Vintage Nicknames for Girls

We love Hattie, the name Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott chose for their new baby girl.Hattie is one of the vintage nicknames for girls enjoying a new turn in the sun these days, on the path paved by such big sisters as Annie and Maggie.

It’s astonishing to think that Hattie – just Hattie, all by itself, not Harriet — was Number 27 in 1880, until you realize that many other short forms were among the top choices that year.  Minnie was all the way up at Number 5, Annie was Number 11, Nellie, 18, and Bessie, 23.  Other nicknames for girls in the Top 50 included Carrie, Jennie, Mattie, Jessie, and Fannie (and obviously, the ie ending was the popular one).

We see the full-fledged revival of this trend today, with Hattie a prime example of one of the vintage nicknames for girls that feel stylish, adorable, ready for a whole new generation of babies.

While choices like Ellie, Josie, and Sadie are already rising through the charts, what follows are our favorites of the next wave of cool vintage nicknames for girls.


Picture 1 of 16

Addie, on the heels of Abby, has gone from zero to 100 in a handful of years, as a nickname for such newly-fashionable long forms as Adelaide and Adeline or all by itself.

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49 Responses to “Vintage Nicknames for Girls”

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blue89 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 1:10 am

Absolutely fabulous! These are the best kinds of nicknames. But I highly doubt I’d ever use a nickname as a full, birth certificate name – mostly because I am such a name nerd that I want to utilize as many wonderful names as I can. Bea, Lou, and Tillie are my favorites from this list – but why give up the chance to also use Beatrix, Louella, or Matilda? Better to have the best of both worlds, I think 🙂

Saranel Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 1:15 am

My husband adores Tilly and loathed Matilda. I just have a hard time getting behind “just” a nickname.

twotwentyoneb Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 4:18 am

Hate the new gallery layout for names. Why can’t all the names be listed in one entry w/o having to click the Next button? I know you probably get more money from advertisements but is it worth it to irritate your readers?

Flick Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 6:26 am

Like the previous poster, I have a hard time getting behind a nickname as a full name. Not only do I find it very important in a practical aspect, like having something formal and mature to put on resumes, I also like the idea of getting to use “more” names and having the variety.

Personally, I love Nell, Dottie, Lula, Kitty, Dolly, Edie and Minnie – Penelope, Dorothy, Elula or Eulalia, Katharina, Eudora, Edith and Madelaine.

pam Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:10 am

Personally, I am with you both and would always choose a long form to get to a nickname. Flick — Dolly is so cute for Dorothy. Sometimes I’d only tolerate the long form because it would get me to the short and sometimes I like them both equally, as in Penelope and Nell, which would make it hard for me to abandon one for the other!

pam Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:13 am

I’m sorry you hate this layout but a lot of berries love it and so do we. It’s a LOT more work for us but we will continue to do it from time to time.

LJandRL Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:44 am

Ahhh this blog is right up my street! Love it 🙂

If I get to have two daughters in future I will more than likely have a Penelope nn Nell (to go with our hopefully first daughter Claudie!).

My mum’s nickname as a child was Minnie (she was small!) and Kitty was my great-aunts name so I love both of those too.

I desperately wanted a little Mae (just Mae/May) but my sister used it in my niece’s double barrelled first name so that’s out 🙁

Hattie, Bea and Edie I’d love to use but just can’t find “full names” for. Harriet is too popular here in the UK, Hadley maybe? My partner has vetoed Beatrice, Beatrix, Edith and Eden. I particularly love Bea but can’t find a B name I love. Brienne (the name of a county in France) is the closest I’ve come but I can’t shake the thought of it sounding like I feminised Brian.

Lula is also lovely, maybe a nn for Talullah? Or Lucia or Luciana?

Plus you’ve made me consider Addie in a new light. Maybe she is a sweet vintage nickname and not an inevitable nickname to be avoided like Maddie. Adelaide, Adeline, Adele or Adela would all be lovely full name choices.

Thanks once again Pam and Linda! Wonderful post 🙂

pdxlibrarian Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:53 am

I love these posts featuring lists of names grouped by topic, but I don’t like the click-through format you have started using. I know the images are fun, but waiting for each one to load so that I can read the next two sentences is a bummer.

Titus245Mama Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 8:45 am

I love this!

My great grandmother’s name was Nettie. Just Nettie. The more I learn about this amazing woman, the more I’d love to use her name…but a nickname name would clash badly with the four children’s names we already have, I can’t seem to come up with a suitable “formal” name.

bluepen Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:03 am

Titus – I went to college with a Nettie. Her full name was Jeanette.

pam Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:04 am

Many of these nicknames ending in ie were popular in the late 1800s often all on their own. Some, like those above and yes, like Nettie, survive, while many others don’t — see last year’s post on the Lost Names of 1880

Nettie is adorable and did often stand on its own though could also be short for nette-ending names such as Annette. Minette, Lynette, and Jeanette are others I can think of. Anyone else?

pam Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:04 am

For Nettie, maybe Natasha or Natalya?

Lola Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:21 am

I’m another who’d put a long form on the birth certificate and use that retro nickname daily. My Josephine rotates through: Josie, Poppy & Fifi on a fairly regular basis.
So while I utterly adore: Dottie, Edie, Lulu, May & Tillie, They’d be: Dorothea, Edith (blech Eden!), Tallulah or Lucasta & Ottilie or Mathilde.
Lou is ALL boy to me. Any Lu- girl would be Lucy or Lulu, never Lou (much like how Josephine is NEVER Joey).
I wonder, would Tilley, the surname work as a standalone? It’s rather important to Him, and I’d like to use it somehow. Hence Ottilie & Mathilde on our lists. But if Tilley can be used on it’s own…
Must ponder the merits of Tilley! 😀

jgirl525 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:27 am

@Titus245Mama–My sis Jeanette is known as Nettie to some of her friends as is a friend named Annetka (sp? we always use Nettie!!). @pdx and @221B (love the username!!): Agreed–I’ve started just skipping to the comments myself to find out what I didn’t want to click through. @pam: I like the variety of formats, but scrolling down through the graphic and then clicking onward renders what would be a 2 minute read a 5-7 minute read depending on whether I have [good] wireless access where I’m taking a break to check in on the site. I imagine if I were enjoying a morning coffee at home while reading on my enormous desktop monitor on a cable modem I would appreciate much more the loveliness of the gallery. Thanks to the berries whose comments help me out!

Mischa Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:46 am

I love most of these vintage nicknames: Hattie, Edie, Lottie, Mae and Mamie being my favourites. Personally, I would use the longer forms Harriet, Edith, Charlotte and Mary. Mae would be the only name I wouldn’t mind using all by itself. I must commend Nameberry on the gorgeous photos that accompanied each name. I adore looking at nostalgic photos and these were quite a treat! Thanks for the memories!

pam Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 10:47 am

Thank you, Mischa, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures! We are enjoying putting these together and varying the format. Anyone who wants vintage girls’ nicknames quick can go to the list:

joyfulmomto8 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:36 am

Beautiful!! Love the set up with the pictures! Love having an image with the name =0) Love most of the vintage nicknames, though I agree with a previous poster, that to me Lou, screams boy. Love Lottie, and Hattie!!

klcalder2 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:37 am

I’m really starting to love these vintage nicknames. For instance, I far prefer Lottie to Charlie. Although, I think I too would call my girl just Charlotte if I chose the name. Edie is way up there on my nickname list, but I am not nearly as big a fan of Edith. My daughter is Arabella and I love to call her Bea, actually. Most often it’s Bella or Belle, but Bea is too cute for words.

I also adore Lulu and Minnie. Someone on the forums suggested Minnie as a nickname for Hermione and I thought that’s a neat thought. Addie (for Adeline) is also high up on my would use list. From the other list on the site, I really adore Rosie. So many great choices!

tikicatt Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

My grandmother was Minnie Christine. Her best friends were sisters Tillie (Matilda) and Bea (Beatrice) and Betty and Lottie. Interesting that Minnie, Betty and Lottie were stand alone names. I remember Dottie, Addie, Hettie, Lu, Nellie and Sudie from that group too – I have recipe books from those ladies. It was best when they went from Mrs. John Jones to Mrs. Minnie Jones. Because they inclueded Mrs. Tillie (Matilda) Smith. What a great way to get some name history!

i.heart.nerds Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I actually like the new format. I find that my eye sometimes skips down a huge list of names so I might miss one.
I personally love Aggie which is a bonus to us using Agatha. She would fit in with the Addie, Maddy and Gabby crowd but still be unusual due to her full name.
I had a doll named Nelly growing up and I still think it is sweet.

emmyk12 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I love all of these! Dottie is my favorite. I’m hoping to use it someday–a la Dorotea.

onelove19 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I love these names. My Eden often goes by Edie. Couldn’t use Edie as a full name because it rhymes with last name and husband would not go for Edith. We are considering Mae for a future daughter to honor a Margaret either as a first name or a middle or perhaps use Margaret nn Mae. I think Hattie is adorable but again too close with our last name. I adore Posey but Josephine feels a bit stuffy and cheap at once (personal association I think with a Josephine I knew who went by Josie and slept with a LOT of people, lol), also just can’t get past the manly Joseph sound. I am trying to decide if Posey can stand alone or could work for a nn for Mariposa (that could be a bit long though with an Eden). I also think Lulu is sweet. I have long admired this as a nn and considered it for our Edie but would have gone with the longer Louisa and used Lulu or Lou as a nn. Nell and Kit are also great. I know a Delia who has been called Dilly and an Agnes nn Nessa. Nice list ladies!!

LyndsayJenness Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I love most of these, especially Hattie! Not a fan of Harriet though, I’ve thought about using it as a nickname for Charlotte, but I know that’s a stretch. I like the idea of Minnie as a nickname for Clementine, but I just can’t imagine being called Minnie, even though it’s so cute. Birdie isn’t on the list but it’s my favorite vintage nickname!

caroline Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

What do you all think of Millie as a nn for Margaret? A nice alternative to Maggie or too much of a stretch?

I also want to chime in about not loving the scroll through format (not just here but also on other sites). My internet connection is very fast but I still find it frustrating to have to click each time to see the next page. I just don’t see the advantage to it. Thanks!

aunt_ning Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I love the nick name Minnie but being such a HUGE Disney fan, I know everyone would just think I named my kid after the Mouse! lol

agirlinred Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I appear to be in the minority here, but I actually like nickname names. I think if you love a nickname and plan to call your child exclusively by that nickname, why bother with finding a “formal” name? It seems pointless to me.

miloowen Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

My daughter is a Kitty but I would never call a Louisa (her mn) Lou or Lulu. I also like Kay, Nellie, Betsy, Bess, Addie, and Nan. Nettie used to be traditionally a nn for Henriette/Henrietta. I also prefer Laia as a nn for Eulalia. I do like the name May, but it’s the name of my border collie — Annabel May!

onelove19 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Nicknamey names are fine but I think people like a more formal name to give their child the option of using their full name or other nicknames if they prefer as they get older and also to honor relatives 🙂

lemon Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

These are fabulous! Many are too cutesy or vintage for my personal taste, but I’d love them for someone else. I adore Kit for Katherine and Gwen for Gwendolen and Lou for Louisa, but wouldn’t use Kitty or Dolly or Lula.

Also, I never even thought of using Bea or Bee as a middle name! That’s superb! Bea probably makes more sense, right? Wouldn’t want anyone to think I named my daughter after a bumblebee. Ha! Gwendolen Bea? I love the flow there. Yay!

PS I think these pictures are so neat. Where did you get the prints, Pam and Linda?

erb2010 Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I really like this format! I can see how I might feel differently if my computer were really slow, but as it is, I enjoy clicking through the slideshow. Thanks for putting in all the work to make it fun and interesting.

We have a Beatrice, and she goes by Bea quite often. We had planned to use Bea occasionally if it fit but it fits so well, we use it more than we thought we would. I liked the idea of using Nell as a nn for our Eleanor but dh strongly preferred Ellie. She goes by Eleanor exclusively and it fits. For our next baby due in January, we are considering Clementine, Emilia, and Lucille among others. I like Clemmie, Cleo, Minnie, Emmy, Millie, Lou, and Lulu. Dh isn’t sold on all of them but we’ll see!

Sassy Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

My favourties on the list are Lottie and Hattie but as others have said I’d probably use a full name on the birth certificate.

I also have to say, not a big fan of the slide show of names. I find sometimes it doesn’t work and trying to read it on my smart phone isn’t worth it. I tend to skip the blog when it’s a slide show although, today I’m on my own computer and it actually works, lol.

lemon Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:06 pm


Wouldn’t it be neat if you could find another three-syllable name containing “ea” for Baby Girl 3? I could see Althea (Ali, Ala, Thea), Dorothea (Dora, Dot, Dottie, Thea), Linnea (Lina, Lin), or Roseanna (Roe, Rose, Rosie, Anna) with your Eleanor and Beatrice (Bea).

CharacterNamer Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I like Edie, but can’t come up with a long form. Don’t like or can’t use Eden, Edith, Edwina, Edna, or Edina. Any ideas?

CharacterNamer Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I also must add that I prefer the list mode, not the slideshow for the blog, but I love your lists either way 🙂

katialoves Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

like: millie, ( i really like this one but not the full names it goes with)
tillie, kitty, bea, and lula

not at all: nelly, hattie, edie…

sorry i really dont like nettie..i know someone with it too… yeah nettie and nelly i strongly dislike! not sure why!

agree about lottie being way better than charlie (well i really dont like charlie for a girl) though charlotte would still win over lottie

its hard to comment on the whole list with this format. maybe if the last slide was a list of them?

onelove19 Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Edie… one of the best nn’s ever in my opinion! SO much classier, spunkier, and just all around prettier than a name like Millie or Tillie though they are fun nicknames. And I have to disagree on Charlie and Lottie. I have known several dogs names Lottie but Charlie is so classic, even if for a girl. Lottie? Lottie..? Really? Horrible! I am sure if I met a sweet little Lottie my opinion might change but in and of itself, can’t pretend it even sounds cute. Lottie falls short of the beauty or Loretta or the fun of Dottie… It doesn’t sound or look cute to me and if both of those are out, it better damn well wear cute. I do think Charlotte is cuter than the both for a girl though. I will advocate for sweet Edie all the way. Soulful, brazen, sharp, striking, intuitive, beautiful and smart as a whip at once.

onelove19 Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 11:16 pm

p.s. don’t know if it is my computer or the site but wrote my draft above and decided to re-word a few notes but am unable to get back to my post and better describe my opinion. I usually like to write a very rough idea and then go back to articulate but seem to be unable too. Oh well. Overall, love your list!

pam Says:

November 7th, 2011 at 8:28 am

Got the images on flickr, lemon. So glad you like!

emilymaryjane Says:

December 16th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

my sisters nickname is Hattie she is six and it is very cute her full name is Harriet Nicole. I love her nickname

mckennaberry Says:

December 25th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

mckenna:kenna < mine
klento:klie <sisters
blazes:bazzy < brothers
hudleo:huddy< brothers

SoDallas3 Says:

April 13th, 2012 at 12:30 am

I think these are lovely!
These are my top nms for vintage names:
Adalynn-Ada or Addie
Hattie (I like as a separate name)

cilla Says:

August 4th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I have a friend whose fourth daughter is Hermione nicknamed Minnie a sister to Whilhemina “Minka”, Eulalia “Lulu” and Matilda “Tillie”

mrssarasmith Says:

August 20th, 2012 at 5:41 am

I adore Lottie! I think that Nellie is cute too but Little House on the Prairie ruined it for me.

kitchi1 Says:

February 24th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I absolutely LOVE almost all of these names!! I would certainly use them as a full name, too. The only one I don’t like is Betty, really.
Also, have you ever thought of Nannie? I thought that would be on here but it isn’t.

BlueYorkie Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 2:00 pm

My full name is Mattie JoHannah. My parents named me after my dad’s aunts Mathilda and JoHannah, but Mathilda said there was no way they were forcing Mathilda on a girl born in 1999, so they picked Mattie as an alternative. I actually like my name, but I hate that people always misspell it like Maddie.

Lissie_Love Says:

February 26th, 2014 at 4:48 pm

I love names ending in -ie. the faves are Lissie, Elsie, Mollie, Hattie, Mattie, and Nettie!

The_Supernatural_Hufflepuff Says:

September 25th, 2014 at 5:28 am

I loved Bea, Dottie, Edie, Hattie, Lulu, May, and Nellie

lollybodis Says:

January 22nd, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Those name are so cute

saraallison Says:

January 29th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I love a lot of those, particularly Tillie and Kitty. I have a friend who has a Sadie and just had a new baby Millie!
I’m starting to really dig Sally too. Maybe paired with something–Sally Kate? Also we sometimes call my daughter Madeline, Madsie. I got that from a Berry who said her grandmother was Madeline, called Madsie. Thought that was a cute alternative to overused Maddie!

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