let's talk about Gretchen!

Does anyone else love this name?
i think it’s absolutely adorable… and the nickname [name]Greta[/name] is so cute!!

it’s german meaning “little pearl” and is also defined as a variant of [name]Margaret[/name]… which i actually dislike…

i like::
[name]Gretchen[/name] [name]Renee[/name]
[name]Gretchen[/name] [name]Olivia[/name]
[name]Gretchen[/name] [name]Elise[/name]
[name]Gretchen[/name] [name]Leigh[/name]

Since I speak a little [name]German[/name], I could never use [name]Gretchen[/name]… The -chen part on the end is like the Spanish -ita which means [name]Gretchen[/name] is a nickname for [name]Greta[/name], not the other way around… [name]Nor[/name] does [name]Gretchen[/name] mean ‘little pearl’ it mean ‘little [name]Greta[/name]’. [name]Greta[/name] is a dimunitive of [name]Margaret[/name], that’s why it means ‘pearl’…
To me it’s like calling her Gretababy (or Emmababy as a more popular example) for all eternity and it just doesn’t feel right…

That said, I know [name]Gretchen[/name] has tradition as a full name in the US and that there are few Americans who know about this or will react to it… I’m just worried what will happen if she one day goes to Germany all proud of her [name]German[/name] name only to learn it’s not considered a name there… I’d feel terrible if that were me…

Of your combos, [name]Gretchen[/name] [name]Elise[/name] is the best sounding one, although [name]Greta[/name] [name]Elise[/name] would also be lovely…

Alternatively you could call her [name]Greta[/name] and nn her [name]Gretchen[/name]… That’s fully in keeping with [name]German[/name] tradition :slight_smile:

(And please don’t feel offended, I only want you to know everything about a possible name for your daughter so you can be prepared for anything that might come your way…)

ahh. i’m not pregnant… not having a baby anytime soon…
just wondered what others thought of one of my favorite names.

As a native [name]German[/name], I have to agree with the poster above.
In Germany, [name]Gretchen[/name] is strickly a diminuitive form of [name]Greta[/name] or [name]Margarete[/name]. It is not given as a name. The -chen suffix is used as an endearment, and can be attached to all nouns to denote something small and/ or dear to the speaker.
Besides the cultural appropriation issues, though, I find the sound of the name as it is pronounced by American/ English speakers extremely unattractive. The correct ([name]German[/name]) pronunciation is very soft, but in English it sounds like retch and wretched; a very unpleasant sound and association!
I really cannot get on board with this name at all. There are so many nicer old-fashioned names out there!

I like [name]Gretchen[/name], but I’m glad to learn that it is a pet form of [name]Greta[/name]. I much prefer [name]Greta[/name], anyway.

I don’t tend to like “diminutives,” primarily names that end in -ette or -etta, which in some cases are to distinguish it only from the male form of a name, like [name]Henrietta[/name], but other times, is an elongation of a valid name, such as [name]Nanette[/name] or [name]Loretta[/name]. There is something to the fashion of them, however they really mean a smaller, younger, or immature version of a name, sort of how boys outgrow nicknames like [name]Joey[/name] and are [name]Joe[/name], these women’s names just don’t “grow up.” However, they can mean endearment as well, my Italian great-grandmother was [name]Antonia[/name] but was always called [name]Antonina[/name]. It’s just one extra letter, but it sounds so dear - in Russian languages, it is not the diminutive, it is feminized Antonin.

A lot of names in the US were not born here, so the etymology doesn’t necessarily come across - a good portion of Americans don’t see anything wrong with -son, [name]Allison[/name], [name]Madison[/name], etc., and I argue that in our patronymic system of names, if a woman can have -sen or -son (rather than -dottir, like in some Scandinavian systems) or Mc- for a last name, it’s somewhat more validated for a first name (nobody really buys that, but it’s true). Anyway, that’s obvious and people still ignore it at will.

We do -ette things as well, like luncheonette, kitchenette. We know this means it’s smaller than the full size. I think for reasons that [name]Claudette[/name] or [name]Lisette[/name] could be a name of a grown woman, [name]Gretchen[/name] is also a similar value. Nobody really puts that much energy into it when they like the way it sounds. It doesn’t exactly mean the same thing in the US that it does in Germany - names move and their reception is altered, and the meaning is obscured, ignored, unknown, etc. That’s just how we do it.

Anyway, I like to learn these things and appreciate knowing them, and I enjoyed learning the truth about the use of the name [name]Gretchen[/name]. It is useful information.

Sorry, I don’t like this name at all. It reminds me of wretched and wretch. I do like [name]Greta[/name].

[name]Gretchen[/name] is gorgeous! I also love [name]Greta[/name]. However, I spell “Great” everytime I’m writing it. xD I also adore [name]Margaret[/name], [name]Marguerite[/name], etc. All very beautiful.