Ava, Adeline/Adaline or Elsie?

We want something for our baby girl that is feminine, pretty, "old lady", to stand the test of time so it suits her in both childhood and adulthood. Our surname is difficult to spell and pronounce, so need something simple. We'd also like it to match a boy's name we already have picked out for future use, Oscar Reuben.

The final three are...

Ava - I like that it's short, vintage, feminine, sweet and can't possibly be misspelled. But, is Ava too common?

Adeline/Adaline - I like that it's elegant, glamorous and "old lady", plus she could have the nickname Addie or Ada. But, is it too hard to spell? Which spelling is the traditional way? Will people mispronounce it and say "Ad-ah-lyn" instead of what I want, which is "Ad-ah-line". Is it too similar to Madeline?

Elsie - I like that it's pretty, sweet, spunky, very old-school, a little uncommon. But, does Elsie sound too much like a nickname? Will people assume it's short for Elsa or Elsbeth? Is it too "cutesy" for when she becomes a woman one day? Will people go to call her Elise instead?

Let me know your thoughts


November 3, 2013 12:48 AM

I really love the name Ava.  I don't think it is too popular.  I've only met one little girl with this name.  I don't think Elsie will be confused with Elise, but it does seem a bit like a nickname.  I wouldn't let this be a dealbreaker, but you could choose a longer name and use this as a nn if this bothers you.  I also think Sadie is a cute name that meets your criteria.

November 3, 2013 3:57 AM

Thanks for your feedback! We don't have any Avas amongst our family, friends or aquaintances, so Ava doesn't seem that popular to me either (even though the name is supposedly #5 where I live). I don't really like any longer versions of Elsie, but I think the nickname thing won't bother me very much - the fact that Elsie is a bit unusual outweighs this for me. I LOVE Sadie, but my best friend has this on her list, plus my husband doesn't like it :( Thanks again.

November 3, 2013 10:46 AM

My son has an Adaline in his class at school, and no one seems confused about her name pronunciation.  I don't know if Adaline or Adeline is more traditional, though. 

Aside from the nickname-y aspect, I think Elsie is a lovely name on its own. It's no longer in common use as a nickname for Elizabeth in a lot of places, which makes it stand alone better.  I would personally (as in, if I were naming a child) consider the Scottish "Elspeth", because it's unusual and fun and gives you easy access to "Elsie" as a nickname, but I don't think Elsie *in general* needs a "real" name to go with it.

November 4, 2013 5:08 PM

Thanks Laura. My friend pronounced Adeline "Ad-ah-lyn" when I showed it to her the other day. Not sure how many other poeple will do the same, too? I looked up the spelling and it seems the more popular version back in the 1880s was Adeline, not Adaline.

I still really love Elsie. I think I agree with you that it is a stand alone name, because I've looked it up and it's been around for years and years. Thanks for the suggestion Elspeth - my husband doesn't like this, though :( I didn't realise Elsie was sometimes a nickname for Elizabeth. This is nice to know because Elizabeth is my mother-in-law's name (who I love!) I figured her nickname could be Elle if she wanted an alternative when she's older. I quite like this.

By EVie
November 3, 2013 9:30 PM

My favorite of your choices is Adeline (and I like it a lot). If you look at its derivation, it is a variant of Adelaide via Adele, and therefore the spelling with the e is the more traditional version (the -ine ending is a French diminutive, so Adeline = "little Adele"). I prefer the "line" pronunciation that you want, and that's what I would default to, but I've never met anyone with this name, so I don't know if most people would do the same. It does sound similar to Madeline, but that probably wouldn't bother me. The Adaline spelling looks a little more creative to me, like an elaboration of Ada, and I think you might have some people think that's how it's pronounced—AY-da-line.

Ava is beautiful, but it has been very popular for many years now. I probably wouldn't use it myself for that reason, but it depends on how much you love it, how high your tolerance for popularity is, and how common it is in your immediate area (there are big regional differences in name popularity).

Elsie is very cute, but as a full name it's too nicknamey for my tastes. I do like it as a nickname for Elisabeth, Elspeth or Eloise. I think you could also pull it off as a nickname for other El- names, even if they don't have the s—Eleanor, Elodie, etc.

November 4, 2013 5:13 PM

Thanks Evie. I also discovered that Adeline is the more traditional spelling when I researched a little further. I'd prefer to go for traditional with her name, rather than creative.

I still love Ava, but don't know if I have the tolerance for the popularity of it. Because I'm a teacher, I see multiple names all the time. I have three Chloes and two Jacksons in my grade this year! I'm thinking that I might steer away from it for this reason.

I've tried the other "El-" names with my husband, but he doesn't like any of them :( I'm still undecided as to whether I feel it's too "nicknamey". I think Elle would make a nice option for her into adulthood if she wanted to use it.

Thanks for your thoughts.

November 4, 2013 10:15 PM

I think all three of your name options are beautiful! 

Ava: I don't think that Ava is too popular. Supposedly, it was #6 in my state for 2012 (for a grand total of 383 girls with that name), but I have yet to come across a single one. I think you'll have an incredibly easy time with pronounciation and spelling. As long as you stress the A beginning, no one will assume her name is Eva. 

Adeline/Adaline: I actually haven't heard this name before, but it's pretty close to Adelaide, which I like due to Guys & Dolls. With Adeline, I definitely say "add-ah-line", but Adaline I'm not sure. With Ada as a nickname, I'd probably say "A-dah-aline" with a long A at the beginning. 

Elsie: So, I actually have Elsa on my baby name list for our NEXT baby (I'm due with this one in a little over 5 weeks, but I just can't STOP thinking of names...ever) with the nickname Elsie. So, I am a FAN of Elsie. I don't think that it necessarily HAS to have a "full name" to go with it, but I, personally, prefer it as a nickname. I don't think that people would confuse it with Elise upon HEARING it because they have two very distinct sounds, but upon just reading her name...they MIGHT say "Elise" once. All it takes it one correction, though. =)

I don't think you can go wrong with ANY of the names and, unfortunately, I can't help you narrow your list down because I love them all. Good luck!

November 4, 2013 10:33 PM

Thank you Mrs. H. It seems we have similar tastes!

It's interesting that you noted that even though Ava was #6 in your state, that it only surmounted to a grand total of 383 girls born in that year. It really doesn't seem that popular once you crunch the numbers, I guess. At the school that I teach at, I haven't come across any Avas yet. Hmmm, food for thought.

I think I've decided on the spelling Adeline, rather than Adaline. You make a good point about the long "A" sound if it were to be spelled Adaline.

Elsa is a lovely variation to Elsie, but hubby doesn't agree, unfortuantely. Congrats on your baby. 5 weeks isn't long at all. Out of interest, what name have you decided on?

November 5, 2013 3:49 PM

Yes, it's really worth checking out the SSA stats for your actual state and seeing the actual numbers because I think it DOES make a huge difference. The #1 boys name in my state (Virginia) was William last year and I only know one. You can look up the stats for your state here: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/state/

Wouldn't it be so much easier to name these babies without our husband's opinions? LOL. Thank you; I'm pretty ready to meet our little girl, so 5 weeks is seeming like a lifetime at this point. We decided on Maeve Cordelia H for her.

November 5, 2013 12:15 AM

I guess I am the only one old enough to remember barbershop quartets singing "Sweet Adeline."  In fact, the organization of female barbershop quartets is called the Sweet Adelines.  For me that is the first association with the name, and in that context it is very familiar, although I don't think I ever met an Adeline.  Adelaides, yes, but not Adeline.

November 5, 2013 7:43 AM

Okay, I have another couple of options to consider since doing some further digging. What are people's thoughts about Ada or Adele? I thought Ada could be a less common variation of Ava that might make it a better choice. Does it have the same appeal? I can't decide what I think about this one yet. Is Adele a better option than Adeline, considering it should be easier to spell and pronounce? Would it's association with the singer bother you? Thoughts???

November 5, 2013 11:12 AM

I had a cousin-in-law named Adele (long before the singer).  She went by Delsie if you like that nickname.

November 5, 2013 8:48 PM

Delsie is a cute nickname for Adele! I also really like Addie. I guess Ada could be a nickname for Adele as well?

November 5, 2013 4:02 PM

My best friend is a LONG way away from having kids, but she's a name enthusiast like I am, so we discuss "her baby names" almost as much as we discuss mine. She mentioned Ada for a girl a little bit ago and I kind of fell in love with it. It's a familiar, yet uncommon name and I, honestly, just hadn't come across it. I think it has that antique vibe that is really hot right now, it's easy to spell and say and I think it's a winner. Her concern was that people may say "add-uh" instead of "AID-uh" and that you can't really change the spelling to ensure they say it correctly (because Aida is "eye-ee-duh"). I don't see the same concern with the name because I do think it's been around long enough that the vast majority of people are familiar with it. BUT you can do what I did when I was concerned about people pronouncing Maeve correctly - write it down and show it to people and see how they say it. If you consistently get the same mispronounication, then there's an issue. 

In terms of Adele, I've never actually known anyone with the name. Before the singer, I'd only heard it on Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" - although that association makes me like it more (he spelled it Adelle, though). So you may come across people who want to add in the extra L, but I think the popularity of the singer helps everyone be pretty familiar with the spelling and pronounication of the name. 

I like Ada better than Adele or Adeline, but I think they're all three great name options. 

November 5, 2013 8:57 PM

Writing down the name for others to say aloud is a great idea. We have only shared our name ideas with two other people we know, so my sample audience is quite small. I guess I could post it on a forum and see what people's feedback is. I could also ask random people like beauty therapists and sales assistants that I'll never see again, ha ha!

My DH really loves Adele. He doesn't find the association with the singer an issue and I'm beginning to see past it now. The fact that it may help people to be familiar with the spelling (hers is spelled with a single l) is probably a real positive.

At least we've narrowed it down to the "Ad" names. Now all we need to do is choose one!

November 5, 2013 5:27 PM

My godmother's granddaughter is A.dele M.aria, which is the child's great-grandmother's name, except with first versus middle reversed. I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire extended family when the baby's name was announced (two years ago now), because grandma Maria had just passed away after a long illness.

Even apart from the family connection, though, I think Adele is a lovely name, current in style but not trendy, fairly easy to spell and pronounce, and neither too nicknamey nor too nickname-resistant. (Speaking of nicknames, you could get a twofer out of it: isn't Adeline originally a diminutive of Adele?) And no, the association with the singer isn't bothersome -- even the people for whom it's the first association (which is only a small segment of the population, really) probably have other associations, too, or at any rate know that the name is not unique to her.

I like Ada, too; my only possible reservation would be that it may be confused with the more popular Ava -- not necessarily by sound, but more in terms of people simply mis-remembering which one it is.

December 7, 2013 1:25 PM

Here in france, it is spelled adeline, and pronounced "leen". I really like it but my husband nixed it. I like how it can also be shortened to adele when grown up.

January 20, 2014 7:00 AM

I thought I should do an update, since it's been a few months since I've looked at name blogs. After having time away from scouring name websites, my husband and I have come to a decision about our girl's name. We have picked Adeline Grace. I don't normally believe in signs, but we had a moment over the Christmas break that I couldn't possibly ignore. My husband's Maltese grandmother left us a message on his voicemail that converted to text. Her accent is quite strong, so her messages are often hard to translate. Instead of coming out as "Merry Christmas to you and Angela", my name was replaced with "Adeline"! We thought this was amazing. What are the chances?! Anyway, thank you to everyone for your feedback. We are super happy with Adeline Grace as our choice :)

January 21, 2014 4:15 PM

Beautiful! That's very cool. :-)

January 20, 2014 6:46 PM

I like the name Ava. It is simple and yet pretty. Good choice.

Adeline and Adaline. I am not sure of the correct spelling but I like Adeline more. Plus with Adeline it won't be confused as much as Adaline would with Madeline. And no for me the pronounciation I read Ad-ah-line rather than Ad-ah-lyn.

As for Elsie I agree that it is more nickname sounding. If it were me I would prefer to pick a longer name and use Elsie as a nickname. A few names that using Elsie as a nickname can be for are ... Elizabeth, Eliza, Elsbeth, Elsa and I have even know an Elsie who's full name was Eleanor.

January 25, 2014 1:15 AM

Eva in spanish is pronounced "Ava," so there could be some misspellings. I don't think hey would be that much of a hassle, however.


I don't think Elsie will travel that well into adulthood. Are you against Eliabeth?


My vote is also for the Adeline spelling.


Good luck :)

January 25, 2014 1:30 AM

All the Elsies I ever knew were elderly when I met them, so I can't imagine a child Elsie. Obviously all those elderly Elsie were once children, but I assure you it is entirely possible to have an adult Elsie and indeed an ancient one.

February 7, 2014 5:20 PM

I really like Adeline/Adaline. I think it is very elegant and suits a girl and a woman equally well. This may just be me, but as far as pronunciation goes, Adeline = "Ad-ah-lyn" and Adaline = "Ad-ah-line". Can't really explain why, it's just my natural reaction to the difference in spelling.