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Streamlined Baby Names

Streamlined Baby Names
One approach to creative baby naming, this one as old as ElizaBETH and EuGENE, is to drop the first syllable or syllables, or even an initial letter of a name. These days, for instance, Drew and Ward are cooler baby names than Andy or Ed.

Along with Drew, other streamlined baby names in the US Top 1000 include Bella, Enzo, Etta, Ford, Lena, Livia, Van, and Xander. Rare streamlined names able to stand independently on the birth certificate include Bastian, Lani, Renzo, and Tavia.

Whether you’re looking for a creative stand-alone name or an unexpected nickname for your child, you may want to consider a streamlined baby name. Here are some other possibilities but, as with most recipes, feel free to improvise.

Streamlined Baby Names

NicoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian diminutive of Nicholas, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    Nico is one of the great nickname names, full of charm, energy and effortless cool -- a neo Nick.

RemyHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "oarsman"
  • Description:

    The name of a fifth century saint and one of a new generation of French names being discovered in the US, Remy sounds particularly modern and attractive. The name Remy is being revived for both boys and girls, sometimes as Remi. It entered the popularity list in 2009 and has quickly become one of the fastest-rising names on the list.

EnzoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Henry, also diminutive of Vincenzo and Lorenzo
  • Description:

    Enzo originated as the Italian variation of Heinz, a German name derived from Heinrich, related to Henry. It has historically been used as a short form for Italian names such as Vincenzo and Lorenzo. The most famous bearer of the name is Enzo Ferrari, founder of the luxury sports car brand.

LiamHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish short form of William
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.

EttaHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Scottish, feminine diminutive suffix of Henry
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Etta, once a short form of Henrietta, has long been used on its own, and we wonder if it could follow the progression of Emma to Ella to...Etta.

EllaHeart

  • Origin:

    German; English
  • Meaning:

    "all, completely; fairy maiden"
  • Description:

    Ella has parallel derivations, first as the Norman variation of the Germanic Alia—itself a nickname for names containing the element ali. It’s also a Hebrew name, referring to a tree in the pistachio family or in modern Hebrew, "goddess." In English speaking countries and Scandinavia, Ella developed as a diminutive for names beginning with El-, such as Eleanor and Elizabeth.

TaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Australian Aboriginal
  • Meaning:

    "gentle dew from heaven; by the water"
  • Description:

    Talia is derived from the Hebrew elements tal, meaning “dew,” and yah, in reference to God. In the mythology of one ancient sect, Talia was one of ten angels who attended the sun on its daily course. The occasionally homophonous name Thalia has unrelated Greek origins.

AylaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, or Turkish
  • Meaning:

    "oak tree, or halo, moonlight"
  • Description:

    Tired of Ava and Isla? Consider Ayla, a more offbeat choice and a lovely name that means light as well as tree. Its literary reference is the independent and feisty heroine of Jean Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear.

LenaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Scottish, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, diminutive of various names ending in lena
  • Description:

    This pet form of Helena and other ena-ending names, long used as an independent name, is attracting notice again as an option both multicultural and simple. Lena was a Top 100 name from 1880 to 1920.

KaylaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "laurel, crown"
  • Description:

    Kayla is a modern invented name that emerged in the late 1950s. Despite its similarity to the name Michaela, Kayla most likely began as a combination of the then-popular name Kay and -la suffix. Alternatively, it may be a variation of the Yiddish name Kaila, which derived from the Hebrew name Kelila. Kayla can also be considered an Anglicization of the Gaelic surname MacCaollaidhe or MacCathail.

AidenHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Aidan, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aiden is a variation of Aidan, the anglicized version of the Irish Aodhán. Aidan/Aodhán was originally a pet form of the Irish name Aodh (pronounced 'ee'), who was the old Celtic god of the sun and fire. St. Aidan was a famous seventh century Irish saint, noted for his kindness and generosity and for spreading Christianity.

ElleHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "she"
  • Description:

    Combine the charming heroine of the movie Legally Blonde with supermodel Elle Macpherson and the trend toward all names beginning with "el"—Ellie, Ella, Eleanor—and you have one hit name.

EmberHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Amber
  • Description:

    Unlike Amber, which is in decline, this name still has a bit of a glow left -- though confusions between the two will inevitably arise.

XanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alexander, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Xander is a diminutive of Alexander, the Latin variation of the Greek Alexandros. Its meaning, “defending men,” is taken from the Greek roots aléxein, “to defend,” and andros, “men.” Zander, pronounced the same way, is an alternate spelling.

CeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "heavenly"
  • Description:

    Celia, splendidly sleek and feminine, is a name that was scattered throughout Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature, but still manages to feel totally modern.

MinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish diminutive, also Hindu equivalent of Pisces
  • Description:

    Most famous as a Dracula victim (where Mina is short for Wilhelmina), Mina is an all-purpose name.

BellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Isabella, Italian
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    Bella derived as a diminutive of Isabella and other names with the suffix -bella. While Isabella is a variation of Elizabeth and thus means "God is my oath," Bella is considered to mean "beautiful." This is because Bella is related to the word for "beautiful" in languages including Spanish, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, and Greek, as well as the name Belle, which means "beautiful" in French.

BelleHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Isabelle or French
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    Belle has nothing but positive associations, from "belle of the ball" to "Southern belle" to the heroine of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. As if this weren't enough good things, Belle is also one of the most familiar and usable names that mean beautiful. Though it has been overshadowed by the Twilight-influenced Bella and longer forms like Isabella and Annabella, Belle has its own Southern charm and would make a pretty choice as a first or middle name.

LilahHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Lila
  • Meaning:

    "night"
  • Description:

    Lilah may be a simple spelling variation of Lila—or you might think of it as a shortening of Delilah or an Anglicization of the Hebrew Lilach, which means lilac. Whatever the root, it's a beautiful and stylish name. The final h adds balance or creates needless complications, depending on your viewpoint.

LiviaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Olivia or Latin
  • Meaning:

    "blue, envious"
  • Description:

    Though it sounds like a chopped-off variation of Olivia, which means olive, the distinctively attractive Livia has been an independent name since the days of the ancient Romans, when it belonged to Livia Drusilla—the powerful wife of the Emperor Augustus—and is still commonly heard in modern Italy.

LinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic; Latin diminutive
  • Meaning:

    "tender"
  • Description:

    This pretty, succinct Arabic name is also commonly used as a nickname for names like Carolina.

DrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Drew, which projects a polished, somewhat intellectual impression, is rapidly becoming the Andrew nickname of choice, replacing the past favorite, Andy. It is fully capable of standing on its own, which it has for many decades, non-stop since 1942.

FordHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "dweller at the ford"
  • Description:

    The long association to the Ford Motor Company doesn't stand in the way of this being a strong, independent, single-syllable name.

BastianHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Sebastian, Latin from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "man of Sebastia"
  • Description:

    In Spanish cultures, and spelled either Bastian or Bastien, this is a fairly common nickname name. The German fantasy children's book The Neverending Story features a young boy character called Bastian Balthlazar Bux, and it has also been seen in several screen versions.

LianaHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "to climb like a vine"
  • Description:

    Liana is a pretty and graceful name -- it's a flowering tropical vine -- that runs the risk of sounding as if its front end might have been cut off, as in Juliana or Eliana.

VanHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch
  • Meaning:

    "of"
  • Description:

    Whether it's used as a short form or on its own, this jazzy midcentury name is poised for a comeback along with brothers Ray and Walt.

NessaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "headlands, promontory"
  • Description:

    Like its cousin Tessa, Nessa -- a shortening of Vanessa or Agnes or Anastasia among other possibilities -- is an attractive nickname that can stand on its own.

BrielleHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "hunting grounds"
  • Description:

    Though it sounds so modern, Brielle is, among other things, a traditional Cajun contraction of Gabrielle, but it has now spread far beyond that community. Brielle is also the name of a historic seaport in the western Netherlands.

TeoHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Teodoro, Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    An international take on Theo that would be easily wearable for a child in the US. Teo is traditionally a nickname for Theodore, but like Theo can stand on its own.

TianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Slavic
  • Meaning:

    "fairy queen"
  • Description:

    Tiana gained a lot of popularity after Disney bestowed this pretty name upon its first African-American princess. Although it has declined in usage over recent years, Tiana’s connections to dainty Tatiana, Christiana and Bastiana should see it in continued usage for a while to come

CobyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Coburn or Jacob or Jacoby
  • Description:

    Actor Coby Bell gives this short but sweet name a hefty amount of street cred. Can also be spelled Koby or Kobe, as in Kobe Bryant.

RenzoHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Lorenzo
  • Description:

    Rakish nickname able to stand on its own.

BriellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Gabriella
  • Meaning:

    "God is my strength"
  • Description:

    If you feel, as many parents do, that Gabby or Gabi is too harsh a short form for the mellifluous name Gabriella, try Brie, Brielle, or Briella.

WardHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "guard, watchman"
  • Description:

    Until recently Ward was, like Wally, a Cleaver name, but today's parents are seeing it as a cooler nickname for Edward than Eddie, and are also beginning to use it on its own.

RitaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margarita
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    One of the glamour girl names of the Rita Hayworth 1940s, Rita was once a Top 50 name and stayed on the SSA list until 2002. It still has enough Latin zip to be a lively, revivable short form of Margarita. Other namesakes include Puerto Rican actress/singer Rita Moreno (born Rosa), poet Rita Dove and novelist Rita Mae Brown. Rita Skeeter is a Harry Potter character.

ColmHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Latin Columba
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Colm is a popular Irish name for boys that could immigrate, especially with its peaceful meaning. Colm Toibin is a contemporary Irish novelist and critic, author of The Master and Brooklyn; Colm Meaney is an Irish actor. Pronunciation is two syllables instead of one, like Colin with an 'm' at the end. Colm is related to Columba, Colom, Colum, Callum, and Malcolm.

ViaHeart

  • Origin:

    Nickname name
  • Description:

    Could be a short form of Sylvia, Olivia, or any other similar name. Or a vivid Italian word name.

TinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Christina et al
  • Description:

    Tina, despite its petite and tinkly image, is apt these days to be replaced by the more elegant originals, Christina and Martina.It does have some strong namesakes, though, in Tina Turner (born Anna Mae), Tina Brown (born Christina), Tina Fey (born Elizabeth), and photographer Tina Barney (born Tina).

MeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name, also diminutive of Amelia
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    This is a rich, melodic shortening of the popular girls' name Amelia that can stand on its own. There are several figures in Greek myth named Melia, most notably a daughter of Oceanus. The Meliae are nymphs associated with trees.

BethHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    The sweetest and most sensitive of the pet names for Elizabeth, now also one of the most dated.

RianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    More authentic and original form of Ryan.

MonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "noble good"
  • Description:

    Mona had more than a moment in the sun, peaking in 1950 at Number 230 but falling off the Top 1000 completely in the late 1980s. Its similarity to the word "moaner" undercuts the appeal of its simplicity. In one recent year, fewer than 100 baby girls received the name, and we don't see it reviving any time soon.

SandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alessandra, Italian from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    2012's Hurricane Sandy blew away whatever style currency Sandra retained from its 1960s Sandra Dee heyday. While in recent years it's been associated with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, as a baby name Sandra is sinking beneath the waves.

GeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Eugene, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wellborn, noble"
  • Description:

    Like Ray, a formerly funky nickname name that is newly cool; used for comedian Amy Schumer's son.

TanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "fire or star goddess"
  • Description:

    An Ethiopian place-name and diminutive for several Slavic names that's somewhat slight but is enjoying new visibility thanks to bestselling mystery writer Tana French. Pronounced as it is spelled (rhymes with hannah).

SandroHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alessandro, Italian
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Lengthy, romantic Alessandro gives us the friendly and casual nickname Sandro, which works just as well as an independent name. It’s a popular international name, having ranked in Italy, France, Portugal, and Switzerland in recent years.

KenzieHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Mackenzie
  • Description:

    Kenzie freshens up Mackenzie.

TopherHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Christopher
  • Description:

    The new kid on the block in terms of Christopher short forms, it was introduced into the mix by actor Topher Grace, who didn't like Chris.

LizaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Eliza, diminutive of Elizabeth
  • Description:

    Liza's heyday was the mid-1970s, following on the heels of super-popular sister Lisa. But thanks to the fact that it never became superpopular, Liza remains a name not especially tied to one generation or style.
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