Vintage baby names are making a comeback in a big way — but thanks to celebrities like Billie Eilish, Zazie Beetz, and Millie Bobby Brown, we’re seeing a popularity surge in those vintage-sounding “nickname” names too. Usually seen as diminutives of longer, more formal versions, these mini-versions are coming into their own as standalone names … and we are so here for it.
Sadie has been a favorite for … well, as long as the Social Security Administration has been keeping tabs on its most popular names. This name has literally never left the top 1,000 most popular. It came closest in 1965, dipping down to #994, but rebounded in a major way and is currently standing strong at #87 — well out of the “overused” category, but still familiar and well-loved. Wanna spice it up a little? Kick that S off the front and make it a Z, as in Zadie.
Traditionally a nickname for Mary or Margaret, Mamie is a strong name on its own. Isn’t it funny how it has such a close sound proximity to Amy, yet feels more vintage and less 1970s?
This is the Polish variation of Sophie (like Zosia is to Sophia). While Sophie, Sofie, Sophia, and Sofia combined are one of the most popular names currently, Zosie has a fresher feel while retaining the same qualities everybody loves about the S-versions.
Used as a diminutive of names from Eden to Edith to Edwina, Edie is a short-and-sweet choice (and as a bonus, it’ll be easy to spell in kindergarten!).
As mentioned, the popularity of singer Billie Eilish — combined with the fact that vintage baby names are hot right now anyway — Billie is set to catapult this one onto the “most popular” lists. Our prediction is that it’s going to be one of the fastest-rising girls’ names within the next year or two.
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This diminutive of Harriet isn’t one we see very often … yet. But it re-entered the popularity charts in 2011 after a four-decade dropoff and has been on a steady climb since then, currently standing in the “sweet spot” at #495. And if Hattie’s not your jam, how about …
While close to Hattie in spelling, Hallie feels a little more approachable … maybe because it sounds a lot like Allie, which has long been a popular diminutive of Allison or Alexandra. We all probably know an Allie, but how many Hallies do you know?
This adorable name is a diminutive of names like Euphremia and Euphrasia, so you can see its practicality. Fun fact: In the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, Mrs. Doubtfire’s first name is Euphegenia … and in one scene, she mentions that her late husband called her Effie.
The French version of Sylvia, this one has a breezy-but-polished feel. Effortlessly cool.
Sometimes seen as a shortened version of Helen or Eleanor, this name has an interesting history. In medieval times, putting “mine” in front of someone’s name was a term of endearment; so an Eleanor might have been “mine El.” This morphed into “my Nell,” which in turn morphed into the Nellie we know today. Fascinating!
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Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark may have made an impact on pop culture with her name (Arya is one of the fastest-rising girls’ names out there), but so did the actress who played her: Maisie Williams … whose “real” name, by the way, is Margaret Constance.
A diminutive of Dorothy, which is also coming back into vogue, Dottie feels more youthful. We can’t help but be reminded of the overachieving Dottie Hinson from A League of Their Own, whose character was based on Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek, a real-life player in the All American Girls’ Professional Baseball League.
This versatile nickname can be a version of the elegant Josephine or Josette, or of a name “borrowed” from the predominantly-boys’ camp, Josiah. (Hey, if a girl can be named Elijah …) It can also be shortened even further to Jo!
If you don’t love the sound of this name’s longer version, Matilda (or you just didn’t like Roald Dahl’s book of the same name), try its adorable short form on for size.
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This one stems from Arlette or Arlene, but with the soundalike Charlie quickly gaining ground as a girl’s name, this could be a cute alternative that you don’t see quite as often.
Z-names are forever going to be just a little bit edgy, and we love how Zelie combines that edge with the old-fashioned feel of the “-lie” ending.
There are tons (and tons, and tons) of nicknames for the perennially-popular Elizabeth, and this is one of them. But it’s one you don’t see as often as, say, Eliza or Liz or Beth. Thanks to the influence of legendary pinup model Bettie Page, it has a bit of a glam feeling.
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Amelia is currently #8 on the charts and has climbed every year since 1999: a testament to how much people are loving this name. But we also love its diminutive, Millie. It can also, of course, be a diminutive of Millicent or Mildred.
While its longer form — Cecelia — is elegant and formal, Celie has a decidedly more playful and casual feel.
Like Elizabeth and Amelia, Charlotte is another always-popular name; it’s currently at #6 on the charts. But its diminutive, Lottie, isn’t even in the top 1000 most popular girls’ names … at this point, anyway. But it is poised to make a comeback thanks to people looking to put a different spin on Charlotte.
Whether you name your little girl the long and formal version or just stick with the “-ie” diminutive by itself, you can’t go wrong with these vintage girl names that are making a strong comeback. Great-Grandma Nellie would be proud.
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