How do you pronounce those -line names?

A friend and I were recently discussing the pronunciation of her daughter's name: Emmaline. To her, it was a no-brainer and she couldn't understand why people would mispronounce it. However, I could see at least a couple reasonable pronunciations. That got me thinking about other girl names ending in -line. 

So here's an informal poll: what would your first instinctive pronunciation be for the following names? And in your eperience is there one pronunciation of -line that's most common?











By mk
June 8, 2015 6:27 PM

I pronounce all with a long i, as in eye, unless told otherwise. Short I would be -lyn, such as Carolyn, Rosalyn, etc. In my experience, that has worked with the majority og people with -ine names. I do know a Madeline and Jacqueline with the short i sound.

June 8, 2015 7:11 PM

Rosaline: unsure
Eve-lynn (assumed to be a creative spelling for Evelyn)

With splines and inclines, I'm more likely to go with the line pronunciation, unless I knew someone with a name that looks like it could be spelled that way. 

June 8, 2015 7:16 PM

Like mk, I'd read almost all of them with -line (rhymes with 'pine') unless told otherwise, although I'd have trouble remembering later whether it had been Caroline or Carolyn, etc. "Almost all" because I've never encountered a Jacqueline or Eveline, so I really, really want to default to -lyn (rhymes with 'pin') on those, and of course Evangeline is in a class by itself, because I'd say that one as -leen.

June 8, 2015 10:16 PM

All of these would be -line to me except Madeline, Evangeline, and Jacqueline, which are -lyn. I pronounce Pauline with a -leen sound.

June 9, 2015 12:07 AM

For most of these I can imagine multiple pronunciations; the first one listed is my first instinct, and if there's a second listed it's because there's enough dissonance for me to second-guess my first instinct. 

  • Emmaline: Emma-line
  • Coraline: Cora-leen or Cora-line
  • Rosaline: Rosa-line
  • Madeline: Madduh-line or Madduh-lin
  • Jacqueline: Jack-leen (kind of 2.5 syllables, and possibly a Frenchy J)
  • Caroline: Carol-ine or Carol-in
  • Evangeline: Ee-van-guh-leen
  • Adeline: Adda-line or Adda-leen
  • Eveline: Evvuh-line or Evvuh-leen


There doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to these, though some are because I would assume that a non-traditional spelling was meant to indicate a shift in pronunciation (Rosaline) and some are because of a particular association (Sweet Adeline, twelve little girls in two straight lines).

Also, absent other indicators, I think that the ones that look particularly French get the -leen ending where the ones that look more like an American/English/Australian etc. coinage get -line. I'd put Emmaline in the latter category, so it's Emma-line in my head--but Emmeline is in the former, and feels more like Emma-leen.

I know intellectually that -line can be pronounced like -lin/lyn (e.g. Caroline, Madeline) but I have a really hard time with that. It kind of itches my brain to try to make that pronunciation work with this spelling.

So what is your friend's preferred pronunciation? And is there another that she gets most often?

June 9, 2015 2:58 AM

Rosaline is the spelling in Romeo and Juliet, so I wouldn't call it non-traditional.  In Shakespeare it is  pronounced  to rhyme with fine.

June 9, 2015 12:35 PM

You're right; I should have said less-common, though with the Ros*l*n* names even that might be a stretch. It's nice to know Shakespeare agrees with my take on this spelling's pronunciation, anyway ;-).

June 9, 2015 2:53 AM

Emma LINE - no experience with this name - but this is how I would pronounce it unless corrected

Cora LINE - same as above - but could see it being Cora LEEN

Rosa LINE - Same as above - could be Rosa LEEN

Mad ah LINE - but I do think some say Mad ah lyn

Jacqueline - this is all over the place - I think of Jackie Kennedy and have heard the name said many different ways - I usually say Jac Q LYN


Evange LEEN


Ev ah LEEN - could be LINE - but I know an 80 something Ev ah LEEN



June 9, 2015 3:00 PM

My friend pronounces her daughter's name as Emma-line (with a long 'i' sound). But she says she gets both Emma-lyn (short 'i') and Emma-leen (long 'e'). Also, some people try to call her daughter just "Emma." But that's a different story.

My instinctive pronunciations of the -line names are mixed, although I seem to favor -leen...not sure why, exactly. Maybe, as nedibes said, it's to do with whether that name looks more "English" or more "French" to me.

Coraline = Cor-uh-leen

Rosaline = Roh-suh-leen (yes, despite the Shakespeare pronunciation)

Madeline = Ma-deh-line (can't be otherwise for me because of the children's book, TV series, etc.)

Jaqueline = Ja-kwuh-leen or Jack-lyn

Caroline = Car-o-line

Evangeline = Ee-van-je-leen

Adeline = A-deh-leen (yes, despite the song "Sweet Adeline")

Eveline = Eh-veh-leen (incidentally, there is a song by Nickel Creek that pronounces it this way)

Also, re: Elizabeth T.'s mention of Pauline, it seems to me that all two-syllable names with -line are pronounced -leen. For example, Pauline, Darline, Celine, etc. It seems to be just the three-syllable ones that have some variation. 

June 9, 2015 9:33 PM

I didn't look at any of the previous posters' responses so my impressions would be honest.

Emmaline -line

Coraline -line

Rosaline -line

Madeline -either line or lyn, it's about 50/50

Jacqueline -lyn

Caroline -line

Evangeline -leen

Adeline -line

Eveline -leen

April 27, 2018 12:08 PM

One of those is the original name on my birth certificate before I changed it!

July 17, 2018 10:57 PM

Emmaline- Emma-lynn 

Coraline- Cora-line

Rosaline- Rosa-lynn 

Madeline- Madda-lynn 

Jacqueline- Jack-lynn

Caroline- Cara-line

Evangeline- Eve-Ann-jo-leen 

Adeline- Adda-lynn 

Eveline- ev-uh-ly (like Evelyn)



July 18, 2018 6:23 PM

I pronounce most of these as "line," as in, a line to buy tickets. However, there are a few weird ones I naturally pronounce as leen or lin. 











This is such an interesting question - I'm particularly curious about Evangeline! I love the name, but I'm not sure how I would pronounce it. I am leaning towards "leen" though.


July 18, 2018 9:28 PM



Haven't come across this one, but I'd say ROSE-uh-leen






EV-uh-leen? Haven't heard this one either