Uninspired by our girls' list

Need help picking a girl's name. Nothing is quite right. Our list so far:

Alice - kind of uninspiring.

Amelia - like it enough, but it's so common I'm afraid I'd get sick of it.

Beatrix - cool, but makes me think Trixie, which I hate.

Bryony - husband likes, I want to like, just not feeling it. I keep hearing Brian.

Caroline - just ok.

Cecily - maybe? Can't get totally on board.

Charlotte - nice enough, but way overdone around here.

Clara - possibly. Not convinced.

Cora - husband likes more than I do.  Seems kinda made up.

Eloise - husband likes, I don't.

Frances - maybe our top choice, but I'm holding out for something better. Middle name maybe?

Genevieve - recent addition to the list. Unsure. I don't usually like French names.

Georgiana - the only one I truly love, but it's unusable with our surname.

Hazel - I go back and forth on this one.

Josephine - Husband likes, I don't.

Juniper - I kinda like nature names, but I also want something with more of a history.

Louisa - maybe, can't decide if I totally like it.

Lucy - husband loves, I really don't.

Ronia - recent addition. Can't decide if I truly like it or it's just novel right now. Conflicting info on its history.

Rosemary - back and forth on this one. Rose and Mary on their own are both so plain.

Violet - would be perfect if it weren't so common these days.

So, fresh ideas? We want something with history, possibly nature inspired, but somehow the more traditional botanical names aren't that exciting to me for the most part. Doesn't have to be uncommon, but I do get easily bored hearing the same names over and over. We're open to the idea of a double name, but can't be anything too long-winded. She'll most likely go by her full name, so nicknames aren't important. As for the one name we love but can't use, Georgiana, I've already tried searching for names with a similar feel and come up empty.  Everything on our current list is "just ok" or loved by one, not both of us.

Help! Thanks!


September 28, 2016 9:47 PM

Wow, formatting. Sorry. I really did have that laid out better before I hit submit, don't know what happened. 

September 28, 2016 11:45 PM

The forum is in an anti-line-break mood today. I think I finally convinced it to behave itself.

September 28, 2016 10:08 PM

Of your names I like Caroline, Hazel, Josephine, Lucy and Violet the best. I was trying to find your style because it sounds like you like elegant, quirky, slightly british names. Below are some names that may fit that style and some others that may or may not work:

Athena, Bellamy, Blythe, Colette, Daphne, Felicity, Fiona, Helena, Junia, Juliana, Juliette, Lena, Lorelei, Marina, Maxine, Marcella, Odette, Rosalind/ Rosalie, Rhiannon, Serena, Sequoia, Tallulah, Tierney, Veronica, Violeta, Wrenna, Zoella 

September 29, 2016 8:28 PM

Elegant/quirky is a good description of what we're looking for. Of those you suggested, I like Fiona, Helena, Junia, and Lena the best. 

September 28, 2016 11:05 PM

Cora made up? Um, no.  It is the Latin form of the Greek Kore which means maiden and was applied to the goddess Persephone.  It was first used as an English given name by James Fenimore Cooper.

If Cora is of interest and you like nature names, perhaps Coral?

October 4, 2016 1:18 PM

I thought I did see it on one of those 'invented names' lists, but yeah, invented like 190 years ago and given to many many girls since then, and was in the top 20 in the first year SSA releases (1880)


Found it: http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2015/4/17-baby-names-you-didnt-know-were-totally-made-up

September 29, 2016 12:14 AM

Some names that came to mind while reading down your list 




Opal and Ruby (because of the victorian feel of the flora names maybe these would appeal) 

Lilac- less common than Violet

September 29, 2016 8:29 PM

Lilac is cool! Putting it on the list to run by DH. I like the kind of funky -c ending. 

September 29, 2016 2:34 AM

You have a lot of my favourites on your list. Really, the only ones that I don't especially like are Amelia (it is very common where I am and does seem a bit boring!), Juniper (this seems an outlier in terms of your style), and Ronia (just not my style although I do find it interesting).


If Georgiana doesn't suit, would another Georg- variant work, like Georgia or Georgina?) Even Georgette (although you don't want French ...)


Also - would Beatrice be a good choice, as it avoids the Trixie problem?


And, maybe Geneva as an alternative to Genevieve?


Other names which might appeal: Lettice or Leticia, Annabel/la, Helena, Lorelei, Adelaide or Adeline, Ramona, Anneliese, Daniela, Hannah, Imogen, Phoebe, Thea, Rosalie


September 29, 2016 8:32 PM

I'm already thinking Ronia was a passing fancy. This is why we're doing names now (I'm not due until spring) - want to make sure we pick something we can live with! 

And no, unfortunately, I'm not really into the other George- names, and Beatrice doesn't do it for me either. I do like Helena, and I'll think on Ramona. Thanks!

September 29, 2016 10:13 AM

Can we ask what your last name is, and why you think it rules out Georgiana?

September 29, 2016 11:22 AM

I'm curious about the surname too. If that is that one you both love maybe it isn't that bad with the surname.

September 29, 2016 8:33 PM

It's a rhyming issue. All the -ana names are out. 

By EVie
September 29, 2016 1:50 PM

This is a great list--all of these names are lovely. I will echo the previous commenters who asked, what is the problem with Georgiana and your surname? I can understand if your surname is George or a variant of it, or if it rhymes--otherwise, I have trouble imagining.

The first name that pops into mind when I think of Georgiana is Philippa. I then want to move on to other clunky-fashionable feminizations of classic masculine names--Henrietta, Augusta, Theodora (or Dorothea). Louisa, Frances and Josephine also fit really nicely into this style.  

I don't think that Beatrix will inevitably lead to Trixie at all. I would think that Bea would be the default--are you ok with that? Beadie is also really cute.

I adore Cecily. What about it is keeping you from getting fully on board?

I agree that Rose and Mary can read as "plain," but I don't think Rosemary does at all, and I like the botanical connection for you. Do you have any interest in other Ros- names? Rosalie, Rosaline, Rosalind, Rosamund/Rosamond, Rosabel. They don't all actually derive from the flower, but in practice the association is there. 

On the path of less-conventional botanicals, there are Marigold, Magnolia, Calla, Jessamine (an old spelling of Jasmine), Cassia, Iris, Dahlia, Camellia, Laurel (or Daphne, which is Laurel in Greek), Acacia, Azalea, Zinnia, Linden, Amaryllis, Myrtle, Linnea, Primrose. There is the Greek name Anthea, which means "flower," and many names that use it as a second element--Calanthe (beautiful flower), Evanthe (good flower), Chrysanthe (golden flower), Melanthe (dark flower), all pronounced AN-thee at the end. There is also the modern Cornish name Elowen, which means "elm tree". 

Miriam is right that Cora isn't made up. People are pretty familiar with it nowadays from Downton Abbey, so I don't think that would be an issue. Would you be interested in Coraline, as a more interesting spin on Caroline, or Corabel? 

Ronia seems like an outlier on your list. This one actually is made up, by the author Astrid Lindgren for her book Ronia the Robber's Daughter. It's pretty, though. 

Other ideas: Winifred, Adelaide, Matilda, Althea.

Other general thoughts: Don't get too hung up on the idea that there is a single, perfect name out there and you just haven't found it. That's just a recipe for disappointment. There are lots of great names (and everything on your list is great), and there will be several of them that are a good fit for your family. Try narrowing down your list by eliminating any that either of you are really not on board with (sounds like Eloise, Josephine and Lucy should probably be out; you didn't say if your husband strongly objects to any there), then do a tournament bracket just as an exercise to see which name on the list "wins." You can also take several names into the hospital and see how you feel when you meet the baby. You may get a moment of clarity where one name just jumps out as the right choice. 

September 29, 2016 2:33 PM

1. What EVie said. :)

2. If Cecily isn't doing it for you, what about Cecilia? Similarly, if you're afraid that Beatrix might lead to Trixie, what about Beatrice?

September 29, 2016 2:38 PM

On the line breaks issue: I think maybe a default got changed. The only way I've found to get line breaks to actually show up is to change the "Input format" from "Comments WYSIWYG" to "Filtered HTML" -- but I have no idea whether that setting is moderator-only.

September 29, 2016 2:50 PM

It's moderator-only, sort of. What us lowly peons get is a link that says "Disable rich-text". That makes all the text show up as one long paragraph (complete with <p> markup). Delete that markup and add line breaks (i.e. hit the Enter key a couple of times), and it seems to show up as paragraphs.

The minute you try to add any formatting, though, it breaks again.

By EVie
September 29, 2016 5:24 PM

Thanks to both of you for the fix and the tip! I've been putting off posting my girls' list because I didn't want it to be a mess to read--I'll try that strategy and see if it works. 

September 29, 2016 8:45 PM

I knew someone would suggest Philippa. I should like it, I just don't. And I have no idea why I like Georgiana so much more than other names in that style. Maybe because it's forbidden, ha. 

I do like Bea as a nickname were we to use one. It's not that I actually think she'd be called Trixie, just that that's where my mind goes. 

Cecily - honestly can't explain why I don't love it more. I think it's that I have such strong feelings about our boys' list. I want to love our girls' names just as much. 

Rosemary is definitely my favorite of the Ros- names. 

Other botanicals - Magnolia is nice but feels like too much. Laurel is nice. Linden too, but it feels masculine to me. I'm not a fan of any of the -anthe names. Elowen is kind of pretty but makes me think Lord of the Rings and I don't even know why. Is that the name of a character, or close to it? I'm not even a LOTR fan, it just sounds like it should be an elf or something. 

September 29, 2016 8:53 PM

You're thinking of Eowyn, who isn't an elf, but is a princess (and shield-maiden) of Rohan.

I'm still wondering what your last name is, and whether it really clashes with Georgiana as badly as you think it does. :)

September 29, 2016 1:58 PM

With Georgiana being your favorite and looking for historical/nature names, I immediately thought of Savannah.  Or how about:  Augusta, Virginia, Sierra, Gabriella, Cordelia, Willa, Lila, Audrey, Azalea, Sage, Vivian, Aviva, Henrietta, Autumn, Summer, Aurora, Willow, Holly, Vera, Laurel, Alicia, Rosalie, Gemma, Cecilia, Clementine.  

I also wondered if you might prefer Francesca to Frances, or Lucia to Lucy.  

September 29, 2016 8:48 PM

Virginia, Willa, and Sage are interesting to me. Francesca and Lucia are very pretty but feel too foreign for our family. Thanks! 

September 29, 2016 2:33 PM

On the topic of surname incompatibility: it's all a matter of taste. My husband's family tree includes more than one Szent-Györgyi György. Yes, that's George Saint-George. I don't know the specifics of your objection, but if Georgiana is really the name you both love, perhaps it's not *that* bad with your surname?

As for other recommendations, I think someone mentioned it upthread, but floral-but-classic plus Ronia on your list makes me want to reinforce Veronica: it's a genus of flowering plants as well as a timeless name that has never fallen out of the US top 1000 (but without ever hitting the top 50), and Ronnie is one of its many possible nicknames.

If Cora seems too newfangled to you (although it isn't: James Fenimore Cooper popularized it two centuries ago), perhaps Corinne would appeal? It's a truly timeless name: its usage has been between 80 and 200 babies per million every year that the SSA has been keeping track. There are actually lots of Cor- names that can qualify as classic: Cordelia, Cornelia, Corisande, Coralie. I particularly like Cornelia for you: it has some of the same feel as Georgiana, to my ear.

September 29, 2016 8:51 PM

It's really, really bad with our last name. Think Hannah Montana. 

I have a bad association with the name Veronica, otherwise I'd probably like it. And I'm not a huge fan of the other Cor- names, unfortunately. Thanks though!

September 29, 2016 8:58 PM

Well, see, but obviously there are people who think Hannah Montana is a *good* combination, otherwise they wouldn't have used it for the show. For me, it's kind of hard to form an opinion of the name as a name, because the character and the actress who plays her take center stage, but I don't hate it. Yes, it's rhyme-ey, but that's not automatically a bad thing.

September 29, 2016 10:10 PM

I'm sure some people could tolerate it, but I can't. It sounds awful to me. 

September 29, 2016 11:14 PM

Except that it was a name created for a show aimed at tweens. I haven't seen much of it, but the few minutes I've seen here and there, combined with what I know about shows made for this demographic, lead me top think that they intentionally chose a name that was the name equivalent of bubble gum: lightweight, playful, a little silly, and it sticks  (in your head). What works for a tween character is often different from what appeals to most real parents. 

Georgiana Fontana, for example, would be a great storybook character, but would I want that to be my name? No, really not. Yes, there are definitely people out there who would be all over that, thinking that it was adorable, but I can't fault anyone for not wanting to use it. I think that fielding comments about that rhyme would get old very quickly. 

By mk
September 30, 2016 4:08 PM

Plus, Hannah Montana was not the character's real name, but her stage name, which is why it seems so perfect as a light, easily remembered name. Her name on the show was Miley Stewart.

September 30, 2016 10:25 PM

Huh! See what you learn around here? 

September 29, 2016 3:13 PM

This is a great list!

Here are a few comments on some of the names you mentioned:

Beatrix -- I agree with others, that Beatrice is a great alternative and avoids the "Trixie" concern; personally I much prefer Beatrice anyway.

Cecily -- This is a name that I want to love as well and for some reason can't get on board; do you like Cecilia/Cecile/Celia/Celeste any better?

Eloise/Louisa/Lucy -- Would you consider Lucille (a top choice of mine), Louise, Lucia, or Luciana?

Frances -- I love that this is a top choice of yours! I have also really been loving the name Francine lately; I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I think it's great

Hazel -- Also a fave of mine but unusable because of my last name; Maybe give this one some more thought!

Juniper -- Just June maybe?

Ronia -- For some reason this reminds me of Rhea

Violet -- I love Viola as a less common alternative to Violet or maybe you'd like Scarlett?

Other suggestions:

What about Flora or Florence? Obviously botannical choices, have history of use, certainly not boring/overdone (at least where I live) and have similar sounds to others on your list -- Cora, Frances.

Fern and Pearl are names I adore -- not sure if they fit what you're looking for but they seem to have a similar feel to others that have been discussed.

Maybe Dahlia or Iris?

September 29, 2016 3:15 PM

ACK! Fell victim to the line break issue too.

Sorry this is a mess to read. If a moderator finds this to hurt their eyes, I wouldn't mind if you fixed it ;)

September 29, 2016 3:18 PM


September 29, 2016 7:14 PM

Thanks, Karyn!

September 29, 2016 8:55 PM

I've addressed some of your suggestions upthread, but Viola is interesting. I really liked the different -t ending on Violet, but the V makes Viola still cool and fresh sounding. I'm not one to shy away from hard consonents. 

And Hazel is definitely staying on the list for now. 

September 29, 2016 5:23 PM

It sounds like you want a name that has some history but is not well used right now. Some of these may have already been suggested:  Albertine, Beata, Celia, Clarissa, Fiona, Flora, Francesca, Helen or Helena, Imogen, Jane, Laurel, Verity.

September 29, 2016 8:57 PM

Yep, I like several of those. I just need something to jump out at me as "The Name." 

October 1, 2016 11:59 AM

A name might not jump out at you as "the one" until you see your baby or even until you name him or her.

September 30, 2016 6:12 PM

Your list made me think of: Acacia, Aurora, Cecelia, Celia, Elena, Elise, Elisa, Evelyn, Eve, Felicia, Gabrielle, Georgia, Joelle, Julia, Juliet, Laurel, Lily, Lois, Lorraine, Louise, Lucille, Opal, Pearl, Rosa, Ruby, Sage, Sierra

September 30, 2016 8:02 PM

Thanks. Some of those have already been suggested, but I'll add Evelyn for consideration. 

September 30, 2016 6:27 PM

I like a lot of the names on your list, and you've already gotten some good feedback on them all. For what it's worth, I don't think Rosemary is plain at all, even though Rose and Mary on their own may seem plain. Maybe consider Rosemarie? Here's some more suggestions. I tried not to repeat any.

Lucinda, Carlotta, Camellia, Calla, Margaret, Matilda, Tabitha, Eugenie/Eugenia, Lavinia, Ginevra, Diantha, Amaranth, Amaryllis, Marigold, Jonquil, Briar, Sylvia/Sylvie

Maybe even Ffion? It's a Welsh name that means foxglove.

Since you said you like elegant but quirky names, you might like to browse through this list of "quirky classics" from the BNW blog: http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2016/8/quirky-classic-names-for-girls

I don't think you need to have one name jump out as "the name," especially not yet. Once you've narrowed down a list, then it might be best to wait until the baby's born. Then one name may just seem like the right fit.

September 30, 2016 6:29 PM

Oh, formatting! Wow. That was not intentional. If a moderator wants to fix this, go ahead.

September 30, 2016 8:21 PM

Not a moderator, just two tips:

1. If you use the "disable rich-text" link BEFORE YOU START TYPING ANYTHING, your post should go through with line breaks intact. However, you cannot use any html formatting in that case - no bold, no italics, no angle brackets whatsoever.

2. Maybe if enough of us use the "contact us" link to complain about this issue, they'll fix it sooner?

October 1, 2016 1:20 PM

Oh, ok! I clicked "disable rich-text," but after I had typed. And I'll definitely go to the "contact us" link now. Thanks!

September 30, 2016 8:04 PM

I like Margaret and Briar. All over the place style-wise, I know. 

And thanks for the link - I'll check it out. 

October 1, 2016 9:35 PM

Heard the name Olive today and immediately thought of this post.

October 2, 2016 8:06 PM


October 3, 2016 4:32 PM

How about Rowan or Rowena?

It has a nature connection without being a hippy name and fits in well with the historical elegance you like. Rowena Frances also sounds great.

October 3, 2016 4:59 PM

Rowena is not a nature name.  Its origin has no connection to Rowan.

October 3, 2016 5:30 PM

Good point of clarification. Both have nature connections, but the connection isn't shared.

Rowan is the name of a tree.

Rowena does not have a clear etymology. As it is a literature name, it being a made-up derivative of Rowan isn't speculated but likewise can't be definitively ruled out. One possible derivation, however, concerns horses, with the name implying the bearer is fair-haired, like a horse.

October 3, 2016 7:31 PM

Rowena is first mentioned, although not with that spelling, in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae in the twelfth century, if that's what you mean by a literature name.  It's not an invention by Walter Scott in Ivanhoe, but long predates it, although the appearance in Ivanhoe popularized the name.  In Geoffrey she is the daughter (and sometimes sister) of Hengest, the leader with his twin Horsa of a group of Germanic (Jutish) mercenaries hired by Vortigern, leader of the Romano-Britains, to fight the Picts and the Scots.  According to Geoffrey, Rowena managed to get Vortigern drunk and maneuvered him into marrying her and giving her the territory of Kent, thus beginning the Germanic adventus into Britain.

Hengest and Horsa were said to have flourished in the mid-fifth century CE.  Their names mean stallion and, well, horsie, and because of this many scholars believe that they were legendary figures reflecting a proto-Indo-European myth of divine twin brothers with equine associations (see Castor and Pollux).  Others think that they were in fact historical figures. Hengest and Horsa appear in Bede's Ecclesiastical History, and Hengest is mentioned in Beowulf.  Rowena does not appear in any historical accounts before Geoffrey and is assumed to be either legendary or fictitious.  There is no credible information about the source of the name.  There is just speculation based on little to no evidence. Some speculation has it as a  completely unattested Germanic name passed through Latin, and other speculation has it from a Welsh word for horse of similar sound because of the 'horsie-ness' of Hengest and Horsa.  What it isn't is a form of the rowan tree.  It is way oversstepping the evidence to say that Rowena has "nature connections."