S Names

I am pregnant with my first. A girl. We have plenty of time to choose a name.

We really want the name to begin with S. 

Some names we like are...


Sophie/Sofie (which spellings is the nicest and which ones are the most popular?)

Sophia/Sofia/Sofiah/Sofiyah/Sofiya (which spellings is the nicest and which ones are the most popular?)


Sarah/Sara/Saira (which spellings is the nicest and which ones are the most popular?)

Can you suggest some names? We like names that are clearly girls names and not unisex. We also want the name not to be to popular. 




December 21, 2015 12:23 PM

My favorite s name is Sylvie, it has all the spunk of Sophie but is more unexpected.

If that isn't your style I also love Seraphina!

December 21, 2015 12:31 PM


First of all, if you are looking for information on popularity and spellings, Name Nerds has some great info.


This list of the top 7000 girl's names (from 2013) combines spellings to show the popularity of a name.


You will see that Sophia and it's various spellings top the list at most popular. Since you said you'd prefer something less popular, I would remove versions of Sophia and Sophie (a common nickname for those Sophias) from your list. I personally am not a fan of creative spellings and don't believe that it accomplishes making a name more unique as it is still pretty much the same name and still sounds the same as the popular common spelling but gives a child a lifetime of correcting people.

Sarah/Sara and variations are 49 on the list. Definitely less popular than Sophia, but in the top 50. It depends on what your definition of "not popular" is, but I would see Sarah or Sara as being a classic name that has medium popularity right now.

Serena is at 330 and Seren is at 1767 and was only given to 50 girls in 2013.

Of our list, I think I like Serena best for you. It uses a known spelling to minimize confusion for your child, but it also not very popular right now so she will most likely be unique amongst her peers.

Some other suggestions of feminine S names: Sabine/Sabina, Sabrina, Seraphina (a very feminine alternative to Sarah/Sara -- nickname Sera), Stella, Sylvia.


December 21, 2015 1:56 PM

Popularity isn't what it used to be, but I agree that if you're after a unique name, you should probably rule out Sophie and Sophia. 

As to spelling, Sophie doesn't sound different than Sofie, so I always vote for using the most typical spelling for your area. Unless there is a compelling reason, I would go with Sophie and Sophia.

I think Serena and Sarah are lovely names. I just don't care for Seren, but it has fans on this site.

I'm sure you've looked through the S section of the baby name book, so it's hard for me to imagine we'd suggest something you haven't considered.

I'll offer Sasha or Sienna as possible alternatives to Sophia/Sophie, and Selah (Like Kayla with an S), just because I think it might appeal to you. Susannah might be an alternative to Sara.

I very much like the previous poster's suggestion of Sabrina for you.

December 21, 2015 6:41 PM

I agree that popularity isn't as big of a deal as it used to be.  Also, it doesn't really matter if Sophie or Sofie is the most popular spelling.  When called on the playground, they will sound the same.  Sophie & Sofie in the same class at school will both still need to be called Sophie LastInitial.  I'd say pick the spelling that is most intuitive & correct for where you are.  If both of these things are equal, pick the spelling you like best.

So, between Sophie & Sofie, I'd say there isn't really much of a difference.  Both will get you the pronunciation you want. Sophie is more popular, so Sofie will likely need clarification.  However, "Sofie with an F" isn't a huge deal to explain.

I would avoid Sofiah, Sofiyah & Sofiya.  The spellings aren't intuitive in an English speaking context (I assume you are in an English speaking country).  They are likely to cause confusion & need more explanation than something like "Sofia with an F."  Sophia is the most popular spelling, if you want to know specific rankings for each, I suggest you look them up on the Social Security Baby Name website (assuming you in the U.S.).

Sarah/Sara are both fine, sort of like the difference between Sophie/Sofie-both will get you what you want without unnecssary confusion or complications.  Personally, I would avoid Saira unless you have a specific reason for wanting that name, noting that it's not just a variant of Sarah/Sara.  If you are interested in name meanings & origins the website Behind the Name.com is a nice resource.

Serena & Seren are both lovely.  I slightly prefer Seren, but you really can't go wrong with either.

Sophie/Sophia and Sara/Sarah makes me think you might like Seraphina/Serafina.  I'll also suggest Sabrina, Selina, Sonia, Sierra, Scarlett & Simone.

December 21, 2015 7:10 PM

I think Serena and Seren are both names that I'd put into the familiar but uncommon in usage category. I know people by these names, but not more than one in a very large circle of acquaintance. I think Serena is one that everyone will have heard of, thanks to Ms Williams, and Seren is more likely to be unfamiliar to some people and need more clarification.

Sophie and variants - I definitely feel you on this one. For a long time, we loved the idea of naming our daughter Sophie... it would probably have been short for Sophonisba in our case, but in the end we decided that as the #1 name in our state, Sophia-similar names were just too popular. Changing the spelling doesn't really change the problem -- the names all still sound alike. Many of the Sophias I know go by Sophie, so I group these two together.

Sophronia shares many of the same sounds, but is I think still perceivable as a distinct name (and nicknames could include Phronsie). I will also suggest Seraphina or Serafina, which can be both be Sera for short, but also Fina and has a distinct long form to fall back on.

Sara(h) is a name that I would categorize as even more popular than Sophie, actually, because I know SO MANY Sara(h)s. They are mostly parent age, so I think it would be substantially less oversaturated for your daughter's generation, but it's still a name that doesn't really feel fresh yet because there are just so many people that I use the name Sara(h) on every day. Watching my children try to sort out which Ms Sarah the other is talking about is always an exercise in hilarity. If you did use Sara(h), I would consider using a lesser-known nickname (like Sadie or Sally) sometimes, so that if your little Sarah did need to distinguish herself from others in a particular situation, she could go by Sally or Sadie in that context. This is always an option for every Sarah, but I think both nicknames are now regarded as such separate names that I think for it to feel like HER name you would need to have kept the name in circulation at least on an occasional basis.

(I recently encountered twins named Sarah and Sadie, suggesting that people don't really know the origins!)

December 21, 2015 7:36 PM

I am in the common spelling camp.  Sophie or Sophia are lovely, and I prefer the traditionally spelled Sarah.  Sylvie or Sylvia would be a nice, less popular alternative to Sophie/Sophia.

December 21, 2015 8:42 PM

I really like the name Serena.  I think its has a really nice, elegant sound. The only issue is that it sounds ike Selena, which is taken over by Selena Gomez, but I don't know if this would be an issue for you.

The Sophie/Sophia names are definitely the most common.  Sophie is only 91, but I think that all of the name spellings and variations are similar enough that if you wanted to avoid popular names, you would want to avoid them.  However, Sophie/Sophia is a great name.  Personally, I like it with the "ph"

I don't like Seren.  It has not been in the top 1000 names in the US since 1900, so it is definitely not popular.  Still, I much prefer Serena.

Sarah is popular, but not super popular, and dropping.  I like the spelling Sara– it is a little more interesting and less popular.

Other names like the ones you mentioned: I'll second Sylvie/Sylvia, Sage/Saige, Sadie

Other S names: Sabine/Sabina/Sabrina, Samantha (still pretty popular, but not as popular as it was), Simone, Sasha (although might be taken by Obama), Stephanie, Stella, , Selena (again, very commonly associated with "Gomez," but I think less and less)

December 22, 2015 1:10 AM

If Selena is Gomez, then Serena is Williams. Six of one and half a dozen of the other....

December 22, 2015 11:44 AM

Definitely true– my sports knowledge is not what it should be, so I forgot about Williams

December 22, 2015 2:12 AM

My name is Sarah, and I love it. I used to wish I had a different name because of its popularity, but it's much less common on babies now than it was when I was born. Another option is Sarabeth, still Sara(h) but much less common.

I also LOVE Sophie despite its popularity, and I prefer that spelling.

Samantha, Sybil, Sierra, and Shiloh are also nice, or even Shalom.

December 22, 2015 7:14 PM

I agree that Sophie/Sophia is much too popular if you want a more unique name. Sarah is a little less popular for current babies, but she will meet lots of older Sarahs. This isn't necessarily bad as the name is timeless. 


FWIW I really like Serena. Seren sounds unisex and like Sarin gas to me.

December 22, 2015 8:04 PM

Thanks for everyone's input so far. My husband and I have discussed names further today and decided we love Serena and Sofie/Sophie the best. We prefer the Sophie spelling. We live in the UK and have come across a little Sophie before now but not Sofie.

From your suggestions we like...

Seraphina - it may be to girly for our liking

Stella - the beer springs to mind



Sadie - is to much of a nickname?

Other ideas we have had...


Sannah or Sanna







 One name we can't use is Stephanie as I have an uncle Steven.

December 22, 2015 8:20 PM

Why does an uncle Steven preclude Stephanie?  To me, unless the relationship is poor or difficult, I don't see why a similar name isn't an option. 

I would also advise you to consider why you like "uncommon" names. Did you like Sophia, think it was uncommon, and determine you liked uncommon names? Or did you like uncommonness and think Sophia fit the bill?  Because I do get the sense that much of the Sophia/Ava/Olivia wave is an attempt to be "different" from the perception (not reality) that most parents are choosing oddly-spelled, untraditional names for their daughters. If you love Sophia on its own merits, I think you should go with it. 

As for other suggestions, I like the "Sara" spelling for Sarah. Somehow they sound different in my mind, or bring up different quasi-synesthetic relationships (for some reason Sarah is dark brown and beige like good soil, Sara is red and orange like a fire to me). 

December 24, 2015 1:41 PM

I don't really want to answer why we can't include Stephanie. Lets just say my uncle is not a very nice person and we don't want to be reminded of him.

December 24, 2015 3:12 PM

That makes perfect sense. I wasn't trying to pry, just pointing out that merely having a relative with that name doesn't disqualify the name. There are plenty of relatives whose names I wouldn't use because of the person, but it is because of my relationship with that person, not because it's my cousin, or my uncle, or aunt, etc. 

December 22, 2015 9:04 PM

I echo the query from Optatus: why does your uncle rule out a cross-gender namesake? Do you despise your uncle for some reason?

Sadie would be too much a nickname for my tastes, and for probably the majority of US parents, but in the nickname-happy UK it'd fit right in. However, if you'd like to give your child some options (a notion I applaud), then I have an idea: Sadie is traditionally a nickname for Sarah, and Seraphina can shorten to Sera, which in my accent sounds identical to Sarah. So how about Seraphina, nicknamed Sadie?

But if Sophie is what you like best, don't let popularity deter you. Yes, Sophia and variants are globally the most popular feminine names right now (http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2015/11/the-worlds-favorite-girls-name), but all that means is that a lot of people like it. Nowadays, no name gets the sort of overwhelming usage that Mary or Jennifer got, and the repeated names in one's acquaintance can just as easily rank 100th as 10th.

December 24, 2015 1:44 AM

It probably wouldn't be my choice, but I think Sadie can stand on its own.

I know of two Sadies and neither is a nickname.

In fact, I bet most of the young moms considering using Sadie don't know that it Is one! 

I know that will startle the regulars on here, but we forget that much of the rest of the world just picks names they like and doesn't give a bit of thought to them apart from that! 

I agree with everyone else that if you love Sophie you shouldn't let popularity disuade you from it.

December 24, 2015 2:25 PM

In reading birth announcements in an alumni magazine, we spotted twins named Sarah and Sadie -- I think you're right that many people don't know the connection between the two.

December 22, 2015 9:51 PM

I echo others' suggestion of Sylvie, and I'll also add Soleil as another to consider.

December 23, 2015 11:39 AM

I think that if you are going for not popular, Sophie/Sophia may not be the best route. Those are both extremely popular right now! Sarah would be the preferred spelling IMO for that choice, and I think it is a great one and a classic name. I think Seren is more masculine, but Serena is fine, just NMS.


Other ideas:















December 23, 2015 7:01 PM

Sarah is a very common name, so if you don't want your girl confused with other girls (like in school) I wouldn't go with Sarah.

Sophia is very nice, and the most common spelling is with the "ph"

Serena is gorgeous, I've always admired that name.

Others I know of:

Samantha (Sam/Sammy), Savannah, Skyler(Schuyler, Skylar), Shannon, Shay(Shea, Shaye),  Sydney(Sidney, Sid), Sienna/Sierra, Stella, Stephanie(Stefanie).