The mere discussion of baby names can send any well-meaning conversation into a tailspin, especially when we balk at names that seem more apropos of a Civil War general (you're naming him Custer?) or soul diva (isn't Gladys a bit too old-fashioned?), for example. But very often, names are things children grow into, like, say, that pair of too-big shoes you'll undoubtedly buy somewhere down the line.
And if they don't? Well, there's always a nickname, right? Nicknames can sometimes be so much more awesome than formal names, too. These 10 adorable names come with built-in nicknames that are, arguably, even cuter.
You may have heard the unisex nickname, Rory, from the name of Alexis Bledel’s character on Gilmore Girls. On the show, it was short for Lorelai, but we love it as the shortened version of Aurora, from the Latin word for “dawn.” Actress Melora Hardin, of Transparent and A Million Little Things, is obviously a die-hard fan, too: Her older daughter's first name is Rory. Which is also stellar.
If you're into Disney references, Belle, short for Annabelle (which means "loving"), will immediately remind you of the locked-up princess from Beauty and the Beast. By itself, Belle translates to "beautiful" in French, which wasn't lost on Bruce Willis and Demi Moore when they made it their second daughter, Tallulah's, middle name.
Evie with a long e is cute for a baby and gets much more sophisticated as a girl grows up. It's a pretty, shortened version of the name Genevieve (which loosely means "tribe woman")—and Evie can be interpreted to mean "life" in Hebrew.
For Penelope, from the Greek word meaning “weaver,” try Poppy for short. It's quirky, cool, and the name of a gorgeous flower. The uber-stylish British model, socialite, clotheshorse, and "It" girl Poppy Delevingne certainly lives up to it.
Beatrice, which comes from a Latin word meaning “she who brings happiness,” is the plucky protagonist in the sci-fi book trilogy, Divergent (later, it became a movie); she's fearless and smart. She also goes by the nickname Tris, a modern twist on a somewhat antiquated (yet charming) name that's cute nonetheless.
Although Asher comes from the Hebrew word meaning “fortunate, blessed, happy one,” many Southerners have co-opted the truncated name Ash (which is actually British). Little ones will likely love it, too, once they realize that Ash is also the hero of those insanely-popular Pokémon cartoons.
If Jax isn’t the coolest rock 'n' roll handle, then what is? Use it as a nickname for the more traditional, English name, Jackson (or Jaxon) which very literally means, “son of Jack.” (But girls can totally be called Jackson, too.) Jax is also short for Ajax, a Greek mythological hero. Jax has even transcended nickname status to achieve full-name prestige: Actress Garcelle Beauvais named her son Jax Joseph and Jax Taylor from Vanderpump Rules uses it instead of his given first name, Jason.
Calling all Gossip Girl fans. The name Bas (short for Sebastian here in the U.S.) is popular in The Netherlands where it ranks somewhere within the top 10. Baz, another European nickname (from Sebastian, Basil, and Barry), is arguably better, being equal parts posh and devil-may-care.
If you live in New York City, you're already familiar with "Lex," and use it regularly to refer to Lexington Ave. Lex has a lot of character and is an edgy, shortened version of Alexander, meaning “defending men” in the Greek (aka Alexander the Great).
Truman comes from an English word meaning “loyal one” and was most popular the year that Harry Truman succeeded FDR as president. When shortened to Tru, it's naturally associated with truth and integrity. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson named their son Truman Theodore, Martha Stewart's grandson is also Truman, and the 1940s-era author and socialite, Truman Capote, sometimes went by Tru.