Long Middle Names for Girls
by Abby Sandel
Wanted: a long middle name for a girl.
Fill in the blank: take a modern, mini, three-letter first name, add a two-syllable, ends-with-n surname. Now what works in the middle?
We have discussed Isabel, but maybe it leans too Spanish when paired with Lia? My husband vetoed Makenna and I vetoed Abigail. He prefers sweet/feminine traditional names while I like more unique/trendy names. We are both willing to compromise for the middle.
The Name Sage replies:
And yet, I tend to favor your approach. My heart belongs to longer, interesting middles, as a way to balance out a short first-last name combination. Find the right name, and it becomes downright delightful to say in full.
We have a few challenges:
It also sounds like Lia is the perfect compromise – a classic choice with a less conventional spelling. The result is a name that feels modern, but rooted in tradition. It’s the middle ground between Makenna and Abigail, and we need to find another name that strikes the same note.
But I think this challenge really comes down to sound. If the name links together your short, flowing first name choice with a harder-sounding surname, then I suspect style might be less of a concern.
Here are my picks for great, three-syllable middle names that work perfectly with Lia and sounds-like-Blackmann:
Alaina – Lia and Alaina could be sisters. Paired as a first-middle, it feels a little bit magical. Spell it Elena for a more traditional vibe. Or opt for Helena, which feels even more classic, and possibly a tiny bit easier to say.
Delaney – I think names ending in the ‘ee’ sound work really well as middles. They’re relatively uncommon, for one. And surnames like Delaney tend to read like old family names, which may lessen any perceived trendiness.
Emerson – Speaking of surnames that work well as middles, what would you think of Emerson? From Emma to Emily, Em– is a favorite sound in girls’ names across generations. But Emerson makes for a more modern update.
Evelyn – Evelyn strikes me as a sister for Abigail. It has a similar vintage, feminine vibe. And yet, Evelyn also has a certain amount of edge. Maybe it’s that middle V, or maybe it’s Evelyn’s history as a unisex name.
Juniper – I suggest Juniper an awful lot, but that’s because I think it’s a perfect compromise pick. You mentioned June, a sweetly old-fashioned choice. But Juniper feels more like Makenna, a more energetic name at home in the 21st century.
Marigold – If you’re open to nature names, I like the idea of Marigold, too. The first part of the name comes from Mary – about as feminine and traditional as it gets. But this name feels more like Azalea or Zinnia, a flower choice that wears well, but feels unexpected.
Mirabelle – You mentioned Isabel, but I wonder if another –bel name would appeal? There are plenty to choose from: favorites like Isabelle and Annabelle, plus Mirabelle or Maribel – to name just a few.
Rebecca – Rebecca feels like an almost classic, the kind of name that we’re used to hearing as a first. But it’s surprising as a middle name choice, and has a rhythm that works well with Lia sounds-like-Blackmann.
Silvia – Lia Silvia strikes me as shimmery, a little bit like Lia Alaina. But Silvia hews closer to traditional choices. The ‘y’ spelling is more popular in the US, but Silvia was the spelling used in Roman mythology, all the way up to Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Overall, I’m stuck on Lia Delaney. I think Delaney blends the right amount of hard and soft sounds. But this one is really tough! I’ll list my personal favorites in the poll, and see if one of those jumps to a commanding lead. But readers, I know you’ll have great suggestions, too. Please share!
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 November 20th, 2019 at 10:09 am
I like Lia Marigold as compromise for these parents! Marigold is sweet and feminine and a little bit vintage for Dad, but it’s also a fresh choice and has some spunk for Mom.
on November 20th, 2019 at 11:04 am
I think Lia Genevieve is the only option that jumps out at me that’s suggested here. I would also recommend:
on November 20th, 2019 at 1:19 pm
I like Lia Marigold. I think names beginning or ending with an A wouldn’t work here, especially not Al- names.
on November 20th, 2019 at 1:44 pm
Instead of MaKenna what about Corinne or Corinna? Instead of Abigail what about Gabrielle?
Lia Corinne Blackmann
Lia Gabrielle Blackmann
on November 20th, 2019 at 2:08 pm
I really like the suggestions of Genevieve and Marigold if you would like a longer middle name. I also personally think a one syllable name sounds great too. Lia Blair and Lia Kate come to mind!
on November 20th, 2019 at 4:17 pm
I really Love Lia Abigail. If that is totally out, I really like Lia Silvia or Lia Genevieve.
on November 20th, 2019 at 5:06 pm
I absolutely love Lia! Very beautiful!
I would suggest the following middle names:
on November 20th, 2019 at 7:33 pm
I second Lia Corinne.
on November 20th, 2019 at 8:39 pm
Lia Delaney is a perfect example of the type of name I think works best in the middle: accent on the not-first syllable.
I agree with others that vowel-starting and A-ending names don’t flow quite as well.
If not this second-or-third-syllable-accent type name, a single syllable middle is a solid choice, too.
Others have suggested:
Have fun finding a middle! Lia is a great choice!
on November 21st, 2019 at 12:04 am
I really like Lia Valerie as a suggestion
on November 21st, 2019 at 12:39 pm
I chose Delaney because I thought it flowed the best of the choices given, but I would really prefer an under used, interesting, more feminine name. My ideas are:
Good luck with your decision. Which ever way you go, Lia is a great name to work with.
on November 21st, 2019 at 2:33 pm
I like the flow of Lia Delaney, but I really love Lia Marigold!
I don’t think A-names work with Lia. Alaina is a lovely name, but Lia Alaina borders on tongue-twister. The two “A” sounds next to each other make for a very choppy flow, especially since Lia is so short.
on November 23rd, 2019 at 5:19 am
From your recs I simply love Lia Marigold but I do wonder if maybe you’ve missed a trick by jumping from one syllable names to three syllables without giving two syllables much of a look in beyond Evelyn (lovely name but I worry about the repeated ee sound when combined with Lia). I wonder if Lia Juno could be a solution to Lia June being too short? Or Lia Kendra perhaps?
on November 23rd, 2019 at 5:20 am
Lia Alice – my fave!
Good luck <3
on November 23rd, 2019 at 6:58 am
Erin Beth Said
on November 23rd, 2019 at 7:33 am
I voted Juniper but my own first thought for you was Genevieve. I also love the suggestions of Marigold, Evelyn, and Sylvia. Meredith is another possibility.
on November 24th, 2019 at 5:21 pm
Lia is a lovely name! For a middle to go w/it & a two-syllable last name ending in n, I would suggest in general not a two-syllable name, not a name ending in n, not a name ending in a, not a name beginning w/a vowel (although of course there are exceptions that to my ear sound great w/Lia!).
Sorry for any repeats among my suggestions…
Lia Madeleine (Ma-deh-len)
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