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Name Sage: Long and Lovely Girl Names

May 10, 2016 Abby Sandel

After being a longtime local Name Sage, Eloise is now expecting her first child and wants a choice that will live up to her lifelong interest in names. Let’s help her find a spectacular combination for her daughter due this summer.

Eloise writes:

This is my first pregnancy, due late August, and coming a little later in life than I imagined. As the name sage among my family and friends – and given a stack of kids is not going to be happening for me – I’m looking for the ultimate name.

Our daughter’s last name will sound like Marlowe with a T. O-ending first names are out.

Dad is English, I’m Australian and she will hear mostly Australians saying its name. (Some names, like Martha, can sound pretty awful in an Aussie accent.)

For a girl, I/we love (in order):

I like Clementina and James, but maybe I’m trying too hard there.

I’m a bigger fan of long, elaborate names than my husband, but he’ll go with it if likes the nickname. And there is something cool about the shorter names.

For middle names, we love Rainer or Winter as less common options, or else a family name from my side. Some options include: Rachael, Catherine, Natalie, Delphine, Lucy, Belle, Kate, Christine, Anna, Anne, Sylvia, Sarah, and Eloise, or even the surname Golding.

I quite like two middle names. I’m just not settled on any of it and, like most of us, I’m better at deciding for others!

I could easily just keep gathering names until after the baby is born, and then decide in a panic, which isn’t what I want!

I’d love your magical help please, on new names we might like, and how to pick and/or combine from among the ones we’ve come up with.

The Name Sage replies:

Oh, the challenge of naming an actual human being! When I make name lists, I’m quite decisive, because I think I can always use Darius in another boy’s combination, or save
Marguerite Georgia Grae “Gigi” for my fifth daughter.

But as you so rightly note, choosing one name – an ultimate name! – is the hard part.

I’m going to suggest you use two middles. They’re becoming much more common throughout the English-speaking world, and it sounds like your husband isn’t opposed to making the overall name longer. Two middles gives you more opportunity for a combination with oomph.

Given the Australian tendency to nickname, it might also make sense to opt for a longer name with a nickname of your choosing – rather than waiting to see which nickname sticks! I’ll add Romilly as a longer version of Romy, and I like your ideas of Cordelia and Coraline, too.

But rather than adding more names, I think we should start mixing and matching. Because there are some truly stunning combinations waiting on your list!

Carys Catherine Winter – A little bit of alliteration can make a combination really pop. And since it sounds like your daughter would be born in the winter, it’s appropriate, too.

Romy Delphine Belle – This is one of the shorter combinations on the list, but it’s an intriguing blend of modern and traditional. While Bella names are everywhere, I love the tailored simplicity of Belle.

Romilly Anna BelleAnna Belle could be smooshed into one name, like Romy Annabelle Kate. But I wanted to use the longer Romilly, and I think this works nicely.

Cordelia Golding KateGolding is an appealing – and surprising – middle name. Cordelia feels literary and elaborate, and easily shortens to Cora or Delia.

Edith Rainer James – There’s no reason that an Edie has to be an Edith. I think Edie Rainer James works equally well. A combination with a traditional girl’s name and two completely unexpected middles can work beautifully.

Edith Marigold Kate – In fact, I like the idea of pairing Edith/Edie with two unexpected middles so much that I want to suggest another! This one is more conventionally feminine.

Sylvie Coraline WinterSylvie is a winning choice for two reasons. First, it’s an up-and-coming name that feels quite stylish. But it has history aplenty, and in your case, ties to family name Sylvia, too.

Cora Clementina James – What if you kept the first name conventional, and used the most unusual names on your list as a double middle? A bonus with Cora Clementina is the possible nickname CC.

Dylan Delphine Sylvie – If you like the idea of a more traditionally masculine first name for your daughter, pairing Dylan with very feminine middles can balance the name out.

Harriet Alex Anna – You might also consider Alix, a medieval variant of Alice. As with Anna Belle, there’s a risk that others might say Alexanna, but I think that could be an appealing part of this double middle.

Overall, my favorites are Cora Clementina James and the Edith combinations, partially because those names seem to be higher on your list.

Let’s end with the very best advice I can give: there’s rarely a good reason not to use your favorite names. Should it happen that more children are in your future, you have plenty of possibilities left on your list to ponder.

But for now, I’d opt for two doubles, a longer name with a built-in middle, and anything else that makes you feel as if you’ve found the ultimate name for your daughter!

Readers, which combinations would you suggest to Eloise and her husband? I realized I didn’t use Aria – one of the names on their shortlist – so I’d especially love to hear ideas featuring that name!

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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