Have you seen Annie yet?
I loved it. Loved the updates to the soundtrack, to the setting, to the characters. Loved the way they knit social media into the story. Loved Quvezhané Wallis. Did not hate Cameron Diaz as Ms. Hannigan. And yeah, who doesn’t love a happy ending?
So I’ve had Annie on the brain, especially after I saw pictures of Jamie Foxx – he plays a re-imagined version of Daddy Warbucks called Will Stacks – and his daughter Annalise at the premiere.
The list of Ann- names is extensive, and history gives us plenty of variants. Saints and queens have answered to Ann, including the mother of the Virgin Mary. But Anne of Green Gables asks to be called Cordelia, because “Anne is such an unromantic name.” And yet, I recently heard of a very stylish couple who named their daughter Anne – just Anne – with a double-barreled surname and suddenly it seemed like the most elegant of choices, far more arresting than Jane.
Annie is a little different. Annie was a Top 100 name from the nineteenth century into the 1940s, briefly appearing in the US Top Ten. Annie is spunky, casual, and filled with the spirit of the curly-haired orphan girl whose story graduated from a comic strip to Broadway to the big screen.
Whether your love is Anne or Annie, or if you’re lukewarm on both but like names that are classic with a twist, there’s something on this list of Annie Names for you.
Annie Names: The Obvious
Ann, Anne – Both spellings have long histories of use in English, with the more popular spelling shifting over the decades. Strictly speaking, the ‘e’ version is French, but Ann, Anne, Annie, and other forms can be found in English from the Middle Ages through the present day. Anne is much more popular as of 2013 – #519 with the ‘e’, versus #916 without.
Ana, Anna – Another subtle spelling difference separates two obvious Annie names. We’ve slimmed down the Hebrew Channah of the Old Testament to Hannah and finally Anna, especially in the New Testament. Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina makes this a literary name, while Disney’s Frozen gives this Annie name to a brave princess. Slim the name down to Ana and the name is Spanish and Portuguese, often found in compound names. Though Ana is also Southern European, remaining a Top Ten favorite in Croatia and Slovenia.
Annie – While the early years of Social Security data aren’t as reliable as we might think, it appears that many women were named Annie – not Anna or Anne – through the middle of the twentieth century. In the 2014 version of the film, the title character’s legal name is Annie Bennett.
Annie Names: The Diminutives
Plenty of languages create diminutives – affectionate, nickname forms – by adding syllables. Think of -ita and -ette. But in modern American English, we typically reduce names. These forms would be seen as nicknames in other languages. But English-speaking parents could use one of these Annie names as a formal version to get to the nickname Annie.
Annette – A 1950s favorite, boosted by Mickey Mouse Club member Annette Funicello and one of the French names in vogue at the time. Despite the rise of -et and -ette names for girls, Annette continues to tumble down the usage charts.
Anita – Just add -ita to Ana and you’ll have another name that peaked in the 1950s and 60s. Anita is also the feminine form of the Sanskrit name Anit.
Annika – Annika is Swedish, but this name can also be spelled Anika and even Anica. It feels like a combination of Ann and Nicole, but it isn’t just another diminutive form. Annika peaked at #284 back in 2003 – credit pro golfer Annika Sorenstam, maybe? Actress Anika Noni Rose, of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog fame, has helped boost the single ‘n’ spelling.
Annabel, Annabelle – Once upon a time, we preferred the -bel spelling. Now -belle dominates. Either way, Annabelle is part-Edgar Allan Poe tragedy, part-pretty. It’s an easy way to get to Annie – or Bella or Belle.
Annalise, Anneliese, Annelise, Annalisa – Anneliese is a German smoosh of Anne and Elizabeth. Phonetically, Anneliese is probably best re-spelled Annalisa, but most American parents prefer a three-syllable pronunciation: Annalise. It’s the spelling used by Jamie Foxx for his daughter, and the way the main character in How to Get Away With Murder spells her name, too. It’s also a fast-rising choice for girls in the US, one that could lead to lots of little Annies.
Annemarie, Anamaria, Annamaria, Marianne – If Ann and Mary are among the most enduring of feminine names, little wonder that the two have often been smooshed together. Of course, the vagaries of how we record legal names mean that lots of women have been Anne Marie – first and middle – but are counted as only Anne in our official records.
Annarose, Annagrace – Of course, Annie names work in plenty of combinations. Annarose is a rarity – given to two dozen girls in 2013, and never any more in a single year. There were 25 Annagraces in the same year.
Annalee, Analee, Annalie, Annelie, Anelie – Annalee is obviously a smoosh of Anna and Lee, but spelled Annelie, it’s a short form of another name from this section – Anneliese. There are at least eight possible spellings in use in the US, with Annalee far and away the most popular.
Annie Names: The Exotics
Anais, Anaïs – It’s an obscure French form of Anne, pronounced sort of like Annareese, but drop the ‘r’ in the middle. Author Anaïs Nin means that most of us recognize the name. It was given to just over 200 girls in the US in 2013, but it is much more common in France.
Anouk – Also used in French, as well as Dutch. French actress Anouk Aimee is probably the most famous bearer, though there’s currently a Dutch pop singer known as just Anouk.
Anneke – A cousin to Annika, and another Dutch form. The Dutch -ke is a popular way to form a diminutive. Elke is short for Elisabeth, Janke or Janneke for Johanna, and Anke or Anneke for Anna.
Anja, Anya, Annushka – Anja and Anya are used in many European languages; Annushka is exclusive to Russian.
What’s your favorite formal name for Annie? Are there any that you would add to this list?