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!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the longest girl names. When I read that Queen Victoria’s first name was Alexandrina, I thought that’s what I would name my daughter. My best friend growing up was Nicole “Nikki” and I loved the idea of longer names, like Nicolina and Nicoletta. Other names I really liked were Cassandra, Gabriella, and Esmeralda.
We have a son named Sebastian Elijah, and we’re expecting a daughter in December. My partner is pretty indifferent about names, though he’ll sometimes surprise me by disliking a name I really love. (He shot down Elizabella, because he went to school with a mean girl named Eliza.)
The problem is that I feel like all the names I loved for all those years don’t seem like the right choice for my daughter now. Does that even make sense? I still like them, but they’re not her name. My mom keeps suggesting Olivia and Isabella, and while I think they’re pretty, I feel like I hear them a lot.
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your new daughter, K!
I think I know exactly what you’re experiencing. If you start dreaming of names in 2005, but aren’t actually naming children until 2015, a lot can happen. Every year that passes increases those changes, so if you made your first “names for my future children” list in fifth grade, well … chances are you’ve heard an awful lot of names between then and now!
Names come in cycles. The most popular choices of 1999 sound they’re from another century in more ways than one.
But the style you’re describing – elaborate girls’ names, rooted in tradition, but with a little bit of a twist? They’re enduring.
It’s just a question of finding some fresh ideas!
LONG GIRL NAMES
Antonia is long, but Antonella turns it up to eleven. It sounds a little bit like Isabella, but is far less popular.
An Italian name meaning order, Cosima is related to another word for the universe – cosmos.
A logical alternative to chart-topping Isabella, it brings to mind legendary dancer Isadora Duncan.
A floral name far more elaborate than Lily or Rose, but just as wearable.
A literary name from Shakespeare, long and elaborate Ophelia follows Olivia up the charts.
Most of your favorites seem to end with a, but mythological Persephone is one long, elaborate girls’ name with a slightly different sound.
Fiery Seraphina might be too close to Sebastian if you’re avoiding an initials repeat. But it’s also a great choice for underused girl names.
Vivian is far more popular, but the Italian Viviana takes this tailored name in a romantic direction.
My favorite for you is Antonella. It sounds like a logical successor to Alexandrina, with the -ella sound you’ve appreciated in Gabriella and Isabella, too.
If not Antonella, maybe Ophelia? Parents sometimes dismiss it because it lacks an easy, obvious nickname. But it sounds like that’s not a drawback for you.
And – oh – middle names! Antonella Rosalie, maybe? Or Ophelia Lucienne?
I came up with a lot of double names with added endings to bulk up the frills. What do you think of:
Ivelisse( from another of Abby’s blog posts)
Jocylena(like Jocelyn with Lena)
Sybalise(Sybil with Lise)
Please note- Adrianette, Georgianna, Ivelisse, Alexandrina, Augustina, Zillah, Yvette, Estella, Elianna, Gracelyn, Varicella, Brynlee, and Antionette are all official names while the rest of meshed and blended bits of other super girly names. Tell me what you think and best of luck!
I love long names:
Adelia, Anastasia, Aurelia, Azalea, Callandra, Christabel, Christiana, Coraline, Eliora, Francesca, Georgiana, Ilaria, Jacqetta, Leandra, Leonella, Lucinda, Luella, Magdalena, Melita, Millicent, Ornela, Rosalie, Sylvana, Theresia, Victorine, Zenaida.
Jean C. says
I wonder if you would like Colette? Not long but similar to Nicole while more modern sounding. Or Natasha? Octavia, Fernanda, Felicity. Wilhelmina. Penelope sounds like a beautiful sister name to Sebastian. Priscilla. Theodora.
So many great suggestions here. I second Anastasia that someone else suggested. Sebastian and Anastasia – wow wow! I also love the name Isadora.
Not sure if another S name is an option but I’ll throw out on of my husbands favourites – Simonetta. A beautiful Italian name.
There is also Alexandria which is similar to Alexandrina.
Clarissa or Larissa
Antonina or Antonietta
Rosalia or Rosalinda
Alessandra or Alessia
Emmanuella or Emmanuelle
Marceline or Marcelina
Raphaella or Raffaella
Clementine or Clementina
Why not stick with your first love, Alexandrina? Or, what about Audrina, Andromeda, Arabella, Augustina, Cordelia, Graciela, Juliette, Wilhelmina, Marianna, Marguerite, Thomasina, Violeta?
Valentina was my first thought too. Or Veronica. Or what about Mariella? I kind of dig the last one… Sebastian and Mariella.
Zena Eve says
I love long, elaborate girl names, too!
I’ll add a few more that I think would be great with Sebastian – lots of great options above and from Abby! Hope one feels right.
Maybe Alexandria will feel fresh enough for your daughter, while using your all-time favorite name? It’s just me, but I think in the long run I would regret not using that all-time favorite, so a slight change might be the answer. Another possibility is Georgiana, which I think sounds beautiful with Sebastian.
Also, to me a good sibling name to Sebastian is Margaret, but since it probably isn’t your style, maybe Marietta?
Love these suggestions!! Seraphina and Isadora are my favorites from Abby’s list. Anastasia is another inspired suggestion from the comments.
Apologies for repeats from other suggestions, but are few thoughts:
Catarina nn Cat, Kit, or Rina
Bettina nn Betty, Bette, Betsy, or Teeny
Florianna nn Flo, Flora
Evangelina nn Evie, Vanna, Lina
Phillippa nn Pippa, Philly
Georgianna nn Georgie, Gia, Gigi
Congratulations and best of luck!
Alison Doherty says
I’ll add a few of my longer names to the suggestions too – Calliope, Emmeline, Coralie, Sylvia, Leonora, & Mirabelle.
Alison Doherty says
How about Miranda?
Ooh … great suggestion, thank you!
I love Abby’s suggestions Isadora-Viviana. If you’re a nickname person, I can think of at least five for Seraphina, and at least two each for Isadora, Magnolia, and Ophelia.
Catriona could be gorgeous.
Alternatives for names you like:
Alexandrina – Alexandria, Magdalena, Bethany
Nicoletta/Nicolina – Augustina, Marietta/Mariana, Josephina, Jacqueline, Leonille (lay oh NEE)
Cassandra – Calliope, Cressida
Gabriela – Michaela (mih kai el uh), Raphaela
Esmerelda – Esperanza, Evangeline, Yvelise, Eulalia
I’ll suggest Natalia, Mariana, Camilla, Marina, and Valentina.