She and BFF Michele went to their high school more than a dozen years ago. Today you might just find her on the playground.

ROMY 2008 TV awards at the Hofburg in Vienna; photo by Manfred Werner

The name I have in reserve for a (no-I’m-not-pregnant) second daughter is today’s Baby Name of the Day: Romy.

Romy has been a staple in Germany for decades. I’m guessing she’s stale and uninteresting to parents in Munich or Berlin. But in the US, she’s positively novel.

The name is a contracted form of the botanical Rosemarie or Rosemary. The first famous Romy was born Rosemarie Albach in 1937 war-torn Vienna. As Romy Schneider, she became a star, appearing in many French and German films from the 1950s into the early 1980s.

Schneider won a pair of César Awards for Best Actress, and her memory lives on with the Prix Romy Schneider – an award given annually to the most promising actress in French film. She remains famous in Germany, too, where biopic projects are many and a TV award also bears her name. (The photo depicts a giant-size version of the statuette given to winners of the TV award.)

Most American parents probably first heard the name as Mira Sorvino’s character in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Lisa Kudrow played Michele. It’s not exactly a cinematic classic, but the story of lovable losers trying to reinvent themselves for their ten-year reunion is a familiar one. Naturally, they both end happily ever after. Katherine Heigl also took her turn as Romy in a 2005 made-for-TV prequel.

The name attracted more attention when Matt Lauer and his Dutch wife Annette bestowed the name on their second child, daughter Romy. Stylish Sofia Coppola’s firstborn is also Romy, born in 2006.

Another television reference is the actress who plays Finn’s mom on Glee, Romy Rosemont.

But most notable Romys are German-born, from the 1950s through the 1970s. The name has never registered in the US Top 1000, though Rosemarie peaked in the 1930s and Rosemary had her day in the Roaring Twenties.

Romy is a rarity, and that’s part of her appeal. But she also fits plenty of trends:

  • From Chloe and Zoe to Olivia, o remains a popular letter;
  • Like Sadie and Molly, she’s a nickname that seems substantial enough to be bestowed independently;
  • She feels like a gender-neutral choice, even though she’s undeniably feminine. Parents attracted to Riley, Rory, Rowan, or Remy for a daughter might like Romy’s clearly feminine status.

Romy also surfaces in Israel as a popular choice, but I couldn’t confirm exactly when she caught on, or just how common she became. I did find a Tel Aviv eatery called Chez Romy, and references to Romys.

Romy could also serve as a short form of Romilly or Rosamund, but she stands nicely on her own. If you’re looking for a sparky name with just a little bit of history, Romy might be the one for you.

And so ends my birthday week of choosing names! Thanks for coming along for the ride. Melissa also gets credit for suggesting Romy and helping me settle on what I’d pick for today. It was harder than I thought! I realize now that I would NEVER keep writing if not for the suggestions sent my way. 🙂

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. We named our daughter Romy. She goes by the nickname Romes. At the time we didn’t know any other Romys but now we know at least three or four others who are of a similar age (under 10) which we think is lovely.

  2. Romy or Romi is popular in Israel because it’s also a short form of Romina (which is an arabic – hebrew name). My mother wanted to name me after Romy Schneider, but Romy or Rosemary are not allowed in my country, so she called me Romina. But everybody calls me Romi, by the way.

  3. Thank you, Abby for giving us a great week of names. I particularly enjoyed Romy, Sally (gee, didn’t realize I actually LIKE it!), and Amy.

    I look forward to your post every day.