Does this work for a sister for Daphne?

Our DD's name is Daphne.  We are expecting #2 in Oct and don't know if it's a boy or girl.  We've been struggling with a sister name!

Yesterday I gave my husband a list of names I had narrowed down: Calla, Cara, Celeste, Elsa, Elyse, Hazel, Iris, Isla, Mae, and Yvette.  He circled ELYSE, HAZEL, MAE, and YVETTE.

I said to him, "Oh, you like Mae? Interesting. I wish you liked Maelle (pr. "my-ELLE)."  This was a name I suggested to him back when we were pregnant with Daphne.  I also suggested it again for her middle name, and both times he said he didn't like it!  Anyway, he goes "Maelle? Yeah that's nice, I like it!"

So now he's totally good with it!  Wtf?  Boys are silly!


But my questions for you guys are:

1.  Do you think it "goes" enough with Daphne?  I was leaning towards something old-fashioned and classic (like some of the other names on my list).

2.  Do you think it will be a giant pain to always have to explain the spelling and pronounciation?  Our last name is short and not too difficult.


I really do love the name.  Daphne and Maelle.  To me they are both pretty names, both have a bit of a french feel to them.  We are in Canada so I think it's ok if they are a little "french" :)

Honest opinions!  Thank you!





By hwar
May 20, 2012 1:51 AM

I think Daphne and Maelle sound great together.  I am not really familiar with the name Maelle and upon reading it, I assumed it was pronounced May-ELLE.  However, I think in an area with more French speakers, this wouldn't be an issue.  It's likely just my American eyes and ears that make that assumption, since it is a relatively popular name in France.

Frankly, almost any name these days requires spelling and explanation.  My daughter's name is Jane, and I have to repeat, explain, and spell it all the time.  She gets called Jaden, James, and Jade with regularity by kids and adults alike.  You might have to explain or spell Maelle the first time you meet someone but they will get used to it.  :)

May 20, 2012 9:24 PM

That's rotten that a simple, lovely name like Jane keeps getting misheard/mispoken.

Thanks for your comment.  It's true that unless you have a very simple, common name like Michael or something, you will have to spell it.  Mine and my husband's names are totally normal, but traditionally they have 2 or 3 spellings (K or C, one L or two...) so we always have to spell them.

By hwar
May 20, 2012 10:58 PM

I guess as names have gotten more diverse in general, hardly anyone makes assumptions about spelling/pronunciation anymore.

Actually, this reminds me a bit of a girl in my daughter's kindergarten class.  Her name is Manon (Dad is French, Mom is not) and they pronounce her name the French way.  It hasn't even caused a blip for people, even though most of the kids in the class had never heard the name before.  Everyone uses her preferred pronunciation.  I think it would be the same for Maelle.


May 23, 2012 11:33 PM

I just wanted to share the annoying conversation (FB chatting, not spoken) I just had with my Mom, haha...


Me: Hey Mom, have you heard of the name Maelle?

Mom: No, but it's pretty.  Prounounced "may-elle"?

Me: No! Sigh.

Mom: Oh, I have a French friend named Gaelle and she pronounces it "gay-elle"

Me: Are you sure it isn't something more like this?ëlle

Mom: Oh yes, you're right.  So how do you pronounce Maelle?

Me: The same as Raphaelle.

Mom: Oh.  But my friend's name is Raphaella and she says it "ra-fay-ella"

Me: Really, are you sure?  Are you sure that just isn't how you pronounce it?

Mom: No really, that's how she says it.

Me: Well would you pronounce Raphael "ra-fay-elle"?

Mom: Hm... I guess not.  So how do you say Maelle?

Me: "my-elle", Mom.

Mom: Hm. It's pretty, but I think you'll have problems with pronunciation and spelling.



By hyz
May 24, 2012 10:42 AM

I'm not sure why people automatically think it would be may-elle, phonetically, anyway.  Sure, Mae is "may", but if you use that pronunciation (making "ae" a dipthong rather than separately pronounced vowels), where does the e for "elle" come from?  In that case, Maelle should be pronounced like mail/male (may+lle).  I guess my point is that I could see people approaching the name with some uncertainty, maybe taking a guess and requiring correction, but even without the diaeresis, mah-elle or my-elle should be at least as intuitive as may-elle, if not moreso.  And if you are in person rather than typing on FB, the "like Rafael/la" should clear things up quickly for most people, I think.

May 20, 2012 11:31 AM

I agree that I thought it was May-ell when I first saw it, but I can see that where you are people would be more likely to get it.  If he's agreeable to it & you still love it, I say go for it!  Wait too long & he could hate it again.  ;-)

May 7, 2013 10:29 PM

Completely agree with this.  Go with what you love and let others adjust. They will, don't worry. We had the same type of back and forth and now we really can't use a name that came back into DH favor because it doesn't go. Good luck!

By mk
May 20, 2012 1:14 PM

I speak some French and I still would not have guessed that pronounciation. I would have guessed mah-elle or something close to mail. But I think if you live in an area where that name is recognized then you won't have a problem with how it is said. In  the US, it would most likely be pronounced May-elle to match the name Mae. But that is not so far off and is easy to correct.



May 20, 2012 9:17 PM

Yes, technically it should be "mah-ELLE".  But I am not French and therefore will not attempt to pronounce it with a horrid French accent!  Just as if I used Elyse, which is also French, I would pronounce it "elle-EESE", not "aye-LEEZE".

May 20, 2012 8:27 PM

I've loved the name Maelle since hearing it during the 2010 Olympics on Canadian snowboarder Maëlle Ricker. Its pronunciation is not a problem for me, personally, and am a big fan of that sound combination, also liking Raphaelle. I think that there is something so visually pleasing about that "ae".

Now, I think that it sounds perfectly fine with Daphne, but don't see French as being a common theme. What is it about Daphne that reads French to you?

As for difficulty, no, I don't think that would be a problem. Although Daphne is much more familiar a name, it is also much less straight-forward than Maelle!

From the rest of your list, Iris really jumped out at me as being a great match for Daphne, but since your husband didn't circle it, does that mean that you want to focus on his choices? Or is he liable to change his mind over time?

(FYI, in my family, when a husband does a silly, typically-male thing, we lovingly blame it on the DYC: The Defective Y Chromosome.)

May 20, 2012 9:15 PM

Hm, good question about the French thing.  I know Daphne is Greek, but I have just noticed that Daphnee seems to be getting quite popular in french-speaking countries.  So now for some reason I feel like it has a French edge to it I guess :)

No, you're right about the husbands.  There's a good chance he could be convinced to go with one of the other names too.

Thanks for pointing out the Raphaelle pronounciation.  It's nice to hear of other names where the "aelle" is pronounced "ahy-ELLE".

May 20, 2012 11:20 PM

The defective Y chromosome! Yes! I keep telling people that it's obviously missing a part, no wonder guys can't find things or put their clothing on the right way round or all those other little annoying things, but this is the first time I've ever heard of anyone else who's figured this out!

Back to names, though, I notice that you included a diaresis on the snowboarder's name, which signals that the 'ae' is two separate vowels rather than a digraph. The issue of course is convincing computers everywhere to include diacritics of any sort, especially American computers; the SSA omits them entirely, for example, so any attempt at answering pronunciation questions by including the diaresis will just complicate the spelling question. Personally, I'd be leery of a name that presents difficulties in both pronunciation and spelling...

May 20, 2012 11:36 PM

Well, I used the diacritics because the athlete in question uses them, and they are used in the proper French spelling. However, that said, I don't think that they are necessary to attain the correct pronunciation of the name - especially in Canada. When I met a girl named Raphaelle, I knew exactly how to pronounce her name, even wihtout the diacritics, and I think that anyone who didn't get Maelle on the first try would pick it up pretty quickly.

Spelling is another story, but so many names now need to be spelled that I don't think that's a huge obstacle. I mean, people even have trouble with the simplest names. Besides my first name, obviously, I routinely need to spell my LAST name for people, and it's Fish. How difficult is it to spell FISH?!

May 21, 2012 12:55 AM

Maelle is very pretty and I'm a fan! I agree that people might not get it first go but it isn't going to be far off and is easy to remember.

I like all the other options on your list too.

Hazel gives a slightly botanical theme. Elyse and Yvette a slightly more sophisticated theme and Mae a more down-to-earth country vibe.  

May 21, 2012 1:09 AM

My husband did the same thing - a name he didn't like with daughter #1, he liked immediately for daughter #2 and picking her name was very painless!

For your options, I think explaining to people the my-ELLE pronuncination would be pretty straightforward. It's easy to remember and most people do have to clarify the way their names are said/spelt these days.

I happen to really like Yvette for you but all of the names you're narrowed down to are fine. Hazel might open up a botanical theme that you feel locked into if you are planning more children but I still think it sounds nice paired with Daphne.

By Guest (not verified)
May 22, 2012 1:00 PM

I think it's a lovely name and they go together just fine. I'm also a big fan of Hazel, which sounds lovely with Daphne (it's my DD's second name too). You will for sure have to train people on how to say it, and she will be constantly correcting people but honestly I don't think it's THAT big of a deal. Personally I would rather that than have my child known as "Emily B" or whatever. Only you can decide if that's something you can live with and how big of a deal you think it is. If you love the name I say go for it.

By Guest (not verified)
May 22, 2012 1:22 PM

That's an interesting coincidence; last week someone who's first daughter was Iris (on your list) was on the boards looking for a second daughter's name and quite a few of us suggested or approved of Daphne !   Those two names do seem to go together for a lot of us.  Anyway, Maelle is lovely.  And "rhymes with Raphaelle" should resove any confusion.    For whatever reason, he didn't like it but now he does, so maybe it is just meant to be.  


By Guest (not verified)
May 22, 2012 2:04 PM

I don't see how you get my-ELLE out of Maelle, considering it is mah-ELLE and the closest American pronunciation would be MAY-elle. Are you then going to pronounce Yvette eye-vette?

May 22, 2012 2:18 PM

In French, the name Maelle is pronounced something like mai-ELLE, which is much more like my-ELLE than like may-ELLE. Someone who pronounces Maelle in the French manner is not going to then mispronounce Yvette, another French name.

By Guest (not verified)
May 22, 2012 2:11 PM

that's supposed to read "whose first daughter".   

By Guest (not verified)
May 22, 2012 5:01 PM

I think Maelle is SUCH a pretty name, and goes well with Daphne.

May 22, 2012 5:47 PM

Daphne sounds Greek to me, not French, and when I see Maelle I read it May-ELLE.  Even after reading this thread, I constantly have to correct the pronunciation in my head.  I do think the ae diphthong is appealing.  Can I interest you in Mielle (me-ELLE)? 

May 22, 2012 6:06 PM

Though pretty enough (and reminiscent of Brielle et al.,) miel (pronunciation here) is the French word for honey, so I don't think that it evokes the same feeling as Maelle...

May 22, 2012 8:38 PM

I do actually quite like Miel/Mielle, but yes it does mean "honey" in French.  And here in Canada we all know that, since the French spelling is all over the stuff in the grocery store right under the English :)  I suggested it to my DH for a middle name for Daphne also and he just can't get over the honey thing, even if it isn't a "bad" association.

May 22, 2012 9:44 PM

No, it's actually very pretty, but noun names are just a different category and not everyone likes them. And Honey is a special breed of noun name in that it's a common pet name. It would be a very sweet nickname, though!

May 24, 2012 10:33 AM

in Spanish it also means honey and it is used as a first name.  I am unfamiliar with the French associations, though I did know it meant honey in French as well.  Better miel than chou, right?

May 24, 2012 9:34 AM

Regarding pronunciation of Maelle:

The name Raphaella I encounter most often as the Spanish name Rafaela. It's pronounced rah-fah-eh-lah, but the Spanish "eh" is slightly higher than the English "eh", so the name is most often Anglicized to Rah-fay-lah. That said, Rah-fy-lah is also possible. My mother has the same Spanish structure in her name Micaela, and that has been Anglicized to Mih-ky-lah. (She loathes the Makayla sound.)

Based on my mother's experience, she'll always need to tell people it's My-elle and not May-elle. On the plus side, though, she'll always instantly know who her friends are.


May 24, 2012 9:39 AM

Totally off the wall (Maelle is very pretty and would be great with Daphne, potential pronunciation problems asside) I was wondering if you had considered Esme?  Would that be too close to Daphne?  Maybe...

May 24, 2012 1:27 PM

Yes, I have a problem with using two names that end in an "ee" sound.  Especially two that end in just an "e".

Also, we have a cousin named Esme in the family (she's 20), and also, i would never use it because of its association with Twilight!  I admit, I secretly loved the Twilight series (ok, maybe not so secretly) but I'd be so embarassed if someone thought I got that name from the books.

May 26, 2012 2:59 PM

Esme ends in a -may sound, ES-may, at least in my experience.  Does your cousin pronounce it ES-mee?  I agree, Twilight ruined the name for me.

May 27, 2012 9:58 PM

Oh, no, now that I say it outloud of course it does not rhyme with Daphne (or end in the same "ee" sound, I should say).  Our cousin pronounces it "EZ-may", like you said.  Maybe I was just looking at how they both end in a consonant and then an "e" (as opposed to an "ie", or "ee", or "y").

Either way, the cousin thing, and yeah, dang Twilight :)

May 29, 2012 10:25 AM

Stupid Twilight.  I didn't think of that, because I didn't read or watch the series.  I fell in love with Esme from reading Salinger when I was young.  

By mk
June 13, 2012 11:39 AM

Me too. I've always loved Esme and would still use it, Twilight or not.

By Guest (not verified)
June 12, 2012 11:31 PM

I don't really see Daphne and Maelle as stylistically similar.  Delphine and Maelle, yes.  Daphne and Phoebe, yes.  Daphne and Maelle, not really.   However, I don't think we need to be a slave to such things.  I do think that people are going to have a lot of trouble with the pronunciation and spelling.  In addition to the above discussed pronunciations, I think you will also get "Male," which might be pretty annoying to a female, and you may even get a pronounced last syllable, as in "Ma-ellie."  Would you be interested in Mirielle?  This has fewer pronunciation problems.

By hyz
June 13, 2012 11:16 AM

I think you are thinking of Mireille, not Mirielle (I'm unfamiliar with that), and I'd guess that Mireille would have at least as many pronunciation (and spelling) problems as Maelle, if not more. 

June 15, 2012 1:50 PM

I like Maelle. I don't think it matters that Daphne is Greek and Maelle is French. They both share a light sound and a bit of sophistication, and for sisters I like that the endings aren't matchy. It's certainly not out of step with the many -elle names of the moment, but it stands out in a good way.

I personally don't have problems with the pronunciation, since the first time I encountered the name was when a French woman introduced herself to me (and I immediately loved it!), and it honestly seems pretty intuitive. I do think it's worth pointing out that there's a French boys' name, Mael, pronounced basically the same. And I can easily picture kids who know better teasing a girl with the "male" mispronunciation.

Personally, I like Maelle better than Mae - it seems more substantial, and I'm not really fond of the Mae West association, entertaining though she is. Of the other names on your list, I like Calla, Celeste, Hazel, Iris and Yvette best with Daphne. All of them excepting Yvette have a nature reference that connects them subtly to Daphne, and they share a similar elegance. Cara and Elsa are sweet but seem a little plain next to Daphne. I like Elise better with that spelling than the y, and Elise/Elyse just seems less distinctive and more likely to be lost amid all the little Ellas and Ellies today. Isla could work too, but it doesn't grab me as much. (And personally I have a hard time getting past the fact that it's the word for "island" and pronounced EES-lah in Spanish - but that may not be an issue if you're in a part of North America with a lot of French speakers and presumably not a lot of Spanish speakers).

Hope that helps! Congratulations on your little one.

June 15, 2012 5:57 PM

Thanks so much for your input, kalmia.  I do still like Maelle but I am starting to hate that I am going against my original criteria of it being a normal/classic name.  I just wish I could find another classic name that we love as much as Daphne :(

I agree that Cara and Elsa seem to be lacking a bit compared to Daphne.

I wish I loved Hazel and Iris more, they just doesn't seem "pretty" enough to me at this point.  They may grow on me more though.

Calla I love, but I feel like people might be like "What's that? Kayla? Kya? Kyla?"

Yvette was one my husband came up with.  I actually like the look of Evette better, and we could call her Eve for a nn if we wanted.  But I really don't like the ideal of not using the most traditional spelling for a name.

My husband really doesn't like Celeste, and I have to admit it doesn't sound great with our one-syllable lastname.


Where oh where is my perfect baby girl name???

June 18, 2012 10:58 AM

With all the talk of Maelle, Celeste, Elsa, Elyse, and Yvette, one name comes to mind. Maybe it would work?



June 18, 2012 8:16 PM

I love both Hazel and Iris but I don't see them as pretty names. More spunky with a retro feel.  Calla is a nice match to Daphne for me but yes there is a lot of Kayla/Callie variants at the moment.

I love Yvette and also think it would work with Daphne. I think you can use Eve as a nickname for Yvette without the spelling change.

I also like the suggestion of Estelle.

Daphne makes me think of: Alice, Rose, Zinnia, Maggie/Margaret/Magnolia, Phoebe, Verity.

any of those on the right track?

By Guest (not verified)
June 21, 2012 9:00 PM

I'm not sure about Estelle.  I've thought of this one too.  I grew up with an Estelle all the way from grade school - she was a year younger.  Her siblings' names were Anne-Marie and Roger, which I was not a huge fan of, so I think I grew up thinking of Estelle the same way.  I also think of an old lady (is there a TV show where the Grandma is Estelle?) which is not necessarily a bad thing 'cause I'm kind of going for "old fashioned" names here!

I'll ask my husband if he likes it and I'll think on it some more.  It doesn't sound the greatest with our one-syllable last name, but not the worst either.  It's definitely a pretty name though.

I haven't grown to like Alice nor Rose yet.  Zinnia I have never heard of?  The other three end in an "ee" sound which I am trying to avoid... thanks for the suggestions though :)

June 21, 2012 9:45 PM

Estelle Getty played Sophia on the Golden Girls, is that what you're think of?

And zinnias are colorful, lovely flowers (do an image search!) and so Zinnia is in the naming family of Violet, Rose, Daisy, and the like.

June 21, 2012 9:58 PM

On Seinfeld, George's mother was named Estelle Costanza. That and Estelle Getty are my primary associations with the name.

November 28, 2012 8:54 AM

We had twins back in August and we named one of our daughters Maëlle! The other is Madeline. We absolutely fell in love with the name maëlle when we were pregnant with our first child during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. A skier named Maëlle had won a medal. (Our first baby was a boy) so we reserved it! We had to repeat the name over and over to people because its not a well known name and its hard to get things personalized with the diacritics over the e. but it's a beautiful name and we love it and she is unique!  

May 9, 2013 8:24 PM

Maelle is a great choice for Daphne's sister.

As for spelling/pronunciation, as others have probably pointed out, that's just par for the course these days. I spent my life saying "Catrina with a C". It's not that big a deal. (Unless someone repetitatively misspells or mispronounces it...then that's an issue that's got nothing to do with the name per se).