Help me like more names!

We found out this week that we're expecting a sibling for Juliet! I really thought this time around that I'd be more laid-back and open-minded about the naming process. I set out to make a list of every name I'd even consider, thinking it would be a great long list to give my husband. Nope, it's short. So what I'd really like now from my fellow NEs is two-fold: 1. Your opinionsFww on my lists 2. To convince me to add more names. Not just suggestions, but why I should love your suggestions :)

Here's the list so far.
Charles (Charlie)
(Eliminated for surname/Juliet conflict: August, Silas, Jude)

Camilla (Millie)

If I were to name the baby by myself, a boy would be Theo or Simon, and a girl would be Eleanora or Imogen. The closest my husband and I have gotten to compromise in the past is Arthur and Ingrid, neither of which are my favorites. For a boy, I'd love suggestions like Arthur that appeal to my taste but also might be "cool" in my husband's eyes (he likes the King Arthur reference). 

Surname is one syllable and rhymes with rice.  Thanks in advance!


September 16, 2015 5:51 PM


Well, to be honest you've already got quite the list going, so I hesitate to add more.  Is everything on your list husband approved?  Or are you anticipating he'll veto most of your names & so you want to find back up names just in case?

For more boy names with the fusty/vintage feel of Arthur that might pass the husband "cool" test, I'll suggest Bram (or Abram with Bram as the nickname).  I think the dracula connection could up the cool factor and gives the name a certain dark/edgy feel, while the Biblical roots it firmly in history.  Abram especially has that kind of "old man" vibe I get from Walter & Arthur.  I'll also suggest Percival.  It's got the same "holy grail" thing going for it as Arthur, which might appeal to your husband. The possible nickname Percy might also make it seem more friendly/less old man for him than the full Percival.

Your girl name list is also fantastic.  Please, please use Verity.  One of my all-time favorites & I'd love to see someone use it.  I'll also suggest 2 more of my all-time favorites, Agatha & Agnes.  Though I willl admit they might strike your husband as too fusty next to Juliet.  Ingrid also makes me think of Inez.  Or perhaps Audrey if the old Hollywood vibe is more appealing to your husband.

September 16, 2015 6:06 PM

My husband hasn't seen the list yet. I'm aiming for a longer list because I'm anticipating many vetos, and I don't want to feel destroyed if I lose too many names :)

i really like the idea of Abram/Bram. We have an adult Abram in our social circle so I'm not sure if we'd use it, but Bram by itself could be a possibility. 

I fought for Berity when we were naming Juliet, but my husband's onlay association is the male character in Robin Hobb's Farsser trilogy, and he had a hard time imagining it on a girl. He's incredulous when I insist it's really a girl's name. 

September 17, 2015 11:33 AM

Maybe show him this list?  Not a boy Verity on it (though there are some surnames).


September 18, 2015 11:25 AM

You could also maybe have him read To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (if he's a Robin Hobb fan, I'm thinking he might be open to it). It's a rollicking fun read, with a great female Verity.

September 18, 2015 11:29 AM

Verity is the name of the "plain" sister/cousin in the Poldark novels, recently re-dramatized as one of the Masterpiece costume dramas on PBS.

September 16, 2015 8:01 PM

My boys list has quite a few overlaps with yours.  Namely, Arthur, Theodore, and Walter.  I've also come across Phillip often when looking at names similar to my tastes, and Simon would be on there if I hadn't recently had a boss named Simon.  Some other names to consider:

Gregory, Peter, Wesley, Martin, Edward, Douglas, Frederick, Arnold, Paul

September 16, 2015 9:07 PM

I like your taste in names. Now to bolster the list against husbandly vetoes:

Albert, Frederick, Ferdinand, Gabriel, Gregor(y), Francis, Conrad, Emeric(h); Martha, Alice, Cordelia, Louisa, Margaret, and I second another poster's suggestions of Agnes and Agatha.

As for why you should like them, well, I like them, and I like most of your choices... :-)

With your surname, I particularly like some of the longer names, like Ferdinand, Gabriel, and Cordelia.

Some "cool factor" references:

Albert is both Einstein and Szent-Györgyi, scientists. (The latter is the reason we couldn't keep it on our own short list: too confusing, too much to live up to.)
Ferdinand is Magellan the explorer and Porsche the carmaker.
Conrad has "rad" right in there.
Martha is my sister, so obviously it's the perfect sibling name for Juliet. :-)
Gregor and Cordelia are references to Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series -- highly recommended reading. (It's science fiction, generally subcategorized as space opera, but her writing and storytelling transcends all such labels.)

September 19, 2015 2:13 PM

Gregor is so cool! Unfortunately, our surname begins with Gr-. In my opinion, that's a sound that just can't be aliiterated gracefully in a name (which is one of my huge apprehensions about Ingrid). I've thrown out names like Gabriel, Gwendolyn, Graham, and a handful of others for the same reason.

September 16, 2015 11:05 PM

Congratulations!! Felicity and Edmund were my immediate thoughts.

September 17, 2015 5:58 AM

For boys I would add Laurence (Durrell and of Arabia) since it has the great nickname Laurie and, as I learned the other day, Larkin. I think Gavin might also be a possibility for your husband. It's the modern version of Gawain, another connection to King Arthur. Gawain itself would be awesome, come to think of it.

For girls I second Agatha/Agnes and Cordelia. And how about Ottilie? I used to love Imogen, then when I lived in the UK I didn't much like the demographic who bore it, and I've now switched that allegiance to Ottilie. Or perhaps Rosemary or Rosamund?

September 19, 2015 2:14 PM

I am really liking Rosemary nn Romy. Great suggestion!

September 18, 2015 3:55 AM

Oh, congratulations!! It's so exciting when regulars are expecting!

Arthur - I really love this one. It has a similar mythical and grand style to Juliet. Other names that have a similar feel to me include Tristan (to sell you on this one, listen to the opera!) and I also want to second Percival and Gavin/Gawain. And maybe... Wilfred (because of Ivanhoe, naturally)? Totally kidding on that last one, but Juliet is a grand and sweeping romantic sort of name and I want to suggest other grand romantic names to go with it.

(Your need for "cool" associations in discussion with your husband also makes me think of this blog: - which also made me like the name Arthur much more!)

Charles (Charlie) - a very nice, unobjectionable classic. I can't get too excited about it in the abstract when making name lists, but it's the sort of name that's always extremely pleasing to encounter on a child, even if not particularly earth shattering.
Everett - I have a hard time judging this one because it's a not-so-favorably-associated placename for me, but the sound is really stylish and I think to the rest of the world it has a lot of that courtly charm that Juliet has!
Jonah and Simon - I think of these as a little more overtly religious in feel, and also very "gentle strength" kind of names.
Philip - a bit like Charles for me because I knew several growing up, but I think it's surprisingly out of use in the US so I think it's actually a nice and distinguished choice here. The nicknames here really sell me on the name - Pip is adorable. (On the girl side, do you like Philippa/Pippa?)
Theo - I really love this, too. I like all kinds of clunky long forms for it, but I think the sleek simplicity of just-Theo is pretty fabulous. If you are gestating a sister for Juliet, too, you might consider Thea (including Dorothea, Theodora, Althea or Aletheia), or Thora? That one also has a bit of sweeping grandeur (Thor!) paired with a more buttoned-up sedate vintage feel at the same time.
Walter - I know a little Walter, and I think it's great! It's a bit more old-mannish and fusty than your other choices, but as a lover of old-mannish fusty names, I can only encourage you to go with it. It makes me want to suggest Felix and Julius, too.

How do you feel about Casper? Jasper -- some positive "cool" pop culture associations there, too? Caspian? Frederick? Edmund? Ferdinand?

Camilla - much like Everett, I have an unfortunate personal association that keeps me from viewing it quite in the same way that others might. (It's not even an association with the name Camilla, it's a brand of maxi pads called Camelia, which I think I conflated with Camilla Parker-Bowles circa the time that Prince Charles wished to be her own sanitary feminine hygiene object, so that I can NEVER remember the brand of the pads and always think it's Camilla, and I always have to google it and wait for the search engine to cheerfully suggest "did you mean Camelia?") Anyway, if put aside that bizarre not-actually-an-association that my brain wants to bring up every time, I really do like the name Camilla - it's nicely botanical and British in feeling, and I also do LIKE Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and it all seems like a name that I am surprised not to see used more often.

Cecilia - awesome awesome! I do think of cilia, the cell part, every time, but that's not really a problem, since I like cellular biology, and also I don't think anyone else has this association.

Clara - I like, but I can never ever remember how a particular Clara pronounces it (CLAIRE-uh or CLAH-rah?) and continue to have a 50% success rate well past the point at which I should have remembered it. I would say an enthusiastic yes to this name if you are happy with both pronunciations and can use them interchangably, but no if you have one way that you regard as "the right way" and the other is nails on a chalkboard.

Eleanora is awesome. I generally like Eleanor better but I think the -a ending somehow helps pair it better with the lightness of Juliet, and I like that it emphasizes many other exciting nickname options besides the rather-popular Ellie.

Elizabeth is, like Charles, a name that is completely unobjectionable but I think it would take the use of a non-Ellie nickname for me to really become enthusiastic about it.

Josephine is one of my favorite names. I would consider whether if you were hoping for more children after this one, whether you would want to then continue with J names or not. I don't think you'd have to be constrained like that, but some people would be uncomfortable having a Juliet, Josephine and Cecilia.

I like Ingrid a lot, too. It's a little crisper and sparer than many of your other names, to me. Not to say you can't use it-- I don't think siblings need to coordinate in any way other than being names the parents love.

Imogen is another of my very favorites, and it's not-great with our surname so I always want to encourage other people to use it.

I wonder if you might also like Gwendolyn? It has a bit of the fantastical grand nature of many other names, and I've been even more enamored of it lately after reading Saga, which I recommend if you like graphic novels and don't object to adult content of all kinds.

I also love Lorna, and after reading Lorna Doone it has a similarly romantic sweeping grand feel to me. Or maybe Leora?

Can we sell you on Aurelia or Philomena?

September 19, 2015 2:28 PM

Great blog post! And they have a Jo1yon too!

I've thought the same thing about Arthur, the "mythical and grand style," and worried that it's too much next to Juliet. Do you think it makes the set almost comically dramatic?

When you mentioned the nn Pip for Philip, it got me wondering if my husband would like the nn Pippin. I mean, who wouldn't like to share a name with a Hobbit? Also, I adore Philippa but still remember the sniggers from my husband last time I mentioned it. I guess it doesn't hurt to add it to my list and hope he changed his mind on it recently.

He's still laboriously making his list, but I have extracted that he has Clara and Elizabeth on his. So I have some hope! I wonder if the Clah-ruh pronunciation is regional? I've heard it before but never in the South, and neither have I heard the Sah-ruh version of Sara(h) here. For Elizabeth, I love the nn Libby (and about a half dozen others) but I'm afraid my husband will abandon that name in the end anyways. He has a detestable aunt Liz, and he can't get over the association, even though we know tons of admirable Elizabeths. I know the name isn't particularly exciting, but I'm an enthusiastic nickhamer, so it holds a lot of possibility for me.


September 19, 2015 3:04 PM

I don't think something like Juliet & Arthur is too mythical & grand a pairing.  It'd perhaps be a problem if they were both Shakespearean or Arhurian names.  In that case, it might seem too themey, but mixing and matching from different stories/sources isn't a problem for me.

I say go ahead and try Philip & Philippa.  It's possible Philippa has grown on him.  It's also possible he'll like Philip even if  he doesn't like Philippa.

I'm wondering where Clah-ruh & Sah-ruh would even be from!  I don't think I've heard them said that way in any American accent.  Both seem closer to English accents to me.  Since you seem to like nicknames, Sarah would also offer the options of Sadie & Sally.

Think your husband would be more open to a variant of Elizabeth?  Something like Elspeth, Elisabet, Eilis or Lillias might be far enough removed from Liz that he'd consider it useable.  But, I think most of the other nicknames for Elizabeth would still reasonably be in play.

September 21, 2015 2:17 PM

My husband reading the BNW book last night: "Hmmm...Pippa. I really like that."

Me: "Really? I just added Philippa called Pippa to my list."
Husband: "Oh, I hate Philippa."
Me: "I don't think I could put just-Pippa on the birth certificate."
Husband: "Well I could never use Philippa. It sounds like you wanted a son named Philip so you just added an A."

Me: *sigh...*

September 21, 2015 2:53 PM

I know a couple of baby Penelopes called Pippa - would that be an option, since Philippa is a no-go?

And as I think about it I know a tiny baby full-name Pippa as well. But like you, I also prefer Pippa as nickname rather than full name. :-)

September 21, 2015 3:39 PM

To me, Pippa is in the category of nicknames that I find emminently reasonable on the birth certificate. I might slightly prefer Philippa, nicknamed Pippa, if I were using the name myself (mostly to match a Th0masina who goes by Tamsin -- that being another nickname that I find very reasonable as a given name)... but just-Pippa (or just-Tamsin) is also fine and I certainly wouldn't side-eye it at all!

By mk
September 21, 2015 4:05 PM

I think Pippa is perfectly fine as a full name and, like your husband, prefer it much more than Philippa.


September 22, 2015 8:29 PM

I would have to say, "this is the compromise honey, if you want Pippa, she has to be Philippa on her birth certificate, but you can call her Pippa and buy her things with Pippa on". That way, he gets his way, and you'll also get your little Philippa, and maybe you'll have your own nn for her from that.

Otherwise, I second the suggestion of Penelope nn Pippa.

I am not keen on nicknames as given names, though I know lots of people are.

September 23, 2015 10:38 AM

*sigh*, indeed! If not Phillipa or Penelope, I think Persephone or Proserpine/a would also make great classical full-names for nn Pippa. I do think Pippa could stand-alone, but if not, perhaps Piper or Poppy?

September 23, 2015 1:06 AM

Seconding that Arthur and Juliet are not at all comical as a pairing. I agree that it is important that they are both from very different sources. Romeo is obviously a no-go, but Hamlet would be too much for me, too, and I'd have reservations about less-well-known names like Lysander, too... but I'd cheerfully use Arthur, just eliminate Guinevere and Lancelot from any future sibling lists thereafter.

Clah-rah is I think the German influence... I think people are familiar with it via the Nutcracker, perhaps?

By EVie
September 18, 2015 5:05 PM

I would actually counsel against the long list strategy. I did that with my veto-happy husband, idealistically thinking that I could be open-minded and maybe fall in love with a name I hadn't fully considered because he loved it. I gave him a list of about 200 names and we went through them one by one. HE VETOED ALL BUT ONE OF THEM. And that one I realized immediately was so far from my style that I should never have presented it in the first place. 

So, I know this is not exactly what you're looking for, but I would stick to your guns and only present names that you love. For my next go-round, I'm going to tell him that if he can't be happy with one of the names on my list, he can come up with his own list of equivalent length. I will send him a link to every online resource that I use to find names, he can make his list, and then we'll find a compromise from there. And if he can't be bothered to come up with a list, then clearly he doesn't care THAT much and I will be filling out the birth certificate without his input. (Can you tell I'm still annoyed by the experience?)

(By the way, I love your list. Juliet is a top contender if our next is a girl, so I think our tastes are similar).

September 19, 2015 2:08 PM

Oh, that sounds incredibly frustrating! You're right, I need to make sure anything I add to my list is actually something I love. Luckily my husband is making a list (albiet so slowly that I might die of anticipation) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have some overlap.

September 23, 2015 2:29 PM

Well, my husband finished his girl list and we compared... and I'm actually quite pleased! We each divided our own lists into 3 tiers (top choices, middle, and bottom), then traded lists. His top tier is Clara, Corinna, Eleanora (yay!!), and Pippa.

He insisted that I've worn him down on Eleanora by talking about it so much, but since he put it in the top, I'm hoping he's actually excited about it. Corinna is a name I really like in theory but not in practice; it just doesn't come out of my mouth smoothly or sound as pretty as in my head. Clara isn't the most exciting choice for me (it's in my middle tier) but I'm glad to see we both agree it's an option. And I'm trying to warm up to Pippa as a full name. He said he'd much rather do Penelope than Philippa if we did a longer version, so that's an option.

I think we're going to leave the discussion here for girls until we find out the gender, then revisit it. I'll report back when I have info on boys :)

September 23, 2015 2:52 PM

That's great progress! In re: Corinna--one alternative that has been on my mind lately is Coretta. Great namesake, adorable nickname options (Etta, especially, I think is due for a comeback) and less of the "eena or inna?" issue (this is a name where I would assume with that spelling that it's -inna, but I probably would have a hard time remembering which it was without a written name in front of me).

Good luck, and keep us posted!

September 25, 2015 5:44 PM

I actually really like Cora, but strangely my husband doesn't. Coraline was our top contender against Juliet last time around, and we eventually ditched it because he didn't like Cora or Coral, and I knew we'd want nicknames. I'm betting Corinna would end up with the same issue. He suggested Coco for a nickname, but most people call Juliet Juju, and that's just too cutesy a pair for me. 

September 23, 2015 3:59 PM

Firstly, I love your list. Many of your names are on my list, as well (in fact, my "one day" girl name is Cecilia Juliet). I think the only one that I don't like is Walter, just because I associate it with the tv show Breaking Bad's villain. You seriously cannot go wrong with any of the others :)

I guess just because we have such similar taste, I'll give you some of my other favorites to see if you like those:






Miles (is Miles Davis cool to your husband? haha)