Editor’s note: This post was originally published on February 9, 2008, and was substantially revised and republished on August 13, 2012.

A few years ago, every little girl seemed to be answering to Maddie, whether it was Madison or Madeleine or something else on her birth certificate.  Today, we’ve dropped the M, and the most dominant sound on the playground is Addie.

There’s no shortage of attractive appellations that can lead to this friendly nickname.  Whether you’re after a popular pick or an obscure one, there’s something to suit any parent who likes the idea of having a daughter answer to Addie.

Surname Style

Addison – In 2006, Addison ranked #27.  By 2011, she was up to #13.  That’s not counting spelling variations: Addyson, Addisyn, and Adyson all rank in the US Top 1000.  She was already on the rise when the popular Grey’s Anatomy character appeared on the small screen, and the rest is history.

Adair – A surname name derived from Edgar, Adair feels wearable for a girl, thanks to references like the ill-fated Virginia Dare and Dead Like Me’s Daisy Adair.  She’s a surprising alternative to Addison and company.  Actress Adair Tishler played a recurring character on the NBC sci fi hit Heroes.

Vintage Revivals

Adelaide – Back in 2005, Adelaide returned to the US Top 1000 after more than five decades’ absence.  Today she’s climbed to #407.  Not only does she lead to the stylish Addie, Adelaide is also a place name.  The South Australian metropolis was named after the nineteenth century Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV of England.  With other regal and saintly bearers of the name, she’s rich with history and prime for revival.

Adeline – Sweet Adeline ranks just #288, but she boasts the most variants of any name on this list.  There’s also Adalyn, the most popular spelling at #214, followed by Adelyn (#300), Adalynn (#327), Adelynn (#582), and Addilyn (#788).

Ada – A logical successor to Mia and Ava, Ada is a sweet, short, complete name that could lead to Addie as an affectionate nickname.

Adelina – If you’re torn between Olivia and Adeline, this elaboration is a great compromise.

Adele, Adela, Adelia – The Grammy-award winning singer has boosted her given name back  into the US Top 1000.  The ends-in-a version has yet to return to use, but remains a possibility.  Adelia is also seldom heard, but would serve as a hybrid f Adele and Amelia.

Adelais – Sometimes listed as a French variant of Adelaide, the softer “s” ending might appeal, and, of course, is far less common.

Adelie – A French form of Adele, and the name of a type of penguin.  The Antarctic bird got its name from Adèlie d’Urville, the wife of French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville.  Sure to be confused with Natalie and Hadley, but a stylish possibility anyhow.

International Options

Aderet – I found this one on a search, said to be from a Hebrew word meaning cape.  It is probably the rarest of the names on this list, but her sound appeals.

Adalia – Another Hebrew name, this one borrowed from Bible – and from the boys.  Adalia is another form of Adlai, but seems better for a daughter in 2012.  You might also arrive at Adalia as an elaborated form of Ada or Adela.

Adina – She has a similar story to Adalia – another masculine Old Testament name used for girls in recent generations.  It is easy to imagine inventing Adina – or Adinah or Adena.

Adesina – If you’re searching for a moniker with African flair, this Yoruban rarity might be the one.

Aderyn – A modern Welsh nature naming meaning bird, Aderyn fits in with Addie and all of those other avian appellations so in vogue.

Adilet – I’m fascinated by this rarity, listed as a gender neutral Kyrgyz name meaning justice.  It’s also the name of a political party in Kazakhstan, but that’s probably obscure enough that Adilet could wear well in the US today.

Caridad – The Spanish answer to Charity, it’s a virtue name that would typically shorten to Carrie in American English and Dadi in Spanish – but could work with Addie, too.

Greek to Me

Ariadne – She saved Theseus from the Minotaur in the maze, but has never been popular with American parents.  In our Chloe/Zoe/Penelope age, there’s no reason to think Ariadne couldn’t fit right in.

Adriana, Adrianna, Adrienne – All three are feminine forms of Adrian, each with their faithful adherents.  Sound-wise, getting to Addie is something of a stretch, but the letters are right there.

Would you ever use Addie for a daughter’s name?  If so, which formal version would you use?  Are there any I’ve overlooked?


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 never went by the nickname Addie, but my name Adallie (pronounced Add a Lee) is definitely a road to Addie!

  2. My 15-year-old daughter’s name is Adorae. (The accent is on the first syllable.) She mostly goes by Addi these days, though she waa called by a few other nicknames in her younger years.

  3. I really like this nickname, especially with the full name Adelaide. Here in Britain, I think that nickname would be quite unique, since we don’t get many Addison, or none that I have met anyway. However, I think the name Addie will always remind me of Hitler, since watching a documentary/film at school where Hitler’s mother nicknamed him Addie. I think I’d feel weird calling it my child, but without that association, I think I’d maybe use it.

  4. I know a kid named Adriana who has always been called Addie. She’s around 8 so her mom was a little ahead of the curve. If you pronounce Adriana in Spanish it makes more sense.

    I love Adelaide and Adair.

  5. I too hear “Addison” and immediately cringe and think “disease.” Then I think “JFK.” I do love some of these alternatives though!

  6. My Peter was almost named Peter Adair, so it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but I prefer it for boys.

  7. Some close friends of mine have a gorgeous little 2 year old girl called Addison. She is almost always called Addie. I thought it was a strange name to begin with, but now I cant imagine her being anything other than little Addie.

    I also went to school with an Adina, and think that’s a lovely name. My personal favourite is Adelaide. It’s on the top of my baby girl list at the moment, although because I already know an Addie, her nickname would be Ally or Ellie.

  8. Addie was the name of the scary old lady on our block when I was a kid, so the name does *nothing* for me. But I do have a 7 year old cousin (what, exactly do you call your first cousin’s kids?), named Addison and all I think is disease too when I see her name in full. It’s not a family surname that I’m aware of (on her side or his) but as long as my cousin Pam is ok with me calling her oldest Addie, I’ll live. The younger is another A name that escapes me ATM.

    I do utterly adore Ariadne, but if I used it, I don’t think I’d nickname her beyond the ‘foody’ type of nicknames that get tossed around my house like softballs. Pumpkin, Cookie & Cupcake are my three now. Another one would probably get Bean or Jellybean. *shrug* Yes, weird. But totally us. Addie is cute enough but still makes *me* think “scary old lady”. 😀

  9. I’m not a fan of Addie, but I do love some of the “Getting To” options. Adelaide, Aderet, Ariadne, and Adrienne are all gorgeous. With regards to Adelaide, the nickname Lady tempts me far more than Addie, and I prefer Adelheid “Heidi” even more so.

    I also like Angharad, Adaeze, and Adara.


  10. Adair is my guilty pleasure! Not the type of name I would normally like, but I like that it’s feminine without being too frilly.