Name Sage: Naming a Sister for Nora Penelope

Name Sage: Naming a Sister for Nora Penelope

Erin writes:

I am a huge baby name lover, and have had name lists for years.

But I can’t come up with just the right name for our second daughter.

Our first child is named Nora Penelope. We loved it and settled on it right away.

For this second girl, I like Ivy. My husband prefers Anna or Annabel. We don't like each other's favorites!

We both prefer classic names that are slightly offbeat, and I very much prefer short names.

Any suggestions?

The Name Sage replies:

Nora Penelope is just plain fun to say, isn't it?

If your husband was on board, I'd suggest that Ivy Annabel made the perfect sister name.

But that's not on the table, so let's start fresh.

Offbeat traditional can span a really wide range.

I'm guessing that Winifred and Prudence feel too different for your family.

But maybe you've already ruled out more mainstream favorites with a slightly bohemian flavor, like Stella and Ruby?

For this list, I'll avoid anything that ends with a. Though it's worth noting that lots of great possibilities fit that pattern. If none of these seem right, I might suggest Ada, Delia, Greta, or Willa.



We love Chloe and Penelope and so many similar names. How about Daphne as a first? It's one of the most popular Bridgerton names, thanks to the eldest sister, but it's still undeniably distinctive.


A brief, bright name with a great meaning: beloved. Like Daphne, it's relatively uncommon in the US, but attracting plenty of attention on Nameberry in recent months.


It could be short for Gwendolyn, but Gwen stands on its own, too. A little bit Spider-Man and a little bit mid-century modern, this name defies easy categorization.


Sweet and sparky, June feels every bit as vintage as Nora. But while Nora is undeniably back in favor, June is still climbing. That makes it just slightly more surprising.


Once short for Margaret, Margot has stood on its own for ages. While this name is plenty traditional, the 'o' ending gives it something in common with modern choices, from Willow to Harlow.


Yes, Marie! Common as a middle name, but rare as a first, Marie is feminine and strong. It's traditional and immediately familiar - but somehow offbeat and surprising as a given name, too.


If not Ivy, maybe Sylvie? The French form of storied Sylvia, it's rising in use in the US. But Sylvie remains below-the-radar, a name that's equal parts sharp and pretty.


Vivian has hovered around the US Top 100 for nearly a decade, but has never climbed to the heights of, say, Evelyn or even Violet. That makes it a little like Nora - a traditional name that could never be considered trendy, even though nearly everybody loves it.

If I can't talk you into Marie, I'd point to Margot and Sylvie as the most logical sister names for Nora Penelope.

As for middles? If Annabel is off the table, I wonder if you'd like Cecily or Josephine instead? Margot Cecily and Sylvie Josephine are both so good, I can't choose between them. And something like Marie Cecilia could be gorgeous.

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