Strong, Feminine, Uncommon Girl Names
Just when I think I love a name the next day I feel I sort of hate it, and throw it out completely. Then I put it back on when I re-discover it later. I’m just being indecisive is all.
My current list is:
Marigold – But would this work well in an executive office?
I want the name to be at least a little feminine and pretty but strong. I want it to be not too popular and cool, but not weird or made up, either.
The Name Sage replies:
Many parents feel greater freedom when naming daughters. It’s not just imaginary, either. Nearly 79% of boys receive a Top 1000 name. For girls, that figure drops to around 67%. But more freedom means more choice, and that brings another set of challenges, just like the ones you’re experiencing now!
The good news is that you’ve chosen great names for your sons – familiar, cool, but still distinctive and different. And your current shortlist is packed with promising choices.
Let’s look at a few of your general concerns before we talk about names.
First, pop culture gives many parents pause. Yes, there’s a Primrose Everdeen in The Hunger Games series. She’s an appealing, even heroic character. The name was seldom heard before the first book’s 2008 release. As of 2015, there were 50 Primroses born in the US. Does that mean the name is too tied to the series to use? No. Primrose fits perfectly with many traditional Rose names. And for a child born in 2017, The Hunger Games won’t be such a current pop culture reference that it would cause a headache. Plus, it makes a great name for a daughter born in early Spring.
Now, let’s talk about Marigold Shore-with-an-M, accomplished professional.
As a generation grows up, so do their names. Sandra (Day O’Connor, first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court) probably seemed as frilly as Ariana or Gemma when she was young. Today, it’s squarely in grandma territory.
Lastly, conventional wisdom holds that a one-syllable last name requires a longer first. But that’s not necessarily the case. I think Maeve Shore-with-an-M sounds quite stylish and memorable. Dave Grohl, Ty Cobb, Jack Black, Mae West, Glenn Close … there are plenty of examples where the combination works beautifully.
Let’s take a look at a few more uncommon girl names that you might want to consider.
Briar – Briar entered the US Top 1000 for girls and boys in 2015. It’s a modern choice with some interesting ties – one of the many names for Sleeping Beauty was Briar Rose, which makes it feminine. Sound-wise, it seems more unisex.
Iris – If you love flower names, but worry that Primrose or Marigold might feel too tied to pop culture, or just too out-there, you might consider a name like Iris. It’s been a favorite before; it is gaining in use again. While Iris feels feminine, famous women who have worn it before lend it considerable strength.
Juniper – Juniper feels more like Dash. It’s not a name we were using fifty – or even twenty – years ago. But there’s history behind this choice, and today it feels mainstream. One advantage – like Dashiel, it shortens nicely, to Junie or June.
Margot – Margot is a rising name – just like Rory and Dash – but remains relatively uncommon. Like Marigold and Maeve, it has the alliterative quality that seems to appeal. It feels modern, but has plenty of history. And while we instantly recognize it as feminine, it’s a frills-free name.
If you’re looking for something safer, I can’t recommend Margot enough. While it’s definitely rising in use, that’s because it hits the exact qualities you like – feminine, without being frilly; traditional, but with a modern sound.
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on March 21st, 2017 at 11:11 pm
I think Primrose “Prim” goes so well with Dash and Rory! Feminine, but tailored and somewhat modern. I also really like Iris, Margot, and Briar with Dash and Rory. So much so that I can’t think of any better suggestions! 🙂
on March 22nd, 2017 at 1:19 am
I think Maeve with Dash and Rory is just “okay”. PLEASE don’t name your daughter Margot. Who wants a nickname”Marg” for their daughter? I will never understand why so many people think that name is cool. I would go for something equally as hip as your two boy names. Like:
on March 22nd, 2017 at 8:02 am
Margot has plenty of other nicknames besides Marge, as a variation of Margaret you could use Maisie, Maggie, Greta or Greer. So use Margot if you want! Though my first choice from your list would be Maeve, I say go with what you’ve loved the longest and I think it works great with Dash and Rory. Though Primrose has a great appeal for a girl born in April.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 8:07 am
How about Cecilia? Similar to Cicely, but doesn’t end in y! Or just Celia?
on March 22nd, 2017 at 8:39 am
I like Maeve best with your boys’ names. It feels like a spot-on match to me, and you still love it even two babies down the road. I also think the alliteration of Maeve Shore-with-an-M gives the name a spunky feel–not plain at all! It’s feminine yet tailored, distinctive yet well-known, and zippy yet grounded. Sounds to me like you’ve already found just what you’re looking for.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 8:50 am
I love Primrose. However, there is something I didn’t see Abby mention. There is also a character called Rory in the Hunger Games. He is very minor, but he is still there. My vote still goes to Primrose but I just wanted you to be aware. It is still a beautiful name, and the association is slowly wearing off.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 9:00 am
I like Maeve, but here are a few other alternates:
Beau Jean Said
on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:41 am
Marigold totally works for an executive because of all the nick name possibilities.
Mary – about as classic as you can get
Goldie – wouldn’t that be a cool name for an executive…? it’s golden
Margo – Hello! totally works just as well as a nick name for Marigold
I think Maeve is beautiful
Cecily is one of my very favorites
Primrose is too pop culture
on March 22nd, 2017 at 11:09 am
What does “Shore-with-an-M” mean?
on March 22nd, 2017 at 11:46 am
I love both Dashiel “Dash” and Rory. Great choices!
Maeve is pretty. Maeve and Rory together can indicate Irish ancestry or cultural interest. Is that applicable to you?
I love Cecily and was at school with a Cicely. If you don’t like the “y” at the end, though, it won’t work for you.
Marigold is unusual. Maybe keep it for a middle name, if you’re not confident with it.
Re Primrose, you have two flower names here. If you want feminine and pretty but strong/ not too popular and cool/ not weird or made up, why not go for a strong flower name – Iris, Tulip, Blossom, Rose.
The April birth date could work well with Blossom and Tulip. Not sure how the weather/flowers are with you, but in London, there’s blossom everywhere, Would be lovely for your little girl to see blossom each year she celebrates here birthday.
Good luck with whatever you decide x
Abby Sandel Said
on March 22nd, 2017 at 12:14 pm
@Madaris – It’s a way of obscuring the family’s last name. That way if someone happens to search on their child’s name in the future, Rory Shore-with-an-M won’t come up in the search. Sometimes I use numbers or symbols instead, like Sm!th or J0nes. In this case, swap the ‘Sh’ for an ‘M’ and you’ll have the sound of the family’s last name.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 12:46 pm
Dashiel “Dash” and Rory are GORGEOUS and the Name that immediately came to mind, even BEFORE I saw her due date, was April! I LOVE the Name April, fresh, spunky, strong, feminine, pretty, down to earth… PERFECTLY PERFECT!!
Dash, Rory and April! <3
on March 22nd, 2017 at 1:00 pm
From your original choices I also love:
Marigold “Merry” (Perfect!)
Cecily (although it doesn’t work with your Boys’ Names quite as well as the other two, sorry.)
on March 22nd, 2017 at 2:20 pm
Wow I love almost all these names! I would say Cecily is my least favorite, but it’s still nice.
My favorite is Margot! It’s at once classic/ vintage and spunky with the o ending. It definitely doesn’t need a nickname, but you could use Maggie or some of the others listed above.
I also quite love Maeve if you want something simple. What about Mavis?
Primrose and Marigold are beautiful and unique. I do have trouble picturing them on an executive.
What about Rosalie?
on March 22nd, 2017 at 3:24 pm
Briar Maeve Shore-with-an-M is definitely my favourite suggestion!
on March 22nd, 2017 at 4:14 pm
I like Maeve with Rory and Dash. If the concern is single syllable, what about Maevis /Mavis nn Maeve?
on March 22nd, 2017 at 4:25 pm
Maeve is not plain, especially with the alliteration. That’s my favorite, though Abby had some great suggestions too. (Margot would be cute with Dash and Rory!)
And I really like the above suggestion of April. Super spunky, feminine but not frilly, and obviously quite spring-ish.
Tessa and Tess also come to mind as alternatives to Cecily — similar sound profile, but no -y ending. In tone, Tessa/Tess reminds me of Maeve.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 7:23 pm
I’ll add a few of my favorite “doesn’t end in y/ie/a” names: Mariel, Imogen, Lillian, Juliet, Margaret, Celeste. I love Iris and Marigold as well. Obviously Violet would fit right in, as would Laurel.
on March 22nd, 2017 at 10:27 pm
I really like Dashiell, Rory & Maeve but it made me really want to suggest Maude instead!!
Dash, Rory & Maude sound great together and each have a vintage modern mix to them.
Dash, Rory & Nell
Dash, Rory & Celia (instead of Cecily maybe?)
Dash, Rory & Cecelia (Cece is an adorable nickname that goes great with her brothers names too!)
Dash, Rory & Goldie (think Hawn, it’s a great name with more history than you’d expect!)
Dash, Rory & Hattie
Dash, Rory & Willa
Dash, Rory & Pearl
Dash, Rory & Valerie
Dash, Rory & Philippa “Pippa”
Dash, Rory & Eden
Dash, Rory & Kenna
Dash, Rory & Michaela
Dash, Rory & Tatiana
on March 23rd, 2017 at 1:29 am
Iris and Hazel are both great suggestions with Dash and Rory.
on March 23rd, 2017 at 7:19 am
I like Hazel and Briar, too.
For a variant of April, see Avril.
on March 23rd, 2017 at 8:35 pm
I’m loving Margot as suggested, with the nn Mara. I’m also loving Sloane with your boys names. They have a “cool” feeing that I don’t get as much from Margot or Marigold. Rory, Dash and Sloane is one hell of an adorable sibset. Congrats on baby #3!
on March 26th, 2017 at 1:41 pm
I think that Dash and Rory sound like cowboy names, so the girl’s name shouldn’t be too smooth, soft (like Cecily) or conservative (like Iris). I wouldn’t use names with an “oh” sound because Rory already has that covered. Honestly, Primrose would get shortened to Rose or even Rosie, eventually. Marigold could end up as Mary or Goldie, neither of which sounds great with Rory either.
Susannah (ZuZu is a cute nn)
and even though you don’t like “ee” endings I think that Daisy would be adorable – Rory, Dash and Daisy!
on April 28th, 2017 at 8:44 pm
I’m late posting but wanted to give another vote for Primrose. sweet, uncommon and if you don’t like “Prim” try “Prose”.
on July 25th, 2017 at 5:10 pm
I don’t know how I missed seeing this before, but we have similar tastes in names – my older boys are Cashel (Cash, occasionally) and Torin, and their little sister is Romilly Marigold Joy, so clearly I LOVE Marigold, but I think any on the original list would have been great, and am really curious what Katie went with! Update??
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