Name Sage: Long and Lovely Girl Names

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

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!

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About the author


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
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27 Responses to “Name Sage: Long and Lovely Girl Names”

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EmmaMay Says:

May 10th, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Sylvie Coraline Winter is absolutely gorgeous! I like the sound of Carys Catherine Winter as well. Interesting that Abby would pair Edith and Marigold in the same combo, though… But it does sound lovely: Edith Marigold Kate. Those three are my favorites.

KateMP91 Says:

May 10th, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Edith Aria Golding is my favorite combo. I also love Marigold Edith James. Golding could be an interesting nickname for Marigold, too. Edie is so cute!

nativoyoung Says:

May 10th, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Edie Harriet Golding. Beautiful.

ellecr Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 4:28 am

Good lord, Name Sage. You really killed it with this one.

Hands down, these two stunned me:

Carys Catherine Winer
Cora Clementina James

Edith Rainer James and Romilly Anna Bell are also striking.

oliviamcdonald Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 4:50 am

Sylvie Coraline Winter is my favourite on this list, it’s beautiful!

I love the combination of Winter & Belle as middles.

Coraline Winter Belle
Edie Winter Belle
Marigold Winter Belle (nn Maggie?)
Sylvie Winter Belle

taylorp Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 5:53 am

I highly recommend Meredith! It intuitively gets you to Edie just as well as Edith, it’s a beautiful long name, and it’s currently very under used.

I think Meredith Winter Sylvia is gorgeous, as is Meredith Winter Golding.

ZoeyBrina Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 6:34 am

Dylan Delphine Winter!!!

Revlon Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 7:59 am

In addition to Romilly, you can use Rosemary for nickname Romy.

Tamparays8 Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 9:04 am

Cora Clementine James “CC” is awesome!!!!

TiffanyS Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 9:16 am

I second Abby’s suggestion of Romilly as a long form for Romy. I know an Australian family with two girls: Romilly and Clover. So I figure it must work in the Australian accent.

Cora Clementina sounds perfect together: just the right number of syllables and emphases in the best places.

@taylorp’s suggestion of Meredith for nn Edie is such a great idea!

If the emphasis goes on the end of each name, I’d pair Sylvie Eloise (Sil-VEE El-o-EES). But I imagine in daily life, you’d only use the first name, and it would be pronounced SIL-vee.

Carys Catherine Winter is also lovely.

DewiSofia Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 9:40 am

If you like Marigold maybe Iggy would be a nickname that you do like. Another option would be Ari.

joquinta Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 9:56 am

I really like the Edith Harriett combo.

My suggestion is Rosemary Winter Edith or Clementine Alexis James

r13martin Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 12:25 pm

I love @Taylorp’s suggestion of using Meredith. I love the combo Meredith Aria Winter. SO CUTE!!

Saracita00 Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I’m going to go against the Name Sage and add an option for your consideration: Aurora, nn Rory. I’m suggesting it because it’s longer and more romantic than some of the other options. At the same time, I noticed that you have a few masculine names you’re flirting with too. I think it could be the perfect middle ground between Romy and Clementina, Marigold and James — without trying too hard.

teacupsandtiaras Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 2:24 pm

These combinations are SO good.

EllaMinnowPea123 Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 2:54 pm

A few years ago, I was obsessed with the nickname Edie and I came across the name Edeline for the nickname Edie! I still love it! Edeline James Winter or Edeline Rainer Kate are two of my favorites 🙂

Toronto87 Says:

May 11th, 2016 at 8:31 pm

I like pretty much all of these combos. I do think that the “Cor” names are going to get super trendy the way the “El” names are now. To me, Cora is going to be the next Ella. For that reason, I’d perhaps move it to a middle spot.

Only first I don’t love is Dylan. It’s unisex and all the other names you have on your list are quite feminine. If you do have future children, you may have trouble pairing with a female Dylan as it doesn’t seem to match your style.

Based on names you like, I’d also suggest Odessa or Mabel.

PrudenceA Says:

May 12th, 2016 at 6:11 am

You have some lovely names there. Edie/Edith is very sweet.

We are also in Australia and have both a Martha and a Winter – funnily enough we have far more pronunciation problems with Winter, and never with Martha. Winter often gets ‘Winna’ which sounds awful. Not sure what area you are from but Martha only ever gets Martha (and not in the broad drawn out Maaartha Aussie accent you may be referring to).

It’s very hard here to avoid nicknames so I think it’s a great suggestion to either go for a longer name and use a nickname you love or go for a shorter name that can’t be abbreviated. Best of luck!

neve_humphries Says:

May 12th, 2016 at 8:57 am

Out of all your names I think Edith Eloise Winter nn Edie is a stunning combo!

Waverly123 Says:

May 12th, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Edith Aria Carys is my Aria suggestion.

I also second Edeline nn Edie! Edeline Aria sounds beautiful. Edeline Aria James?

blondebookworm Says:

May 12th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Eden is another great name that can have the nickname Edie, in case you want another option! I like the sound of Eden Aria.

ARead Says:

May 17th, 2016 at 6:37 am

I love so many of these! Especially Romy Delphine Belle, Sylvie Coraline Winter, and Cora Clementia James!

Rhii Says:

May 17th, 2016 at 10:45 am

Carys Catherine Winter is astonishingly beautiful. <3

I also like the suggestion of Meredith or Edeline to get to Edie.

"E.D." can get you to Edie as well. I wonder if people would immediately think of erectile disfunction, but I don't think they would if she had more initials (Eva Delphine Winter T-ow, E.D.W.T. doesn't have the same vibe as just E.D.) I like the rhythm of Eva Delphine too.

iarlondwen Says:

May 22nd, 2016 at 1:47 am

These two name suggestions sound spot on!

Carys Catherine Winter
Edith Rainer James

marisarose Says:

May 23rd, 2016 at 7:19 am

My favorite combo:
Cordelia Annabelle Delphine
Combines 3 of your family names and there are so many nn options for Cordelia:

elemarh Says:

May 24th, 2016 at 11:47 pm

These combos are so beautiful!!! I don’t mean to not be helpful, but is Downton Abbey a popular show where you are? Just noticing that Cora, Edith and Marigold are all characters there (Cora is Edith’s mother and Edith is Marigolds mother), just food for thought! One day in the near future nobody will make the connection, but for a few years you might often hear people ask if she’s named after the show!

Ruby Byler Says:

May 26th, 2016 at 11:55 am

This is the first time that I have commented on one of these, I have wanted to for a long time but I just haven’t. But I felt like this was the perfect one to start on for two reasons. The first one being that my birthday is actually in late August to, August 27 to be exact. So I thought that was kind of cool!!! : ) The second being, you have a very creative style when it comes to names. My favorite combos were definitely the Edith Rainer James, Cora Clementina James, and Dylan Delphine Sylvie. I liked all of them but I loved those three. Also since there was no combo with the name Aria I thought I would try to make one although I am not sure if it will be good but I hope you will like it. So here it is; Aria Delphine Golding. I don’t know if you like that but I thought I would give it a shot. One more thing, you said that one of your favorite names is Romy, that just kind of reminds me in my name, which is Ruby. Any ways I hope that that will help you a little bit. : )

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