To nickname or not to nickname? Many parents consider this question when choosing a name for their new baby. On one hand, many of the short forms can be seen as ‘pet names,’ which are undesirable for some. Others, however, love how playful nicknames can be, especially when kiddos are young.
What’s not up for debate is that old-fashioned girl names for babies are undeniably popular right now. Look at the Social Security Administration’s top 10 list from 2022 and you’ll see names like Charlotte and Evelyn that were originally as popular earlier in the 1900s. It’s no surprise, as old-fashioned names tend to have more longevity than their trendier counterparts. To put it simply, many of them will never go out of style.
No matter where you fall in the nickname debate, the following list of old-fashioned girl names with sweet nicknames may sway you. We adore these names and their derivatives mainly because their sobriquets are darling for little girls while leaving them with a sophisticated title to inevitably grow into. Read on for 36 old-fashioned girl names with sweet nicknames.
Our Favorite Old-Fashioned Girl Names with Sweet Nicknames
Nickname: Bea or Bee
We can’t think of anything much cuter than a little baby Bee/Bea—plus, it opens the door to a whole realm of baby shower, first birthday, and nursery decor inspiration centered around honeybees. It also doesn’t hurt that she has a beautiful Italian name to grow into that means both “voyager” and “blessed.”
When a name is both highly feminine and undeniably strong, it’s automatically a win-win in our book. With a sweet and playful nickname potential of Birdie, Bernadette is the best of both worlds with the meaning of “strong” and “brave bear.”
Nicknames: Millie or Mills
In this case, whether you go with the given name or nickname, you’re left with two beautifully feminine options for a little girl. This French title holds the meaning of “helper of the priest.”
Cecilia may be breaking Simon & Garfunkel’s heart, but we know a sweet little girl will be doing the opposite! The moniker with a snappy nickname is of Italian origin and means “blind” or “hidden.”
Nickname: Lottie or Charlie
There’s a reason Charlotte has held a place on the charts for decades—the classic name meaning “free man” is simply timeless. What’s even better is that it has great nickname potential with both Lottie and the traditionally masculine Charlie.
On the other hand, Cordelia is a name that dropped off the charts from 1950-2014. If you ask us, the title meaning “heart,” which can easily be shortened to the adorable Cora, is ready for a revival.
Nickname: Dot or Dotty
We don’t need to follow the Yellow Brick Road to realize this moniker is precious in both its short and long form. Just like a sweet little girl, this Greek baby name means “gift from God.”
Nickname: Nora or Elle
While Nora hit its peak on the charts in 2021, Eleanor has been wildly popular all throughout the last century and beyond. We love both forms, especially since they each hold admirable meanings of “honor” and “shining light,” respectively.
The Polish derivative of Elizabeth is as uncommon as it is beautiful. It shares a meaning with its Hebrew counterpart of “God’s promise.”
Tying all the way back to medieval times, Emmeline surprisingly didn’t hit the SSA baby name charts until 2014. Similar to Emily and Emma, this old-fashioned variation has several origins in France, Germany, and England and means “work.”
While Stella may be a popular choice on its own, Estelle is a highly sophisticated feminine name for a little one to grow into. Both hold the Latin meaning of “star.”
Nickname: Este or Tess
Take a page out of Taylor Swift’s songbook with this name she used in her ballad, no body, no crime. The name referenced in the iconic song holds the meaning of “star” and can be shortened to two sweet nickname options, Este or Tess.
As far as old-fashioned girl names go, this may be one of the most popular. With the sweet short form Evie, it’s no wonder this name meaning “desired” is just that.
Nickname: Frankie or Francie
If you’re looking for an adorable gender-neutral option, Francis might be the way to go. We can’t get enough of the nicknames Frankie and Francie and appreciate that the Latin title means “Frenchman.”
Nickname: Frenchie or Cesca
While Francesca may have a modern feel to it, the title actually has a long history in Italian and German cultures. And there’s no denying the charming nickname Frenchie brings forth images of a curly-haired cutie from the 1950s as seen in the beloved musical Grease.
Easily shortened to Flo, the Latin moniker beautifully means “blossoming,” “flourishing,” and “prosperous”—exactly what we hope for our little girls.
Nicknames: Gen, Gena, Eve, or Evie
A highly feminine name with many adorable nickname options, Genevieve is of French and German origins and refers to the “race of women.”
Nickname: Gwen or Wendy
A beautifully classic name, Gwendolyn is a title of Welsh origin and holds the meaning of “white ring.”
A heroic title to be sure, a little one with this name will share it with American activist Harriet Tubman. Shortened to sweet Hattie, the German name means “home-ruler.”
For a vintage name with built-in beauty, consider this name meaning “shining” or “light.” Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus, according to Greek mythology, and was known for her divine beauty.
Nicknames: Josie or Jo
We love that the long form of this name is effortlessly timeless while its lovely nickname has a modern feel. This Hebrew title shares a meaning with its masculine counterpart, Joseph, with “Jehovah increases.”
Nicknames: Cindy or Lucy
Both Lucinda and Cindy reached their peak popularity in the 1950s. Both have since significantly dropped in popularity but are worthy of a comeback. The Spanish name means “light.”
Nicknames: Mae or Belle
Fitting for a little girl who’s sure to be your new love is this sweet name/nickname combo of Latin origin, meaning “lovable.”
Nicknames: Margot, Marge, or Meg
This French version of the English Margaret is as elegant as it is rare. Meaning “pearl,” it offers a number of nickname options while leaving a highly luxurious title to grow into. As a bonus, the baby would share a birth name with the acclaimed American poet Maya Angelou.
Some of the best old-fashioned girl names are ones that have rarely made it onto the charts. Marigold is so rare that it didn’t hit the top 1,000 baby names until 2022. Unsurprisingly, the English name refers to a “golden flower.”
Give your new little lady the best of both worlds with a name that feels undeniably sophisticated and has a sobriquet fit for a young girl. Of Aramaic origin, it holds the meaning of “lady.”
Nicknames: Tilly, Tilda, or Hilde
For many of us, this name will be very nostalgic and bring back memories of our favorite childhood movies. With a nickname just as lovable as the name itself, it has a strong meaning of “mighty in battle.”
You don’t have to be a “Louisiana Woman” to appreciate the name of one of the greatest female country music artists in history, Loretta Lynn. The Italian name was popularized in the U.S. in the 1930s and refers to the laurel tree.
Nickname: Lou or Ella
We love this union of two names that are lovely on their own but may be even greater together. Take your pick of two sweet nicknames with this German name with the strong meaning of “famous warrior.”
It’s hard not to love this name that’s shared with the comedic genius, Lucille Ball. Shine a “light” in the dark of the baby name search with this French title.
Nickname: Pattie or Tricia
This derivative of the masculine moniker Patrick shares the meaning of “noble.”
Surprisingly, this lovely name, meaning “rose,” fell off of the charts after the 1980s. It’s since gained its roots and started growing again, ranking 176 in 2022.
Nicknames: Teddy or Dora
Reaching peak popularity in 1908, this charming Victorian name might soon be seeing the revival it deserves. Charmingly shortened to Teddy, the name refers to a “Gift of God.”
Perfect for the first girl born into a family is this name with ties to the Sioux Native American tribe. Meaning “firstborn daughter,” the name can be shortened to the adorable Nonie.
Nickname: Winnie or Freddie
While this vintage name might come with a bewitching nickname, its meaning—of Welsh origin—is “blessed peacemaking.”
For a surname first name that has never hit the charts, consider this British title meaning “friend’s hill.”