Girl Names: A sister for Isla and Elodie
by Abby Sandel
I’m on Team Auden. I love how the name flows with the other girls and the middle name. It’s easy to pronounce and doesn’t have a lot of nickname possibilities which I’m not a big fan of.
My husband is Team Olive. He thinks it’s cute and a nod to his Italian heritage. My concern is that our last name is similar to Martini and I worry about people teasing her down the road or having people think “what were her parents thinking”. My husband thinks I’m insane for drawing that connection.
I can’t help the feeling that we’re overlooking a perfect middle ground that will click for us. We’re not married to vowel names, but so far haven’t found any non-vowel names that we feel flow well with our other daughters. Please help!
The Name Sage replies:
First things first: if you hear olive martini when you say Olive with your surname, then it’s off the table. Maybe you’re being overly cautious. And it could be that you’re the only one to ever make the connection. But that’s the kind of thing you simply can’t un-hear. Rational or not, Olive isn’t the name for Isla and Elodie’s sister.
At the same time, if Auden doesn’t appeal to your husband, well … it sounds like it’s time to start a new list.
We’re looking for a nickname-proof name. Choices that start with a vowel seem promising. So do names that hint at Italian heritage. And it seems like you’d prefer something with a different ending from Isla and Elodie – though that’s the suggestion I’ve ignored most often while drafting this list. Lastly, it seems like maybe you’re edging towards rarer names, though maybe you’re more inclined to go beyond the US Top 1000 than your husband?
Aria – A current Top 100 choice in the US, but also an Italian import. (Though it’s not traditionally used as a given name in Italy.) It means song in Italian, and it brings to mind opera. Pop culture references abound – Pretty Little Liars helped boost the name, as did Game of Throne’s Arya Stark. And yet, it doesn’t feel flimsy or invented, and it sounds just right with Isla and Elodie.
Avalon – This name came immediately to mind as midway between Olive and Auden. It’s tailored, unexpected, and just feminine enough. Beaches on both coasts are named Avalon, but it started out as paradise in Arthurian legend.
Cecile – Avoiding another –a or –ie ending is tough! But how about Cecile? It’s seldom heard, even though we all recognize it immediately. There’s a flowing loveliness to the soft C, even though it’s not a vowel name.
Eden – Do you want to avoid another I or E name? Because I do think Eden is rich with potential. It’s midway between Elodie and Isla in terms of sound and popularity. But maybe it’s too close to her sisters’ names?
Juniper – At Number 281 last year, Juniper feels less familiar than Isla, but more common than Elodie. There are some ties to Italy, too. Brother Juniper was an early follower of Saint Francis of Assisi; plus, there’s a famous Leonardo da Vinci portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci, featuring juniper trees – because Ginevra means juniper in Italian.
Lucia – While Lucia starts with an L, it’s still, a flowing, liquid choice. It can be pronounced loo-shah or loo-see-ah. (Or loo-chee-ah, though I hear that least often in the US.) It’s popular across the world, but feels Italian – in fact, it’s more popular there than here.
Maren – I think Auden is fine with Isla and Elodie, but it feels a little more unisex. Maren, on the other hand, leans feminine. It’s most commonly associated with the name Mary or the Latin word for sea.
Winter – I’m not sure if you’re due before the season officially starts, but Winter strikes me as another compromise, both on the frilly/tailored scale and the popular/uncommon scale, too. I love the way it sounds with Isla and Elodie.
Of course, the first name that I want to suggest is Elora. It seems to fit all of your criteria perfectly, and while it honors your great-grandmother, it’s a little different, too. Except I suspect Elora feels awfully close to Elodie, right? Too bad, because it hits all the other marks.
I’m also wondering if choosing the middle name first might be part of the challenge. Maren Elora and Winter Elora work well, but lots of other names, like Aria Elora and Cecile Elora, seem a little more tongue-twisting. Would you be open to re-inventing Laura in another way? Aria Laurel, maybe, or Cecile Lorelei?
Readers, I’m curious – if you and your partner both had a final, favorite name, how did you resolve your differences?
Abby Sandel is the creator of name blog Appellation Mountain and writes Nameberry’s Name Sage column, offering wise advice on baby name questions submitted by Berries every other Wednesday. Abby lives outside of Washington DC with her husband and two children, Alex and Clio. You can reach her on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest. For a chance to have your questions answered on Nameberry, contact Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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on October 16th, 2019 at 7:21 am
I, too, think Aria is the perfect sister for Isla and Elodie! But, Maren is definitely going on MY list for future use! And, would be my second choice if middle name Elora is unmovable. My personal recommendation: Aria Laura.
on October 16th, 2019 at 8:09 am
I agree that Elora feels like a perfect first name! Would it feel less similar to Elodie if you spelled it Alora or Allora instead? Isla, Elodia, and Alora look and sound great together. From Abby’s list, I really like both Avalon and Cecile. They flow really beautifully and have a similar ‘feel’ to your other daughters’ names. Congratulations on #3!
on October 16th, 2019 at 9:06 am
I think Maren or Aria would work nicely. But I actually think Laurel would work even better and work as an honor name to boot. Maybe paired with Auden or another family name?
A few others:
Cordelia or Delia
on October 16th, 2019 at 9:15 am
Would the husband go for Arden instead of Auden? They’re similar, but Arden feels a little more feminine, at least to me.
Juno (could also be a nod to an Italian heritage, as the name of a Roman goddess)
on October 16th, 2019 at 10:17 am
Personally I think the name Auden is a very nice name, it sounds solid, strong, and well grounded. How do you pronounce it? Is it Oww like Audi, or Aaa like August? It also seems quite unisex as either way you pronounce it, it reminds me of Odin. Which seems at odds with the sparkling, colorful, very feminine names your other daughters have.
I really like the suggestions of Aria and Eden, though I do think both sound slightly awkward with the chosen middle name, though both would sound divine with something like Laurel or Lauren as the middle.
My suggestions are
Sienna/ Siena- A truly beautiful city in Italy. A nice homage to your husband’s Italian heritage, but also a beautiful modern feminine name.
Rio- Rio has the benefit of going really well the middle name. It seems to fit nicely with your other two daughters names.
Kiera- Has a nice European feel like your other daughters but has a distinct flavor of it’s own.
Good luck what ever you choose!
on October 16th, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Lovely suggestions. Auden is so sweet.
I will add Ever and Ardith to the mix.
on October 16th, 2019 at 12:50 pm
I think Abby’s suggestion of moving the honor name for Laura up front is great.
on October 16th, 2019 at 1:54 pm
I think Carmela would work.
JK Garrison Said
on October 16th, 2019 at 3:48 pm
Isla and Elodie roll off the tongue so nicely with their vowels and soft sounds.
Here are some more suggestions with similar sounds (and a little uniqueness):
Olwen – a unique name that could almost be a mix between Olivia and Auden
on October 16th, 2019 at 4:41 pm
I like Aurelia with Isla and Elodie! Auden is my favorite from the list.
on October 16th, 2019 at 5:32 pm
I really like Maren. Some of the other suggestions are pretty, but I wonder if a name with more Ls would turn into a tongue twister with the other kids’ names? Trying to say Isla, Elodie, Elora seems a bit jumbly to me. But that may just be me! Arden is also nice.
Erin Beth Said
on October 16th, 2019 at 7:01 pm
Some ideas that sound nice with the sister names:
I really like the suggestion of Lorelei.
on October 17th, 2019 at 4:04 pm
Elora is beautiful but it feels a little too similar to Elodie if you ask me – honouring Laura another way feels like a good idea. My vote actually comes from one of Abby’s explanations: Ginevra! Isla, Elodie & Ginevra feels a nice mix to me.
on October 17th, 2019 at 11:22 pm
I love Auden. I love the suggestion of Maren. I also want to suggest Calais with Isla and Elodie.. I know a little girl with the name and I think it’s so pretty.
on October 18th, 2019 at 6:53 am
The name Aria came to be before I’d even got to that part of the article where it was a suggestion. Flows well
on October 18th, 2019 at 9:38 am
Sounds like you both like a name starting with the Ahhh sound for this baby.
Abby’s suggestion of Aria fits well.
Ariana with the Ahh sound
Ana with the Ahh sound
Different sound, but you might consider Avila, pronounced with the same beginning as Avalon: A-vila.
on October 18th, 2019 at 12:26 pm
What about Gemma?
Gemma is a little less melodic than Isla and Elodie but fits right in style wise. I believe it’s an Italian name, but well used everywhere.
Sparrow — stylistically this name isn’t really in line with Isla and Elodie, BUT I’m suggesting it because it’s the national bird of Italy so it makes a subtle nod like Olive
Luisa (or Louisa) –has the “L” sound that both the other girls have and is used often in Italy
Aura — similar to Auden, more Italian, unfortunately rhymes with Elora
Carmen — feels similar to Auden and Maren, and possibly more feminine
on October 18th, 2019 at 1:39 pm
Your names feel so pan-European to me. What about:
Honora (although likely not with Elora)
on October 18th, 2019 at 6:51 pm
Liora/Leora is another option to honor a Laura. It also doesn’t start with an E like Elodie if you wanted to use it as a first name.
on October 19th, 2019 at 8:41 pm
I think Alida or Aleida could work for you guys. I love Alida and it’s what we named our daughter.
on October 21st, 2019 at 7:27 pm
I think Juniper, Chiara, or Flora would be perfect with Isla and Elodie. Giselle, Paloma, Vivienne and Aveline also came to mind.
on October 21st, 2019 at 7:50 pm
Some of these already suggested but I think Ardith, Cecile, Celeste, Odette, Anthea, Cerise would work well. Celeste Elora?
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