Name Help: A Sister for CallenName Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, 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!

Shayla writes:

We’re expecting our second girl. My husband and I are already struggling with name options.

Growing up as a Shayla, I always appreciated having a unique name that wasn’t spelled weird or difficult to pronounce. I was guaranteed to be the only one in my class and I took a little pride in that. My husband’s name also less common, and he likes it, too.

Our first daughter is named Callen Olivia.

Callen was formed from a combination of two grandfathers’ names (Calvert and Owen) and her middle name we just wanted to be very girly to help balance the more masculine first name. Callen seemed mostly unique (especially for a girl) but not totally out-there – so far the only one in her peer group!

I am now stuck on the name Camie for our second daughter. It’s a combination of two grandmothers’ names (Carol and Jimmie), but I’m not sold on it being a first name. Something about it feels a touch juvenile but I do love the nickname Cam.

My question revolves around possible first names for Camie (or Cammie) as a middle name. I think it’s the “-ie” sound I’m having a hard time matching names with.

Or do you think we should just go for Camie as her first name?

We are very open to a variety of names including gender neutral ones, especially with Camie sounding so feminine.

Please read on for my response and share your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

This is a concern that comes up ALL THE TIME. Somehow we perceive names ending with -y/-ie as a little too cute. That “ee” ending sound marks them as nicknames.

And I share that perception!

Except it’s completely inaccurate.

Mary ends with the ‘ee’ sound but there’s nothing flimsy about the classic, enduring name. Mary Shelley, Mary Cassatt, and Mary J. Blige are here to assure us that the name is all kinds of fierce.

Is Mary the exception?

Not really.

Depending on your language and moment in time, enduring favorites like Lucy, Sophie, Audrey, Amy, Lillie/Lily, Sallie/Sally, and Nancy have all been given – and worn – by strong women. That list barely scratches the surface.

Camie, I think, fits right in.

That said, I wonder if the spelling Cammie might be a little easier? When spelled with a single M, I’m tempted to rhyme Camie with Jamie.

Plus, there’s a lovely symmetry between the sisters’ names: Callen and Cammie. Six letters. Both formed from two grandparents’ names.

That said, I agree that Cammie feels more feminine than the clearly unisex Callen. But it’s not frilly, either.

My suggestion would be to pair Camie/Cammie with a more elaborate, feminine middle like:

Aurelia A golden name, similar to Olivia in style and rhythm, but still distinct.

Elena – A classic, feminine choice, the romance language answer to enduring Helen.

Genevieve – Effortlessly French – Saint Genevieve is the protector of Paris – Genevieve feels feminine, but with the sharpness of those V sounds.

Juliette – A great middle name, a little bit literary and traditional, but still very current in the 2020s.

Lucia – As a given name, Lucia can be a headache. (Is it loo-shuh, loo-cee-ah, or loo-chee-ah?) But as a middle, it’s a lovely option.

Magnolia – An elaborate, floral middle that balances out Cammie’s more modern style.

Simone – Spare and sophisticated.

Victoria – Regal and strong, Victoria makes a standout middle name choice.

Cammie Victoria is my favorite, though I think this style of name offers endless possibilities.


Would you consider swapping the names Carol and Jimmie to arrive at Micah? Or Meeka?

The first spelling is a traditionally masculine name with unisex roots; the second is more clearly feminine, but with an international pedigree.

I’m not sure I like it better than Cammie/Camie, but if that “ee” sound is a dealbreaker for you, Micah/Mika/Meeka might be another option.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Callen Olivia?

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. To come to the nickname Cammie, I suggest these existing names :

    Imo, they pair very well with Callen and have the same vibe

  2. I immediately wondered if you’d consider Emmi Carol? I also like the suggestions on Campbell for a first and James for a middle maybe. I would, personally, want a longer name with Cami as a nickname if I was naming myself.