Opinions of Enid?

We've been looking at girl names and both husband and I really like the name Enid, but before we could commit ran some google searches and it seems that we're the only ones. I want to give my daughter a name we love, but I also don't want to give her a name she'll get relentlessly teased for or hate herself. So please, honest opinions on Enid - is it old-fashioned but chic and spunky, or just frumpy? (FWIW, middle name would probably be Ethel, for her great grandmother).  

Replies

1
July 10, 2017 3:20 PM

I think that the usability of Enid has a lot to do with where you live. Are little girls in your area named Ava, Sophia, and Olivia? Eloise, Elizabeth, Charlotte? Brinley, Kaylynn, and Emerson? Or do you live in a more adventurous name environment where you may meet any of the above names playing with a little Eulalia, Harriet, or Wilhelmina?

Would I like my name to be Enid Ethel? Honestly, no, I wouldn't. The two names are too similar in fusty musty style that it wouldn't give your daughter any flexibility if she later in life decided that Enid didn't feel right to her. I'm all for adventurous naming and fully encourage using historical names that are not my personal style because that's what keeps things interesting, but i do feel like this combination is too much, despite sounding pretty good together. 

But again, if you live somewhere with a decent amount of name variety and a general openness to people being different, your daughter might never be made to feel self-conscious about her name. It's a tough one.

Are there any other names that you both like and are considering? 

2
July 10, 2017 5:23 PM

I agree.  I think Enid could work with little friends Eulalia, Harriet & Wilhelmina, but probably not so much in the other groupings.  Enid does make me think of Edith, and with the cute nickname Edie, Edith seems more wearable to me for a little one these days.

I also agree that Enid Ethel is a bit much.  Even if one or both names were more trendy, I'm not sure I'd be on board with this particlar combination.

 

3
July 10, 2017 5:51 PM

I confess I do like Edith/Edie more than Enid, although again I'm not saying you should abandon Enid if that's the name you love. I also wonder if you would consider using Ethel in the first name spot as you obviously like it and it's a very similar style to Enid? That would free you to use something different as a middle and would also give your daughter Elle/Ellie as a nickname possibility. 

4
By cj34
July 10, 2017 7:39 PM

I don't love Ethel (for no real reason, really), but she was my husband's grandmother who he was really close to and he was pushing for it as a first name, so middle is the compromise. That makes it a little tricky because a lot of the names we like are this old-fashioned style (Agnes, Blythe, and Maud are some other favorites). 

5
By cj34
July 10, 2017 7:45 PM

We live in a neighborhood where I can think of about 4 Eleanors, 2 Arlos, and an Edith (which was my original favorite, but I'm worried it's on a trendy streak, plus Edith Ethel is kind of a mouthful), so don't think Enid is totally out of place, though I do have some feeling it's not trending for a reason. Thanks for the feedback! I may try to renegotiate Ethel...

6
July 11, 2017 4:21 AM

I disagree- but I definitely live in Beulah, Eulalia, Wilhelmina territory. I find Enid much lighter and sleeker than those formidable stately ladies, more like Edith and Mabel and Hazel , all of which have lost their diner waitress association where I live thanks to bring well revived on babies.

Ultimately I would put Enid into the "why not" category of names, as in names which surprise at first but you then think, "of course, why not Enid? What a sweet name!"

i see no reason not to yuse it with a meaningful middle name even if it is more of a porch sitting style. I went full on into the porch sitter section for the name of my youngest and it has been surprisingly well received.

i do find Enid Ethyl hard to say and as a parent enjoy pairing first and middle for emphasis, but this is definitely a situation where mileage varies.

7
By cj34
July 10, 2017 8:07 PM

Sorry, missed this in my other reply, but other names we like:

Maud

Blythe

Agnes

Lilith (shelved because people kept talking about a demon)

Gwen/Gwendolyn (I don't like Gwendolyn, he thinks Gwen is a nickname, we're at something of a standstill)

Winter, Ines, Florence, Phoebe I like, he doesn't

Winifrid, Beatrix, Thomasin, Sigrid he likes, I don't

8
July 10, 2017 8:40 PM

Have you considered Guinevere to get to Gwen?

 

Millicent, Francesca, Ramona, Imogen?

 

 

I do think Enid could work in a neighborhood of Arlos and Ediths.  However, as much as I can appreciate a musty old name, Enid just doesn't appeal to me and the combination Enid Ethel is really a bit much.

9
By cj34
July 11, 2017 2:03 PM

Imogen is nice! I'll have to add that one to my list. 

10
July 11, 2017 6:25 AM

I love Guinevere for Gwen (I also don't like Gwedolyn, it sounds clunky and heavy to me whereas Guinevere is light and flowing). Or there's Gweneth, although I think that's more Gwendolyn than Guinevere.

11
July 10, 2017 3:37 PM

There is also the Old French variant Enide, uh-NEED, which might sound less fusty. The Old French Erec and Enide is one of the earliest Arthurian romances. The later Welsh version is Geraint and Enid. 

Enid Ethel does sound a bit overmuch to me, but, as is often noted, middle names are seldom used and are often honor names where the honor trumps all other considerations.

12
By cj34
July 10, 2017 7:59 PM

Reading all these comments, I'm thinking Enid might work if we reexamine Ethel, particularly since, now that I think about it, we live in an area with lots of adventurous and vintage-y naming (I would say the two main groups are Eleanor/Henry type names and Sparrow/Rivers type), so Enid probably isn't too far out of the ordinary. 

I'll have to talk to my husband and see how committed to Ethel he is, since it is his grandmother and I don't want to put my foot down, but brainstorming some other family names I've got:

Sally

Rose

Afton (we've talked about this one multiple times since we both like the name, but the history there is a little bit loaded so we're lukewarm)

Miriam

Eleanor (too trendy)

Dorothy

Alice

Lynn

Michelle

Elise

Laura

Rachel

I expanded that list to include sisters, mothers, and other non-grandmother relatives since I suspect we might run into the overly fusty name issue with lots of our favorites even if we drop Enid. Unfortunately some of them are a bit bland for my taste, but I might be able to brainstorm some variants. If I'm asking him to drop his grandma from the name, I'd like to keep it something meaningful. 

13
July 10, 2017 8:04 PM

When I was growing up, our nextdoor neighbor lady was named Ethel Marie, always called Sue. So there's that. Go figure!

14
By mk
July 10, 2017 4:15 PM

I like Enid, mainly because of the character in Ghost World. I don't think of it as musty or frumpy at all, unlike other names in that style. Maybe because it was never all that popular?  I think it is fine with Ethel and the fact that Ethel is an honor name is more important anyway.

Classmates will just see it as her name.

15
July 10, 2017 4:57 PM

Enid would not be my choice, but that doesn't mean it's a bad name. I really doubt that your daughter would be teased for being named Enid, I think that there's such a variety of names being given to children now that the idea of names being a source of ridicule is far less prevalent than it once was; kids are just used to a range of names and spellings and take them in stride. Where you might get some comments is from people of your generation and older, but you will probably (hopefully) find these to be few and far between if you wait until your daughter is born to tell anyone her name because most people are too polite to say anything negative when faced with an actual baby, and in any case the comments are likely to be addressed to you and not her. It is impossible to know how your daughter will feel about any name that you give her, there is no way to guarentee that she will end up liking her name but I think you genuinely loving it and letting her know that is the best place to start from. :) I honestly would not worry about google search results, I would expect that most names outside of the top few hundred will have an overall negative opinion if you go searching because they are by definition less popular names and people love to be negative on the internet.

As for Enid Ethel I do think that is doubling down on the fusty old-lady vibe a little but I also agree with what Miriam said that middle names are hidden the majority of the time so if the family connection is important to you then go with it.

17
July 10, 2017 5:44 PM

I actually think Enid is quite cute, although I agree with previous commenters that Enid Ethel is a tad hefty.

My first association is an Internet-famous lifestyle blogger/illustrator I follow named Hannah Carpenter - she has a daughter named Enid, maybe 8 or 9. My second thought was the Despicable Me movie, but upon a quick google search I had the name wrong. The three little girls in that movie are Edith, Margot, and Agnes. Personally I don't see why Enid can't be included in the "vintage revivals" category too :)

18
July 10, 2017 5:57 PM

My first association was Enid Blyton. Which actually is probably colouring my feelings about the name a lot as my mum hated her books and refused to buy me and my sisters any of them when we were kids, or to read aloud the couple we got given as gifts.

I agree that it fits in fine with the 'vintage revivals' category, which is why I can't imagine it leading to teasing.

19
July 10, 2017 6:38 PM

I don't actually think that teasing would be an issue. I was more thinking of people's subtle reactions when you tell them your name. I have never had anyone comment one way or the other alt my name (aside from the odd comment on its spelling), but my daughter's name gets lots of positive feedback on her name, even when the topic is something unrelated to names, like signing her up for an activity at the library. But I can imagine that awkward moment of silence that follows when someone doesn't know how to respond. 

Oh, what a cutie? What's your name?

Enid.

*Pause* Oh... Is that a family name? (Or something of that ilk.)

 

Even if nobody days anything overly bad about the name, if she lives in a place that isn't open to variety, she may pick up on subtle reactions and learn to feel self- conscious. Which isn't fair and many people would be perfectly fine standing out, but some wouldn't and would appreciate having a middle name of a different style to fall back on. 

20
July 13, 2017 7:10 AM

Right!! Can't believe I forgot Enid Blyton. I read so many of her books as a child. 

21
July 10, 2017 7:30 PM

I absolutely love the name Enid and am thrilled to see somebody seriously considering it! Depending on the local naming environment, it may stick out, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I do think Enid Ethel is a little heavy-handed on the old-fashioned, clunky names, and I find it a little bit of a tongue twister, too. As others have said, though, middle names are  often hidden, not frequently said all together after the birth announcements are sent out, and a great place to use a meaningful honor name.

22
By cj34
July 10, 2017 8:13 PM

Good to see a fellow Enid lover, so thanks for the feedback! Like I said upthread, I'm trying to get my husband to reconsider Ethel, but if not, we might reexamine Enid instead - I posted some other ideas for both if that helps. 

23
July 11, 2017 7:16 PM

I love a lot of the other names you're considering, too. Agnes, Gwen- names, Winter, Beatrix, and Thomasina/Tamsin have long been among my favorites! I also like Maud, Florence, Winnifred, and Blythe. I'm just neutral to Ines, Phoebe, and Sigrid.

Some other Gwen- names include Gweneth/Gwyneth, Gwenevere/Guinevere, Gwyneira, and Gwenllian. Just a note that Gwenllian will be very difficult for non-Welsh speakers to pronounce correctly. The double l makes a sound that doesn't exist in English.

Instead of Florence, maybe Flora or Florette would appeal to you both? Also, Ingrid feels like a nice compromise between Enid and Sigrid to me.

I'm not sure if you want more suggestions, but some other names I like that might fit your style, too, are Marian, Moira, Cordelia, Meadow, Jamesina, Georgiana, Lavinia, Brigid, Clarice, Rowena, Millicent, Coralie, Henrietta, Adelaide, Louisa, Fay/Faye, Elspeth, Marjorie, Drucilla, Mabel, Mavis, Avis, Agatha, Opal, Eugenie/Eugenia, Leonie, and Claribel.

I think any of the family honor names you have listed would work fine with Enid. Enid Sally, Enid Alice, and Enid Miriam are my favorite combinations, but I would give more weight to the sentimental meaning of each possible honor name than I would to the sound and flow with the first name. Afton makes me think of the Robert Burns poem "Sweet Afton," which could be a pro or con for you. A few of the names I listed are variants of your honor name options, too, so, for instance, Marian or Moira could honor Miriam because they're all Mary variants.

The most important thing, though, is that you both love the name and it carries the meaning you want for your daughter. If you both love the name Enid and really feel like you want to honor great-grandma Ethel directly, then Enid Ethel is the name you should use.

24
July 10, 2017 9:27 PM

I do think Enid is perfectly usable, and so is Ethel, but the two together is just too much. 

If you have to stick to Ethel as the middle name, then I'd suggest a less frumpy first name: Cordelia, Augusta, Flora, Marguerite, Mathilda, Georgiana, Henrietta. These are mostly in the not-yet-revived-vintage category - the exceptions are Cordelia and Matilda (without the H), which have already taken their first few revived breaths.

If you can negotiate a different family name to go in the middle spot, I think any of the possibilities you listed (Sally, Rose, Afton, Miriam, Eleanor, Dorothy, Alice, Lynn, Michelle, Elise, Laura, Rachel) would work with Enid -- if it's a middle name, there's no need to worry about the trendiness of Eleanor or the mom-name nature of Michelle. In fact, for some reason I particularly like the combination of Enid Michelle. Note that Rose and Lynn can sound like filler middle names, but if they're actually family names for you, then by definition they're not filler.

Another possibility would be to use one of the family names in the first spot and Ethel in the middle: Sally, Rose, Eleanor, Dorothy, Alice, Lynn, Elise, Laura, Rachel, and even Michelle would all provide the needed contrast between first name and middle name. (Afton would go too far in the modern direction, I think, and Miriam is in the same category as Enid, Agnes, Blythe, and Maud: perfectly usable, but just Too Much combined with Ethel.)

25
July 11, 2017 2:08 AM

Whereas my impression of current naming style (at least in SE Pennsylvania and environs) is that Miriam would be fine with middle name Ethel, but Dorothy Ethel would be A Bit Much, and not just because of the repeated 'th'. This is despite (or because of?) knowing a young Dorothy but no young Miriams.

I would be pleasantly surprised but not shocked to meet a young Enid: it fits modern style with its simple sounds and short length, and its period of peak popularity (1910s) is prime Vintage Revival territory. I think the only reason it hasn't yet made it back onto the charts is that it was never all that common to begin with, so it's off the radar for most modern parents.

One idea: to honor an Ethel, you could use the related name Adele. (Ethel derives from an Old English word meaning 'noble'; Adele comes from its Old Germanic cognate.)

26
July 11, 2017 3:28 AM

If you love the name Enid, that that should be your daughter's name!  I agree that Enid Ethel's a bit of a tongue twister, but seriously nobody will ever use her middle name so flow doesn't matter so much.

All this said, how about Ingrid as an alternative to Enid?  Very similar in sound and feel, although Ingrid seems a bit more glamorous to me (Scandinavia, Ingrid Bergman, etc).  Ingrid Ethel seems less repetitive, probably because of the different first letter and additional consanant.

Similar to HungarianNameGeek's suggestion - are there variants of Ethel that would work in the middle name slot?  I wanted to middle-name my girl after my grandma but I simply didn't like the name.  I went with a variant of it I love - perfect compromise.   Are the names Estelle or Thelma related to Ethel?  Hmmm.  You could even go shazam with Ethereal, although I have to say that Ethel Ethereal sounds just plain silly to me.  But my point is to think outside the box, and creative springboard from Ethel.  You might be able to honor your Granny Ethel in a different way - does her maiden name lend itself to a girl name?  Where was she born?  What was her favorite flower?  That sort of thing..... Or if she is still alive, let HER choose the middle name (or at least the middle name short list).

27
By cj34
July 11, 2017 1:56 PM

This is interesting, I might have to consider that. Enid Adele is definitely much lighter and I actually quite like it. Thanks for the suggestion!

28
July 11, 2017 4:39 AM

I like Enid and if that's the name you love, I think you should go for it. I think that it's one of those names that sounds fusty because we're used to it sounding fusty, but that there is nothing intrinsically ugly about it. On a little girl, it will soon sound charming (I do know what Karyn is talking about, but I will counter that the people who meet who like Enid will probably be that much more ecstatic than the people who like more mainstream names like Eleanor.

In an ideal world, I wouldn't pair Enid and Ethel. However, I think the grandmother association is much more important than any mismatch. While middle names can add flexibility and options, I don't know very many people who have chosen to migrate to their middle name, even when they have issues with their first name. 

If you did go for one of the others though, I like Eleanor. Perhaps you could even do a double middle along the lines of Enid Thea Eleanor, getting a lot of the sounds of Ethel in without actually using the name.

29
July 11, 2017 6:17 AM

I know many people who go by their middle name, but in fairness they are all older than me, mostly of my parents or grandparents generations. I do agree that the significance of the name is more important than the fact that Ethel makes Enid more clunky so if there is no work-around that suits I'd say use it.

30
July 11, 2017 11:39 AM

My second-grader grandson's bestie goes by his middle name.

31
July 11, 2017 2:56 PM

I do know people who go by their middle names, of course. But I know far, far more people who dislike their first names in some way who have nonetheless not chosen to go by their middles. There are other ways out of a first name you are not keen on: nicknames: Deedee, Nee? Unrelated nicknames, initials, Surname, play on surname, changing your name, just dealing with your name.

I actually wanted to get rid of my name in high school (too popular), but my middle name, while in a different style, just didn't feel much like me. So I do think that a middle name with history and sentimental value is worth more than (maybe) hedging your bets against your child not liking their first name.

32
July 11, 2017 6:38 AM

Well it sounds like you have a good reason for Ethel, and I agree it's a reasonable compromise to have it in the middle spot. And truly middle name 'flow' is not a major issue. That said if there was a work-around that suited you and your husband I think it would be nice to lighten Enid up a little with the middle name. I think almost all the other family names you suggested would work well with it, my favourites are Eleanor (trendiness doesn't matter as a middle), Alice, Elise, Laura and Rachel. I also really like the suggestion of Adele, Enid Adele sounds lovely to me. Or if that is too hidden an association did Grandma Ethel have a middle name? Using that as your daughter's middle name would be another way to honour her.

I do think a little Enid would fit in fine with the names in your area. But your other names are good too, although I think Maud Ethel has the same problem as Enid, and while I like Blythe I find Blythe Ethel harder to say than Enid Ethel personally. I second the suggestion of using Guinevere rather than Gwendolyn to get Gwen as a nickname.

33
By cj34
July 11, 2017 2:02 PM

Ethel's middle name was Miriam, which could definitely be an option. Enid Miriam has better flow than Enid Ethel, but I can't decide how well I like it yet... 

As for the Guinevere/Gwendolyn thing, we've talked about that before. I like it better than Gwendolyn, but I think I would primarily call her Gwen, so I don't know if I love the spelling switch from Guin-Gwen (and I wouldn't want to just spell it Guin, since I pronounce that differently than I do the Gwen-sound in Gwendolyn... maybe it's normal, maybe I'm doing it wrong). I would be fine just naming her Gwen, but he thinks that's just a nickname, and I don't know who is "right" here. Maybe we could compromise on Guinevere and decide the spelling thing doesn't matter. 

34
July 11, 2017 2:50 PM

Generations of Michaels have been nicknamed Mike without any need for spelling either the full name or the nickname differently. And that's not even getting into things like William nicknamed Bill or Margaret nicknamed Daisy or Peggy. A nickname absolutely does NOT have to be spelled as a subset of the full name. Heck, there's no requirement that the nickname be shorter than the full name: some of the traditional nicknames for Mary are Polly and Molly.

35
July 11, 2017 4:20 PM

You're both right about Gwen: it originates as a nickname, but it has been in occasional use as a full name since at least the late 1800s. (My husband's Aunt Gwen was just Gwen, born in Ohio in the late 1920s.)

I agree with my sister that if Michael can be Mike, then Guinevere can be Gwen, but you could also tweak the spelling of the full name: Gwenevere is a cross between the 16th century English spelling Gwenhwyvar (or the 16c Welsh Gwenhoyver) and the usual modern spelling.

36
July 11, 2017 7:14 PM

I think the spelling thing is 100% not an issue at all. There are many, many nicknames which are not spelt exactly the same as the full name (would you think anything of an Isobel nicknamed Izzy, Rebecca called Becky or Edward being Teddy?) and cause no problems. Gwen sounds just the same as the start of Guinevere so it's a completely intuitive nickname and I honestly can't imagine anyone finding it weird that the spelling differs. 

37
July 11, 2017 7:51 AM

At this point it seems like you've gotten lots of great and useful replies to consider, so while I don't have anything revelatory to add, I will echo one comment about maybe having 2 middle names. I think if you both really love Enid, use it. If Ethel has a great deal of meaning, use it. But instead of having it feeling clunky, fusty-to-the-max, and a bit of a tongue twister, having a simple name in between could really help. I don't normally like double middle names personally, but none of your names are visually heavy so it could work. From your list of alternate honor names, I think the winner for me would be:

Enid Rose Ethel

38
July 11, 2017 11:20 AM

I think for most people, unless they really loved Ghost World, your kid will be the first Enid they've ever met. You might get some blank stares, but they'd be the same sort of blank stares you'd get if your daughter was named Razzmatazz or Quvenzhane. "Wow, that's kind of out there," not "Wow, that's kind of frumpy."

 

If you like the sound of Enid but want something less time-stamped, perhaps Eden?

39
July 11, 2017 1:16 PM

I dunno, to me Eden has way more potential to be timestamped than Enid: it's a modern name that suddenly sprang into use, and if it happens to go out of fashion as quickly as it came in, it'll become the definition of time-stamped. Enid, on the other hand, will always have a history of use - a modern revival (or lack thereof) can't change that fact.

Unless you meant something different by "time-stamped"?

40
July 11, 2017 2:54 PM

I've never met an Enid but the association for me is 50/50 between frumpy Grandma, and a best-friend character in the 80s teen romance series Sweet Valley High.  I always thought Enid was quite a strange name choice for the SVH character -- all the other teens had names like Jessica, Elizabeth. Lila . . . and then there was Enid.  But if an Enid can be a star in a teen romance series, she can certainly be an adorable little girl!  I say go for it if you love it.  

As others have commented, I find Enid Ethel a bit too much, both tongue-trippy-wise and stylistically.  I'd probably err in favor of giving her a very mainstream middle name that she could use if Enid turned out not to be a personality match, or if she just wanted to blend in a bit more.  Enid Katherine or Enid Charlotte, that sort of thing.  But that's not really your style!  From your most recent list, I feel like I'd choose Enid Miriam or Enid Rachel.  

 

41
July 12, 2017 4:16 AM

If grandma was Ethel Miriam, how about a mash-up?  Emi or Emir is most obvious, although second is a boy name and neither flows with Enid.  Mirel does though. I am grooving on Enid Mirel (or Mirelle) right now. Mireth?  Even Mirth?  Thelma? 

42
July 15, 2017 1:46 AM

Enid Miriam would be nice,  Enid is ok   or use your name as a mn

 

what about Bethel or Gretel - similar to Ethel

or those ending in el also containg a t - Chantal, cristal, Christabel, Katriel

 

Gwenneth - has the Gwen and the Eth from Ethel,  or Gwenda  or Lilabeth,  Lisabeth, MaryBeth, Beth, Bethany, Annabeth, Elspbeth, Elizabeth, Elsbeth, SaraBeth, Margaretha, Margarethe  - have the Eth

Athelia, Chelsea, Helene, Helena Michelle, Rachel, Shelby, Thelma - have the hel

Eugenie has eni from Enid

Ethel Miriam    Mireth  Mirelle, Irielle rielle  Elri  Elli Eliam Mirette amelle are some combo names of the two

related names to Ethel - Adele, Adelina, Alina, Ada, Adara

related names to Enid - Alma