or Tiny (TEE-nee)
    Wilkie for Wilhelmina
    Zolestine nn Zoe

    Liked by 1 person

      • Excuse me, I meant ADAIR: I think it’s Scottish.
        And Zepherine is sweet and saintly… it reminds me of the French Zéphyrine. Glad it is featured in your family tree!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ohh hahaha! I was so intrigued by Hadair, but Adair makes more sense! Yes I assume Zepherine is a variant of Zephyrine, but, for example, Marie Zephyrine, sister of French Kings Louis XVI and XVII and Charles X, was named for Pope Zephyrinus — so it has a very Catholic feel to me — but my great-great-aunt Zepherine was on the Baptist side of my family. I wish I knew more!


    • Very romantic and Celtic!

      There are other Brit TV inspired names if they’re so inclined:

      Edith — Edie
      Sybil, Sybilla — Billie, Sibby
      Viola, Violet, Violetta, Violette — Etta, Letty, Vi

      A few others, just because it’s fun:
      Alexina — Alex, Lexie
      Amaya, Hermione — Maya, Mya
      Angela, Angele, Angelica, Angelina, Angelique — Angie
      Arwen, Arwyn — Winnie
      Bronwyn — Winnie
      Carmina — Mina
      Deirdre — Dee, Didi
      Evangeline, Evelina, Evelyn — Eve, Evie, Lina
      Fiona — Fee,
      Helena, Helen, Helene — Laney, Nell
      Larissa — Lara
      Lorraine, Lorena — Laura, Lora, Lori, Rain, Rainy
      Lucasta, Lucentia, Lucia, Lucilla, Lucille — Lucy
      Maddalena, Madelaina, Madelayna, etc. — Laina, Laney, Maddie
      Maelle — Mae, May
      Morgana — Ana, Annie
      Olympia — Pia
      Rosabel, Rosalind, Rosalinda, Rosalia, Rosaline, Roselyn — Rosie
      Sonia, Sonya — Sunny
      Stephania, Stephanie — Stef, Steffi
      Sylvana — Sylvie
      Tanaquil — Annie, Tana
      Tatiana — Tanya, Tati, Tiana
      Vivian, Vivienne — Viv, Vivi
      Zoya — Zoe

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, there are SO many great ideas both in the post and the comments! I feel like I should take notes! (and have eight more kids).

    Just to push in my Greek versions like usual, all the Cassia variations made me think of the cute Greek form Kassiani. Same root, like cinnamon, and shortened to Kassi. Emphasis on the last syllable – Kassia-NEE. In fact, I have a little Kassiani/Kassi coming over later today 🙂 There is a beautiful hymn sung only on Holy Thursday called the “Hymn of Kassiani.”

    My little niece is named Kezia and called Kezzi, after the biblical figure Keziah. Her sister is Ayanna, meaning “beautiful flower” and nicknamed Anna (or Peach, usually :))

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Two more I know in person – Emmanuella called Emma (her dad is a Spanish-speaker, and I thought it was a great way to give her a Spanish form to match her brothers while giving her a cute approachable nickname) and my niece Clementine called Emmy (born at the same time as my baby, so the baby cousins Elisabeth and Clementine get called Elsie and Emmy by Grammie).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Could you use Nony/Nonnie/Noni for Rhiannon?

    I don’t have anything original to offer. I love Evangeline, clementine, and Susanna for them! I can’t wait to see this birth announcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lotsa names here!!!
    When I was growing up one of my teacher’s name was Sr. Leocadia (a sister of St. Joseph from Brentwood, NY). I have never heard that name anywhere else & I am 65 now! Beautiful name among so many really great suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s