If you’re expecting a new baby in your family, figuring out the right middle name can sometimes be more complicated than picking out the first name. Sandwiched between the first
name you choose and the last name you’re stuck with, you have to consider how the all of the various names will sound together. Some first and middle names might be lovely on their own, but when they’re put together, they can be a bit of a mouthful. If you have a long or hyphenated last name, you also might want to go with something short and snappy in the middle. Short middle names for girls can often be the solution to bring a baby’s full name together melodiously.
A longer first name and short middle name can go together like wine and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. In other words, they make each other even better. But you can also keep the whole name short and snappy by going short with the first name too. Aside from the way the names sound together, you might choose a middle name
that has some special meaning to you, your partner, or your family. The middle name is often a place where parents choose to honor a family member.
Here is a long list of short and sweet middle names for girls that will go fantastically with any first name you choose.
It doesn’t get much prettier than this French name, meaning “clear” or “bright.” And it sounds good with everything, Josephine Claire, Olivia Claire, or Harper Claire, whether the first name ends in a vowel sound or consonant. Jessica Biel and Zooey Deschanel both have this super lovely middle name.
Brooke is a perfect middle-name choice for a little girl who loves water and loves to babble — and lots of new babies do love both of those things. This name peaked in popularity in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but still feels cute and modern. What about Eleanor Brooke, Valerie Brooke, or Madeline Brooke?
Elizabeth is a classic, but very long, middle name. But the nickname Beth can stand on its own as a lovely middle name. It’s the name of one of the heroines of
Little Women, the sweet and supportive March sister. It means “oath,” and could pair really well with a classic two-syllable girl’s name that ends in a vowel sound: Sarah Beth, Mary Beth, and Laura Beth all roll right off the tongue. 4 Belle
Sure, it’s the name of many people’s favorite Disney princess, but Belle is also a lovely middle name that jazzes up anything it’s paired with. Meaning “beautiful” in French, Belle has a middle name feel. Lots of lovely names have the -bel suffix — Annabel, Mirabel, Isabelle — and the “Belle” middle name creates that same beautiful feel. It would pair nicely with a French-sounding first name (how cute is Genevieve Belle or Collette Belle?) if you want to lean into the French vibe.
5 Jane Igor Alecsander/E+/Getty Images
The name Jane is just classic. Meaning “God is gracious,” it could go beautifully with an alliterative first name (Jillian Jane? Juniper Jane?) or add to a classic or more modern name (Taylor Jane.) Celebrities from Lilly Collins to Shirley Temple have this as a middle name, so your little girl would be in good company.
Lee is a cute choice that’s unassuming but adds a little extra sparkle to any first name. So many cute first names for girls end with an -ly, and Lee as a middle name gives any name the same feel. You could try Cora Lee, Evelyn Lee, Anne Lee, or Eliza Lee. Though it sounds fine to my ear, you may want to avoid following a first name that ends in -ly already, like Beverly Lee. Lee is an English name, meaning “clearing” or “field.” You could also spell it “Leigh.”
Wren, like the bird, is a more unusual choice that undeniably has that cool factor. This name feels fresh and modern — it appeared on the Social Security Administration’s list of top 1000 most popular first names in 2013, but it’s been growing by leaps and bounds since then. If you pick a more traditional first name, but want to also have a unique twist, Wren could be a great choice.
Who doesn’t need some Hope these days? This name is one of the most popular “virtue” names (think Charity, Faith, or Prudence) and has never
gone out of style — it’s the rare name that’s always appeared in the Social Security Administration’s list of most popular names every year since 1900. We never lose the need for Hope. 9 Joy
Your little girl is going to be a bundle of joy, so why not name her accordingly? Of course, this name means exactly what you’d guess. This name sounds especially nice paired with a first name that ends with A: Alana Joy, Emma Joy, Bella Joy just sound like little poems.
If you go back a few generations, the branches of many family trees are heavy with Ruths — this name was in the top 10 names for 30 straight years between 1900 and 1930. Ruth might already be on your radar as a way to commemorate one of these people from your grandparent’s or great-grandparent’s generation. This
vintage name means “friend” — how cute is that? 11 Mia
Mia is a sweet name that is related to the names Maria, Amelia, and Miriam, and means both “dear” and “mine.” So if you have a relative with any of those names that you want to honor, this could be a cute way to do it. And of course, maybe your little girl will be a soccer star like Mia Hamm — you never know.
It doesn’t get much more classic than “Anne” as a middle name choice — it and Marie are the most popular names in the United States. But Ana (which you could also spell with an extra “n”) adds a slightly more lyrical twist. This name means “favored grace.”
Any name that starts with a Q just can’t help but be cool, and Quinn is no exception. This Irish name that’s related to the word for “wisdom” is the rare name that’s both classic and modern-feeling. It also pairs well with older names (Catherine Quinn) or a more trendy one (Brooklyn Quinn).
14 Noa Mike Kemp/Tetra images/Getty Images
Noah is a great boy’s name, but did you know that by dropping the last letter this can be a girl’s name too? Noa means “motion” and is a lovely and more unusual choice, maybe to honor a Noah relative. How cool does Natalie Noa or Julia Noa sound?
This French name has the perfect meaning for telling your baby what she is — “loved.” It sounds elegant but strong. A girl with this middle name might enjoy the picture book
Amazing Esmé, and, when she’s older, J.D. Salinger’s famous short story “For Esmé, With Love and Squalor.” 16 Gwynne
Gwen, short for Gwendolyn, is a super-cute name, but this slightly spiffed-up version can stand alone as a great middle name. It can mean either “white” or “blessed.” There are lots of alternate spellings: Gwynn, Guinn, or Gwyn, to name just a few.
This name is unimpeachably cool. It’s the title of a fashion magazine, the actress Elle Fanning — among other actresses and models — and of course, the unforgettable character Elle Woods, the heroine of
Legally Blonde. It simply means “she” in French, and though it’s short in length, it packs a punch. 18 Else
“Elsa” got a big popularity boost from the Frozen franchise, but this lesser-known cousin of that name has still not cracked the top 1,000 most-popular names in the United States. This name is related to Elizabeth and is primarily Danish in origin. Alma Else or Freja Else would be a great choices if you want to lean into the Scandinavian feel.
This adorable name means “life” in both the Danish and Swedish languages. Although it can be short for Olivia, it’s also a standalone name, as in, Liv Tyler, Liv Ullman. This name would pair beautifully with an L first name — Laura Liv — for alliteration, or a three-syllable first name. How striking is the name Jacqueline Liv?
This name has a lot of energy and it’s no surprise when you know the meaning: it means both “lion” and “eagle.” It can be short for “Ariel” but also just stand on its own. It is more commonly a boy’s name so has a unisex feel. How about Juliana Ari and Marielle Ari?
Skye comes from the gorgeous Scottish Isle of Skye. Of course, you can also spell it without the “e” and simply honor the beautiful blue dome we all live under. And when she’s old enough to enjoy
Paw Patrol, she might be excited to share her name with one of the pups. Emily Skye or Samantha Skye both sound lovely. 22 Una Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
This name means simply “one” — a perfect choice for your new girl, whether or not she’s your one and only. You could spell it Oona or Oonagh. It has origins that are both Finnish and Irish. If you have a first name ending in a consonant — Elizabeth Una, Caitlin Una — this makes a super-cute pairing.
Jade is a beautiful gemstone, so it’s no surprise that it makes a beautiful name. The deep-green color would be great for a green-eyed girl, for a family who wants to honor either a Spanish or Irish heritage, or just anyone who thinks it’s pretty. It adds some instant sophistication and worldliness to any name: what about Sophia Jade or Isabelle Jade?
Just like “Q,” names with “Z” are just plain cool. And the vivacious name Zoe (from the Greek word for “life”) is no different. Charlotte Zoe or Abigail Zoe sound just plain cool.
This elegant Irish name has grown dramatically in popularity in the past 20 years and shouldn’t be overlooked as a lovely choice for a middle name. What about Harper Maeve or Ava Maeve to go in on the “v” sound?
Ida is an old German name meaning “hardworking;” it has both English and German roots. It’s fallen out of popularity but is poised for a comeback, or could be used to honor a relative. Try it with a first name that ends in a consonant sound, like, Grace Ida, Catherine Ida, or Elizabeth Ida.
Joan was a hugely popular name in the ’30s and ’40s, so this could be a great choice to honor a grandmother or great-aunt. A Hebrew name meaning “God’s gracious gift” this name honors lots of awesome women and inspiring fictional characters: Joan of Arc, Joan Baez, Joan Didion, and even Joan Harris on
Mad Men. And let’s not forget the incomparable Joni Mitchell, who was born in the ’40s and named Roberta Joan at birth. 28 More short middle names for girls: Rose Ava Emma Tara Kate Marie Yeva Abby Brynn Lucy Sloane Chloe Dawn Sage Faith Grace Zena Ivy Kali Lily Mila Nora Yael Paige Sarah
With so many great middle names to choose from, you might even want to double up on your middle names: Giving your baby multiple middle names is no longer something that just the royal family does. A great name can sound like a poem that just flows together and sounds perfect to your ear. Though it may be a long search to find the right name, you’ll know it when you hear it — and soon you won’t be able to imagine calling your baby anything else.
This article was originally published on
June 12, 2022