I'm looking for thoughts on the girl's name Melrose.

I really love it but fear it's a bit too unusual/"out there." Recently I lost someone very special named Melvin and love the idea of Melrose as an honor to him.

I've tried to think of detractors, but I don't know that any of them are deal breakers for us:

Melrose Place -- I don't think her generation would think of that

Melrose Avenue -- We do not live anywhere near there so I doubt that would be top of mind

It's a surname -- I know many people on this board do not favor surnames as first names, but I am not bothered by this one. I actually like a few other surnames as first names. So perhaps I'm asking the opinions of the wrong group ;) I also have never met anyone with this surname before.

My husband and I like girl's names that are not overly dainty/feminine/flowery. That doesn't mean we like names that are overtly masculine, but in general we gravitate towards names like Reese, Sloane, Blair, and even Collins over names like Evangeline, Gabriella, or Seraphina (these are lovely names, I just have a hard time picturing them on a child of mine). We do want to steer clear of names that are too trendy and names that have a "made up" vibe. And we prefer names that are relatively easy to spell and pronounce.

Because Melrose is unique as a first name does it give off a "made up" vibe? Or does it seem to fit in with the criteria above? To me, it's definitely not overly feminine but I think the "rose" keeps it from being incredibly masculine. Am curious if others agree/disagree. Are there other things I should be considering? While I am confortable with the fact that a name will not please everyone (or even most people), if this is a widely despised choice we would certainly reconsider as we wouldn't want to saddle our daughter with something universally negative.

Would love your thoughts and perceptions of this name.




November 14, 2015 1:27 PM

Hi there! Well, I really appreciate how well thought out your ideas on the name are, because it is true many of us do not like made up names/last names. This certianly is not a made up name, since it is a real place name etc. 

It'ts not my favorite and I go back always to take people away to using names that have never been used before or are made up.  I think because it is a place name and has the feminine Rose in it, I would ok this for you as a solid middle name, with 'regular' first name.

I would not use this as a first name ever or support that.

November 14, 2015 1:45 PM

Thanks for your input!

I have thought about it in the middle name spot. It would seem to be a less 'unusual' choice since surnames in the middle name spot are not uncommon.

My only hesitation that I think a less feminine first name belongs with a more feminine or classic female middle name. And most of the other first names we both love are less feminine, so I like them better paired with names like Elizabeth, Victoria, Mary, Jane, Catherine, etc.

November 14, 2015 1:32 PM

Overall I like it a lot. I really love inter-gender honor names, and I think Melrose is a fantastic way to honor Melvin.

Several years ago there was a contestant on Americas Next Top Model who went by Melrose, which was a contraction of Melissa Rose. That's my first association with the name--and I'm from Los Angeles!

Its girlier than the other names you favor, but not to the point of being frilly.

November 14, 2015 1:58 PM

Thanks for commenting! I wasn't sure if I'd have anyone in the "love it" camp :)

I do remember Melrose from America's Next Top Model! That's probably a pretty neutral association, right?

November 14, 2015 2:13 PM

Definitely neutral. And it's been plenty long enough that it wont look like you're naming the baby after her. The fact that you also remember her from the show is a positive for the name: the show was on 9 years ago and we still remember. It's a distinctive name, but it's not weird. That's hard to find.

November 14, 2015 2:48 PM

I can't believe that was nine years ago!

Glad to know you find it distinctive but not weird. I feel the same way!

November 14, 2015 1:53 PM

Melrose does strike me as easy to spell and pronounce. It is neither dainty nor masculine to my ear. I also doesn't seem made up. So in those particulars it does seem to fit your criteria. However, I am one of those who doesn't tend to like surnames as first names so I'm hesitant to fully endorse it.

November 14, 2015 2:18 PM

This is helpful feedback, thank you.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you think it is about surnames as first names that is offputting to you? Is it that they don't have favorable meanings like given names often do? Do they seem to be trying to hard to be different? Do they have a snooty vibe to you? Or do they sound tacky? Since I like some surnamey names as first names I have no perspective on why someone dislikes them. If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to know more about why these are disliked by some as I like making informed decisions. (It won't hurt my feelings, promise :) )

November 14, 2015 2:33 PM

Hmm, I've never given it a whole lot of thought before. I think it's a style thing mostly. I really don't care much at all about name meanings, and I don't think that using a surname as first is always snooty or trying to hard or anything really. I think it's just that it sounds wrong to my ear. Like someone choosing a word name that doesn't sound name-like to me. For instance Ruby is clearly in first name territory but something like Canyon will have me raising my eyebrows (internally of course). I don't think I would have a negative reaction to an individual based on them having a surname-as-first, and it is a common enough trend that others probably won't either. The largest downside I see (apart from my entirely personal and internal reaction, which matters not at all) is the potential for the kid sounding like a law firm. My step brother had three surnames as first, middle, last and it really did sound that way.

For the record I feel this way about names like Hilary and Lindsay too, that were surnames and then used for boys and eventually used for girls. I'm more familiar with them as first names obviously but I do still think it sounds a bit odd.

November 14, 2015 2:58 PM

Thanks for this! I hadn't considered the law firm effect, but that's an interesting point.

In this case, a feminine / classic middle name could prevent this, but that is something that may be harder to avoid with boys names as even traditional first/middle names like William(s), Edward(s), Henry, and James can be last names and wouldn't necessarily succeed in breaking up the law firm sound. For example, Walker James Blackburn (not my last name) tiptoes into law firm territory even though a classic first/middle name is used.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

November 14, 2015 7:58 PM

I think an easy nickname can help mitigate the law firm effect. My step brother's name was something along the lines of Bennet Jameson Clark*, and he went exclusively by Ben in daily life. Ben Clark is not so bad. 

I hope you understand that while my personal preferences mean that I wouldn't use Melrose as a first name, I don't think there's any real reason that you shouldn't. How boring it would be if everyone agreed! Though if you decide against it I will happily suggest other names to honor Melvin.

*middle and last names changed for his privacy.

November 14, 2015 9:56 PM

I do have a hard time hearing Melrose as a person name, but I can remember when Melrose Place was on the air and I lived in LA for a decade, so it's pretty firmly a place name for me. On a person, it kind of feels like Topanga or Pico or Grapevine, but for the majority of folks who haven't lived in LA it probably wouldn't.

I don't actually mind surnames-as-firsts, so that aspect doesn't bother me.

Melrose does feel much more like a male-leaning unisex name than a genuinely non-gendered name to me, I think because of the parallel to Ambrose combined with the fairly masculine-feeling Mel (which to me is diluted in names like Melissa and Melina and the like, but somehow not here). For some reason the -rose element doesn't alter that for me. It sounds like you might prefer that, though, so I wouldn't call it a negative.

By mk
November 14, 2015 11:25 PM

Melrose is a town near me, so I think of that. If you lived near here I would probably wonder why you chose that town for her name, but that's about it. It is a place name, no different than any other place name as first name, really.

I am not bothered about the idea of "making up" names. All names were made-up at one point. No reason for us to stop doing it now.

November 15, 2015 1:18 AM

I like Melrose! It's not a name that I would use myself, but the sort of name I'd be very pleased to encounter on someone else's child, if that makes sense. It is a placename/surname which contracts down to not just one but two traditional feminine names as nicknames, and that is the stuff of which current name trends are made... and this particular example is somehow still refreshingly underutilized, so I think it would be a name that most people would react very pleasantly to on a baby/child/person out in the world.

I'm also surprised to find that it's also been steadily used as a given name for girls in the SSA data since the turn of the last century - really, what surprises me more is that it's not more frequently used, especially now. I think that it sounds like a Melissa-Rose mashup diminishes how much I think of Melrose Place, and I think that your daughter would very quickly become the predominant association for the name. I think it's perfectly stylish sound-wise so it doesn't seem like a very big "risk" to me at all (especially compared to other names at this frequency of use). I especially like that it has more traditional nickname choices if your daughter ever desires a different vibe for her name (Rose or Rosie is about as sweetly traditional as you can get). I also like cross-gender namesakes in general, and that all makes me consider it far more favorably than most other surname- or placename-as-given names, which is admittedly not a genre that I generally get too enthusiastic about on the whole.


November 15, 2015 2:37 AM

I live near LA and lived in Hollywood years ago, so for me I make that association and I think many people will. That said, it is a pretty name and you can call her Mel or Rose for nn.  I also really like your other choices Blair and Sloan and don't think those are used enough. I'd say your taste leans preppy based on the few names listed. 

November 15, 2015 10:50 AM

To me, Melrose sounds feminine, but not at all frilly like your examples of Seraphina, Gabriella & Evangeline.  Because of my age, I do think of Melrose place.  I suspect you'll likely get comments from other adults, but I doubt her friends will know or care about the show.  If the initial comments you get won't bother you, I see know reason not to use it.

Generally, I am not a fan of surnames as firsts because it just seems odd.  I've seen my maiden name suggested online a few times as a first name and it always makes me cringe just a little bit.  Perhaps I'm overly attached to my maiden name, but my feelings make me wonder if other people dislike seeing their surnames used on random people with no connection to the name.  All that said, I was super excited when my cousin & his wife used my maiden name on their son.  So my personal preference is for surnames as firsts to have some connection to the family, but I realize I am in not in the majority on this.  Since I realize I'm in the minority on this, I generally don't think too much about it when I see a surname used as first, unless the name has other reasons to be offensive when used outside of a particular family or culture (Coen comes to mind here).  

I am also a huge fan of cross-gender namesakes and I think Melrose is a great tribute to a Melvin.  If you had asked for suggestions to honor a Melvin, I suspect we would have suggested things like Melinda, Melissa, Melisande, Melina, Melanie, etc.  However, those are clearly not your taste.  

November 15, 2015 12:29 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! While I love hearing that a few of you also like this name, the input of those that don't like it and why was extremely helpful. I appreciate knowing if it's simply a difference in styles (LTurtle said it best -- "how boring it would be if everyone agreed!") or if there are negative/strange associations -- in this case a mix of both.


November 16, 2015 11:49 PM

My reaction was that it is a masculine-sounding name. I couldn't figure out why until the name Patrick swam into my head. He's the protagonist of a trilogy by Edward St. Aubyn (great writer). That is unlikely to be most people's first association, and the 'rose' part of the name should tip most folks off to the fact that your baby is a girl. Go for it!

November 17, 2015 12:52 AM

I'm neutral on Melrose -- as a placename, it's not my style, but as an honor name, it gets a pass. I wouldn't have any gender assumptions about it: yes, Rose is feminine, but Ambrose is masculine.

My actual reason for posting is that I finally figured out the name I've been trying to think of as a way to honor Melvin: Malvin(a). The Hungarian baby name book says Malwin (masc.) / Malwine (fem.) is a German name derived from Germanic Madalwine 'court' + 'friend', but none of the English sources repeat this; instead, they say Malvina is an 18th century literary invention, probably intended as Gaelic. Either way, it's a rare name, especially nowadays, but with at least a century or two of history behind it.

(Another thought, likely irrelevant to you, is the Hungarian flower- and color-name Mályva, pronounced basically /MY-vah/, meaning 'mauve' and 'mallow, hollyhock'.)

November 17, 2015 1:05 AM

Brings to mind Malvina Reynolds whose songs were very much a part of the social movements of the Sixties.

November 17, 2015 8:45 AM

That's interesting! I went to school with an African-American Malvina, born in the late 60s. I wonder if her parents were influenced by the singer.

November 17, 2015 11:05 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.  Ms. Reynolds was an important figure in the social movements of the Sixties.  She was a significant voice of the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement and the farm workers' movement.  Her most famous song is probably Little Boxes ("made ot ticky-tacky") first sung by Pete Seeger and later the theme song on the tv show Weeds.

November 17, 2015 2:03 AM

I think of the show and of the place. 

It's the kind of name I could imagine someone like Gwen Stefani using if she had a girl. 

It also reminds me of Marlow (this spelling), Harlow, Harper, and so forth. 

While it's not my personal style, I think it's a cool way to honor a Melvin, and I think it will fit right in with other names currently in style. 

I'm not personally a fan of Mel, but Melly would be a cute nn, if you want one. 


November 17, 2015 9:54 AM

I kind of like Melrose, although it's not really my style. sound-wise I think it fits right in and is no stranger as a place name than other really popular names like London or Brooklyn. I think of it as a much less common Madison alternative. 

November 20, 2015 3:32 PM

I very nearly named my daughter Melrose, after a place that's important to me (not Melrose Place).  But in the end we went with Mel@nie R0se to avoid the difficulty she might have with an unusual name.  

If I met an actual Melrose I'd probably be quite happy and a little bit jealous too :)