The Clementine Clique: Trendy names ending in ‘ine’
Here at nameberry, we’ve been known to scrutinize trends down to a single letter (are V names in?) or syllable (la-beginnings) or sound (oo), as in Talllulah. The other day, thinking about the names that are emerging as as among the hottest for girls right now, I suddenly realized that several of them have something in common–and that is that they are all three-syllable names ending in the suffix ine:
This is a pattern that hasn’t been seen in the US for a long time–if you don’t count classics like Caroline and Madeline. The ones that are feminizations of boys’ names, such as Geraldine and Ernestine, fell out of favor at a time when a) women didn’t want to be thought of as appendages of men even in their names, and b) the particular male names they derived from were sounding particularly fusty.
But this doesn’t seem like such a burning feminist issue these days, when many parents are eager to honor their dads and forefathers as namesakes for their kids of either gender. And besides–who knows?–names like Gerald and Ernest could make a return at any time.
The ine ending is one of the most popular in French female nomenclature, and there are any number of attractivee choices that have hardly been heard in America. Looking through the French livre des prenoms*, we find, for example:
ALBERTINE (of Proustian fame)
CAPUCINE (possibly too Starbucks)
There are also an equal number of Gallic two-syllable ine names, which are worlds away from the old-style Frenchy and Irish ine/een names — Maxine, Arlene, Darlene, Marlene, Eileen, etal– used here a generation or two ago. Par example:
*Please note that many of these French names have accents, but unfortunately we haven’t figured out a way yet of inserting them without compromising the data base. Stay tuned.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 12:38 am
I must admit I’m a sucker for French names. Cymbeline is one I haven’t thought of in a long time!
I can’t resist it: “My name is Geraldine, Iii’m yoour soocial woorker!” Cool Glasvegas song that still hasn’t convinced me about the name Geraldine, but I like it better than I did before.
Charlotte Vera Said
on July 22nd, 2009 at 1:15 am
I admit that I’m a follower of this trend. Four years ago I told my roommate that, should I ever have a daughter, her name would be Celeste Rose Adeline. Fast forward a few years and my husband’s input changed that a bit, and now I’m the proud new mother of Roseanna Ruth Adeline. Yup, the only name that remained the same is Adeline.
My current thoughts? Should our next child be another girl her name will be [something undecided] Jane Evangeline.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 8:01 am
I love so many of these names! Clementine and Sandrine are my favorite. I love Josephine too and Madeline was what I was going to name my daughter when I was 13 and talking names with my best friend.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 9:28 am
I see people using Adelyn and Madelyn more often than Adeline and Madeline. One of my high school classmates has a 3-year-old named Adelyn, named after a great-grandmother named Adeline. She explains it as the modern, American version of Adeline. I see the occasional Josephine in birth announcements, but more often Josie, and one or two Evangelines, usually as a middle name, maybe because of the actress? I really doubt Clementine is ever going to be popular in the United States. People will always start singing “Oh, my darling Clementine.” The other French names are interesting.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 9:58 am
I admit it, I’m a subscriber too, but kept the -ines in the middle.
Josephine, Clementine, and Emmeline are definitely scalding HOT around here. But GERALDINE is one of the hottest names for girls right now? Really? Who’s naming their daughters Geraldine? Speak up!
As far as the French go, I believe Capuchine has no H, that Serafine has a PH, and Zepherine should read Zephyrine. Some of these names are new to me, and I look forward to finding out more!
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:07 am
A few I’ve come across in recent Parisian birth announcements: Eglantine, Melusine, and Ysaline.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:08 am
You’re so right, Elisabeth; all corrected now.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:09 am
Cymbeline isn’t actually of French derivation at all: it was invented by Shakespeare for his play of the same title. In the play, it was actually used as a male name – a version of Cunobelinus, a celtic king of Britain.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:10 am
Oscarine is yet another I’ve seen the French choose– one I’d say has absolutely zero chance of catching on here.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:19 am
teabee–You’re absolutely correct and Cymbeline has already been removed. Thanks.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:27 am
I forgot Apolline! Super hot amongst upper crust French.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 10:31 am
I assumed Cymbeline was included in the blog because of the “ine” ending, and I’m sorry my comment was unclear. The Cymbeline comment was a separate thought from the “French names” thought. I’m horrified as an English major for coming off that way. 🙂
on July 22nd, 2009 at 11:07 am
I am very much in love with the name Clementine, since that was my method of wooing my fiance. Poor vitamin-C deprived grad student! For our eventual first girl we both agree on Avalon Magnolia or Avalon Clementine. I hope it doesn’t become too popular, we cringe from the hipster!
on July 22nd, 2009 at 11:14 am
I am considering Valentine as a middle name if I have a girl. It sounds like the holiday in English, but I live in Canada and in French it would be val-ahn-teen. It is also the name of a character in my husband’s favourite book.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 11:39 am
ahhh! i love laureline!
Anne Onymous Said
on July 22nd, 2009 at 11:41 am
Is there any difference in popularity between -ine names that pronounce the ending as eye-n and -ine names that pronounce the ending as -een?
on July 22nd, 2009 at 12:11 pm
I had a great aunt named Alvadine. Her father was Alvin.
Just to point out that it’s not always a good idea.
Love Josephine. And Evangeline.
on July 22nd, 2009 at 1:34 pm
My top feminine names are names ending in ine, I never realized this until I listed them. From this list, I love,
AMANDINE-this is also the name of a type of potato and its derived from the word for almond in French
CAPUCINE-love this, its currently very trendy in France, its the French word for the nasturtium plant
You forgot Eponine, Pomeline, Opaline and Valentine
on July 22nd, 2009 at 2:21 pm
I’m not much on -ine names, but I do love Evangeline and Seraphine. Leontine, Georgine, Martine, and Dauphine jumped out at me, too.
ailsa Gray Said
on July 22nd, 2009 at 3:02 pm
I always seem to get my blogs later than anyone else – whenever I get in from work I log in and find that you have all commented already! I will have to try and rectify this!
I have always loved Josephine (being a fan of Little Women) and I like Geraldine to go with it – they would be fantastic names for twins, being similar in sound and feel but definitely individual.
No mention was made of the “ina” ending – as in Ernestina, Angelina, etc. These names have a Victorian feel, dont they?
on July 22nd, 2009 at 4:05 pm
Love Victorine. Gives a nice update to Victoria, which I’ve always thought was pretty but hated the nicknames Tory/Vicki. Victorine provides a lot of Rine or Rina options that sound prettier to me. Delphine and Dauphine have been some of my favorites and I’ve loved Adeline as an Addison alternative for a while.
on July 24th, 2009 at 7:42 pm
I love -ine names – oddly enough I was thinking of Thomasine earlier on this evening. I like most of the names on the list, but I have to admit that I love Elizabeth’s mention of Oscarine as well! Capucine is probably my favourite.
I’ve come across Felixine too. I kinda dig it.
Charlotte Vera Said
on July 25th, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Oooh, I quite love Eglantine and have been thinking of it quite a bit lately. Sadly, I don’t think I could ever pull it off.
Incidentally, the “tine” and “tina” endings were quite popular in the late 18th century — at least, that’s what the Gothic literature from the time tells me. Indeed, this is a trend picked up by Dianne Setterfield in her modern Gothic novel, The Thirteenth Tale, which features twins Emmeline and Adeline. (For some reason, when I read the names paired like that, I pronounce them “Emme-LEEN” and “Adde-LINE”.)
on May 20th, 2010 at 8:50 pm
Evangeline, Josehpine (in my top 10 list, but far too popular), Geraldine, Delphine and Justine are among my favourite names. You are looking at nubers 22, 9, 14, 8, 35 in hubby and my top 50 girls name list.
on August 1st, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I love the name Dauphine. What about Catherine? That is a classic “ine” name from the French and Irish
on January 10th, 2011 at 7:13 pm
I really wish the name ‘Bodine’ (pronounced “Beau-deen” or “Boh-deen”) was on this list!
It is the name of one of my students (she’s Dutch) and I think it is absolutely lovely for a girl!
I can’t find it on any website, but it is definitely on my personal baby name list!
on March 15th, 2011 at 5:21 pm
I always thought of Dauphine as the title once given to the wives of heirs to the throne, similar to the way Diana Spencer was and Catherine Middleton will be styled Princess of Wales. Is it really used as a given name now?
on August 11th, 2011 at 4:53 pm
I had no idea that these ‘ine’ names were so popular until very recently. My great grandmother’s middle name was Emmeline (I have her first name) and I was always planning on using it. My aunty’s name is Josephine, which I’ve always liked too. I love Ameline – loved it because it sounds like Amelie but with a point-of-difference. Now I’m not so sure about the point-of-difference thing, I might go back to Amelie! It’s so hard being original sometimes 🙂
on August 23rd, 2011 at 8:14 pm
I’ve loved Capucine since coming across videos of that cute little French girl with the name. If I ever live in France while I’m still naming children, it’s at the top of my list. Clementine is one I’m seriously considering (along with Hazel and Georgia) for another girl, I’m just worried it’s going to blow up. Not in popularity, per se, but in exposure.
on April 30th, 2013 at 12:19 pm
My daughter is Madeline (prn with long i sound, similar to Caroline), so of course that’s my fav. I also quite like Sabine (tho I prefer Sabina) and Maureen (not sure if we’re counting either of those, but there you go!).
on August 22nd, 2013 at 9:57 am
What a beautiful list!
My favourites are CELESTINE, HONORINE, LEONTINE and SERAPHINE.
Here in France, old names are coming back and it’s a pleasure to hear those beautiful names again…
You can find plenty of old and chic French names on http://www.jolisprenoms.fr/filles/ (girls) and http://www.jolisprenoms.fr/garcons/ (boys).
on August 22nd, 2013 at 9:59 am
Oh, and you forgot Hermine and Josephine!
on May 4th, 2014 at 11:25 pm
on March 1st, 2016 at 8:16 pm
2016 and still loving the -ine names. Some of my favorites are:
and of course, Josephine.
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.