May and her spicier variants

My Great Aunt May was a fabulous woman. Married months before WW1, widowed during, never remarried. Had a blast travelling the world and became a patron of the arts. Some of my earliest memories are of being at old Newark airport, waiting for her to arrive. Well, her or the Grandparents.  I’ve been told repeatedly by the family that she is the member I am most like. Which is cool, she was an awesome lady. But I know she always felt her name was too gentle and demure for her and while I like May exactly as she is, I was thinking “What would be a good way to spice May up, in a way May might like”?


So I went digging and came up with these variants that appeal in various ways:

Maybelle/Mabel (more Maybelle than Mabel, which reminds me of maple syrup: blech)

I thought about relating May to Mary (hence how Marian & Marigold got on this list). And if that works, I could also use Marilyn, for that lovely, living Auntie of mine.

But maybe my best bet is either Marguerite, nn Maisie (sound honoring) or just May. I considered Marguerite for Josephine briefly but in the end, just didn’t like it enough to keep it on the lists. I still do like it but am wondering if I like it enough. Somehow, I’m not sure I do. Maybe I should just think about May, alone. I’m not fond of May up front, so maybe in the middle somewhere?


What do you think of simple May and potentially, Margery nn Maisie?   Any of the others?  Worth trying to pair or no?

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. appellationmountain
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 09:51:32

    I’m a big fan of Marguerite. In fact, she’s in my top three for girls, behind Rosemary and Iris. I’d use the nickname Daisy, but Maisie is darling, too. (The botanical theme is unintentional – they honor family – Maria Rosa, Irene and Malgorzata.)

    If you were putting her in the second spot, Margery gets my vote. I like a three-syllable-ends-in-y middle name.

    But May is also charming, and while I don’t think Josephine and May sound like sisters, May could fit nicely into the second or third slot.

    Josephine and Marguerite sound perfectly paired.

    How many weeks do you have to narrow down your list? 🙂


  2. Lola
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 10:35:46

    None, really. I lost the one I was carrying in late January, 9 weeks I made. Still waiting to try again, but the name thing keeps me sane. 😀 Doc says we can try again starting this month. This is my last year trying too, I’m starting to think we’re getting too old, maybe.

    I agree Josephine & May don’t sound like sisters (in my family they were both Aunts, from opposite sides of the family). My biggest problem with May is that my kids don’t say “Can I?” they say “May I” my Pop was really precise and made us say it. “Can I, Pop?” “Can you? Yes, but you’re not allowed to” “May I, Pop”? “Yes, you may” was the general conversation until I was about 6 or so. So “May I” is indelibly etched in my head. And if I forget to capitalise it, it doesn’t look like a name to me.

    So, votes for Marguerite and Margery. Thank you very much! And just so you know, the botanical thing doesn’t bother me at all. My goodness, the blooms are everywhere in my family (and heck, May & Lily were my Grandma and her older sister!) So as long as middles aren’t matchy too, three “flower” sisters would seem charming to me!


  3. Caitlin B
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 11:12:28

    Marguerite is my own Nanny – my only living grandparent. I plan on using her when my time comes. I used to have her paired with Rosanna, my other grandmother. But I thought maybe that was too much of me (my name is Caitlin Rosanna Marguerite!). So, I’ve been playing around with them both.

    Nanny is known by her friends as Marge. But Maisie is really sweet. Have you considered the name Maisie with the nickname May? Or is that too cutesy? My favorite on this list is Margery/Maisie. I absolutely love Great Aunt May’s story, her meaning for you, and the fact that you want to honor her. I like the idea of using Marilyn to honor two birds in one name, too. But Josephine and Margery go well together, I think!


  4. Lola
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 11:55:34

    Thanks Caitlin! I just voted on your namelist. James Aloysius is easily my favorite of your boys and Frances Delia from your girls.

    I think Marguerite Rosanna for your Grannies is a bit too much you, indeed, but have you thought about sisters Marguerite & Rosanna? You could nn them Daisy & Rosie! 🙂

    It looks as though Elspeth Romilly Jane is winning the impartial poll, so I’m free to toy with Margery. This pleases me, surprisingly. I also think Josephine & Margery make pretty fantastic sisters! And I’m still looking for a place for Marilyn.


  5. Emmy Jo
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 14:43:15

    May is pretty, but you’re right that she doesn’t pair well with Josephine as a first. For first names, I like Margery, Marian, and Marguerite (probably in that order). For middles, I like all those plus Marigold — yes, it’s fanciful, but that’s what makes it so lovely. And I love Maisie as a nickname.

    I don’t really like Maybelle, and Amabel feels like too much of a stretch.


  6. Lola
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 15:08:49

    It’s probably going to end up Margery up front with Maisie & May as nicknames.

    Marigold’s neat, isn’t it? Warm and happy! I had Marigold in Ottoline Alice Marigold but Ottoline has transformed to Ottilie Alice Ghislaine. I’m still looking for a place for Marigold but no luck yet.


  7. Mia
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:27:53

    I completely love Marigold and Margery/Maisie.

    One of my great grandmothers was Elsie Mae, which sounds a little ‘backcountry’, but I still think it is kind of charming too. I just haven’t quite worked it into a combo.


  8. Lola
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 16:32:15

    Aww, thanks Mia! I’m working on Margery now. We had a productive emailing session today.

    Marigold’s still on the lists, but I have to find a new home for her. Margery is definitely going to go up front. He absolutely loves Margery, says it’s feminine, soft & pretty.

    Elsie Mae is adorable! I’d think about maybe updating it: Elsa Mae, nn Elsie, or using the pair in the middle with something we equally loved up front. Well, that’s just the first thought I had, but it’s just about suppertime. Good thing it’s takeout tonight!


  9. Lydia May
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 18:27:01

    I prefer Margery to Marguerite, personally. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just don’t like Marguerite too much. I usually don’t go for the long, heavy French names, like Marguerite, Antoinette, and Jacqueline. Margery, however, is sweet and charmingly medieval. Maisie is an absolutely adorable nn.

    May is my middle name, and I quite like it. I’m not much for it up front (especially after a close friend of mine named her pet goat May!), but I like it in the middle. It suits just about any first name, though I like it with strong, stately names, like Eleanor May. Tends to brighten an almost too-serious name up.


  10. Lola
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 18:40:54

    Oh, thanks Lydia May! 🙂

    It’s not that Marguerite’s long & French that bothers me, it’s something I’m not sure about yet, I’m still trying to figure out what. I had it on my lists when I was pregnant with Josephine and I wrote it off then for some reason but I don’t remember why. I still ended up with long & French, so it’s not that, at least. (and I’m finding Antoinette rather appealing at the moment)

    I do adore Margery and he seems to like it a fair bit as well, which makes it a double winner for me. I also like that Maisie can be shortened further into May(Mai/Mae, whatever). As I often end up shortening Josie to Jos, yeah, told you I nickname. I really cut into names verbally. 🙂

    Look for more Margery tomorrow. I’m working on that tonight for the morning.


  11. Davena
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 02:02:08

    My mn is May. So Davena May? LOL.

    So any daughter I have will have a mn of May. On my short list are: Daisy May, Maisie and Maeve. We are leaning towards either Daisy or Maisie.


  12. Lola
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 09:24:49

    😀 Davena!

    Maisie May feels repetitive to me, since I’m one who would probably shorten Maisie to May fairly often anyway. Daisy May is sweet, reminds me of Dogpatch (which was a comic strip when I was a kid, Lil’ Abner? His “love interest”) But I don’t know if it’s something that would bother you any. I’d probably think about potentially Margaret May, nn Daisy, just so she’d have a fallback.

    I’m fairly sold on Margery, myself, so look for her in a short bit!


  13. Davena
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 17:32:38

    Oh, if we used Maisie up front we’d switch middle name. But I’d likely call her Maisie May a lot anyways. LOL.


  14. Lola
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 19:47:38

    That’s cute, then. 🙂
    I’m really loving Maisie these days. Far too nicknamey for me alone, I think Margery’s going to replace Ottilie in second place.


  15. Kate
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 08:05:52

    Hi Lola, I can really see Margery with Josephine you know, I like her Scottish roots and she sounds so sweetly old fashioned not to mention friendly and comfortable (she always reminds of Kathleen in that sense).

    May – I like, especially when I’m having one of my ‘back to basics’ naming days (does anyone else get them? Days when you don’t feel the need for anything to fancy and prefer sweet, simple names – they happen to me quite often). By and large though, her sound is too short for me and next to Josephine she would sound a trifle lacking, but in the middle – yes.

    Marigold is utterly charming and I really like your Ottoline Alice Marigold combo – so spring like and a glorious crimson yellow. Ottilie Alice Ghislaine is lovely although I don’t know much about Ghislaine including how to pronounce her. I think I’ll have to look back through your posts and find out more…

    As for the others, well I’m not really a fan of Marguerite, although she would go well with Josephine. I hvae so say that Amabel really intrigues me, I need to think more about her before I know exactly how I feel though…


  16. Lola
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 08:53:19

    Thanks Kate!
    I have those “simple days” myself. They’re usually my shortfall because I’m a sucker for pomp & frills usually.

    Ghislaine is jees-LANE, generally. BtN lists no pronuciation under the entry and the comments have nothing to add in that sense, so I’m searching the boards there to see if someone’s clarified it any but Wow! is it slow today!

    I am definitely thinking Margery right now. She’s got an entry here, right beyond this one. Maybe there’s a combo there you’d like?

    Amabel is rather interesting, isn’t it? The original form of Mabel and sweetly medieval herself. I generally put her in the middle because I fear a lot of people will mangle her, she’s a bit mumbly. But I really like Amabel!


  17. babynamelover
    Apr 23, 2009 @ 17:48:25

    I love Marigold 🙂


    • Lola
      Apr 23, 2009 @ 18:30:13

      Thanks, dear! Marigold is still looking for a new home. Ottoline has premanently morphed into Ottile. And the pairing Alice Marigold is dead solid in my head.


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