Baby Sister

expecting a baby girl after two boys.. prefer short and sweet and have narrowed down to two - open for middle names still (have ideas) but want to hear others:

brothers are Pierce & Wells

top two girls names we are now deciding between:

  • Brynn


what do you think??



May 16, 2018 10:02 AM

Will Johnston be the baby's surname? If so, I much prefer Cate. I find that Brynn Johnston, with the three N sounds, feels flatter, a bit droney, and lacks the brightness that Cate Johnston has. (I really like the name Brynn, actually, just not with Johnston.)

May 16, 2018 10:44 AM

yes surname johnston... your point about the "n" is a goood one... but cate would be short for catherine so that has same problem too.. shoot!

May 16, 2018 11:29 AM

I mean, yes and no. Despite having so many letters, Brynn is a one-syllable name, so the N is very prominent. With Catherine, there is so much else going on that I don't get that same monotonous feel from the combination. Plus, Catherine and Johnston are both such traditional names that I don't think anybody would question the combination nor notice the repetitive ending. PLUS, she'd have the full name and nickname as options, whereas with Brynn, that's all there is (unless you're thinking about a modern mix-and-match style like Brynley, which is very much not my style). 

May 16, 2018 12:40 PM

I prefer Cathrine (Cate). Flows well and is a sweet name.

May 16, 2018 12:42 PM

Thanks Karyn - this is super helpful.  Brynley is not my style either :) Really appreciate your thoughts - makes sense to me too

By EVie
May 16, 2018 12:54 PM

If Cate is going to be Catherine in full, that wholeheartedly gets my vote. I'm not the biggest fan of nicknames on the birth certificate, but I've always loved Catherine-with-a-C. There's nothing wrong with Brynn, it's just a totally different style--much more modern, and I think more likely to wind up dated compared to a classic like Catherine. I also like how Catherine/Cate brings out the gentlemanly feel of Pierce and Wells. 

May 16, 2018 3:44 PM

1 100% agree with EVie here!

May 16, 2018 4:38 PM

Cate by a mile


if you dont like Brynlee what about Brina or Sabrina

May 16, 2018 5:46 PM

With a very common last name, I would generally lean toward the less-common first name, but I do agree that Cate has a little more aural oomph with your last name than the smoother Brynn. If you settle on Catherine, you might want to look for a pretty distinctive middle name just to help with any identity snafus down the road.

One possible alternative is Britt or Britta, which has the same snap as Cate with the more-distinctive Br- cluster from Brynn. Both can be used as stand-alone names, or as nicknames for Brigitta, Birgitta, or Bridget, if you prefer to have a more traditional name on the birth certificate. (Or Brittany, of course, but I'm guessing that's less your style.)

May 17, 2018 6:57 AM

I’m going to be the voice of dissent and say I actually like Brynn better in your situation. Firstly, because your last name is the very common Johnston, and secondly, because your boys‘ names seem much more along to commonality lines of Brynn. I second Britt though!

What do you think of Catherine variants like Catalina or Caterina as a full name for Cate? It avoids the mistaken identity issues that Catherine and a common last name might create.

May 17, 2018 9:51 AM

Definitely Cate, not that there is anything wrong with Brynn, but it definitely feels more like a sibling with your other two.

May 17, 2018 7:24 PM


Brynn - is significantly more popular than Cate. In the US in 2016, it was ranked 255th. It also has a larger history as it first appeared in the mid-1940s in the United States. Most people named Brynn are around 7 years old. It may be occasionally misspelt as Bryn. 

Cate - might be frequently misspelt as Kate. It's a pretty uncommon name (Kate is far more popular, 231st in the US in 2016 vs Cate at 3,969) and is actually fairly recent, appearing around 1980 in the US. However, it's becoming much more popular - most people named Cate are under five years old! Nicknames like Catie and Cat are going to show up a lot, so you'd want to make sure you're OK with those.

I used the US data for the names as they are far less common in the UK, so they offer a more complete picture.

As for middle names:

Cate Margot, Cate Morgan, Cate Quinn, Cate Blakely, Cate Autumn, Cate Mae, Cate Harper, Cate Scarlett, Cate Serena, Cate Ellison, Cate Taylor, Cate Audrey, Cate Arabella, Cate Addison, Cate Victoria, Cate Ainsley

Brynn Josephine, Brynn Avery, Brynn Kennedy, Brynn Lyra, Brynn Skylar/Skyler/Sky/Skye, Brynn Teagan, Brynn Marlow, Brynn Alice, Brynn Carys, Brynn Daphne, Brynn Sylvia, Brynn Phoebe, Brynn Julia, Brynn Charlotte

I hope this helps!

By EVie
May 18, 2018 1:52 PM

Given that Cate is probably used as a nickname for Catherine far more than on its own, I don't think those statistics are particularly helpful, and at worst they could be misleading. The two Cates/Caties I know are both Catherine in full (one of them went by Catherine most of her live and only switched to Cate as an adult; the other is a baby. The only other Catherine I know I can think of uses Cathy informally and Catherine professionally). Unfortunately, the SSA doesn't track nickname use in any way. If you're going to compare popularity stats for those two names, better to use Catherine and make an educated guess that some percentage of those are going to be using Cate--especially since the OP is talking about Catherine on the birth certificate anyway.

May 22, 2018 11:38 AM

What about Brie instead of Brynn? Brie is a pretty name with a similar feel to Brynn, but without all the "n's". It could also be a short form of many other pretty names such as Gabrielle, Brielle, Briana, Briella, Aubrielle, Aubriella (love those two!), Aubrie, Cambrie, Fabrienne, 

Here's a comprehensive list of "Brie" names. Many of them are gorgeous!

May 22, 2018 4:08 PM

I think Brie is too cheesy for anything other than an occasional family nickname.

May 23, 2018 9:59 AM

I agree. Although Bree is reasonable enough.

May 28, 2018 9:26 PM

I like Cate better, but I'd spell it Kate.