Name Help: A Sister for Claire ElizabethName 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!

Meg writes:

My husband and I are expecting our second child, a girl, in February.

Our daughter is Claire Elizabeth. Elizabeth is my middle name, and my mother’s first name. We both liked Claire.

While I love her name, I sometimes wish that we’d found something a little more different or exciting. She has friends with names like Eirlys, Gwendoline, Micah, and Aspen. It’s not that I like any of those names specifically, but I see that we had more choices than we really thought about.

While my husband is open to lots of names, he doesn’t share my sense that we missed out a little, and he isn’t interested in the names I’ve suggested so far, like Echo and Prairie. He thinks they sound kind of crazy on their own, and especially not with a sister named Claire.

Can you and your readers help us think about names that might be a little more creative, but not super out there?

Our last name sounds like Johnson with a BR.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

Claire Elizabeth is a timeless, sophisticated name that will serve your daughter well throughout her life.

Still, I see what you mean. Sometimes our worries about names being too different pushes us to choose names that are safer than we might otherwise wish. That’s not to say that you should’ve named her Dewdrop or Moonbeam or Hephzibah, but I can appreciate the urge to consider a wider list of possibilities this time around.

I think one of the keys is recognizing that there are lots of different directions to go.

  • You can choose an equally classic name that’s much less common. Frances, Helen, Marie, Meredith, and Pearl are all traditional, familiar names – just much less popular in this generation than Claire.
  • Or consider an equally tailored name that’s a little more modern. Nature names like Wren and surname names like Sloane strike a more contemporary note, but still sound right when said next to Claire.
  • Keep the first name classic, but choose a more daring middle. Since Elizabeth is a family name, could there be another, bolder family name – like a surname, nickname, or another unexpected choice?

I’m not sure which direction to suggest, but so let’s try a few different things.


We’re used to women called Kay, and a new generation answers to River and Ocean. So how ’bout Bay? It’s bold, but not so dramatic that it couldn’t be a name for Claire’s sister.


The Italian word for jewel, and a name that brings to mind long-time favorite Emma, while still sounding memorably distinct.


I like Laine with Claire – visually similar, but they sound distinct. Bonus: even though Laine reads like a smooth, modern surname, it also brings to mind the traditional Elaine.


Olivia is the top name in the US, and popular across the English-speaking world. But Liv is a separate, Scandi name meaning “life.” It’s brief, sharp, and just a little bit different.


I wonder if you’d like something sparky and vintage like Mabel? It’s a departure from Claire, but only slightly.


A medieval form of Matilda, Maude and Claire sound like sisters to me – but no one expects to meet a baby named Maude.


This would be all sporty, capable word name. Except, of course, To Kill a Mockingbird makes it literary. And I think they sound great together.


A vintage name with two great meanings – faith and truth – Vera seems like an unexpected match that works nicely.

Overall, I love the look of Claire and Laine, but I’m more drawn to a combination like Claire and Gemma. Bonus points if Gemma’s middle name is a family name that’s a little less traditional. Or maybe even Maude? Claire Elizabeth and Maude Madeline could be perfect.

It really does depend on how you’d like to turn the dial on different.

Readers, over to you. What would you name a sister for Claire Elizabeth that’s just a little more daring?

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. Claire and…


    Congratulations and best wishes!

  2. I like so many suggestions, especially Gemma.
    I’m going to suggest thinking about family name links.
    I note that Claire has the middle name Elizabeth after you and your mum.
    Thinking about this little girl it would be nice if she had a connection to her mum too.
    You could do a variation of Elizabeth as her first name.

    I noticed you are Meg, a variation of Margaret. My suggestion is to springboard of your first name.
    Maisie This feels familiar like Claire but isn’t too crazy different. Potential nickname Mae
    Margaret nn Maggie

    I think Maisie is perfect. Add the long flowing Isabella as the middle like her sister. Isabella is a variation of Elizabeth.
    Claire Elizabeth and Maisie Isabella

    Alternatively you could use Isabella as the first name.
    Isabella Pearl is gorgeous.

    If you liked Gemma then perhaps
    Gemma Isabelle

  3. I LOVE Claire. It’s part of my name and one of my daughters has it as a middle name. I think it’s perfect, timeless and pretty. I think you could really go in any direction you want for your second daughter’s name, but please don’t feel disappointed in your choice of Claire’s name because it really is a lovely name.

    You’ve received plenty of great suggestions so far. I’ll add Margaret, Eleanor, Louisa, Daniela, Laura, Priscilla, Esther, Georgia, Susanna, Rachel, Daisy, Ursula, Ingrid, Thora, Rosalie …

    Or you could emphasise Claire’s Frenchness and go for another French name – you’ve got some suggestions already – Genevieve, Simone, Yvette, Giselle, Estelle etc, or perhaps something like Monique, Veronique, Odette, Isabelle?

  4. I love the name Claire!! It is beautiful. I also get looking at the wise array of possible names and wanting to make a “less safe” choice. I like a lot of the suggestions that have been made, especially Maude and Vera. I also think you could lean into the French thing with Claire in looking for a sister’s name such as: Margot, Eloise, Amelie, Lilou, Odette.

  5. My first thogh Greta. Claire and Greta seem like solid sister names but Greta is quite a bit more rare.

    I really like Iris. Claire and Iris

    What about Gloria? Visually similar but Gloria is much more rare. Claire and

    Or Fiona? Claire and Fiona.

    Or Laurel. Claire and Laurel.

    With Claire as the first child name., You have so many great options to define your naming style.

  6. For what it’s worth, I love Claire. It reminds me of names (like Elizabeth) that never go out of style.
    Abby’s and readers suggestions are really great! Other (or repeat) names that I like with Claire: Delphine, Simone, Alice, Lydia, Sylvie, Phoebe, Maeve, Eloise, Ivy.