Girl options

So, at the first ultrasound the technician volunteered that it shows signs of being a girl (obviously at 12 weeks, this could change). Older sister is H3ura (Ivy)

I feel like there are so many girls names that I like and while I'm happy I get to use one, I also feel somewhat in mourning for the ones I don't get to use. Happy for any feedback or suggestions to add to the list.

Elionor – this is the Catalan form of Eleanor. I love that it's similar to the English but distinct, sounds Medieval, and is uncommon here, but I accidentally mentioned that it is one of the Spanish princesses (actually she's Leonor but royal names always get translated) and I think that might have been a deal-breaker for my partner.

Flavia – we both like this, though I am probably more excited about it as I really liked the Flavia de Luce novels. My partner likes Roman history though, so he's on board.

Florence – my grandmother's name. Originally we thought we'd use this as a first name, but it's probably going into the middle position. Ivy's middle name is after my other grandmother.

Isolde/Iseult – probably the front-runner at the moment. I recently realized that since the baby's first surname starts with a T, that flow is going to be pretty bad, but I'm not sure this is a deal-breaker.

Octàvia – I love the sound, my partner loves Octavia E. Butler, but both of us feel it would be weird to use it with the "8" meaning front and centre in the name and no connection to the number 8 occurring to either of us.

Rosemary – I love this, with a nickname of Ru, but worry it sets too much of a botanical precedent with Ivy. More likely for a third girl, if we have one.

Sybil/Sibil·la – Sybil for a character in a J.D. Salinger story. I think it goes wonderfully with Ivy. Partner would use the Catalan version Sibil·la, but we both agree we can't foist that difficult-to-find accent mark on a binational baby (removing the accent would change the pronunciation).

Ursula – My partner loves Ursula K. LeGuin but thinks this name is "too much." I think our existing daughter's name is much more "too much" so this must be a cultural thing, like how I'm not ready for a Bernice comeback.

I like, nixed by my partner: Elowen, Eilonwy, Eulàlia (we both love, but it's too middle-aged woman here), Isadora, Ismay, Agnes, Ottilie (apparently I'm all about the vowel beginnings).


He likes, nixed by me: Queralt, Tanit, Ginebra


November 6, 2017 11:38 AM

Elinor is lovely, and I personally don't think the association with Princess Leonor is too obvious an association.  It's got such a history of use that single associations seem very diluted to me.  However, I can see how it might not work for you, given the current situation with Catalan & Spain.

I'm pretty neutral about Flavia.  It's NMS, but I don't actively dislike it either.

Florence is lovely, and I like how in the middle position it would echo your daughter's name.  However, I also quite like it as a first name for you.

I don't think the flow of Isolde/Iseult is a dealbreaker.  Would you need to use both variations?  If Isolde works in Catalan, that spelling (with the schwa ending) would help with the flow issues.  I think this is one of my top picks from your list.

Octavia is lovely and if you both like it, I don't think the eight meaning should stop you.  Lots of names have meanings, and they mostly don't matter.  One option would be to simply play up the eight factor from the beginning, so that it becomes "her number."  You could tie it into her birth year of 2018 perhaps.  Or simply keep it in your back pocket in case eight turns up somewhere in her birthdate, birth time, etc.  I'd rank this as another of my top picks.  If you just can't justify the eight meaning, perhaps Olympia?  Ophelia is another with a similar sound and flow.

Rosemary does seem a bit too theme-y with Ivy.  I could see it having potential as a middle name. Perhaps Florence Rosemary?  Each girl would have one grandmother name + one botanical.

Sybil is lovely.  I don't know anything about the accent, or how it would be said in Catalan, but it seems as if it would work for you in a dual language setting.

I really love Ursula.  Let your husband know that I personally encourage him to get more on board!  It doesn't strike me as "too much" at all.  Perhaps you could come up with a nickname he'd like?

November 7, 2017 4:39 AM

I hadn't even considered that the birth year would be 2018! I'll think about that, since it's pretty unlikely she'll be born on the eighth. I quite like Olympia in theory (I know someone with an Olympia nn Polly), but I think it might fall into the "too much" category that Ursula escapes for me.

Strangely, it was my husband who both suggested and eliminated Ursula; I think it really must be a case of his loving the reference but not the name so much.

Sibil·la would just be pronounced like Sibilla in English (but spelt Sibilla it would be pronounced Sib-ee-ya). It's mostly the written accent I couldn't force on a child on their passport -- I feel like booking flights would be a special kind of nightmare with an accent that no one can find on the keyboard. Anyway, we would be fine with Sybil being the official version, although I keep going back and forth between Sybil and Sibyl.

November 6, 2017 11:53 AM

Congrats on #2!! Some thoughts:

I'm not sure how to pronounce Elionor- would that be El-Leonor? I originally just read it is a Elinor when scanning, so that may be an issue for you if you are in an area where Elinor could also be popular.

I really like Florence, Rosemary, and Sybil. I would agree that Ivy and Rosemary may be setting a bit of a theme, but it isn't super obvious IMO. I don't care for Isolde/Iseult, Flavia, or Octavia- they are just not my style personally. Ursula is ALWAYS going to be the villain in The Little Mermaid for me. I just can't get past that.


November 7, 2017 4:46 AM

Yup, all the letters are pronounced in Elionor, although the o is pretty short and it doesn't sound drastically different from Elinor. I've had a look at the stats and there are 150 Elionors in Spain and 29 Elinors, although strangely they all seem to be in Barcelona and younger than the average, so I'm guessing they are all foreign.

I see you've split my list handily into anglo-sounding names (all suggested by me) and more ancient/international sounding names (all suggested by my partner)! ;-) Seeing the breakdown, it's amazing how easily we chose our first daughter's name.

By EVie
November 6, 2017 12:09 PM

First of all, I LOVE this list :) I'm sad that your partner nixed Ismay, but also excited that someone else likes it! It's so obscure that I had never even heard of it before stumbling on it during some surname-research a few years back, and I would be so thrilled to see it on a real baby (alternate medieval spellings Ysemay and Ysmay included!)

I don't know if you mean Rosemary and Ru(e) as an intentional Shakespeare reference, but I just wanted to point out that it makes it even more awesome :) (And I confess that I only have that on easy recall because of Seanan McGuire's first October Daye book, Rosemary and Rue). I also had a childhood friend named Ru (short for a very distinctive African name that I won't write out here), and always thought it was adorable. I partially agree with the concern over too much botanical, and I would hold it in reserve if you knew for sure you would have a third girl, but since that's pretty unknowable, if it turns out you think it's The One then I wouldn't hold back. 

I adore Elionor. Any way you can walk back that princess connection, since her name is actually Leonor? Unless you think that with the current political situation, connections to the Spanish royal family will be a liability in the future... but it's such an old name, and if anything Catalan culture has a better claim on it than Spanish, as Aliénor was originally an Occitan name. Seems a shame to let them appropriate it ;)

I wouldn't let the meaning of Octàvia be a dealbreaker. Even if eight has no special meaning for you currently, you can make it meaningful to her. Number-themed nursery? Bedtime rituals where you say I love you eight times? Those aren't brilliant, but I bet others can think of more. 

Flavia sounds like a good contender. I like the Roman history connection, too. I probably wouldn't do Flavia Florence myself, but that's totally subjective and depends on your feelings re: euphony vs. honor in middle names as well as alliteration (I like alliteration most of the time, but Fl- Fl- is a bit too much for me, and I tend to give more weight to euphony). I do love Florence as a middle name -- one of my friends used it for her daughter Mad3leine, also after her mother, and it's really lovely. 

Hope things stay safe for you and your family with all the political upheaval... I am watching the news and keeping my fingers crossed that everything remains peaceful and civil. 

November 7, 2017 5:00 AM

Thank you! Glad to find another Ismay lover!

I was not thinking of Shakespeare with Rosemary and Rue, but you are right that that makes it even better!! Ru here is also a nickname for Roser (pronounced Ru-ZÉE, meaning plants of the rose family), so I thought it made a good Catalan nickname.

I didn't think the princess connection was obvious at all until I ran it by a friend who immediately said "like the princess." It doesn't help that while most names aren't translated between languages, royal names are (so you see gossip magazine headlines about the holidays of "el príncipe Guillermo y Kate." for example). And she is the next in line to the throne, although she's only twelve, so hmmm.

Very good point about Flavia Florence. That one is probably out, then.

And thank you for the good wishes. Things are definitely dramatic and bad-tempered at the moment, and show no signs of cooling down, but the movement is almost pathologically peaceful, so hopefully nothing will get too far out of control.

November 6, 2017 4:35 PM

I like Sybil/Sibilla/Ursula the best from your list,  but H3r@ and Flavia/Isolde sound great together too

Elionor is nice too

Florence in the middle would be perfect to match with the other grandmothers name


November 7, 2017 5:01 AM

Glad to see another Ursula fan... together we shall defeat the memory of the purple octopus from The Little Mermaid!

November 7, 2017 9:23 AM

I know nothing about Catalan names but they seem fascinating. How do you pronounce H3ura? Is she always called Ivy or only by some people? Is Ivy a translation of H3ura or did you arrive at it some other way? 

I think my favorites from your list are Octavia and Sybil/Sybil•la. I have always loved Octavia and I really don’t think you need an 8 connection to use it. Your partner loving Octavia E. Butler is all the “excuse” you need. Sybil does go very well with Ivy and Sybil•la is lovely. 

Elionor is beautiful but if it’s too politicized I would steer clear. 

I love Florence as a middle or a first name, and I love Flora even more as a first name. Would you ever consider that?

I’ve always loved Isolde/Iseult for Arthurian reasons but the pronunciation ambiguity/difficulty bothers me. 

I adore Rosemary but I agree it may be slightly too much with Ivy. 

I’m not a huge fan of Flavia or Ursula. 

I like most of your names that he nixed and from his list I think Tanit is really cool (a form of Tanith?) and Ginevra is one of my favorite names (not keen on the Ginebra spelling though). I’m curious what your thoughts were on those two and why you vetoed them. 

Such a fun list of names overall! I can’t wait to see what you end up with. 

November 7, 2017 6:38 PM

Yep, H3ura is Ivy in Catalan. It's pronounced EHoo-ra (more two syllables than three), which is quite difficult to say in English so she gets introduced as Ivy to English speakers and is called that by my family.

The pronunciation ambiguity of Isolde/Iseult is what holds me back from fully committing at this point. I don't mind correcting pronunciation (see Heur@), but I hate the feeling that I might not be saying it "right" myself.

Tanit is indeed a variation of Tanith. I don't mind it but I didn't have any strong feelings about it either (plus the first surname starts with a T and I'm not a huge fan of TT alliteration). Ginebra is the Catalan version of Ginevra, Juniper, Guinevere and gin. I liked the first three but the gin connection is not a plus! 

November 7, 2017 10:09 PM

The pronunciation of Heur@ sounds so lovely! So fun to get two beautiful names in one. (I didn’t mention before that Ivy is my favorite ever girls’ name.) That makes me wonder if there’s another set of “translation names” that you could use this time but that probably just unnecessarily complicates things, especially if you plan on having more than two children. 

I’m right there with you, alliteration and gin would turn me off those names too. I know that Ginevra is connected to gin by way of juniper, but at least in English it’s not the exact word for gin. Oh well, with so many other wonderful names to choose from it’s no great loss. 

November 8, 2017 12:39 AM

I know a Ginevra nn Gin and she constantly gets booze jokes, especially as she does like to drink but by no means in a problem way.  But this name is definitely NOT a professional plus, and she is not at all happy with her name.

November 8, 2017 12:20 PM

Yes, the "two for the price of one" aspect was one thing I loved about my daughter's name. I'm hesitant to go exactly the same route, as I think we might end up a charicature of a family...

I saw that you loved Ivy! Actually, if I hadn't used my grandmother's name as a middle (Edith), my top choices based on sound were Ivy June and Ivy Juliet, so we're certainly on the same page there.

@cm250... what a nightmare your acquaintance getting gin jokes! It goes to show you can't control for everything when choosing a name...

November 8, 2017 12:22 PM

I can't remember when you joined this forum, but back in the day there was a regular poster who adored the name Ursula and there were many, many discussions about the name, both when she was pregnant with her first and with her second. (The first turned out to be a boy, but if memory serves she did use it on her second.) When those discussions started, I couldn't imagine anyone getting past the Sea Witch and finding the name usable, but let me tell you, I was convinced. Yeah, she might get some comments now and then, for the most part, she will be her peers' primary association with the name and the overlap will be a funny coincidence. It's a name with a long history, so it's not like using a name that Disney made up for their character. You'd probably get a few less-than-clever adults who ask if you named her after the character, but so many names inspire ridiculous questions that you just learn to roll your eyes internally and say that no, you didn't.

Octavia is one of my all-time favourite names, so I always pull for that one.

Flavia is a tricky one. With a Spanish pronunciation, I can get behind it. With an English FLAY-vee-uh, it's too close to labia for me to find this comfortably usable. (Especially if people people around you tend to conflate B and V.) Re: Flavia Florence, I think that the issue is that it's not just F- F-, but Fl- Fl-.

I think that Elionor is a beautiful variant, but not as distinctive as some of your other choices. (It's always a little disappointing when someone with an interesting list ends up using something common, even though it's not really fair to judge that way. If you like more common names, great! Use one! But it feels like a missed opportunity when someone more adventurous ends up on the beaten path. Yes, it's a little different, but it's the kind of different that confuses people rather than intriguing them.)

November 9, 2017 11:41 AM

I know, I feel some responsiblity to myself to be adventurous, since I don't mind being adventurous. For what it's worth, Elionor is given to basically no babies here; it's a strange disconnect with the English speaking world in that sense. 

I had not even considered that Flavia would have a long a in English... that definitely makes me like it less. 

On a totally unrelated note, while I have you here, and purely from interest ... I was looking at the Quebec name stats not long ago, and was surprised to notice how many English names ranked highly... more so on the boys' side than the girls'. What is with all the Williams, Liams, Noahs, Logans and Jaydens? They are definitely representing a way bigger chunk of the population than anglophones can account for, no? And how is that considered in society? I know here (and I believe in Germany), having an English name if you are not English comes across as a bit ... chavvy. Is that not the case in Quebec?

November 10, 2017 9:32 PM

Your observation about English vs. French names was very astute. The current generation of Francophone children do, indeed, have a lot of English names. I can't really go anywhere without hearing some mother calling for William (will-YAM), Liam (lee-AM), etc. and those names are 100% acceptable to society at large. In fact, many of the traditional French names are seen as horridly outdated and these English names are what is current. If you consider the staunchly protective attitude that many have towards French, it's a little surprising, but I guess that Bill 101 can't compete with style.

My generation was full of Jean-Pierre (JP), Jean-Sebastien (JS), Jean-Francois (JF), Sebastien (Seb), Nicolas (Nic), Philippe (Phil), Stephane, Patrick, Maxime, Marc, Marc-André, etc., so I guess those names are now dad names, while names like Guillaume are now grandfather names. (As recently as 2011, Guillaume was given to 110 baby boys, while in 2016 is was given to 39. William was given to 791 and Liam to 654. There's no way to know how many of those kids were Anglophones, but considering the overall proportion of Anglophones in the province, it's safe to assume that most were French-speaking.)

November 14, 2017 11:41 AM

Thanks for replying! I'm always interested how language and names play out. What would be the mom-names of your generation? The French first language program of my high school tended to have names like Danielle, Renée, Chantal, but I don't know how representative that is. 

November 8, 2017 5:30 PM

My stepmother-in-law is Ursula in English. In Hungarian, it's Orsolya, roughly /OAR-show-ya/, which I've always considered a beautiful name, but I've had a harder time with the English version. The sea witch certainly doesn't help in that regard. To the best of my knowledge, "our" Ursula seldom gets any comments referencing the Disney character, but she's 81 years old now, and has always come across as a somewhat formidable lady. (Add to the equation that she has three sons and two grandsons, no daughters anywhere except in the step-family, and the only extended relatives who were children in 1989 lived in England.)

All of your names have something going for them, and nothing majorly against them, so as unhelpful as it may be, I've got to say it: you can't go wrong.

November 9, 2017 11:42 AM

I actually have an aunt-in-law who I never see called Ursula, nickname Ushi, which I've always quite liked.

It looks like Ursula might need another generation or two :-)

November 8, 2017 9:53 PM

Elionor- I actually don't like Eleanor even though it should fit my style, but I just listened to how this is pronounced on Forvo and I love it! The princess may be the heir presumptive, but her name isn't really Elionor and she's only 12... Since the name is uncommon in Spain, would it come across as a political statement? I guess I feel like Eleanor in all forms has such a long history that it's association with the princess is minimal in my mind, but I'm not in Spain (or even Europe!). If the name choice would strike people as a political one, I would avoid it.

Flavia- To be honest, it's just always bothered me that this basically means blondie! Trying to set that aside, I think I like the sound of it but not with Florence as a middle name, and I much prefer Florence to Flavia.

Florence- I really like Florence for a first or middle name. It's slightly theme-y with Ivy, but definitely not in the way that Rosemary is. I think I prefer this as a middle name for you only because I like the symmetry of both girls having an honor name in the middle.

Isolde/Iseult- I'm thrilled that anybody is seriously considering this! However, I do think you need to commit to one pronunciation. It needn't be strictly enforced every time her name is spoken aloud, but I do think you need to pick one pronunciation to be the "correct" way to say her name for family, friends, teachers, etc. I slightly prefer Isolde for you only because the schwa at the end would break up the first name and first surname a bit.

Octàvia- I would have the same reservation about Octavia because the meaning is so obvious, but I do really like the name. My mom had a neighbor as a kid called Tavie as a nickname for Octavia, and I've always liked it.

Rosemary- This is really theme-y with Ivy, but I love Rosemary (the name and the herb). This is the kind of name theme I can warm up to, so if it's the name you love, I don't think Ivy makes Rosemary unusable. Ru is a super cute nickname, although I'm not sure I could use it due to the character Rue in The Hunger Games series.

Sybil/Sibyl/Sibilla- I was always pretty neutral to this name, but Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey improved my opinion of it quite a bit. I don't have strong feelings either way about the spelling or variants. Just to warn you, there's also a Downton character named Ivy and another named Edith. I don't know if the show is a common association in Spain or if it matters to you if it is, but I thought you'd want to be aware of the characters.

Ursula- Those poor unfortunate souls, So sad, so true.... Sorry, this is still the villain from The Little Mermaid even though I have other associations for it.

I'm bummed by some of the ones he nixed! Also, out of curiousity, how is Ginebra pronounced?

Congratulations, and I'm hoping you have a girl because I'm so excited about your name options!

November 9, 2017 11:49 AM

Thank you! I'm also hoping to have a girl because I do find the name choices more varied and interesting. :-)

Ginebra is gee-NEH-bra I believe. bs and vs are pretty much interchangeably pronounced in both Spanish and Catalan, which is how it ended up with b, I assume.

I do seem to have a very Downton Abbey sort of family... though I didn't realize there was also an Ivy. I think it just happens to be set in one of my favourite name periods.

I think we're leaning towards Iseult over Isolde at the moment. I just like it better, even though it is harder to pronounce and spell, less well-known and goes less well with the surname. Even my partner has gone from thinking it was too crazy to "so beautiful," so we'll see.

November 13, 2017 1:54 AM

It's a shame that Ginebra is also the word for gin because otherwise I'd love that you could get Juniper and Guinevere in one go!

I very much like the Downton Abbey era of names as well, but I don't think if I used one name that was in the show I could use another, which is why I mentioned it. Ivy came on in one of the later seasons. Daisy was promoted from kitchen maid to assistant cook, so Ivy was hired on as the new kitchen maid. I wondered at the time if the two botanicals for the kitchen staff was intentional. I don't recall if the cook Mrs. Patmore's first name was ever mentioned.

A switch from "too crazy" to "so beautiful" certainly sounds promising! I can't wait to hear another update!

November 13, 2017 2:18 AM

The two runs of Upstairs Downstairs had maids named Daisy and Ivy. I would say that either botanicals (not to forget Rose) were a signifier of the servant class, or that the names were chosen for Downton with a nod to Upstairs. BTW the inept kitchen maid in Upstairs was Ruby.

November 13, 2017 8:32 AM

On Downton Abbey, Mrs. Patmore's first name was Beryl and Rose was upper class.

(I had totally forgotten about Ivy, but now that you mention it, I do remember her. I couldn't have provided her name on my own, though.)

November 11, 2017 10:18 PM

If the royal association is a strong one, and your partner might be the best judge there, I agree that it might be best left off at this particular moment in Catalan history. Pity: it's a beautiful name (Elinor was on our list, too).

I think if you don't like the FLAY pronunciation of Flavia, I'd axe it, as that will be how the name gets handled by all English speakers in your lives, and you do in fact have English speaking branches of the family. 

Florence is a great name. I like Ren/Wren as a nonstandard nickname choice for this if Flo and Flossie aren't feeling quite right, and I think the unusual nickname option would help it keep up in interest-level with your daughter's name. 

I think I prefer Isolde, especially with a t-containing name, but I think either way this is a superb choice, and I think it holds up to your daughter's name in terms of wow-factor.  

I love Octavia, another one on my own list, and I certainly don't think you need to have seven other kids before Octavia becomes usable. It's worth noting, though, that we had sort of the same reservations as you about just preferring to use it with an 8-connection, since the root is so up front and transparent.

I wouldn't want to use Rosemary with Ivy, even if a nickname... especially without other children acting as a buffer.

Sybil/Sibyl- the spelling on this one would make me a bit crazy, with the y and i being interchangable and without a clear standard. It's a lovely name, though. Could you use Sibilla without the mark in English speaking contexts, where the pronunciation would be the same? I find the y-free spelling very pleasing, and less confusing to explain.

I kind of love Ursula and think it's perfectly usable. I would go read every thread by PennyX/Mirnada. The discussions go on and on because she was agonizing about it for many years. Everyone was very pro-Ursula pretty consistently throughout that era, and then she actually DID get a chance to use it! 

November 14, 2017 11:53 AM

My Isolde/Iseult indecisiveness is off the charts these days. I guess I have 6 and a half months to think about it anyway, convince my partner of one version or another, backtrack and drive him crazy!

I actually really like the y in Sybil/Sibyl, and the not-ending-in-an-a thing, but I agree that I can't decide which of the spellings I prefer, and that either one is likely to get mispelled by someone half the time.

And I very much enjoyed the Ursula thread. So pleased she went with it.

November 20, 2017 11:49 AM

Elionor - Safest bet is to just call her Eleanor, it's a bit too unique. People will mispronounce and mispell.

Flavia - My daughter said it reminds her of 'Labia', other meaner kids might notice that and bully her for it.

Florence - It's a beautiful name but very old fashioned, 'Flo' is a cute nickname.

Isolde/Iseult - My daughters reaction to this was "What", it doesn't sound like a name, it's very strange. Will never be pronounced right, always will mispell and will be bullied.

Sybil - Old fashioned and weird. Also Sybil Trelawny from Harry Potter.

Ursula - Too much of a reference to The Little Mermaid, and is very harsh.

Hope you find your perfect baby name :)

November 20, 2017 3:41 PM

Note that the OP is located in Spain, specifically Catalonia, so Eleanor would be just as likely to be mispronounced (or, rather, pronounced differently than in English) as Elionor.

And again, I really want to know where you're located that you're so convinced that name-based bullying is unusually rampant, because my experience (and that of several other forum regulars) is precisely the opposite.