Classic Girl Names with Neat Nicknames

Naming a fourth girl

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

These veteran parents know their style, but that doesn’t always make it easier to choose a favorite.

Christina writes:

I need some help coming up with a name for our FIFTH baby.  Our oldest is a boy and the rest are girls. New baby is another girl, which makes it harder – we already have three!  My husband and I struggle finding a baby name we both like – two of our children were nameless five days after they were born. We both like longer names that can be easily nicknamed. We also like older names, but not “popular” older names (no Hazel). Our children’s names and nicknames are:

Richard Malcolm (Richard was hubby’s idea – third generation Richard – we refer to him as Malcolm or Mac for short)

Louisa Kathryn (Lucy for short)

Marguerite Virginia (Margo)

Rosalie Clare (Rosie)

Thanks for the help!

The Name Sage replies:

On paper, we all think it would be fun to name lots of children. But in practice, most parents run into exactly this dilemma. (Kate wrote about a similar challenge last month.) We go through our favorites fast!

At first glance, the goal seems straightforward: we’re looking for underused classics with spunky nicknames. But maybe there’s a little more to it?

Malcolm and Margo share an initial, but the others do not repeat. This makes me think that another ‘M’ name is probably not your top choice. Too bad, because that rules out Mariana, Magdalena, and the otherwise perfect Millicent.

You’ve chosen three-syllable names, each with a different ending sound. The bigger the family, the tougher it is to avoid a tiny bit of repetition. But let’s focus on names that seem distinctively different from your older girls’ names – while still fitting right in!

Constance – Doesn’t Constance feel buttoned-up, a traditional name from an earlier time? But it shortens to some fun nicknames. Coco is my favorite, but Connie can feel vintage, and Tansy is just downright unexpected. Malcolm, Louisa, Marguerite, Rosalie, and Constance work nicely together, without sharing too many sounds. The best part? Constance doesn’t even make the current Top 1000, though I think everyone recognizes it instantly. The similar Cordelia shares some of these qualities – and again the potential nickname Coco! – but seems slightly frillier.

Genevieve – At Number 184, Genevieve might feel a smidge too popular. And yet, I want to mention it because it fits your list so nicely. It’s a longer, traditional name, but it still feels slightly different. It shortens to Genna and Gen, but also Vee, Vivi, Via, and maybe even Evie or Gigi. I might have suggested Josephine, except at Number 107, I’m guessing you might find it a little too common.

Harriet Hattie ranks in the current US Top 500, but Harriet? Still outside of the Top 1000 list entirely! Like Louisa, Marguerite, and Rosalie, Harriet sound like the heroine of a nineteenth century novel – strong-willed and capable. Hattie, on the other hand, sounds right at home in 2018. Winifred, called Winnie, might be another to consider.

Therese – Not so along, Theresa was the bee’s knees – a classic pick along the lines of Elizabeth or Katherine. Today, Theresa fails to make the US Top 1000. Instead, Teresa ranks a frosty Number 720. But how about Therese? It’s French, unexpected, and yet still fits your general style. I’ve met a school-aged Therese who goes by Tess, which seems like a great fit with Lucy, Margo, and Rosie.

Theodora Theodore is big for boys, having recently returned to the US Top 1000. But we’ve mostly overlooked Theodora for girls – it doesn’t make the Top 1000 list at all! That could be a great opportunity for your family. Nicknames like Thea, Thora, and Teddy abound. You could also reverse Theodora and arrive at storybook Dorothy, with darling nicknames like Dolly and Dot.

Veronica – At Number 378, Veronica isn’t truly rare. And yet, it doesn’t seem like an especially common name, either. We can all name a few. There’s the saint, of course, and 40s screen star Lake, fictional television character Mars, and a handful of others. Yet, I think it also feels different, maybe because so few names sound anything like Veronica. I love Vica as a nickname, but Vera, Nica, and Vee work beautifully, too.

I love the sound of something like Veronica Mary or Theodora Jane, but my favorite might be Constance. Lots of middle names work: Constance Eloise, Constance Fiona, Constance Hadley. Coco seems like a good fit with your older kids’ names, too: Mac, Lucy, Margo, Rosie, and Coco.

Let’s have a poll, and then open it up to input from the readers. I know they’ll think of some great names I’ve overlooked!

What would you name a sister for Richard Malcolm, Louisa Kathryn, Marguerite Virginia, and Rosalie ClareMac, Lucy, Margo, and Rosie?

What should they name a sister to Louisa, Marguerite, and Rosalie?

  1. AConstance
  2. BGenevieve
  3. CHarriet
  4. DTheodora
  5. ETherese
  6. FVeronica
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About the author


Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at
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31 Responses to “Classic Girl Names with Neat Nicknames”

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esmith0326 Says:

July 10th, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Love Harriet! Mac, Lucy, Margo, Rosie, and Hattie (or Etta/Ettie) sound perfect. Harriet is a name I’d suggest to someone who loves Hazel but thinks it’s too popular.

JH Says:

July 10th, 2018 at 11:38 pm

Can we have a longer post like this with girl and boy names? I love classic names, but would like to learn new nicknames for them!

SomedayMommy Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 12:09 am

I know of a school-aged Therese that goes by Reese and a preschool-aged Emilia that goes by Millie. I think they’re both adorable, though Emilia may be too popular for your taste.

I also like NameSage’s suggestion of Constance nn Tansy. Sounds downright spunky to me and also fits with the classic but not overused theme with the other children’s names.

I would also suggest:

Anastasia nn Tassie or Stacy
Caroline nn Linney
Clementine nn Cleo or Emme
Cordelia nn Delia
Cornelia nn Nell
Frances/Francesca/Francine nn Frankie or Franny
Geraldine nn Geri
Leonora nn Nora
Margaret nn Maggie or Maisie (Though, sadly these may be too close to Margo & Rosie)
Matilda nn Matty or Tilly
Melinda nn Lindy
Valentina nn Tina or Vali

My favorites from my suggestions are Anastasia nn Tassie, Matilda nn Tillie, and Melinda nn Lindy.

mill1020 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 12:43 am

I’m loving Constance these days. So underused for a virtue-type name.

kennamoon Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 2:36 am

Also love Harriet and Harry would be a cute nickname too!
I also liked Winifred “Winnie” but want to suggest “Freddie” as a nickname for it to!

Is also like
Penelope “Nellg”
Georgia “Gigi”
Raquel “Rocky”
Roxanne “Roxie”
Tessa “Tess”
Octavia “Tavi”
Adelaide “Addy” or “Del”
Delaney “Del”
Florence “Florie” (also Flora)
Gwyneth “Wyn”
Karina “Kara”
Corina “Cara/ Cora”
Samantha “Sam”
Lydia “Dia”
Loretta “Etta”
Valentina “Val”
Natalia “Tally”
Bianca “Bee”

Beau Jean Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 5:24 am

Barbara (Babs, Bobby)
Caroline (Carrie, Carol, Cora)
Elinor/Eleanor (Elle, Ellie, Nora)
Sabrina (Brin)
Susannah (Zuzu)

Suzannah Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 7:35 am

Camille–nn Millie
Camille Celeste–nn Cece
Cecilia–nn Cece

macy13 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 8:18 am

Love Harriet called Hattie!
Some other suggestions:
Felicity – Flick, Lissy
Savanna – Savy
Violeta – Etta, Vi
Florence – Flora, Ren, Flossy
Seraphina – Sera
Thalia – Tally, Tia, Lia
Estella – Elle 

katelane Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 8:19 am

Beatrice- Bea
Emmeline- Emmy/Millie
Felicity- Flissy/Lissy
Cordelia- Delia
Claudia- Clio
Coraline- Cora
Meredith- Edith/Edie
Estelle- Essie

yogi.kiki Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 10:15 am

I lOVE Beatrice – Bea

Phillipa – Pippa
Tabitha – Thea
Bridgette – Birdie
Lavender – Evie
Olive – Ollie
Estelle – Stella
Beverley – Evie/Vivi
Felicity – Cece
Virginia – Gigi/Ginny

sarah1800 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 10:34 am

I think Harriet/Hattie and Therese/Tess are perfect (I know an adult Therese/Tess). Also like Camille/Millie mentioned by a poster.


yogi.kiki Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 10:44 am

Isadora – Sadie
Amelia – Millie
Elizabeth – Lea/Leah

Bellisaurusrex Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 10:56 am

I would also consider Felicity (glad to see it pop up in so many other suggestions). I might also look at Edith (Edy–pronounced Ee-D).

annieteach Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 11:30 am

Don’t forget about the super-cute Ginny as a nickname for Genevieve! Gemma works well too.

Sunflowerist Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 11:51 am

Here are a couple names on my list:
Dahlia, “Dolly”
Daphne or Fiona, “Effie”

Babies123456 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 11:55 am

I would also consider Eleanor, Elliot (It’s old fashioned but it sounds great for a girl though typically a boys name) Florence, and Isadora 🙂

niteowl13 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Maybe one of these will appeal to the writer:

Martina – Marty – if you don’t mind another M – Marty on a girl is so spunky
Eugenie – Genie
Aideen – Aidy
Demetria or Demeter – Demi
Jocasta – Joey, Jo, Cassie or Cass

Also, I think Geneva is less popular and more old-fashioned sounding than Genevieve.

Yuma Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 2:23 pm

I like Cordelia(Cora), Constance(Coco), and Veronica (Vera) for you. I would also suggest Caroline (Lina) 🙂 not sure what I would suggest as a long form (not a fan of Therese/Theresa) but I also really like Tess

blueylit Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 2:33 pm

I really love the suggestion of a Constance known as Tansy. I’d also put forward Jemima (Mimi/Mia/Jem/Jemma) and Odette (Dodie/Etta) as options!

Selkit Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Some awesome ideas here, but I think my fave so far is Isadora nn Sadie!

jpruitt76 Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 7:05 pm

I really like Harriet/Hattie, Therese/Tess and Constance/Connie or Tansy/Tandy.

Frances, nn Frannie or Francie
Beatrice, nn Bea

alom Says:

July 11th, 2018 at 8:41 pm

I love Winifred/Winnie, and also kennamoon’s suggestions of Roxanne/Roxie and Tessa/Tess. What about Gwendolyn, nn Gwen?

cgwaltney Says:

July 12th, 2018 at 9:34 pm

I would like to suggest:

Cordelia- “Coco”
Georgiana- “Gigi”
Josephine- “Josie”
Magnolia- “Nola”
Marigold- “Goldie”

Jemberry Says:

July 13th, 2018 at 6:14 am

Winifred “Winnie”
Beatrix “Bea” or “Trixie” or “Betty”
Susannah “Susie” or “Sanna” or “Sunny”
Dorothy “Dora” or “Dotty”
Imogen “Immy” or “Ginny”

lavendel Says:

July 13th, 2018 at 3:10 pm

I really love Cordelia with these❤️

mom3 Says:

July 14th, 2018 at 2:56 am

Mac, Lucy, Margo, Rosie and…

Tess, Tessa (Teresa, Theresa, Therese)
Cilla (Cecelia, Celia)
Thea (Theadora)
Milla (Camilla)
Pippa (Philippa)
Ada (Adaline, Adelaide, Adelle)
Veda (Valentina)
Gwen (Gwyneth, Gwendolyn)
Cora (Coralie)
Lena (Elena, Magdelena)

I think you should perhaps try and avoid a nickname with an ‘ee’ sound at the end as you already have a Lucy, and a Rosie.


WrenEloise Says:

July 14th, 2018 at 10:33 am

Congratulations! What a well-named family. I like Abby’s ideas, and to me Therese is the best fit with the other names, but none fully hit the mark (to me).

My first thought upon reading was Gwendolyn or Gwendolen. I think it’s lovely with Richard Malcolm as well as Louisa, Marguerite, and Rosalie. I love simple but sturdy and confident (and stylish) Gwen with Mac, Lucy, Margo, and Rosie, but nicknames abound: Gwen, Wendy, Dolly, Lyn, etc. I’m pulled toward something like Gwendolen Alice or, for the nickname Gigi, Gwendolen Gloria, Gwendolen Grace, etc. (Gigi doesn’t need a second G name!) Gwendolen Mary is also pretty.

A second idea was Vivian or the French Vivienne. Viv and Vivi are perky and sophisticated. Via is cool, too. Vivienne Lourdes, Vivian Olive, Vivienne Lorelei… Viola as a (longer) nickname?

Then, I thought of Jessamine, again with so many fun nicknames: Jess, Jessie, Jessa, Sam, Sammie, Minnie, Mina, even Jay or Jasmine, or Jazz! I am pulled toward a simpler middle name, like along the lines of Jessamine Alice, Jessamine Ruby, but I also love Jessamine Phoebe – or even Jessamine Therese!

Good luck, namer.

Hopelesscause07 Says:

July 17th, 2018 at 9:52 am

My mother’s name is Cecile (Cecilia is more commonly known, and also lovely), and goes by Ceci, CeCe, CC, Cecie, etc. I thought that might be a cute fit in your sib set!

Hopelesscause07 Says:

July 17th, 2018 at 9:57 am

Also in my family is Colleen (Cole, CoCo, Leeni), Maureen (Mo, Been, Mauri), Scarlett (Scar), Ann names (Annabell, Annalise, Annette, with nn Annie).

Others that come to mind are Collette (Cole, Coll, or Coco), any “Bell” names like Isabella (Izzy or Bella), Elizabeth (Liza), Ophelia (Lia), Azelea (Zel, Lea), and I’m sure I’ll think of some more as soon as I hit “post”

Hopelesscause07 Says:

July 17th, 2018 at 9:58 am

* Reen or Reenie, not Been. Stupid auto correct…

WhiteGardenia Says:

July 17th, 2018 at 9:26 pm

Maybe you would like Esther, nn Essie.

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