Name Help: Linnea VioletName 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!

Robyn writes:

Hi! You helped us name our first born, Estelle Eve, through one of your posts. Thank you!

We are expecting another daughter in a couple of weeks. I’ve always been drawn to Liv, but I don’t feel it has enough substance to stand alone.

We like names that are not overused and so Olivia is not an option. My grandmother’s name was Linnea and I love Violet as a middle name. Do you think Liv short for Linnea Violet is odd?

I thought it made total sense, but hubby thinks it would be confusing and odd. What do you think? Thanks for your time!

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

Hi Robyn –

I don’t think it’s odd at all to call Linnea Violet “Liv” for short. And yet, your husband is right that it can cause occasional confusion.

It all comes down to how comfortable and confident you are in the nickname. If you believe it works, others will follow. And if you don’t mind an occasional hassle, an unconventional nickname can be a great way to use ALL the names you love.

Our daughter answers to an unconventional nickname. We’ve had a few incidents over the years, and they’ve been easily resolved. A few things to consider from our nine years of explaining that Clio’s full name is really Claire Caroline Wren:

  • If you’re shy as a parent, this might be torture. People ask all the time, out of simple curiosity. I end up talking about my daughter’s name an awful lot.
  • It helps to have a go-to story. “Oh, she’s named for my grandmother” is the kind of vague explanation you might get away with. “It comes from her initials, L.V.” could work, too.
  • Should you name your daughter Linnea Violet, called Liv, you’ll probably discover more kids with unconventional nicknames, or children known by their middles or initials, than you’d expect. It’s not the kind of thing we notice until we’re in the club.
  • But you’ll also be surprised how few people notice!

In many ways, Linnea Violet called Liv fits right in with so many initial nicknames. Plenty of boys are DJ and JD and AJ and CJ and JR. Girls, too. You’re drawing Liv from LInnea Violet, but you could get there from the initials L.V., too.

Before we go any farther, I wonder if there are other names that might lead to Liv?

Lavinia – Lacy and romantic, Lavinia comes from Roman myth. It enjoyed some use in the US from the late nineteenth into the early twentieth centuries.

Livia – Livia is an ancient name with completely separate roots from Olivia. The only trouble? It’s almost certain to be misheard as Olivia.

Olive – The virtues of Olive are many. First, it clearly leads to Liv as a short form. Most people will recognize it as a distinct name from Olivia. And it makes a great sister name for Estelle! (They’re both on this list.) Other Oliv- names include Olivine and Olivette, but I’m not sure that they’d make satisfying substitutes for you.

I think Linnea Violet called Liv is pretty much perfect. After all, Linnea is a family name and it satisfies your desire for something less common. Lavinia, Livia, or Olive can’t claim family name status, so they drop down to much distant second choices in my book.

Let’s have a poll.


My vote goes to Linnea Violet, called Liv – but I can’t wait to hear what others suggest!

What do you think of this formal name-nickname combination? Are there options you might consider?

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I am the mother of little Linnea Violet ‘Liv’ and my husband and I are SO very thankful for all of your thoughtful comments and for Abby’s fabulous blog! Thank you once again for assisting us in choosing a perfect name for our beautiful baby girl. xx

    1. Congratulations!! Linnea Violet “Liv” is a beautiful name!!! Truly lovely. Glad you went with it and got all your favorites in one 😉

  2. My son is Thomas Anthony called Teo (from T.A.=”Tay”) so I obviously don’t think Liv is a stretch. He’s only a year old but we have not had any issues with the nickname so far.

  3. Love Linnea Violet nn Liv. I think Linnea to Linn to Liv isn’t a stretch at all. Liv and Lynn have the same vowel sound the way I say them.