A super cute-name winner thanks to its short, repeated sound, Cece (along with Lulu, Coco, Evie, and others) is part of an emerging nickname-name trend. While indeed a nice nickname for C names like Cecilia, Cece feels fresh, modern, and feminine on its own.
On its own, or short for Cleopatra (um, awesome alert), Cleo's O-sound ending gives it a kick of cool—it's cute without being cutesy. Used in the early 20th century as a unisex name, Cleo is now chosen exclusively for girls. It's an excellent option for parents who like the name Chloe but feel—at #10—it's now overused.
A spirited girl's name still fondly known for its literary appearance in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, Franny is short for Frances or Francesca, both of which are also adorable in full. As a nickname, or on its own, Franny is informal and interesting, with a versatile sound that will fit most any girl.
Sometimes used as a nickname for über-popular Olivia (#4 in 2011), Liv is a stand-alone name in its own right. More common in Scandinavian countries, and meaning "life," or "protection," this concise, classic-sounding moniker has gained recognition in the United States largely thanks to actress Liv Tyler.
If Lucy is cute—and it certainly is—then Lulu is off-the-charts adorable; you just can't go wrong with this kind of short, repeated-syllable sound! It's a favorite Swahili and Hawaiian name, too. While a fairly mainstream choice on the US mainland in the late 19th century, it's a fun pick for parents today who want something instantly recognizable but not on the top 1,000 charts.
A common nickname in the Victorian era—used for young Eleanors, Helens and Cornelias—Nellie works perfectly today on its own. A simple and unexpected vintage choice meaning "Sun Ray," or "Shining Light," Nellie is an adorably old-fashioned, but not "old-lady," baby name option.
Already a surprising and charming alternative to Olivia, Abigail Breslin's Little Miss Sunshine character secured this moniker as almost unthinkably cute. Its peaceful symbolism and triple-trend chops as a nature, color, and tree name make Olive unanimously appealing, while its soft sound keeps it from coming on too strong. Celeb parents Isla Fisher and Sasha Baron Cohen, as well as Drew Barrymore, named their daughter Olive.
Having jumped 500 places since 1999, Piper ranked at #110 in 2011, and promises a continued, steady climb. Musical and spunky with a repeated "P" sound, Piper is little-girl cute without being frilly; it will still sound lovely when your baby is grown. First widely noticed via actress Piper Laurie, this is a current-sounding name with all the makings of becoming a classic.
Unisex and traditionally Irish, boy Quinns still outnumber girls by three to one. Thanks to female character appearances on the TV shows Daria, Zoey 101, and Glee, however, and to the name's appealingly quirky, modern sound, Quinn ranked higher on the American lists for new baby girls in 2011 (#188) than boys (#297). So, while Quinn retains a strong, dignified sound for boys, it has a creative, softer sound when given to girls.
#1 in Wales, and edging in on England's leading name spot as well, Ruby is #109 in America. A gem name with depth, and strong vowel sounds, Ruby sports a friendly and adventuresome—and definitely feminine—feel.
At #28 in 2011, Zoey rose 23 places in the last year alone. Variations on the spelling abound, including Zooey (as in Deschanel, and the famous Salinger character, who was male), Zoie and Zoe. This name's zippy sound and long vowels make it a fun, whimsical choice for a girl.