Creative Girl Names for Clementine’s Sister
They found a great family name for their firstborn, but now they’re stuck finding something every bit as meaningful and stylish for their new daughter.
We are now expecting a second girl and are at a stalemate. We feel compelled to give her a family name as well, because we love having that connection. My husband’s mother, Brenda, is deceased and so we’d love to honor her. But Brenda (and similar names Brenna, Brianna) just don’t resonate with us.
We’ve come up with a few names that start with B to honor her, but nothing is really exciting us yet. We are also considering Annabeth Claire (a mashup of our three sisters’ middle names) but aren’t quite sold on it yet. Any suggestions?
The Name Sage replies:
And so I have to ask: if you could only have one of those two qualities, which would you choose?
Because this time around, it sounds like there are few names that can honor loved ones and satisfy your wish for a vintage name with a dash of quirky-cool. We’ll try our best to come up with alternatives, but it’s possible no single name will do both.
It is perfectly, completely fine to decide that style maters more than honoring family. My sense is that you might be leaning that way already. After all, if family wins, you could probably settle on Brenna or Annabeth.
Of course, deciding to just look for a name you love has its own perils. Suddenly, the possibilities expand to hundreds, even thousands of names. I might expect Clementine’s sister to be Matilda, Calliope, Florence, or maybe Marigold.
But that’s not the challenge you’ve set! Instead of brainstorming fun names for Clementine’s sister, let’s focus on names that might build on the family names you’re already working with: Brenda, Ann/Anne/Anna, Beth/Elizabeth, and Claire.
Arden – I tried anagramming the letters of Brenda, and one possibility leapt out at me – Arden, as in the Forest of Arden, made famous by Shakespeare. Of course, I couldn’t use the B. And I’m not sure if Arden feels quite like your style. But I can imagine sisters called Clementine and Arden, so I’m adding it to the list.
Briony, Bryony – I think it’s fine to consider, say, Beatrix, an honor name for Brenda. But the closer the sounds, the better! You mentioned that Brenna and Brianna are off the table, but have you consider Briony? It’s the name of a flowering plant. That means that both Clementine and Briony are subtle nature names. I think they’re well-matched.
Clarice – Inspired by Claire. Clarice hits the same note as Clementine, and I think Clary has the same style as Clemmie, too. Plus it’s fun to say Clemmie and Clary together. But is it too close? Too cute? I’m not sure. I think Clementine and Clarice sound perfectly fine as sisters, but I’m curious to hear others’ opinions.
Elspeth – You mentioned that Beth is a family name. Since Beth is a form of Elizabeth, it’s tempting to consider the many international variations of Elizabeth as honor names, too! Elspeth is a Scottish spin on the name. It’s almost never heard in the US, but I think it would wear well. Elspeth offers nicknames like Elsie, and seems like a great sister name for Clementine.
Seraphina, Seraphine – This is a serious stretch, but Brenda is sometimes considered a form of Brendan, which comes ultimately from the Norse Brandr. Brandr might mean prince – or it might mean fiery. Seraphina refers to the “fiery ones,” an order of angels known as the seraphim. It’s a rare name, and it’s only thinly related to Brenda – but it could potentially work.
I know readers will have more creative suggestions, but I wonder if it’s time to think more broadly about honor names for your late mother-in-law. What her middle name, maiden name, favorite color or flower, or even birthstone? Or maybe going farther back in your family tree could present some fresh possibilities. Or if you can agree on a different first name, a middle like Brennan, Brynn or Wren might work nicely, too.
But I do think it’s worth discussing names you just plain love, too – even if it means giving up on a family first.
Readers, what would you suggest to Meghan?
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on February 8th, 2017 at 12:18 am
So I feel like the more you bend, twist, contort and scramble honor names, the less of an honor they are, and I don’t know if you will really feel happy or they feel honored by the result. Maybe there a names or words that remind you of people you want to honor, like vintage noun and place names (Magnolia, Florence, Rose, Violet, etc).
Honor names are great when they work out, but if the clash of style bothers you, I’d loosen or get rid of that restriction.
on February 8th, 2017 at 1:21 am
I agree with PrimButcher above that when you start making changes to honor names, they can began to force forced.
That being said: having you considered Bernice?
on February 8th, 2017 at 1:38 am
When I read “Annabeth Claire” I immediately thought, how clever! A-B-C. I think that’s cute and sweet.
That being said, I understand that you adore the name Clementine which makes it a tough act to follow. Just think though… you might choose a completely original name that will inspire future generations in your family to emulate YOUR choice! 😉
on February 8th, 2017 at 2:39 am
Would you consider honouring Brenda in the middle? Bren, Breda and Bryn feel a bit like Jay to me, while Ren/Wren share the bird association. Then you could use the first name spot for something you love. Perhaps a (version of) a name from further back in your family tree – to give that sense of heritage to match Clemmie’s, while keeping your own sense of style – or one more subtly associated with your relationship with Brenda?
on February 8th, 2017 at 3:52 am
What about Brendaline or Brennaline? It’s similar to Clementine but still carries the Bren in Brenda. You can call her Renn.
Otherwise, I love the name Annabeth. Claire is a cute middle name.
on February 8th, 2017 at 7:13 am
I love Elspeth and Bryony and think Wren or Bryn would work great as a middle. I think Elspeth Wren is my favourite. Clemmie and Elsie. I actually disagree with a previous commenter in that I think sometimes honour names are even better when they’re stretched and twisted a bit. I think what matters is that you started with the person you want to honour and took inspiration from their name and/or the things they love. I think it’s a bonus that you’re also giving the child a unique name of their own as well. You know you’re honouring the person, they know it (if they’re alive) and the child will too. Even if it’s not obvious to outsiders, I think that’s fine.
on February 8th, 2017 at 7:55 am
So the root of Brenda is Brendan which is an Anglicised form of the Irish Breandán. Breandán means prince. You could always go Irish with princess/another noble name as a meaning to honour Brenda.
Brigid means exalted one; high goddess; noble
Orla means golden princess
Nárbhflaith ( pronounced NAR vila) means noble princess
Ríona (pronounced REE uh na) and means queenly
Saorla (pronounced SAYR la) means noble queen
Tuathla (pronounced TOO uh la) means princess of the people
I’m loving a little Orla and Clemmie! I would anglicize these names like Brendan was. It’s definitely a more subtle way to honour her.
on February 8th, 2017 at 8:20 am
Maybe a Bernadette to honor a Brenda. Clementine and Bernadette.
on February 8th, 2017 at 8:29 am
I like Briony, Beatrix, Brynn & Wren best, but agree that Brynn & Wren are more middle names for Clemmie’s sister. I think Clementine Jay & Briony Wren would be absolutely perfect names for sisters. However, it does line you up for a bit of a pattern that could be hard to follow with any future children.
I also thought: Eliza. If beth / Elizabeth is an honour name, how about another version of Elizabeth – Eliza? I think Clementine & Eliza sound good for sisters, and Eliza has lots of nickname potential. You could always use Anna-Claire as a middle name if you felt so obliged, or go back to Brenda and go with Brynn, Wren or Arden.
on February 8th, 2017 at 9:38 am
Full disclosure, my name is Brenna, so I might be biased….but I think Bren would be a great middle name. It’s close enough to Brenda that it’s obviously an honor name, and it has the same unexpected, one-syllable appeal of Jay. Annabeth Bren is sweet! I also know someone who named her daughter Brenne (pronounced Bren), which is an option if that is more appealing to you.
If you’re still not sold on Annabeth, maybe consider expanding your family tree search or looking for inspiration from somewhere else (a favorite literary figure, or a birthstone, place, flower, etc.).
A few thoughts:
Good luck! Clementine Jay really is such a lovely name–I’m sure you’ll think of something equally wonderful for #2.
on February 8th, 2017 at 9:43 am
Since your first daughter’s name is made up of honor middle names, maybe you could do the same for Brenda? What’s her middle name?
on February 8th, 2017 at 10:16 am
I love the suggestion of Bernice with Clementine! Birdie and Clemmie? Yes!
on February 8th, 2017 at 10:18 am
What about Aubrianna?
on February 8th, 2017 at 12:10 pm
How about Brea? Brea Claire is cute.
Otherwise I suggest exploring other relative names you would like to honour…grandfathers or grandmothers?
Another option is combining names to make one…I’m expecting a girl and I’m considering combining my dad’s name (Aderito) and my FIL’s name (Manuel) to make Adele.
on February 8th, 2017 at 12:13 pm
Also does your mother in law have a middle name? Would you consider using any of your mother’s names?
Would love to know what you end up using.
on February 8th, 2017 at 12:46 pm
I love Bryony and Seraphine/a from the namesage’s list! I also second digging through the family tree a bit more…you may find a name that you already love in there! There are so many websites that make this really easy–this is how I “discovered” my second daughter’s name!
on February 8th, 2017 at 12:53 pm
Did your loved ones have any nicknames they were known by? This might be another name option to think about.
on February 8th, 2017 at 1:54 pm
I agree with PrimButcher. Breaking apart the names and sounds makes the name less of an honor name. There are many ways to honor someone without using their first name. You could pick a place they are from, maybe a quality, street name, surname, favorite item etc. Otherwise I would use an original name you love. Another good idea is to use her initials. I love Bryony and Beatriz if you go that route.
on February 8th, 2017 at 2:21 pm
I actually think Annabeth is lovely with Clementine. And to honor Brenda and Claire, how about Annabeth Blair? Or Blair Annabeth?
I also think you could choose another first name and have just Bea as the middle name. It’s a nod to Brenda and is similar in style to Jay. Or maybe Bryn is the middle?
on February 8th, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Beatrix is perfect. Do that!
Otherwise, I would put Bren as the middle name, and puck a name you truly love for the first.
on February 8th, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Have you looked at the idea of using Brenda’s Parent’s names for inspiration. Personally I feel like this option gets overlooked alot.
when I was named my parents just chose a name that they heard once and both loved it was their top name for a girl through two babies before me. When they told my Great Grandfather that my name was Julianne he cried he was so happy that they’d named me after his mother (Julia) now this is my father’s side so I’m relatively certain he had no idea his great grandmother’s name was Julia.
My parents named my brother after the same great grandfather and they always say that he seemed happier that I was named after his mother than he was that my brother was named after him.
If Brenda was the kind of person you think would appreciate it the same way consider naming your daughter after her parents or if you know she was particularly close with her grandparents you can try one of them.
on February 8th, 2017 at 2:53 pm
I may be biased because I have a son named Brennan and we call him “Bren,” but I do love Bren (sounds enough like Wren) as a middle.
I don’t know how well it pairs with Annabeth — Annabeth Bren — however, it does go well with plenty of other feminine-sounding names.
Other first names that could go with Bren:
on February 8th, 2017 at 3:37 pm
I want to throw Briallen in the mix; similar to Brenda. I also like the idea of using Bryn in the middle spot.
And what about a rhyme, like Zenda? Clementine and Zenda?
on February 8th, 2017 at 6:29 pm
I think Annabeth Claire is darling.
No kids on the horizon, but I had a great-grandmother named Brenda (who was a Polish Jew with the Yiddish name Brandla). My family is big on honor names, and I can relate to your dilemma with Brenda.
Other B names I’ve considered that I don’t think have been mentioned:
And finally, I really like Briony Claire.
on February 8th, 2017 at 6:35 pm
I love the suggestion of Bernadette! Bernadette Elspeth is a gem. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and fits right in with your style. Not to mention Nettie and Clemmie are adorable sisters!
on February 8th, 2017 at 6:46 pm
I really think Brennan is a winner here. Brennan Claire would be super sweet. But, and it’s really none of my business, I wonder if the possibility of other kids are in the future? Because it can be hard wanting to honor multiple people for one child. It might be pragmatic to think along the lines of “If we don’t use this namesake for this child, can we use it for the next? Are there any other namesakes we may want to use later?”
on February 8th, 2017 at 7:22 pm
Wren in the middle to honour Brenda could be really cute, especially as then both of your girls would have monosyllabic bird names (love!). As for a first name, I think Beatrix would be divine, and has the bonus of beginning with B like Brenda so the connection is strong. Clementine Jay and Beatrix Wren! Swoon. Other ideas could be…..Bellamy, Bridget, Briar, Bianca, Brighton, or for some more adventurous options maybe Bluebell, Bijou, Bardot, Birdie, Boudicca (bodhi-ca) the name of an ancient queen, nickname could be Bo, Bowie or Bodhi), Blossom, Boheme (bo-EM) or Brightly, or if you were thinking beyond B maybe Elodie, Hazel, Eloise, Olive, Avalon, Juliette, Marigold (Clemmie and Goldie is divine), Margot, Luella, Odetta, Adelaide, Estelle, Leontine, Eveline, Imogene, Vivienne, Penelope, Primrose, Aurelia, Sylvie/Sylvia, Winifred, Colette, Harriet, Reverie, Genevieve or Sabina. Good luck! Report back when she’s named, I’m sure it’ll be delightful xx
on February 8th, 2017 at 7:34 pm
While I adore Annabeth Claire, I don’t necessarily like it with Clementine Jay.
Of the suggestions from the Name Sage I think that Beatrix is lovely, it starts with a B in order to honor mother-in-law, is stylistically similar to Clementine and has a cute nn Bea just as you use a cute nn for Clementine.
Remember, even though you love the family connection with Clementine’s name it doesn’t mean that you have to do the same with this little girl. I think the most important consideration is if you and your spouse love the name.
Good luck in making a decision.
on February 8th, 2017 at 8:05 pm
Clementine Jay is wonderful! So fun.
I’d like to suggest the following:
Anneliese (if Beth comes from Elizabeth, Anna + Elise is another route)
Mirabelle Brynn (cute fruit theme with Clementine)
I think Brynn is a really nice counterpart to Jay, short and cool. Name Sage was right on the money with Wren as well!
Blair and Briar are also nice mixes of Claire and Brenda.
on February 8th, 2017 at 8:35 pm
When I saw you wanted to honor Brenda, but didn’t care for the obvious spinoffs, I thought of Wren. Abby did too! Yay! I do agree with PPs, though, that, being one syllable, it may be best in the middle.
And I thought her off-the-cuff list of sister names was so appropriate!
on February 8th, 2017 at 10:48 pm
on February 9th, 2017 at 1:32 am
I love Briar with Clementine ❤️
on February 9th, 2017 at 7:34 am
I think Brienne might be nice and a twist on Brenda. And it’s for the badass GOT reference in there. In that respect, you could go with Brienne Claire.
Or with Wren to work with and Annabeth being an amalgamation of some middles, you could balance Clementine’s long first name with a short first name for daughter #2: Wren Annabeth, or break it down even further with Wren Elizabeth.
on February 9th, 2017 at 10:36 am
Brynne Annabeth Claire
on February 9th, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Okay, as far as I can find, “Brenda” means sword or torch:
Sword-, warrior- and torch- and fire-related names that I think might suit you:
Sabrina – related to “sabre”, and a mythical British water nymph name – NN Bree
Giustina – Lady Justice always carries a sword to separate fact from fiction – NN Giosie or Josie
Atalanta – Mythical athlete/warrior – NNs Attie, Allie
Ileana – bright, light, torch
Blaise – blaze
Etymologically unrelated sound-alikes:
Enda – bird, Irish name
Kendra – means “greatest champion” so sort of swordy – also a near-rhyme and almost-anagram of Brenda
on February 9th, 2017 at 12:48 pm
I love a previous poster’s suggestion of Bren/Brenne as a middle name! I goes with the one syllable Jay. Now for a first name!
I’m assuming your sisters’ middle names are Anna Beth and Claire. I like your mashup of Annabeth Claire, but have you considered an acronym? A B C could be Beatrice, ‘be’ for Beth, ‘a’ for Anna, and ‘c’ for Claire. You could either find names to honor for the t, r, i, and e or leave it as that. Clementine & Beatrice is lovely.
You could also go obvious and name her Honora (pronounced Annora), with the intention of honoring those that came before her. Clementine & Honora is adorable if you ask me!
Other names I just like with Clementine that I’m sure you could work out a way to indicate honor:
Clementine & Flora
Clementine & Eloise
Clementine & Stella
Clementine & Luna
With my favorites being: Clementine Jay & Honora Bren, Clementine Jay & Beatrice Bren.
on February 9th, 2017 at 1:46 pm
Love the Bren as a middle name idea. Its super cute and short like Jay. its a modern version of Brenda.
on February 9th, 2017 at 11:42 pm
Bernadette!!! So cute with Clementine and I think it honors Brenda well!
on February 10th, 2017 at 3:32 am
Brenne feels like a stylish middle name that fits with Jay and honors Brenda! or you make her middle name Bea (pronounced like B) , Bee or just B after her.
Clementine Jay & Layana Bea “Clemmie & Ana”
Clementine Jay & Lorelei Bee “Clemmie & Rory”
Clementine Jay & Aurora Brenne “Clemmie & Rory” or “Clemmie & Ora”
Clementine Jay & Cecily Brenne “Clemmie & Cici”
Clementine Jay & Georgia Bee “Clemmie & Gigi”
Clementine Jay & Delaney Bea “Clemmie & Del”
Clementine Jay & Etta Bea “Clemmie & Etta”
Clementine Jay & Persephone Bea “Clemmie & Effie” or “Clemmie & Seph”
Clementine Jay & Fiona Bee “Clemmie & Fia” or “Clemmie & Fionie”
Clementine Jay & Nina Bee “Clemmie & Nina”
Clementine Jay & Winifred Bea “Clemmie & Freddie”
Clementine Jay & Goldie Bea “Clemmie & Goldie”
Clementine Jay & Harmony Bea “Clemmie & Harmony”
Clementine Jay & Sylvia Bee “Clemmie & Sylvie”
Clementine Jay & Juliette Bee “Clemmie & Jette”
Clementine Jay & Penelope Brenne “Clemmie & Nel”
Clementine Jay & Nadia Bea “Clemmie & Dee”
Clementine Jay & Sloane Bea “Clemmie & Sloane”
Clementine Jay & Sunday Bee “Clemmie & Sunny”
Clementine Jay & Teagan Bea “Clemmie & Teagan”
Clementine Jay & Tatiana Bee “Clemmie & Tati”
Clementine Jay & Zazie Bea “Clemmie & Zazie” (really close to Zazie Beetz though)
Clementine Jay & Thea Brenne “Clemmie & Thea”
Clementine Jay & Valentina Bea “Clemmie & Val”
Clementine Jay & Wynston Bee “Clemmie & Wyn” or “Clemmie & Wynnie”
Clementine Jay & Xaviera Bee “Clemmie & Xavi” (pronounced like Zaviera)
Clementine Jay & Zaviera Bee “Clemmie & Zavi”
Bee is my favorite because it honors your mother-in-law but also fits perfect Jay!
OK though just realized B & J might not be the best pair… but they won’t go by their middle names so I don’t really think it matters.
B names I like-
Maaaaybe Bellamy but I prefer it for a boy.
Sabrina (Br and na in it)
Maybe Brent as a middle name in a fashionable Blake-like way?
like Sabrina Brent or Nadia Brent?
on February 10th, 2017 at 8:03 am
No new names to suggest, but just want to add my backing to some lovely names already suggested – I think all these are beautiful and go well with Clementine:
on February 10th, 2017 at 10:04 am
I agree with PrimButcher that the more you scramble up names to honor someone the less of an honorific it’ll feel.
I want to honor my dad when I have a kid, but I don’t like his middle name, and my older sister scrambled his first name into an honorific name for her daughter (Scott to Scarlett) – so I’ve always planned on using Lark or Wren to honor my dad, because he loves birds and they’re pretty bird names.
I would also say, as someone who has a child named after her – really, don’t feel obligated. I wanted another niece’s middle name to be Jane because I thought it was so pretty with her unusual first name, but my sister gave her a middle after my name to honor me, and while I love the thought behind it, I still secretly think her name would be prettier if it was Jane. Similarly, my sister changed the spelling and used a slightly more French pronunciation of my mom’s name for another daughter’s middle name, and my mom is like “meh, I don’t really care for it, but I’d never tell her that” so…yeah. Don’t feel obligated to stick with honorific names.
on February 10th, 2017 at 4:55 pm
I think Bee or Bea is the best way to honor your mother, although, i love Annabeth Claire.
I like Clover with Clementine.
Clover Bee…..both of their middle names will be a spelled out letter.
on February 11th, 2017 at 5:05 pm
What about Annaclaire Bren?
on February 12th, 2017 at 10:12 am
I like Claire. Clementine and Claire go quite well together. Maybe Clara? And then some form of Brenda as the middle name to honour your mother-in-law
on April 26th, 2017 at 7:13 pm
These are on the list/have been mentioned, but I really like the combination Clara Wren, or Ana-Clara Wren is nice.
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