Take the popular Lily and add an M. Mix in our affection for names like Hattie and Sadie, and it is no surprise that Millie is catching on.
It’s already happened in the UK, where Millie ranks in the Top 50 across England, Ireland, and Scotland. In the US, Millie re-entered the US Top 1000 as an independent name in 2009, and is just outside of the US Top 100 as of 2022.
Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown helped raise the name’s profile even farther. The young actress makes it clear that the name Millie has plenty of strength and poise.
There’s also Millie Mackintosh, star of British reality show Made in Chelsea and now a public figure in the UK.
The popular name has been in the spotlight before. Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie started out as a 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews. It’s set in 1922, the story of a flapper who comes to New York City to find a wealthy husband. Or possibly love. It all ends happily. (Well, save for some painful racist stereotyping – common in the 1960s, shocking today.)
But what is Millie short for? Does it need to be short for anything? And if so, which formal names for Millie are the most wearable?
Read on for some possibilities!
A botanical route to Millie.
AMELIA and AMELIE
As nickname potential goes, Amelia rivals even Elizabeth and Katherine. There’s Mia and Amy and Mila, too. Why not Millie? The sound is there, even if the letters aren’t quite right.
The French form of Amelia, Amelie might be an even more obvious route to Millie.
CAMILA, CAMILLA, CAMILLE
Camille and Camilla and Camila combine literary and mythological roots, as well as a stylish sound. Each one is a feminine form of Camillus, a Roman family name. There’s the mythological volscian warrior queen Camilla, as well as Alexandre Dumas’ tragic love story, a novel turned play turned movie. And, of course, there’s Camilla, Queen of England.
Camila sits near the top of the US popularity charts at the moment.
EMILIA and EMILY
Long-time chart-topper Emily has recently been replaced by Amelia sound-alike Emilia. But it’s Emily and Emilia that are closely related, along with names like Emiliana.
The letters aren’t exactly right, but the sounds suggest that Millie would work as a short form. Emmeline returned to the US Top 1000 for the first time in recent years in 2014. Alternative spellings like Emeline, Emmaline, Emmalyn, and Emmalynn have all been seen, too.
JAMILA and JAMILAH
An Arabic name meaning beautiful.
MADELINE and MADELYN
Madeline is nearly always Maddie, but with that strong L sound, Millie works, too. Madelyn outranks Madeline in the US at the moment.
Any Anne of Green Gables fans?
Matilda comes from the Germanic Amalaswinth or Amalswintha, from the elements amal – work – and swinth – strength. Over the years, it became Matilda. The obvious short forms for the name are Mattie and Tillie, but Millie follows logically, too. Given all of the girls answering to Maddie, going a different route makes sense.
The medieval Melisande is a big name for a small child, but Millie makes it quite wearable.
A smash hit from the 1960s into the 80s, Melissa has a classic charm that could wear well today. Factor in potential nickname Millie and it might be even more wearable today.
One of the titles of the Virgin Mary in Spanish is Our Lady of Miracles – Milagros. The first syllable makes Millie a potential nickname.
Looking for a place name possibility that’s less common than London? How about the unisex Milan, as in the Italian fashion capital, and a Slavic name from milu – dear.
Currently ranked in the 700s in the US, Milana might be an elaboration of Milan, related to the Slavic word meaning dear. Milania is another Mil- name to consider. They might also be related to Melanie/Melania/Milena, though those names have other possible origins and meanings, too.
Cousin to popular Mila, Milena sounds like an elaboration, but has a history of independent use. Czech, Serbian, and Bulgarian offer similar names.
Mildred might seem dated. And yet, this 2019 nursery tour from Apartment Therapy for a Mildrid could reframe the name’s image. The -id spelling is Scandi, and puts it in the same category as timeless Ingrid and Astrid.
Milla serves as the simplest way to transform Millie into a slightly more formal name. Mila works, too, but it’s generally pronounced with a long E sound: Mee-lah rather than MILL-ah.
Millie softens up Miller, or any other surname with the syllable Mil.
There’s something sweet and lady-like about Millicent, a name that conjures up images of little girls in spotless white pinafores. The logical short form of Millicent, Millie energizes the name. Millicent could be a successor to Abigail and Charlotte.
Like Emmeline, the sound is there.
A rare French surname with a romantic sound, Romilly clearly includes the Millie sound.
A regal, Germanic feminine form of the evergreen William, Wilhelmina screams to be shortened. If Billie feels too boyish and Minnie too mouse, why not Millie?
In Latin America, the Arabic Jamila – beautiful – became Yamilet and Yamileth.
So what is Millie short for? Do you have any favorite formal names for Millie?
This post was originally published on June 22, 2012. It was substantially revised and re-posted on October 12, 2015; October 13, 2019; and July 18, 2023.