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!
Our second daughter is due at the end of December, and we are stuck!
We named our first daughter Emilia Violet after lots of back and forth. I never really liked Amelia, because none of the nicknames seemed right. But I love Emmy for Emilia, and that’s what we (mostly) call her.
I’ve been surprised about how much it bothers me when people think her name is Amelia. And while we spell her nickname Emmy-with-a-y, we’ve gotten Emmie (I dislike this) and Emme (don’t mind, but it’s not her name).
Some names that I do like don’t work with Emilia. Like Cecilia almost rhymes, and Emmeline is obviously out.
Before Emmy was born, we talked about names like Sloane, Blair, and Hadley. But now that we have one daughter with a very girly name, going back to that list feels wrong, too.
In a perfect world, we’d find a name that matches Emilia’s flow, but also has a nickname – but that isn’t hard to spell. So far, though, I’m not sure if that exists!
Our last name is like Han-plus-son. Also, I’m Andi and my husband has an A name, too, so we really want to avoid another A, and maybe another E, too.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your second daughter!
The good news: you know what you’re looking for!
The hard part? Naming a second child is that rare task in parenting that gets harder as we become more experienced and confident parents.
Let’s talk through some options that I can imagine hearing with Emilia “Emmy” Violet, and I know our readers will have more ideas, too.
A SISTER FOR EMILIA “EMMY” VIOLET
A classic name with a romantic vibe – think of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, for one – Beatrice sounds like a sister for Emilia. The obvious nickname is Bea, but options abound. One hitch: it can also be Beatrix.
A Roman goddess name, Diana has one dominant spelling. It’s the name of the late – and beloved – Princess Diana. But more importantly for this generation, Diana is Wonder Woman. Di and Dee are logical nicknames. Ana/Annie might work, too.
If you’re ruling out E names, then Eloise is a non-starter. But Emmy and Ellie are quite sweet together, and Emilia and Eloise definitely don’t match too much.
Gen, Gigi, Evie, Vivi … the nickname options for this classic French import go on and on.
Elegant and spirited, Josephine is both a classic and a twenty-first century favorite. Nickname options are plentiful, but Josie and Jo are the most familiar choices.
I hesitate to suggest Juliet, because … well, the -ette spelling is more popular in the US for our daughters now, but I’m sure you’d get Juliet a lot, too. Still I think it has the same romantic, just slightly different vibe as Emilia, so it’s worth consideration. Plus, Jules is a great nickname.
If Louisa feels too frilly, Louise is every bit as lovely. Lou, Lula, and Lulu are all great nickname choices.
Old-fashioned and just a little different, Rosalie makes a great sister name for Emilia – Emmy and Rosie sound just right together.
I think these kinds of naming situations are tough because you have to love both names – the formal and the short form.
That said, I’m drawn to Josephine “Josie” for you, as well as Rosalie “Rosie.” They’re clearly spelled one dominant way, and the nicknames are obvious and intuitive.
I’m also wondering about those surname-style names you considered for Emmy. Could you use something like Josephine Hadley Han-plus-son? Or Rosalie Blair Han-plus-son?
Since one of the names you liked was Blair would you consider Brier? It’s a nature name that sounds pretty witty Emmy, Emmy and Brier. Maybe a longer elegant middle name would work like Brier Rosamonde.
Stephanie K says
My four year old daughter is Rosalie Josephine, and not once have we had issues with people spelling her name, for what it’s worth. It really does seem to be one of those names where both the formal name and diminutive name have one dominant spelling and pronunciation. She goes almost completely by “Rosie,” which seems to always delight people when they meet her, but she also gets called “Rose,” “Rosa” (by her big brother), and even “RoJo” (by her daddy). I think it would go beautifully with your little Emilia.
Emilia Violet is such a beautiful name! Rosalie/Rosalind definitely feel like a great fit here to me!
But if one of those doesn’t appeal, I’ll suggest Olivia nn Liv. I realize Olivia is almost too popular to need to be suggested, but it sounds great with Emilia and Emmy & Liv are pitch perfect for one another, I think. Olivia and Liv each have one obvious dominant spelling. Both Emilia and Olivia share a Shakespeare connection, and Olivia matches Violet’s botanical theme. I love Blair from your original list and think Olivia Blair sounds great with your last name.
Emilia Violet is so beautiful! Abby’s comment about Beatrice in ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ reminded me that Emilia appears in ‘Othello’. It might fun for your second daughter to also have a Shakespearean name. I love Beatrice and Juliet from Abby’s list and also want to swap Rosalie for Rosalyn.
For even more matchiness, you could use another flower name in the middle to match Violet. Maybe even Holly or Ivy for your December baby! I just love themes and patterns in a sibset, though I realise they aren’t to everyone’s taste.
For what it’s worth, I do think the confusion between Amelia and Emilia is especially problematic. They sound almost identical. I think you will have an easier time with number two’s name no matter what you pick. So I would try not to get too hung up on spelling, especially for a name you otherwise love.
I really like Blair from the original list. I like that the sound is unique but not different. I think Emilia and Blair sound great together. I also really like Hadley and the nickname Haddie is cute.
To add to the new list:
Perhaps Eleanor(a)? Nicknames can include Ello, Nora, Elle, Ellie (too close to Emmy?)
I want to second the suggestion of Cecily. What a great way to get to Cece.
Kirstin G. says
Congratulations! I love Abby’s suggestions of Josephine and Rosalie. Here are a few more feminine names with nicknames to match Emmy:
Adelaide /Adeline nn Addie
Grace nn Gracie
Kathrine nn Kit
Evelyn nn Evie
Aurora nn Rory
If you like Cecilia but it’s too rhymey, how about Cecily? Emilia and Cecily, Emmy and Cecy/Cece.
I know an Emilia whose sister is Evelina, called Evie.
But my suggestion is Nora, it’s feminine and works beautifully on its own, but could also use Nori as a nickname.
Or what about Eleanor with Nora as the nickname? Elizabeth is another great choice with tons of nickname options. We considered Paloma, Helen (called Nell), Margaret, Louisa. What about Vera? If you want to make sure it doesn’t get misheard for any other name, I think long and distinctive is your best bet. There are a lot of names that blur together in the current crop of Ellie/Lily/Kinley/Riley. Something like Veronica or Beatrice or Josephine would really stand out and be recognized correctly.
Going to throw out Noelle, for an end of December name that fits your criteria and matches Emilia!
Erin Beth says
My first thought was Dorothea nn Dot or Dottie/Dotty or Thea. Other ideas:
Olympia nn Ollie
Helena nn Nell
LOVE the suggestion of Rosalie “Rosie”!
Another Emily says
Bianca (Bee or Bebe), Veronica (Vero, Vee), Francesca (Frankie, Francie), Lucia (Lucy, Lu).
Rosalie nn Rosie (or even Roz!) is ADORABLE with Emilia/Emmy. I also think Rosie is a sweet nod to Emmy’s floral middle name. Other options to get you to Rosie that you might consider are Rosalind, Rosalyn, Rosamond or Rosemary/Rosemarie.
Can I also just make a pitch for one of your original choices? I really think that Emmy and Sloane or Emmy and Blair sound great together, even though they are a little bit different, style-wise. You could always add a super feminine name to the middle spot to balance things out (you could even use one of your “non-starter” names there: Sloane Emmeline or Blair Cecilia, for example!).
Congratulations and best of luck!
Oooh I think Blair Cecilia sounds so lovely! That’s a good point, especially since Emmy is mostly Emmy, in practice it will be Emmy and Blair, or Emmy and Sloane.
I second Louisa, with nn Lou or Lulu.
I like Clarissa nn Claire for you because it sounds like Blair but it’s not unisex.
Or Gwendolyn nn Gwen. Emmy and Gwen!
Penelope nn Nell (Emmy and Penny is probably too much).
Veronica nn Vera (no spelling issues).
Lillian nn Lily. Emmy and Lily!
Or even Camilla nn Millie.
From Abby’s suggestions, I like Josephine and Juliet best.
Francesca, nn Francie, Frankie, Frannie
Margaret, nn Maisie or Meg
Gwendolyn, nn Gwen
Lucinda, nn Lucy
Charlotte, nn Charlie or Lottie
Sophia, nn Sophie
Theresa, nn Tess
Here to shout ROSALIE! But Josephine is great too 🙂
Alison Doherty says
Off this list, I LOVE Rosalie and Louisa (Lulu) for you! If you don’t mind no nickname Abby’s featured name from yesterday Iris also seems really cute with Emmie/Emilia. Iris Sloane sound so beautiful! In terms of longer more feminine names with nicknames, I also thought of Henrietta (Henny, Hetta, Etta), Felicity (Lissie, Cici), Sylvia (Sylvie), Coralie (Cora), Magnolia (Maggie, Nola), Penelope (Nell, Penny), and Mirabelle (Mira, or Belle).
I think even though Diana has the one dominate spelling, people who learned the Ana/Anna rule may get it wrong. But certainly not as frequently as your Emmy gets Amelia. Margaret (Maggie), Theresa (Tess, Thea). I like Joelle for y’all, nickname Jojo could be cute.
Rosalie is my favorite option for you guys. I know one who wears it well, and is usually Rosalie, Rosie or Rose occasionally among close friends.