Suggestions For Other Names And Spelling Preferences For First Baby Girl

I am weeks away from having my first little girl. We love the name Lila but aren't sure about the spelling. I feel like people are less likely to mispronounce Lyla but are less likely to misspell Lila. i also like the symetry when writing Lilah.


Any thoughts?

Also, we want a list of other options but need help. Our only other options are Natalie, Nina and Caroline. We don't want anything too popular. 


July 20, 2016 10:41 PM

Lila always makes me hesitate.  My first guess would be lie-lah, but I could also see some people wanting lee-lah, similar to the name Mila.

Like you, I like the look of Lilah best.  I also don't have the hesitation I have with Lila, perhaps because I can't think of any names that look similar with the "ee-ah" sound to them.  This is the spelling I think I would use.

I've never really cared for Lyla.  I lean more towards wanting it to sound like Lee-lah, probably because of lyra and lyric.

By mk
July 21, 2016 12:16 AM

I like the Lila spelling best and have always assumed it was Lie-la. Lyla is fine, but I don't really like Lilah. The h just seems random and unnecessary to me.

Other names: Camilla, Rosalie, Lena

July 21, 2016 5:50 AM

Oh  I like Lila too, although my husband doesn't :( And I'm also worried people would mispronounce it. But I would definitely pronounce it Lila and I like that splling the best personally. Nice and simple.


I also like Natalie and Nina so maybe we have similar tastes. Other names we're thinking about are Daisy, Holly, Imogen, Claire, Jenna, Ellie and Brooke to name a few...

By Feya
July 21, 2016 1:15 PM

Congrats on your first daughter.

I love the name Lilah. I don't think the H look unnecessary. 

Put of you other options I like Natalie and Caroline. Never been keen on Nina.

Other suggestions...








July 21, 2016 10:10 AM

/LIE-lah/ is one of those "you can't win" sets of sounds in English, because an unambiguous spelling simply doesn't exist. Lila is /lee-la/ in every European language besides English. (In Hungarian, it's the word for 'purple'.) Lyla is slightly clearer, because most languages don't commonly use 'y' as a vowel, but even knowing that it's "English rules" (whatever those are!) doesn't really help, because 'lyric' and 'lyre' have different sounds assigned to the 'y'. Lilah, to me, seems the most pointlessly confusing choice, because I can't think of a name or word that follows this pattern, so there's no analogy to help with the pronunciation, and (as far as I know) there's no historical or etymological basis for the 'h', either.

Of your other options, my favorite is Natalie. The pronunciation is unambiguous, it only has the one standard/common spelling, it offers nickname flexibility (the little Natalie I know sometimes goes by Nonny), and it has never been out of the top 1000 in the past 135 years, but without ever (quite) hitting the top 10.

July 21, 2016 12:42 PM

Knowing that Lila (lee-la) is Hungarian for purple makes me like the name w/ that spelling more.  It also occured to me that I didn't know the word for purple in German.  After looking it up, I find that it is also Lila.

I could see having fun with a sibset with non-English color names.

Sisters named Lila, Blanche & Rosa?  Brothers called Rory & Donovan?

July 21, 2016 2:19 PM

Natalie is currently in the top 50, it's at 27 right now and last year was 23.

July 21, 2016 11:04 AM

This is always a tough one. I don't feel like the H looks superfluous, but maybe that's because I'm used to seeing Hebrew words and names transliterated and the -ah ending is thus very familiar. LIE-luh (more or less) is Hebrew for "night", so I've seen that word written in English letters spelled Lailah -- so there you have the H plus an additional A, for good measure :) (I've also seen the Lyla spelling, for example on my cousin's dog, who is as black as night). 

Lila is, for me, the most ambiguous to read. I go with LIE-lah first, but then second-guess myself. Lyra makes Lyla quite ambiguous, too. The best thing going for these spellings is that LIE-luh as a pronunciation in English seems to be more popular than LEE-la, so you're likely to get that guess from monolingual Anglophones (I think.)

July 21, 2016 1:07 PM

Lailah, for me, introduces yet another pronunciation: /lay-lah/. (Lay as in may, way, etc.)

I think, but can't prove, that Lilah would be most likely to get the /lie-lah/ pronunciation, precisely because it doesn't follow the pattern of any common words. Thus, you don't reason out the pronunciation based on other words you know (and come to the wrong conclusion, or worse, sit there dithering back and forth), you just simply recall that this is that name that's pronounced /lie-lah/.

July 21, 2016 1:46 PM

Oh! I didn't even realize that there was the extra A there. I wasn't suggesting an additional spelling, only saying that the H at the end seemed natural to me. I agree that the A adds another layer of ambiguity. (Likewise Layla and Laila, which my friend used with the pronunciation LIE-la, not realizing how unclear it was.)

(In Hebrew, the word isn't really LIE-luh, it's la+y+la, which, when said quickly sounds more or less like LIE-lah, so the additional A in there actually serves to represent the vowel attached to the L... which probably doesn't make much sense if you don't know how Hebrew is written, but you're going to have to trust me on that one.)

July 21, 2016 2:19 PM

HNG is correct that this is a difficult set of sounds and letters. However, I think if you are in the US, in an area without a large population of some other European language, that Lila will get the Lie- pronunciation 99% of the time. The word it looks closest to to me is lilac, which (as far as I know) always uses lie- for the first syllable, though the stress and second vowel can vary. This *might* make a useful mnemonic, unless it causes folks to pronounce the second syllable funny. (*Lilac* also makes it perfectly logical to me that lila would mean purple in various languages.) I also agree with you that going the other direction, from pronunciation to spelling, you would be most likely to get Lila in the US.

I'm not generally a fan of the prosthetic -h, absent a sentimental reason for it (e.g. it is the standard spelling in a heritage language). It generally makes me want to try to change the pronunciation in some way, and Lilah suggests lie-LAH or lee-LAH instead of LIE-luh to me.

Lyla is aesthetically my least favorite option. If you are naming for a Lyle, I would use this spelling; otherwise, I don't think the potential (small) increase in correct pronunciations is worth the large decrease in ease-of-spelling.

TOH's comment reminds me that I've also always really liked the name Layla/Leila, the former of which seems fairly unambiguous in terms of pronunciation (though I prefer the more ambiguous Leila spelling--I would probably use the mnemonic "the first syllable is Lei, like the Hawaiian flower garland" if using that spelling).

For a few more purple-flower-inspired names with similar sounds, perhaps Iris or Violet? Viola is also very appealing with the other names on your list (and also because I'm going to see Twelfth Night this weekend), though it unfortunately introduces its own set of pronunciation ambiguities. For a non-flower name, perhaps Irene?

July 21, 2016 2:40 PM

When I commented, I forgot that I wanted to mention the lilac connection, too -- both as a mnemonic and as a connection to purple. That both of us thought of it means that it might actually be useful.

July 21, 2016 10:36 PM

I like the name Lila (perferred spelling) but I love Layla more. I also really like Nina, Caroline and Natalie. I think I like Lilia and Nina the best. Below are some names that may peak your interest:


Audrina, Anya, Briar, Colette, Camille, Dinah, Daphne, Elina, Fiona, Greta, Gemma, Isla, Ivy, Junia, Jade, Juliette, Kenna, Kira, Leona, Mia, Melina, Naomi, Oona, Phoebe, Quinn, Ruby, Roxana, Rowan, Shelby, Shyla, Tabitha, Tallulah, Tessa, Valerie, Violet, Willa, Zara

July 22, 2016 2:19 AM

I agree with nedibes that Lila would get the Lie-la pronunciation in the US. I absolutely would never think of the lei/lay or lee pronunciation, ever. I like it and with this spelling.

Nina is one of my new favorites - and have always like Natalie.

Caroline is fine also, just not my style. I prefer Nina, Lila and Natalie in that order.

Good luck!

July 22, 2016 2:42 PM

I am in the US and would have zero question in my mind that Lila is pronounced Lie-la in English.   Personally I would choose the Lilah spelling -- I'm particularly drawn to those final Hs (my daughter is Norah). But Lila is the classic spelling and will be most people's assumption about how the name is spelled upon hearing it.  So I'd say if you don't have a strong pull to the alternate spellings Lyla or Lilah, I'd choose Lila.  

However spelled, it's a lovely name.  So are Natalie, Nina, and Caroline, although as others have mentioned they may be on the popular side for you.  Maybe Natalia?   

Other ideas for you:  Claire, Juliet, Nora(h), Amelia, Mia, Stella, Anna, Samantha, Lucy, Violet, Clara, Leah, Louisa, Lily, Lena, Lydia, Audrey, Joanna, Maya, Gabrielle.

Although Charlotte is very popular right now, it also came to mind for you.  

July 24, 2016 11:45 AM

I prefer Lila the best. My cousin has a daughter named Lyl@h, which I feel is a bit much and not very intuitive. People always spell it incorrectly. I have never actually met anyone that pronounces Lila any way other than Lye-luh- never heard a Lee-lah before. Lilah is also okay, I just think it adds more complication than necessary.

July 25, 2016 12:21 AM

I think all the spellings you have listed are intuitive and would get the correct pronunciation most of the time. My order of preference would be Lila, Lilah, Lyla. All are good though and not "too much", whereas a spelling like Lylah, Lyelah or Liyla might be. 

I love all the names you like. If you want some more options Ruby, Lena, Bryony, Juliet, Melisande, Clarice, Evie, Clementine, Annika, Edith, Adeline, Eliza, Rosalyn, Pippa, Emmeline, Gillian, Cecily, Vivian, Adelaide, Genevieve, Ivy, Amelie & Ida come to mind.

July 25, 2016 1:56 AM

Do you like the name Delilah?  Lilah could be a nickname, and then the spelling and pronunciation would both be pretty intuitive.