Names That Mean Short

  1. Arlo
    • Origin:

      Irish or English
    • Meaning:

      "between two hills"
    • Description:

      Quirky cool Arlo is now well and truly back. Last year it broke into the US Top 200 boy names and consistently ranks among the most popular boy names on Nameberry.
  2. Liam
    • Origin:

      Irish short form of William
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      Liam is the top boys' name in the US, holding the Number 1 spot for the past five years and also ranking as one of the most popular boys' names around the western world.
  3. Mia
    • Origin:

      Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
    • Meaning:

      "mine or bitter"
    • Description:

      Mia is an appealingly unfussy multicultural name that has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the charts and is now firmly among the ten top girl names. Mia has surpassed its mother name Maria as the Number 1 girls' name starting with M.
  4. Etta
    • Origin:

      English and Scottish, short form of any name ending with -etta: Henrietta, Loretta etc.
    • Description:

      Thanks to the surprise hit revival of Etta James' song At Last and because of recent interest in vintage style nicknames, Etta has established herself as a possible successor to Emma and Ella. Back in the US Top 1000 as of 2023 and rising rapidly up the UK charts, where it sits in the Top 200, Etta is a snappy, smart and sparky choice.
  5. Colette
    • Origin:

      French, short form of Nicole, feminine variation of Nicholas, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "people of victory"
    • Description:

      Like the French author with whom the name is most closely associated, Colette is a chic and charming name that is being rediscovered. After disappearing for nearly 30 years, Colette rejoined the Top 1000 in 2012 at Number 659 and has continued to rise since then.
  6. Nola
    • Origin:

      Gaelic
    • Meaning:

      "white shoulder"
    • Description:

      Nola, a name with a sleek, enigmatic quality, was used for the much-pursued heroine of Spike Lee's 1986 breakout film, She's Gotta Have It, and again by Woody Allen in Match Point. It's a short form of the traditional Irish name Fionnuala. Nola reentered the US Top 1000 in 2008, for the first time in 50 years.
  7. Susan
    • Origin:

      English diminutive of Susannah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "lily"
    • Description:

      Although Susan had her heyday from the thirties to the sixties, and is now common among moms and new grandmas, and though most modern parents would prefer Susanna/Susannah, we have spotted some flickers of interest in a revival. It still retains a certain black-eyed-Susan freshness.
  8. Beck
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "small stream"
    • Description:

      The popular single-named alternative singer (born Bek) has given this cool nature-meets-surname name a new lease of life. Another notable bearer is Beck Weathers, a Texan pathologist who survived the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which was covered in the book and film Into Thin Air.
  9. Lian
    • Origin:

      Variation of Leon or German short form of Julian, Chinese
    • Meaning:

      "waterfall; lotus"
    • Description:

      As a masculine name, Lian has historically been used as a nickname for names such as Julian and Killian, particularly in Europe. It’s also a unisex Chinese name pronounced as a single syllable.
  10. Posie
    • Origin:

      Variation of Posy or short form of Mariposa, English or Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "a bunch of flowers or butterfly"
    • Description:

      Posie and its near-identical twins Posy and Posey are delicate old-fashioned flower names of the type that are stylish today: Think Poppy, Marigold, Clover.
  11. Mika
    • Origin:

      Finnish short form of Mikael
    • Meaning:

      "who is like God"
    • Description:

      This short form of Mikael, a variation of Michael, may originate in Finland but it's most popular in Germany and The Netherlands. Mika can make a cute and original way to honor a Michael in the family, but be prepared for a lot of people pronouncing it with a long i as in Mike.
  12. Courtney
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "short nose"
    • Description:

      Among the Top 20 names of the 1990s, today's Courtney is more apt to be the babysitter than the baby. Courtney has dropped since its peak at Number 17 in 1995. Familiar from Courtney Love and Courtney Cox.
  13. Gail
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, short form of Abigail
    • Meaning:

      "my father rejoices"
    • Description:

      Gail was a mid-twentieth century favorite, which has been far surpassed by its original form, Abigail and nickname Abby. Spelling variations include Gale and Gayle, the latter represented by TV journalist and Oprah bestie Gayle King. Gail was most popular in the 1950s, when it was in the Top 40, and could rise again, possibly as a middle.
  14. Nelly
    • Origin:

      Variation of Nellie and Nell
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Nelly or Nellie is an adorable nickname name that can be short for a wide range of more formal appellations or that can stand on its own, and is typical of the vintage nickname genre that is growing in popularity. While Nelly can be used for several different names, from Helen to Eleanor to Cornelia, it has stood on its own for more than a century. It was one of the most popular names – spelled as Nellie – in the U.S. at the end of the 1800s.
  15. Zelie
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "noble"
    • Description:

      A cute, zippy French saint's name that's picking up in popularity there, and starting to in the US as well. Zélie originated as a short form of Azélie, thought to derive from Adelaide via the Occitan form Azalaïs. Saint Zélie was born Marie-Azélie.
  16. Judd
    • Origin:

      Medieval short form of Jordan
    • Meaning:

      "flowing down"
    • Description:

      Judd is a strong but sensitive short form that can easily stand on its own, the second 'd' giving it a lot more substance, and it would also be a good middle name choice. Two recent actors have given it credence--Judd Nelson and Judd Hirsch, and now it's most noticeably represented by comedy director Judd Apatow.
  17. Milly
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of Millie or short form of Camilla, Millicent, Mildred etc.
    • Description:

      Milly and her more popular sister Millie are adorable Old Lady nickname-names springing back to life. Nearly 100 baby girls were named Milly, just Milly, last year, and Millie is in the US Top 500. Milly is the Molly of the new generation.
  18. Nuala
    • Origin:

      Irish, short form of Fionnuala
    • Meaning:

      "white shoulders"
    • Description:

      Officially a shortening of the traditional and tricky Gaelic Fionnghuala/Fionnuala, Nuala makes a lovely choice all on its own. Nuala is well-used in Ireland.
  19. Cru
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of Crew or short form of Cruz or Crusoe
    • Description:

      The short, clipped Cru is one of those modern names that's starting to find favor -- it was given to nearly 50 boys last year, while Crew has vaulted onto the Top 1000. One inspiration is undoubtedly the Spanish name Cruz, which came to wider attention via the third son of Victoria and David Beckham. Cru has a handsome sound and a modern feel.
  20. Cliff
    • Origin:

      Topographical name or short form of Clifford or Clifton
    • Description:

      Cliff is a familiar, timeless short form -- never too popular, yet widely known -- that you might also think of as a geographical name ala Vale or Field.