Name 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!
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.
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?
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.
IF NOT CAMIE/CAMMIE …
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.
To come to the nickname Cammie, I suggest these existing names :
Imo, they pair very well with Callen and have the same vibe
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.
I also thought of Jolie as an honor name and you could reverse the pattern of masculine sounding name and more feminine name with this baby. Jolie Everest or something like this. Callen and Jolie…could be sweet sisters! Good luck with the pregnancy and best wishes for choosing the right name!
This is a challenge with the two grandmothers’ names. The only other suggestion I have is a Slovene name, Jera, which means “strength of a spear” and some elements of Jimmie and Carol are incorporated in it. I think it has a bit of a masculine sound and could go with Callen, but it may be too out-of-the-box. Cameron I think has a lovely vibe and you could always use the nickname Cammie, especially if your firstborn is nicknamed Callie.
Oops, that second Mira should be Miri.
Honor names can be tough! For awhile I thought I was going to end up using my maternal grandmother’s name (it’s rather unique), but someone else in my family used it before me. So I really love your family combining family names to find the name you love.
I think the spelling “Cammie” feels like it would rhyme with “Sammie” or even “Cami” (like the nickname for “Camille”) is nice too!
Suggestions, I’d like to add…
— Camille (why not, since I’ve already mentioned) instead of “Cammie/Cami” for a middle?
— Troian (as in the actress, Troian Bellisario) as a first name to go with Callen.
— Mika (I think I’d prefer this over “Micah” for a daughter. Plus, there’s the brilliant music artist from the U.K. named, “Mika”.)
— Haidi (as a first name & alternative to “Heidi”) I saw this name while on vacation, watching a news correspondent in Australia with this first name. Think “Callan & Haidi”.
I won’t add much more than that, for fear of overwhelming you with ideas! With that said — Congrats on daughter #2! Wishing you all the best on this journey.
Jean C. says
I am so sweet in the name Carmen right now and want to throw it out there. Carmen James would be a lovely name for a daughter and would honor both grandmothers. Or Colette or Cleo with James as a middle name do not feel like a stretch either. Corrie feels like it might work as well, as a perfect smoosh and a more gender-neutral sound. Corrie Aurelia is super fun.
Callen and Campbell work well unless you don’t want to continue unisex C names for future children.
Camie as a middle name works just fine. A lot of the British Baby Name announcements have a diminutive form as middle names, I just don’t think it’s caught on in the US as yet.
I think Callen and Camie pronounced like Amy works as well. It isn’t as straightforward though.
Callen and Campbell Rose
Callen and Briar Camie
Callen and Elliot Camie
Callen and Camie Jemma
TBH, Neither Camie or Cammie pass the “Would I want this name for myself test”. As a nickname, yes definitely, but not as a complete name. (But I think this won’t be horribly offensive to post, since you’re not sold on it yourself as a stand-alone first name). There are some lovely alternatives to peruse in these replies. As much as I love the name Micah, it does ring very masculine to me… which, with the more masculine-leaning style of your first daughter might be appealing? But if you’re intending on having more children in the future, is this a style you want to establish?
Other names to get to camie/cammie:
I like Cameron with Callen. And think they pair well. You could use the nickname Cammie.
Another idea is Callen Oliva and Jamison Caroline, nicknamed Jamie or Jaime. Obviously, James is the root name for Jim so that fits to honor Jimmie and Caroline is a version of Carol.
The Mrs. says
Carol + Jimmie:
Cammie is great, too. No doubt! Callen and Cammie do sound more like a brother and sister combo, though.
Do these grandmothers have middle names or maiden names that have potential?
Best wishes and congratulations!
I like Abby’s suggestion of Micah. (Could also be spelled Mica, like the minerals.) I like the way the hard “c” sound in Micah coincides with the same sound in Cullen.
I also like another commenters suggestion of Camille, with Cammie as a nn, and agree Cammie makes more sense. I would assume “Camie” was pronounced to rhyme with “Amy.”
I love Abby’s suggestion of Micah / Meeka! The hesitation I see with Cammie is Callen may at some point be called Callie and that’s way too matchy. I agree Cammie not Camie which may be mispronounced as Kay-mee.
I was also thinking of other smooshes that lean unisex. Lots of good ideas by other posters. How about Raleigh (raw-Lee)? I really like that with Callen, and a similarly frilly middle name as sister – Raleigh Madeline or Raleigh Josephine?
BTW I love meaningful name tweak / smooshes! Probably my favourite ‘style.’ It’s a good challenge and so rewarding.
Carol and Jimmie could combine to make
Merol / Meryl
Midge / Madge
Emma / Emmie
Aril / Ariel
Carol and Jimmie aren’t the easiest names to combine, but it’s not an impossible task.
I agree with Abby that Cammie is more intuitive (and phonetically accurate) than Camie, which to my eye and ear rhymes with Jamie/Mamie. I also like that the double m in Cammie mirrors the double m in Jimmie.
Camille, Cameron or Camryn are possible names that lead to Cammie for everyday use.
Callen & Cammie, Callen & Camille, Callen & Cameron, Callen & Camryn.
Other possibilities that don’t necessarily lead to Cammie:
Carmel — accent on the second syllable. Drawback: easily confused with caramel. Carmel is almost always connected to Catholicism, so it may or may not work for your family.
Coralie — doesn’t have much of a connection to Jimmie.
Jamilla — most frequently pronounced with a J as in Jimmie.
Jarmila — often pronounced in Central and Eastern European countries as Yarmila or Harmila in Latin countries.
Micah — I really like Micah for a girl.
Miriam or Mariam — could easily become Mimi or Mira or Mira.
Roma or Romy
Best wishes to you!
I’m sure you’ve thought of and this but I really love Cameron nn Camie!
Love the suggestion of Meeka! Especially as it means you aren’t repeating ‘Ca-‘. The more I say it, the more I like it :-).
How about Campbell?
I’m thinking either Jill, Jewel or Jolene for Jimmie + Carol
I live the suggestion of Micah. The only Callen I know is a young man, so it feels like giving your second daughter too feminine a name would be unbalanced. Micah Simone or Micah Sabine would be darling!
I was also wondering if Jimmie was a nickname for something? Are there more names to work with? Or what about giving your daughter the initials CJ or JC for her grandmothers? Colby Jane/James? Jude Coraline?
Familiar word and spelling. Unusual as a given name, but quite lovely. Overall less nicknamey in sound, but with all the sounds of Camie. And allows very naturally for Camie/Cammie and Cam as nicknames.
Callen and Cameo?