Name Help: A Sister for Nora ClairName 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!

Carrie writes:

Please help us find a name for Nora Clair’s sister!

We had a boy name picked out – Lincoln James. We’d like to save that for (maybe) a son (maybe) in the future.

We like names that:

  • Can’t be shortened. (I’m Carrie, not Cara/Caroline/Caren, and it gets old telling people that it’s just Carrie.)
  • Are easy to spell. (Because I’m not Kerry or Kari or – seriously!? – Carry.)
  • Are short. (Our last name is Czech, and starts with Hr. I know they’re calling our name when the person sorts of hesitates.)
  • I don’t want to repeat initials. Definitely not another N name, and maybe not another L name, because we really like Lincoln for a boy. (This ruled out Lucy, which is my husband’s favorite girl name.)

We don’t mind popular names, but we did rule out the Top Ten. Also, we have a puppy named Bella, so Ella/Stella/Isabella is pretty much out.

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

Dear Carrie –

Congratulations on your new daughter!

I’m going to suggest some new names in a minute, but let’s talk about Lucy.

Lucy checks every one of the boxes – it’s familiar, but not Olivia-level popular. It’s easy to spell and pronounce. And Nora and Lucy sound exactly like sisters.

Right now, you’re ruling out a name that your husband loves – and you like, right? – because you might someday have a son with an L name.

Is that really the trade-off you want to make?

I think Nora, Lucy, and Lincoln sound great together.

And so much can change between now and some future point! A family member or close friend might name their son Lincoln. Or the name might become more popular, to the point you’d rather not choose it for your son. And, of course … you might have three more daughters and no sons. It’s just impossible to say.

It’s worth thinking about, because Lucy seems like such a good choice for your family!

All of that said, let’s find some new options.



While Nora feels more traditional, Lincoln strikes me as slightly more modern. So I wonder if you’d like something like Eden for a daughter? Like Lincoln, there’s history galore to the name, but it’s never been common as a first. At least, not until the the last two decades or so.


Eliza is just a little bit longer than most of the names on this list, but it still fits the brief – easy to spell and pronounce, immediately recognized, but not a chart-topper yet. And I love the way Nora and Eliza sound together – timeless and traditional.


A mini name that’s big on style, Ivy is slightly less common than Lily, but with the same ecovintage appeal.


The Italian word for gemstone, Gemma feels like a Gem-Jenna hybrid, but it has plenty of history, tracing back centuries. It’s rising in use, but still far below Emma levels.


Originally short for Margaret, Greta seems more like an independent choice today. Young activist Greta Thunberg keeps this name in the headlines and makes it feel current and serious. Hollywood icon Greta Garbo reminds me that it can also be so very glam.


Molly feels casual and relaxed. It’s the dressed-down version of Mary, a name that stands on its own. From the legendary Unsinkable Molly Brown to Harry Potter’s Molly Weasley, it’s a capable, determined name.


A glittering gemstone of a name, but also one with a long history of use. Plus, it shares sounds with Lucy, so maybe it’s a non-L substitute?


I was going to suggest Leah … but I think if there’s any L name you should bend your rules for, it’s probably Lucy. But how ’bout Thea? Like Nora, it’s just slightly vintage. And while it’s still not very popular, it’s easy to spell and pronounce.

Overall, I love Eliza with Nora, or possibly Molly. But that’s only if I can’t convince you to name your daughter Lucy after all!

As for middles, I have a crazy long list of one-syllable middle names for girls here, but I love the sound of Eliza Kate.

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Nora Clair?

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. Congratulations! I agree about rethinking Lucy! I recently had a baby boy, and I’d had the name Elliot picked out for a boy for years. At the beginning of the pregnancy, I wasn’t thinking about boy names because a boy would definitely be Elliot. I never would’ve guessed, but during the pregnancy, that changed. Now my son’s name is one I’d never considered previously.

    All that to say, even if you do have a little boy in the future, it’ll be another baby in another moment in time and who knows what you’ll choose.

    I like Eden and Ivy as suggestions. Here are a few more:


  2. Thea came to mind right away, and from Abby’s list, I also like Ruby, Ivy, and Eliza as well as Lucy, which I don’t think would prevent you from using Lincoln in the future. A few others to consider: Willa, Alice, Sylvie, Ada, Rose, Mae, Eva, Violet, Daphne, Phoebe, June, Iris, Maeve.

  3. I think what you mean by a name that can’t be shortened is a name that can’t be lengthened. If you name her Annie or Maggie or Ellie, people may sometimes ask if that’s her “real name.” Do you ever hear that about Nora? I know a couple who are Eleanor nicknamed Nora. But today, most girls called Nora, Polly, Sadie, Hattie, Josie, or Tess are actually named that, and so many kids with a long formal name don’t use any nickname. And there are so many names where it’s not really accurate to classify one as the nickname and the other as the formal version (eg Luke/Lucas, Lucy/Lucille, Sophie/Sophia, Julie/Julia, Isabel/Isabella).

    I thought of Lucy right before I read that you’re reserving L for your potential future son. Nora and Lucy sound perfect together, and it seems to check all your boxes. I think Lucy and Lincoln sound so completely distinct that I wouldn’t nix Lucy just for the matchiness with her hypothetical future brother’s name.

    How about Grace, Anna, Audrey, June, Celia, Mary, Celeste, Celine, Ruth, Alice, Anya, Rachel, Whitney, Caitlin? Tatum, Peyton, Sloane, Harper, Haley, Riley, Zoe, Quinn?