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Ann Alternatives: Updating a Classic

Ann Alternatives: Updating a Classic

Searching for alternatives to the classic girl name Ann? Perhaps you want to honor a loved one, or you're looking for a fresh route to sweet nickname Annie. We take a look at some of the most stylish Ann variants and alternatives.

Ann: Former Classic Fallen From Favor

Until the late 20th century, Ann (or Anne) counted as one of the truly enduring classic girl names.

But while the Latinate form Anna has remained in or just outside of the US Top 100 since baby name records began, Ann began to fall from favor from the 1980s onwards – with both spellings dropping below the Top 200 for the first time by the mid nineties.

Ann originated as the English form of Hannah, a Hebrew name meaning "grace", borne by the mother of the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament. Anne was originally the French form, imported to England in the 13th century. The "Anne with an E" spelling was boosted by the birth of Britain's Princess Anne in 1950, as well as by the character of Anne Shirley in the 1908 children's classic Anne of Green Gables. It finally surpassed Ann as the most popular spelling in the US in the late seventies.

Nicknames and Diminutives of Ann

There are few names that have given birth to as many variations as Ann. And while other classics, like Mary and Margaret and Elizabeth, have spawned almost unrecognizable offshoots — from Polly and Daisy to Buffy and Lily – most of the Ann derivatives have stayed pretty close to their mother name.

Sweet, sassy nickname Annie is the best known, and is currently enjoying a modest resurgence in both the US and UK – thanks to the trend for vintage nickname names for girls. Annie was at its peak in the early decades of the 20th century, making it ripe for revival today.

Below, some other traditional nicknames or diminutives of Ann that have seen widespread use in the US and UK.

International Forms of Ann

Historic classic Ann naturally boasts a whole host of international variants, from regional French forms like Anaïs, Anouk and Ninon, to Nordic Anneli and Anniken, to Russian and Polish diminutives like Anoushka and Hania.

Here, a selection of the most intriguing international forms of Ann from around the globe.

Compound Names With Ann or Anna

If just Ann or Anna on their own feel a little too plain for you, Ann names have long been a rich source of inspiration for parents looking for double-barrelled or compound names for girls.

Classic combinations include Annabeth, Annemarie and Marianne, but there are endless possibilities for innovation. Here are some of the most established compound names with Ann from the US and Europe.

Alternative Routes to Nickname Annie

If sweet vintage nickname Annie is the big draw for you, you might also consider looking beyond Ann names to other options containing prominent A and N sounds.

Some intriguing options could include Persian Anahita, Russian Anastasia, artistic surname Cezanne, or on-trend place name Indiana.

Below, a selection of some of the coolest non-Ann routes to the sassy nickname Annie.

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.