Name Help: A Sister for EllaReeName 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!

Leah writes:

We have a sweet three year old named Eloise Rhiannon. Those were my top two favorite names, and I let my husband choose which one would be the first name. When she was just a few days old, we started using the nickname EllaRee. We didn’t plan to use a nickname, but she’s EllaRee 99% of the time now.

Now we’re expecting again, another girl. This is our second child together. My husband also has a son William Jr., called Will.

This time I really want to choose a name like EllaRee, but I’m having a hard time finding one.

We could use Kathryn – or Kate? – for my grandma. But if we give this daughter a family name, EllaRee will be the odd one out.

Every name I think of feels less special than EllaRee.

What do we name this girl?!

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

Dear Leah –

Congratulations on your new daughter!

It’s often harder to name a second child. You’ve already used your favorite names, and that makes it tough. But it also sounds like lightning struck with EllaRee. You found two gorgeous names, as well as an adorable nickname that fits your daughter exactly right.

EllaRee is part-smoosh name and part-double name, but it’s also a real name formed from elements of your daughter’s first and middle. Ellery is cousin to Hilary, and traditionally masculine; meanwhile, Eleri comes from Welsh myth and is feminine.

I’m tempted to tell you that working so hard to duplicate the name causes needless stress. Maybe a name you just plain love makes the most sense here? And yet, combining names feels irresistible! I completely understand the impulse.

So with the caveat that you do not need to duplicate the structure of your older daughter’s name, let’s see what we can find.

EllaRee rules out most of the other names with strong -elle and -ee sounds, which often appear in smoosh names. For example, Kathryn Lee called Kaylee almost rhymes with EllaRee, and KatieLee definitely does.

Of course, KatieLee feels like a name a girl will outgrow. That’s not as true for EllaRee, so we’re looking for something with a high degree of wearability.

It’s also true that neither of your daughter’s names can be called “filler” – they’re not the familiar Lee/Leigh or similar names that easily combine with a first. So something like Anna Lee, called Annalee, feels rather spare compared to Eloise Rhiannon.

Let’s give this a try!

Emmeline Kathryn, Emilie Kathryn, Emilia Kathryn, called EmmaKay – EmmaKay and EllaRee sound like sisters, plus you’d use a family name in the middle spot. Emilia Kathryn might be my favorite combination, but they all work – along with nearly any other Em- name in the first spot, or any of the international variations of Kathryn. Emilie Katrina, maybe?

Louise Kathryn, called Louka or Luka – In most languages, Luka is used for boys; however, that’s not always the case. Using Kathryn’s ‘ka’ sound with Louise’s Lou seems like an option. But daughters named Eloise and Louise? That feels very close, so I’m not sure about this one.

Lucia Kathryn, called Luca – Eloise and Lucia seem like a better sister-set, so if you like the idea of Luca, Lucia Kathryn called Luca might be the more wearable choice.

Lilia Louise – One of my favorite smoosh nicknames is Lilou. It appears that Lilou started out in France, as a nickname for Liliane, but became an independent name thanks to the character in 1997’s The Fifth Element. (Though she spelled her name Leeloo.) Using Louise in the middle spot makes this nickname more obvious.

Amelie Louise, Ophelia Louise, called Lilou – You can go bolder to get to Lilou, of course. Amelie and other -lee ending first names work well, and names like Ophelia also have a clear “lee” sound. Amelie Louise, called Lilou, might just be my favorite so far …

Mae Eleanor, Marguerite Elodie – I know I said that most -elle names were off limits, but I can imagine sisters called EllaRee and Mariel. Mariel started out as an elaboration of Mary, or possibly a combination of Maria Isabel. But you could reach Mariel via nearly any Ma- first name, plus an El- middle.

Margaret Louise, Margaret Lorraine – Marlo Thomas started out life as Margaret “Margo” Thomas, but when she mispronounced her name as a child, it stuck. Thanks to the actress-turned-philanthropist’s fame, we sometimes find Marlo on the list of Margaret nicknames. But using a more obvious Lo- middle might make the nickname even more obvious.

Margaret Lux, Margaret Lucia, called Marilu – Marilu Henner was born Mary Lucy. Again, any Mar- name and Lu- name leads to Marilu as a short form. I can’t decide if Marilu feels delightfully retro or slightly dated. But I do think EllaRee and Marilu work together as sisters names.

Nora Emmeline, called Noemi – In several European languages, Naomi becomes Noemi. It’s never short for a longer name, and yet, I can imagine shortening something like Nora Emmeline to Noemi.

Rose Millicent, called Romilly or RoMilly – Another favorite! Like Ellery, Romilly is a sometimes-heard surname, and very occasionally, a given name. It could easily come from Rose – or any Ro- name, plus any name with a strong Mil- sound. Other combinations like Rose Amelia and Rosalie Matilda come to mind, too.

Genevieve Anouk, called Gianna or Vienna – I feel like Genevieve ought to work, with all of those strong sounds – but I’m not quite sure about these combinations. Still, I can imagine sisters named Eloise and Genevieve, so I think it’s work considering if it works in some combination.

Anouk Genevieve called Annavieve – Really any Anna name works here. Annavieve feels nearly as unexpected as EllaRee. It’s another favorite.

Vivienne Odette, called Viviette – I keep feeling like there must be an opportunity to use an -ette ending here, but I’m not sure if Viviette is the best possible suggestion.

Lorelei Alice, Lorelei Arwen, called Lola – Lorelei could shorten to Lola on its own, but add an A middle name, and it feels more obvious. A bonus: Eloise and Lorelei seem equally romantic and elaborate, without being quite frilly. So I think they’re very well matched.

Oh, I could go on – and on! But I think my favorites so far are EllaRee and Annavieve (or AnnaVieve?), plus the Romilly, Lola, and Lilou combinations.

I know the community will have some amazing suggestions, so let’s turn it over to them.

What would you name a sister for Eloise Rhiannon “EllaRee” with a similar first + middle = nickname formula?

About Abby Sandel

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What do you think?


  1. So I think Eloise Riahnon is such a beautiful name so I think why don’t we matcch it up with another classic name. Celine Emelie, Cassiopea Gabrielle, Celestine Roselle and one of my favorites Cassiara Ellianne Rose ( nickname: Cassy Anne Rose or Cassie Ellie Rose). Its a cute pattern as the first name is resembled in C as skip1 backward you have c and the uniqueness of it captures Riahnon, Ellianne and Eloise are cute together and having a third name makes it feel as special as Ella Ree!

  2. Ellen Winona (Winifred, Winsome, Wynn or anything similar) = Elowyn.
    There won’t be another one in school; she’ll be an original!

  3. Katherine Mae (Katy Mae), Katia Mae, Lula, Lulu, Erin Eloise would give you an adorable way to keep an El sound for your second beautiful girl. She could go by Erilu, or whatever nickname you think would fir her best. I believe that since you loved both of EllaRee’s names so much, it led you to include both of them in your everyday life, and what you call her. I think it would be OK if you dont smoosh both girl’s names like you did for EllaRee.

  4. Lysbelle, Esmebelle, Rosefaye, Roselys, Winterose, Winterlys, Roseden
    Quelques idées de prénom smoosh inspiré puis réinventer

  5. I don’t think you should worry about EllaRee feeling left out if she’s your only child without a family name. She was gifted your two! favorite girls names which will I’m sure make her feel special in her own right.

    You could use the “kah-” initial sound from Kathryn with Millicent/Amelia/Emmeline/etc for a smoosh name “Camilla”. Appellation Mountain did a while post about formal names for Mille if you need inspiration there.

    I loved commenter Josie’s mention of Liora for its similarity to Eloise. Kathryn Liora = Kaylie/Kayla/Kara/Cora
    Or I wonder if you would consider Cloelia. Appellation Mountain did a post on this name too listing several pronunciations: klo-EL-ee-ah, klo-EL-yah, and my favorite klow-EE-lee-ah which shares the internal “low-ee” sound with Eloise.
    Kathryn Cloelia = Kaycie.

    Cloelia Liora = Coralie /Cora / Lily

    Cloelia Everly = Clover/Lily

    Marcheline/Marcella Liora/Shiloh = Marley/Marlo

    Caroline Isabelle/Alyssa/Melissa= Carissa/ Cary

    Ava Loren = Avalon

    Evelyn/Eva/Everly + Jane/Jenelle/ Genevieve/Imogen/ Regina/ Genesis = Eugenie/ Virginie/Virginia

    Everly Matilda = Everild

    Everly Katie/Kathryn = Verity

    Or Everly could be the smoosh name. But maybe too close too EllaRee’s sound.
    Evelyn + Pearl/Pearline = Everly.

    On the other hand, Everly/Eva/Evelyn + Xanthe = Evanthe which shares the same cadence as EllaRee as well as the same first and last sounds without sounding too matchy matchy for sisters. This is my personal favorite.

    1. proofreading: Appellation Mountain did a WHOLE post about formal names for MILLIE

      also: Caroline Isabelle/Alyssa/Melissa= Carissa/ CARYS

  6. Oh my, I agree you have a complete winner with Eloise Rhiannon, EllaRee. I can see where it will be hard to find anything that compares. It was your two favourite names to begin with and the adorable, legit name nickname came organically. I don’t know if it will work quite so beautiful the second time.
    I do agre with pps who say focus more on finding names you love then the perfect nickname Is there any one name you particularly love? Even if you have one name you love you could play around with it and possibly come up with middle names and nicknames you love also based on that. These feel a bit random, out of the blue, but here goes-

    Amelie Bellatrix -AmaBell
    Amalia Bellamy -AmaBell
    Aveline Maelys -AvaMae
    Lilias Bethan/Elizabeth -LillaBet
    Marigold Solenne -MaraSol
    Maribel Solana -MaraSol
    Marina Soleil -MaraSol
    Marceline Luella/Lumina/Luna/Luneth -MaraLou
    Milana Rhea -MillaRay
    Rosalind Leona -RosaLee
    Rosamund Liora -RosaLee
    Tallulah Phaedra -TulaFae or LulaFae

    All the best!