Royal guests; CP Frederik of Denmark; CP Wille...

Looking for a girl’s name that is spare, elegant, and rare?  Here’s one that might be completely new to you.

Thanks to Emily for suggesting Mette as our Baby Name of the Day.

Mette: Rhymes With …

Let’s start with Mette’s biggest drawback: her pronunciation.

Emphasis is on the first syllable.  MEH teh.  

But that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in American English.  Name your daughter Mette in the US, and I think you’d hear:

  • Rhymes with jet. One-syllable, as in the “met” of metropolitan.  Not a bad sound, but not anywhere near the intended pronunciation.
  • Rhymes with Betty.  After all, the legendary Bette Davis spelled her name with an -ette.
  • Rhymes with Etta or Edda.  On the plus side, this is easy to say in English.  But if Mette is an elegant, restrained choice, Medda feels more like Meadow or Hannah – homespun, calico names.  It’s a completely different vibe.
  • Sounds like meta, as in the Greek prefix that has come to mean “at a higher level.”  Which is sort of like naming your child Kismet or Apex.  Not unthinkable, but a very daring name indeed.

Despite this hurdle – and my tendency to say Medda – let’s not count Mette out just yet.

Mette: A Cousin for Margot and Greta

Mette is simply a contracted form of Margaret in Scandinavian languages, especially Danish and Norwegian.  It’s also heard in the Netherlands, where short names are stylish.

There’s also Mechtilde, an obscure form of Matilda long out of favor.  It’s possible that Mette evolved as a short form for Mechtilde, too.

In Northern Europe, you might also come across smoosh names like Annemette and Mettemarie.

Just like Margot and Greta, Mette inherits much of Margaret’s gravitas, but with a lighter and less expected sound.

Mette: New Royal

The woman who really puts Mette on the baby name radar is  the current Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit.

Here’s a fun fact: Marit is also a contracted form of Margaret, so her name is the tiniest bit repetitive, sort of like being called Isabelle Elizabeth.

And yet I’ve always liked the quirky rhythm of Mette-Marit, and I’ve appreciated her story.  Lots of future kings have married commoners in our time.  But this future queen was no privileged Kate Middleton.  Instead, she was a single mother who met her prince at a music festival.  Very Cinderella story, I think.

Mette: Wearable in the US?

Of course, the Norwegian royals aren’t exactly household names in the US, so you might still have some explaining to do.  But it’s an easy explanation: Mette?  Oh, it’s the Scandinavian form of Margaret, like the Norwegian crown princess.

And it might be worth considering Mette.  The name fits right in with Emma and Stella, but is far edgier than those well-established picks.

Child actor turned photographer Meeno Peluce and his wife Ilse Ackerman are parents to daughters India and Mette.  They’re not high profile enough to give the name a boost – though their amazing Los Angeles home, Skyfarm, has gotten some press.

If you’re looking for an elegant, completely under-the-radar name, one that nods to Scandinavian roots, then Mette is a daring possibility.

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. Our youngest girl is Mette (after multiple Danish ancestors). We pronounce it Meh-duh. And we adore it!

  2. The correct pronunciation is MEH-deh, but in France and English speaking countries it’s pronounced MET which I prefer.