Is this the one perfect name, or a huge mistake?

Hi all! My sister and I are name nerds, and I'm posting this dilemma on her behalf. She posed the same question elsewhere, but I really value all of your thoughts; they're always very insightful.

My sister and her husband have styles that are worlds apart. She likes "old man names", preferably with cute nicknames (Gerald/Jerry, Henry/Hank, Francis/Frankie, Carl, Dean, Russel/Russ, Charles/Chaz). She really wants to use Francis Xavier, in honor of our grandfather, but her husband really dislikes Francis/Frankie. However, he does like Xavier. His other favorites: Cassius, Octavius, Casimir/"Caz", Axel. My sister does not like his choices, to put it mildly.

There is one name they both agree on: Thomas/Tommy. She has always loved it, and her husband really likes it too. It's also a family name with very positive associations.

Here's the catch: they have a 2-year-old son named Jerry (Ger@ld J0seph)

Do you think they can use Tommy? Normally, I'd agree with the majority of people she's polled so far, and say absolutely not. However, I'm coming around to it... they've had such a tough time agreeing so far; Tommy "goes" with Jerry stylistically; and it seems silly to rule out a name based on something that might only be an issue for the relatively short period of their lives when the kids are always together. She wants 4 kids, and realizes it'd be better to wait and maybe use the name for a 3rd or 4th, but obviously there's no guarantee. My sister is a pretty confident, laid-back person, and I think she could deal with the comments. I just wouldn't want everyone to be secretly judging her, or laughing at the kids, and I think that's basically how she feels, too.

So what to y'all think? If it's a resounding no, do you have any suggestions that might suit both their styles? One name they also like is Henry/Hank. However, she's hesitant to use it, in case her husband ever comes around to Frankie (since they rhyme).

Really appreciate your honest opinions and unbiased perspectives, and I promise to post an update - she's due in early April, so it'll be soon!


March 9, 2019 5:16 PM

I should add, if you’re reading this and don’t even see the potential issue - great! Please let me know! I purposely didn’t say it outright, just as a little experiment to see if maybe no one would recognize it, making it a non-issue. But I have a feeling when the names are said out loud it’s different... thanks in advance!

March 9, 2019 6:01 PM

It did take me a second to realise the issue, reading it, but I think hearing the names said it would be much more apparent. However, I don't know if it would be an issue for her kids' generation - I certainly get the reference, but my kids wouldn't.

In this case, if they absolutely can't agree on another name, and can live with the potential comments, then it's not a huge problem.

But if they do agree on Henry/Hank, maybe that's a better option - they can always save Thomas for a future son - and if they happen to have a 4th, I don't think Hank and Frankie is a deal-breaker necessarily.

March 11, 2019 12:08 PM

I agree, I think you can't help but notice when you hear them aloud. Thanks for the input - good to know you wouldn't necessarily consider Hank and Frankie a deal-breaker. I'm glad that either way, the kid will have a formal name to fall back on.

March 9, 2019 6:07 PM

I guess my question is...actually I think I have a couple of questions.

Are they planning on having more than two kids?  I think if it was just the two I'd notice it but if there were ultimately several children, particularly if there was one between Jerry and Tommy, I'm not sure I'd make the connection at all.

Also, would Henry HAVE to be Hank?  I've personally never gotten how we get from one to the other and Henry is just fine on its own.  That would influence me as well if she really thinks she can get her husband to warm to Francis.

March 11, 2019 12:11 PM

Hah, yes - she wants 4 kids! And she definitely realizes it'd be ideal to use the name for the 3rd or 4th instead. Maybe that's the smart move here. And I'm not sure either how Hank came out of Henry in the first place! I agree, it's a nice name on its own - it seems to be rising a lot in popularity.

March 9, 2019 6:54 PM

There's a high chance of Tommy becoming Tom at some point.  Jerry and Tom is not great!  I guess it's not the end of the world if Gerald and Thomas is what they come down to, though.  There have certainly been worse pairings.


Some ideas - Albert, Walter, Lawrence, Arthur, Franklin, Dennis, Clifford, Gilbert, Roland, Otis, Bernard, Cecil, Oscar.

March 11, 2019 12:17 PM

These are great suggestions - thanks so much! She has definitely considered Clifford. My mom said the association with Cliff from Cheers is too strong, but I doubt everyone would think of that. And just today, she asked me what I think of Walter/Walt. Seems like you nailed her taste with these - this will be helpful!

March 9, 2019 7:59 PM

I thought of it straight away,  Gerald and Thomas is ok though.   Tommy and Jerry is not too bad.  Henry is good, even Gerald and Harry. Dont really like Frank or Hank

March 11, 2019 12:19 PM

Thanks for the input - I know Frank and Hank are definitelyi not most people's cup of tea, and it's almost funny to think of these names on a baby today. I think Gerald will always be Jerry, so it's definitely something to consider. Thanks!

March 9, 2019 9:22 PM

I thought of Tom and Jerry right away. That would be a dealbreaker for me.

Xavier is the other name they both agree on, right? I'd go with that one. Xavier Thomas.

Also, I don't think their styles are as worlds apart as they think they are! She likes Chaz, he likes Caz...

Some other names they might both like:



















March 11, 2019 12:27 PM

Wow, I think you're really on to something - so many of these names definitely hit the sweet spot of both their tastes! I will definitely be sharing this list with her. I know they've actually considered some of these, and had to rule them out for various reasons... but Calvin/Cal is the one I've been pushing for all along! And yeah, it seems like Xavier should be the easy choice, but I think it's a bit too "out there" as a first name for my sister's taste. Thank you so much; I think they'll like several of these suggestions!

March 9, 2019 9:32 PM

I wouldn't do it, but I have so many names that I love that it would be easy to move onto another choice. I don't think it's an awful pairing, although the connection will be obvious to almost all of their peers' parents. Each name is perfectly respectable in its own right; it's just the combination that is problematic. I think if they do it, they should just embrace the theme and use the cartoon in their decorating.

March 11, 2019 12:30 PM

Haha, a Tom & Jerry themed bedroom - Perfect. I agree; their peers will definitely make the connection. And as much of a name nerd as she is, it's funny how when it comes to your own child, it's so much harder. Thanks for the input!

March 11, 2019 5:05 PM

I agree with Elizabeth!

March 10, 2019 1:39 PM

I couldn't do it myself but if they're willing to adopt a very cheerful, laid back attitude I don't think it's the worst thing in the world. For me it helps that Jerry is older and they're not aiming to use Tom (although it's very possible that he would end up being Tom with friends or colleagues it's at home/with family where they will most often be referred to as a set and it shouldn't be a big problem to get family members to stick to Tommy or Thomas). 

When you say that her husband does not like Francis/Frankie is it both names he dislikes or just one? Because she could compromise on a slightly different long or short version if it's only one he objects to. 

I do think it would probably be better to go with Henry for this little one, and if they end up with a third boy then there will be a buffer between Jerry and Tommy. I actually don't think Hank and Frankie would be a problem as nicknames; they don't rhyme because of Frankie having the extra -ee sound (Jerry, Hank and Frank is too close but Jerry, Hank and Frankie is fine I think; and if it takes until number 4 Jerry, Hank, Tommy/girls name and Frankie no problem at all). 

March 11, 2019 5:58 AM

I agree with this, and add, could Henry be Harry or Hal instead of Hank? This would avoid any problems with Frankie in the future.

I know a family who named their sons Oscar and Felix, which isn't quite as bad, but still...

March 11, 2019 10:11 AM

Oh yes I meant to say that she could use a different nickname for Henry. I like Harry but think Hal fits a bit better with her cute-but-old-man vibe. 

I will confess I didn't know the reference for Oscar and Felix, I had to google it. That is definitely not as bad as it isn't a reference that would ever occur to their friends as children (or likely even as teenagers/young adults). 

March 11, 2019 12:37 PM

Ooh, I like Hal! It's close to Cal, which is what I've been pushing for from the start. And it seems to be her style. Thanks!

March 11, 2019 12:36 PM

Thanks! That's helpful! And I definitely know what you mean about Tommy/Tom - almost every Tommy I've ever known ends up becoming Tom by high school. And I think her husband dislikes both Francis and Frankie; otherwise, you're right - that would be a good idea for a compromise. Also good to know you don't think Hank and Frankie would be terrible; she probably won't do it, but just in case. I have a feeling shes' leaning toward waiting until #3 or 4 anyway.

March 11, 2019 11:25 AM

Just as a test, I asked one of my teenagers what they would think of brothers named Jerry and Thomas:

Teen: It's fine.

Me: You don't see any issue?

Teen: No, it's funny.

Me: Funny?

Teen: Yes, either they're super fans or they're clueless.

Based on this very small sample, I'd say that the reference isn't completely obscure. This is also the same kid who didn't believe me that Jim was a nickname for James, so I don't know how much using the full name or nickname Tommy is going to help. That said, I'm pretty sure my kid genuinely meant "they're fine" and not "you can't do that to your children." Name teasing does not seem to be an issue any more, at least in my kids' naming environment where there's no such thing as a "normal" name, so while the connection might be noted it wouldn't be commented on.

March 11, 2019 12:42 PM

Hah, this was helpful - thanks for asking your kid! It's really nice to hear that name teasing isn't as much of an issue these days. That's funny about James/Jim - for the longest time, I didn't know that Hank was a nickname for Henry! I think the best case scenario if they use Thomas is they can just own it and hopefully laugh *with* people about it. 

March 11, 2019 4:28 PM

Fun little tidbit - Hank actually originated from John, not Henry.

March 14, 2019 11:12 PM

Henry is cute-personally I’d use just Henry, not Hank, but I’m not really a nickname person. I think that Frankie would eventually become Frank, as Tommy would become Tom. I didn’t immediately think of the association, but once I did, it’s hard not to think of it, unless maybe Thomas was only called Thomas. 

Also, I‘ve seen Harry mentioned as a suggestion, which is a cute name or nicknsme, but I wouldn‘t choose Harry for A brother to Jerry. 

April 10, 2019 3:50 PM

Hi all - just wanted to thank you all again for your great suggestions and give an update! My sister and her husband have an adorable new baby Frankie (Francis Xavier). He looked so much like an old man when he was born that her husband actually suggested the name, becuase of his resemblance to our grandfather. Apparently he doesn't dislike the name itself - it was just an association that he can easily get past. So everyone is healthy and happy! Thanks again!

April 10, 2019 5:30 PM

Oh that is great, thanks for the update

April 10, 2019 9:47 PM

Congratulations, auntie! Francis Xavier sounds so distinguished. I love it.

April 11, 2019 6:17 PM

Thanks for the update! Francis Xavier is a great name, I'm glad your brother in law was able to get past his association and everyone is happy. 

Funnily enough I knew a man named Francis Xavier once and he went by his initials as a nickname (F.X.) but he was French so it was the French names for the letters which run together sounds like Effiks. I always though they were fun initials though, especially if he happens to get into computers/design.