Baby Girl Names: Two-for-One Choices

Maybe because Nameberry attracts such serious name lovers, many visitors to the site can’t settle for choosing just one name for their babies.

I’m not talking about the trend toward picking two middle names but about the taste for baby girl names that have two very different versions: a classic, elaborate, elegant, formal name with a cute, modern, spunky nickname that may be very distinct in sound and feel.

These two-for-one names seem to work best for girls, as evidenced by a recent message board rundown of the possibilities.  And of course it’s a phenomenon we’ve come across frequently on Nameberry before.

Many parents, in fact, say they’re only interested in baby girl names that go two ways.  And most don’t want to settle for the obvious, traditional short form — Penny for Penelope, for example — but are seeking a proper name and an inventive short form.

Some examples of fresh two-for-one names for girls, with thanks to our wonderful berries for some of these creative ideas:

AlexandraLexi or Sasha

AramintaMinty

AureliaGoldie

BeatrixBetty or Trixie

Cecilia — Cece or Lia

ColetteCoco or Lettie

DorotheaDottie or Teddie

Francesca — Chessy or Frankie

GeorgiaGia or Gigi

GuinevereEvie or Winnie

HelenaLena or Nell

HenriettaEtta or Hatsy

JemimaJemma or Mimi

JosephinePosy or Sophie

JulietJet or Lulu

IsadoraDory or Sadie

LetitiaLettie or Tia

LucianaLux

MargueriteDaisy or Maisie

MarianaMia or Minnie

MatildaMillie or Tillie

NataliaTali

OctaviaTavi

OlympiaPia or Polly

PenelopeNell or Poppy or Pippa

PersephonePercy

SusannahSanna or Sunny

WilhelminaMinnie

WinifredFreddie

What are YOUR favorite two-for-one baby girl names?

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60 Responses to “Baby Girl Names: Two-for-One Choices”

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nate_evie Says:

July 31st, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Genevieve = Gigi, Evie, Nevie, Vivi, Genna, Viva…and our 2 year old even calls herself Gianna sometimes (she has a friend Elli, short for Elliana)

Also, Sophronia is a nice way to get to Sophie, and love Amalia with Mali/Molly.

For boys, any of the -son names are a means to Sonny/Sunny (Anderson, Jefferson, Emerson). This could obviously work for girls too.

Ekaterinas_Mom Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 12:34 am

Why on earth would anyone ruin a name like Juliet by using the nn Jet?

ellieberry Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 12:43 am

Tabitha – Tibby
Saskia – Sky, Kiki
Rosemary – Romy

millie2013 Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 12:51 am

Cornelia- Corrie

SugarPlumFairy Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:37 am

Mary – Molly
Elizabeth – Liddy, Zebby
Katherine – Kit
Scarlet – Sky
Victoria – Vita
Evangeline – Evan
Hermione – Hero
Salomé – Sam
Beatrice – Bix
Isabella – Ibby
Clementine – Clea
Felicity – Flick
Millicent – Miley
Jacqueline – Quinne
Cecily – Cess
Seraphina – Finn

rosiejac Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:55 am

I had a friend Alexandra who was called Zanna by friends and family

rosiejac Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:55 am

and Lola= Lollie

Kiki Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 3:18 am

Most of these are just stupid to me. If you have to explain how to get from the full name to the nn then it just doesn’t work.

And how does Alexandra become Sasha?

little_cupcake Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 4:18 am

Octavia has many nicknames, including Tavi, Tavia, Ava, and Avia. This is the name we had chosen for a girl (only boys so far though!)

bluejuniper Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 4:45 am

One I’m loving lately is Zenobia nn Zen, Zia (my fave), Bee or Bia

pdxlibrarian Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 6:08 am

Lucinda = Lucy + Cindy
Dorothea = Dory + Thea
Alessandra = Aless + Sandra
Lydia = Liddy + Dia
Evelyn = Evy + Lyn

So many more!

aunt_ning Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 6:43 am

I believe Alexandra to Sasha comes from the Russian history of the name. I know in Russia, and ex soviet countries Sasha is a very common nick name for boys and girls named Alexander/Alexandria

birthhappy Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 6:46 am

We are big nicknamers and all of our kids have nicknames they are called by regularly, but the girls have the most nicknames and they aren’t all straightforward like the boys. We have a Lucy, who of course gets called LuLu and Luly and Luce, but also ChiChi. She got this by being called Luciana one day. Her middle name, Arwen, sometimes gets her called Wendy. Kylie is usually KiKi. And Daisy Susannah has the most and is Day, DayDay,Daze and Zaizy, as well as Zanna, Dayzanna, and most of all, Zsa Zsa. She is called all these daily.

pam Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 7:09 am

Let’s not use words like stupid, okay?

And yes, Aunt Ning, of course that is how you get to Sasha from Alexandra.

Moving on to a discussion of whether going from Juliet to Jet constitutes “ruining” a name or doubling your name pleasure, that is a subject deserving of debate. I often feel that reducing a lovely old name like Eleanora say (not one of the options above) to a cute but ordinary nickname like Ellie defeats the purpose of choosing something distinctive in the first place.

At the same time, I can understand how a Josephine would appreciate having the option of being called Posy (or even Josie or Jo) and also of reverting to Josephine for more formal occasions. What do you all think?

LAINY Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 7:18 am

LOVE this post!! I absolutely adore Juliet nn Jet. I also love Jules! I love the name Juliet but it’s very girly and romantic, what if my future little girl is a major tomboy or ends up a skater chick?? Jet would honestly be pretty b@d @$$! Just my two cents.

stripedsocks Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 7:47 am

I like Jet best as a nickname for the boy’s name Jethro, that might still be “ruining” a classic name but I like it. For Juliet I like Jewel.

Susannah with no mention of Susie? Well, I still love you, Susie. And you, Zuzu.

I like Mattie as a short form for both Matilda and Martha. Mattie and Tillie have very different feels to me somehow.

Tressa Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:00 am

Great topic! These are my favorite kind of names.
Elspeth (Elsa)
Mirabelle (Mabel)
Elowen (Winnie)
Susannah (Annie)
Florence (Rory)
Eloise (Liesl)
November (Nova)
Noelle (Nola)

jroflo Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:07 am

I like the versatility of options like these (though a few of the nicknames may be a wee bit of a stretch). We just named our baby Catherine but plan to call her Kate. Not modern, but definitely cute! We chose to use Catherine rather than just naming her Kate so she’d have more versatility (more nicknames, a formal given name and a short-and-sweet nickname). And we chose Catherine over Katherine because it seems like Catherine has more versatility, in that she can use C or K nicknames but Katherine usually just sticks with K options.

evergreen Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:25 am

Florence nn Ren
Clementine nn Emmy

I LOVE Persophone nn Percy

encore Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:30 am

I definitely appreciate these names for others, but I don’t think I would ever use them. I like names that only have one nickname, if any, so it doesn’t end up being something I don’t like. That being said, if I met someone with one of these names, I might think it were pretty cool, just not my style.

roselang Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:41 am

This is a great list! I was looking for names to go with my Matilda/Tillie! I LOVE Juliet nn Jet! That’s definitely going on my list.

mermuse Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:53 am

Wonderful post! Some great ones I never thought of. I’ve always loved Daisy as a nickname for the more sophisticated Marguerite. Don’t forget Kitty and Cricket for Catherine/Kathryn. Love!

joydallas Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:57 am

For Suzanne/Susannah, I like Zan or spelled Zanne. Some of the suggestions are too much of a stretch for me, such as Lulu for Juliet. OTOH, I like the idea of turning the first initial into a nn, such as Effie for names that start with F and Ellie for names that start with L. Others would be Gigi for G names, Bibi for B names, Cece for C names, Didi or Deedee for D names, Kay for K names, Em or Emmy for M names, Essie for S names and Vivi for V names.

dancingwithdad Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:02 am

How do you get Daisy from Marguerite?

OliviaSarah Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:20 am

My favourite from that list has to be Luciana nn Lux (but maybe because I have a major obsession with The Virgin Suicides?). I also really like Colette nn Coco or Lettie.

One you don’t have is Bridget nn Birdy or Bridie.

pam Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:23 am

Dancingwithdad — Marguerite means “daisy” in French, and Daisy is an old nickname for all forms of Margaret (which can also mean pearl).

My twin nieces Georgia and Louisa have nicknamed each other Gigi and Lulu, very cute since they’re equally parallel as the proper names but with a totally different feel!

saraallison Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:24 am

I think I read that Marguerite means Daisy in French, so I think that’s how we get that, right?

abeezee Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:31 am

It’s the perfect scenario…you can have a formal classic name for your college application or resume but a cute nn when you are young or among family/friends.
I have even considered combining the first and middle name into an unusual nn.
For example, Katharine Christina becomes Kika? Or Caroline Scarlett becomes Cosi?
What do you think of that concept?

Hilary Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 9:58 am

Love these! Some more (some stretchier than others):

Phia or Sosie for Sophia
Dee or DeeDee or Lola for Elodie
Lettie for Violet
Milly for Mirabelle
Lisi for Louisa
Bitty or Hattie for Tabitha

And finally, I can’t take anything like credit for this one (another poster got it from a character in a book), but:

Poppet for Penelope. Beyond cuteness.

vivtaliesin Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 10:01 am

Love love love this post! This is the type of thing our family adores.
Our Eloise goes by Lola. This could also be the case for the names Elodie, Louisa (and more im sure). Plus, our Wren goes by Birdie, which works since a wren is a type of bird, so voila!
I think this tred works equally as well for boys though. Had our twins been boys, they most likely would have been Everett (Rhett, Ev, Ever), Bowen (Bo, Bowie), Cabot (Cab, Bo).

Other names with nickname I adore
Clementine nn Cleo
Cicely nn Sissy
Primrose nn Posy
Cosima nn Cozy, Coco, Simmy
Cleonie nn Cleo, Leo
Gabrielle nn Bree, Gaby, Elle
Anthea nn Annie, Thea
Zosia nn Zoe
Mavis nn Mae, Mave (Maeve)
Astoria nn Story

xo Viv

KKRvF Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 10:48 am

Benedikte – Bea

We have a long German last name that includes a title and so we felt our daughter and future children should have a formal name in keeping with the cultural and family history. But also, this type of Prussian culture is BIG on nicknames and because we live in Canada I wanted an easy English-type nickname. I assumed she would be called Bennie or Benna but her cousins named her Bea instantly and we love it! Her German family pretty much exclusively calls her Biechen, an old family nickname going back 150 years bestowed on two of DH’s great aunts.

acawood Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 11:11 am

Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of nicknames. I get wanting to have a formal name, but if you give a child a lovely name, I think that it is a shame not to use it!

Ainscough Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 11:31 am

Our Florence is called, Florrie, Floss, Flossy and Wren.

thelifespark Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 11:43 am

I LOVE Juliet with Jet or Lulu! Lux for Luciana is great and I’ve always loved Penelope with the nn Poppy but Pippa is another great one I had never thought of!

athomsonviner Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I was happy to come across this post today, because I have a formal name/nn pairing that I kind of made up (though I’m sure it’s been done before somewhere), and I couldn’t decide if it seemed too random. I don’t want to share it yet, since I’m planning on using it for my unborn child, if it’s a girl. But I love the versatility to have a cute and pretty nickname that we plan on calling her, but also having a beautiful formal name that she can use if she chooses. And she won’t have the nickname that everyone else who has that formal name has.

jpruitt76 Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Don’t forget – Sosie for Susannah/Susan.

auroradawn Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 1:33 pm

My family has never been into nicknames, so options like this have never been part of my immediate experience. If nicknames are important to you, though, some of these are great! Since I’ve become a Berry, the idea that my own name, Aurora, has several spunky, creative nicknames–Rory, Aura/Ora, etc., has pleased me, even though I may never go by one of them.
When I posted a thread about the boy’s name Mortimer some time ago, another Berry suggested the nickname Tim. Aside from the fact that people would think he was Timothy, I thought it was a great idea. I don’t imagine I’ll use the name Mortimer, but I like Tim so much better than Mort or Morty. I think that’s the idea behind some of these girls’ nicknames–something cute, fresh, and outside-the-box.

Worchazer Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Paula – Polly
Susannah – Zuzz or Soosie

I have a friend called Loretta who goes by Ellie. Another with the initials LAR was inevitably nn Lar-lar, especially as Teletubbies was big at the time. My initials are PT, which was too much to resist for the boss who called me Pete. His deputy decided Pablo was a better nn for me, for reasons best known to him.

Mego0801 Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Makes me SO SAD to see Posy on this list 🙁 Posy is a great name, it deserves to be noticed as more than a nn for ‘Josephine’ (which makes no sense to me!!!) This is not the birthday present I wanted!!!

constantstar Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 5:12 pm

We named our daughter Gabrielle because of the many nicknames. Gigi, Gabi, Gabs, Brie, Elle and then sometimes we get crazy and use Gabradoodle, Gabado, or Gabalicious. (:

CountryLizB Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 5:25 pm

You could use Thor for Theodore.

Poppy528 Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Here are my faves:

Bex – for Beatrix (Bex is also leaps and bounds cooler than Becca)
Bea & Fee – for Beatrice & Ophelia (what Shakespearean lovelies)
Lilou – for Tallulah (love love love both)
Lucie – for Lucienne
Bram/Avi – for Abraham
Millie – for Matilda
Tully – for Tulsa (I’m not kidding around I really like it)
Mollie- for Malka
Ace – for Wallace
Ren – for Warren
Axel – for Avshalom (how cool!)
Penina – for Penn or Pearl (Hebrew meaning)

… I think that’s all I got. Fun stuff!

Scrambledmegs Says:

August 1st, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I love this blog post! Jet for Juliet is divine in my opinion. I happen to adore a Julianne who is decidedly Jules. I also know a Lillian who is NOT a Lily. Nicknames is one of my favorite things about names.

R_J Says:

August 2nd, 2012 at 9:44 am

I like Teodora for the names Tea and Dora.
@birthhappy- love Wendy for Arwen!

mommymee Says:

August 2nd, 2012 at 10:28 am

This post really stands out for me my. My husbands family has has a thing for nn. So I really tried to give a pretty name with a invented short form such as
Scarlett- Sky
Aurelia- aily (Ay-Lee)

My other favorites are
Tallula-lulu
Penelope-poppy

Harbs Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 8:35 am

I love this post! It’s funny when you find out things you think only you do are actually ‘trends’. This is totally what I do with all the girls names on my list:

Onnolee = Nolee or Nell
Clemency = Clem
Emmeline = Mella or Mellie

Long names are the most fun and interesting names, in my opinion, for girls. Nicknames are inevitable (esp with long names) so you might as well plan them ahead of time!

tam Says:

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Lovely post! We have a Marguerite who renamed herself Greta. Knowing that she has Meg, Maggie, Daisy, Pearl, Maisie,and others from which to choose makes me smile. As kids grow up and want to reinvent themselves, having cool nn alternates can be a fun gift.

starophie Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Bless this post! As a Sophie born Sophia, those who don’t go by nicknames cannot possibly fathom how awful my life would be if I didn’t have another choice to go by! As I have tried to articulate many times on this site, I have never identified with the name Sophia, and am forever grateful to my parents for giving me options.

A previous poster said something to the effect of “if you give {your child] a lovely name, it’s a shame not to use it.” Well, as a child with a legal name that most would consider lovely, I have to respectfully disagree.

Maybe you’re completely infatuated with the name you select for your child, and that’s wonderful (and I completely know the feeling)! But you have to remember that your child will not be a smily, blissfully ignorant baby forever. If they’re anything like me, in a few years they will absolutely have their own opinions on EVERYTHING, and that includes their name. Giving them options to go by, or allowing them to come up with their own, makes the name suitable for everyone. And, should that child grow up and become, say, a lawyer or a doctor or a real estate agent or President, and they want to revert back to that more formal name? Awesome for you! But I think it’s always nicer for the named to have choices, rather than the namer giving them one name and one name only.

And if you’re really set on a first name, maybe consider a more versatile middle! I have a friend (who was named by her older sisters) named Annabel, but her mn is Rose, and she goes by Rosie. Just an idea!

elizam9983 Says:

August 5th, 2012 at 11:43 am

I was always taught that you can come up with a nickname if you take a name and rearrange the letters and no more than one. Like Georgina can be either Angie or Nina. On top of the obvious ones. Plus also look at spelling in other countries. Like Josephine, nn can be Zoe. replace the s with a z ( which it is in other languages anyway Jozefine) and it is right in the name it’s self. Just saying. You are selling yourselves to short.

dayjoysky2815 Says:

August 6th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

@Kiki,
Sasha I believe originally is a Russian nickname for Alexandra/Alexander. This is because the Russian form of the name sounds different.

Just my two cents worth.

lorencs3 Says:

August 11th, 2012 at 7:49 am

I love this post. We have a baby Margaret nn Maisy. A lot of people assume we call her Maggie. Others have called her Daisy and Emmy (since her initials are MM). I also love Meg and Greta.

runner-up names for our baby:
Helen nn Nell
Paloma nn Polly (I made this link up but I think it works)
Louisa nn Lu

I love unexpected nicknames! I love telling people about Maisy’s name. It gives me more opportunity to talk about names and identify other name lovers. The only other names I can think of with as many nn options as Margaret are Elizabeth and Katherine, but I love that Margaret is currently so much less common (yet with an extremely rich history).

lorencs3 Says:

August 11th, 2012 at 7:51 am

I met an Imogen who goes by Emma. Apparently it just evolved from Ima when she moved to the US since Americans weren’t very familiar with Imogen nn Ima.

katybug Says:

August 17th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Some of my favorites:
Scarlett – Scout
Beatrix – Trixie
Penelope – Poppy
Louisa – Lola
Lucinda – Lindy
Margaret – Margo
Victoria – Rory
Amelia – Milly

Christabel Says:

September 11th, 2012 at 8:25 am

I love names like this. Surprisingly, my daughter, Annabelle, does not have a nn. Although, she is just learning to talk and calls herself Babelle (bah-bell).

I love a lot of the ones listed already so i’ll try to avoid repeats…

Amelia – Milly, Amy, Lia
Augusta – Aggie
Bernice – Bee, Bebe, Benna, Cece, Niecy, Nixie
Carolina – Lina, Carly, Cara, Cari, Coco
Dahlia – Dolly, Lia
Eugenia – Genie, Nia
Florence – Flora, Flossie, Ren, Reni
Josephine – Josie, Posy, Sosie
Lillian/Lilliana – Leelee, Lilou
Louisa/Lucia – Lou, Lulu, Lula, Lulie, Louie, Lucy, Louisie
Penelope – Penny, Pippa, Nellie, Nell
Philippa – Pippa, Pip, Poppy, Polly, Philly
Ramona – Rami
Rosemarie – Rose, Rosie, Romie
Ruby – Rue
Scarlett – Lettie, Carly
Violet – Lottie, Lettie

Is there a boys version of this?
I would add…
Thomas – Tad, Toss, Moss, Thom, Toma, Omi
(ahm-ee)
Benjamin – Jamin
Julian – Jude, Ian
Sebastian – Bastian, Ian, Zeb, Seb, Sebby

erombach Says:

September 17th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I agree with starophie, I am a fan on nicknames too so that the child has options when they grow up as to what they prefer to be called. Just my opinion. My son’s name is David (after my husband, in a long line of Davids) and I find comfort in knowing that he can be David, Dave, or Davey. I call him Davey and always will as his mom, but then he can be a prefessional named something more grown up. But I think this is a preference that everyone has a diff. view on 🙂

Mego0801 Says:

November 30th, 2012 at 8:43 am

I know I already commented on this post once, but I stumbled across it again and was struck by the sillyness of giving your child a nickname *before they’re even born*! I do hope this trend fades fast!

Also, I can only hope and pray for the day we, as a whole, realize that Posy should in no way, shape, or form be associated with “Josephine”.

That’s all.

kmouser1 Says:

January 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 am

I love this idea for two reasons:

One, it gives your child options, so they can be called different things at different stages in their life, maybe using the nickname when they’re younger, and reverting back to the given name as they grow into it

Two, there are some names that I really love, but would hesitate to use because they’re so popular, like Lillian and Elle. I could name my daughter Lillian but could call her Lila or Lillia for something less trendy and vice versa with Elle, using it a nickname with a less common full name.

My favorite right now is Gwendolyn = Gwen/Wendy

chellemma1 Says:

March 2nd, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I love names that have nickname options. I wish my name was easier to shorten. In fact I always wanted to be called Alexandra so I could go by Alex! Anyway my name is Rachel and I have never liked Rach which is the most obvious nickname – in the past I have been Chelle, Ellie, Ray and RayRay which all lead people to think my full name was something other than Rachel (I got everything from Michelle to Rayleen) I even had a few friends who decided to call me Raymond! None of the nicknames have really stuck though and I still mostly go by Rachel.
It’s nice to have options though – especially ones which aren’t initially obvious.

Mouseynz Says:

June 18th, 2013 at 2:43 am

My name is Annabelle and I get called Belles and Bella and its only my family and husband (and work) that call me Annabelle. I like it!

Gigi_mk Says:

July 21st, 2013 at 8:45 pm

I don’t like planning nicknames, but I so like nicknames. I didn’t have a lot of options as Gina, but the last few years all the small children in my life that aren’t my own have been calling me Gigi. I love it! I’ve had several unrelated nicknames (Belle and Mary are what my sister and my mother call me).
My sister Tracee has been Trixie and TC. My Malia is often Mia or Mila, and my Khyler gets Kid a lot, because his middle name starts with a D.

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