Name Sage: Solving the puzzle of a name for sister #3

Name Sage: Solving the puzzle of a name for sister #3

Sarah writes:

We have two girls, Lavender Miriam and Cordelia Rose.

My husband and I cannot figure out a name for another girl.

Both daughters have eight letter first names and a flower/color name. Any ideas?

The Name Sage replies:

What gorgeous, lovely names – and what a fun challenge to choose a third daughter’s name that matches with Lavender Miriam and Cordelia Rose.

The basic requirements are as follows:

  • First name must have exactly eight letters

  • One of the names must be a color/flower

  • But there’s a little more to it than that. Your older daughters’ names have a very definite style. They’re a mix of the old-fashioned and the unexpected. Cordelia just barely ranks in the US Top 1000. Lavender never has been even that popular.

    This makes me think that any of the eight-letter names in the current Top 100 – Isabella, Madeline, Penelope, Victoria, Charlotte, Caroline – might not be quite right.

    It also strikes me that Lavender and Cordelia are spelled conventionally. So no fair respelling Vallerie with an extra L, or adding an –ana to make Alexiana long enough to consider.

    Lastly, since you’ve already used Rose and Miriam as middle names, I’ve avoided Rose– and Mary– names on my list of suggestions. It was painful, though, because Rosemary seems like a great sister name for Lavender and Cordelia!

    Happily, we still have plenty of names to consider:

    Delphine – It’s the French form of a Latin name referring to Delphi, in ancient Greece. I think it splits the difference between Cordelia and Lavender, style-wise. It also gives all three girls a different ending for their names, which can be nice. The bonus? Delphinium is a flowering plant, often called larkspur, so it could be your botanical name. Larkspur, of course, is also eight letters … but I think that might be too out-there!

    Lucienne I initially had Vivienne on this list, which is gorgeous and has eight letters, too. But Vivienne is awfully popular – maybe too popular for your family. Instead, would you consider Lucienne? Again, it’s French, and the feminine form of Lucien. With Luke, Lucas, and Lucy so popular, Lucienne could be a perfect fits in/stands out name.

    Winifred – Is it too soon to bring back Winifred? Jimmy Fallon has a daughter called Winnie, and there were more than 550 girls named Winter last year alone. Lavender, Cordelia, and Winifred – it might not work for every family, but I think it’s really quite gorgeous in yours.

    Annalise – Here’s a safer option: the compound name Annalise. In German, it’s typically Anneliese, from Anne and a short form of Elisabeth. Annalise seems to be the spelling that’s preferred in the US. (Viola Davis plays an Annalise in How to Get Away With Murder.) It ranked Number 457 in the US in 2014, which is more common than Lavender or Cordelia, but not overwhelmingly so. Another A-name option might be the regal, but increasingly popular, Adelaide.

    Amethyst – An interesting thought: right now Lavender and Rose are flower names and color names. If you named your third daughter Amethyst, they’d all become color names, and you’d have to name a future son Indigo or Hunter. The only problem with Amethyst is that, color-wise, it’s pretty close to Lavender, which might make Cordelia feel like the odd one out.

    MagnoliaMagnolia has the same feminine, ends in –lia style of Cordelia, but it’s a botanical choice like Lavender. It seems like the perfect compromise. Also, like Cordelia, the name currently ranks just inside the US Top 1000, which makes it nicely underused. Another M- possibility with eight letters and a botanical tie? The lovely Marigold, recently used by blogger Tara Wood for her new arrival.

    FelicityFelicity means happiness, so it’s a word name like Lavender, but shares the vintage style of Cordelia. It’s another choice that seems to pair perfectly with her sisters’ names. Another eight-letter F name from way back? Florence.

    Campbell – I wanted to suggest Annabel, but the spelling Annabell seems tortured. Arabella has the right letter count, but is it too frilly? And then I thought about Campbell. Lavender and Cordelia are different, style-wise, so perhaps it makes sense to choose a third name with a different style altogether. Adding tailored Campbell to antique Cordelia and gentle Lavender would make this an eclectic set of names, indeed.

    If you choose Delphine, Amethyst, or Magnolia, you’ve fulfilled your color/flower requirement with the first name, and can choose a simple middle. Delphine Blythe, Amethyst Mae, Magnolia Cecile.

    Some other possible combinations:

  • Lucienne Daisy

  • Winifred Lily

  • Annalise Ivy

  • Felicity Hazel

  • Campbell Iris

  • Overall my favorites are Felicity and Magnolia – I think they strike exactly the right note with the sisters’ names. But I can’t wait to hear what readers have to say, and how they mix and match the possibilities!

    Readers, what first-middle combo would you suggest for a sister for Lavender Miriam and Cordelia Rose?