Expecting Baby, Looking For Traditional But Uncommon Name

We have a new baby coming in the fall, and have b/g twins, with names and nicknames. also needing to be factored in are my stepchildren's names. All trendy or popular names are out for us. 


my current children are Alethea, nn Lela, & Noble, nn Ned. My stepchildren are Nora and Peter, which knocked out two of my top favorite names, Flora and Petra. 


Currently, boy's name isn't posing too many problems. Considering girl names, my top favorites are 


Cicely, (SISS-a-lee) probably call her Kiki. I read somewhere that Kiki can be slang for female genitals in the philipines. Does that knock it out? Husband not a huge fan of Cicely. 

Corinne (ca-RINN)

Ilona maybe call her Ilka

Esme but I wouldn't want the accent mark just for simplicity's sake.

Our last name is German, but common enough in USA, two syllables and ends in ER. 

There are many names that I adore that are not choices for us because of family and close friends already using them. I want our child to be the only one with that name in our circle. Our other children are named for grandparents, but we don't have any direct family names left that aren't being used by nieces, or aren't too popular, or both. 

Any ideas? My name is Susannah, which I have always loved, and I would like to give this baby a name that she will love. I have spent my life correcting spelling errors and butchered or shortened versions of my name, and obviously my daughter Alethea will too, so that doesn't deter me. 

suggestions and feedback? 


thank you! 




June 9, 2014 12:48 PM

I just love the name Alethea. It would be my daughters name if my husband would have gone for it.

My fave of your name ideas is Ilona. It's uncommon, classic, beautiful.

Would you like Charis, or is that too Greek?

June 9, 2014 5:03 PM

Since Flora is out, I wonder if you'd like Fleur?  Similar sound & meaning, but not nearly as close to Nora.

Cicely makes me think of Sicily.  I also wonder if it will get confused for Cecily (Cess-ih-lee) which I believe is probably going to be more familiar for most people.  Unless you have Filipino heritage, or live somewhere where there is a large Filipino community, I don't think I'd be too worried about the slang term for Kiki.  However, Kiki seems off as a nickname for Cisely, I would expect CiCi or even Sissy instead.  My biggest concern would be that your husband isn't a fan.

Corinne is also pretty, but again your intended pronunciation causes some concern.  You may find yourself always correcting people who assume Core-in.  If that doesn't bother you, it's a lovely name.

Ilona/Ilka is very pretty.  I like it a lot.

If you don't want common/trendy at all, I think you might find yourself disappointed with Esme in the long run.  It's still ranked in the 900s, but it is rising.  Is also seems like it fits well with the sounds of other, more trendy names (Ella, Elsa, Sophie, Emme, Emily, etc) which makes me think it will continue to rise.  There is also the Twilight association.  I think that's starting to fade, but I thought of it & I'm not a Twilight fan, so I imagine you'll get at least an occasional "oh like Twilight" comment.  It all depends how much you think that might bother you.

Some other suggestions are Cordelia, Carys (inspired by the PP's suggestion of Charis), Aurora, Iona, Cressida, Ursula, Imogen & Francesca.

June 9, 2014 8:21 PM

My favorite from your list is Ilona, as long as you're pronouncing it correctly (with the stress on the first syllable: EE-lo-na), and Ilka as a nickname is perfect.

I have no idea how one gets from Cicely to Kiki, but there's no rule requiring nicknames to be related to given names... There is, however, an unwritten rule that if either parent is not a fan of a name, it should be crossed off the list.  (But Phillipine slang really shouldn't matter, unless you live in a "Little Manila" or something.)

I had a coworker named Corinne, pronounced with the stress on the second syllable as you describe, so that's how I'd say it.

Esme is not my style at all (even before Twilight), and I've seen/heard it pronounced enough wrong ways that I'm not even sure any more what the "correct" way should be.

I, too, have always loved my name, so I gave a longer version of it to my daughter. (I'm Julia, she's Julianna. I'm the fourth generation and fifth person with a Julia-type name in the family, and I've always known I wanted to continue the tradition.) Susannah is already the longer version, but perhaps you could do Susan? It'd certainly be unexpected on a baby!

June 10, 2014 9:41 PM

Thank you all for commenting. I had a choldhood friend named Cicely, like the flower, Sweet Cicely, so I have very strong and positive conotations to the name. My huisband hasn't vetod it as he has for far too many names to list, so that's positive. 

I also had a childhood friend names Ilona, so again, a positive and lovely connection. Neither of my friends, Cicely nor Ilons every married or had children, and probably never will. Kiki was my babysitter as a child, and I always thought is was an amazingly strong nn. 

I am completely out of the loop on tv shows, movies, and books in the kid circles. Haven't read or seen the twighlight, true blood, etc. series, so thank you for updating me on Esme. our media tends to predominately be Dora and Caillou-  I don't know what's trending in the real world. So thank you for that tip.

I have never heard Charis - pronouned Char like Charlotte? is the ending "ie" or not silent. We arent' greek, but for reasons we don't know, Alethea goes back in our family 8 generations, always sister to Frances or Margaret or jane. one of these names may be a middle name. 

I welcome any other suggestions. I like some of the listed ones, but oddly, there's a 1 yr old Ursula on our street, and a fransceca in our pre-school. I like Cordelia, and was a fan of Anne of green gables. Her favorite name is Cordelia. 

thank you ladies. 

By mk
June 10, 2014 10:44 PM

Personally, I have always loved the name Esme and I think Twilight will fade (though it wouldn't make a difference to me anyway). I'd love to see more Esmes.

Charis is pronounced Kah-riss. It's very pretty.