The Least Controversial Names in America

Sep 1st 2011

 

I often tell parents not to get too panicky about a name becoming popular, since popular just means "well-liked." But in fact, the rate of usage of a name doesn't tell you everything about how much people like or dislike it. Popular sentiment is a dynamic brew of the positive and negative. For instance, over the past decade about the same number of American boys have been named Ellis, Elmer and Adonis, but I guarantee you that Ellis will generate the fewest negative reactions of the three.

Some uncommon names seem to be lightning rods for criticism and wrinkled noses (e.g. Bertha). Other names can be equally rare, yet nobody has a bad word to say about them (Blythe). At the opposite end of the spectrum, the most popular names are unquestionably well-liked, yet some of them also generate a lot of negative sentiment. Most often that's just a matter of familiarity breeding contempt. They're victims of their own success: "THAT name again?" But other names are divisive because they're stylistically potent, the naming equivalent of a habanero chili. That makes them catnip for people who happen to like the style, anathema for those who don't. (Nevaeh is one example.)

Some months ago I set out to gauge negative name sentiment. I looked at conversations on internet messageboards where people were discussing names that rubbed them the wrong way. These were spontaneous suggestions, names that triggered strong enough negative sentiment to leap to people's minds as annoying or unattractive. Scanning the web, I tallied thousands of these negative "votes." It was definitely not a scientific study, but I took care to include a broad range of online forums, avoiding name-enthusiast dens and aiming for social, ethnic and age diversity. 

Similar themes were echoed everywhere, and the results painted a clear picture of lightning-rod names. Androgynous names, virtue names and names that travel in rhyming packs were among the most mentioned. Unfortunately, I didn't think to call them "lightning-rod names" at the time. When I wrote about the top results, I rather fliply referred to them as the "most hated names." That loaded term led the discussion off track. (I even got hate mail, and complaints that I was pushing an "agenda" against certain names. For the record, my only agenda is pro-name.)

I'd like to circle back now to the core idea, because the push and pull of name sentiment can be fascinating and revealing. I hope that fact will shine through in today's list, which is the very opposite of the lightning-rods. Meet America's least divisive names: the names that generate the most positive sentiment, as measured by popularity stats, with little to no negative sentiment, as measured by internet grousing. Think of them as the "sure thing" names that satisfy everyone. In food terms, they're pizza rather than 5-alarm chili.

But then again, I have a daughter who can't stand pizza.

LEAST DIVISIVE BOYS

Andrew

Benjamin

Brandon

Charles

Christopher

David

Elijah

Evan

Gabriel

Isaac

Isaiah

Jonathan

Jose

Joseph

Joshua

Logan

Luke

Mason

Noah

Thomas

Since we're looking at highly popular names, the boys' list inevitably skews traditional. Even given that slant, though, some striking patterns emerge. Old Testament biblical names are huge, representing 11 of the 20 choices. The front of the alphabet dominates too. And the more contemporary choices are ALL two syllables ending in -n. One notable name: Evan  was also named in an earlier survey on the friendliest/most likeable names (a rare full name in a sea of friendly nicknames). That's one likeable name, all right.

LEAST DIVISIVE GIRLS

Alexandra

Allison

Andrea

Anna

Audrey

Brooke

Gabrielle

Jenna

Lillian

Michelle

Natalie

Paige

Rachel

Rebecca

Sophia

I was surprised to see that the most popular girls' names in America were largely shut out of this list. While 6 of the current top 20 boys' names made the grade, Sophia is the only top 20 girl's name listed. In fact, I had to cut the girls' list short, because it was getting to the point where the names were so much less common than the names on the boys' list that it wasn't fair to use the same criteria.

As a group, the girls' names show remarkable stylistic consistency. With a few exceptions (e.g. Michelle, Lillian), I could imagine this being the baby name "short list" of a real expectant couple. Most of the names are neither young nor old, neither cutesy nor stuffy. Uncontroversial turns out to be a style in its own right.

 

Comments

1
By Alli (not verified)
September 1, 2011 1:02 PM

Both my sister's name and my name are on the list for girls. I guess my parents are very uncontroversial. :)

2
By Molly O (not verified)
September 1, 2011 1:20 PM

Well we're one for three with our girls then as far as uncontroversial goes. *lol* We have a Paige in addition to our Kyra and Erin.

3
By ~Michelle~ (not verified)
September 1, 2011 1:23 PM

I'm Michelle Paige, so I guess my parents get double points for that combo!

4
September 1, 2011 1:27 PM

Great post, Laura. All of these names are pure chicken soup. Nothing intriguing, but comforting and familiar. I have been doing a stint for the past month as a youth sports photographer. It's pop warner football season and being a little name obsessed, I have been fascinated at the number of Isaacs and Isaiahs I encounter at each shoot. I expected non-stop Aidens, but they are far less common than these Old Testament faves amongst this crowd (I'm in Southern California). So, finding both of them listed on your list makes me think that Isaac and Isaiah may just be as American as Monday Night Football.

5
By hyz nli (not verified)
September 1, 2011 1:59 PM

Laura, I have a question about this list. I totally get how you came up with the "lightning rod" list, but to obtain a measurement of names that do NOT provoke grousing seems much harder, like proving a negative. Did you look at grousing and see which names were absent (in that case, I can see why you'd have to stick with popular names for this list, since I'm sure Logan got more negative comments than Nebuchadnezzar or Abednego, but that doesn't make it more controversial, etc.)? Did you look at those name polls some people post of their short lists and see which got the most positive/least negative votes? Did you take into account comments people make, such as "OMG, I just saw babies named Kryleigh and Drayden--why can't people stick with nice, normal names like Michelle or Brandon?" To be clear, I'm not criticizing, just trying to think how I'd go about it if I were trying to obtain meaningful results for this list.

I started thinking about it because a lot of these names *don't* feel ageless to me, but actually seem skewed 1970s/80s (e.g. Brandon, Christopher, Joshua, Alexandra, Allison, Andrea, Brooke, Jenna, Michelle, Natalie, Paige, Rachel, Rebecca). And I was wondering if m/any of them could've come from that last source (the "OMG" type comment). That kind of comment seems to me like it could confound the results, because people are often drawing on what they think of as a very *normal* name in general, which may just as well be one that belongs to their peers as to a baby.

6
By Jessica Maria (not verified)
September 1, 2011 2:57 PM

This list is making me realize how much my tastes differ with most of America! I've always found Paige and Brooke to be extremely unlikeable. (No offense to any Paiges and Brookes out there!) I do agree with Anna, Rebecca, and Natalie, though.

The boys list mostly doesn't surprise me, although I am surprised to see Elijah, Isaiah, Mason (mostly due to recent soaring popularity), and Brandon (I always thought of this name as trendy but I guess I'm wrong!) on that list.

7
By TKB
September 1, 2011 3:01 PM

I'm also interested in the methodology used, Hyz. I imagine those names that sound "Normal", which were popular in the 70s/80s would sound completely inoffensive to the average person of baby naming age now.

I don't think many of the names on the list sound "fresh", the way many people like their baby names to sound, except for some of the Logan/Mason boys names, and some of the frillier girls names like Gabrielle and Lilian. Some sound positively dated to me, like Michelle, which is SO firmly 70s in my mind. So it's interesting to me if people are suggesting these as real baby names they're interested in using in the last few years, or a listing of "names that are nice and normal and not too old sounding to non name-enthusiasts who are in their 30s". But not too boring - remember that "Michael" made that most hated list!

Can we create a namevoyager of all these names to show when they peaked? It looks like it might average out to a bump in the 70s and a bump in the 2000+s. Interestingly, a few of them are also names that are rapidly falling - contrast Jenna with Sophia.

Andrea - 1970s-80s
Anna -1880s
Audrey - 1930s (this is shocking to me, I knew a LOT of Audries born in the early 1980s, apparently at their least popular.)
Brooke - 1990s
Gabrielle - Now
Jenna - 1980s-2003 (almost tied)
Lillian - Now
Michelle - 1970s
Natalie - Now
Paige - 2003
Rachel - 1980s-90s
Rebecca -1970s
Sophia - Now

And in "names seen", local elementary school has a girl named "Frid4y S1nger". I imagine the rise of Rebecca Black was a nightmare for the Singer family.

8
September 1, 2011 3:06 PM

I like this post Laura. Well done restating of the previous "faux pas". I like the term "lightning rod" names. I agree with your assessment regardless of how you got there as well. I have a girl on the list and find that I really like most on each list. However, since they are such classic names I can find a personal experience to also disallow several of them permission to MY short list. Speaking of which, what do most of you think of Eric? Lightning rod or least controversial?

9
September 1, 2011 3:21 PM

Always happy to get methodology questions! As I tried to indicate in the post, I used popularity data as my positive sentiment meter. IMO actually choosing a name is about as honest a statement of approval as you can make, and discussions of "favorite names" naturally correlate highly with usage stats. In particular, I used U.S. popularity rank for the past decade. On the negative side I set an ultra-low threshold for negative mentions, declining to a zero threshold for names outside the top 20.

While the names may seem a little dated as a group, they all ranked in the top 100 for the past decade. The "dated" feel reflects the negative sentiment that modern/trendy/creative names tend to attract.

10
By MLE (not verified)
September 1, 2011 3:33 PM

I have a friend with daughters Natalie (7) and Paige (3). I also think the lists both skew a little toward the names given to people who are having kids now (late 70s-early 90s babies), and wonder how much this list would change if Laura did the same study 10 or 15 years from now.

11
By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
September 1, 2011 3:54 PM

The lists are good and the boys the list seems more in line with my thinking than the girls. I'm not crazy about Brooke (it feels dated to me) and like some of the other posters, the list feels a little more like names of my peers than my children's peers. It's more surprising and it's definitely got me thinking.

@TBK - Your Rebecca Black comment made me laugh! Luckily for the Singer family, I'm sure we'll have all forgotten about her and that song by this time next year.

@Zoerhenne - I like Eric and would definitely put it closer to "least controversial" side of the spectrum than "lightening rod". To me, it's a classic, solid name. (Disclosure: it's made it on to our long list, though I'm not sure it will make the cut. My husband isn't as fond of it as I am.)

12
By mk (not verified)
September 1, 2011 3:59 PM

Sophia isn't the only top 20 girls' name listed. Natalie has also appeared in the top 20 for several years now.

Most of my favorite boys names are on the list, and I like quite a few on the girls list as well. I think they are classic names more than dated. Good, solid names that never go out of style. The only ones I don't like are Logan, Mason, and Brooke (sorry to anyone who has/likes those names).

Zoerhenne : Eric is a good, classic name to me.

13
By craftyerin (not verified)
September 1, 2011 4:03 PM

I find it interesting that my husband and sons are both on the male list, but neither my daughter or I am on the female list. I tend to like more non-traditional names for girls, so I guess that makes sense.

Erin, wife to David, mother to Jonathan, Hazel, and Charles "Charlie"

14
By Guest1038b (not verified)
September 1, 2011 4:26 PM

I knew I had a different feeling for names than most people. I track pretty well with the boys names (they're a relief to hear as I'm surrounded by Kaydens and Coltons and Colbys, etc.), but the girls names? *shudders* There's about three there that don't make me want to run away and hide (I think that's more from associating those names with certain people, though).

Interesting post, love it!

15
September 1, 2011 6:21 PM

craftyerin-It's interesting that you have such a swing in your styles of girl vs boy names. Hazel would have been a surprise if I met you at one of those "guess my name(or children's names in this case)" booths.

16
By UK caller (not verified)
September 1, 2011 6:28 PM

Speaking as an Old Testament scholar, I think you should revise '11' OT biblical boys' names to 10 on technicalities. Although there were 3 extra NT ones. Biblical names for boys are often pretty safe; at least those we tend to hear frequently in the West.

(The ten: Benjamin, David, Elijah, Gabriel, Isaac, Isaiah, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Noah)

17
By Meg (not verified)
September 1, 2011 7:00 PM

The only names on there that I like are David, Luke, Lillian and Rachel. I would definitely agree that these names sound like '70s/'80s names. Michelle is very '70s.

At the pediatrician's office the other day there was a boy named Bay, the most adorable little girl named Kaden and twin girls named Sylvia and Sophia.

18
By bap2 (not verified)
September 1, 2011 7:45 PM

Interesting that my both my son's first and middle names are on the list. We were going for, as mentioned above, "chicken soup."

I just let my husband know his name, Jose, is on the list as a "least divisive name." He was a bit incredulous. Sometimes when he says his name people immediately ask if he's "legal," "been here long," or "Habla Ingles?" Maybe it's just because of where we live. (The answers are yes, born here, and "No habla Español, sorry.") He was adamant the name not continue onto our sons.

19
By E @ Oh! Apostrophe (not verified)
September 1, 2011 9:02 PM

I like many on the lists, but overall I can't help but think they're pretty boring choices!

20
September 1, 2011 9:10 PM

At story time at the library there was an Ella, Emily, 2 Rhythms (yeah idk what that's about), Jaya, Kiele (boy, rhymes with Teal), Ginger, Sandy (girl), Ty, Maverick, and others I forgot.

21
By Name Cupid (not verified)
September 1, 2011 9:14 PM

As always a really intriguing post. (I especially liked the take on names like Ellis and Blythe). While the inclusion of some these names definitely surprises me (I agree that there is a bit of an 80s/90s flair), I think most of them fall into that sweet spot between a snore and a grimace.

22
By Jane 6 (not verified)
September 1, 2011 9:19 PM

Didn't Charlie make the "Friendlist" list, too? We have a lot of unobjectionable boys names in our household... no one ever does a double-take for any of our boys (one of our goals), but Charlie is the one that gets by far the most positive comments.

I would have expected the girls list to include Elizabeth. I feel that's a name that you just can't go wrong with, and yet it isn't as boring as, say, Michael, because of all the nickname options.

23
By Jane 6 (not verified)
September 1, 2011 9:23 PM

Zoerhenne: I definitely see Eric as a new classic: all-boy and appealing, if possibly slightly dated. Sort of like Michelle for girls.

I recently read Chretien de Troyes's story "Erec and Enide," from the 12th Century. It was an AWESOME read. Highly recommended to anyone, but especially anyone interested in the names Eric/Erec or Enid.

24
September 1, 2011 10:44 PM

By danasurfside
i have a query. My daughter goes by Clair. i love the name Clair, but decided to have Clairissa on her birth cert. because my mom's name is rissa. However, i have called her Clair for her 3 years on this earth. her middle name is joyce after my mother in law. my question is in finding a sibling name for clair. focusing on girls names now. i am not pregnant yet. would you determine a sibling name by seeing how it sounds with clair or clairissa? because when i try to make lists, not everything gels well with both names. also, part of me likes Elise for a next baby, or i have thought of sticking with a C pattern, like Carys. my husband has a completely different style of names he likes, so that is another issue. i like the name Maeve, he had never heard it before and was less enthusiastic. Any advice?

* sorry for the double posting-just joined this site and didn't realize my first post was on a blog that didn't occur today, until after i hit reply. thx!

25
September 1, 2011 11:29 PM

To add to my above comment- I prefer to sync the name Clair with potential future baby over clairissa, but am definitely wanting your opinions on this matter. in the beginning of naming her, i originally was staunchly opposed to naming her after anyone. she was going to be Claire Kelly or Claire Lily or something like that. My husb thought we should really use part of her name to name after family whether it was my side or his side. i chose his mom's name as mn because she helped us tremendously, plus i really like Joyce;it has one syllable ( a theme i became quickly attracted to) pleasant sounding and all that. rissa, my mom's name, has never been pleasing to my ear, i'm sorry to say. however, once i decided upon joyce, i felt enormous guilt in not using rissa, but i absolutely would not part with clair. didn't use an e at the end, just so i could formally or legally name her with the issa at the end. however, it felt so obligatory. anyhow, my apologies for the digression into what surely must sound like 'namer's regret'. the real intention here is to find nice sibling names for clair.i felt the backstory necessary. perhaps it was only necessary for me to unload! another reason for sharing all this with you all, is i wonder if i should, in the future, incorporate other family names since i have done it in the first instance. do not know if this 'theming' on my part is out of good semblance or just an overthinking, anxious personality! names that i like that have no family links are: elise and carys, as mentioned in an above post. also wonder if Esme would work. we have a last name that rhymes with Thoroughs. names i have considered that are family oriented slightly are : Varina Gale -varina is a variant of barbara, which was my grandmother's name. my husband loves the name Sarah. It is more common than Clair, like the Jessica's and Jennifer's, so that is the only drawback to me. He loves the name Sybilla (think Kingdom of Heaven with Orlando Bloom) it also happened to be his grandmothers name. He likes Annabelle; I cannot sign up for this one, though many people love it. I love names that have Mae or Mary in them-can't use Meredith. Love names with V sounds: Eve, Genevieve- husband just shrugs at these. that type of disinterested reaction catapults me into even more obsessive worry, especially if one LOVES a name. he said he liked celtic or gaelic names, but when he sniffed at Maeve, i figured he must not really know that many of those type names. like vivian and amara. basically, i love the name Clair so much, that it is difficult to imagine loving another name that much. though carys is really nice to me, he suggested maris. not opposed to it, but feel more drawn to the mae, or maeve or eve or something else-cant use ava or charlotte. ava was my top one before, but cant use it now. sorry for prattling on so. thanks for advice and being considerate and contemplative and pondering these dilemmas for us.

26
By namer (not verified)
September 2, 2011 1:03 AM

Interesting because I really hate overly biblical names like Elijah and Isaiah and Noah. Hate. When I meet a little Elijah, I assume that the parents don't believe in evolution. (aka "not my type of people")

27
September 2, 2011 2:17 AM

Really enjoying this post a lot.

Namer, I know evolutionary biologists named Elijah. They don't seem to face any problems with their name, happily. For me, one of those names alone isn't particularly striking, since I know nonreligious parents of a Noah and also other nonreligious parents of an Isaiah, but I think if I met all three of those names on siblings I'd would have a much stronger impact on my perception of the family as being particularly devout.

Somewhat unrelatedly, I think I'm now getting a firm sense that my naming style is firmly in the more controversial camp. We don't disclose names until after the baby is born, and that meant we got no negative commentary on son #1, since our relatives and friends were nice enough to just smile and keep their thoughts to themselves... but I am totally loving the guesses we have had for this pending baby's name: Aristotle, Gwendolyn (for a boy, mind!), Merlin, Balthazar, Frodo, Luke, Zarathustra, Giles. It's an interesting fun-house mirror held back at how others perceive our first son's name and also our own personalities!

We set up a guessing pool, and the scoring algorithm used by bebepool.com for the name guesses is interesting, and is the reason we ended up using that website:

"The characters of a name are analyzed for similarity. Character parity, order, and count determine how close the guess is to the actual; phonetic distance is also taken into account. For example, if the actual name is "Bart", then:
-"Barry" scores better than "Bartholomew" (count: Bart [4], Barry [5], Bartholomew [11]).
-"Brad" scores better than "Jill" (parity: Brad contains the 'a' & 'r', but Jill contains neither).
-"Marli" scores better than "Keira" (order: both contain the 'a' & 'r' of Bart, but in Keira it occurs in the wrong order).

If the actual name is "Stu", then "Stew" scores better than "Stan" (phonetic: pronunciation usage of 'u' more closely related to 'ew' than 'an').

Case matters ('A' is not equal to 'a')!

There's also significant penalty points for a guess that looks like a non-guess: "?" or "???", for instance."

28
By Guest-2011 (not verified)
September 2, 2011 3:47 AM

I am surprised to see Jenna in the undisputed list. Over here (across the Atlantic Ocean) it stirs up much ressentiment, because essentially only J. Jameson and J. Bush are well known here; both are not the most uncontroversial people ever.

29
September 2, 2011 10:01 AM

lucubratrix-That sounds like something amusing to keep you going during the last part of the pregnancy :)

danasufside-I absolutely love the name Clair(with an E though) for the sound and simplicity of it. I would also add it to a "least controversial name" list. Clarissa is pretty too. My first thoughts based on simplicity/style would be Rachel. Then taking into account your V fascination I go to Valerie. I don't think it matters if you go with naming after someone. It matters more that your hubby and you can agree. Maeve is pretty and might work better as a mn. Carys is nice but a little too close to Clarissa for me. How about a longer name like Penelope that can also be shortened to an easy name like Penny. Your hubby probably wont like that particular name but the idea still stands. Caroline, Madeline or Elizabeth are other examples. You stated you like short names-hmm Anya, Ivy, Shannon, Devyn, Georgia, Olivia, Sylvia, Vera, Zoe. Do any of those strike the right note?

30
By KERJ (not verified)
September 2, 2011 11:03 AM

danasufside - Names that the formal name matches with Clarissa AND the nn matches with Clair

Rebecca nn Becca
Josephine nn Josie
Camille nn Camie
Annalise/Annelise/Anneliese nn Annie or Elise
Elisabeth nn Elise or Ellie
Margaret nn Maggie
Susannah nn Susie or Anna
Annika nn Annie
Lucia nn Lucy
Amelia nn Millie or Amy or Lia

Other names that DON'T have a formal match to Clarissa and a nn match to Clair but still sound like sibs

Louisa
Jillian/Gillian (I don't think the nn Jill is the best match for Clair, but it could work)
Gemma

31
By hyz nli (not verified)
September 2, 2011 11:25 AM

Laura, thanks for the explanation! It does make sense to use ranking as a measurement of positive feeling, and then if you start from there and some of the most popular names do not attract much negative chatter, I see how it all fits together. I think I'm just surprised because, while none of the names on the list are awful at all, I find more than a few of them either a bit irritating (familiarity breeds contempt OR that-annoying-girl-I-knew-in-high-school kind of thing) or just very "meh". So while I'd pick almost any of these names over almost any of the names on the "lightning rod" list, there are many here (especially on the girls side) that I just don't care for. I'm not sure what to make of that, if anything--after all, this is not intended to be a "most widely beloved" list, just a non-controversial list. It seems interesting to me, though.

Guest 2011 -- that's my feeling on Jenna, too, and I'm in the US. I remember getting Jenna once as one of my suggestions on Nymbler, and my gut reaction was "what was it about the sample names I put in that made Nymbler think I wanted a porn/stripper name?" But I guess our feelings on that are in the minority.

namer, I think you may be reading too much into those names, which I would not call "overly biblical" (I'm not sure what I *would* classify that way--I might have to go back to Nebuchadnezzar again). Maybe you live in an area where old testament names are closely linked with a certain brand of religious belief, but I have not found that to be the case at all where I live. Here, they just come across as solid, traditional names--and since all those you listed end in -ah, I also think they sound a bit soft, pleasant, and friendly. Jedediah is the only name that pop to mind that gives me the impression you're talking about, and the Duggars may have a lot to do with that, lol.

32
September 2, 2011 12:09 PM

Jane 6, glad you enjoyed Chretien's Erec and Enide. If you liked Chretien, you might also like Gottfried's Tristan. I'm always ready to recommend medieval literature.

BTW Erec is a Breton name and is not related to Eric/k which is Scandinavian. Enide (which I have always liked) is pronounced eh-NEED, not EE-nid.

33
September 2, 2011 1:14 PM

thanks zoerhenne and kerj! some of the names you listed are in my 'like' file. thankyou!
what is the best one syllable first name for a girl that you would give to a sister of clair?

34
By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
September 2, 2011 1:36 PM

@danasurfside A few one syllable girl names that go with Clair that popped to mind are:
Eve
June
May
Fern
Jane
Rose
Gwen
Blythe
Paige

35
September 2, 2011 1:44 PM

thx By Yet Another Guest, what middle names would you pair w/ Eve?
like the other's too, but Eve really stands out to me. husband only likes mae as a mn, i would use mae as a fn.

36
By hyz
September 2, 2011 2:09 PM

Danasurfside, I think Maeve or Eve would be great with Clair, and I really like both of thsoe names personally. Clair is a classic, pretty name, so I think it's fairly flexible. Other 1 syl. names I think would be nice matches (my favorites are starred):
Anne
Jane
June*
Grace
Faith
Rose*
Pearl*
Ruth*
Paige
Cate* (although I prefer this as a nn)
Beth* (ditto)
Nell* (ditto)
Tess (ditto)
Lane (ditto)

Other names with a "v" (long list, since I have a weak spot for these, too):

Ivy
Averil
Avery
Avril
Aravis
Lavender
Violet
Eva
Evangeline (nn Eve??)
Virginia
Vera
Verena
Geneva
Sylvia
Valerie
Victoria
Vivian/Vivienne
Evelyn
Beverly
Olive
Olivia
Octavia
Devon
Yvette
Ylva (this may be an option for our poster who was looking to get to Elfie, too, I think!)

A bit of a mix of styles there, but lots of good ones, I think. As for the others you mentioned, I like Carys, but I think it's too similar-sounding to Clair to use.

37
September 2, 2011 2:39 PM

thx for the one syllable and v comments. going the other way, could i get away with names like
Catalina and Francesca with our very white bread last name (and looks) that rhymes with Thoroughs?

38
September 2, 2011 2:49 PM

on the V vein, what do you think of Evolet, the name? i love the sound of it. it is from a movie, normally i am not a big fan of names such as Neveah at all! but would Evolet and Clair be a nice sibset? also, will be looking at other posts to chime in, so as to not be completely egocentric lol. love this site and blog!thanks ladies! as i have many names and styles i love, but long for the "perfect" one that is 1. easy to say, 2. not overly common 3. not overly unheard of. my husband tends to like very dramatically long feminine names that i don't quite like, but when i find one that i think is a compromise name, he usually shoots it down, much to my surprise, since thinking " oh, i know his taste".
he likes among annabelle and sybilla his 2 favs
magdalena or margaret-no thanks
deborah (one of his sister's names-since he has 2, don't find this fair, plus when i was a kid, i thought debi was a middle aged name for a lady)

have suggested Evangeline to him-he says no
genevieve=no from him
annelise-maybe from him
mariel-no from him, but he likes marilyn and muriel!
i love josephine, because of josephine baker, who died before we were even born, but was somewhat of a temptress in dancing-he said that he would think of the banana dress! certainly every name is going to have someone who perhaps was or can be in the future, an adult entertainer-correct??!!
it is funny! thanks for your continued help in advance :)

39
By Anon. (not verified)
September 2, 2011 3:15 PM

"Interesting because I really hate overly biblical names like Elijah and Isaiah and Noah. Hate. When I meet a little Elijah, I assume that the parents don't believe in evolution. (aka "not my type of people")"

Namer, I think that statement is a bit judgemental. Just because you don't care for people's name choices or beliefs doesn't mean you can't still be friends. Just saying, you sound a little, well, hateful.

40
By mk (not verified)
September 2, 2011 3:59 PM

danasurfside: you mentioned Esme, which I love. For Eve: I like Elizabeth or Catherine as middle names. Eve Carys would work well too, or maybe combine with one of your husband's suggestions?

Eve Annabelle
Eve Deborah
Eve Magdelena
Eve Margaret

Evolet looks like a misspelling of Violet to me, sorry.

namer: You are making a huge assumption. I know very non-religious families with each of those names. The religious families I know tend to have chosen trendy names like Aidan and Olivia (and I get along with them because we are tolerant of each other's beliefs/non-beliefs).

41
September 2, 2011 4:24 PM

how does Maribel sound with Clair? maribel is one of the few 'bell' names i would go for, or maybe the only one.

42
September 2, 2011 4:27 PM

here is a new one for me- Jossara. i saw this name on tv being used for someone in an allergy commercial-names of allergy sufferers at bottom of screen as they spoke. is Jossara a common or known name in the UK? i have never heard it, living in the states, before and wonder is it pronounced Jo-sarah, Joss-sarah, or Jo-sARa or Joss-Ar-uh?
Jossara and Clairissa
Joss and Clair
wdyt?

43
By Also ZR (not verified)
September 2, 2011 5:18 PM

danasurfside-(I am also Zoerhenne) I have been thinking about names for you all day. It's what I do instead of the laundry and dishes lol! Anyway, hyz and YAG have given you good suggestions but I also don't see the "perfect" name for you popping up. My feelings on Clair are these: 1)easy to say/spell 2)non-controversial 3) classic with a 70's and Frenchy vibe. So these are some other ideas:
Natalie; Paige; Simone; Aimee; Lisette; Isabelle; Bethany; Nicole; Kimberly; Juliette; Lydia; Abigail; Emily; Naomi; Piper; Gabrielle; Samantha; Noelle; Miranda
I really can't think of any 1 syl names. Beth or Grace keeps jumping out at me but that's it.
Eve Frances
Eve Allison
Maeve Cecelia
Maeve Josephine

44
September 2, 2011 6:02 PM

thankyou zoerhenne!you're right, i do like the frenchy vibe. love the name combos you came up with. Frances appeals to me as a mn. cecelia. what do you think about the name jossara, and have you ever heard it before or met anyone with it? how do you pronounce it?

45
By Also ZR (not verified)
September 2, 2011 9:06 PM

I've not heard of the name Jossara. It's just okay for me. A little on the made up side sound-wise although I don't know if it really is made up. I would pronounce it Jah-sAR-uh if I saw it on a roster. But I could easily be corrected to another pronunciation if I was wrong. Many of the names I put into my last post were names I had on my own short list.

46
September 2, 2011 9:36 PM

Thanks ZR! okay, to anyone out there who cares to comment. let's play a free association game and fill in the blank for me please. i can check back after labor day, because i know you all must be busy this weekend. thanks!
here goes:

dana,james,clair and baby girl _________ boroughs

47
By Alli (not verified)
September 2, 2011 11:07 PM

@danasurfside:
I like games :) The first name to pop into my head was Vivian. Others that came to me when I tried again were: Caitlin, Eleanor, Helen, Mary, Laina, Olive, Mira, Anna, and Brynn.

48
By Also ZR (not verified)
September 2, 2011 11:49 PM

I know a family with a James, Claire and Kelly so I think of that, but the first name that really popped into my head was Madison nn Maddie. Not really sure why because it doesn't seem to be the right style. Playing off the that though and matching the sound brings me back to Natalie.

49
By mama gray (not verified)
September 3, 2011 8:37 AM

re: James, Dana, Clair and ____

The first name I think of to fill in the blank is Eva.
I also think Lucie and Sophie would go well with the French vibe.
For some reason, I also see Kayla as working if you want to play off the first consonant sound.
Since your husband likes Celtic names, Alana or Caitlin might be options.

Best wishes!

50
September 3, 2011 10:43 AM

danasurfside - way to get everyone to respond by making it a game! dana, james, clair, and.. these are the first ones that come to mind:

Emma
Veronica
Luna
Sarah
Rhiannon
Sally
Felicia
Adrienne

I think I do better with actual thinking than name association..

namer - I find your reaction to biblical names shocking. Not in the sense that a biblical name would give you a religious impression, but that as someone who would think to make that association in the first place you would stop short of connecting the bible with the cultural fabric of Western history. Just because Elijah's parents aren't religious doesn't mean that these names or the mythologies they stem from aren't a part of his heritage.