Vintage Nicknames for Girls
Vintage nicknames for girls feel new again. Many modern parents are choosing to forgo traditional full forms and put an old-fashioned nickname on the birth certificate instead. Elsie, Winnie, and Millie outrank their more formal counterparts, Elsa, Winifred, and Mildred.
Along with Elsie and Millie, other vintage nicknames for girls in the US Top 1000 include Maisie, Nellie, Josie, Emmy, Belle, Evie, Hattie, and Rosie.
You may not have heard of vintage nicknames such as Floy, Ibby, Sudie, and Winnet, which are all but forgotten, though could stand to be revived.
These vintage nicknames for girls might be worth a fresh look, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Origin:Scottish diminutive of Margaret or Mary
Meaning:"pearl or bitter"
Description:Maisie, a charming name long popular as a nickname for Margaret or Mary, entered the Top 1000 as itself ten years ago and continues to rise. Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams helped propel the name back into the limelight, along with the that of her character, Arya.
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth via its Scottish variation, Elspeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Elsie is a sweet vintage nickname-name turned modern star. After a 30-year hiatus, Elsie started climbing the US popularity list 20 years ago and is still headed for the top.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary or Margaret
Meaning:"bitter or pearl"
Description:Mae, a sweet and springlike old-fashioned name, hadn't been on the national charts in forty years, but finally made it back in 2010. Mae is derived from May, the month name that was chosen for its connection to Maia, the Roman goddess of growth and motherhood.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary, Hebrew
Description:Molly is one of the original nickname names, ALWAYS ranking among the US Top 500 girl names since statistics began, in 1880. Molly peaked in 1991 only to rise just as high again in 2011, and though softening retains a good measure of popularity and charm.
Origin:English, diminutive of Charlotte
Description:Lottie is a nostalgic great-grandma name that conjures up lockets and lace, and -- like Nellie, Josie, Hattie, Tillie, and Milly -- has considerable vintage charm. A Top 100 name at the end of the nineteenth century, Lottie fell off the popularity list around 1960, but is now climbing back both as a nickname for popular Charlotte, as well as on its' own. Lottie re-entered the US charts for the first time since the 50s in 2022, and is likely going to keep climbing. It's already an amazing Number 85 in England and Wales.
Origin:Diminutive of Mildred or Millicent
Meaning:"gentle strength; strong in work"
Description:Millie is back. It's a Top 100 name throughout much of the English-speaking world, though not yet in the US. Millicent would be an appealing long form, but many people are using Millie all by its cute self -- so many, in fact, that it returned to the Top 500 in 2015 for the first time since World War 2 and continues to climb.
Origin:Diminutive of Eve or Eva
Description:Evie was derived from Eve, which in turn comes from Chawwah, a Hebrew name related to the concept of life. Evie can be used as a nickname for any name that starts with Ev-, including Eva, Evelyn, and Evangeline, but also for names such as Genevieve and Maeve. Evie is typically pronounced with a long E sound, but a short E is also valid.
Origin:English, diminutive of Harriet
Description:In the USA, Hattie is one of those nicknames that is now more popular than its parent name, Harriet. In England, however, Harriet is still by far more popular than Hattie, while in Australia, Harriet is highly popular while no data exists on Hattie. In the US, we’d like to see Harriet get more usage but we’re happy to see Hattie again.
Origin:English diminutive of Winifred
Meaning:"holy peacemaking, gentle friend"
Description:This pet form of such names as Winifred and Edwina and Gwendolyn has loads of vintage charm, a la Millie and Maisie, with a decidedly winning vibe. And it just got celebrity cred as the baby daughter of Jimmy Fallon.
Origin:English, diminutive of Eleanor and Ellen
Meaning:"bright shining one"
Description:Ellie first took off in the UK—yes, in this nickname form—and this warm and friendly name has also taken off here. In 2011, Ellie entered the US Top 100 girl names for the first time and has remained near the top of the charts ever since.
Origin:English, diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
Meaning:"bright, shining one"
Description:Nell, once a nickname for Helen, Ellen, or Eleanor, is a sweet old-fashioned charmer that is fashionably used today in its own right. While Nell is perfectly in tune with contemporary vintage name style, it hasn't taken off the way some of its sisters have and so maintains an air of distinction. Use Nell or Nellie as a short for any name from Eleanor to Penelope or just name her Nell.
Origin:English, diminutive of Ann
Description:Annie is one of the most open and optimistic, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow type of name, having been celebrated over the years in song (Annie Laurie), comic strip (Little Orphan Annie), folklore (Annie Oakley, born Phoebe), and film (Annie Hall). It strikes a nice old-fashioned-but-jaunty chord that still has appeal, but we do suggest that you consider putting a more formal version on her birth certificate.
Description:Rosy-cheeked and cheery, Rosie (also spelled Rosy) has been standing on her own for many decades, back to the days of 1943 musical Sweet Rosie O'Grady. She's one of the perky nickname-names that are filling the popularity lists of other English-speaking countries. In the US, she came back to the Top 1000 in 2013, after a 30 year hiatus.
Origin:English, diminutive of Edith
Meaning:"prosperous in war"
Description:Edie is part of the Evie-Ellie et al family of cute and friendly short forms that sometimes stand on its own. Briefly popular in the 1960s, it could well be due for rediscovery. It's already a fashionable choice in the UK, where it has ranked just outside the Top 100 for several years.
Origin:English diminutive of Euphemia, Greek
Description:Effie is the old-fashioned short form for Euphemia. It shares a vintage charm with Hattie and Letty although is much rarer than either. Effie is a character in The Hunger Games and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Origin:English, diminutive of Philippa
Meaning:"lover of horses"
Description:Pippa, a peppy condensation of Philippa that turns it from serious to sprightly, has come into the public eye in a big way via the former Kate Middleton's sister. Heard far more in the UK (where it's currently just outside the Top 100) than the US, Pippa has been used on its own since the nineteenth century, popularized by Robert Browning's dramatic poem, Pippa Passes. A recent book and film was titled The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.
Meaning:"born on the island of Delos"
Description:Delia is a somewhat neglected southern charmer that stands on its own but also might be short for Adelia or Cordelia.
Origin:Diminutive of Helen, Eleanor, et al
Description:This ready-for-revival nickname name recalls the old Gay Nineties and bicycles-built-for-two era. In the US, Nellie is one of the most popular unique girl names, lying just beneath the Top 1000. About five times as many baby girls are named Nellie in the US today as shorter form Nell.
Origin:Diminutive of Beatrice
Meaning:"she who brings happiness"
Description:Bea is a former old lady name that's cute again as a short form -- and is now beginning to stand on its own. Bee is a variation that, like Bea, can work as a diminutive for any name that starts with the letter B, or in the middle. Bea actually stood alone on the popularity lists for four years at the beginning of the twentieth century--and it could happen again.
Origin:English, diminutive of Theresa
Description:With its solid Thomas Hardy background, Tess has a lot more substance, strength, and style than most single-syllable names, with an efficient yet relaxed image.