How To Update Old Nickname Names

In 1963, there were 23,900 baby girls named Lori, the same year that there were 21,191 little Tammys and 11,000 Cindys, not to mention all the Mindys, Mandys, Marcys, and Marnies with the then modern-sounding nicknamey, quasi-unisex, names popular from the mid-fifties and into the next couple of decades.

So is it any wonder that so many of today’s parents have moms and sometimes grandmothers with these vintage nickname names?

But as much as we love those family members, and would like to make them namesakes, would we really want to name our own little girls Mindy or Cindy?  Probably would be  better to seek a related substitute that would still serve to honor them.

Here are a few random update ideas, some that relate fairly directly to the mother name, others that are a bit more of a stretch.

                 More obvious: Candace

                 Less obvious: Candida (and yes, we do know its downside) or Dulcie (means sweet)

                More obvious: Caroline

                 Less obvious: Carys

                 More obvious: Lucinda

                 Less obvious: Signy/Signe

                 More obvious: Daria

                 Less obvious: Dorothy

                 More obvious: Jamison

                 Less obvious: Jamaica or Jane

                 More obvious: Josie

                 Less obvious: Josephine

                 More obvious: Jolie

                 Less obvious: Joanna

                 More obvious: Keira

                 Less obvious: Kerensa

                 More obvious: Laurel or Laura

                 Less obvious: Lorelei

                 More obvious: Amanda

                 Less obvious: Manon

                 More obvious: Marcella

                 Less obvious: Maribel

                More obvious: Marlo/Marlowe

                 Less obvious: Marin

                 More obvious: Minnie

                 Less obvious: Minta

               More obvious: Miranda

               Less obvious: Thandie

                 More obvious: Erica

                 Less obvious: Frederica

                 More obvious: Alessandra

                 Less obvious: Sandrine

                 More obvious: Sharai/Sarai

                 Less obvious: Charlotte

                 More obvious: Rochelle

                 Less obvious: Nellie

                 More obvious: Sheridan

                 Less obvious: Sinead

                 More obvious: Anastasia

                 Less obvious: Acacia

                 More obvious: Tamara

                 Less obvious: Tamar, Tamsin

                 More obvious: Teresa

                 Less obvious: Tertia

                 More obvious: Antonia

                 Less obvious: Antonella

                 More obvious: Victoria

                 Less  obvious: Vittoria

                 More obvious:  Gracie

                 Less obvious: Trixie

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34 Responses to “How To Update Old Nickname Names”

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linelei Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 1:44 am

Love this! So many of my generation have moms and/or older sisters with names like this. My personal favorite is Lorelei (my favorite name) for Lori. A also like Anastasia for Stacey. Stacey is actually my brother’s name! I’ll have to keep Anastasia in mind. 😉

CassieCake Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 1:55 am

I just found a name I love and it is perfect to honor my father. My dad’s name is Gary and the name I LOVE is Garrick!!! I’ve always liked and said I would use Garret or Garren, but I thick Garrick just takes the cake. I also like it spelled Garek.

I love the idea of honoring relatives with slightly different names.
Do you thing Bridget for my sister Breanna is too far of a stretch?

Great Blog!!

ycw Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 6:51 am


Just for the record, Garak is a recurring minor character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. While as a character, he’s very fun, I don’t know if I’d want to name my son for him. There’s also a Magic: the Gathering card/character called Garruk Wildspeaker. Very good card, for whatever that’s worth….

I also have a father named Gary. If I were going to use a name based on it, I’d probably go with Garyth or Gareth… or just Gary, but definitely in the middle name slot. At this point I don’t plan to use any variation on Gary, but I want to give his middle name, Mark, to my next son as a middle name.

Abby Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 7:18 am

What a fun list! I love the idea of Thandie for Randi.

CassieCake, I like Garrick, but I LOVE Garret/Garrett. YCW, my husband veto’d Gareth because on the British Office, he’s the Dwight character.

We honored my sister with a twist on her nickname – Bird. My daughter’s middle name is Wren. I think it is more interesting to remake your loved one’s name so it honors the relative, but still gives the child his or her own identity.

pam Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 7:28 am

I think Bridget for Breanna is a slight stretch, but not too great a one. Brilliant!

Laura Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 7:43 am

Anyone have inspiration for Bonnie?

Danielle8933 Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 8:57 am

My first thought for Bonnie is Bella since they both mean beautiful. You could then use any belle/bel/bella name.

Felicity or anything with a meaning related to happiness could be your not so obvious since Bonnie also means cheerful.

Amabel means beautiful lover AND you get the Belle/Bella nickname.

Louise Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 10:14 am

I would like to honor my deceased brother while naming my daughter, and also honor my mom and mil. My brother’s name was Mark, my mother in law’s name is Roseanne and my mother is Claire.

The closest girl’s names to Mark would probably be Marcella and Margo, but neither of these names do it for me. I have always loved the name Maeve.

What do you think of Maeve Rosalind Claire? I think it’s a little bit long, but it’s the best name I have come up with, does anyone have any other suggestions?

smismar Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 10:21 am

As a “Toni” (yes, it’s my full name), I would have liked to have been Antonia, but I really like Antonella! Toni is still a good nickname, but I actually really like Nella!

And Cindy was the deal-breaker on naming my daughter Cynthia. I just couldn’t do it with the risk of people calling her Cindy. Ugh.

Love Carys, Marin, and Tamar. Charlotte and Joanna are a little too vanilla to be on the “less obvious” list.

pam Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 10:21 am

Maeve Rosalind Claire is gorgeous and it’s hard to imagine how you might improve upon it. But the place to ask for more specific advice and ideas is on the nameberry message boards.

Macy Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 10:34 am

What about these nicknames for boys? What is Kerry, Tracy, Tory, Jody, etc, short for?

Becca Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 11:03 am

I agree that Maeve Rosalind Claire is gorgeous!

I also like Josephine, Lorelei, Marin, Marlo, Nellie!

Good post!

Kelleita Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 11:21 am

Louisa — to honor your brother Mark, I know a woman named Marketa which I always thought was kind of cool.

Wildsyringa Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 11:53 am

Awesome post! My mum’s name is Cindy Lou (yeah like the little girl in the grinch who stole christmas), and I’ve always wanted to name a daughter Lucinda after her. Some other less obvious choices might be Cynthia or Hyacinth.

I’d love to see a post on these nicknames for boys as well!

kaybee3 Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Louise-to honor Mark, how about Marcy or Macy? I love Maeve though. Some others would be Marabel(la), Lark, Arcadia, Archer, Arkie, Marcheline, Margaruite.

Good Luck!

Boston Girl Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I would ABSOLUTELY name my daughter Cindy! I’ve always liked this name and it’s always been in my top ten. I don’t like Lucinda at all. Cyndy would also be a good choice for me. I just couldn’t care less if the name is “uncool”, which is a designation I find shallow and ridiculous anyway. One thing is for sure: she wouldn’t have to worry about any namesakes in her future school classes! Instead there would be dozens of little Avas, Sarahs, Ashleys and Madisons running around because, of course, these are “cool” and “trendy”. For me, what it all boils down to is, do I myself like or hate the name? No matter how popular a name is, if I don’t like it, I won’t consider it. Period. No matter how “uncool” or dated a name is, if I like it enough to use it, I will. I don’t care what other people think. And isn’t that the last word in naming your child? Pick a name you like!

That said…how come more people haven’t thought of using “Toria” as a nickname to replace “Tori”? Aside from the “uncool” or “dated” stigma, I don’t care for Vicky or its spelling variants, and while I like Tori, I just like Toria better. Just a thought.

And I also like Daria, Josie, Joanna, Laurel, Miranda and Anastasia…but, as well, I like Cindy, Kerry, Mandy and Toni. All perfectly good names, but cast aside simply for being “uncool” and “dated”. Sigh. As I said, if you like it, use it. Let that be the ultimate guide.

Kat Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Can anyone suggest a good substitute for Donna, Linda, and Shirley? Those are three Moms in our family that we’d like to honor but I think the closest one of those I’d use straight out would be Donna.

I thought of Donovan for Donna (also useful because my grandad’s name was Van), but can’t think of a female equivalent.

Kat Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

p.s. question to Nameberry: have you ever done a post on Overrated Names? Names that are popular on the message boards but not to a lot of us out here? I thought of this when reading the comments about Maeve. It’s a name I believe is lovely to look at, but I don’t like how it’s pronounced. So I’ve never understood its popularity.

Jessica Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Kat – To honor Linda you could use Celinda nn Lindy maybe. Dionne, Donalda, or Líadan (LEE-dan) for Donna. Not much room for poor Shirley. You could use Shire if you’re hippie enough :oP

peach Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

This is the creative kind of naming I love to play with. Great list!

Louse — Maeve Rosalind Claire is gorgeous! I think it’s a great way to honor your family.

icious Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I would love a suggestion to honor a Sally. (Besides Sarah or Sadie, those are taken.)

smismar Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Kat, you combine names to make new ones… Linna, Donley (Donnelly), Shonda? I’d prefer these in the middle, though.

Rhiannon Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

>>No matter how “uncool” or dated a name is, if I like it enough to use it, I will. I don’t care what other people think. And isn’t that the last word in naming your child? Pick a name you like!

>>All perfectly good names, but cast aside simply for being “uncool” and “dated”. Sigh. As I said, if you like it, use it. Let that be the ultimate guide.

I’d like to respectfully disagree with the above comments. Using what they liked was the guideline my parents used, and I ended up with a dated name from their generation and completely out of style with my own generation. I had a middle-aged lady name when I was six, and I was scarred from the teasing so deeply that I eventually had to change it. I think parents *should* consider naming trends when naming their kids–and if not conform to them, at least not fly in the face of them. After all, it’s not about what the parents like–it’s about giving the child a name that is going to present a positive face to the world. You may not care what other people think, but that child sure will, especially when people make fun of their mom-name. Why have your kid labelled “uncool” right out of the gate, before she even opens her mouth? Think it doesn’t happen?–you’d be wrong. I deeply hated my age-inappropriate name.

Erin Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Why not Cynthia for Cindy or Minerva for Minnie? I live in a very conservative area, name-wise, but I’ve always seen Tracy on a woman as a nickname alternative (to Terry) for Theresa.

Erin Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

@Macy: Kerry is often used by itself for boys, but I can see it being a nickname for Kieran. Tracy is a stand-alone too (Anglicized from Irish Treasagh), but you might try Terence. Tory is usually a nickname for Salvatore, but if it’s short for Victoria for a girl, why not Victor for a boy? And Jody is definitely short for Joseph.

@Kat: Donna means “lady,” so you could look at Eliza (from My Fair Lady), Eleanor (a notable first lady), Jane (Lady Jane Grey one of Henry VIII’s wives), Sarah (Hebrew for “lady”), or Nerys (Welsh for “lady”), for example. Or you could try one of the names of Mary, the Madonna — Mona (as in Mona Lisa) is a contraction of Madonna, or you’ve got Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary), Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), etc. for all her titles.

A great suggestion for Linda, which means “beautiful,” besides any other name that means the same, is Rosalind.

You could use Charlotte for Shirley. The name originally became popular because she was the main character of Charlotte Bronte’s novel “Shirley,” which was autobiographical.

@icious: Try Sabina or Sophie for Sally. They’re all translations of the Irish name Sadhbh (SEEV) You could also look at Rosalie or Selena for similar sounds.

CassieCake Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Wow, thank you for all the feed back! You ladies are awesome!!

Kathy Says:

August 20th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

@icious: How about Salomea or Salome for Sally?

Wildsyringa Says:

August 21st, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Another thought – I’d love to see more lists like this added to the “hot lists” section of the site. Some “If you want to honor a [blank], then you might like…” lists would be helpful! I’m sure all us nameberries would love to help brainstorm some name alternatives 🙂

Louise Says:

August 23rd, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Thank you everybody for your suggestions!
I have also started looking into names that mean the same as Mark: Mars (the god of war) or war-like. The moons of the planet Mars are Phobos and Deimos, I could use Phoebe. Cassandra means warrior, which is like war-like. But, it’s funny, although I was originally looking for an Ma- name, and a name I personally love, Maeve fit that bill, it also was a warrior queen’s name! I also found out that mei (we would probably call her Mae) means rose in China so I could just go with Maeve Claire.

Amanda Says:

September 25th, 2010 at 1:21 am

People call me Mandy and I am so glad it is short for Amanda and not Manon. Ugh.
I don’t know why all the hate for 60’s names. Are they not “vintage” enough yet?

Sally Says:

November 23rd, 2010 at 10:15 pm

My name is Sally and I am in my mid-twenties. No one my age has my name. I never really liked it but now that I’ve seen some of the alternatives, I will forever grateful it’s just plain Sally. Please, please do not use Salomea or Salome to honor a Sally. It reminds me of Salami. Use Sadie or Sarah or if that doesn’t work, find another name with the same meaning – princess.

jonesy36 Says:

September 22nd, 2011 at 9:03 am

Other than Lucinda and Cynthia, what else could honor Cindy? What about Gene(f) or Anita?

stairwaytoastar Says:

July 17th, 2012 at 8:40 pm

For Linda, I would absolutely use Rosalind.

Whimsy21 Says:

March 3rd, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Some of these nicknames don’t relate very well to the full name. I have a nickname that I go by that starts with the same letter as my full name, but does not relate perfectly. I have to say, it has been somewhat challenging to be in this situation. First, I have to warn people what my real name is all the time so they are not confused. Once I rented a room from someone I knew, and he was surprised and confused when he got a check from someone with a name he did not recognize. Also, as I enter the professional world I find myself having to choose between my nickname and my real name. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but no one ever calls me by my real name, so it doesn’t feel like my name, even though I like it better and it is more professional. Also it makes networking challenging because I go by my nickname, but my real name is on my resume. I realize I should just change my resume to my nickname, but it really isn’t a very professional name. It’s never been a really big deal, but there are just a few situations that I always find myself in, and I know I will continue to find myself in because of my nickname.

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