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Baby Girl Names: Short and sweet

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Baby girl names have been trending toward the long and elaborate for some time now, with selections like Isabella and Elizabeth, Olivia and Sophia winning out over the kind of brisk no-nonsense names — Anne, Gail, Lynn — that dominated a couple of generations ago.

But there are some popular names that are short and sweet.  I’m thinking of Emma, Ava, Mia, Ella.  And some parents are starting to feel this simple style carries a more modern brand of femininity.

You might want a short, sweet name for your daughter’s middle.  Or maybe you want a short and sweet first name to balance a longer or more complicated last name.

How short is short?  We’re going to cap it at four letters.

Our ideas for fresh baby girl names that are both short and sweet include:

Do you prefer short, sweet girls’ names or more elaborate ones?  Which of the names here would you use for your daughter?

 

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52 Responses to “Baby Girl Names: Short and sweet”

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augusta_lee Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 11:26 pm

You must have read my mind — I JUST started a list for 4-letter names. My name (Leah) is 4 letters, and I’ve noticed that many of my favorite girl names — Jane, Faye, Iris, Clio, Thea — are this long as well. It’s a simple connection that I really like.

Some more great short-n’-sweet names: Jane (of course), Joan, Jean, Io (love!), Nina, Nova, Wynn, Sage, Hero, Luna, Lucy, Lara, Lena, Anna, Gale (though I prefer this for a boy), Hale (ditto), Fern, True, Dove, Saga (love), Kate, Rae, Reve, Valo, Lux, Abra, Bess, Kit, Kay, Joss, Mab, Lore, Jay, Jael, Ode, Jem, Gwen, Sade, Lane, Nyx, Tey, Suri, Plum, Zen, Penn, and Skye.

augusta_lee Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Oh, and how could I forget Nona and Clare?

alzora Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I love so many of the names on this list! I adore the sleekness and simplicity of short names. My favorite on the list is Neve, and although most people pronounce it “neev” or “nehv,” it also happens to be the Italian word for “snow” when pronounced “NAY-vay.” My husband adores the two-syllable Italian pronunciation of Neve, so that will be a contender for us when we conceive our first child.

Others I would add to the list:
Liza
Mab
Macy
Toby…yes, for a girl!
Zoya, which is a variant of Zoe and means “life”

charmingwitch Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 12:29 am

Edie has been one of my favorites lately!

vaness1 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am

I’m really loving Thea lately! Actually, I really love a lot of these names. Some other favorites not included here are: Nora, Mira, Elsa, and Sage.

Circus85 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:12 am

I’ve just put together a short-list of ten girls names that includes both the more elaborately feminine and the short on sweet. The names on your list that are also on mine are Esme, Lila and Thea. They sit next to the more elaborate Mirabelle and Delphina (with the short and sweet nn’s Miri and Delphi)! I’d add Zelda to your list – it’s a recent crush!

grackym Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:22 am

I’d add Elsa to the list-she’s so sweet!

ELO Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 2:41 am

I love short names for nicknames. I grew up with a no nickname name, so I went the opposite way with my kids.

I do especially love Lulu (Louisa), Coco (Cosette or Colette maybe?), Tess (but I can’t do Theresa, is their another longer name to use?), Hope (not short for anything but I think it is classically beautiful) and Nell (Eleanor). My gf named her baby Genevieve but calls her Nev.

I’m surprised Cora and Opal didn’t make the list.

My grandma’s name was Iva. I love that name and never see it used.

rachel27 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:29 am

I love these names. My favorites are Nora, Ada, Ivy, Etta, Thea, and Tess. I would love to use Nora, Ivy, Tess, and Ada.

dindlee Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 5:13 am

Love this list! Tess! Lulu! Neve! I think short and sweet can be just as feminine as the longer frillier names.

kyemsma Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 5:39 am

Did anyone mention the short and sweet Nina?

BabyNameCrazy95 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 6:24 am

What about Aria or Lila x

Pam Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 6:37 am

To me some names like Cora, Aria, Nina are more short and strong than short and sweet. But Plum should be on the list — I’m adding her!

Missmolly Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 6:53 am

Am I the only one who still loves Jill?

Freya_1983 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 7:57 am

Add Enid!

bluesparrow5684 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 9:31 am

My daughter is Maya.. I think it should be on this list too.. But only spelled this way

keaton Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 10:15 am

This list is totally my style! Both my kids, Leo and Ivy, have names I consider short and sweet (and strong, as Pam pointed out above). I pushed for Jane for Ivy’s name, but I couldn’t get my husband on board. He wanted Iris or Ruby, so I guess his style fits this list too.

If we had a third (which we are not planning on) and it was a girl, I would love a little Nina. Great names.

Mischa Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 10:39 am

This list just confirms what I already know – less is more!

I love….

Ada
Alma
Bess
Cleo – I prefer Clio
Edie – as a nn for Edith
Esme
Eve – I do prefer Eva though
Fay
Gwen
Ida
Iris
Ivy
June
Juno
Lark – mn only
Lila
Liv
Mae
Maud
Nell
Neve – I prefer Niamh
Oona
Page – I prefer Paige as a mn only
Rose
Ruby
Tess
Thea
Vera
Vita
Wren – mn only

Names like Coco, Plum and Lulu just don’t make the grade for a serious, mature professional woman. How could these names be included and not short and sweet Jane is beyond my comprehension.

Mischa Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 10:41 am

This list just confirms what I already know – less is more!

I love….

Ada
Alma
Bess
Cleo – I prefer Clio
Edie – as a nn for Edith
Esme
Eve – I do prefer Eva though
Fay
Gwen
Ida
Iris
Ivy
June
Juno
Lark – mn only
Lila
Liv
Mae
Maud
Nell
Neve – I prefer Niamh
Oona
Page – I prefer Paige as a mn only
Rose
Ruby
Tess
Thea
Vera
Vita
Wren – mn only

Names like Coco, Plum and Lulu just don’t make the grade for a serious, mature professional woman. How these names could be included and not short and sweet Jane is beyond my comprehension.

Mischa Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 10:42 am

System is acting up today so I got to post twice.

KateMP91 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:11 am

Most of my favorites aren’t on this list! Cara is, but I prefer Kara. I do love Lila, and June is sweet. Nova, Shae, Tara, and Veda should be on this list, too!

Mom2one2 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:24 am

Anna & Abby seem short & sweet to me!
Love this list!

annabelruth Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:32 am

I would definitely use Iris or Ivy for a child. I am also really drawn to Luna and Posy – I think these are so sweet!

JH Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:59 am

@missmolly- I still love Jill…because that’s my name! I feel like it could be on this list. It makes me so sad that Nameberry said ‘Odds are against Jill making it back up the hill’. Ouch.

I really love Liv or Livia (which is a different name than Olivia). I liked June for a while, but now not as much. When I was younger I liked Gwen a lot too.

emilybk Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I love short names – my daughter’s name is Cates, one short and sweet syllable. It’s a family surname that we used to honor the great-grandmother who bore it. We gave her a more obviously feminine middle name (Margaret), but her short, spunky first name fits her perfectly.

Madelyn Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 12:28 pm

This is a fabulous list! Thank you so much for putting it together. My favorites are Edie, Fay(e), Iris, Ivy, June, Juno, Lark, Luna, Peri, Ruby, Vera, and Wren.

My current name crush happens to be Juno. Is there still a strong association with the 2007 movie Juno?

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I like May with a ‘Y.’

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I don’t think anyone mentioned Mary.

shealahtoba Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I like Bea, Poet & Wren. I’d only use Wren though, and that’s still not very likely..

Giinkies Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Sky or Skye is the short and sweet name on my list

iwillpraise Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 3:10 pm

My sister-in-law is paticular about her girls’ names being short and spunky…er, sweet. Ruby is my first niece, named after my grandma; Lexi (yes, ‘Lexi’ is on her birth certificate) is the second. In a month, they are expecting a third girl. But she doesn’t have a name yet. I’ve suggested Josie (which would be somewhat honoring to my other grandma, Joyce), Sadie, Chloe, etc. SIL loves Carli and possibly Josie, but not sure of this one bc of teasing possibilities. My brother still isn’t 100% on anything.

Edie/Edy was one that I suggested as well. She wasn’t too fond of it….. but ever since I thought about it, I’ve been head-over-heels and in total bliss to consider it as a possible nn for future daughter #2: Nadia Eden 🙂 My husband picked this combo, and I’m not sure that he’ll be too keen on giving Nadia a nn, but I think Edie would be such a darling option!

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Tessa
Theo (I was almost named Theo)
Milly (many ie’s can be converted successfully to y’s)
Edna
Nelly (you frequently have to diminutize to make this list)
Erin
Sara
Dawn
Hope
Avis
Lily
Emma
Lola
Ruth
Noel (but I far prefer Noelle)
Orla
Zoe
Sian
Eden

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Rory!

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I now you want fresh, up-and-coming short and sweets, and some of mine are wilting or in fashion limbo. But, nonetheless, here are a few more:

Alba (not yet)
Wynn (I prefer Wynne)
Jada (trendy)
Jade (sixties-ish)
Jana (I only like the European, Yah-nah pronunciation)
Jessa (too Jessica-ish, but hey)
Bryn (going, going…)
Dora (not yet)

Seems Grace and Maeve should be on here, being one-syllable, but the “five letters” disqualifies.

maggiemary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I love these:

Ada
Bea
Bess
Edie
Ida
Iris
Ivy
Joy
June
Juno
Maud
Nell
Posy
Rose
Tess
Vera
Vita

oboeplayer1 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I tend to like more elaborate and longer names, but Skye and Ivy I have to make an exception for.

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Nera
Zora
Zara
Mara
Rhys

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Adah (AH-DA), not to be confused with Ada

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Io (Eye-o)!

LuMary Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Etta
Inez

Jenna5128 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I love short & sweet names. My great grandmother was a Florence, but her sisters were Ida, Eva, Edna & Nelda all of which I think are vintage-awesome.

For today’s times — I love everything with an “L” Lulu, Lark, Lola, Lia, Lane

I must admit to total confusion over the recent advent of Clio/Cleo. I dislike the sound, and it’s the name of a TV psychic! It would be like naming your son Kreskin.

loislane1222 Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 7:18 pm

So many of these are my favorites! Ada was toward the top of my girls’ names list for a future daughter. Then my best friend named her dog — you guessed it — Ada! I had to cross off that beauty.

I love Vera because of my Czech heritage — Vera Caslavska is an Olympic gold-medalist Czech gymnast who openly defied the Soviets. She is now on the Czech Republic’s Olympic committee. Vera is such a beautiful, strong name — but could you picture it on a baby girl in the U.S.?

brindle Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Mona and Myra. Were they mentioned?

Anotherkate Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Bookmarking this as a potential list for middle names! I typically prefer longer names for the first spot because I do give nns ALL the time, but I like to balance it with a short sweet middle. Some gems in here!

chagger Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Love this list. Short and sweet is exactly why we named our daughter Fern, and I don’t think it gets much sweeter.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

October 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Ada/Bea/Bess/Coco/Dara/Ida/Iris/Juno/Mame/Maud/Oona/Plum/Poet/Posy/Snow/Wren/Yara – I don’t like these names much at all.

Alma – I agree with the person that added Alba. Ever since I first read the Time Traveler’s Wife, I’ve loved that name, over Alma

Bay/Cara/Eve/Ivy/June/Mae/Nell/Rue/Tess – I absolutely LOVE these names.

Cleo – Part of me likes the Cleo/Clio name, that other part of me isn’t sure at all.

Edie/Liv – I really only like these as nicknames for Edith and Olivia/Olive

Elle/Gia/Gwen/Lila/Ruby – I like these names but they feel too trendy to me right now.

Esme/Hope/Joy/Neve/Luna – These names are growing on me but I haven’t quite come off the fence about them.

Fay/Lea/Page – I love these names but spelled Faye/Leah/Paige. Without those extra letters, they feel incomplete.

Lark – I prefer Larkin, but that takes it out of the short and sweet category

Lou/Lulu – Strangely, I like Louise as a name, but hate that these two could end up nicknames for it.

Peri – I prefer the boy spelling Perry, I’m not that into this spelling, despite my love of Peri Gilpin’s Roz on Frasier!

Rose – I’m on the fence with this name. Sometimes I really love it in all it’s simplicity and classiness and sometimes I really don’t like that it can sound so boring.

Sera – With this spelling, it seems very nickname-y to me.

Thea – I prefer the spelling Tia

Vera/Vita – I much prefer Vada, which sounds similar so I can’t explain it.

LuMary Says:

October 23rd, 2013 at 8:55 am

I noticed I posted some 5-letter names yesterday. Oops.

Here are others that came to mind:

Blue
Grey
Noa
Mila
Opal
Ione
Iona
Abra
Roma

tori101 Says:

October 24th, 2013 at 10:21 am

I tend to love longer names for example my top 4 are Rosalie, Cordelia, Aurora, and Eleanor which aren’t elaborating long but not short. I do however have a thing for Eve or Jane which are sweet and spunky. I do see the appeal in short names they have a lot of style but as a name nerd I don’t know whether I could restrain myself from using a longer more unique name for a simple choice like May.

magicalmer Says:

October 27th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I love long names that you can shorten into adorable nn.

ex. Felicity nn Flick
Evangeline nn Eva
Penelope nn Poppy

I know someone who’s little daughter is named Dorothy nn Dot

AmityGranger Says:

November 14th, 2013 at 9:10 am

Posy is my top girl’s name, my SO loves it too 🙂

Theodora_Phoenix Says:

June 30th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Off of this list, I love… Ada, Cara, Coco, Eve, Hope, Iris, June, Rose, Snow and Yara. There are so pretty.

briarblossom Says:

November 15th, 2015 at 1:17 am

I love short sweet names. I like names child have an easy time spelling!

My favorites from the list

Coco
Gwen
Joy
Lark
Lila
Lulu
Luna
Maud
Poet
Rose
Ruby
Snow

One not on the list
Nina
Lucy
Elsa
Zara
Cai
Jane

Ruby Lark would be cute so would Elsa Maud or Maud Elsa

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