Hazel Harriet ... too much?

I'm due in October and we've long been decided on Hazel for a girl's name (so long as she comes out looking like a Hazel). Since finding out I was pregnant, and then finding out that she's a she, Hazel has always felt like THE name.

I'd also really like to use Harriet as the middle name. It would be after my grandmother who passed away recently and who I was really close to.

I've tossed out the names to a few family members and to my surprise, most of them hate it! They think the repeating Ha-Ha doesn't flow well. SO and I still love both the names, but now I'm second guessing actually using them. I'd love any feedback you might have, I keep going back and forth in my head and it's making me crazy!

Oh -- and just for reference, here are a couple other names on our short list. Violet (doesn't work with Harriet), Wren, Evie, Ada, Clementine. It's just that none of these names feel as right as Hazel has.

Thanks so much!


July 10, 2013 9:50 AM

I agree that the flow is iffy. For what it's worth, I think Harriet Hazel flows better, and I've known more people than one in my life that went by their middle name exclusively.

Another option is to add a second middle name to 'improve' things: for example, Hazel Anne Harriet. That might not seem like an appealing option, either.

I love Hazel. I love your reason for choosing Harriet. If you genuinely love Hazel Harriet ______, then go for it. I have a son with a massively un-stylish middle name (Elmer) to honor my husband's grandfather. After a few brief pangs over the missed style opportunity, I haven't looked back.

July 10, 2013 12:20 PM

I do like Harriet Hazel too! We are playing around with that idea with the nn Hattie. It would seem like kind of a waste of the name Hazel to me though, so I would probably save it for a possible future sibling and go with a whole new mn if that were the case.

Thanks for the input!

July 10, 2013 10:07 AM

I don't think it's terrible. It's not ideal, but when does first-middle name flow matter after the birth announcement? Unless you will call her Hazel Harriet on a regular basis, the middle name will be dropped and flow won't matter.

I definitely wouldn't change Hazel if it feels right to you. Are there other options you could use for a middle that would still honor your grandmother? Like your grandmother's middle name or maiden name, her favorite flower/gemstone/city, birthplace, etc?

July 10, 2013 12:28 PM

Thinking about other options for honouring my Grandma. Her and I share a middle name -- Elizabeth. I like it, but it would seem like I'm naming the kid after me... So we'll see! I am still liking my original plan, even if it is a mouth full. Thanks!

July 10, 2013 10:41 AM

I can understand where your family's hesitance is coming from. Hazel and Harriet both start with the same sound. However, I actually like it. But part of that could just be my jealousy that you can use an H name. =) My last name starts with H and is actually very similiar to the name Hazel, so as a joke, my parents AND in-laws have suggested we name a daughter Hazel because the flow with our last name is AWFUL. (If it weren't for our last name, Hazel, Harriet AND Henrietta would have been contenders.)

Of your other names, I like Violet, Wren and Clementine - all were on my short list. But, that being said, I like Hazel the best. I say use Hazel Harriet! You KNOW that Hazel is THE NAME (and once you find THE NAME, you won't be happy with any other first name) and I love the meaning behind using Harriet. The thing is, your family isn't going to call her "Hazel Harriet" all the time; they're going to just say "Hazel". If it's really bothering you, then considering changing the middle name (I like the suggestion of adding a second middle name), but if it's something you think you can get over, then just use your name! =)

If it helps, my in-laws haven't been supportive AT ALL with either name my husband and I have picked out for this pregnancy. I thought it would bother me more, but it just doesn't. I just figured they'll get over it when they meet their grandbaby. In addition, my best friend who's my son's godmother (and will be godmother to every subsequent baby) is also a naming fanatic. I run every name by her and she's flat-out told me that she's not crazy about our boy's name, BUT she did say she thinks it'll grow on her as she gets to know our son - if this one's a boy. So maybe ask your family if they can get past it. And then see how much it really bothers you.

Best of luck!

July 10, 2013 12:24 PM

Aren't in-laws the worst? Actual conversation with my MIL -- "Why don't you name her Macdonald or something nice spelled backwards like Happy or Peace. Hazel just sounds like an old dog" :|


By hyz
July 10, 2013 1:16 PM

And that is why I would never share the prosepctive baby names IRL.  I can imagine similar comments coming from our relatives if they feel that they are getting a chance to throw their 2 cents in, but people tend to be more diplomatic after the baby is actually born and named.  Also, Hazel tends to have a very different feel for 20-30 something people than it does for 50-70 something people.  Your MIL probably did know old women or dogs named Hazel, so it sounds old to her, while Hazel is a little too far past its peak for most childbearing people today (much less the kids' peers) to think of it strongly as an old lady name, rather than a quirky antique.  I've heard similar comments from boomer-aged relatives and acquaintances about names like Henry, Oliver, Rose, Sophia, etc.--all names that obviously have strong appeal to today's new parents.

July 10, 2013 3:35 PM

You're totally right about the older generation's view on names. I normally only share the name with our parents and my best friend - and my in-laws I wasn't planning on telling until we found out the sex. And only then because I use the name when speaking about the baby instead of having to say "baby" or the silly nickname we use up until we know the sex. My husband spilled the beans to them this time (I swear, next time I'm not even going to tell HIM. LOL). 

July 10, 2013 3:42 PM

Oh my. I've gotten really great about biting my tongue with my MIL, but I think had that been MY conversation, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut. LOL. Oh well! She'll get over it! My husband is the one that told my in-laws our name choices (we find out the sex in 16 days; Why he couldn't just WAIT like I was planning on is beyond me) and he did it when I wasn't around, so I don't know what their ACTUAL reactions were, but my husband came home and said "I don't think they like the names." And then my FIL sent me a text: "If you like Irish names, we have Aileen and Quinn in the family." Thankfully, it was a text and not a face-to-face conversation because I could just text back "Oh, okay. I'll keep that in mind." without him seeing the "HELL NO" look on my face. LOL. But given what they were saying to ME when our SIL named their son Micah ("It's just such a BLACK name. I don't know why she would have picked that!"), I'm sure they're saying all kinds of stuff about our name picks. But I just don't care. =) They'll get over it. They love Micah's name now - because he's here and it's his name.

(My SIL is Jewish, which is why, I suspect, she wanted Micah. It was a little unexpected given her daughter's name is Audrey Grace.) 

By hyz
July 10, 2013 11:41 AM

I think Hazel Harriet is quite nice, actually. It has a catchy sound and flows well together--it reminds me a bit of all the Catholic Mary Margarets that used to abound. I see how it might sound like a little much for some people when you say just the fn and mn, but who does that on a regular basis? When you add a surname, I think the sound is very harmonious. Hazel Harriet Smith. Hazel Harriet Johnson. Hazel Harriet Fitzgerald. As long as your last name isn't Harris or Hegel or something, I think it would be a lovely choice. Also, for me, the Ha in Hazel and the Ha in Harriet are not the same sound. Hazel starts with Hay, and Harriet starts with Hair--the difference is subtle (for those without the Mary/merry/marry merge it would be even more distinct), but they don't sound the same to me.

I would say this even if Hazel weren't THE name for you, and if Harriet didn't have such strong meaning for you--I just think they sound nice. But given the importance of both names to you, I think you should consider your name search at an end, and the naysayers will learn to love it (or at least learn to keep their peace about it).

July 10, 2013 12:29 PM

Thanks for the support! I am feeling better about it already. :)

July 10, 2013 12:25 PM

In my accent (non Mary-merry-marry merged), Hazel and Harriet begin with very different vowels and actually sound quite good together. I'm guessing that you're pronouncing Harriet as Hairy-et, in which case, I see your dilemma. It's certainly not the worst combination I've heard, and since it's so meaningful for you, in my opinion, it's definitely not unusable.

July 10, 2013 12:37 PM

I admit, the flow isn't ideal.  However, I think using a name you love along with a signifcant family name trumps flow everytime.

I vote you keep Hazel Harriet.

July 10, 2013 1:03 PM

I may be in the minority but I like Hazel Harriet! I often tend to like alliteration, however. It's a bit of a tongue twister, but really how often does one get called by their first and middle name? (Unless they were in trouble like in my case growing up!) I love the meaning that Harriet has to you and I don't think your in laws should stop you from using the names you love. 

By Jude
July 11, 2013 2:27 PM

I agree with all of this! Hazel Harriet is such a sweet name, and with my pronouciation it doesn't sound too similar. I say go for it!

July 10, 2013 7:44 PM

Neither is to my personal taste (though I adore the nn Hattie), but if you love it, go for it!

I think the flow is good, if not great, and I always vote for using a family name over a random name with a more appealing sound (though we did the latter with son #2-lol)!


July 10, 2013 9:35 PM

I actually don't think it's bad at all. I really like it actually! I think Hazel is a beautiful first name and honoring your grandma by using Harriet as a middle name is really nice.

And, let's be honest ... how often do you say both the first name AND the middle name together? Rarely. I think it's a great combo.

July 11, 2013 1:51 AM

I like Hazel Harriet. And even if you don't like the flow (which I don't mind at all), personal meaning is more important in my book. If its the name for you, then it's the name for you. Go for it!

My family would pull a face if I suggested this too, but they stopped suggesting names for me when I started shooting them down to their faces. I started being polite, but after a while I just said "it's not really my style - but I can see why it appeals to you." 

July 11, 2013 4:13 AM

I love both Harriet and Hazel and I think they sound fine together. I don't really see the problem with the flow, and I'm normally quite picky about that sort of thing. Yes, some other combos may sound BETTER but it sounds fine, it has meaning and it's the names you love. I would go with it.

July 11, 2013 8:34 AM

At first I was going to say they don't flow very well, but it doesn't matter with the middle name. So go ahead and use it anyway, especially since you have strong reasons for using both of them.

But... after reading through all the comments and seeing Hazel Harriet written 18 or so times, it just seems like an obvious combination, like it's meant to be. I think anyone who hears it or sees it written after the birth will feel the same way--like, of course that's her name.

So go for it!

July 11, 2013 10:11 AM

We're in a similar situation where we are using a first name that is the one that has felt really right, and we're pretty sure we'll be using an honoring middle name that doesn't have terrific flow with that first name (in my case, the end of the first name kind of runs into the start of the middle name). I don't think it's a huge deal -- middle names usually don't get used often in day-to-day life by people other than the parents, unless the bearer particularly loves the middle name and makes a point to integrate it often. But for most people out there, the general acquaintanceship doesn't even KNOW their middle name, except for the teachers who have the class roster. I'm a name enthusiast and pay a lot of attention, but there's only a small fraction of the closest friends whose middle names I know.

I am fairly Mary/merry/marry merged, and yeah, the Hay/Hah sounds at both are repetitive. If your surname were Hayworth, I would persoanlly say that Harriet Hayworth would be too repetitive to be usable, but I know people who have given their children similarly alliterative names (or more so) and who seem to enjoy it ("it's like a superhero name!" - direct quote from a parent). One person's singsongy is another person's melodic - it's so subjective. In this case, though, the middle name really won't be used by anyone on a daily basis, so I think it's 100% fine to let meaning of the middle name trump flow. First-middle doesn't get used nearly as much as first-last. You will love being able to tell your little Hazel about the Harriet that she's named after.

I do think it's worth thinking about whether you are planning more children and how likely it is that you'll have another daughter. If you love both Hazel AND Harriet/Hattie as first names, you might later regret having used both of them now. Of course, there's a possibility you go on just to have boys (or change your mind), so you have to weigh the potential sadness of having used it in a hidden spot with the potential sadness of not having gotten to use it at all.

I wouldn't set up a "go exclusively by middle name" situation - that seems like more of a hassle to me than having an awkward-flow middle name.

July 11, 2013 1:58 PM

I actually really like it. Hazel and Harriet are two of my favorite names for girls and I love the alliteration of the H H.

To me Hazel Harriet sounds like a creative, cool, and smart lady. I'm in the midst of the naming game as well and have decied that although some feedback can be very helpful, at the end of the day if you love the name then it's all that matters. Also, keep in mind that the Harriet (middle name) will not likley be a part of her daily life. At home you may end up calling her by both names, but her cubby at kindergarden will simply say "Hazel" and the Harriet will be a cool treat for those who get to know her. Plus, think of all the nickname potential!

I say go for it.

Good luck!

By Coll
July 11, 2013 2:22 PM

Yup, I agree. I like it. She sounds like a spunky 1930s girl reporter. Go for it!

By mk
July 11, 2013 2:31 PM

I think it sounds fine, and Harriet has meaning for you, which is far more important than some "perfect" flow. I'd leave it.

July 15, 2013 5:14 PM

I actually like the ha-ha part. Having laughter as a part of one's life is a good thing! In a few months, when she first starts to laugh, you can think of her name and revel in it.

July 16, 2013 1:03 AM

Hazel Harriet...the more I say it, the more I like it. You almost can't help but smile.

July 16, 2013 1:00 PM

Hi! I'm only chiming in to say that my daughter's name is Harriet and we absolutely love it. The reaction is universally positive. She'll be one in a couple weeks. Ours is Harriet Claire. Truth be told, it was the only middle name we could agree on before leaving the hospital. We also looked at Wren, Jane, and Louise. That said, I almost never think about her middle name. So, naming her Hazel Harriet won't make her any less of a Hazel.  

July 16, 2013 1:04 PM

It sounds like Hazel is the name. I wouldn't worry too much about the middle name seeming redundant (though you can tell from the comments that it doesn't bother us!). I would rather use both names together than have two children with "H" names, which is why I ended up with Agnes and not Hazel! ;)


July 16, 2013 11:47 PM

I like the overlap between fans of "Hazel" and "Wren" on this board (I too like both - especially because I'm a fan of Watership Down in which Hazel is the brave protagonist, albeit the only male Hazel I've ever heard of).

Hazel Harriet is cute and literary and feisty sounding while still being harmonious. The only other one I think works as WELL as Hazel, really, is Ada Harriet. The assonance actually makes me like them better, even though normally double first-letters sound forced.

And if it's the name, it's the name! Few people will know her middle name unless she wants them to.