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Girl Names: Long and Meaningful

May 1, 2018 Abby Sandel

by Abby Sandel aka The Name Sage

It’s an Ask the Name Sage first – a repeat customer! We helped them name their second daughter, and now it’s time to find a name for a third. 

Amy writes:

I’m baaaack!

I was the girl with 42 names on her list but couldn’t find one I really loved. I was thrilled you had chosen our letter because you helped us fall in love with the most perfect name for our baby: Carina Iris, a sister for Viviana Rose.

We are expecting our third baby girl in early September and now we have a new problem. Well … a few new problems!

We like feminine names that not super popular but are also familiar enough to pronounce. Because they’re long, we want to be aware of potential nicknames. And some names just seem to disappear when said with Viviana and Carina.

Meanings matter to us. Viviana is full of life and Carina is love. We will probably go with a floral middle name like Violet to tie in with her sisters’ names.

Our last name starts with an L and ends with an ‘ee’ sound. Names like Lilly would be hard to say.

Here are our favorites:

Evangeline – We love that it means “good news.” It’s long enough to stand up to our daughters’ names. But Eve and Evie are too close to Viviana’s nickname, Vivi. Lina seems close to Carina. Is there another option I’m not thinking of?

Genevieve – The meanings listed – “white wave” or “woman of the people” don’t appeal. Again, nicknames could be an issue, but I love the sound of Ginny.

Celia – It means heavenly, which I love, and nicknames wouldn’t be a problem. But is it too soft, or too different from our older daughters’ names?

We’ve also considered Emmeline, Scarlett, Adelaide, Aurora, Penelope, and Susannah.

New suggestions welcome!

The Name Sage replies:

You’ve chosen bold, distinctive names for your daughters, and that’s a good thing. But you’re right – it might feel awkward to introduce your three girls: Viviana, Carina, and …. Beth? That’s not quite right.

This family calls for a strong sound and a compelling meaning.

Evangeline fits, and yet, I agree – the potential for confusing nicknames is sky-high! I’m not sure Genevieve avoids all of that, either, plus the meaning doesn’t hit the mark.

That leaves Celia. There’s nothing wrong with Viviana, Carina, and Celia, but I hear your hesitation. It’s a quieter name compared to her sisters. Cecilia seems like the obvious answer – but of course that name has a different origin and meaning.

Let’s start fresh, and see if we can find some more possibilities.

AlaiaAlaia sounds glamorous, a shimmering name with a very current sound. In Basque it means joyful. It’s typically pronounced ah-LYE-ah, but in our age of Kayla and Hailee, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear ah-LAY-uh, too.

Amara – Globe-spanning Amara occurs in several languages, from Igbo to Japanese. But I like it because it sounds like amor – the Latin word for love. Nicknames abound: Ami/Amy, Mara, Aya, possibly even Maya.

AnastasiaAnastasia means resurrection. It’s a long name, but one that nearly everyone recognizes immediately. It’s also got some great nickname options, including Anya: Vivi, Cara, and Anya.

CalistaCalista combines a great meaning – beauty – with an unforgettable sound. Life, love, and beauty sound just right together, and I think Viviana, Carina, and Calista would make great sister names, too.

Cordelia – The heroine of Anne of Green Gables told us she wanted to be called Cordelia. “It’s such a perfectly elegant name.” But I thought of it because of the meaning: it’s associated with the Latin cor – heart, or possibly a Welsh name that means “jewel of the sea.” Cora is terribly close to Cara, but Delia works nicely.

FelicityLily won’t work, but would something longer, like Felicity, pair well with your surname? Because happiness is a great meaning, and completes the set: life, love, and joy. I’ve heard of Fliss and Flick as nicknames, but I like Lissy best.

Lucasta – I kept thinking about names that mean light, but it’s tough to find one that meets your requirements! But then I thought of Lucasta. It comes from a phrase meaning “pure light” and that seems to work exactly. But is it too repetitive with your surname? Lulu might be a great nickname.

MirandaMiranda means wonderful, a Shakesperean name that’s familiar today, but not too common. Miri seems like an obvious short form. It’s close to Vivi visually, but sounds different. There’s also Mira and Andi.

From your list, I also love the idea of Susannah, maybe called Zuzu. It means lily, and carries all the symbolism of the flower. Adelaide, too, seems to hit all of the right marks – a strong sound and a great meaning – noble.

Overall, though I’m drawn to Miranda. Miranda Violet. Viviana, Carina, and Miranda. Vivi, Cara, and Miri. Full of life, love, and all things wonderful.

Readers, what would you suggest to Amy for her third daughter?

About the author

Abby

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 namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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