Girls’ Names: Naming a daughter the Pinkett-Smith way

This week, Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel follows up with Part Two of her suggestions for namesake gender-bending–this time it’s girls’ names from boys.

Last week’s post was all about the trendsetting Pinkett-Smith family and their son Jaden Christopher Syre, named after mom Jada.  This week the spotlight turns to daughter Willow Camille Reign, after dad WillWhile plenty of parents chose appellations that honor loved ones, crossing gender lines opens up some inventive options for girls’ names.

At first glance, this is easy for girls’ names.  There are plenty of traditional equivalents, like Charles/Charlotte or Alexander/Alexandra.  But what if you’re trying to name a daughter after your brother Chad?  Or you adore your uncle Patrick, but you can’t imagine calling your little one Patricia?

Parents have grafted together some unusual choices over the years.  There are just add –ette or –elle names, like Danette and Donelle; ends-in-ie choices, like Artie and Bennie; and double names, from Bobbie Sue to Rayanne.  Some may be carefully chosen, but Markie or Hughette can sound like afterthoughts, hastily cobbled together when the parents heard the words, “It’s a girl!” 

Sometimes parents just pass on the masculine moniker, but there is a world of options for naming a daughter Pinkett-Smith style.  It’s not just Will and Jade, either.  Emeril Lagasse called his daughter Meril.

Just like last week’s post, these are options based on the most popular names of the 1970s and 80s.  Add your additions and suggestions in the comments!


AdamAdelaide, Amalia, Amanda

Alan, AllenLana, Lena

Alex, AlexanderAlice, Alix, Zara

Andre, AndrewDrea, Drusilla

Anthony, AntonioAntonella, Antha





Brad, ChadAda, Adeline




Brian, Bryan, – Briar, Briony



CalvinVida, Vina

CameronCamille, Maren

Carl, CarlosCarlotta

Casey, CasyCassandra, Casilda


ChristianChristian, Kester, Kitty


ClintonLinden, Lindy



Corey, CoryCora, Coraline, Cordelia, Corisande

DanielAnnie, Danica, Elaina, Elodie, Elsa

DarrellElla, Rell


DavidDava, Davina



DonaldDonna, Donnatella


EdwardEden, Edie

EdwinGwen, Gwynne

Eric, ErikFrederica, Veronica

ErnestTrue, Verity



Francisco, FrankFrancesca, Frannie




Harold, HarryHallie


IanNia, Nina


JackJane, Joan

Jacob, JasonJacinda


JayMae, May


JeremiahMariah, Maya





JosephPoesy, Posey, Posy, Seraphina

KennethKendall, Kenna

KevinEva, Evelina

Larry, LawrenceLaurel

LeonardLeah, Leocadia


Louis, Lucas, LuisLulu, Lucasta, Lucienne


Marc, MarkArcadia


MartinMarla, Marlo

MatthewMattea, Maud, Maude, Thea


MichaelEllie, Micah



NeilNeely, Nell

NicholasHolly, Nicola





PeterPetra, Tera

Philip, PhillipPiper, Pippa


RandallDahlia, Dolly

RaymondRachel, Rae






Sean, ShawnSian





TravisAva, Avis





WilliamBillie, Willa, Willow


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42 Responses to “Girls’ Names: Naming a daughter the Pinkett-Smith way”

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Claire Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 1:08 am

My dad’s name is Richard. Any ideas aside from Rikki? Charlotte? Arden?

Hezzie Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 1:25 am

I wanted to name a girl after a relative named Richard too. Someone suggested “Richelle” or “Rochelle” but I wasn’t keen on either of those. I’d like to hear suggestions for a feminized version of Richard too. Maybe something with “Char” in it, like Charlene? Charis?

Also, any other suggestions for Benjamin? Other than Enya? (Of course, Benjamina isn’t a consideration either.) Maybe Mina? Amina?

CountryLizB Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 1:36 am

Claire, Richelle, maybe?

iolanthe Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 4:05 am

My grandmother’s name is Wilma, after her father Wilhelm.

Abby Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 5:49 am

Oh, I do like Mina for Benjamin!

Richard is a toughie – Charlene feels a little bit dated. Charlotte is so popular, and so tied to Charles. Charis is great – and makes me think of my first impulse, Carys, as they’re pronounced the same way. But is it too much of a stretch?

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 7:23 am

For Richard: Rika? Love Mina for Benjamin.

On Mob Wives, my favorite guilty pleasure, they named a girl Aleeya after her father Lee.

In our family I’ve thought about doing Rose for Roger.

Lydie Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 8:24 am

I know someone who was names Vernette after her father Vernon. Very unique!

Lisa Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 9:01 am

For Richard: what about HARlow or HARper or MisCHA or CHARity?

Danni Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 9:25 am

Abby: Thank you so much for your Larry/Lawrence suggestion! Laurel is lovely, and it definitely opened my eyes to the possibility of naming a daughter after my grandfather, whose legal name is Larry. Any other suggestions for a boy or girl name related to Larry (NOT Lawrence)? Love these Pinkett-Smith posts!

Lola Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 9:53 am

What could I do for my Pop? His name was Wayne! I’ve thought about using that long ‘A’ sound, as in Araminta, thought about swiping his birthday (Valentine’s day) as in Valentine or (long shot): Valentina. And the ‘Val’ would honor Valeria, my Aunt, too! But as for a direct honoring for simple Wayne? Beyond the awful Waynetta, I’m at a loss! Can anyone help?

My girl is Josephine for my Gagi, Joseph. But that’s about as direct as I was comfortable with.

Lisa Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 10:27 am

Waverly for Wayne?

Harry for Larry? Mary (Maryanne, etc.), Lara for Larry?

C in DC Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 11:25 am

For Lou/Lu names, Lucinda. For Patrick, there’s also Patrice/Petrice.

Wayne – how about Juanita? Or Enya? (Wayne spelled backwards is Enyaw.) Or even Ayne?

Richard – Darci? Dari? Dara? Racquel has a similar feel. Keeping the ch: Cheryl, Chardonnay, C(h)arlotta. Did someone mention Rikka/Rikke? How about Richa/Rischa?

Benjamin: Jamie, Jamina, Jemima

CountryLizB Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

For Wayne, maybe Jane?

Lola Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Oooh, thanks gang! I’m liking most of these suggestions, they’re definitely going into discussions. Ooh, Enya Jane Valentine? Well, we will talk about these over supper! Awesome!

Leslie Owen Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I’ve taught a number of students named after their fathers. I did teach an Enyaw, after her father Wayne. She was rather philosophical about it, especially since here in Pensacola, the unusual is usual. This year I had Clintnisha and Jamesha, both named after their fathers, as well as a Haley Sloan, named after her dad Sloan. Clintnisha was hard for me to say and I tried not to say it all year….very embarrassing when you have trouble prn a student’s name.

Arianna Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Any ideas for Tim or Timothy?

Abby Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

For Larry, maybe Larkin or Lark? Larkin is a medieval pet form of Laurence, so I think it works.

CountryLizB Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Arianna, Timothy means Honor.So, maybe Honor, Honora, Honoria, or Annora?

beccachan Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Anyone have good ideas for Gordon? I’m at a loss.

Susan Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

My father Roger passed away last fall. Any ideas for honoring him? Our last name starts with an R so thinking of something with a hard G sound…

TRose Says:

June 20th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

For Roger, how about Geri? For Larry, how about Larrisa?

Sarah A Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 3:50 am

Any other suggestions for Michael? I so hate Michaela and I don’t like Ellie much. Plus, Ellie doesn’t really work for us since my Michael is pretty much only ever Mike. And Micah is not a girls name imho 😉

For Roger, I think any girls name that starts with Ro could work, like Romilly or Rosemary.

Abby Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 5:45 am

Sarah, Micah wasn’t traditionally used for girls, but Micaiah, the original form of the name from the Old Testament, was used for men and women. I suspect that Micaiah feels too close to Makayla and other nouveau coinages, but she is one option.

There’s also Mika/Meeka/Mikka.

CountryLizB’s suggestion of Honor for Timothy is great. The only legit feminine form I’ve heard of is Timothea, and I can never decide if it is a lovely, elegant name on par with Dorothea, or if it is just too much.

I’ve stumbled across a few Kimothys … sort of a Timothy/Kimberly mash-up, always feminine as far as I can tell. Really not sure how I feel about that one, but it is out there.

Lola Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 10:28 am

For Gordon: Oriel, Orianna, Donatella, Madonna, or even Gloria/Gloriana!

Lola Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 10:33 am

For Gordon: Oriel, Oriana, Oriella, Donatella, Madonna or Gloria/Gloriana!

chelseamae Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’ve always loved the thought of honoring my step father, Jeffrey, by naming my daughter Freya. I have also thought of a few others:

Craig- Agnes or Agatha
Jacob- Jacqueline
Edward- Edith, Eda, Warren?
Lynn (middle name of male relative)-Linden, Leone, Linea, Leona

Sarah A Says:

June 21st, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Thanks Abby, I didn’t know that! It definitely makes me feel differently about Micah, though I do think I prefer it on a boy.

However, Mika is absolutely lovely! Thanks for that suggestion 🙂

Oh, and I hear Timothea and I think Dorothea: wonderful, old-fashioned sounding elegance 🙂

Chelseamae – I love Freya for Jeffrey! Freya is one of my favorite names and honoring a Jeffrey with it would be great.

Eliza Says:

June 22nd, 2011 at 1:42 am

Wow I had never considered Posy for Joseph. Or that Dahlia could relate to Randall. Wouldn’t Josephina nn Josie also count for Joseph?

Myka Says:

June 22nd, 2011 at 11:29 am

Sarah A.
I am a girl and my name is Myka. I hear a lot that most people believe it to be a boy’s name when spelled Micah. However, the way I spell my name, no one has ever mistaken me for a boy. I think it must have a more feminine feel or something.

Some other names you consider are Michaela (prn Michael – a), Mikiela (prn Mick – I – ela), or even something like Mikella (prn Mike – ella). I have heard of Markella being used for Mark so why not Mikella for Mike, right? 🙂

Good Luck!

Rita Says:

June 28th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Benjamin – what about Benedicta / Benedita / Benedicte?

Richard – In the middle ages, the feminine form of the name was Richardis – often rendered as Richeza, Richilda or Rixa. There are several historical characters by that name. There’s also Ricarda or Richardine. Frederica, Erica, or Ulrica all share the element “ric” in Richard and you could easily have Rick / Ricky as a nickname.

Wayne – Winifred (Wynne)? There’s always Jane or Elaine, though too obvious…

Timothy – Dorothy

Gordon – Gordana, Jordana?

Roger – Rose, Rowena (based on the 1st germanic element hrod, “fame”), Berengére, Gertrude, Inger (based on the second element ger, “spear”); Aurora, Victoria, Rosemary or Lorelei, nicknamed Rory.

Michael – Michelle, Micheline (too dated?), Mika, Miki, Gabriella or Raphaella (the other 2 angels, the three names are often used together).

Sabrina Says:

July 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 am

I love these ideas! Does anyone have a suggestion for James? My uncle, James, passed away and I would like to honor him. I don’t like Jamie or Amy, and definitely not Jemima!

Olivia Says:

July 11th, 2011 at 11:47 am

I’ve always always wanted to use Alec for a boy, and Alice for a girl, after my beloved grandfather, Alec Nicholas. Alice is still on my list, and Alec is top of the boys.

Cherry Says:

July 15th, 2011 at 3:17 am

Anyone got ideas on my husband’s name, Howard? Its hard to find a girls name other than honor, hope, holly..thx

moxielove Says:

July 18th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

What a fantastic post — wish I had come across it sooner when it was more active. I would love suggestions for Stephen, other than Stephanie/Stephany.

Jill Says:

August 10th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Any girl or boy suggestions for honoring my grandfather Bert?

OliviaSarah Says:

August 17th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

For Bert, what about Bethany? Bethan? Betty? Bertha? Beatrice? Beatrix? Bernice? Bridget? Bernadette? Berry? Esther? Ertha? Erta? Retta? Margaret? Bertilde? Bay? Alberta? Brenda? Brenn?

Also, Bert is a form of Bertram which means Raven. What about Raven?

Brightonbabixz Says:

August 22nd, 2011 at 12:34 am

Does anyone have any for Preston after my dad? I cannot imagine naming my little girl Presley or Prezton (someone on Yahoo Answerd recommended it**

BabyLuv Says:

October 14th, 2011 at 3:29 am

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas for Caleb, after my husband? We have two girls already, kind of a big chance that the next baby will be a girl also and I would like to honor him in some way, since we may never have that son we both hoped for, not that I mind at all, its just that a third baby may very well be the last for us, and if its a girl, then there won’t be a boy to call Jr. I am really opposed to the name Libby, as was the only suggestion I saw. Pls help!

helovesme Says:

May 3rd, 2012 at 1:40 pm

My parent’s names are Dave an Julie. I had always wanted to reverse them for our little one’s middle names. I had decided on Davitty for a daughter and Jule or Jude for a son.

Jiinxsay Says:

August 12th, 2012 at 1:27 am

i know a Michael who’s daughter has the same letters; Michela. how bout Mikelle?? sxy.

my birthfather’s name is spelled Maurice but pn; Morris, any ideas???

my Beloved adoptive dad’s name was Lyell, any ideas besides Lyla or Lily?

much obliged!

Jiinxsay Says:

August 12th, 2012 at 1:30 am

ps damnite! i meant my birthGRANDfather’s name was Maurice but pronounced Morris, any ideas would be sooo appreciated!!!!!
the hell w/birthfather had wife AND secretary knocked up at same time, my poor birthmom being the secretary 🙁 dont want/need anything to dow/his loser name.

but grampa died the yr before i was born. plz HELP

mulme944 Says:

April 17th, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Jiinxsay- how about Marissa for Maurice? Or there is always Maureen.
For Lyell, how about Danielle or Elya? (ELL-ee-uh)

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