Names Like Emma

by You Can't Call It "It"! on November 8, 2012

Names like Emma.  It’s a tricky one.  From a Jane Austen novel to the set of Friends, she’s sweetly old-fashioned and yet terribly modern.  She’s worn by young starlets, Stone, Roberts, and Watson, and yet for many of us, it may be the (slightly) older Emma Thompson who first shone a light on her beauty.  She’s both sensible and feminine, a daddy’s little girl and a force in the boardroom.  Here are a few names that come close, in different ways, to encapsulating Emma’s myriad likeable qualities.  Please resist the urge to do Emma and Ella.  If I had to pick just one name to be her heir, it would be Alice.














Siblings could lean more old-fashioned.  I think if you already have an Emma, you can stand to really embrace her throwback style and go all out a second time:

Sisters: Frances, Harriet, Jane, Mary, Winifred

Brothers: Alistair, Clarence, Frederick, Hugh, Peter

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 K November 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I had picked out Emma years ago and then Rachel and Ross robbed me ;) It is still a beautiful name (I much prefer it to Ella). I love Alice, Mae and Willa as alternatives.


2 JessicaD November 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I have never really liked Emma.
However I would love to have an Alice, Frances, Willa and Mary.
Elsa, Gemma and Harriet easy make my long list, as does Alistair.


3 Kelly P November 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

My husband and I chose the name Emma years ago and haven’t yet had children. It’s right around the corner though (fingers crossed) and my husband refuses to reconsider given its enormous surge in popularity in the meantime. I’ve actually been trying to talk him into Eliza, but he doesn’t care how popular Emma is – it’s his favorite. I also love the suggestions of Willa and Elsa as well.


4 Julie November 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I fell in love with the name in a children’s book about a stuffed rabbit called Emma Bean, this was about 18 years ago and long before I was anywhere near parenthood.

My suggestions would be:

I adore Alma and the similar Alva and Elba, but they may be too “different” for the parent who is interested in Emma.


5 Emma November 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm



6 You Can't Call It "It"! November 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Thinking of more… Mina… Nina. Clara, Laura.


7 K November 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Yes…I agree. Laura is under-used!


8 Christina Fonseca November 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Sisters Ada, Hattie, Harriet, Hazel, Jean

Silas, Daniel, James, John


9 Heather November 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Funny you mentioned the tie-in with Friends. That was 10 years ago and Ross and Rachel chose Emma over Isabella. I was actually preg at the time of the finale and Isabella was our first choice and also is my middle name. I thought I’d dodged a very popular bullet when Rachel dissed Isabella for Emma! Ha, that didn’t turn out quite like I’d hoped. Anyway, over the next 10 years, I’ll say I’ve heard Emma and Isabella about equally as names. And Emerson is another that gets shortened to Emma, Emmie and Em.


10 waltzingmorethanmatilda November 10, 2012 at 3:31 am

Alice is very sweet, and does have that same feel that Emma does (or maybe I should, as Emma did when she first started rising and was still fresh).

I also like Mabel as “the new Emma” – because once upon a time, Emma was an “old lady name” too.


11 Lee November 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Although already on her (slow) way down, Emma is also a very popular name here in Germany. Speaking of Emma, the following names came to my mind:

Paula, Louise (one could of course turn it into Louisa but I personally have heard that way to often), Hannah, Lina, Clara and Emilie (which is propably too close to Emily in an english pronounciation) on the “old-ladies” front
Maria (which is not only a classic, but would make a great sister to Emma)
and Luca.

the boys are a lot harder. I like the suggestion of Noah, but couldn’t figure out what, besides Paul, a possible Emma could be named if she turned out to be boy.


12 Ichunddienamen November 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I like the sound of Emma, but I think it is too popular. Names I like that have a similar feeling: Esma , Mina, Amina, Emina, (all these names are family names and have an Arabic origin)


13 Kari November 15, 2012 at 4:07 am

That’s the point of this post. Names to use if you like Emma but don’t want an overused name :)


14 nicole b. November 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I’ll add: Mila, Mira, Lena or Liza. Sisters could be: Cleo, Clementine (nn Clem), Charlotte or Violet. Brothers could be: Lucas, Levi, Flynn or Felix.


15 tolmanterry November 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Just read a new baby name book called Baby Names to Live By by Tabitha Klein. There are lots of old-fashioned names in it, and I found several that would be good Emma alternatives (I have a niece named Emma): Ada, Louisa, Alva, Greta, Eva, Evelyn, Lilla, and my very favorite–Greer, which I guess isn’t terribly Emma-like, but it’s classy and unusual.


16 Tracy November 16, 2012 at 4:48 am

Emma is a very sweet name. I really like your list YCCII. Especially Willa.

Instead of Emma: Clara, Lena, Tessa, Stella, Josie, Ismay, Marla.( I love this name:)), Eden, Isla and Oona.

Sister names: Claire, Mila, Scarlett, olive, Celia, phoebe, Camille and Neve.

Brother names: Tate, Miles, Miller, Julian, Callum and Rhys


17 Tracy November 16, 2012 at 4:50 am

Emma and Julian nn Jules swoon!
I could say Emma and Phoebe over and over again:)


18 Tracy November 16, 2012 at 5:00 am

Elise instead or sister is lovely too.

Eva or Evie instead of Emma.

Bryce, Ross or Brody.


19 Emma November 17, 2012 at 2:02 am

As an Emma, I’ve always loved my name. I’m 31, and I only knew one Emma growing up, and she was my parent’s age. I’m flattered that everyone loves the name, but I do think it is a shame it is so popular.
My name is Emma Kay, and I was told the back up name was Susannah. I have always loved the name Susannah. My sisters names are Joanna and Elizabeth. I think Joanna is a sweet name to go along with Emma, and Elizabeth is very classic, but more mainstream like Margaret. But I think Betsy goes nicely with a sibling named Emma.
I think Alice is a perfect heir to Emma. Also Colleen and Anne. I feel like versions of Ann or Anna get used, but not Anne. Makes me think of Anne of Green Gables.
In thinking of very traditional names, I wonder if Polly would ever come back? My family tree is full of Sarahs and Marys who went by Sally or Polly. Any thoughts? I don’t think it is the new Emma, but does it fit with that genre?


20 waltzingmorethanmatilda November 25, 2012 at 6:55 am

I absolutely love Polly! Also I would be thrilled to see Anne used more often – it’s my mother’s name.


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