Name Help: A Sister for Prairie, Mabel & OliveName 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!

C writes:

My husband and I would love your help with a name for our fourth and final baby, another girl!

You graciously helped us in the past and we’re hoping we can have some help again this time. We need a sister name for Prairie, Mabel, and Olive.

We’d prefer to not have a one syllable name being that our last name is one syllable.

Thank you kindly!

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

You’ve set a high bar for wonderful names with your three girls. Prairie, Mabel, and Olive are a tough act to follow!

At the same time, the world is catching up. I’m guessing their names once felt really different. Today? I’d call them distinctive – names we notice, but not quite as surprising as they might have been in 2018.

That’s not at all bad! It just makes me wonder where to set the needle: do you want to go a little farther and find something with that element of “ooh-we-never-hear-that-but-I-love-it” or are you comfortable with a name that feels more mainstream, even if others are using it, too?

For our purposes, I’m going to split the difference and look for familiar names that are still pretty uncommon by 2024 standards.

In addition, I think the right name will probably:

  • Be more than one syllable, but not longer than three
  • Feel vintage in style
  • Be complete and nickname-resistant

It’s also true that your girls’ names all end with different soudns: EE, EL, EV. And so it’s tempting to suggest a name that ends with A, ES, ET, or something else that would be all her own. But that proved way too limiting a criteria, so this list does include a few repeats.



A nature name like Prairie, Briar feels romantic and old school even as it reads modern and spare. That’s probably because of the fairy tale princess Briar Rose – another name for Aurora, also known as Sleeping Beauty. Briar ranks in the Top 1000 for girls and boys alike right now, but remains nicely different.


Strictly speaking, Colette is French. It comes from Nicole, via the elaboration Nicolette. It feels a little bit old school, but fits right in on the playground with Scarlett and Violet.


Even though they share an ending, Mabel and Estelle don’t sound particularly similar. And Estelle mixes very current favorites, like Isabelle and Stella, with a throwback vibe.


One of the first A-ending names that came to mind, Flora is a widely-known name that’s not particularly popular right now, but has the same up-and-coming energy as your older girls’ names.


For now, Lois is a little under-the-radar. It’s a New Testament name that ranked in the US Top 100 from the 1910s into the 1950s. (It’s no surprise that the character Lois Lane was given the name in 1938.) But it’s attracting more attention lately, a mix of Lola and Frances that feels different and fun.


There’s more than one origin for Petra, but it’s most often considered a feminine form of Peter. Few names sound anything like Petra, and it’s distinctive, even on your list of stand-out sister names.


When you were naming Olive, I suggested names like Bonnie or Winnie – vintage, but breezy, too. So I’m adding Sallie to this list, after considering lots of similar names: Lillie, Goldie, and such. They’re names with plenty of spirit, but the same kind of vintage appeal.


Maybe the most mainstream choice on this list, I think Willa fits right in with sisters named Prairie, Mabel, and Olive.

Overall, I’m torn. Estelle is the first name that came to mind, and I like it quite a bit for you. But I’m tempted to suggest something like Petra – really different – or Colette – a little more familiar.

I particularly like Colette with a short surname, so I’ll make that my top choice.

But I know the readers will have even more great ideas, so let’s open it up: what would you name a sister for Prairie, Mabel, and Olive?

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. I love the suggestions of Briar and Clover. I immediately thought of Juniper like many others.

    I was wondering about Esther? With a meaning of star, it splits the difference between nature and vintage (Prairie/Olive and Mabel). I like it more than Estelle which seems more trendy. I knew a kick ass 30-year old Esther – whip smart, supremely elegant, intrepid and above all kind – so I’m biased!

    Prairie, Mabel, Olive and Esther.