Unexpected Penelope nicknames meet a need. After all, over 6,000 girls were named Penelope last year alone, and nearly 20,000 in the last three years.
That’s a lot of little girls sharing the same name!
It marries the long and lovely sounds of favorites like Isabella and Olivia. Plus, Zoe and Chloe paved the way for interesting e-ending options.
Plenty of Penelopes answer to their full name, no nickname required.
But options abound.
Penny is the default, a sweetly vintage choice. There’s The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” and The Rescuers’ little girl Penny. But Penny isn’t for everyone – and definitely isn’t the only option.
Read on for eight unexpected nicknames for Penelope!
There’s a definite ‘lo’ sound in Penelope. Lola is traditionally associated with Dolores, a name out of favor today. Lola can stand on its own, and ranked a respectable #260 in 2021. But if you’re after a formal name, Penelope is a stylish possibility with the right sound. A similar option that’s even more obscure is Pola, as in Polish-born silent film star Pola Negri.
Traditionally associated with Eleanor and Helen, Nell works for Penelope, too. The ‘nel’ is right there in Penelope, transforming a long, extravagant name to a spare, simple one.
Poppy has been huge in the UK, and climbing in the US, too. With the strong repeating ‘p’ sound, Poppy makes sense as an affectionate form of Penelope.
Another possibility thanks to the repeating ‘p’ sound, and also bigger in the UK than the US. If Philippa seems too obscure, Penelope might be another route to sparky Pippa. Pippi – as in children’s storybook character Longstocking – could be another sweet short form.
Between Iron Man and Annie, there have been plenty of prominent characters called Pepper. But like Cricket and Bootsy, Pepper doesn’t feel strongly connected to any single given name. Instead, Pepper is the feminine equivalent of Buddy or Junior. But if Pippa and Poppy are possible short forms of Penelope, it stands to reason that Pepper would work, too.
At one point, naming your daughter Mary and calling her Molly was perfectly acceptable. Likewise, many a Mary became Polly. That feels a little odd today. Instead, Polly sounds more like a potential nickname for Penelope.
Sweet, botanical Posy; quiet, literary Posy. This one is usually connected to Josephine, but traditional pairings are less well known in our who-needs-a-formal-name age. Posy could easily link to Penelope. It’s a stretch sound-wise, but then again, Posy for Josephine isn’t obvious, either.
Yes, there are a handful of women really named Pixie. And Pixie could be a nickname for nearly any name – see actress Pixie Lott, born Victoria. But that letter P means that Pixie works particularly well for Penelope.
What is your favorite Penelope nickname?
First published on January 9, 2015, this post was updated on August 13, 2022.
How about Ella. It is definitely in pen Ella pee
So many times my name gets confused … Pamela, Melanie. Priscilla. Pauline.
I’m a Penelope.
Was Lady P, Poppy, sweet pea, pen pen, at times. My father used to call me penepaneza sometimes. Think I’d like to try out Polly. Looking for some sort of older persons name. As I hit mid century.
Ople could be on the list to!
Penelope—Penny (Newnam) Dimler says
These comments give me a greater appreciation for my name. Thank you folks.—Penelope
Penny (Newnam) Dimler says
What about “Lope”? Lupe is a diminutive of Guadalupe. Could Lope be so for Penelope? Also are there Spanish diminutives for Penelope?
Tilin Foster says
We called our Penelope Opie when she was little.
Penny Williams says
I get called Nelly, and no i did not spell my name wrong
We call our little Penelope Sweet P
Why is Punky not on the penelope nicknames list
We call our Penelope- Pip!
Kailynt Kager says
People just call me Nelly like Nell and I prefer it to Penny or Penelope
Penelope is such a perfect name. I love it! And I love all the nick name options it comes with.. I’m a big fan of nick names, they’re practically a must for me. Posy and Nell are my favorites from the bunch. 🙂
I have a little Penelope ‘Pippa’. I love it so much and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get everyone on board with the nickname.
Lainy P says
Favorite nicknames for Penelope are Pepper, Penn, and Poe. Also PJ because my combo is Penelope Jane. 🙂
Those are great suggestions – and I love PJ! It’s the name of one of the classroom pets at my kid’s school, and it really makes me happy every time I say it. 🙂
I love this post!! I think my favorite nicknames are Nell and Poppy.. I’ve never thought of Posy as a nickname for Penelope but I ADORE that name so much. I’m one of the crazies who is very seriously considering it as a stand alone for this babe. What literature does it come from?? My husband thinks I made it up.
I have 6 month old twins, Emma and Penelope. I call her P-Lo !
LOVE! Congrats on your nicely-named twins. 🙂
My name is Penelope. Mostly called Penny as a child and now occasionally. I prefer Pen the traditional shorten name for Penelope. I liked Nell but my mother hated that so of course I was never called that. I got sick of being called Penny for them, halfpenny and my pet hate was Henny Penny. Ugh. , just called me Penelope.
I like Penny and Pepper best for Penelope.
I’m odd, I like Pip/Pippa for Philippa but not for Penelope. Of course our here in Oz where Pepper sounds like Peppa, the difference between Pippa and Peppa is just a slight NZed accent… 😉
I like Posy for Josephine. But couldn’t use it as Josie’s daughter Posy sounds ridiculous.
Oddly enough I like Pixie for Beatrix via Bix to Pix.
Polly is on our list as an option for Opal. I like to think Opal is quite usable? Ippolita would push it to real guilty pleasure territory.
I love the name Penelope. I would call my Penelope the occasional nickname Poe or Penn, but I like almost all of your choices, especially Posey.
You could also use Elle/Ellie too.
As much as I love unexpected nicknames, I think I prefer good ol’ Penny for Penelope. I still, however, would love to meet a Polly and Lola who were secret Penelopes.
I have such a soft spot for Polly! I’d love to see more girls called this whether it was a nickname or a stand-alone.
Me too — I love Polly! And have long been on the lookout for more a “substantial” name to use as a give name. The best I’ve come up with is Pauline, but I think Penelope is so much better. From online discussions of various non-traditional nicknames being used with classic names these days, I think Penelope “Polly” would work just fine. I also think that eventually Polly as a stand-alone name may make a comeback in the USA (presently not in the top 1000), just as it has in England/Wales, where Polly ranked at #243 in 2013.
Off topic, but I like Opal and Apollonia for Polly.
If you don’t want to call your daughter Penelope, name her something else.
Sure, that’s one approach. And there are plenty of great reasons to skip the formal name. But plenty of parents like the idea of flexibility. Or kids with a certain name grow up and think, hmmm … I’m not really a Penny, but I’d be a great Nell. Nothing wrong with nicknames. Or options.