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!
My husband and I are expecting a little girl this summer. We love the name Amma, but it seems like a nickname and I’d much prefer to have a longer name that Amma can be a nickname for. Any thoughts?
I’ve thought through Amity, Amory, and Amalia and just don’t love any of them. I’m also not sure I like Amma for Amelia. Would love to put your and your community’s brainstorming to work!
Hi Allison –
This is a good question!
There’s no rule that says Amma requires a nickname. Amma stands alone as a given name in India, and also claims roots in Norse myth. That makes this rarity a short, sweet, and culture-spanning choice.
But I feel like it makes sense here, for two reasons. First, because it seems like you just plain prefer that style. But secondly, Amma is awfully close to the wildly popular Emma. Making Amma a nickname for a longer Am- name could reduce the confusion.
So let’s brainstorm some names, other than Amity, Amory, and Amalia/Amelia.
Amabel popped into my head immediately. Will it be confused with Annabelle? Almost certainly. Then again, Annabelle probably developed as a form of Amabel. The original name derives from the Latin word for lovable; there’s a (male) Saint Amabilis from the fifth century.
Amalie, Amelie – You’ve considered Amelia and Amalia. Would trading the -ia ending for an -ie make the sound any more appealing?
Amanda – I know! Amanda has reached mom name territory, and seems likely to remain there for another fifty years. But if Amanda hadn’t been a chart-topper back in the day, it could be huge now. Like Amabel, it comes from the Latin word for lovable. The French Amandine might be another option that feels less stuck in the 80s.
Amarantha, Amaryllis – Two unusual floral possibilities, both long and elaborate. The upside is that Amma follows logically as a nickname. The downside is that both names might be more rare than you’d like.
Amadea, Amedea – Amadeus has failed to catch on as a boy’s given name in the US, despite the enduring popularity of Mozart. Still, the feminine form of the name might wear better.
Amoret – Yet another name drawing on that familiar Latin root, Amoret was invented by Edmund Spenser in the Faerie Queene.
Annamaria, Annemarie – Any Ann + Ma name potentially works! Anna Marlow could reasonably lead to A+Ma = Amma. Though I think the long, lyrical quality of Annamaria reduces logically to Amma in a way that, say, Anna Mae might not.
Often I don’t have a clear favorite when I’m making a list like this. This time, though, Amabel leapt out to me as a contender from the first.
I think it’s a great stands-out/fits-in name, one that works with Amma as a nickname.
But the more I think about it, the more I fall in love with so many possibilities, from Amaryllis to Amelie.
Readers, what would you suggest as formal names for Amma?
A bit late, but I love Fiamma and Fiammetta from Italy.
Kelsey D says
I love Amalia (ah-mae-Lee-uh).
What about Amada? I think it was Eva Mendes who named her daughter this. It’s actually really nice. It looks like a more modern and fresh spin off of the 80s Amanda… yet when you say it out loud it doesn’t make you think of Amanda at all… It makes me think of names like Emilia or Giada or Vivienne…
I like Amelie or Amalia or Amadea as well.
Amina is beautiful, was going to be my suggestion but see someone beat me too it.
the Mrs. says
I once knew a darling girl named Amina (Aa-mee-nah)… Amma would be a logical nickname. Best wishes!
Not to be negative but just wanted to add Amma is grandma in Icelandic. Pronounced like ‘Emma’, except no e sound, just a, as in ‘father’. I think you are pronouncing it with a harder A sound.
I like Amel
ie, partially because the French movie with the same name is beautiful. I also love the name Amelia. Best of luck finding a name that fits.
Amalia perhaps? Pronounced Ah-mal-ee-ah. I knew a girl from Mauritius named this and it was very pretty sounding. I also think it’s pretty flexible and modern (ally, Lia, also working as nicknames) similarly it’s not too uncommon / going to be mispronounced as there is a Malia Obama around.
Ooo sorry I skipped over the part where you said no Amalia – sorry! My vote is for Amelie- iconic for the audrey tatou role!
Amabel was my first thought too – such a lovely name. I know a bub named Amaia (said ah-may-ah) which is another pretty option. I also love Amaluna – so romantic! But Amma is a great name in itself if you’re happy to go that way
My Am- list [let me know if you’d like more info on any of them]:
Ama, Amaal, Amaali, Amaalia, Amaana, Amaannalik, Amaarhus, Amaartivat, Amaatilik, Amabel, Amabela, Amabele, Amabella, Amabelle, Amabile, Amabilia, Amabyllis, Amada, Amadahy, Amade, Amadea, Amadeia, Amadeja, Amadeta, Amadeya, Amadh, Amadia, Amadisa, Amadita, Amadora, Amaelia, Amaelle, Amaethona, Amagda, Amagna, Amagoia, Amahi, Amahle, Amai, Amaia, Amaidee, Amaira, Amaitsaso, Amaja, Amajek, Amajeq, Amak, Amaka, Amakai, Amakka, Amako, Amal, Amala, Amalaberg, Amalaberga, Amalaberge, Amalaburg, Amalaburga, Amalaburge, Amalafreda, Amalafrede, Amalafrida, Amalafride, Amalafrieda, Amalafriede, Amalagund, Amalagunda, Amalagunde, Amalaharda, Amalaharde, Amalahild, Amalahilda, Amalahilde, Amalarada, Amalarade, Amalarica, Amalarika, Amalaryka, Amalasuintha, Amalasunta, Amalasuntha, Amalaswinta, Amalaswintha, Amalatrud, Amalatruda, Amalatrude, Amalawina, Amalawine, Amalberg, Amalberga, Amalberge, Amalberta, Amalbertha, Amalburg, Amalburga, Amalburge, Amalda, Amale, Amalee, Amalen, Amalfreda, Amalfrede, Amalfrida, Amalfride, Amalfrieda, Amalfriede, Amalgara, Amalgild, Amalgund, Amalgunda, Amalgunde, Amalharda, Amalharde, Amalhild, Amalhilda, Amalhilde, Amali, Amalia, Amalie, Amaliia, Amalija, Amalina, Amaliya, Amalja, Amalkka, Amalrada, Amalrade, Amalrica, Amalrika, Amalsuintha, Amalsunta, Amalsuntha, Amalswinta, Amalswintha, Amaltea, Amalthea, Amalthee, Amaltheia, Amalthia, Amaltrud, Amaltruda, Amaltrude, Amalur, Amalwina, Amalwine, Amalya, Amalye, Amama, Amami, Aman, Amana, Amanat, Amancay, Amance, Amancia, Amanda, Amandaline, Amande, Amandeep, Amandiana, Amandiane, Amandina, Amandine, Amandla, Amandyne, Amane, Amanecer, Amaneva, Amangaannaq, Amangainak, Amangul, Amani, Amania, Amanita, Amanjot, Amankaya, Amano, Amanpreet, Amantia, Amany, Amanyire, Amanza, Amanzia, Amara, Amarachi, Amarachukwu, Amaranda, Amarande, Amaranta, Amarante, Amaranth, Amarantha, Amaranthe, Amardeep, Amare, Amari, Amaria, Amarilda, Amarilis, Amarin, Amarincea, Amarinkeya, Amaris, Amarita, Amarith, Amarjeet, Amarna, Amarpreet, Amartivat, Amaru, Amaruq, Amarygkea, Amarygma, Amaryllis, Amaryn, Amarynkea, Amarysia, Amaryssa, Amasia, Amasiana, Amasie, Amastri, Amastris, Amat, Amata, Amatala, Amataq, Amatasana, Amaterasu, Amathaunta, Amathia, Amatia, Amatis, Amato, Amatora, Amatza, Amaunalik, Amaunet, Amaunnalik, Amautilik, Amaya, Amayo, Amba, Ambar, Ambarina, Ambaxtona, Ambelu, Amber, Ambesa, Ambika, Ambiki, Ambiorg, Ambioriga, Ambiorixa, Ambioryksa, Ambjorg, Ambor, Amborg, Amborgh, Ambra, Ambracia, Ambrama, Ambre, Ambriela, Ambriele, Ambriella, Ambrielle, Ambrine, Ambritt, Ambrogia, Ambrogina, Ambroisine, Ambrosa, Ambrosia, Ambrosie, Ambrosina, Ambrosine, Ambroza, Ambrozia, Ambrozija, Ambroziya, Ambrozya, Amburo, Ame, Amea, Ameda, Amedea, Amedee, Amee, Ameena, Ameera, Amees, Ameesaia, Amek, Ameko, Amel, Amela, Amelcia, Amele, Ameli, Amelia, Ameliana, Amelie, Amelija, Amelin, Amelina, Ameline, Ameliora, Amelis, Amelisa, Amelise, Amelissa, Amelisse, Amelita, Amelith, Ameliya, Amelle, Amellia, Amellina, Amely, Amelya, Amemnar, Amen, Amena, Amene, Ameneh, Amenis, Amenomikumari, Ament, Amentet, Amenze, Ameohnee, Ameq, Amera, Amerak, Ameraq, Ameretat, Ameri, Ameria, Ameriga, Ameris, Amersak, Amersaq, Amestris, Ameta, Amethyst, Amets, Ametsa, Ametza, Amewusika, Ameya, Ameyalli, Ameyalxochitl, Ameyo, Ameza, Ameztia, Amfandra, Amfelice, Amfelisia, Amfiale, Amfiara, Amfiaraya, Amficlea, Amficrata, Amfiklea, Amfikrata, Amfiloca, Amfilocha, Amfiloche, Amfilochi, Amfiloka, Amfilokha, Amfilokhi, Amfiloque, Amfimaca, Amfimacha, Amfimache, Amfimachi, Amfimaka, Amfimakha, Amfimakhi, Amfimaque, Amfinoma, Amfiona, Amfitea, Amfithea, Amfitheia, Amfithia, Amfitia, Amfitriona, Amfitriona, Amfitrite, Amfitryona, Amflis, Amflisa, Amflisia, Amgerd, Amgerdr, Amgerdur, Amgert, Amgerth, Amgerthr, Amgerthur, Amgertr, Amgertur, Ami, Amia, Amiad, Amiada, Amiana, Amiane, Amica, Amice, Amichaia, Amicia, Amicitia, Amida, Amidana, Amidara, Amideror, Amiderora, Amidora, Amidror, Amidrora, Amie, Amiela, Amiele, Amiella, Amielle, Amiezera, Amiimik, Amiira, Amijana, Amik, Amika, Amike, Amiko, Amil, Amila, Amilamia, Amilcara, Amilda, Amilde, Amile, Amilia, Amiliana, Amiliia, Amilija, Amiliya, Amilla, Amimik, Amina, Aminadaba, Aminadava, Aminadiba, Aminadiva, Aminandra, Aminat, Aminata, Aminda, Amine, Aminguak, Aminnguaq, Aminona, Amintora, Amior, Amiora, Amira, Amirama, Amirana, Amirania, Amiraslana, Amirbai, Amirees, Amiri, Amiria, Amiris, Amirith, Amirkhana, Amirona, Amis, Amisa, Amisaia, Amisana, Amisedek, Amisedeka, Amisha, Amit, Amita, Amitabha, Amitaia, Amith, Amitis, Amitsedek, Amitsedeka, Amittaia, Amity, Amitzedek, Amitzedeka, Amiuna, Amiya, Amiyana, Amizabada, Amizavada, Amizedek, Amizedeka, Amjada, Amkarla, Amke, Amla, Amleset, Amletha, Ammaalia, Ammak, Ammaloqisaaq, Ammana, Ammara, Ammavaru, Amme, Ammelij, Ammia, Ammiana, Ammiela, Ammiele, Ammiella, Ammielle, Ammik, Amminadaba, Amminadava, Amminadiba, Amminadiva, Ammit, Ammizabada, Ammizavada, Ammola, Ammona, Ammonia, Ammy, Amna, Amneris, Amnesty, Amnona, Amnotanabatahime, Amoadawehi, Amoda, Amoe, Amoena, Amoene, Amogechukwu, Amola, Amona, Amondi, Amone, Amonute, Amor, Amora, Amordad, Amore, Amorea, Amorena, Amoret, Amoretta, Amori, Amoria, Amorina, Amorine, Amorosa, Amoru, Amosa, Amosa, Amota, Amotha, Amour, Amparo, Ampawn, Ampela, Ampelia, Ampelija, Ampeliya, Ampelja, Ampelya, Ampflise, Amphandra, Amphawn, Amphelice, Amphelicia, Amphelisa, Amphelise, Amphelisia, Amphelyse, Amphiale, Amphiara, Amphiaraya, Amphiclea, Amphicrata, Amphiklea, Amphikrata, Amphillis, Amphiloca, Amphilocha, Amphiloche, Amphilochi, Amphiloka, Amphilokha, Amphilokhi, Amphiloque, Amphimaca, Amphimacha, Amphimache, Amphimachi, Amphimaka, Amphimakha, Amphimakhi, Amphimaque, Amphinoma, Amphiona, Amphitea, Amphithea, Amphitheia, Amphithia, Amphitia, Amphitriona, Amphitriona, Amphitrite, Amphitryona, Amphorn, Amplias, Amplonia, Amporn, Amra, Amrafela, Amrafele, Amrafella, Amrafelle, Amrama, Amranwen, Amraphela, Amraphele, Amraphella, Amraphelle, Amrei, Amria, Amrita, Amruth, Amschela, Amschele, Amschella, Amschelle, Amshela, Amshele, Amshella, Amshelle, Amu, Amukelani, Amulia, Amuna, Amunda, Amundine, Amunet, Amurdad, Amusa, Amvrosia, Amvrosija, Amvrosiya, Amvrosja, Amvrosya, Amy, Amya, Amyca, Amyfelyse, Amyka, Amymone, Amynandra, Amynta, Amyntora, Amyrlin, Amytis, Amzia
Amma does sound pretty, but just a caution that it’s very close to Mama and other names for Mama in various languages. We have a Korean daughter-in-law who calls her mother Umma. If you google Amma, you will find that name is often connected with mother. I think it will work fine as a nickname, but think you’re right that it’s best to give you daughter a longer name on her birth certificate. I love the suggestion of Amélie!
These don’t quite have the same sound, but maybe they could be twisted to work. What about…
Amber (stuck in the 80’s but a spin off like Amberlie or Amberlin?)
Or you could use a name wit “am” in it like
Zena Eve says
My Aunt had a dog named Amadeus nicknamed Ama and it feels really natural. So I have a huge soft spot for Amadea. And Amaryllis is really pretty and unusual.
However, if none of the offered names appeal to you, I don’t think you should hesitate in using Amma.
Oh yeah! My sister is Annemarie and my kids call her Amma. It feels so natural! And truthfully, if you’re a lazy pronouncer like us, Annemarie gets smushed into “Amery” allll the time anyway. A beautiful Swiss variant of Annemarie is Amrei (ahm-ray) which could be a unique and lovely choice.
Amara nn Amma.
My favorites are Amandine and Amadea.
Megan M. says
I kind of love ALL of these options, but especially Amelie and Amandine. I hope you find something you love!
I do love Amelie. Have you thought about a first name + middle name = Amma? Like Anna Madeline or Anjali Maren or Adelaide Malou or Alexandra Maisie?
Abby has a good point about Emma. And Anna. Amma is most definitely going to be misheard for the most common soundalike. I’ve witnessed poor Ada become Ava and Lydia become Olivia in classes where people can’t process something different but similar.
Amanda Grayson says
I love the name Amadea but I’ve always thought of ‘Dea’ as the nickname. If history is important, I would hesitate to use the name Amaryllis. It is a beautiful name and most people will not know about the connotations. In late 16th century English, the lute song was quite popular and a favourite subject was to write about some beautiful girl who was of course, easy. Amaryllis was one of these girls. The name may also have classical connotations that I don’t know about.
I love Amma on its own. I hope you do find a name for it.
I love the suggestion of Amélie – one of my favorite French names (I got the idea from the movie).
I quite like the name Amoret as a formal name for Amma.
Two suggestions from me:
Amicitia – (meaning “friendship”) a Roman personification of friendship
Amytis – (perhaps from ‘*Umati,’ equiv. from Avestan ‘humaiti’ meaning “having good thought”) borne by two women, one of whom is portrayed by Ctesias as the most powerful woman during Artaxerxes’ reign (her mother is also portrayed this way)