Name Help

Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

Helen is expecting her fifth child – and second girl! Siblings are Deirdre, Trevien, Liam, and Ronan.

They have a shortlist, but none of the names are quite right.

She writes:

  • My husband likes the name Adelaide, but I’m not so sold on introducing a German name to our predominately Irish mix. I also don’t like that it will probably be shortened to Addie.
  • I like Phoebe, but our last name starts with an “F” and I don’t like the double f sound.
  • Melody is a name hubby and I agree on, but … I’m afraid Melody also sounds out of place with the other kids names, and I’m afraid she’d spend her whole life telling people her name isn’t Melanie.

The middle name will be Elizabeth or Rose.

One of the reasons Helen likes the idea of Melody is that she’s fallen for the possible nickname Liddy.

Helen describes her wish list this way: In short, mostly I want something that matches the other names we have used that easily lends itself to Liddy as a nickname.

Read on for my answer, and please share your thoughtful suggestions in the comments!

Hi Helen –

First, congratulations on your baby-on-the-way!

Liddy is such a great nickname. While some families might skip the formal name and just use Liddy, I can see why you’d prefer a formal name. (I tend to prefer formal names with nicknames myself.)

There’s a definite Irish lilt to your older kids’ names, and it’s true that Adelaide or Melody might not be the perfect fit.

Do you think you’ll have more children? If so – and if the list of possible Irish names you love is small – I’d gently suggest that this might be the right time to make a change. As Kate recently wrote, flexibility can be a good thing when it comes to patterns and themes.

It also strikes me that there are two names on your list that lend themselves to Liddy: Elizabeth, the given name of Liddy Dole, who often gets credit for putting this name on the map, and Adelaide. Sure, Adelaide might naturally shorten to Lady, not Liddy. But I think it’s close enough to work. And if you were willing to get to Liddy from Melody, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable stretch.

But let’s see if there are any Irish names for girls that get us to the same place. We’re looking for strong ‘l’ and ‘d’ sounds, in that order:

  • Cliodhna – I thought this one was perfect – except the ‘d’ is silent. It’s also spelled Cliona. Maybe not.
  • Clodagh – Ah, an Irish name with the right sound! And, thanks to the ring, an authentically Irish name that’s recognized far outside of Ireland.
  • Liadan – Another name with great potential. If I’m pronouncing it correctly, Liadan is three syllables: ly uh den. Or is it a long ‘a’? Either way, that’s about as close to Liddy as it gets!

Hmmm … I think Liadan is a great choice, but now we have a slightly different problem. Unlike the equally Irish Ronan and Liam, Liadan isn’t a widely known name. It could with some built-in spelling and pronunciation headaches.

Let’s take a look at some other L- names that might be less authentically Irish, but might work:

  • Lydia – Or even Lidia if you want to make the nickname obvious!
  • Leta, Leda, Lida – Depending on the spelling, this one has lots of possible origins and meanings. Leta/Leda/Lida is so short it doesn’t require a nickname, but it’s easy to see how you get get Liddy from Leta.
  • Ludovica, Ludivine – There are some rather elaborate and exotic names with an L-d combination, but I don’t think any of them work especially well. At least not that I’ve found so far …
  • Felicity – The sound is sort of there, but this might be more of a stretch than Ludivine!

So far my favorites are Elizabeth, Adelaide, Liadan, and Lida, but I feel like I must be missing some great possibilities.

Readers, can you suggest any Irish names that would lead to the nickname Liddy?

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. What about Delia or any of the names containing Delia? Delia has Irish roots through the name Bedelia and Celtic roots through Cordelia. I think Liddy would be a natural nickname of any of the Delia names.

  2. Since you used Liam, a traditional nickname for William, I’d lean towards encouraging you to name the baby simply Liddy.

    My second suggestion would be to use Liddy as a nickname for Elizabeth. You could use Elizabeth in either the first name or middle name spot and still refer to your daughter as Liddy. Elizabeth “Liddy” Rose is quite a nice name.

    I wonder if you’d like the name Lavinia? I think a nickname of Livvie would be more obvious, but Livvie and Liddy sound similar. Lavinia Rose.

  3. Melody reminds me of the main female character in the novel “A star named Henry” by Roddy Doyle (Irish author, Irish atmosphere). So, to me, it kind of fits in with the names of your children. Different, sure, but not so far!