First Name Change (Time running out)

I've hated my first name for my entire life, and I now have a chance to change it (applying to new schools). I definitely think I will do this, as something about me deeply disagrees with the name I've been given–to the point where I cringe internally whenever I introduce myself or somebody calls me over. My current name is "Amy". The thought of hearing it for even one more year of my life is unbearable.

I want a name that is less common and sounds more sophisticated. I've been thinking over what to rename myself for a few years. Although I've spent quite some time scouring naming websites like this one, I have never really hit upon one that feels just right.

My new name will be uncommon but not absolutely out there, contain 3 or more syllables, start with A, and most likely end in A. Based on the names I like the most, the -ia ending appeals to me, but I'm open to suggestions without that specific suffix. I also want it to sound sophisticated and relatively modern.

I'm not a huge fan of place, word, and brand names, or names that come up too commonly in daily life. (I'd have loved "Athena" and "Artemis" especially if they weren't the names of goddesses mentioned a lot.)

A connection to history or science would be a bonus, as would a meaning related to truth or determination or the like, but they aren't necessary. I'd just like to avoid possible negative connotations.

My previous favorite (probably still my favorite despite myself) was Cambria, but I had to remove it from my shortlist because I wanted to keep my initials (AZ) and it was too common of a place and brand name (although it's quite rare as a given name, which I like). However, I'm still very attached to the sophisticated sound of it and its connection to evolutionary science. A similar name starting with A would be a strong candidate.

Currently, the top name on my almost-nonexistent shortlist is Alethia, which means "truth" in Greek. It's a very pretty name, but the issues I have with it are that it sounds slightly lispy and not as sophisticated as "Cambria" is. (...there's nothing else on my "shortlist", although I do like names such as Irene, Cora/Corina/Corinne, Elara, and Xenia.)

Suggestions would be deeply appreciated, especially now as my time to decide is quickly running out. I need to decide by the beginning of January at the very latest. This is a decision that's becoming increasingly stressful but important, as this is something I feel strongly about doing. It's been six years since I decided I would change my name, but I never could find the perfect one and now I only have two months left. Since this is a life-altering decision I have a relatively short time to make, I'm seeking guidance from sources like Internet forums.

Please do reply to this post if you have anything to say–suggestions, opinions, or even connections to yourself would be really nice to read.

(Just to recap: 3 or more syllables, starts with A, not common as word, place name, or brand, not mentioned often, positive/strong meaning, preferably a connection to science and/or history)

Thank you so much for reading!


November 8, 2017 7:45 AM

Anastasia  Ambrosia

Adriana  Aubrianna

Annika  Alexa  Aviva

Amara/Amira  Alicia

Alexandria  Amanda

Anthea  Anabella

Athena   Amelia 

Althea  Alisa  Annalisa

Amalia Aloisa Araminta

Anatalia Alexia

November 8, 2017 9:58 AM

Except for the frequency of use, the name you're describing is Amalia.

Other obscure [A-ia] names that have seen some use in English over the centuries: Aglaia, Albinia, Amicia, Amphelisia, Artemisia, Aspasia, Avicia.

Amy derives from the Old French (and Latin) for "love." Does that help at all in reconciling you to your existing name? In 15th century records from England, it was often recorded in Latin context as Amia, and in English as Amye. (Another Latin form was Amata.) The above-mentioned Amicia (whose actual etymology is unknown) was sometimes conflated or equated with Amy in medieval records; its usual English form was Amice, and it's a likely origin of surnames like Ames, Amis, Aymes, and Amison.

November 8, 2017 12:04 PM

I was going to suggest Amalia, too, since it feels like taking your existing name and transforming it into a version that fits with your view of yourself. Another plus is that I believe that it would be easier for people who already know you as Amy to adjust. And if someone who knows you as Amalia hears someone from your past call you Amy, they wouldn't be confused, just assume that Amy was a nickname.

As someone partial to -ia names myself, I've always found Amalia to be a really beautiful name, so I'm not just suggesting it because it's convenient. 

November 8, 2017 12:11 PM

Althea is similar to Alethia, but arguably less lispy. Althea may be derived from a root for healing.

By EVie
November 8, 2017 2:18 PM

Amalia is the first thing that popped into my mind as well, not the least because it's one of my favorite names. And when you mentioned Alethia, Althea came to mind as a second thought. (If you like Althea, check out Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy. It features an amazing main character named Althea). 

Aurelia was my next thought, if you don't mind some pronunciation ambiguity (au-RAY-lee-uh is how I say it, but au-REE-lee-uh is also an accepted pronunciation). Also has the historical connection. 

If you decided you aren't wedded to the -ia ending, there's Amabel. 

If you are interested in history and don't mind an unusual spelling, Aemilia is the original Latin spelling of Emilia/Emily (and unrelated to Amalia). Other ancient historical names: Antonia, Anastasia, Ariadne

Aurora and Andromeda have some sciencey associations, although those might also be too wordy for you. 

Other ideas, some more out there than others: Arcadia, Albina, Anthea, Adelaide, Alanna, Alberta, Alison, Anneliese, Ariana, Arielle/Ariella, Azalea, Aveline, Amaryllis, Adeline, Adriana

November 8, 2017 4:02 PM

I have taught women named Amia and Amalia, and just yesterday I answered an email from someone named Aletheia. Perhaps the extra 'e' would appeal to you? Abelia or Azalea for a floral connotation? Adelia as a twist on Adele?


Good luck!

November 9, 2017 7:08 AM

I also think Amalia would a great choice. Others that spring to mind are Amaya/Amaia (either spelling), or Ambra, the Italian form of Amber. It's a bit of a stretch to say it has a science connection, but it's an interesting natural substance.

Or, more of a stretch, and also a place name, but how about Alhambra? You could still use Ambra as a nickname, which sort-of plausibly relates to Amy...

November 9, 2017 12:23 PM

Are you interested in names that could produce Amy as a nickname? If so, I think Amyris or Amyrin are both very pretty (they don't end in -ia, but i do think they have a sleek, modern sound and since you like Artemis they may still suit). Amyris is the genus name for the flowering shrubs more commonly known as torchwoods, and Amyrin is a resin produced from some of those plants. It looks like there might be one company out there called Amyris, but I had never heard of it until I went looking so I doubt it's going to pop up in conversation.

Otherwise, since you like Cambria, maybe a geological timescale name would work? At the eon level, one of the very earliest is Archeon, which basically means "ancient"; you could use Archea or Archaea (but be aware that the latter also means an form of single-celled organisms).

Going down to the Age level there are several A- names. From oldest to most recent: Aeronian (-Llandovery-Silurian-Paleozoic-Phanerozoic), Asselian and Artinskian (both Cisuralian-Permian-Paleozoic), Anisian (Middle Triassic-Mesozoic), Aalenian (Middle Jurassic-Mesozoic), Aptian and Albian (Early Cretaceous-Mesozoic), and Aquitanian (Miocene-Neogene-Cenozoic). Of these, Anisia and Aalenia both seem especially promising, along with Albia which is also history-related (there was an Albia Domenica who was a Roman Empress-Consort). Aquitania is also very pretty, but I'm guessing sounds too everyday for you. Aalenia would have the great advantage that you would almost always be at the front of the alphabet :). Incidentally, the Empress Albia was succeeded by Aelia, which might also suit.

Unfortunately a lot of science-related A---ia words are going to have less-than-great meanings, since the prefix A- means "without", so you get pretty sounding terms like Abasia and Ateknia that mean things like inability to walk or have children. Now that hasn't much affected the usability of names like Amelia and Alexia (absence of limbs and loss of ability to comprehend writing, respectively) but since you're specifically interested in meanings it's going to be a bigger issue for you.

November 9, 2017 3:44 PM

A lot of folks have suggested Amalia, which I agree is a pretty name. I'm going to suggest Amalthea, though -- it's pretty, unusual, has both mythological and more modern uses.

Other ideas: 

  • Acacia
  • Augusta (the first name of Ada Lovelace)
By EVie
November 9, 2017 5:53 PM

Ooh, good one! Amalthea to me will always be The Last Unicorn, which was one of my absolute favorite stories as a child. And good spot on Augusta = Ada. 

November 9, 2017 11:34 PM

Honestly, why not Ada? It's a sophisticated pick with one of the most significant figures in the history of computing as a namesake.

November 10, 2017 9:06 AM

I didn't suggest "Ada" because the OP specified a minimum number of syllables, which "Ada" does not have.

November 11, 2017 2:53 AM

I immediately thought of Artemisia for you, a name I love which is I think a lot less directly associated with the goddess due to the different pronunciation, plus gives you some cool historical namesakes (a Greek queen, a renaissance artist) also the name of a genus of plants (in the daisy family). 

December 11, 2017 5:34 PM

Here are some suggestions: