Kierstin is a mom to two little girls and host of the satirical podcast Really Good Advice for New Moms.
What's in a Short, Sweet Name?
Some of life's most wonderful experiences are made sweeter by how fleeting they are—an ice cream cone in the summer heat, a well-written piece of short fiction, or your favorite song. Like these things, a short name is so much better than a long name that becomes ugly in its complicated alliteration. Here's an A-Z list of short names (that aren't ugly or sound totally made-up) for your baby girl.
- Ada: Meaning "noble", this short, vintage name is a sweet way to start off this list.
- Alice: With only two clipped syllables, Alice is short but like it's storybook namesake, quite curious.
- Ana: Say it like "on-uh", Ana makes a beautiful middle name, shortened version of "Anastasia" or a sweet moniker all on it's own.
- Anne: Means "grace." Sweet, indeed.
- Ava: Pronounce it with a long or short beginning "A" depending on your preference - either way is lovely.
- Bea: Typically a nickname for Beatrice, this shortened version holds it's own among the more popular three-letter names like Mia and Zoe.
- Belle: With only one syllable, Belle reminds me of the sweet fabled bookworm with big eyes and an even bigger heart.
- Beth: Short and strong, this one doesn't need a Bethany or Elizabeth to hold it's hand.
- Bryn: Say it like "Brin", not "Brian" for a chill, preppy name.
- Ceil: Pronounced "seal", this one has all of the elegance of the more complicated "Cecelia."
- Chloe: Overdone? Maybe. Short? Yes. Sweet? Absolutely. If you can't handle it as a first name it would make a pretty alternative to uber popular middle names like Mae, Rae and Ann.
- Claire: This delicate name has been flying just under the radar over the past decade.
- Cleo: Underused but super cool.
- Dae: Coming in at just one syllable and only three letters long, Dae would make a gorgeous middle name for a longer first name.
- Elle: Feminine, sharp and totally chic.
- Emmy: Could also be spelled "Emme" if you're not as into the ending "y", Emmy is a sweet exchange for the more popular Amelia or Emily.
- Evie: Short for classic names like Evelyn and Evette, bestow this one as a nod to a beloved aunt or just because it's lovely.
- Fae: Another one-syllable contender, Fae makes an otherworldly first or middle name.
- Fawn: Perhaps a bit twee, with the rise of wildlife inspired first names like Bear and Lark, she'll fit right in.
- Grace: Classic, short, sweet.
- Gwen: Popular as a middle name, Gwen, with it's elegance and simplicity deserves the first name spotlight.
- Hali: Pronounced with a short "a", Hali isn't super popular but I can't see why. A Greek name meaning "the sea", this name is cool, calm and collected.
- Hayes: Like "Haze" but less smoky.
- Ia: If it looks too short, know that this name is said "Eye-uh" and has the potential to soften a clunky last name like, well, mine.
- Idra: Obscure and not overly feminine, this name means "fig tree" and I think we can all agree botanicals are in right now.
- Jade: Botanicals aren't the only inspiration behind nature names right now. Stones, minerals and gems like Ruby, Amber and Opal have been consistent favorites with Jade leading the pack.
- Jane: Beautiful on a babe in arms or a college sophomore, this one-syllable name will grow with her.
- Joan: All-business, Joan is a strong one-syllable name like Jane but with more command.
- Jule: Julie, Julianna and Juliette may be a bit tired but the quick Jule is fun and easygoing.
- June: Warm and joyful like the month.
- Kate: Quick and smart, you can use it as a diminutive for Katherine or give it to her all on it's own.
- Kay: Another diminutive of Katherine, Kay means "pure" and is sharp as a first or middle name.
- Kit: Guess what? It's another diminutive of Katherine, but this time we're feeling androgynous, mysterious and a little foxy too (get it? Kit fox).
- Kyr: Like Kiera or Kierstin but less common and easier to spell.
- Lark: A whimsical name with a sing-song feel to it, Lark is perfect for a sweet girl with a relaxed, fun-loving family.
- Laine: Smooth and easy to love, Laine's been a favorite of my since my Gilmore Girls days.
- Lea: Say it "Lee."
- Liv: Effervescent and cool, Liv is best on it's own, forsaking the all-too-popular Olivia for a more streamlined, minimalist name.
- Mae: Cute and familiar, Mae is never out of style.
- Maive: If you're looking for something a little more curious than Mae but still into the vintage charm, this name, or it's original Irish counterpart "Maeve" fits the bill.
- Mia: Easy to spell, pronounce and appreciate, Mia is a diminutive of Amelia but is sweet all on it's own too.
- Mya: Like Mia, teachers and new bosses won't have any trouble pronouncing this dainty say-it-as-you-see-it moniker.
- Nell: Distinct and adorable, this English name means "bright, shining one."
- Noel: French for Christmas, this may be a tiny little name but it packs a lot of rhythm and would be especially charming on a holiday baby.
- Onyx: Deep and brooding like the stone it borrows it's name from, Onyx may be an eccentric choice but it'll set her apart from the crowd with it's beauty.
- Opal: Quaint and gem-ish like the aforementioned Onyx, but with a touch of charisma.
- Osa: Nordic in origin, Osa brings together the all-popular vowel trend in a tidy, slightly exotic package.
- Pearl: Want to make it even shorter and kinda kitschy? Spell it "Purl" like the stitch.
- Priya: This Indian name is not only lovely in it's pronunciation but in it's original meaning: beloved.
- Quinn: Takes the edge off a hectic last name yet still stands strong as a pretty first or middle.
- Rae: Popular as a middle name, Rae deserves some first name glory.
- Raine: Or simply "Rain".
- Rene: Used as both a boy's and a girl's name, Rene fits in perfectly as a middle name for other R names like Riley, Rebecca and Rachel.
- Rhea: Sometimes "ray" sometimes "ree-uh", always pretty.
- Ruth: Most recently used as a middle name, Julia Garner's badass portrayal of Ruth Langmore in Netflix's sleeper hit Ozark is making me seriously rethink this for a strong, commanding first name.
- Shay: This one brings back memories of my older cousin's friends circa 1999. It's a rarely used name that's actually very pretty, both on paper and said aloud.
- Sia: Say it like "see-uh". Can also be spelled with a C.
- Skye: Ethereal without being out-of-this-world.
- Tess: Diminutive of Esther or Theresa, Tess would make a solid first name, especially with a surname that has a strong beginning or ending T, like Elliott or Taylor.
- Tia: She's the cool kid with a heart of gold who always wears shades and takes crap from no one.
- Ursa: Not quite as heavy as Ursula but still weighty.
- Vera: Play with the pronunciation to get the vowel sounds that fit your fancy, this name is neat without being trendy.
- Vivi: Vivi could be short for Vivian, Vivica or even Veronica - or it could stand on it's own as an eclectic first name.
- Wren: Cute for a kid who'll grow up on more PBS than YouTube and wear second-hand Bogs 10 out of the 12 months of the year.
- Zoe: Enduring. There's a good reason this three-letter name has stood the test of time - it's fun, charming and easy to love no matter her age or stage.
© 2019 Kierstin Gunsberg
mahnaz on July 20, 2019:
I need to have a neck name for my work also i do hair colour .
Nell Rose from England on June 23, 2019:
Bright shining one me! lol! what a great list of names and their meanings!
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on April 15, 2019:
Love the list especially the description of Tia. In Spanish tia means aunt.