Formal names for Rory owe much of their existence to Gilmore Girls, the long-running television series about a mother-daughter duo. Both Gilmores bore the name Lorelai, but the younger answered to nickname Rory.
It wasn’t just presented as a fact, either – during the first season, Lorelai talked about the decision in some detail, and her daughter explained her name more than once.
Rory Gilmore wasn’t the first girl to bear this traditionally masculine name. Hollywood icon Errol Flynn welcomed a daughter by the name way back in 1947.
But it turns out lots of feminine formal names for Rory exist, from traditional to modern.
The idea fits with a big category – boyish nicknames for traditionally feminine choices. If you like the sound of Alex for Alexandra and Charlie for Charlotte, one of these might be the perfect nickname/formal name option for you.
LORELAI (#522), LORELEI (#444)
The name that started it all. For seven seasons, we watched two Lorelais, mother and daughter, make their way through life in tiny Stars Hollow and beyond. We later learned that there’s yet another Lorelai, a grandmother called Trix, who started the family custom. It’s a frilly name from German folklore, and a pretty one, too. It was heard in the US before Gilmore Girls, but the show made it mainstream.
Disney used this name for Sleeping Beauty way back in 1959, but it didn’t crack the US Top 100 until 2015. It’s a place name (think Colorado) and a nature name, too. It refers to the polar lights, seen at the north and south poles. And it’s borrowed from mythology, too. The Romans made Aurora goddess of the dawn. Combined with the popular -ora sound, no surprise Aurora is more popular than ever today.
Classic Caroline comes with a strong “ro” sound built in. Plus, it’s good to have more nickname options besides the obvious Carrie. And Caroline is almost crying out for a boyish nickname. After all, like Charlotte, it started out as a feminine form of the evergreen Charles.
Coraline claims distinct French roots, but author Neil Gaiman arrived at the name by reversing the ‘o’ and the ‘a’ in Caroline. While the RO sound isn’t quite present in Coraline, I still think it’s close enough to work. And maybe that’s true for other Cora names, too – Cordelia, Coralie, even just Cora?
Dolly is darling, and Dot is downright sweet. But Rory might be the coolest possible nickname for this vintage, storybook name. Brother name Theodore is a Top 100 favorite for boys nowadays. Dorothy Gale went somewhere over the rainbow; a Dorothy called Rory would surely have equally intriguing adventures.
If Aurora and the Coras can get us to Rory, so can the Floras. Not that Florence is short on possible nicknames. (There’s Flossie, Florrie, and if you’re an insurance spokesperson, Flo.) It’s a strongly Irish nickname for a romantic Italian city, and yet I think it works just fine.
Marjorie-called-Marge is your favorite great aunt. Or the mom from The Simpsons. But this medieval form of Margaret, and 1920s favorite, feels like it should be ready for revival. Maybe all it would take is the idea of sparky nickname Rory to help parents see Marjorie as perfect for a newborn daughter.
ROSEMARIE (unranked), ROSEMARY (#368)
More than one of the Rose names might shorten to Rory. The likeliest candidates might be those with a second ‘r’ sound, like Rosemary and Rosemarie. There’s precedent for a contracted nickname: the German Romy comes from these longer names, too. They’re among the most obvious formal names for Rory.
File Victoria with those classic girl names rich in diminutives. Among them? Tori, long considered a reasonable nickname for Victoria. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Tori to Rory. If you love the regal elegance of Victoria, but long for a playful nickname option, Victoria-called-Rory might be just the thing.
Would you ever consider Rory for a girl? If so, would you use a longer form? And are there any possibilities that I’ve missed?
First published on August 3, 2012, this post was revised substantially and re-published on March 16, 2020, and again on September 1, 2022.
Rory is also good as a nickname for Maiara or Maria
A combo like Roxana Rhiannon or Rowena Riley could lead to Rory.
Do you think Rory could work for Georgia? Talk about sass and spunk!
I think Georgia is a pretty name and Georgia-called-Rory is a bit of a stretch but it would make for a regal nickname for Georgia.
I like the nn Rory for a girl and wanted to find a name it could be shortened from…I was wondering if Lenore/Lenora would work..?
My daughter’s name is Rory Lynn, and my husband and I love her name as does everyone else we meet. We always get compliments on it. She is 5, very girly, but rough and tough. It suits her perfect. To each their own. I don’t think it is any different in people naming their little girl Charlie, Hayden, Noah, etc…
I named my daughter Rori Kathleen Flynn… Rori is perfect for her..
Karen Elizabeth says
I would go with Rorie for a girl – I think the -ie gives it a feminine touch. And no need for a nick name. And then give a truly feminine middle name so she is not completely “unisex”.
My daughter’s name is Victoria but we call her Rory.
I use to know a girl named Rory, and it wasn’t until later that I found out her name was actually Tzipporah.
Some not mentioned: Amideror, Amiderora, Amidror, Amidrora, Aurore, Deror, Derora, Derori, Deroria, Derorit, Deroriya, Dror, Drora, Drori, Droria, Drorit, Droriya, Leederor, Leederora, Leedror, Leedrora, Lideror, Liderora, Lidror, Lidrora, Magenderora, Magendrora, Serora, Tserora, Tzerora, Zerora
I could not convince my husband that Aurora (NN Rory) would be a perfect name for our first born daughter. I love the astral connection and the disney connection just made it cuter. I also love the meaning of Rory by itself – Red King… and thought being a family of redheads, it was kinda funky. The same old argument came up when I fell pregnant with daughter #2. Alas, I have no children with this name, but if I were to ever meet a little Aurora/Rory, I might just swoon.
I couldn’t use Rory as a girls name personally, because I have a close (male) friend who bears the name. However, I love the Gilmore girls, and could easily see a girl Rory.
I like Rory, and I love Marjorie and Florence, but I may go with Marji and Florrie, because they’re happier somehow to me. I also like Loretta and Rory could work for that name, but Lottie would too.
The only female Rory I know IRL is actually named Aurora. She’s more tomboy than Disney Princess, so Rory suits her best.
On a trip through Norway, my tour-guide was named Roar. Since many of the Americans in our tour couldn’t pronounce it correctly, he preferred that we just call him Rory. With that in mind, I’m thinking Rory would work as a feminine form of Roger and it’s a lot more elegant than Rogeria.
I dislike Rory on a girl period. I don’t like it as a nickname either. As a Laura who got Lola as a kid, I feel like I escaped a fate worse than death! Lori is AWFUL to me (sorry), but I’ve also gotten Rora from my Chinese GF’s parents, so yeah, Rory *could* work. But really? blech.
I don’t care for Rory on either sex and I wonder at it’s popularity. To my ears it sounds like Scooby Doo trying to say Lori.
I truly love Rory for either gender, though I prefer it as a nickname to a more feminine full name for girls. Marjorie nicknamed Rory ir really standing out to me. I love Lorelei nicknamed Rory, too, but worry it’s TOO Gilmore Girls.
I love Rory as a nickname for Aurelia. That was my name waaaaay back in my high school Latin classes, and Rory is my father-in-law’s name. I think it could work!
I am also completely enamored with what Names4Real said about Rory working for Caroline, too… Caroline is at the top of our contenders list, and that makes it even MORE appealing to me!
Maybe Veronica, Victoria or Henriqueta…
I like it as a nickname for Dorothy. Good suggestion.
Coraline made me think Rory could be a nickname for Caroline too.
What about Veronica, Victoria, and Gloria?
I’ve never thought of Rory as a nickname for Victoria! Victoria is one of the husband’s favorites that I love as well. We’ve shied away from it because of our mutual dislike of Vickie and Tori. I’ll have to run Rory by him. Great suggestion!
What about Cora as an unusual nickname for Victoria?
LOVE Rory for a girl (in fact, I love all those tomboy nns), but never much fancied Aurora or Loralei.
I love the idea of Margorie nn Rory! I never would have thought that before, but now I look at it, it makes perfect sense.
Charlotte Vera says
If any name with “or” in it is serviceable then I suppose one could also get to Rory with Deborah (very updated from Debbie!) and Zipporah as well. Even Laura might do. Growing up I had a friend named Lorianne. She usually went by her full name or by Lori, which is only a short step to Rory.
I recently completed something of a Doctor Who marathon. Since one of the current main characters of the show is a man named Rory, I’m having a hard time seeing this as a girl’s name.
Caitlin B says
My grandmother was Rosanna and so were two of her cousins. They were all born in Ireland and she went by Rory while one cousin was Anna and the last kept Rosanna. My female cousin’s name is Rory – not Rosanna, but still named for our grandma. Cousin Rory just had a little boy and named him Eamon (<3)!
Also, Charlotte Vera – love Doctor Who!! But Rory is more feminine to me (even though I know it comes from Ruari) because of my family.
Charlotte Vera says
Fascinating! My own daughter is Roseanna, but due to an early inability to pronounce her own name she often goes by Zanna. Incidentally, my husband’s ethnic background is half Irish (dad’s side) and half Metis (mum’s side). Roseanna was named for her francophone Metis grandmother (hence the spelling), but it’s interesting to know that the name isn’t completely out of place with her Irish heritage.
Caitlin B says
Zanna is adorable, I love that. I had to google Metis and fell into a super interesting Wiki-hole, so thanks for that! 🙂