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!
We are expecting our third daughter, a sister for Amelia Anne and Olivia Grace. Our boy name for years has been Ethan, after my husband’s late brother. This is almost certainly our last child, so if there was a girl version of Ethan, I’d consider it. But there’s just not. And we love our girls’ names, and don’t want something different, so we’re not that family who would name a daughter Ethan.
But it is also hard to find a name that’s not too much like Amelia and Olivia. We almost agreed on Penelope, but good friends just gave that name to their daughter, and I think there would be hard feelings. We like long girl names, mostly ending with a, but we’re not sure what goes with Amelia and Olivia without being too similar?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Beth –
Congratulations on your third daughter!
Here’s the good news: you know your style, and you know what you like. Amelia and Olivia are feminine, traditional in style, and currently quite stylish.
The dilemma, of course, is that so many names might be ruled out because they’re too close to Olivia and Amelia. Emilia is a no, of course. And maybe some others.
But if you like the long and lovely sound of such names, then I wouldn’t try too hard to escape it. It’s a question of finding a name with a sound that’s just distinctive enough to work with Olivia and Amelia.
Alessia – Alexa is everybody’s go-to digital assistant, and Alexia isn’t too different. But Alessia is her Italian cousin, and I think it works. Pop singer Alessia Cara has made the name more familiar, but it’s still #580.
Elena – Would an E name be enough to honor Ethan? It’s subtle, but it’s something to consider. A romance language cousin to Helen, Elena is three-syllables, ends with a, and yet sounds different compared to Olivia and Amelia. Elena ranks #66.
Eliza – If not Elena, how about Eliza? Originally short for Elizabeth, it’s long been perceived as an independent name. Hamilton has given the name a boost, but it was already catching on. Eliza ranks #131.
Georgia – Georgia is just a little shorter than Amelia and Olivia, but I think it still works perfectly. There’s something upbeat and spunky about this name. Everybody seems to love it, but it’s just #223 – which always surprises me!
Lucia – I’m saying it loo-see-uh, three syllables just like your older girls’ names, but it’s worth noting that some will say it with two: loo-sha. The Latin name comes from lux – light. It ranks #183.
Rosalie – Since Penelope ends with the ‘ee’ sound, I wonder if Rosalie might appeal? It’s feminine and traditional, but a little different. Rosalie ranks #208. It’s the French form of Rosalia, which might meet your criteria better on paper – but I think it’s Rosalie that feels more like a sister for Olivia and Amelia.
Sienna – Unlike Olivia and Amelia, you won’t find a Sienna in 1889 or 1919. But it doesn’t feel invented, probably because there’s the Italian city of Siena, and Saint Catherine of Siena. The double ‘n’ spelling is far more popular as a given name, possibly because it’s how we spell the orangey-red color, which puts Sienna in the same category as Ruby and Scarlett. It ranks #186.
Valentina – It strikes me that you use Olivia and Amelia in full. That makes me think of Valentina, another name that qualifies and long and lovely. Valentina ranks #81.
One other thought: would you consider the middle name Eden? it’s not related to Ethan, but the sound is similar.
My favorite combination is Eliza Eden. I think Olivia, Amelia, and Eliza work perfectly together. They’re all elaborate, feminine names with a endings. And Eden seems like a great middle name nod to Ethan.
Readers, over to you. What would you name a sister for Olivia and Amelia? And have I missed any ways to honor Ethan for a girl?
Amelia and Olivia are so perfectly matched! Start with vowels, accent on second syllable, same number of letters with consonants and vowels in same spots, end in -ia. when I read the title, I thought of
I do think Abby’s suggestion of Alessia matches well, though: initial vowel, accent on second syllable, ends in -ia.
Im impressed at all her ends-in-A, iambic suggestions! Eliza, Elena, Lucía, Sienna: nice job! Any of those would fit nicely.
A lot of great suggestions already. I love Eliza and Lydia in combination with your two older girls names, and also have one more suggestion that I haven’t seen here yet: Odessa. 🙂
Sunniva, Junia, or Cosima!
Just making one up… Ethelia. It’s from the name Ethel, but adds the -ia ending. Close girl version of Ethan. My daughter is Xylia (rhymes with Amelia or Cecilia, but zeel-yah) and I think Ethelia sounds very similar. Amelia, Olivia and Ethelia sound like siblings. We call her Xyli (zeel-ee) or Xy (zee). You could do Theli or E (I call my cousin Ethan, E.
Estoria, Tori for short. I like the vowel names you started and also they end with -ia. I also think you should do a E name since you like Ethan.
What about a first name ending in “-et,” like Juliet or Violet or Margaret, with the middle name Hannah? That gives you a lovely flowing name with a hidden homage to Ethan.
I love your girls names, Amelia and Olivia. I’m thinking maybe Dahlia would go well. What about Eden as a substitute for Eathan? You could even spell it like Eaden or Eadan?
Thanks Abby for another great article, there are some really lovely names here.
The first thing that jumps out at me is your naming style. Your girls names are beautiful and so far you seem to like long (4 syllable) romantic sounding
girls name ending in a. Penelope was four syllables although it had a different ending.
There would be several options you could choose if you wanted to continue the pattern i.e. Isabella, Liliana etc.
It would be great to link the name you choose (first or middle) with the name Ethan as this has meaning for you, and there’s a number of ways you could do it. As already mentioned, you could choose a name starting with ‘E’ (i.e. Eliana, Elizabeth or Elisabeth, Eleanora), pick a name with a shared ‘e’ sound at the start – Abby mentioned Eden but I really like Eva or Evangeline – or alternatively you could look for something that has a shared meaning (strong) like Gabriella. Good luck in your naming journey for baby no. 3!
I think for this sib set I’d definitely choose Ilaria, it means happy/ cheerful in Italian. It’s a new initial, still a vowel, and ends in not only A but -ia just like your older girls.
I would definitely choose another name that starts with a vowel and ends with an A!
I have the same thing in my family! I have an Alina and if number 2 is a girl then Emilia. If we have a third girl then like I said above!
For you guys, from my own list
Isla, Ilaria, Elena, Elisa (eh-lee-za),
I like Ursula too but Disney ruined it for my family.
I know of both an older lady and a young adult named Ethnee … I wonder if you’d like that, perhaps in the middle.
Names that I think might fit as a sister to Amelia & Olivia (and sorry if these are repeats):
Erin Beth says
Another name that includes many shared sounds with Ethan is Nathalie/Natalia.
What about Charlotte? Every bit as classic and stylish as Amelia and Olivia without repeating the “ends in a” dilemma.
Amelia, Olivia, Charlotte
I also like the suggestion of Eliza.
Maria Flores says
Sophia or Isabella
Estella is my suggestion. It has enough in common with Ethan to me, and sounds pretty with Olivia and Amelia. Maybe Elinor/Leonora or another variant? Love your name style and there are loads of excellent suggestions given by others here. Love Georgia, Sylvia, Athena, Claudia, India. My wildcard suggestions are Cressida, Aurelia, or Scarlett.
A belated idea. Thane. It’s an actual anagram to Ethan. While historically it was a title held by men, most people will probably know it from the Elder Scrolls games where it is gender neutral.
I think Abby’s first three, Alessia, Elena, and Eliza are amazing fits with Amelia and Olivia. Persephone could be a good alternative to Penelope.
I think Eden, Bethany and Athena are good honor names for Ethan, and would like to add Aitana eye-THAN-ah and Etain AY-dean. The Hebrew for Ethan is Eitan, so I feel like Aitana is a good match. There’s also Eithna pronounced the same as Enya.
Athens, Adeline, Eloise, Eliana, and Anastasia also caught my attention. They all sound fantastic with Amelia and Olivia, as does Aitana.
I hope you find a name you love!
Mandie L. says
I haven’t read any of the comments yet, but what about Athena? I know it’s not technically related to Ethan at all, but it shares the same sound while suiting your “longish vintage girly” vibe.
Or spell it Ethena!
Georgianna, Dulciana/Dulcia/Dulcina/Dulcibella, Eliana, Octavia, Lionella, Leona, Leeanna, Arabella, Arianna, Otillia, Pompeiana/Pompeianna, Stephania, Virginia, Thomasina, and India.. India somewhat feels out there at first being a location name, but it fits so well, think gone with the wind… Georgian/Victorian/gothic Victorian names didn’t just stick to one era, and both her daughters names bleeds slightly into more than one category mentioned up above including to dulcet dainties. As would India. It’s classic elegance and pairs nicely with the the two sibsets.
Persephone, the superior version of Penelope.
I think Sophia, Isabella, Georgia and Rosalie are the best suggestions yet.
I have heard of Elia for a girl, which compliments your other girls but may perhaps be too similar?
Aurelia seems like it would work but it would repeat an initial.
Liliana come next to mind. Keeps the Italian vibe, same syllables, l consonant heavy and ends in a.
Speaking of which, Lucia in Italian is pronounced “loo chee a” with a ci similar to ciao. Clearly you determine the pronunciation you prefer, but with such and Italian vibe you may get the alternative pronunciation from time to time.
Ooh and Carolina. Again l consonant heavy, ends in a and 4 syllables.
Best of luck!
What about: Sophia, Isabella, Seraphina, Lilian(n)a, or Fiona?
Ivy Elizabeth says
I would also suggest using Ethan as a middle name.
Ivy Elizabeth says
Here is a list of feminine names that contain all the letters found in Ethan.
I’m going to add:
I love the suggestion of Athena as an honor name for Ethan that also totally matches your first two daughters’ names!
Olivia makes me think of the character from Twelfth Night, so maybe a different Shakespearean name would fit? Miranda came to mind right away, but Cassandra, Silvia (Sylvia), and Helena all adhere to your pattern and Rosalind might feel right despite the lack of A at the end.
Louisa sounds close (maybe too close?) to Amelia and Olivia.
Arabella seems to be more popular in the UK than the US, but has a lot of history and an undeniably feminine sound.
A few other ideas: Isannah, Evangeline, and Samantha.
Abby posted on the Facebook page as well. If you don’t check there one wonderful suggestion was Bethany as it has Ethan in it. Where your name is Beth, maybe use it as a middle name to honor Ethan?
Ethan means strength, so perhaps you can match the meaning and use Eloise? Plus Eden as Abby recommends:
Another loose anagram of Ethan is Thea! I think that would be sweet. You could pair it with an N middle name to capture all the letters/sounds. Thea Nicole, Thea Nova.
Of course, I like Thea Jane, TJ ❤️
Michelle Springer says
What about Etienne?
Evangelina. Covers for Ethan and ends with an a.
Middle name : Eden
Sounds pure, beautiful, saintly, and pretty nice.
Sophia, Isabella, or Annabella would be perfect for you.
Or other good options that don’t end in a but seem to fit…
Emmeline (too close to Amelia, maybe?)
And last but not least, a possible very loose anagram of Ethan…
Erin Beth says
Was coming back to suggest Juliet and Juliana but @Em beat me to it. I will add Madeleine and Bernadette as possible sisters to Olivia and Amelia.
Erin Beth says
I love the suggestion of Veronica for you. Some of my other favorite options:
Ethel (maybe in the middle, as an honor name)
Dorothea (shared sounds with Ethan)
A name ending in “ette” could also be a subtle honor name:
Amelia and Olivia are lovely, just as much separately and as a set! They immediately made me think of Eliana, Lydia, Sophia, and Isabella (forgive repeat suggestions!). Stretching your rules a little but sticking with the same general feeling (long, feminine, and classic but current), maybe you’d like Charlotte, Eleanor, Madeleine, or Caroline? And Penelope reminds me of whimsical choices like Annabelle, so perhaps something more to that effect? I also really like Abby’s suggestions, especially Rosalie and Eliza, and would like to suggest Helena in addition to Elena. How refreshing to embrace more popular choices–many of them are such great names. Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will just as gorgeous as the names you’ve already chosen for your daughters!
What about Elisabeth? It ends with the ‘eth’ that Ethan starts with. Plus, it’s long, classy, and feminine, just like Amelia and Olivia.
Or what about Phoebe? It may be a good replacement for Penelope. I know it’s short next to Amelia and Olivia, but not noticeably so. They all match well in style.
My favorites from Abby’s suggestions are Georgia, Rosalie, and Eliza.
Liana or Eliana
I think Elena is such a wonderful sister name for Amelia and Olivia. Could you pair it with a middle name that has the same initial as Ethan’s middle so they have similar initials in order to honor him? Although it isn’t as long, I think Ella pairs well nicely. I also think Eloise and Juliet would fit well too.
Eliza, Georgia and Rosalie are my favorite of Abby’s suggestions, and I also really like Sienna (though I prefer one “n”) and Valentina. Would you consider Susanna, Gabriella, Francesca, Bianca, Theodora or Veronica? Eden would be a darling middle name!
From Abby’s suggestions, I love Eliza the most, it would go so well with Amelia and Olivia imo! Also, Abby mentioned Alessia, which made me think why not Alexandra, since you like long girl names. It’s longer than Olivia and Amelia but may appeal to you.
How about Julia, Victoria, Mia (or is it too close, as Mia can potentially be a nickname for Amelia?), Helena, Lydia, Sophie, Serena, Matilda, Alice, Maria, Cordelia (as long as rhyming with Amelia isn’t an issue), Louisa, Natalia/Noelia, Lilliana (or perhaps some other Lil- name), Clarissa, Virginia.
I’ve once written a short story with a sibset Amelia and Lucretia as characters, I’ve always felt like those names are fabulous for sisters and Olivia would fit in too, especially that it fits your criteria of being girly, long and ending in -a. But perhaps it’s a bit too bold an option and maybe Lucia would be better.
I am personally not a big fan of neither Ethan nor Eden but I like Abby’s idea of Eden being used as a feminine form of Ethan, it has a modern feel but not overly and definitely does sound similar.
What came to my mind when I was thinking about a possible feminine form of Ethan is that there is Athena for a girl, which obviously doesn’t have anything to do with Ethan etymologically but looks very much like it having all the letters and sounds of it plus one extra a. Perhaps that would be a good idea for you, whether as a middle or a first, and also as a potential alternative for the mythical Penelope. It also has 6 letters just like Amelia and Olivia but doesn’t feel too matchy to me.
A loose anagram of Ethan like Athena is a lovely suggestion. Thea could work too!
Go with Isabella or Sophia. They are good matches and as trendy as your Olivia and Amelia. Pair them with a one syllable name like Jane, Kate, or Rose; and you will have the perfect sibset.