Kara writes: Sorry for not writing sooner! It was all a lot of worry for nothing. Lucy Josephine is here, and we’re all so in love. Once we chose the name, we knew it was perfect. Thanks to everyone!
We have two daughters, Violet Marie and Eliza Grace. Now we’re expecting our third daughter and probably last child.
My husband and I agree on three girls’ names, but we don’t like any one of them better than the others. We’re still using the same list from our first pregnancy, though we’ve crossed off a few names over the years. They are: Amelia, best friends’ daughter, Chloe, just don’t like it as much as we used to, Ella, because we used Eliza instead, and a few others that were never top of the list.
We’re down to:
- Lucy – Maybe my favorite.
- Cora – But is it too close to my name, Kara? It was almost Eliza’s name, but I don’t want to be confusing.
- Penelope – Probably my husband’s favorite, but I wonder if it’s too long?
Her middle name will probably be Josephine, after more than one Joseph in our families. Our last name is one syllable, and starts with an S, which rules out a few names we like, like Alice.
So how do we choose? Should we flip a coin?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Kara –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
First, a story: my grandmother couldn’t decide on a middle name for my father, some seventy-plus years ago. Legend has it that she put all of the names they were considering in a hat. The one she pulled out was Walter, and it became my dad’s middle and eventually my brother’s middle name, too.
So random? It’s an option.
But we don’t have a three-sided coin, so let me give you my reaction to each name.
I don’t think Penelope is too long to be a sister for Eliza and Violet. They’re all energetic names, popular today but with history aplenty. That makes them sound like a well-matched trio. Plus, nickname options abound if you did want to shorten Penelope a little.
But your preferred middle name is Josephine. That would make your daughter’s full name seven syllables, plus one more for your surname. Eight’s not unreasonable, but it is a longer name than you’ve chosen before. (Pretty much double Eliza Grace and Violet Marie.)
So I’m inclined to rule out Penelope on these grounds.
Can Kara’s daughter be Cora? Of course! Plenty of households include a Henry Sr. and Henry Jr., and that’s the exact same name. Cora Josephine is lovely, too.
And yet … if you feel like you might trip over Kara and Cora ? Then that’s good enough reason to move on. So much as I think it’s great, I can see the wisdom in choosing a different name.
And here’s the different name: Lucy! Lucy sounds just like a sister for Violet and Eliza. It’s lovely and vintage, but very much at home in the modern moment. It’s on the shorter side, sounds great with Josephine as a middle, and feels very familiar, too.
I think the decision is clear – not because of the names themselves, but because of the realities of other names in your family. (And those can’t be changed.)
Because the logic seems so strong to me, I’d encourage you to try out thinking of your daughter as Lucy for a few days. If you order coffee or anything like that, I’d consider giving the name Lucy to the barista , instead of your own. (That way you can hear other people say it.)
But is this decision just too easy? Readers, I feel like I might be missing something. Please let me know what you think in the comments, and take our poll here.
I voted Cora. It evokes the same time period that Violet and Eliza do. And Cora Josephine sounds lovely. And I agree that Cora S. sounds better than Lucy S.
About the Kara/Cora thing, there are a few options: there are variants like Coraline/Coralie/Coral, or you can just own it and say she is a namesake with a twist.
Team Cora here. I agree with the “too much hissing” with Lucy followed by by the S surname. Cora Josephine is lovely sounding and even looks beautiful in print.
I think Lucy is my favorite for you but the s sound does pose a problem. Cora sounds a lot like Kara. Penelope is a bit long but Poppy or Pippa could be a good shorter spunkier nickname.
I liked the suggestions of Nora and Luna for you.
Other possible names…
Penelope feels too long and Cora is too close to the point it would be a pain in the butt so I’ll go Lucy
I’m going to give you a few suggestions but I’ll limit it to 5 so you don’t get overwhelmed –
Marla – Marcia reminds me a lot of Cora in the sense that they are both classic , elegant , a ending names from another time. Darla or Marcia would work too but I think Marla feels slightly more modern. Violet , Eliza and Marla.
Corinne – I chose this one because I think it could fix your issues with Cora. My only hesitation is that it’s a lot gruffer then your other daughters’ names. Violet , Eliza and Corinne.
Willa – Similar reasons to Marla. Violet , Eliza and Fiona.
Marnie – Another cute and vintage nickname similar to Lucy.
Rosa – Combines the a name of Eliza with the floral theme of Violet. Violet , Eliza and Rosa.
I picked Cora, but reading your reply I saw Corinne and I think that’s an excellent suggestion! I’ve heard it pronounced co-reen or cor-in and I like it either way.
I agree with Abby 100%. Lucy is a clear winner, unless they went with another middle name then Penelope would be lovely too. I also like the suggestion of using Josephine as the first name if it was on the table. Otherwise my vote is for Lucy Josephine!
I voted for Lucy, but if they go with Penelope they could consider shortening Josephine to Jo – Penelope Jo. Seems like Jo could also honor several men named Joseph.
What about Flora, to make it a little more distinct from Kara? Or Luna, to avoid the repetitive S sound with your surname? Or maybe Phoebe? I think Penelope is such a long and fancy name that I’m surprised it has gone mainstream. To me it sounds like it belongs in a class with Persephone, Ariadne, Guinevere and Arabella. If you like long fancy P names, what about Philippa called Pippa? Or just go with Josephine and have your choice of tons of cute nicknames.
I’d also like to propose maybe Josephine could be the first name. 3 syllables, lots of history, spunky like Violet and Eliza. Then use Cora as a middle.
Josephine Cora S—-
British American says
I voted for Penelope. Even though Lucy was on the top of my own name list. I also know a family with a Lucy and a Penelope. Penelope goes by Penny.
I do think Cora is too close to Kara, even though it’s mother-daughter and not sisters. Unless you are kind of going for an almost Jr kind of a thing.
Penelope feels more on style with Eliza and Violet to me. Like more spunky and unusual than Lucy. Though a quick plug for Lucinda with the nickname Lucy to make the name more unusual.
I’m going to be a weird dissenter on this one.
Lucy S— he is a lot of hissing for me too close together, and kind of melding together when said quickly. Add Josephine with the same sound in the middle, and I’m struggling with liking the combo when you add in the last name.
If it weren’t for that, I would be on board with Lucy.
Of these three, I would lean towards Penelope even if it is a bit longer.
This! That is a lot of “s” / “c” sounds. Lucy also seems like a less serious name than Eliza and Violet. Sweet and cute definitely, but less weight to it.
Cora and Penelope have more weight as does Josephine. I really like the idea of Josephine Cora.
Violet Marie, Eliza Grace and Josephine Cora.
I agree with Abby. Lucy seems like the clear choice. However, if for some reason it still doesn’t feel like her name, I wanted to suggest Nora. Very similar in feel to Cora but not as close to Kara.
Coincidentally, I have a Nora and Lucy myself.
I too think Nora is a great fit. It feels like Cora without being like Kara.
I know a sibset Elise and Nora. So Violet, Eliza, and Nora sound great to me.
I think Lucy and Cora both work perfectly with Violet and Eliza…but I would lean toward Lucy. Lucy Josephine is super sweet. 🙂
I can’t fault this reasoning. Lucy Josephine S. sounds like a name to last a lifetime, and it’s especially beautiful with Violet and Eliza. I love how each girl has a different first initial and name ending.
I do think Penelope Josephine would be totally fine if that were the name you loved best. The Cora/Kara thing would bug me too.
Also, Abby, I love your blog!