Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, 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!
I’d love some advice on finding a name for our second daughter.
Our first daughter is Lilah Elaine. Lilah is a name my husband liked, and Elaine after a family friend who passed away right before my daughter was born.
We like names that have a vintage vibe, and that are somewhat unique, but not unheard of. We do not like strange spellings, or super trendy names. We are looking for something that would work for a child as well as an adult. (I’m thinking of what it would look like on a resume).
Names on our list so far: Faye, Margaret, Scarlett, Faith, Ivy, and Dia.
The middle name is still up in the air as well, but my husband is really pushing for Ann.
Our last name is a one-syllable color name, which makes all color names tricky.
Thank you so much for your insight!
Please read on for my comments, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments!
Hi Robin –
Congratulations on your second daughter!
If you were naming your first child, there wouldn’t be any issue, right? You’ve got some great names on your shortlist, and while they vary in style, they’re all fantastic choices that meet your criteria.
But when we need to find a name that fits all of your criteria and sounds like a sister name for Lilah? That’s a bigger challenge!
From your list, I do think I’d drop Scarlett. Which is a shame, because it’s a great sister name for Lilah. But I can’t imagine being named Scarlett Greene or Scarlett White – it’s just too much color name, I think. But it’s very possible that I’m in the minority, and every reader is shouting, “Don’t be crazy!” So let’s have a poll:
Now, let’s look at the names on your list:
Margaret – It’s a great name, but I do think it’s different in style than Lilah. Of course, much of this depends on what you plan to call Margaret. Lilah and Maggie, Lilah and Margot, or Lilah and Greta all work beautifully, in a way that Margaret and Lilah might not.
Faye and Faith – I think both work well as a sister name to Lilah, though I wonder about such a short first name with a short last name. Faye Sutherland sounds better than Faye Smith, and Faye Ann Smith seems like not enough name.
Dia – Dia is the least familiar name on your list, though I do think it would wear beautifully.
Ivy – Again, it’s not a long name, but it’s two-syllables, and I think that’s part of why it’s my favorite from your original list!
Let’s see if we can throw a few more possibilities into the mix:
Georgia – Georgia is more popular today than in the past, but it’s still far from common. I think I’m drawn to it because it repeats ‘g’ sounds, just like Lilah repeats those ‘l’ sounds. It’s also a substantial enough name to go with Ann as a middle. Lilah Elaine and Georgia Ann.
Iris – Ivy makes me think of Iris. It’s also in the US Top 300, but never wildly popular. It feels literary and sophisticated, but not so grand that it would difficult for a child to wear. Lilah and Iris share the long ‘i’ sound, which could also help connect them.
Anna – I know you have Ann on your middle name list, but have you considered using Anna as a first name? It’s much more popular than many of your choices – the name ranked #34 in the US in 2014, and that was early days of the Frozen phenomenon. But classic names tend to feel less trendy, even when they are on the upswing. If Ann has meaning and significance, I think it’s worth considering Anna as a first name.
Anya – Along the same lines, Anya has been in the US Top 500 in recent years, but isn’t very common. It’s a Russian spin on Anna, also spelled Anja in northern European languages. Lilah and Anya are both just a little bit different without being too out there.
Greta or Margot – I think I might have suggested Greta or Margot even without Margaret on your original list! They’re both feminine names that feel vintage but not too fusty-dusty, and they’re familiar without being wildly popular.
Now, a quick word on middles. Is there a reason behind Ann? While Ann can be an elegant first name, it sometimes feels like an insubstantial middle, especially when paired with a very short first name and even more so when the last name is short, too. Dia Ann would be a mere six letters, and Faye Ann just two syllables total! It makes me wonder if a longer form of Ann – Annalise, Annabeth, the list is endless! – might be appealing?
Overall, I think Ivy is a great sister name for Lilah from your original list. And I’m very much tempted to add the two forms of Margaret, Greta and Margot, for additional consideration – either as nicknames, or as formal names.
Readers, what names would you suggest to Robin for Lilah Elaine’s sister?
I just realized this phrase association would be even stronger with a noun first name! Ivy Ann Green = ivy and green…
A note on the middle name Ann! My sister’s middle name is Ann and we have a short noun name. This makes her whole name sound like a phrase! Monica Ann Black = Monica and black…
Original Poster here!
Wow, what amazing suggestions! Funnily enough, some of our FAVORITE names that many of you suggested we cannot use because of family members/ close friends already using those names (Georgia, Greta, Vivian). We now find ourselves leaning toward Eve/Evie, but would like to find a longer name (maybe Evelyn) that lends to Evie as a nickname.
Thanks so much for your help!
Huge fan of Margot over here. Love the all the vowels playing off each other – Lilah and Margot. It’s a subtle match. I think Margot Ann works as well.
I like Ivy with Lilah, but it’s got a strong color association for me, too, so I’m hesitant.
Love the suggestions of Margot, and Greta…they sound great with sister Lilah. Another diminutive of Margaret you might want to consider is Maisie. Other suggestions: Alice, Vivian, Grace, Helena (nickname Lena), Paige, Juliet, Daphne, Cora, Camille, Felicity
I wonder if you would consider other forms of Ann as a middle name. Ann with a one-syllable last name seems abrupt to me. Annalise, Annabel, Hannah, Annika or even Joanne/Joanna would be a nice alternative.
Lilah Elaine and little sis….
Love your taste in names! You’ve gotten so many wonderful suggestions already. My favorites so far are Faye and Margot.
I’ve got one more suggestion for you: Clio. Muse of history in Greek mythology. Long history of use but totally underused. Easy to mispronounce though would be misspelled Cleo, which has different origins I think. Maybe you like Cleo spelling better. I like the history of Clio and I like the repeated vowel “I” in Lilah and Clio. Mostly I love Clio and I love Lilah and Clio together.
I think White, Black, and Brown are so recognizable as surnames that you mostly don’t have to worry about pairing them with another color (With some exceptions…I wouldn’t do Ivory White or Sienna Brown). Green is kind of on the line, and then a really unusual color name like Blue or Rose I’d probably be more cautious with.
I agree that Greta is a great choice. I’ll also throw in Martha, Sonnet, and Juliet. (You’ve got two ends with -et names on your short list, so maybe you’d like some more.
Faye is so unexpected as Lilah’s sister! I love it.
I like Faye, Iris, Ivy, and Margot best from the list- and someone also mentioned Claire, which I think sounds lovely with Lilah.
It may just be me, but I feel like Dia and Lilah sound odd together, almost like you’re trying to make the name ‘Delilah’.
I’m also a bit concerned that Ann is too brief a name to work with many on your shortlist (particularly my favorite, Faye).
II also think May/Mae is a pretty edition. Lilah and May.
Eve, Alice, Tansy, Edith, Celeste, Sylvie.
the Mrs. says
Margaux was my first thought.
Irene might hit the right note for you: classic, under-used, adult, easily-recognizable, and clearly feminine.
Estelle seems like it might work as well. Lilah and Estelle.
Maren is my last suggestion. Lilah and Maren.
Since hubs like Ann, how about Anais for a first name? Lilah and Anais.
Vera comes to mind. Vera means “true” in Latin and “faith” in Russian.
The AR sound repeats in your list with Margaret and Scarlett, but seem a bit harsh next to Lilah. I think Amara would be a nice for with Lilah.
What about Tessa?
My last suggestion is longer than the other names on your list, but has a vintage vibe, no wacky spelling, and is known but not popular — Marietta.
If you were to use Anne as a first name, I would go with Anne Margaret.
That being said, my favorites are Margot and Georgia.
If you don’t mind using a name that is also a state, I think Virginia is quite lovely.
I would also add Bonnie, Agnes, and Edith to the list, as they have that vintage vibe, and they would go well with Lilah.
Thank you for the poll! Even though it’s pretty divided. Violet has been my favorite name since childhood and my new married name is now a color. My husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal to have two colors, but I go back and forth. Back to Lilah’s sister.. I LOVE Greta and Margot/Margo and Georgia also sounds great. What about… Claire/Clara or Daphne?
Isadora Vega says
Another thought I had was Dahlia. Dahlia Ann?
Charlotte @ to Harriet Louise says
I feel like Faye is a perfect name to go with Lilah, but I agree that it’s short. I think a long middle name would solve that, though. I also like Margot and Greta.
How about something a bit longer, like Natalie, Catherine, Elizabeth or Penelope paired with Ann? Any of these sound fine with Lilah. (Which has that old lady chic that is popular these days…Margaret would be my choice from the original list for the same reason, and it has lots of shorter nicknames that would go with Lilah.)
I love Georgia Ann. Unfortunately Dia Ann to me sounds too much like Diane with a stutter
My only hesitation with Ivy and Iris is when used with a color name will it sound too descriptive. A noun used with an adjective. Ivy Green or Iris Brown draw to my mind a descriptive picture.
I know a (adult) pair of sisters, Lilah and Nadia. Nadia Ann is pretty.
I’m rooting for Georgia or Greta!:)
Georgia Ann is lovely, but I think with Greta one of the longer forms of Ann that Abby suggested would work better, like Greta Annalise.