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Name Sage: Can Laura Name Her Daughter Cora?

The dilemma of the rhyming baby name

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

Laura writes:

My husband loves the name Cora for the baby girl (our first) that we are expecting.

I initially was opposed, but it really has grown on me. I like its simplicity and sort of vintage feel.

The only problem? My name is Laura!

The rhyming factor seems very weird to me. Our last name is one syllable, so I fear rhyming first names would make us sound like a Dr. Seuss family!

But I can’t deny we are both drawn to the name. Help!

The Name Sage replies:

Cora is such a gorgeous name, exactly for the reasons you mention. It’s straightforward, vintage, feminine, and strong. And you and your husband agree on the name? It ought to be an easy decision!

But would going through life as Laura and Cora Seuss get old fast?

My initial answer is yes. Rhyming names do seem potentially awkward. If you were naming twins, or Laura’s younger sister, I would say that it was a dealbreaker.

Except that plenty of families have managed to navigate the senior/junior conflict. If Joe Sr. and Joe Jr. can live under one roof for eighteen-odd years, why not Laura and Cora?

Maura and Nora might be too close, but somehow the hard C sound of Cora makes it easier to distinguish between the two names.

Still, if there were another name that you loved as much as Cora, it would definitely be worth avoiding the problem! So let’s see if we can come up with some alternatives.

Lena – Another short, sophisticated choice for a daughter.

Vera Just as vintage and straightforward as Cora, but without the rhyming factor.

Della Della isn’t often heard now, but it was big in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Clara – The Latinate form of Claire, with a very similar sound to Cora.

Ruby – Word names are modern favorites, but Ruby has a long history of use.

Hattie Hattie is another antique choice that feels ready for revival in 2016.

Sybil Cora is a Downton Abbey name, and so is tailored Sybil.

If your heart is still set on Cora, there’s one other possibility. You might choose a formal name that shortens to Cora. Cordelia, Coraline, Coralie, and Corinne are all options, and there are others, too.

My favorite option would be Laura and Cordelia. Cordelia is a little bit lacier than Cora, but it’s a strong, literary choice thanks to the loyal daughter in Shakespeare’s King Lear. It also offers other nickname options if your daughter prefers a non-rhyming name in the future.

Readers, do you think mother and daughter can share similar names? Please share your opinion in the poll – and add your favorite alternatives to Cora in the comments!

Rhyming Names Dilemma

Can Laura have a daughter named Cora?

  1. ASure! Why not? Fathers and sons have shared the same name for years.
  2. BNo way! That’s too close and bound to be confusing.
  3. CYes, but only if Cora is a nickname for Cordelia, Coraline, etc.
  4. DMaybe … if it really was the only name you loved.
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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.
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32 Responses to “Name Sage: Can Laura Name Her Daughter Cora?”

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taylorp Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 12:18 am

I think Laura and Cora are fine. They rhyme, but they’re spelled differently enough that I wouldn’t assume it was done to be cutesy. You’ll probably be Mom more than Laura when you’re together, anyway.

I do love the suggestion of Cordelia, though. She could be Cora, but she would also have options like Cory, Cordy, and Delia if she wanted something more distinct later.

nomen Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 1:31 am

Laura and Cora are so fine. My mom’s best friend is named Laura and her daughter is named Nora and no one has ever said anything about it. It’s never confusing and it’s actually quite cute. If it’s the name you love, you should definitely go for it.

Penguinkin Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 5:08 am

Way too matchy! There are so many options that don’t have this problem. Plus if you have already noticed the potential issue it would only get stronger for me hearing it everyday. I know a Kiera with a daughter Cora and other people commented on it being too close/rhyming

Bobcat108 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 6:13 am

For me, Laura & Cora don’t rhyme (Larr-ah) & (Kore-uh). But they’re similar enough in sound that I would hesitate. My nn & my dad’s nn rhyme & it was definitely confusing as to which one of us was being called, especially over increasing distances.

flowermae Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 8:03 am

I’m with Bobcat, Laura and Cora don’t rhyme to me. I say Larr-ah and Kore-uh too. But since they do rhyme to this family I would say it is too close.

cyoung325 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 8:25 am

I had a similar thing growing up because my mom’s name is Caroline nn Carol and I’m Cheryl. Yes they rhyme, but we never had an issue. I agree that if you were rhyming siblings’ names it would be too much, but as a mom and daughter I feel it’s perfectly fine. Laura and Cora have a completely different feel which makes it a non issue to me.

flamingo Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 11:00 am

Why would it be such a lifelong issue?

As soon as the baby’s born, it will be a cute thing that everyone mentions, and to that you answer that you absolutely adore the name Cora for all the reasons that you do, then share how excited you are to share this special ‘rhyming bond’ with your precious daughter.

Honestly, a baby becomes an entity of their own very quickly, and the grand majority of the people Cora encounters in life will have no idea that her mother’s name is Laura.

boyandgirl Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 11:40 am

Absolutely use Cora! I don’t think it rhymes with Laura (larr uh), it just has the same ending.

BCox13 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Name Sage you hit this one out of the park! My first thought was to go with Coraline, actually. I think it’s odd when names rhyme or are too close in a family. I know an Adrianna that named her daughter Arianna, which is almost the same name!

I appreciate the other suggestions too, specifically Della, Lena, Vera, and Ruby. :o)

carissaaa Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 1:49 pm

i’m definitely on Team It’s Fine. i don’t see the problem at all.

thorn144 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Funny coincidence – on the show Teen Wolf, there is a a big family with two sisters named Laura and Cora. I think they have a similar feel and go together quite well, I think you’ll be fine whether you choose Cora or Cordelia, Coraline, etc. Besides, no one really has said my name and my mom’s name together all that often throughout life, so it’s really not a big deal. Good luck!

Lo Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 3:56 pm

When baby comes you’ll be Mom, not Laura. It’s totally fine.

Abby Sandel Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Interesting – I hadn’t thought about the possibility that Laura and Cora wouldn’t rhyme for everyone. Vowels are curious things … to me, Laura and Cora *do* rhyme, almost perfectly. But I can see that it wouldn’t be the case for everyone …

ErinE Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 4:29 pm

I agree that they are more of a slant rhyme than an exact rhyme. The names *feel* different too, probably because of the au in Laura. I think it works fine, especially because the dad’s name will be in there too whenever family members are listed together. Another idea is to give the baby a double name/middle name that you can use in situations that feel awkward, such as, “Hi, this is my wife Laura and my daughter, Cora Jane.” (Or something.)

Rhii Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 4:39 pm

My mother’s only brother is Wayne. My brother is Wade. It has been an unbelievable source of confusion and frustration for people who don’t know the difference, or who assume that one is named after the other, and thus both must be Wayne or both must be Wade.

One kid called my brother “Wayned” through the entirety of high school because he couldn’t figure out the difference.

Just another data point to consider.

Rhii Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 4:40 pm

But then again, my sister in law and her mother are both Rachel. So apparently it does work for women too, and there’s not even a Sr vs. Jr designation to separate them!

Jolanic Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 5:40 pm

I think it’s absolutely fine. . I don’t see why it’s such a big deal really. They are totally different names, different spellings, different feel. I can’t really see how it could ever be an issue. The people who know both of you will notice your names rhyme- so what? 🙂 most people throughout your lives wont even know or care.
Like ErinE suggests above, my first thought was maybe a double-barrel name if it really bothers you…

Cora May
Cora Anne
Cora Rose
Cora Jane
Cora Marie
Cora Lee
Cora Jo
Cora Lil
Cora Beth

But if you both truly love it you should go with it imo. Imagine giving her a name you don’t quite love as much, because of such a tiny issue, then regretting it forever. Good luck.

kennamoon Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 5:53 pm

I adore the name Coraline, so personally, that is what I would choose and shorten it to Cora 🙂

heatherjoy92 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 9:17 pm

When I read the title of the post I didn’t even make the connection that Laura and Cora rhymed. I was expecting to read about how you already had a daughter named Nora or something, so I say it’s fine to go with it.

Cordelia16 Says:

March 9th, 2016 at 10:32 pm

I’m surprised by how many people say Laura as if it sounds like Larry… I pronounce it like Cora and Nora and Maura with an initial L (like the lore part of folklore!). I’ve never heard it pronounced the other way (I’m from New York). For me the Larr-ah pronunciation is spelled Lara.

I’m actually okay with Laura and Cora because they’re spelled so differently… and because they’re not siblings (Thorn144: I immediately thought of the Teen Wolf connection :D). And I agree with some posters that they names are rarely used together. And even if they are, they’re clearly two different names!

I like Coralie and Coraline as longer options, but I don’t think they’re necessary.

From Name Sage’s alternative list, I love Vera. Think it has the same general vibe.

Good luck!

Nyx Says:

March 10th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I really love Cora and agree that the hard “C” compared to the softer “L” makes a world of difference. However, I might be tempted to use Coralina as a full name instead. That way there would be multiple name choices (Cora, Lena/Lina, Coralina).

flowermae Says:

March 10th, 2016 at 12:10 pm

I wanted to clarify that I don’t say Laura as if it sounds like Larry. And I’m not trying to argue, I find the pronunciation differences fascinating!

I pronounce the following like this:
Laura – like the word “car” with an “uh” sound on the end
Larry – like the word “hairy”
Lora – like the lore part of folklore with an “uh” sound on the end

So if I met a mom named Lora with a daughter Cora I would think, “oh, they rhyme. that might be a bit confusing.” But if I met a mom named Laura with a daughter Cora I wouldn’t think anything about it. To me that would be no more similar than a Lila and Calla.

Bobcat108 Says:

March 10th, 2016 at 11:16 pm

Also clarifying:

I pronounce Laura & Lora the same way as flowermae.
I pronounce Larry differently, though: Laaaa-ree.
I pronounce Lara similarly to Larry: Laaaa-ruh.
For me, Laura & Maura rhyme. If I were to rhyme a name beginning w/M w/Cora, Dora, etc., I’d spell it Mora (More-uh).

I grew up in upstate NY, but my mom was from the suburbs of Philly & my dad from Westchester Co., north of NYC, so I didn’t speak like my high school classmates. And I’m one of “those” people who pronounces (& can hear the difference) in all four of these words: Mary, marry, merry, murray.

Essa Says:

March 12th, 2016 at 4:42 am

I think Cora is fine with Laura. A friend of mine just had a baby and while her daughters name doesn’t actually rhyme with hers, her nickname does and this is how she’s always known.

I thought I’d just join in the pronunciation discussion as this fascinates me any time I’m on Nameberry. I’m British (Northern England) and pronounce the following as:

Laura – Lore-uh, rhymes with Cora, Dora, Nora etc. but also Maura.
Lara – the first syllable rhyming with car. Rhymes with the names Mara, Tara and Cara.
Larry – the ‘a’ sound rhymes with that found in cat, had, Paris. La-ree

Marry, Mary, merry and Murray all sound very different to me too.

Mama2ET Says:

March 12th, 2016 at 8:40 am

I’m having this exact struggle! I absolutely adore the name Lana. My name is Donna. I don’t think I’ll be able to go through with it! It’s crazy that after years of hating my own name, the only name I want to choose for my daughter RHYMES with it!

rgp19 Says:

March 12th, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I see absolutely nothing wrong. If you love Cora, you should go with it.

Oddysee Says:

March 13th, 2016 at 6:45 am

@Mama2ET Maybe it’s my accent but those two names don’t rhyme at all to me. (DON-na) & (LAR-na)
I too adore the name Lana.

Cordelia16 Says:

March 13th, 2016 at 11:16 pm

I agree 100% with @Essa

I lived 11 years in England, but that’s how I pronounced all those names even before that!

Vickster Says:

April 2nd, 2016 at 1:23 pm

It’s fine to me, but my family pronounces Laura (my sister’s name) as “Larr-ah”. My sister’s best friend is named Laurie (first syllable uses the same pronunciation) and it doesn’t confuse us.

amie1la Says:

April 9th, 2016 at 4:17 am

I say go for it. I do pronounce Laura and Cora similarly, being Australian. But we have two Trevors and two Lisas in the family and it’s fine. If you feel weird, go with Coralie or Coraline. They’re all gorgeous names. 🙂

Ruby Byler Says:

May 26th, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Well i think that if you really love the name Cora, then go for it!!! But it was also a good idea what Abby suggested about having a longer name Coraline and then having the nick name Cora! Also my name is Ruby, so…. ; )

I wish you the best of luck!!

HistoryGirl Says:

June 12th, 2016 at 5:03 pm

I don’t think it would be an issue, but if it is then I would go with a name that could be shortened. My favorite Cora name is Coralie/Koralia. There’s also Korë, Corinne, Corinna, Corina, Corrie, Coretta.

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