Name Help: A Sister for Prudence "Rue" MaryName 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!

Britt writes:

Our daughter is Prudence Mary. I thought we’d call her Prue, but it quickly became Roo and now Rue. People said the most horrible things about her name when I was pregnant, saying Prudence was awful and she’d hate us for it. But of course, we loved it then and feel like it’s perfect for her – even my mom has come around. Besides, we know our people by how they react when they hear Rue’s full name!

Now our second daughter will be here around Valentine’s Day. We want another name that’s somewhere between a Pilgrim and a Golden Girl – old-fashioned but still sassy. It’s totally fine if jaws drop when they hear it, too.

Our last name sounds like Superman’s first name: Cl@rk.

Our list so far:

  1. Georgette – because I love the sound of Rue and Jet! But we know a few girls named Georgia. And I feel like this is really about Jet (Jette? Gette?) more than it is about Georgette, if that makes sense.
  2. Henrietta – love Hettie, feels like this should be the front-runner but I’m not there
  3. Marguerite – except not Maggie or Margo for short, and not sure where that leaves us
  4. Millicent – would be the name, except Millie is very common, and I can’t imagine another nickname, but maybe it will come?
  5. Miriam – a little too popular? Miri and Midge are such good nicknames, but less sure about Midge after the Barbie movie. (Full disclosure: Miriam “Midge” is from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime. Would that be weird?)
  6. Philippa – Too British? Too Middleton? Except Rue and Pip/Pippa are so good together.
  7. Winifred – Except Winnie is kind of like Millie, plus we have a niece named Winter, and don’t want to be accused of stealing her name.

We think her middle name will be Katherine, but we might shorten it to Kate or even Kay/Kaye if that works better.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your second daughter!

And, OH how I love what you said about knowing you’ve found your people by how they react to your daughter’s name! I often feel like I’ve found my people when they hear their kids’ names, so I totally get this.

Okay, now let’s get to work.

The thing about Prudence “Rue” Mary is that it’s not fluffy. Not even a little! Prudence can feel a little severe, though I hear “Dear Prudence” in my head and instead it feels softer, but still serious. And so lots of underused vintage gems don’t seem like a match. Take Araminta, for example – it doesn’t quite work. They could be sisters in the right time period, but it’s not the same vibe – even if Rue and Minnie or Mint do hit the right note together.

Other choices, like Ludovica, seem a little closer – but more like romance language imports than names of English newcomers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The right name has to nail down both qualities – the significance of a strong, enduring, but seldom-heard first name with a playful, even whimsical nickname that, again, is uncommon.

That could rule out Millicent and Winifred, because I agree – Millie and Winnie are fairly popular and likely to gain in use.

Let’s take a minute and evaluate your current list first.



I tend to agree – Jet/Jette and Rue are amazing together! But it’s not ideal to choose a name solely for its short form, and I can see that Georgette might feel like it blends in with Georgia.


A personal favorite! And yet … I think it might be a little frillier than Prudence. Nickname possibilities abound, but I’m not sure which matches Rue. Gigi? I’ve heard Rhett suggested for Margaret, but I don’t think it works as well with Marguerite. And so I, too, reluctantly put Marguerite farther down on the list.


Hettie is fabulous, particularly with Rue. But I think this might be another case of a slightly frillier name not quite working as well with Prudence. (Maybe Henrietta is Araminta’s sister!)


I think I might’ve suggested this name if you hadn’t already put it on your list, and yet … Millie is very familiar. It’s also similar to Molly and Ellie and Lily, which makes it feel even more common. It’s perfect, but … Rue would definitely have the cooler nickname!


Winifred’s issue is similar to the challenges with Millicent. It’s worth noting that Winnie only ranks in the 500s, which is still fairly uncommon. I’d be inclined to rank it higher except a niece named Winter gives me pause.


I’m sold on Rue and Pip, too! The good news: Pippa Middleton makes the Philippa/Pippa combination familiar. The bad news? It’s strongly associated with her and her royal sister. Because Prudence isn’t particularly British, I don’t think this is a deal breaker. But do you like Philippa … or mostly the nicknames?


This name leapt off the page at me. While Miriam has never left the US Top 1000 and currently ranks in the Top 300, I still think it’s a contender. It has the same vibe as Prudence – feminine, tailored, strong, serious. And those nicknames! I don’t think Midge’s use by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a problem. Odds are it will be little-known around the time your Miriam starts school. (It wasn’t exactly a children’s show.) The Barbie movie, though? That gives me pause, if only because Midge is kind of a punchline. (And Midge isn’t new – the doll was introduced way back in 1963.) But there’s still Miri, along with my personal favorite, Mimi. And so Miriam Kate called Mimi or Mim tops my list of sister names for Prudence “Rue” Mary.

But I had so much fun thinking up new ideas that I want to share those, too!



Like Prudence, it’s a name often overlooked and not ranked in the current US Top 1000. That’s also true for Agatha. Both names share Aggie, but Agnes also has Ness/Nessa/Nessie, and I love the sound of Rue and Ness, so it makes my list.


Literary and polished, Antonia has history to spare. And while Toni strikes me as a rather dated nickname, Antonia could also shorten to Ana or Anya. I think Anya hits exactly the right note. Prudence and Antonia sound like sisters, both active in the women’s suffrage movement back in the day, and Rue and Anya sound like the names they’d use when writing long letters to each other.


Every bit as substantial as Prudence, Bernadette is a name for a woman of accomplishment. And it comes with so many great nickname options. Rue and Bette or Rue and Betty is my top choice.


How hard do you want to lean into the whole Puritan virtue name vibe? Because Prudence and Constance are exactly right together, plus Constance can shorten to Coco. Rue and Coco together are beyond perfect! Cece might be another option, especially since your last name starts with C.


I’m debating whether Frederica is too fussy. But I think it’s the right kind of familiar, but mostly unused name. Plus nicknames include Freddie, Red, and maybe even Flick (though that’s more of a Felicity/Florence nickname.)


One of my first thoughts was Gertrude, with the sweet nickname Trudy/Trudie. But then I heard it: Trudy, True, Rue … super similar! And I’m not as confident in Gertie/Gert as a nickname.


If Henrietta is too much, how ’bout Hester? It’s an old school take on Esther. Yes, there’s The Scarlet Letter, but that drives home that it’s every bit as much Plymouth Rock as Prudence. Bonus: nickname Hetty/Hettie works for Hester, too.


British like Pippa, plus with nicknames Immy, Gen, and even Mo/Moe!


Elegant and refined, Rosamund shortens to the sparky Romy. Born Rosemarie, the legendary actress Romy Schneider lends this name some glam.


I almost suggested Wilhelmina with the nickname Billie. Billie and Rue! So good together. Except Wilhelmina feels more like Henrietta or Araminta – a yacht of a name. But Sybil called Billie feels a little more compatible. They’re not from the same historical era, strictly speaking, but they sound like they could be.

I think Constance “Coco” Katherine and Bernadette “Betty” Katherine are my favorites. Or Constance Kate and Bernadette Kaye? But I’m not sure if they beat Miriam, especially with the nickname Mimi.

Readers, what would you suggest as a sister name and nickname to go with Prudence “Rue” Mary?

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. Maybe you just need to land on a nickname for Millicent that works and is not too expected?

    Millicent “Tillie”. Rue and Tillie (or Tilly).
    Millicent “Nettie”. Rue and Nettie.
    Millicent “Minty”. Rue and Minty (or Mint).
    Millicent “Mimi”. Rue and Mimi.

  2. Cressida „Essie“

    Clementine „Clem/ Lemmy“

    Frances „Franny/ Anny“


    Sidony „Sid“

    Emerald „Emme/Emmy/Essie..“





    Dove (I love the sound and look of Dove Katherine ! Rue and Dove)


    Meadow „Mimi“

    Myrtle „Mimi/Midge“

    Peony „Pep/ Pip“

    Reverie (Reverie and Prudence sound like sisters to me. Rev/Revie/Evie and Rue)

    Mildred „Midge/Mimi“

    All the best to your family ! X

  3. Imogen “Midge” Kate
    Florence “Ren”/“Lo” Katherine
    Ramona “Mo”
    Persephone “Percy”
    Peregrine “Perry”
    Diana “Yan”
    Helen “Elle”
    Matilda “Til”/“Tillie”

  4. Also, if you likebthe -etty sound:

    Annette — Ettie, Nettie, also Annie
    Laetitia/Leticia/Letitia — Lettie/Letty
    Loretta — Lori, Etta, Ettie

    Barbara ~~ Bar, Barra, Basha
    Charlene — Char
    Cynthia — Thea/Thia
    Darlene — Dar
    Deborah — Bo
    Linda (or Belinda, Melinda, etc.)
    Lorraine — Lori, Raine
    Susan — Sue, Sukie, Zan
    Yvette — Evie or Yve, Ettie
    Yvonne — Evie or Vonnie

  5. Mim could also be a nn for Miriam; Meg for Marguerite; and Fred(die) for Winifred.

    Prudence “Rue” &
    Imogene “Mim”
    Alberta “Bertie/Birdie”
    Augusta “Gus/Auggie”
    Thomasine “Tess”
    Cordelia “Corrie”
    Verity “Vee”
    Beatrix “Bee/Trixie”
    Dorothea “Dot/Dottie”
    Leopoldine “Polly”

  6. Prudence “Rue” Mary is gorgeous!

    I really like Harriet called Hettie with Prudence called Rue.

    So many great suggestions in the post and the comments, so I’ll add

    Hildegarde “Hildie”
    Adelheid “Heidi”
    Ingrid “Indie”
    Agnes “Anya”
    Gwendolen “Goldie”
    It’s a stretch, but Katharine “Hattie”