The baby name is one-part Elsie, two parts spun-sugar. Sweet, stylish, and on-trend, too.

Thanks to Sabrina for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


The meaning of Dulcie is straightforward. It comes from the Latin dulcis, meaning sweet.

It fits with a cluster of names used in medieval England. All shared Latin roots and appealing meanings: Constance, Clemence, Amabel, Viviana.

Fourteenth century England gives us Dulcia, Douce, and Duce. The latter two owe something to the French word for sweet or gentle, douce.

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources lists Dulce in multiple forms, as well as Dulciebelle and Dulcedram.


In Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Dromio of Syracuse refers to Dowsabel. Another play, The London Prodigal, mentions “as pretty a Dowsabell as we should hope to see on a summer’s day.”  And an poem from the same era, written by Michael Drayton, calls his Dowsabel “a maiden fayre and free.” 

It’s part-name, part-endearment. And it was thoroughly literary, too.


Speaking of literary uses, Don Quixote’s  Dulcinea might be one of the most appealing longer forms for Dulcie.

Dulcibella – an update to medieval Dowsabel – is another possibility.


  • 1916 silent rom-com Dulcie’s Adventure featured the lovely Mary Miles Minter.
  • In 1919 Gladys Leslie played the lead in Dulcie from Dixie.
  • Dulcie Deamer was an Australian actor and writer.
  • Dulcie Gray had a long career on stage, television and film – and also wrote murder mysteries.
  • Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Links included twins named Dulcie and Bella.
  • 1953 musical The Boy Friend featured the students of Miss Dubonnet’s School for Young Ladies: Maisie, Nancy, Fay, Pollyand Dulcie.
  • It was the name of a Coronation Street character in the 1980s.
  • Dulcie September was a South African anti-apartheid activist, assassinated in Paris, and for whom a Parisian city square is named.
  • The Disney Fairies family includes a Dulcie, Pixie Hollow’s best baker.

It’s a longer list than many might expect.

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Between the 1880s and 1905, the baby name Dulcie routinely ranked in the US Top 1000.

But the preferred spelling has switched in recent decades.

Dulce – literally “sweet” or “candy” in Spanish – is now the preferred spelling in the US. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 1990. As of 2023, the baby name Dulce ranks #781.

In the meantime, Dulcie was given to fewer than five girls in 2023.

Other possibilities include:

  • The Italian Dolce, as in Dolce & Gabbana and la dolce vita, given to fewer than five girls in 2023, but used in small numbers as recently as 2022.
  • Dulcet, a rare word name, never in the US Top 1000.
  • Dulcimer, another word name, this time from a musical instrument, again, never used for five girls in a single year.


While longer forms, like Dulcet and Dulcinea, remain quite rare, Dulce has enjoyed some popularity in recent generations. Spelling the baby name Dulcie would fit with so many popular choices, too.

If you’re after a name that’s old-fashioned, undiscovered, sweet, and straightforward, Dulcie has potential.

What do you think of the baby name Dulcie? Do you prefer Dulce, or one of the longer forms?

First published on February 5, 2014, this post was revised and updated on July 7, 2024.

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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What do you think?


  1. I like the idea of Dulcie, but I can’t stand the name. Probably because I read a book where Dulcie was a wretched child – it was one of the Ballet Shoes series by Noel Streatfeild.

  2. The ‘dul-” suffix puts me off a little, though I do quite like this name. It has historical roots and has a sweet dainty vibe.
    I know a 70-ish English Dulcie: her father heard the name when he was working in Australia and liked it.
    It does seem to have had a good innings in Australia, since I’ve heard of three famous Dulcies here (two from the first half of last century) and know another.
    One Aussie D name that might surprise you is Desley – it was used in the state of Queensland during the 1940s. It reminds me of a mishmash of Dulcie and Lesley. I don’t think it will be revived any time soon!

  3. In the late 90s movie Drive Me Crazy, starring a dreamy young Adrian Grenier, his girlfriend played by Ali Larter is named Dulcie.

  4. How do you pronounce Dulcie?

    Cute name I would have never considered. Fits so well with other nickname-names like Minnie, Winnie, Annie, and the like.

    1. I’m a Dulcie! Personally I love it as a name – it’s unique and girly enough but not too much 🙂 I’m called Dulce by all my friends which I really like too

  5. Do you think Dowsabel spelling could make a comeback? It does come with the dainty and sweet nickname Doe.