Double Trouble: Name plus Nickname Search

Choosing a name plus a nickname for their daughter has them stumped!

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

UPDATE: She’s here! Scroll to the bottom to learn the name Kate and her husband chose for their new daughter.

Kate writes:

I am driving myself crazy trying to find a name for our baby girl due in October. Our son is named Oliver Mark. We call him Ollie. Our last name is a short W last name.

I prefer vintage names, while my husband is all over the place. We are nickname people, so whichever name we choose needs a sweet nickname to go along with it.

We have both always loved the name Abigail, however I don’t like Abby and it is too popular, so its been vetoed. The nickname Emmie is at the top of our list. We like Emilia, but I worry about a lifetime of having to correct her name as it sounds so similar to Amelia.

I also like Ruby, Matilda (Tilly), Eloise (Ellie), and Beatrice (Bea) – but my husband doesn’t like Beatrice. He also likes Penny (but not Penelope) and Aria, which just seems too trendy to me.

We both like Winifrid (Winnie), but I’m not sure if it is too formal for us, and having a W last name I don’t know if it plays.

Middle name possibilities are Kate (my name) as well as Clementine, which has been her nickname in utero (though maybe a bit too out there for a first name pick for us).

The Name Sage replies:

I’m a huge fan of nicknames, too, so I completely understand the appeal of options. But in this case, it feels like you’ve doubled your challenge. Not only do you need to agree on the formal name, but you both need to love the nickname, too!

Emilia called Emmie seems like a great choice, but I do agree there’s potential for confusion. After all, Amelia is poised just outside the US Top Ten, and is popular throughout the English-speaking world.

Still, I’m not sure that’s reason enough to rule out Emilia. While her name might be misheard initially, chances are that her teachers and classmates and friends will quickly get it right – and the issue will fade into the background, at least most of the time.

For now, let’s look for options other than Emilia/Emmie. It sounds like you’d prefer to avoid Top Ten names, but don’t want something that’s too obscure, either.

Julia, nickname Jules Julia is classic and traditional, but plenty current. Parents will think of Julia Roberts and Julia Stiles, but every generation has its Julia. The name stands at Number 89 in the US, which is pretty popular – and yet, it doesn’t feel overused. It might split the difference between modern Aria and vintage Matilda.

Margaret, nickname Maggie or Maisie – As traditional as Katherine or Eleanor, Margaret is a buttoned-down name with an astonishing range of nickname options. Maggie is the obvious choice. I think you might appreciate the vintage style of Maisie, too. There’s also Daisy, Greta, Gretchen, Meg, Peggy, and more. At Number 154 in the US, it’s definitely less popular than Abigail, but has the same vintage vibe.

Georgia, nickname Georgie or Gigi Georgia currently ranks Number 230. Like Oliver, Georgia needs no nickname. But Georgie and Gigi are obvious choices. They might be slightly more fanciful than Emmie and Abby, but they’re not too far outside the mainstream, either.

Vivienne, nickname ViviVivian stands at Number 95. The French Vivienne is less common, at Number 233. It brings to mind both Eloise and Clementine from your list. Vivi is a great, easy to wear nickname option. Plus, Oliver and Vivienne would share the ‘v’ sound in their names, which could be a subtle connection between the siblings.

Juniper, nickname Junie – It sounds like your husband’s tastes are eclectic, and a more modern name might appeal. Might I suggest Juniper? It comes with built-in nickname Junie, which is sweetly vintage. Juniper currently stands at Number 429.

Edith, nickname Edie – When I think of sister names for Oliver, Edith immediately comes to mind. Maybe that’s because both names feel borrowed from a nineteenth century novel, while being perfectly at home in 2016. Edie makes for a great nickname option. Edith is relatively unusual, at Number 525 last year.

Cecilia, nickname Cece – Now let’s look at the two names that I think make the best Emilia substitutes. Like Emilia, Cecilia is a feminine, traditional name with an easy nickname: Cece. (Bonus: if you named her Cecilia Clementine, her initials would be C.C., too!) There’s some room for confusion: Cecilia stands at Number 181, but Cecelia is Number 544. But the potential i/e spelling issue feels less critical than the Amelia/Emilia problem.

Emmeline, nickname Emmie – Or maybe it’s a question of finding a different formal name for Emmie? Emmeline is currently at Number 809 in the US. The challenge is that there are multiple possible spellings, including Emmalynn and Emeline, many of which are gaining in popularity. While I think Emmeline is a great name, I have my doubts that it is less of a challenge than Emilia. And yet I wonder if Emmeline Kate feels like a better fit than Emilia Clementine? When you find the right name, a few possible headaches with spelling tend to fall away.

If you really love Emilia, but want to sidestep the potential confusion with Amelia, I think Cecilia is the obvious substitute. It’s similar in style and sound, comes with an easy built-in nickname, and works with either of your middle name choices.

We have an update from Kate! She writes, “I just wanted to thank you for your naming help. The blog post really set off a discussion for my husband and I! Our little girl arrived October 14th and we went with Ruby Clementine ❤️. Thanks again!”

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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 “Double Trouble: Name plus Nickname Search”

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mountainsky Says:

August 2nd, 2016 at 10:42 pm

Harriet nn Hattie

jpruitt76 Says:

August 2nd, 2016 at 10:43 pm

I really love Beatrice Kate for you. And the suggestions of Edith, nn Edie and Margaret, nn Maisie, Margot or Meg.

Another suggestion: Frances, nn Francie or Frannie. I have a friend who just had a Frances Ruby and they often call her Francie Rue. So sweet!

JH Says:

August 2nd, 2016 at 11:06 pm

Juliet/te can be Jules too!

cmariac Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 12:13 am

Edith/Edie is a great suggestion imo and my fav!
Emilia would def get confused with Amelia which begs the question: why not just go with Amelia nn Amy?


August 3rd, 2016 at 12:53 am

Clementine –> Clem –> Em –> Emmie

meek Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 2:57 am

I like simular names. Others on my list;
Annabelle nn Annie
Josephine nn josie
Rosalie nn Rosie
Sylvia nn Sylvie
Caroline nn Carrie
Felicity nn fliss
Hillary nn hillie

esita Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 5:55 am

Harriet – Hattie, or Harri
Felicity – Flick, Flicka
Josephine – Josie, Sephi
Fiona – Fi, fifi
Lillian – Lily
Rosalind – Roz, Rosie, Lindy
Lucinda – Lucy, Cindy
Georgina – Gigi , Ginny, Gina, Georgie
Primrose – Prim, Rosie
Persephone – Percy, Sephi
Theresa – Tess, Tessa
Claudia – Claude, Dee
Melinda – Melly
Geraldine – Geri, Deeny
Evangeline – lina, Eve, Evie
Veronica – Vee, Ronnie
Isabeau – Issy, Bo
Belinda – Belle

esita Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 6:02 am

Ooh also philippa – pippa

Titus245Mama Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 7:37 am

So many great suggestions! I really like Juniper, Edith, and Emmeline.

That being said, could you not name her Clementine and call her Emmie? If you’ve been calling her Clementine en utero, and Emmie is your preferred nickname, I’d say that’s just about perfect. Congratulations on your baby!

clairels Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 9:52 am

Sorry, don’t like the Emmy nickname for Clementine. I think Emmy should have a name that starts with Em. There’s also Emerson or Emlyn.
I’m not really a nickname person; I think any name should be able to stand alone. But I love Josephine/Josie/Posey, Georgiana/Gigi, and Edith/Edie. There’s also Charlotte/Lottie.

Cpwallawalla Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 11:01 am

I love Emilia! Don’t worry so much about spelling. One of my daughters is named Marianne, which has many variations. Yet it hasn’t been much of a hassle to tell people, Marianne with an ‘I’. Most get it quick. I imagine saying “Emilia with an ‘e'” would clear up misunderstandings quickly, too. Plus if she goes by Emmie, wouldn’t that make it clear she isn’t an Amelia?

teacupsandtiaras Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 11:14 am

I actually rather like Clementine with the Emmy nickname. Clementine Kate could be really cute.

mill1020 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 11:46 am

I’d avoid Emilia because it feels trendy and pop culture-driven, personally. Emmeline Kate is a nice combination, though. And others have listed some fantastic formal names w/ nicknames, like Caroline/Carrie, Rosalind/Lindy, and Clementine/Emmy (or, of course, Emily/Emmy).

How about Clementine “Clemmy” or the classic Emily “Emmy”?

wrenofgrace Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Im another one for Clementine Kate “Emmie”. It seems so perfect for you!

mistymorning Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 2:03 pm

I also think Clementine “Emmie” is a great option! I wouldn’t say its “out there” really, it has a familiar vintage charm.

Prairiehound Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for all the comments Berries! Lots of new ideas to consider

I also liked Clementine with the nickname Emmie, but my husband won’t go for it unfortunately. Although that may change….he wasn’t sold on the middle name Clementine until I talked about it for a month lol

starsam Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Camilla, nn= Millie!!!

Jblack11 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Some other suggestions:
Aurora – Rory
Lucinda – Lucy or Indy
Elowen – Elle or Winnie
Susan/Susanna/Susannah – Suzie
Elodie/Eden – Edie
Phoebe – Bea
Livia/Liviana – Liv
Elaine – Lainey/Laine
Peony – Penny (since hubby didn’t like Penelope)
Henrietta/Rosetta/Nicholetta/Pauletta/Lauretta (and many many more names ending with -Etta) – Etta
Samantha – Sammy
Cassandra – Cassie or Sadie
Isolde – Izzy

jmsouthern Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 3:33 pm

I know a family with similar naming tastes to yours, who use nicknames most of the time. I asked the mom if their youngest daughter, named Emilia and nn Emmie, runs into any confusion such as worries you. Her response: rarely.

Reading your letter — before reading the Sage’s response — I thought Cecily, nn Cece. I also really like Matilda, nn Tillie, for you.

dbear22 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 5:57 pm

I love Clementine Kate “Emmie”. I also like Juliet, “Etta”.

sefrank20 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 6:58 pm

What about Emersyn with the nn Emmie

toniemma Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 pm

I love both Emelia and Emmeline. Both are actually on our list if this little bean I am growing is another girl. But I think Emmie works well as a nickname for Clementine too.

We had this exact idea for naming our daughter. We wanted a more classic name that wasn’t overly common but with a nickname option too.

We ended up naming her Estelle and her nickname is Stella.

Bobcat108 Says:

August 3rd, 2016 at 11:45 pm

I’m partial to Emiliana, which would eliminate most if not all of the potential confusion w/Amelia. And you’d still have Emmie/Emmy as a nn.

Would Penelope nn Nell work?

I also prefer Juliet to Julia…Juliana/Julianna would be another option.

Cecelia is another favorite of mine; I also really like Cecily.

Emiliana Kate
Penelope Kate
Juliet Katherine/Juliana Kate
Cecelia Catherine

Good luck! 🙂

oliviamcdonald Says:

August 4th, 2016 at 6:00 am

Emily nn Emmie or Milly

pineapplefishnets Says:

August 4th, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Camellia has several nickname options, is similar to Emelia, and sounds nice with brother Ollie.

jonix Says:

August 4th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

i love emilia! oliver and emilia, ollie and emmie, ok it’s matchy but cute.
how about eleanor? oliver and eleanor sound like siblings to me! ollie and nora is a bit less matchy than ollie and ellie.

oliver and violet? ollie and vivi? I also like cecilia and matilda a lot.

Sweetchariot Says:

August 5th, 2016 at 12:29 am

I think there are other nicknames besides Abby for Abigail. Billie comes to mind (Ollie and Billie is matchup but cute!) as does just Bea or Sweet Bea. Gail is another one, dated but maybe time for a comeback.

I don’t think the W. W. thing is an issue for Winifred. I’d spell it with an Ed not Id so you could also do the nickname Freddie if you didn’t want the Winnie nickname. Winifred Kate is my favorite of all your options.

One shout out to Florence nn Flo or Flossie though. Man I want to see more little girls rocking that name-so Jazz Age, so great!! Florence Kate makes me so happy.

annapangrac Says:

August 6th, 2016 at 7:47 pm

If you like Bea, my grandma is named Beatta, but goes by Bea.

HistoryGirl Says:

August 10th, 2016 at 9:01 pm

Valerie/Valeria–Val, Vera, Ari, Aria, Aerie, Eva
Clementine–Clem, Clemmie, Emi, Lemon, Minty
Danika–Dani, Nika
Nicole/Nicola–Nic, Nikki, Col, Cola, Nica, Nico
Jessamine–Jess, Jessie, Jessa, Jasmin, Minnie
Alexandria–Ria, Alex, Alexa, Alexi, Lex, Lexi, Alexia, Dria, Dia
Charlotte–Carly, Charlie, Lottie, Charla
Coralie–Cora, Cor, Cori, Coral, Lee
Noelani–Noelle, Noelia, Lani, Ani
Noelia–Noelle, Lia, Nia
November–Nova, Ember
October–Toby, Obi, Cobie
Adelaide–Addy, Ada, Lida, Lady, Dela, Adele, Delia
Aurora–Ora, Ori, Rory
Phaedra–Fae, Aedra, Drae
Seraphina/Serafina–Sera, Fina/Phina, Ina, Era
Daniella–Dani, Elle, Ella, Nell, Nella, Ellie
Eleonora–Elle, Ella, Ellie, Nor, Nora, Leonor, Leonora, Lea

Alex003 Says:

August 11th, 2016 at 3:51 pm

My son’s name is Oliver (Olly) we r expecting girl in October and that the names i love for her Victoria (Vicky), Maxine (Maxie), Evelyn (Evie), Madison (Maddie), Isabella (Ella or Izy or Bella) My name is Alexandra (Alex or Lexi) Good luck and let me know which name did u pick

MemeQueen Says:

August 12th, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I love the idea of Emilia! I think Amalie is pretty nice as well! Amalie Kate… Amalie… hmm!

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