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.
Origin:Short form of Isabelle or French
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.
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:Diminutive of Theodore or Edward
Meaning:"gift of God or wealthy guardian"
Description:Teddy is in some ways one of those midcentury boys' nicknames -- like Jimmy or Bobby or Billy -- yet because it was never that popular, it feels timeless too. The preferred short form of Theodore these days may be Theo and of Edward may be....Edward, but Teddy can work adorably for either and grows up to Ted. And of course, let's not forget the inevitable teddy bear.
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:Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
Description:Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.
Origin:Diminutive of Margaret
Description:Maggie is a cute, earthy short form that has been in style for several decades now, still sometimes used as an independent name by such parents as Jon Stewart. First used in Scotland, it got a large bump in popularity via the 1971 Rod Stewart hit song "Maggie May." Today's Maggie might just as well be short for a more adventurous name such as Magdalena or Magnolia as for the classic Margaret.
Maggie Gyllenhaal was born Margaret.
Meaning:"God's gracious gift"
Description:Gia is a cute if slight name that calls to mind stylish sisters Mia, Lea, Pia, Tia, and Nia. One of the most familiar Italian baby names in the US, Gia is a short form of Gianna, which in turn is a diminutive of Giovanna, the feminine form of Giovanni, the Italian equivalent of John—all of them meaning "God's gracious gift."
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 Wilhelmina, Wilma
Description:Billie is a tomboy nickname name, part of the growing trend for using boyish nicknames for girls and now destined for stardom along with its most famous contemporary bearer, music sensation Billie Eilish.
Meaning:"brave in battle"
Description:Casey is a name with a big wide grin, Irish, friendly, and open, and associated with several American folk heroes--Casey Jones, the engine driver of the Cannonball Express who gave his life to save his passengers, and the legendary Casey at the Bat.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Isabella, Italian
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.
Origin:English, diminutive of Katherine
Description:Kate, in the headlines via Catherine Middleton aka the Princess of Wales, has been as pervasive as Kathy was in the 1950s and 1960s, both as a nickname for Katherine and Kaitlyn and as a strong, classic stand-alone name.
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.
Description:Rory is a buoyant, spirited name for a redhead with Celtic roots. The name Rory is getting more popular overall, but for the past few years has been trending decidedly toward the boys' side -- however, it's been rising to new heights for girls in recent years.
Description:Ben, the diminutive of Benjamin or Benedict, can easily stand on its own as a simple, strong, nice-guy choice, though it's somewhat attenuated. Ben is this generation's Bob or Bill.
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.
Description:No longer tied to the hapless Ace Ventura, this jaunty, high-flying nickname name is starting to take flight among celebrity and other parents, with its countless positive references to doing well in tests and poker games, on the tennis court and golf course, and in the air.