Penelope has bounded up the charts in recent years, from Greek obscurity to celebrity favorite.
It’s not such a surprise, really.
With names like Isabella and Olivia in the US Top Ten, there’s plenty of interest in long names for girls. And Zoe and Chloe paved the way for ‘e’ ending possibilities.
Plenty of Penelopes answer to their full name, no nickname required, thanks.
But with 10,000 newborn Penelopes between 2010 and 2013 alone, doubtless some of them are going to want an easy nickname.
Penny is the default, and has a sweet, vintage vibe. 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!
Lola – There’s a definite ‘lo’ sound in Penelope. Lola is traditionally associated with Dolores, a name decidedly out of favor today. Lola can stand on her own, and ranked a respectable #214 in 2013. 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.
Nell – My personal favorite, traditionally associated with Eleanor and Helen. But the ‘nel’ is right there in Penelope, reducing a long, extravagant name to a spare, simple one.
Poppy – Poppy has been huge in the UK, but remains rarely heard in the US. With the strong repeating ‘p’ sound, Poppy makes sense as an affectionate form of Penelope.
Pippa – Another possibility thanks to the repeating ‘p’ sound, and also bigger in the UK than the US. If Philippa seems too clunky to consider, Penelope might be another route to sparky Pippa. Pippi – as in Longstocking – could be another sweet short form.
Pepper – 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 Penelope would work, too.
Polly – It seems like such a stretch to name your daughter Mary and call her Molly, doesn’t it? And it’s even more of a reach to call your little Mary by this traditional nickname. Nevermind that Mary routinely became Molly or Polly over the generations. Today, Polly feels almost more connected to Penelope than Mary.
Posy – Polly always makes me think of Posy. Sweet, botanical Posy, quiet, literary Posy. This one is usually connected to Josephine, but just like the Polly/Mary link and Daisy/Margaret link and lots of other traditional pairings is less well known in our who-needs-a-formal-name age, Posy could just as easily link to Penelope. It’s a stretch sound-wise, but then again, Posy for Josephine isn’t obvious, either.
Pixie – 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 I’m particularly fond of Pixie as a nickname for Penelope, probably because they both share the same first letter.
What is your favorite nickname for Penelope? Would you consider any of these as independent names, or nicknames for other names? Are there other names that should be on the list?