Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday – and some Mondays! – 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 are expecting our second child, another girl.
She is due July 7th and my husband, Justin, and I are having trouble this time coming up with a name we both agree on.
With our first, we knew immediately she would be Hannah Claire as soon as they said, it’s a girl!
This time around, I just haven’t felt that ‘YES, ____ will be her name!”
My husband and I have tossed around tons of names:
- I would like for her name to end in the same “uh” sound as Hannah.
- Justin thinks he would like another palindrome name to match Hannah.
- Then he thought about names that mean grace since Hannah means grace in Hebrew.
- I like the sound of two syllables for the first name and one syllable for the second name.
- I like names that are traditional, yet known, and not too trendy.
- Our last name starts with an “S,” so names that end in the “s” sound might lose something when the full name is pronounced.
- I’m not much of a fan for names that end in the “eee” sound … said Mallor-eeee. Haha.
I like Jane for the middle name.
Any help and suggestions you can provide, so this baby girl has a beautiful name that sounds good for a child and adult, would be most appreciated.
Thank you for your help!
Please read on for my response, and share your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Hi Mallory –
Congratulations on daughter #2!
If you told me that you were looking for a palindrome name that meant grace, had exactly two syllables, did not end in the ‘ee’ sound, and was traditional, but not trendy, I might have said “Nope, can’t be done.” Because that’s a lonnnnggggg list!
But it sounds like the right name might be one that just happens to be a palindrome. Or happens to mean grace. (You’re right – there are a lot!) Or maybe doesn’t match either of those qualities, but still feels like the right name for Hannah’s sister.
So let’s dive in, and try to find some names:
Ada – When I was a child, someone gave me this book. Yup, Hannah is a Palindrome. I’m pretty sure Otto was another character in the book. I’ve been keeping an ear out for palindrome names ever since, and honestly? There aren’t many that are mainstream. But two that work as a sister for Hannah are Ava and Ada. I think Ada matches better with Hannah, and it’s not super-popular. (#382 in 2014.)
Grace – It’s a little obvious, I suppose. If you’re hoping for a big family, having daughters named Hannah and Grace might leave a third daughter feeling left out. And it doesn’t have the ending sound you were hoping for. I suppose if you said it five times fast, Grace Smith sounds a little bit like Gray Smith. But despite all of those shortcomings, I think it’s worth considering. It is a traditional, not trendy possibility that feels just right with Hannah.
Emma – Yes, it’s been a #1 name for girls in the US in recent years. But Emma isn’t trendy. It’s a timeless name that happens to be (very) popular right about now. I’ve come across other pairs of sisters named Hannah and Emma, though, and I think they work well as sister names. Plus, Emma Jane works well together – probably better than Ada Jane, with the repeating long ‘a’ sounds. (Though that’s a matter of personal preference, not a rule!)
Nora – If not Ada or Emma, what about Nora? It has the same traditional feel as Hannah, but doesn’t sound too similar. If not Nora, maybe Cora?
Amelia – Amelia is a vintage choice for a daughter, quickly climbing the popularity charts today. But why not? It brings to mind daring aviatrix Amelia Earhart, and has centuries of history behind it. (That’s the famous Miss Earhart as a child.) It’s three syllables, not two – but I think it’s worth consideration, if only because Hannah Claire and Amelia Jane sound so much like sisters.
Leah – I know a Leah in her late 20s, and another in first grade. It’s another Old Testament name, which is probably why they sound so right together. Bonus? If you decided you wanted to stick with Old Testament names for future children, there are tons of possibilities.
Rosa, Rose – I’m tempted to suggest Rose, except it has the same potential pitfalls as Grace – Rose Smith, and it rules out using Jane as a middle. But Rosa might work wonderfully well. The reason I went look for a rose name (of which there are dozens!) is because in the language of flowers, a pink rose symbolizes grace. Modern florists tend to simplify this to friendship or appreciation instead, but the Victorians had far more complex ideas about meanings. Another floral name that I would love to suggest is Lily, but I suspect the ‘ee’ ending rules this one out.
Celia – If Amelia feels close, but not quite, maybe you would consider Celia? It’s two syllables, works beautifully with Jane, ends in the right sound, and has an appealing meaning. It comes from the Latin caelum – heaven, via a Roman family name. And Shakespeare used Celia in As You Like It, so that might appeal, too.
Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with alternatives. In this case, I feel like I could go on forever! But that’s not helpful, so I’ll stop here. My favorites is Nora Jane – though it’s not a palindrome, and the meaning isn’t there, either. I think Ada is a great palindrome possibility, and I also like Celia quite a bit.
Readers, what would you suggest to Mallory as a sister for Hannah Claire?
My favorite for you is Sarah. 2 syllable, has the “uh” sound endinging. Hannah Claire and Sarah Jane. Lovely and classic.
Some others I’ll suggest. Hannah Claire and little sister:
Audrey Jane (I know you don’t love the “ee” ending, but I love Hannah and Audrey together!)
Another palindrome name to consider: Eve. Would make a nice middle name alternative to Jane.
Ooh … Anina is another palindrome name, isn’t it? Love!
I adore Celia Jane! Cecilia Jane is beautiful too, but it is more syllables than you want.
Leah Jane is pretty too. I do like how Hannah and Leah both end with “h.”
Celia Jane is gorgeous and totally has my vote. I liked the suggestion of Lydia Jane as well. I’m not a fan of Eliza Jane together–although I think they are beautiful separately. Together I am reminded too much of Little House on the Prairie.
How about Laura, Lila, Bella, Layla, and Maya?
3 syllables but I really like for you: Julia (would need to use Grace or another 1 syllable as middle) and Sylvia
Favs from Appellation Mountain list: Emma and Leah
Ideas that sound right but don’t fit criteria: Molly and Abigail
Instead of Nora (which I love), how about Eleanor? Certainly, you could use the nickname Nora, but also Elle. Eleanor Jane.
Another that came to mind, but may be too popular for your taste, Isabelle. You have two nicknames, Elle or Izzi.
Miriam with the nickname Mim. Miriam Jane.
Philippa Jane with the nickname Pip.
I like Ava. Ava Jane.
Elizabeth Johnson says
How about Emme?
I think Ada is your best bet if you’re set on using a palindrome. I’ll also suggest Aurelia – similar to Amelia but fresher, and you could use the nickname Lil – a palindrome. If you want to get creative you could name her Aurora Grace or Lucia Grace – like her sister, she’ll having one naming referencing light and the other meaning grace but in reversed order.
Oops I meant to say ‘one name meaning…’ above
Double oops! I really shouldn’t reply when the kids are distracting me: ”…like her sister, she’ll have one name referencing light and other meaning grace, but in the reverse order.” There’s a nice palindrome-like symmetry there, don’t you think?
Megan Carty says
Oh, Rebekah Jane is so lovely. 🙂 Hannah Clare and Rebekah Jane. I also like the Mara Jane suggestion.
The Mrs. says
Keturah is classic, Biblical, non-trendy, and ends in ‘ah’. Keturah Jane is a graceful name. Oh, and it means ‘crown’.
Alila is a paladrome, obscure, ends with ‘ah’, and means ‘surprise’ or ‘call’ depending on the origin. It has a sound that is current…the ‘Lila’ in there feels botanical, too.
Nellen is VERY rare, but it’s also a paladrome. It’s found more often as a surname. Nellen sometimes has the meaning of ‘conversationalist’ or ‘horn’. Nellen Jane has a nice flow.
Sorry if I missed something that nulls these names, I must admit I only skim read ….
How about Gratia or (Grazia), from the Latin word for ‘grace’?
Oooh, or Eucharia, from a Greek work meaning ‘graceful, comely’?
I like Mara Jane, Maura Jane or Clara Jane with Hannah Claire.
Amelia, Celia, Emma, Leah, and Nora are my favorites from the list with Hannah. All of them sound great with Jane as a middle, too.
Elle is a lovely palindrome, but Elle Jane is only two syllables total so I’m not sure if it works for you. That said, I think Hannah and Elle could be sisters. I also like Ella with Hannah, and Ella Jane is darling.
Jennifer R. says
I love Celia Jane. It flows so well… and Celia Smith sounds like perfection, without both starting with an S. Celia is also a more obscure choice than something like Ella or Ava, which while lovely, feel so overused at the moment. Nora is cute.
Another that comes to mind is Sarah. Sarah Jane, Hannah & Sarah. <3
C in DC says
Lydia Jane; Eliza Jane; Rachel Jane; Mariah Jane; Sarah Jane; Soraya/Sariah Jane; Emme Jane (prn. em-my); Lucia Jane. So many possibilities!
Leah Jane is my pick. It’s got similar Biblical roots, two syllables, and it’s really just a beautiful name. As a fellow lover of palindromic names, they’re tough to find, and either seem very popular or very obscure.