Ideas please

My husband and I have plenty of time to think about baby names as we are just now considering ttc, but we‘ve put a lot of thought into names we might want to include on a short list over the years and would appreciate ideas and outside opinions on names we’ve considered. For a boy we like Ben, Nathan, Jack, and Lane. And for a girl we like Leah, Noa, Maren, Lauren, Kate, and Emma/Emily. Middle names we’ve considered are all family names including: Hunter, Kyler, Hiday (surname pronounced like the first name Heidi), Ileen, Malcolm, Nicole and Michael, with my preferences being Hunter, Kyler, Hiday and Michael. Our last name is Adams. We would love some insight, opinions, and additional suggestions for names that might also fit into whatever style the names we seem to like may be. Thank you in advance!


January 3, 2018 5:21 PM

Ben, Nathan, Jack, and Lane.- Ben and Nathan are nice,  I prefer Nathaniel and Benjamin,  Jack is ok too,  sorry dont like Lane, Timothy, Reuben, Mitchell, Kyle, Nicolas and Jonathan would be nice too

Leah, Noa, Maren, Lauren, Kate, and Emma/Emily - like all the girls names, except I dont like Noa for a girl,  for a boy Noah is lovely, Laura, Heidi, Amelia and Amy would be nice too or Lana

with the middle names it depends which first name you pick - I only like Nicole for the girls, but you could use Michelle, Michaela, Kyla, Kylie, Nicola or even Heidi for boys Michael, then Malcolm then Hunter or you could use Kyle or Nicolas

January 4, 2018 5:15 PM

I know it's fairly far off if you're just now considering ttc #1 but you might think a bit about sibsets and if any of your names would rule out any of the others. I actually think most of the names you listed would be fine in any combination, and it's obviously a very subjective thing but as an example I would find Lane and Leah too similar for siblings so if Leah is your absolute favourite girl name and your first child is a boy I wouldn't use Lane (and vice versa). The only other thing I'd consider is that Noa is likely to often be misheard for/confused with the name Noah, which is currently very high in the charts for boys (assuming you're in the US). That's not a reason to remove it from your shortlist but I do think you should consider if you like the name enough to deal with, and make a potential daughter deal with, having to correct people. 

Your name style seems to be fairly traditional and I'm guessing you prefer shorter names (as from your list only Emily is more than two syllables). Other suggestions that might suit you:

Boys- Logan, Evan, Eli, Josh, Ethan, Alex, Joel, Max, Sam, Owen, Zach/Zack, Theo, Ryan, Luke

Girls- Megan, Julia, Tessa, Hannah, Chloe, Erin, Elise, Zoe, Maeve, Lana, Anya, Mara, Beth

January 5, 2018 9:36 AM

You‘ve made some great points. Thank you! We’ve definitely considered the sibset thing, and would definitely not want to use Lane and Leah together. If we decided to use one, the other would absolutrly be removed from our list. Ben and Nathan seem to by far top our list for boys anyway. I just wanted to include other alternatives we’ve considered to give more of an idea of names we like.

I know that Noa is far less traditional than other names we like and might seem a little unusual to some for a girl, but it is actually high on our list and is one of those names that just felt right to us when we first came across it. It sounds more feminine than masculine to us, regardless of its similarity to the name Noah. It also fits into a biblical theme with Ben, Nathan, and Leah, since Noa was the name of a daughter of Zelophehad in the Bible. For those reasons, it has remained on our list over the years, but we have and will continue to keep in mind considering other alternatives to prevent the headache of having to correct people all the time.

For girls, Leah, Noa, and Maren tend to always top our list, but all three have been fairly difficult to find middle name combos we like with them. Especially since we would like to use family names as middle names, as much as possible.

As for our more traditional, short name style, I think you hit the nail on the head, with the exception of Emily, which my husband just does not like any of the shorter forms of. We are a Michael and a Nicole who have both always gone by Mike and Niki/Nik. That fact probably makes us much less interested in using the longer versions of names that others might prefer, like Nathaniel and Benjamin from the above posters comment. We tend to like shorter names that are able to stand alone without seeming too nicknamey. To us, it seems a little silly to use a longer version of a name, if you never really intend to use it. I couldn’t ever imagine wanting to switch to being called Nicole now, after being called Niki for 32 years, and I think my husband feels the same after 36. So rather than giving longer names that they’d have to correct to their preferred nickname the way we’ve always had to, we intend to just use the names be plan to actually use. To each their own though. 

Thank you for the insight and suggestions! Would love to hear some suggestion on first and middle name combos, if anyone has any. We always seem to get stuck in this department.

January 5, 2018 1:11 PM

YOU may never intend to use the full form of your name, but that doesn't mean your child will be of the same opinion. Many people get rid of their cutesy nicknames when they enter professional life. For example, my parents called my sister and me Suzi and Mimi. As soon as she entered university, my sister became Suzanne exclusively. I still use Mimi with family and friends,  but professionally I am Miriam. Who wants to be a professional French poodle? My mother also got rid of her cutesy nickname when she married and moved to a new community.

It's your assumption that your child will have to correct their full name to the preferred nickname, but it ain't necessarily so.

January 5, 2018 4:17 PM

I agree,  I like the option of having the longer name on the birth certificate,  even if everyday you use the shorter names

January 5, 2018 5:37 PM

In fairness to the OP most of the names she's considering are not as nickname-y as Mimi or even Suzi. I doubt most people would find Nathan, Emma, Kate or Ben unprofessional. Possibly my opinion is being coloured by the fact that I'm in the UK where it's far more common to have the 'short' name be the only name than it is in the US (where the majority opinion seems to be that you need a "full" name for the child to fall back on) but I don't think it matters if you don't give your child the option of a longer name. 

January 5, 2018 5:40 PM

what are the family names then we can work with the first name for middles ?


Ben Michael or Ben Nicolas, Malcolm, Hunter

Nathan Michael or Nathan Cole (from Nicole), Malcolm, Junter, Kyle

Leah Nicole, Leah Michelle, Michaela, Nicola, Heidi, Kylie

Noa Michelle, Michaela

other short Bible names Anna, Mary, Phoebe, Ada, Esther, Chloe, Eve, Hannah, Mara, Rachel, Sarah, Zara, Ruth, Tirzah, Carmel, Tamar

Andrew, Jude, Peter, Paul, Seth, Saul, Mark, Luke, Silas, Simon, Thomas, John, James, Matthew, Stephen, Philip, Aaron, Adam, Daniel, Jacob, Jesse, Jared, Micah, Jonah, Reuben, Cain, Asher, Caleb, Ethan, Joel, Levi, Ezra, Felix, Isaac, Jadon, Jason, Joash, Jethro, Kenan, Rufus, Zaccai, Zion

January 5, 2018 5:39 PM

Noa doesn't strike me as un-traditional so much as European. I don't think it's unusable at all, just something that's worth thinking about but if you have loved the name for years I certainly wouldn't eliminate it.

As far as middle name combos go I wouldn't worry too much about the flow, especially if you're wanting to use family middles, because middle names are very rarely used and I think meaning trumps overall sound. I actually think Ileen works fine with Leah, Noa and Maren and Hiday would also go well with them, although I'd consider changing the spelling to Heidi. You could also think about changing Kyler to Kyla or Michael to Michelle/Michaela for more girls' middle options. I noticed most of your middle options are surnames, are there any more first names from family members you like?

January 5, 2018 10:48 PM

I went to school with a "just Kate", and she hated not having a full name; I think she subconsciously felt belittled, as if her parents couldn't even be bothered to give her a proper name. On the other hand, I know a "just Jack", and he doesn't seem to care that it's originally a nickname. I don't know how much of the difference is due to the specifics of the names, how much is gender-related, and how much is personality and family politics. I think this is one of those things that you simply can't predict, because you don't know your baby's personality ahead of time. However, if you go with Ben or Jack or Kate, you _can_ predict that there will always be people who make assumptions, and people who ask, with varying degrees of politeness. Your reaction in such situations will influence how your child feels about having a nickname-name.

With a surname as common as Adams, it's useful if one or the other of the given and middle names is fairly distinctive. I think Hiday and Ileen in the middle would work admirably for this purpose, and they can be paired with any of your given name choices. (Middle names are rarely used in everyday life, so "flow" between first and middle should only come into consideration as a tie-breaker.)


January 6, 2018 10:39 AM

As one of the "just Kate"s out there,  I love having a simple straight foward name rather than any of the long versions that no one goes by. I get asked occasionally if it is short for something, but it doesn't bother me and it's not a very frequent question.

January 6, 2018 6:10 PM

I'd say I've met only a tiny handful of adults with a short-form name who really regret it, and virtually all of those have a very nicknamey, juvenile-feeling name (think Bobbi, or Kitty instead of Kate). I've met rather more folks who either wish their nickname was their legal name, like the OP and spouse, or who have a short form and are glad/fine with it. My own brother falls into this latter category, though his name is also a traditional stand-alone name—think John in the era of Jonathans—and my own name is technically in this category, though most folks nowadays don't automatically think "nickname for Margaret" when they hear "Megan". I also have a cousin who's "just Alex", not Alexander, a colleague who's "Greg, not Gregory", know a few "Pat, not Patricia/Patrick"s, etc.

Overall, I'd avoid naming a child something like Mitty or Bobo or Champ or Teddy-Bug, preferring a long form for those kinds of nicknames, but I think Nathan or even Nate or Nat on the birth certificate in lieu of Nathaniel is not going to be any cause for trauma or regret.

January 6, 2018 8:28 PM

Nathan is its own name, not a nickname for Nathaniel, although some Nathaniels may use it as such. Nat/Nate would be the traditional nicknames. Just as Dan is its own name (the progenitor of one of the twelve tribes),seperate from Daniel in the lion's den, and Eli and Elijah are two different biblical figures.

February 3, 2018 11:23 AM

My husband and I are considering adding Graham to our short list of boy names. Husband still says he likes Lane and Nathan for boys as well, but Graham has quickly risen to the top of our boy list. We both seem to be in agreement that we like Maren best for a girl, but have really struggled with finding a good middle name for it. Any suggestions for middle names and sibling names of either gender to go with Graham Adams and/or Maren Adams? We’ve really been loving literary names like Graham Greene, Harper Lee, and Jack London lately.  Thanks in advance.

February 3, 2018 11:33 AM

The Graham I know (of) (in England) has brothers Hugh, Stuart (or Stewart, never saw it written) and Keith. (One of them is actually a step-brother, but I haven't a clue which one.) (Husband's niece is married to Hugh.)

Feminine names offered by the Name Matchmaker for those brothers include Deirdre, Glynis, Eileen, Teresa, Cecily, Laura. Interestingly, there's no overlap with the first page of suggestions based on your short list; for the latter, it offers names like Emily, Hannah, Claire, Lauren, Jordan, Morgan.

As has been said many times on this forum, the best middle names have some sort of significance to the bestowers. Are there any people or concepts you'd like to honor?

February 3, 2018 5:19 PM

Graham mn Christopher, William, Edgar, Edward, Elliott, Emerson, Ernest, Alfred ,Tennyson, Allan, Arthur, Conan, Doyle, George, Bernard, Bryon, Lewis, Daniel, Ezra. Marlow, Geoffrey, Chaucer, Lee, Harper, Melville, Victor, Hugo, Isaac, Jack, Jacob, John, Milton, Joseph, Conrad, Jules, Lawrence, Robert, Louis, Luke, Mark, Tom, Sawyer, Samuel, Milton, Nathaniel, Noel, Ogden, Oscar, Percival, Ray, Ralph, Roald, Philip, Sidney, Stephen, Sinclair, Taylor, Zane


Maren Harper, Agatha, Christie, Amanda, Anne, Astrid, Ayla, Jean, Beatrice, Beatrix, Jane, Charlotte, Colette, Corinna, Corinne, Dana, Dorinda, Miranda, Dorothy, Elmira, Emerson, Emily, Evelina, Fiona, Gertrude, Guinevere, Harriet, Helen, Juliana, Kim, Laura, Lorna, Lucasta, Malvina, Margaret, Mary, Mavis, Marie, Meredith, Nelida, Nydia, Ophelia, Orinda, Pamela, Ronja, Sandra, Shelley, Sidney, Stella, Tahirah, Taylor, Thelma, Vanessa, Wanda, Wendy, Zola, Zona

February 5, 2018 1:18 AM

Of your list, I love and adore Maren.  Well done!  I'm puzzled by your comment that it doesn't go with your list of middle names?  Maren flows beautifully with Nicole, Hunter, Kyler, etc.  I'm puzzled as to the problem.  I am also a big fan of standalone Kate!

I agree that Noa is too much the boy name Noah.  Might you consider Nora as an alternative?

Bennett is another way to get to the nickname Ben...

February 6, 2018 9:26 PM

Thank you for all the advice and opinions.