Duana Names: Greek to Me

October 31, 2014 19:18:02 Posted at October 31, 2014 19:18:02
Duana Posted by Duana

Hi Duana,
We are expecting a girl very soon and she will be a sister to our first daughter Eleni (we are Greek-American). Because we chose such a Greek sounding name for our first I feel that we need to do the same for our second - Eleni and Harper don’t really work together. I also like the idea of keeping a Greek naming tradition.The problem is I don’t seem to like many other Greek names. I want to steer clear of anything too uncommon like Olympia, Phaedra or Lysandra (although all beautiful) and I really don’t like the more common names like Alexandra, Anastasia or Maria. Also, I really like the option of being able to shorten her name like we do for our Leni. Our last name has three syllables, and starts with a K-sound. Also, easy to pronounce is a must – I thought Eleni would be pretty straight-forward but so many people call her Elainey.

Thanks for the advice!


There is a vast, vast middle ground for Greek girls’ names and in it live, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful names in the world.

Not for nothing, but how can you look at names like Penelope and Allegra and Thalia and not feel delighted and excited at the glamour and rarity?

Always my first go-to name of Greek origin is Daphne. I suppose you could question whether it’s "Greek enough" to match Eleni but it’s not in popular use and it’s phenomenal, so those should be two big swings in your favour.

One sad thing is that I can’t suggest my other favourite, Helena, but if you’re reading this and you're not the original letter writer but do want a Greek Girl’s name and don’t already have a daughter named Eleni, feel free. The Gemini twins that are the names Dorothea and Theodora both allow for umpteen nicknames and usages. Cosima has been well-highlighted by me here but it’s still worth a look.

The one thing that’s not super easy for Greek names, maybe, if it’s important to you, is short names. Most of these need to be at least nicknamed to get there. One name that straddles the line is Cleo – yes, it’s technically short for Cleopatra, but in a world where there’s an abundance of Chloe and Zoe (both also Greek, of course) Cleo stands up just fine.

Let me know what you think!

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