Letter iI do not like names respelled to end with an i.

Maci, Juli, Kari – no, no, no. Macy, Julie, Carrie – yes, yes, yes.

Nicknames – Ceci for Cecilia – get a pass. And I don’t so much mind Ashlie and Averie, though I think it might be frustrating to introduce yourself as “Ashlie with an ie” for ever and evermore.

Except that I do find myself completely in love with names that conventionally end in i, perhaps because it is rather rare – at least in English. And so this week’s list is all about girls’ names that end with the letter i, stylishly.

Naomi – Maybe the best example of an enduring appellation that ends in i, the Biblical Naomi has been quietly on the rise for years, reaching #96 in 2010. Looking for something similar, but less popular? The French Noemi is an option, but Noemie is the more common spelling. And now there’s the Scandinavian Noomi, worn by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, known for her roles in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Eleni – I’m dazzled by Eleni’s, the New York cookie company known for their elaborately decorated sweets. Eleni Gianopulos is the baker behind the business. Like many famous bearers of the name, she’s Greek – but then, there was also a sixteenth century Empress of Ethiopia called Eleni, so the name has international cred. And, of course, Eleni has impeccably classic roots – she’s derived from Helen. With Elena, Eleanor, and Helena all feeling current at the moment, Eleni is both striking different and appealingly familiar.

Kateri – The Mohawk version of Catherine, popularized by a seventeenth century convert to Christianity, is something of a puzzle. The pronunciation is debated, and I’m not sure if any one else answered to Kateri until Catherine Tekakwitha came along. She’s scheduled to be canonized shortly, possibly encouraging more Catholic parents to consider Kateri for their daughters. Still, I think she could work for parents of other faiths. First, she’s considered the patron of environmental causes. Second, Kate names are mainstream.

Iolani – If non-Catholic parents hesitate to embrace Kateri, perhaps those without a connection to Hawaii will pause before considering Iolani. But I love her meaning – it translates roughly to “heavenly bird” – and the former royal palace in Honolulu is the ‘Iolani Palace. Iolani also reminds me of Iolanthe – the Violet-variant first used by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Anjali – She’s an Indian import that could wear well circa 2012. Her sound is close to the evergreen Angela and yet her look is worlds away. Like Iolani and Kateri, she might be too much of a risk for some parents. But if you dare, Anjali could be that rare name – attractive, unusual, and cross-cultural without requiring constant explanation.

Do you have any strong feeling about ends-in-i names? Are any of these daring enough to make an exception?

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 have a Filipino friend named Angeli, and personally have a place in my heart for the French name Magali – which is occasionally used with an -ie spelling. I’ve also heard of the name Nayeli once or twice.

  2. Because I grew up with so many of them, Anjali and Naomi, while lovely names, sound a bit too familiar to me. Eleni has a lovely, lilting sound, as does Lelani; and while Heidi is much more prosaic, she’s a family name that I can’t help liking.

    Quite a lot of Indian girls’ names end in i: Shruti, Preeti, Anjani, Anuragini, Priyadarshini, Aarti, Parvati, Jyoti, Rani. . .

    On a completely different note, I’m moving again! I spent the first half of my life in India, the last decade or so in Canada, and now I’m off to New Zealand. We have an initial three-year visa for the country, but who knows? We may be there longer!

    1. Charlotte, congrats on the big move and have fun in New Zealand!! We’ve never been but DH is a huge LOTR fan so it’s on our list of places to visit 🙂

    2. Oh wow! What an adventure … and what a great chance to hear more interesting names. 🙂

  3. I’m not too fond of any of these actually. Eleni is my favourite, but she has all those soft sounds I don’t care too much for when theyr’e the only ones present.
    Looking through my list I find Abeni, Aditi, Amani, Citali, Delphi, Eleri, Ellidi, Eridani, Esti, Eulli, Imani, Imari, Inari, Izanami, Kirsi, Kyriaki, Lapsi, Lelwani, Libani, Lowri, Lumi, Litchi, Mabli, Mardi, Marsaili, Medeni, Mervi, Midori, Mielikki, Mikkeli, Mirai, Munani, Neroli, Niaouli, Nori, Patchouli, Rhymni, Runi, Sini, Siri (this should have been on the list!), Tabiti, Taidi, Teleri, Tesni, Tulsi, Verdi and Yumi..
    Delphi, Ellidi, Kirsi, Marsaili, Mielikki, Sini, Tesni and Tulsi are my favourites, but Sini is the one I’m most likely to use. It means ‘blue’ 🙂

  4. Great post! The diversity of the origins of these names fascinate me. Hebrew, Greek, Mohawk, Hawaiian, and Indian. The German Lorelei is a great suggestion, too.

    Will you do a boys’ name post? Henri, Levi, Dimitri, Malachi, Nikolai, Loki. When it’s authentically trendi, I love it. 😉

  5. Names like Imani, Lorelei, Mari, Malachi are fine. But names like Laci, Kimberli and Jessi feel very twee and stuck in the 80’s.

    My SIL adores the name Sylvi, and while I realize it’s legitimate… it looks incomplete and I sort of expect it to be written with a glittery, pink gel pen.

  6. Molly Ringwald’s eldest daugher’s middle name is Ereni, which apparently means “peace” in Greek. (Her first name is Mathilda.) I think my favorite ends-in-i names would be Naomi and Levi – a lot of them just seem to look incomplete, or cut off.

  7. I think Joni and Juni, are awesome – less thrilled by the likes of Lizzi, for sure! And I think Hawaiian names like Iolani are beautiful!

  8. My grandmother and my niece share the middle name Naomi. I like your list. Kateri fascinates me. I thinks “rhymes with Atari” would make for the easiest pronunciation, although cah-ter-AYE (long I on the end) would be neat.

  9. My cousin’s name is Katiri (pr. ka-TEER-ee). Not sure where my aunt and uncle got it, but it seems too close to Kateri to not be related to it, or at least inspired by it. She goes by Kati, an -i ender, but that’s how her name is spelled, so I give it a pass.