Are these names too similar for a sibling pair?

We have one son, named Tobias. Our second is due this summer. We have decided on Caris for a girl. We had decided on Atticus for another boy, but recently, my husband joked that he might be open to my other favorite boys' name, Matias. I was floored -- I love, love, love that name, but he'd shot it down a while ago and I haven't pushed it. 

My husband thinks that the names look and seem too similar, and that people will have trouble pronouncing one or the other when they see them together. I love that the names look similar, and have similar origin and meaning, but to my ear are distinctive and different.  We pronounce our son's name toe-BYE-us, and would pronounce Matias as mah-TEE-us. To me, it's a piece of cake -- once you know how the name is pronounced, you'll pronounce it correctly. But hubs is not sold. 

So tell me your thoughts. Are these names - Tobias and Matias - too similar for brothers? 


January 13, 2015 11:05 PM

I love your choices, not too similar in my opinion. I like the "pattern" :)

January 13, 2015 11:26 PM

For me, I think they are to close. But in this case, its not like Simon and Simone, you could make it work. I honestly love both names. Do you pronounce it Toe-bee-ass or Toe-bi-ass (excuse my language)?

If it was To-bee-as I would say definite no-no, but Toe-bi-as? you could swing it.

My cousin went through the same ordeal naming his sons. He had a Matias, and then wanted a Tobias. Him and his wife instead went with Sebastian, then had another son Philip, another son Lukas, and finally a little girl Annalie. You might like some of those names. (extremely german though)

Hope this helps!

January 14, 2015 12:40 AM

On sight I would pronounce Matias as ma-TYE-iss and I think you should prepare yourself for the possibility that many people will say it that way. However, even with the rhyming pronunciation I don't think that the names are too similar. If they want to differentiate themselves they can always go by Toby and Mat.

January 14, 2015 2:14 AM

I really like the style you're going for. If I heard a mom calling those 4 names on the playground, I would think it was a very cute set of sibling names. 

That said, I think there needs to be at least one child between Tobias and Matias to break up the names just a bit. When the names are put together, they look like they should rhyme. However, Tobias, Atticus, Caris and Matias causes enough pause to reset the pronunciation. 

Have you considered using the spellings Mateus, Mathias, or Matthias? Every time I look at Matias, I instinctively want to pronounce the "ti" as the "sh" sound. That may just be me, but I've caught myself doing it a few times just writing this response. 

By the way, I agree that people SHOULD be able to remember how unusual names are pronounced, but I've even had good friends (who obviously know better) mispronounce my name. People often go on auto-pilot and don't think about what they're doing. 

January 14, 2015 4:36 PM

Personally, I think they are too similar, though if you are using nicknames like Toby and Matt, that helps a lot. But since I am in the minority here, I agree with using a different spelling to help differentiate Tobias and Matias; when they are right next to each other and spelled like that, I instinctively want to pronounce them in a way that rhymes, even though otherwise I know how to pronounce Matias. To break the pattern entirely, perhaps consider Matteo, which is very close to Matias but has a totally different ending. If you don't want to alter the sound at all, I think Mateus is most likely to help break that look-alike/apparent-rhyme pattern and direct people to the correct pronunciation, and so I think it is the best choice here. Matthias would be my next choice, because the h and longer length help visually differentiate it from Tobias.

January 14, 2015 10:01 AM

I think they work well together. They sound very different to me and I guessed your desired pronunciations correctly. Best of luck!

By mk
January 14, 2015 1:34 PM

I think they are fine and not really close.


I've known siblings with names that were much more closer than those, and really, when you know the people you don't really think much of it.

January 14, 2015 8:40 PM

I like both names and don't think they are too similar. One or other is likely to be called Toby or Mat at some point which would make it a non issue but even if they both use their full names I don't see an issue. 

January 18, 2015 2:55 AM

Minority Report: Sorry, I think they're a touch too close, but I like Tobias/Atticus 1000x more than Tobias/Mathias, in part because I read it as "Mah-TYE-us" rather than "Mah-TEE-us." Yes, once corrected, I would pronounce the name as you wish, but they still would feel really close. If they went by nicks Matt and Toby, it would lessen the association, but I like the full names better than the nicks.

January 19, 2015 2:41 AM

This for me, too. The proximity of Mathias (always Mah-tee-us to me because the only ones I know are German) makes me assume that the family is going for German names and that Tobias would be Toh-bee-us too, even though alone I'd guess that a Tobias in the US is Toe-Bye-us. And if I had both children introduced to me in a busy context like a party, I'd remember the disparaty but later have a hard time remembering whether it was Toe-BYE-us and Mah-TEE-as or Toe-BEE-us and Mah-TYE-as. 

April 14, 2015 1:26 PM

Eight weeks away from my guesstimated due date, and I'm still deliberating on this! Yesterday, I was sure that we would go with Atticus (my husband has 'accidentally' spilled the beans to a number of people that this is one of our two choices, and so far, everyone he's told loves it). But today, I've swung back to Matias (considering the spelling Mathias). I've been swingly wildly between the two names for months now -- I seriously just cannot decide, and it's making me panic a little. With our son, we had one girl's name and one boy's name, and it was easy-peasy. I'm almost hoping for a girl JUST so we won't have to choose between these two boys' names!

Does anyone else care to weigh in on Atticus or Matias/Mathias as a sibling to Tobias? I need all the help I can get...

April 14, 2015 3:23 PM

Go with the name you love best. Mathias and Tobias are certainly quite similar, but not unusably so. Atticus is also similar, so that doesn't strike me as the determining factor in picking the name. You're not purposely 'matching' their names, so it doesn't lock you in to a theme, and whichever name you don't use could go back in the maybe pile, if you have another child in the future. Which name would you most love to call a little guy in your family? Which name would you feel the saddest about if you never had a chance to use it?