But how ’bout Aggie?
She’s been neglected over the years, true. But just as Maggie seems to be gaining steam on the heels of Maddie, could Aggie follow all of those other A-ie appellations?
Hollywood says maybe so. Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany welcomed a daughter named Agnes Lark back in 2011. They weren’t the first, either – Elisabeth Shue was ahead of the curve with her daughter Agnes in 2006.
Of course, for many a parent, Aggie isn’t a name, but an institution. Texas A&M University football is legendary, and the university’s sports teams are all known as the Aggies. It comes from the A in A&M – once upon a time, it was The Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas. Times have changed, but they’re still the Aggies today. It’s one of the largest schools in the US, too, so there are plenty of A&M alumni.
Formal Names for Aggie: The Obvious Choices
Agatha – I can’t hear Agatha without thinking “Great Aunt Agatha,” as in the formidable character from the Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse. But Agatha wasn’t always associated with imposing matrons. A saint’s name that was once in steady use for girls, today Agatha could be that hit that familiar-but-seldom-heard sweet spot, a sister for Beatrice or Cordelia.
Agnes – There’s been the tiniest uptick in girls named Agnes in recent years. Another saintly choice, Agnes is also associated with the Latin word for lamb, as in agnus dei. It gives her a serious good-girl vibe, but that hasn’t hurt Abigail.
Augusta – Okay, maybe she’s not quite as obvious as Agatha or Agnes. But Augie doesn’t feel like a girls’ name to me. I have met an Augusta called Gusty, which has a certain charm. But Augusta called Aggie seems even sweeter.
Formal Names for Aggie: Elaborate Exotics
Agate – Do you remember Mercutio’s speech about Queen Mab in Romeo and Juliet? He describes Queen Mab as “no bigger than an agate-stone.” I assume he means pebble, but agate isn’t a size – it is a type of colorful quartz, popular for carving in the ancient world. Agate comes from the Achrates, the name of a Sicilian river where the stone was first found. The poetic connection makes me like Agate, and it almost looks like an update of Agatha, or a spin on the French spelling, Agathe. But I have my doubts about the sound: ah get.
Aglaea, Aglaia, Aglaé, Aglaïa, Aglaïane – One of my favorites, a Greek name meaning splendor or shining one, worn by the youngest of the Three Graces in Greek mythology. The Graces were part of Aphrodite’s entourage. The name was worn by other women in Greek myth, too. I suppose the glay sound is a little bit awkward in English, but I find her tempting nonetheless – just the right balance of clunky and lovely.
Agnella – I found her on a list of Agnes variants. Her -ella ending might appeal to parents after something different, but not too out of step. If you decided against Aggie as a short form, there’s always the option of Ellie with this one.
Agraciana – A mouthful of a name, the Spanish Agraciana seems to mean forgiveness. I thought it might be associated with Mary, like Consuelo, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Agrippina – One the positive side, there’s a Saint Agrippina. But on the negative, the most famous bearer of the name was Emperor Nero’s scheming mother. A
Altagracia – It’s a lovely, ethereal name meaning “high grace.” Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia is the patron saint of the Dominican Republic, sometimes called Virgin of the Highest Grace in English. Aggie could be a short form, though Allie or Gracie seems like the more natural choice.
Dagmar – It’s an Old Norse name seldom heard in the US in recent years, but she definitely leads to Aggie.
Eglantine – I’ve been in love with this clunky botanical rarity ever since I heard it used for an owlet in the Kathryn Lasky Guardians of Ga’Hoole novels – though she also appears in Chaucer.
Jadwiga – The Polish form of Hedwig, a non-starter of a name. The fourteenth century Queen Jadwiga ruled Poland in her own right at the age of ten.
Morag - Mor is a Scottish feminine name, and Morag is the diminutive form. The correct pronunciation doesn’t quite lend itself to Aggie, but the spelling certainly does.
Formal Names for Aggie: Stretches
Margaret – It’s difficult to imagine a Margaret called Aggie, but plenty of them have answered to Maggie. Drop the M, and you have our target nickname of the day. It’s not obvious, but it’s not impossible, either. Come to that, nearly any formal name for Maggie contains the possibility of Aggie, too. So add Magdalena, Magnolia and so on to the list of stretches, too.
Anna Genevieve, Ava Grace, Alice Georgia or any name leading to the initials A.G. - It’s not common, but there certainly are a handful of people out there answering to names formed by their initials. Since there are so many great A and G names for girls, this seems like an especially promising way to get to Aggie.
Are there other possibilities that should be on this list? Which names are your favorite? And is Aggie due for a comeback – or not quite yet?