Rare Girl Names Promise Sisterly Style
They’re looking for recognizable, rare girl names to go with big sister Delphine.
My husband and I are due with our second daughter at the end of April and are still stumped on a name.
Our first daughter is called Delphine – which we love for being recognizable, but not common where we live, for the international feel, and being a name that sounds sweet for a little girl, but that she can grow into. We get such great, enthusiastic feedback that we’re afraid our second kid’s name won’t possibly live up to the high standard we’ve accidentally set!
We both love French names, but I’m not into matchiness, so don’t want to go down that road again, which limits us. Other names we like but sound a bit too plain next to Delphine. Names we like (but that we aren’t sold on) include: Thalia, Linnea, Noelle, Linden, Elora, Flora. My husband also likes Bernadette or Fabienne – but I’m not a fan.
Last time it took us almost a week to pick a name, and I’d love to avoid that this time around! Would love some additional ideas!
The Name Sage responds:
Delphine is a tough act to follow! Luckily, the pool of rare girl names runs deep. It’s just a question of finding one that sounds like a sister … but not a clone, right?
From your current list, I’d love to talk you into Linnea. It’s recognizable, but seldom heard. And there’s a subtle floral link between Delphine (thanks to delphinium) and Linnea (another name for the twinflower).
Not sold? That’s okay. Other options abound.
We’re looking for girls’ names outside of the current US Top 1000, but still easily recognized and pronounced. A certain international appeal is a plus, and the name has to grow with your daughter. And, of course, it has to have a certain spark, so both of your daughters can love and appreciate their distinctive names.
Based on that list, I’d recommend these rare girl names for Delphine‘s sister:
Calista – In the 90s, Calista Flockhart made her unusual given name just a little more familiar. But it never quite caught on. That makes it a possible sister name for Delphine, with a great meaning – beautiful.
Lavender – If you like the idea of two names with floral connections, but Linnea and Flora aren’t quite right, would Lavender appeal? It was given to just 101 girls in 2018, so it’s far less common than Violet or Rose.
Sybil – Downton Abbey launched Margiold, and pushed Cora farther up the charts. But so far, Sybil remains rare. I think it could be exactly what you’re looking for: an elegant name everyone knows, but no one chooses.
Saskia – I almost dropped Saskia from this list, because I’ve heard that this Dutch and German name is sometimes a little too different in the US. But it’s pronounced phonetically, and it fits right in with Sophia and company.
But I know our readers will have lots of good suggestions, so let’s turn it over to the community: what rare girl names would you suggest for Delphine‘s sister?
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on April 1st, 2020 at 11:41 am
Linnea & Thalia are both gorgeous with Delphine!
Pamela Redmond Said
on April 1st, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Great ideas, Abby. I think Delphine is so special because most people recognize it clearly as a name but haven’t heard it that often. There are a very limited number of choices like that.
One further idea if you don’t want another French name: Look for a name from another culture/language that is familiar in the US and other English-speaking countries but also unusual. Some ideas: Paloma (Spanish), Cosima or Allegra (Italian), Athena or Cassia (Greek), Tatiana (Russian), Tamsin or Cressida(British). These and many more have the same feel as Delphine without feeling like matchy-matchy French names.
on April 1st, 2020 at 1:41 pm
My favorites from this list are Lavender and Sybil.
I also love Viola, Orla, Olivet, Sylvia, Livinia, Liva, Maeva, Caris, Vaila, and Vienna.
on April 2nd, 2020 at 1:36 am
The first thing I thought of was Saskia, so there must be something there. That said, it does feel a little wispy next to Delphine.
I love the suggestions Cosima, Allegra, Cassia, Viola, and Sylvia.
I think something that feels familiar yet unique, and has some syllabic gravity yet European elegance like Delphine would fit the bill. To that end, I would add:
*Antonia – so rarely used but also sounds so familiar; has the same elegance and weight as Delphine.
Augusta – ditto Antonia
Benedetta – perhaps a more lyrical alternative to Bernadette.
Bryony – feels familiar thanks to “Atonement” but also rare.
Camilla – less French than Camille but equally stylish.
*Eudora – a little more timeless than Elora, imo, and rising Theodora makes it feel more familiar.
Guinevere – another stylish choice that feels familiar yet never gets used.
*Petra – such an underused gem but with a straightforward spelling and pronunciation.
Simone – French, yes, but feels more pan-European. The Italian Simona is also lovely.
Wilhelmina / Wilma – unexpected and underused but such a lovely European pick.
Roxanne / Roxana
on April 2nd, 2020 at 12:09 pm
I will offer Magnolia.
Delphine/Delphi is my #1 choice for a girl’s name and lately I’ve been crushing on Magnolia.
on April 3rd, 2020 at 12:25 am
I love Delphine! it is so beautiful
My favorite suggestion is Sybil
(also sidenote, if you ever have a son Bishop or Sly would be such cute brother names)
Some sister names I think would be great are-
Delphine & Etta
Delphine & Venice
Delphine & Selena
Delphine & Solana
Delphine & Maude
Delphine & Atalie
Delphine & Ayla
Delphine & Willa
Delphine & Ramona
Delphine & Tallulah “Tally” “Lulu” or “Lala”
Delphine & Yasmine (maybe too rhyme-y but so pretty lol)
Delphine & Yulia
Delphine & Yael
Delphine & Issa (or Isa if you want to pronounce it like the beginning of Isabel instead of like ee-sa)
Delphine & Elspeth “Elsie”
Delphine & Georgia “Gigi”
Delphine & Heidi
Delphine & Coral
Delphine & Lena
Delphine & Zelda
Delphine & Valentina
Delphine & Valencia
Delphine & Bellamy
Delphine & Nadia
on April 3rd, 2020 at 12:51 am
I love the previous suggestions of Paloma, Chiara, Allegra and Saskia with Delphine. All beautiful names! Some other ideas (sorry if they’ve already been mentioned and I missed them:
Mirabel, Henrietta, Clementine, Luella, Iris, Marigold, Alessia, Indira, Ophelia, Aurora, Estella, Theodora, Celine, Florence, Mathilda.
on April 4th, 2020 at 6:51 pm
I like Linnea from your list, Blythe from Abby, and a lot from pps–my favorites are Petra, Bianca, Roxana, Olympia, and Willa.
Odette (I know, french)
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