Names like Sadie: 16 Great Alternatives

Names like Sadie

Sadie rocketed into the US Top 100 back in 2013. It’s bright and spunky, a retro nickname name right at home in the twenty-first century.

Ever since Sadie caught on, a group of similar names like Sadie have also risen in use. Some of them started out as diminutives for formal names. Others come from different backgrounds. But they all share the same breezy appeal.

If you like your names nickname-proof, a little bit retro, and with a lot of spirit, this list of names like Sadie might be the perfect place to find your daughter’s name.

Here are my picks for sixteen names like Sadie.

BIRDIE

Birde: Baby Name of the Day

Current US popularity rank: unranked

We love a good nature name, including avian picks like Wren. And so not only is Birdie among the names like Sadie, it fits right in with Willow and Violet and Jade, too. Jessica Simpson recently named her youngest Birdie Mae; Busy Philipps is also mom to Birdie Leigh. It could be short for Elizabeth, or maybe Bernadette. But in the age of Sadie, it’s easy to imagine that Birdie might stand on its own.

Read more about Birdie here.

BONNIE

Current US popularity rank: #691

The Scottish word for pretty, the name peaked in the US during the 1940s. It’s cousin to the Spanish bonita and the French bon. Famous Bonnies abound, but most belong to a different era. Lawless Bonnie and Clyde; iconic television mom Ann Romano from One Day at a Time, played by Bonnie Frankin; singers Raitt and Tyler all come to mind. More recently, there’s a Vampire Diaries character, and, of course, the little girl who inherits all of Andy’s toys in the Toy Story series. The child is named for Bonnie Hunt, an actor known for several voice roles in the Disney-Pixar universe. With another movie on big screens in the summer of 2019, it seems like this name might be gaining traction.

Read more about Bonnie here.

CHARLIE

Current US popularity rank: #152 (for girls)

Boy names on girls remain ever controversial. At the moment, Charlie reads nearly unisex – about 1800 girls and 1700 boys received the name in 2018. But it also feels confidently feminine, maybe because we have such a long history of using it, as a feminine nickname and given name. The 1970s gave us Charlie, the fragrance. Charlie was a man, but Charlie’s Angels? All women. So was Stephen King’s Charlie – really a Charlene – in Firestarter and the teenager in 2018’s Transformers movie, Bumblebee. It claims the same sassy strength as Sadie.

I’ve yet to write about Charlie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

DAISY

Current US popularity rank: #169

At first glance, Daisy is nothing like Sadie. It’s a flower name, more of a complete choice than sweet diminutive. And yet, the two names share the same sounds – just swap the D and the S. Plus, Daisy can be short for Margaret, which makes it more like Sadie-for-Sarah. Another factor? Like Sadie, Daisy peaked in the late nineteenth century. Though it’s risen in use dramatically in recent years, and isn’t too far outside of the Top 100, I’ll still suggest it as an alternative – though one that you’re still likely to hear on another girl.

Read more about Daisy here.

EDIE

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Edie doesn’t seem very different, maybe because we hear modern Eden and vintage Edith with some frequency. But Edie fails to crack the current US Top 1000, which makes it fairly rare – and perhaps an even better substitute for the popular Sadie. Lots of longer names can shorten to Edie, but I think it stands alone quite nicely, which makes it a perfect parallel to the chart-topping Sadie.

I’ve yet to write about Edie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

ELSIE

Elsie: Baby Name of the Day

Current US popularity rank: #280

Ellie could make this list, but at #37, it’s more common than Sadie. Instead, how about Elsie? Lauren Conrad gets the nickname from her initials – LC – but others have answered to the name in full, including Zooey Deschanel’s daughter, Elsie Otter, and plenty of actors, athletes, and other women of accomplishment. It feels gently vintage, just like Sadie, but with plenty of spirit, too. It’s risen in use every year since 2015, but not in a dramatic, flashy fashion. Instead, Elsie seems like the girl next door, the kind of name that you expect to hear – even if it’s not terribly popular – yet.

Read more about Elsie here.

FRANKIE

Current US popularity rank: #808

Like Charlie, there’s a history of girls answering to Frankie. At least some of them have Frances or Francesca on their birth certificates, but others are just Frankie, in full. That number includes Drew Barrymore’s younger daughter, as well as a handful of high profile celebrity kids. Netflix’s Grace and Frankie¬†gives us Lily Tomlin as Frances-called-Frankie. It’s a good reminder that while #808 seems relatively uncommon, it’s tough to gauge how many families might be using it as a nickname. It’s a boy name, too, of course, but interestingly, just Frankie fails to crack the current Top 1000.

I’ve yet to write about Frankie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

HATTIE

Hattie: Baby Name of the Day

Current US popularity rank: #495

Originally short for Harriet, this is another nickname name that’s far outpaced its formal version. Tori Spelling gave the name to a daughter in 2011, and it also featured in the documentary¬†Babies, about how children are raised around the globe. It ranked in the US Top 100 from the late nineteenth century into the 1910s – making it more popular than Harriet back then, too. Now it’s back, and rising rapidly.

Read more about Hattie here.

JOLIE

Current US popularity rank: #699

This name touches on two trends: like Bonnie, it simply means pretty. In this case, Jolie is the French word, edging it closer to word names like River and Grace. But it’s also a Hollywood surname name, as in Jennifer-inspired Anniston or throwbacks like Harlow and Monroe. That’s thanks to Angelina Jolie. For both reasons, and on sound alone, Jolie succeeds. It’s fresh and modern, but not invented. Another name in this category: the upbeat, jovial Jovie.

I’ve yet to write about Jolie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

JOSIE

Current US popularity rank: #192

Josephine remains slightly more popular than the nickname version, but odds are that lots of those girls answer to Josie, too – meaning this name could feel more popular than you might guess. Joe is a solid citizen, a regular guy. But Josie feels different – lighter, brighter. It’s retro and zippy, a name high in energy and yet rooted in tradition. Josie is the feminine form of playful Joey, exuberant and youthful, but somehow not unreasonable on an adult.

Read more about Josie here.

LANEY

Current US popularity rank: #728

Lately Lane has become a go-to choice for boys. And while Lane – and Laine and Layne – could lean unisex, it’s Laney and Lainey that rank best for girls. They pick up on so many long-time favorites, from traditional Elaine to modern Delaney, and yet they don’t feel tied to any single formal name, either. Laney – with or without the ‘i’ – stands alone.

I’ve yet to write about Laney, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

MAISIE

Maisie: Baby Name of the Day

Current US popularity rank: #498

In Scottish, Margaret became Mairead, and Mairead shortened to Maisie. American parents tend to find the Maisie-Margaret connection a little more tenuous, and so we tend to view it as a stand-alone name. Henry James gave us the novel What Maisie Knew; there’s a series of detective novels starring Maisie Dobbs; and young actor Maisie Williams also comes to mind. Lucy Cousins named her children’s book mouse Maisy, while Dr. Seuss spelled it Mayzie. But it’s Maisie that remains the logical member of the names like Sadie society.

Read more about Maisie here.

MILLIE

Current US popularity rank: #304

No doubt, Millie feels spunky and modern. There’s a Broadway musical turned 1967 movie starring Julie Andrews in exactly that role: Thoroughly Modern Millie. With easily a dozen or more formal names, from Amelia to Millicent to Camille, it’s the kind of name that feels like a nickname – only we’re not agreed on for what, exactly. Just like Ellie and Sadie and Molly, Millie has seemed like an independent choice in recent years, an on-trend sound with a vintage vibe and energy to spare.

I’ve yet to write about Millie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

SOPHIE

Current US popularity rank: #98

Well over 21,000 girls were named Sophia or Sofia in 2018, but it’s Sophie that shares Sadie’s breezy style. It’s not actually short for Sophia; instead, Sophie – like Julie for Julia and Lucie for Lucia – is the full French form of ends-in-a names. Still, I suppose Sophie feels far more familiar as a result. It could still be the perfect compromise between, well, Sophia and Sadie.

I’ve yet to write about Sophie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

SYLVIE

Current US popularity rank: #897

A long-time darling amongst name fans, Sylvie teetered on the edge of the US Top 1000 for a few years, but now seems to be moving up. It’s a little bit like Ava and Ivy, with makes the name feel fresher than midcentury Sylvia might sound. Like Sophie, Sylvie is French and complete – no formal name required.

Read more about Sylvie here.

WINNIE

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Jimmy Fallon made waves when he named his daughter Winnie, inspired by the lake where he and his wife vacation. (That’s New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee.) Of course, Fallon – along with a whole generation – grew up with Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years. Plenty of reasons suggest that this name could be huge, and yet, so far, Winnie remains off the radar. It’s less mouse than Minnie, and could be short for everything from vintage Winifred to modern word name Winter.

I’ve yet to write about Winnie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.

What are your favorite names like Sadie? What have I left off this list?

Names like Sadie

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4 Comments

Sadie (Serafina), Birdie (Anabela), and Elsie (Brandelise) are all on my and my husband’s list. It’s boy names where we struggle.

Maggie comes to mind.

Like Maisie, she’s a Margaret variant. But Maggie has that friendly sweetness of Sadie.

Molly, too, reminds me of Sadie.

Both my daughters’ nicknames are on this list, but I put the old-lady chic formal versions on their birth certificates just in case they wanted to have other name options later in life. To this list I would add Betty/Betsy and Annie.

I’m not really a nickname person but I do like most of these names – especially Daisy, Edie and Millie.I love Millicent and Milagros; Millie is great for both.