A Sister for Juliet

We found out that Juliet's sibling is a sister, so we're ready to choose a name! My husband and I have narrowed down our list to 7 names. I know some of you already commented on many of these when I was making my long list, but we'd like new opinions and impressions now that we're down to these few. Our last name is one syllable and rhymes with ice.

Eleanora nn Nora

Penelope nn Pippa (Philippa got vetoed by dh)

Clara

Imogen

Elizabeth nn possibly Libby or something else uncommon.

Corinna (pronounced -rin-, not -reen-)

Coraline - this was our top contender with Juliet the first time around. My mom said it was a dark, creepy name due to the book/movie (which we loved), but we wonder now how many other people feel that way.

Replies

1
By PJ
November 23, 2015 12:29 AM

I love Coraline and don't thing it's too creepy. But I enjoyed the book/movie as well. This would be my favorite for you, as I feel that both have a simple elegance that go well together. Does Juliet have a nickname?

 

All of your names are very nice, in my opinion.

I know a young Corinna, she goes by Coco or Cory as nicknames, but also the full Corinna most of the time.

Imogen - I am never sure how to pronounce this one. Is this last syllable more like Jen from Jenny or Jean? I know it has the classical pedigre but this one doesn't quite ring the bells for me.

Clara is pretty and simple and sweet. I think this is pretty on-trend without feeling over used, if that makes sense.

I love Penelope/Pippa. I think it's a great combo of sassy nickname with formal full name that would serve her well. This would probably be my second choice.

I live in a pocket of Eleanors so I hear that name a lot. Eleanora is a nice variation but I guess it feels pretty similar to me.

Elizabeth I'd put in the same category as Sarah- a classic, nothing to complain about, but for me, not very interesting.

 

 

2
November 24, 2015 3:06 PM

Juliet is known almost universally as Juju among friends and family. It's not a nickname we planned or anticipated, but that's how she identifies herself now, so I have a feeling it's sticking around for awhile.

3
November 23, 2015 1:27 AM

Congrats on your little girl!

My faves from your list are Eleanora and Coraline (not creepy!). I also like Clara and Penelope for you. Elizabeth is alright, actually it's a lovely name but seems a bit bland next to Juliet. Imogen and Corinna are nice names but just don't seem to fit as well with sister Juliet and what I think your last name is.

But really I don't see problems with any of them, these opinions are based solely on personal taste.

4
November 23, 2015 2:04 AM

Oooh, how exciting! Congratulations on the baby sister!

Eleanor and Nora are names that are particularly well-loved both where I live and with the people I grew up with on the other coast. With good reason, mind you - they're terrific names. We had Elinor on the list for our eldest, and it's come off our list since because it just so completely belongs to the little Eleanors in our lives, now (including the best friend of my firstborn). While I don't think I know an Eleanora, it's still a name that travels in a pretty popular pack of soundalikes in some parts. You have an older child, so you know exactly how much this is a phenomenon in the circles you travel in.

Elizabeth, by contrast, is nation-wide more popular, but it's less of a recent trend and it's also a name that I hear much less often on small children than Eleanor or Nora(h) in my particular pockets. Certainly, if she were Libby or Betty rather than Ellie, that would provide your daughter with the flexibility to distinguish herself from other Elizabeths if she encountered them. My initial gut reaction was that Elizabeth would be too close to use with Juliet (eh-lee-zah-bet / joo-lee-et),  in English pronunciation schemes they actually sound nothing alike, so that is totally not something to consider.

Imogen is my favorite on your list. Such a surprisingly unused name in this country, and it's not great with our surname, so I always want to encourage other people who don't have that issue to use it. I think it's lovely, and nicely Shakespearean with your daughter's name, without being too much so.

Corinna is a really solid choice that I like very much. I am related to an our-generation Corinna, it seems like one of those nicely underutilized timeless sorts of names, and I find it pleasing that it would contract to Cora if your daughter ever wanted a more of-the-moment sort of nickname. I'd probably want to test drive this name in person to make sure that the pronunciation is as obvious to native English speakers as it is to me - use it to order takeout or get random acquaintances to pronounce the name from having seen it written down. Difficult pronunciation need not be a dealbreaker, but it's a nice thing to have considered ahead of time.

Coraline does remind me of the book, which I enjoyed very much, and I think it pairs very nicely with her big sister's name in terms of being a comparably romantic name with a great story attached to it. This would probably be my second favorite, because I like the name AND I like that it has a positive backstory for your family. I don't think it would be perceived as dark unless you are a particularly gothic family - I think your little Coraline will presumably not be a creepy baby and will thus shake the name of any such overtones quite quickly.

Clara is a lovely name, but it seems a little plain next to Juliet (not that Juliet is particularly frilly or anything, just that it's a very grand sort of name). My personal problem with Clara is that I vacillate between CLAIRE-uh pronunciation and CLAH-rah, and I always have a heck of a time remembering which pronunciation the particular Clara in question uses. I think it's a great choice for a family that can have a zen "they are both correct pronunciations in different language pronunciation systems" attitude and teach that to a daughter.

I like Penelope for you, too. I think Pippa as a nickname is perhaps not the most intuitive, but it works well enough... and I think both names are fantastic, so why not combine the best of both worlds. I think Penelope is another grand name with literary associations that I think really stands up well to Juliet.

This is a really terrific list - you really can't go wrong, no matter what you choose!

5
November 23, 2015 2:56 AM

All of these names are excellent, you really can't go wrong! My favourite is Imogen. I grew up with a few Imogens in England, and I think it's a lovely name that works great on girls as well as women, and is feminine but not frilly, just like Juliet. I love the Shakespeare connection between the two names too, which probably wouldn't be obvious to everyone who heard them, but is a lovely little thing to share. I also like that both names have 3 syllables and 6 letters, though I know some people avoid patterns like that if they plan on having another child.

My next choices for you would probably be Eleanora/Nora and Coraline. Although the Neil Gaiman connection does come to mind, it in no way dominates my thoughts on the name and I think it's very usable. I should disclose though that I 'invented' and loved the name as a child  (I had an imaginary friend called Coralanne with innumerable sisters with Coral- names) so that's what I think of first. Still, I think when people meet a little Coraline she will soon outgrow the reference. I'm sure it will not take more than a couple of months, for example, until the first thing that comes to your mother's mind when she hears the name 'Coraline' is her adorable granddaughter and the memories that they have made together, rather than an animated character from a 2009 kids movie.  

6
November 23, 2015 3:15 AM

I like Penelope and Elizabeth, though I think the more romantic ones on your list (Imogen, Coraline, Corinna, Eleanora) match Juliet better.

As for Coraline, I think your mother's opinion is probably in the minority, though this is coming from someone out of the loop re the latest cultural trends. To reassure her, maybe you can try the name out among friends and family? In fact, of all the names brought to public attention by a book/movie (e.g., Hermione), I think Coraline would be one of the most usable ones.

7
November 23, 2015 3:32 AM

With Juliet I like Imogen and Clara. Good luck!

8
By rooo
November 23, 2015 3:37 AM

I don't care much for Eleanora - to me it gives the impression "we really liked Eleanor, but we don't like how popular it's become so we found this variation" even if that's not why you like it. All of your other options I think are lovely and go well with big sis Juliet. I think Penelope, Elizabeth and Coraline sound best with your last name, but I don't see any issues with your other options.

9
November 23, 2015 4:48 AM

If you like Eleanor, and don't mind the popularity of it, then I see no reason why not to have Eleanora. I prefer this name to Eleanor, because I think it emphasizes the Norah part of the name, which is the part you and I prefer to emphasize in a nn. This extra A, gives this name a more vintage feel imo. Keep.

Penelope used to be on our list too, but for the sound... well it didn't hit the romantic tone I wanted. Peppa would be a more intuitive nn than Pippa, and since this is a "compromise name", I'd nix it.

Clara is beautifully simple and I think goes well with Juliet. Keep.

I always thought Imogen sounded like imagine, so it is an inspirational name in this way. But I am bothered by its rush to popularity in recent years, making it just too unusually common, for such a very distinctive name, this is annoying when it happens and I removed it from my list for this reason. But if the popularity doesn't bother you, I see no reason to discount it. It does create a Shakespearean theme. But I'll let you decide if that is a good or bad thing. ??

Elizabeth is a classic, as is Juliet, but with different usage and feels. I also had this name on my list. It is Too popular for my taste, but it always has been, so it's not a flash in the pan name. A solid choice any day. Keep.

Corinna is ok, but the very fact that you want to change it from the get go, makes me think that this isn't 'the one'. Nix.

Coraline is a lovely name, from a creepy movie, but come on, it's not like you're suggesting naming her Morticia (which really would be creepy)! My mom didn't have the best opinion of my daughter's name either, but she has completely different taste to me on most things, and she didn't get many of my favourite movies, and she never read my favourite novel either, and yet was always opinionated about it all (a mother's prerogative)! Coraline was on your previous list, so it seems like a definite top contender and the one to beat. KEEP.

10
November 23, 2015 5:58 AM

I love Imogen with Juliet. They have similar class and distinctiveness, the great Shakespearean connection (and Imogen is a fantastic character, to boot), and while Imogen is popular in the UK, it isn't in the states, so she is sure to stand out.

I also love Coraline. I associate it with the book but I don't see how that is negative -- again, the character is active and resourceful and the story is a good one! And I agree that your baby is unlikely to be "creepy."

Clara with the CLAH-ra pronunciation goes very well in my head with Juliet, whereas with the CLAIRE-a pronunciation somehow it doesn't.

Elizabeth I love the nicknames but the full name just seems very plain next to Juliet.

Penelope and Corinna are not my style, but I do like the Pippa as a nickname for Penelope idea.

Eleanora...I'm a big fan of Eleanor and Eleanora just seems to be cluttering it up with extra letters and excess girliness. It reads very "princess" to me. Nora is an appealingly feminine but minimalist nickname however.

Short version: I think either Imogen or Coraline would be perfect, and Clara would also be very nice.

11
November 23, 2015 12:58 PM

I wonder if it's the German-pronounced Clara from the Nutcracker that makes Clara go better with Juliet? That does make it also a popular theatrical name.

12
November 23, 2015 3:30 PM

Congrats on a girl! That is exciting :)

Of your list, I definitely prefer either Corrina or Clara. I think both of these fit in very well with Juliet. I also really like Elizabeth, but I am not huge on the nn Libby. However, I do love Elizabeth with the nn Eliza!

To me, Coraline does remind me of the movie, which I have to agree with your mom about... Also I think it would constantly get confused with 'Caroline.' To me, Imogen is somewhat hard to pronounce and just doesn't flow well. I am not a huge fan of Penelope, although there is really nothing wrong with it, just NMS. As for Eleanora, for some reason I find this to be a bit of a mouthful, but I do love Nora.

13
By mk
November 23, 2015 3:33 PM

Imogen or Clara. Or Nora on its own.

Yes, Coraline feels a bit dark if you know the connection, but honestly that makes me like it much more.

14
November 23, 2015 8:20 PM

How wonderful! 

First, if Coraline is the one you love, I think you should use it. I only sort of know the Coraline story, but I think those pop culture things fade fast. Plus, there is always Cora, and I can't imagine anyone finding Cora dark. 

Having said that, it wouldn't be my top choice personally, only because I love some of your others more.

My top pick would be Clara. I think it shares the qualities that make Juliet such a wonderful name-feminine and elegant but confident and classic. I can imagine either on a girl or grown woman. 

Eleanora nn Nora is my 2nd pick for much the same reasons. Nora is fairly popular in my area, but it doesn't seem overly so.

I'm just not a fan of Imogen.

I Really, Really like the idea of Corinna. Is the constant hassling with how to say and spell it a bother to you? 

I love Elizabeth, especially with the nn Liddy. It could easily be a top pick as well.....you have the happy problem of having a list full of great choices! 

I do adore Penelope and the nn Pippa. For whatever reason, I don't love it with Juliet. A shade too whimsical perhaps? 

In any case, you can't really go wrong here. 

15
November 24, 2015 12:06 AM

Congratulations!  You have some lovely choices.

Personally I'm having a hard time saying Corinna correctly - I keep trying to say Co-REEN-a.  Don't know if this will be a common problem or if it's just me.

16
November 24, 2015 3:31 PM

Thank you all for your insights! We read over everything and talked last night. We've decided to drop Corinna from consideration, since it fell to the bottom of both our lists.

We're not ready to make a decision yet, but it looks like the current front-runner is Penelope/Pippa. It's true that Penelope isn't a name either of us would have chosen independently from the nn Pippa, but we're both really excited about Pippa, and we like Penelope. I think dh would be perfectly happy putting Pippa on the birth certificate, but I worry that it's too "lightweight." Our genetic makeup will likely predestine her to be a short, slight-framed woman, and I worry that the diminuitive name, with its similarly to the word pipsqueak, might be something she wants to escape at some point. So she'd have the option to become Penelope or Nell if she prefers something more substantial.

Coraline is still near the top of dh's list, but I have more reservations about it now than I did the first time it was on our list. We ended up ditching it the first time partly because dh didn't like Cora or Coral as nns. He's warmed up to Cora, but I'm concerned we'll end up with a Corey, which I just don't like at all.

Eleanora is still high on my list, despite the apparent popularity of similiar names. I do think our naming climate here in the south is pretty different than where Eleanor is popular. Girl names here trend strongly toward bell-tones and creative mashups (Kinley, Brynnley, Paisley, Kaylee, EmmaLynn, etc), so I feel pretty confident that none of the names on our list will face popularity issues.

Imogen seems to be sitting in the middle of both of our lists, with Elizabeth and Clara bringing up the rear as the pretty but safe choices.

I might as well bring up middle names while we're here, and get opinions on those. Juliet's mn is my sister's first name, so we'll want to give girl #2 a family name as well. Since she'll probably be our last child, I think it would be wisest to try to honor both grandmothers (since choosing one would be a nightmare). Luckily, their middle names work together well: Marie and Ann. So I'm thinking either Ann-Marie or Mariann (pronounced Mary-Ann), depending on which works better with our first-name choice. I'm desperately wishing it was Anne-with-an-E, which is not only prettier but would clear up pronounciation on Mariann, but I think it would be less of an honor name to change it for those reasons. Am I missing any other options to honor both names?

17
November 24, 2015 3:54 PM

I think you could easily do Marianne, on the theory that you're just moving the -e from Marie/inserting Ann into Marie.

If you're willing to go a little further afield, I think Marina, Marian, or Annamaria would all work, as well, but I do think Anne-Marie and Marianne are the clearest honor names.

18
November 24, 2015 6:46 PM

And even further afield there are options like Marianna, Anna-Mara, Annemie and Maryann (or Maryanne or Mary-Ann(e)).

I also don't think it detracts from the honouring of Marie and Ann to add that e. Marianne is my favourite, and I also love Ann-Marie (slightly prefer Annemarie, but this way you keep the namesakes' names as is). 

19
By PJ
November 25, 2015 1:35 AM

My niece is an Ann Marie, also named after her two grandmothers. It's nice when two names from two different families blend together so well- at least the grandmother's weren't named Carol and Sandra.

I will echo others in saying that moving the e around doesn't eliminate the honoring part of the name.

20
November 25, 2015 4:59 AM

Agreed. I think Marianne clears up any pronunciation issues, still clearly honours both grandmas, and gives her a Leonard Cohen song to identify with!

21
November 25, 2015 11:46 AM

If you go with Imogen you could have a Shakespearean theme, which I like!

22
November 26, 2015 3:14 PM

I love Eleanore and Nora, especially Nora. Many beautiful meanings, easy to pronounce for nearly everyone in the world, classy, elegant, intelligent,....

I do also like Corinna, its classy, not too popular and nn can be Cora, Cori, Ori, Rinna all cute for a little girl. I think your pronounciation is a very good choice. Its close to Coraline too.

 

Another nice name is Coralie, from french but not too popular anywhere in the world.

23
By TKB
November 28, 2015 8:42 PM

Not to be flippant, but Coraline is certainly no darker in popular culture than Juliet. Last I checked, Romeo and Juliet didn't end happily, but the name is still lovely and romantic.  That connection makes me like them together even more. 

24
November 29, 2015 12:54 AM

Penelope Marianna!

 

like Elizabeth nn Ella. 

25
December 4, 2015 3:12 PM

We've decided that Juliet's sister is Penelope Marianne, called Pippa. Turns out that both dh and I were thinking of her as Pippa in our heads for several days without telling the other, so it was good that we talked about it. The name just feels right for our family, and I get a little thrill when I refer to our Pippa.

We decided to go ahead and share her name this week. The good news is that most of our friends love it. My husband works with teens and they absolutely adore it (a few girls even asked if they could use it for their future daughters :))

As far as family goes, I'm not sure we received a single sincere positive comment. Nobody said anything outright negative. A couple of the grandparents went the route of "if you have nothing nice to say..." so we got zero feedback. We weren't expecting it to be a crowd pleaser, so we're not too bothered. What did throw me off a little was that neither grandmother even acknowledged the middle name honor. I'm not sure if that means they dislike it (maybe due to having to "share" it) or maybe all of their attention was focused on the first name.

So now we just have to sit back and wait to meet our Pippa in the spring! Thanks again for all of the advice we received here.

26
December 4, 2015 5:53 PM

How wonderful!!

As has often been said on here, your relatives will come around almost instantly. I'm sure they just aren't up on naming trends and don't know that old is new again.

My father was just sure our H@nry would be made fun of-if you can imagine, with how popular it is now. 

Thanks so much for the update.

27
By rooo
December 4, 2015 6:07 PM

Great choice! Congrats on your decision!

28
December 6, 2015 5:34 PM

I can only imagine what their reaction would have been to Imogen!

Congrats on settling on a name. My family didn't like either of our children's names and it did bother us but over time it gets forgotten. 

29
December 6, 2015 10:15 PM

Lovely choice, and it's definitely the right one if you get a little thrill each time you use it. :-)

As I recall, Marianne is based on the middle names of the grandmothers, right? If so, I suspect grandmas simply didn't notice it -- they don't think of themselves as Marie or Ann, so the not-their-style first and nickname was plenty to distract them. My prediction is that when little Pippa arrives and her birth and full name are announced, the grandparents will suddenly notice the middle name, and be totally honored. They'll probably ask you why you didn't include the middle name in your first name announcement back around Thanksgiving.

30
December 7, 2015 1:55 AM

A fabulous choice with a lot of flair... and I think the feeling-right and the little thrill are indicators that this is a perfect choice for your family!

As for the grandparent reactions, I think I might spell out the middle name honoring a little more explicitly when the baby arrives. I suspect, like HNG suggests, that they were just not thinking it through because after all their own middle names aren't Marianne, and perhaps middle names aren't quite so intrinsically tied to our identities that we immediately notice variants of them, especially when they're busy digesting Pippa/Penelope.

Congratulations, and I hope the wait for Pippa's arrival is uneventful and comfortable!

31
December 8, 2015 1:28 AM

Congrats on a lovely name chosen! How fun that you both are thinking of her the same way. As far as family reactions, I think you've got the right idea not letting it get to you. My son's middle name is Robert, in honor of my dad and my (maternal) grandfather. It's the exact same name they both have as their first but for some reason my grandpa originally discounted it as an honor. He seemed to think that I was only intending to honor my own father until I explained that my intentions included him as well. Now he's outrageously proud of his great-grandson and namesake. With honor names I think it's largely the thought that counts, but sometimes your thinking needs to be spelled out to the honorees.

32
December 14, 2015 10:33 AM

Thank you all for your encouragement! A couple updates on the name reception over the weeks...

We had a Christmas stocking made for Pippa and posted a photo on FB. We've been very surprised to have at least 3-4 people ask us how to pronounce it. I'm not sure what their other guesses are. Peep-uh? Maybe like Piper-with-an-A? We thought Pippa Middleton would be a common reference point, but I suppose she's not as known as I thought. 

My mom finally shared her opinion on the name. Turns out that her previous silence on the middle name was just a style issue. She thinks Penelope Marianne is too heavy and doesn't flow well, and Marianne is "too Gilligan's Island." She suggested Penelope Ann (which would give up her own honor in the name) or Ann-Marie. I'd be fine changing it to Ann-Marie, but dh isn't on board with that, so I guess we'll keep it the way it is. My mom also doesn't dig Pippa and decided she'll call her Pixie. That's definitely not my favorite but I figure for a grandparent she'll see once or twice a month, it's not worth arguing over. I'll just pray it doesn't stick :)

33
December 14, 2015 10:42 AM

When my sister Ann@lise was born, our grandmother decided it was too frilly and that she would call her Annie. The rest of our family hated it, and although she can be quite stubborn she gave it up before my sister was a year old. I wouldn't be too worried. :)

34
December 14, 2015 4:47 PM

Ha! Ann-Marie reminds me of the character Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas) from That Girl.

Penelope Ann reminds me of Penelope Ann Miller, the actress.

Gilligan's Island didn't occur to me since Mary Ann (especially Marianne as a middle) has been worn by many other characters and real people.

I too would have been surprised that Pippa Middleton would not be as well known, and even then, the confusion on pronunciation.

"My mom also doesn't dig Pippa and decided she'll call her Pixie." - Hilarious! You would think Penny would be the logical choice - and Pixie is better than Pippa? Your mom sounds like a hoot (I mean this in a good way :).