What's wrong with Florien???

Help! I need fresh new insight from strangers! Something is holding my husband and I back from finally committing to our top name choice and we can't figure out what it is!

We are in love with the name Florien for my baby girl. Solid name? It's perfect for us because I've never heard it before for an American female, is inspired by nature, it ends in -en, which I think holds power but is still ultra feminine, and I believe it will age well. But the more I try to commit to it the more I find myself doubting it.

One, of all the variants of Flor-- Fleur-- names, there are so many, this one doesn't appear for girls on this website/book! Why not? It's not THAT weird, is it?? Now I'm self-conscious about it!! And two, does the name tend to become too glutteral or does it come out sounding too swallowed? Is it uncomfortable to pronounce? Is that a problem you could see with it? Or no? What's going on here?

I'm also open to alternative spelling ideas. I chose this one because it was the most straight-forward. I changed the vowel from the masculine Florian to an e for a more feminine-looking Florien. Last name Anderson.

Would love your input!





October 4, 2017 3:18 AM

Florien/Florian is a man's name in central Europe.  I've known two, Dutch and German, but I don't know the origin of the name.  I wouldn't recommend it for a North American boy because it does sound feminine to my anglophone ears, but if you like it for a girl how about spelling it Florienne or Florianne?  I do know a Florianne, so you wouldn't be the first!



October 4, 2017 11:21 AM

How do you pronounce Florianne? Is it Flor-y-ANNe? I do like those alternatives. I had strayed from them to avoid eye-rolls about length and spelling, but they are much more feminine.

October 4, 2017 1:33 PM

I actually know a little boy named Florian who lacks any foreign connections, so I think it's usable for North American boys living in areas where the names are a little more lilting and a little less macho. I imagine Harry Potter helped raise awareness of the fact that this is a man's name (Florean Fortesque owns the ice cream parlor). I also know multiple older men with the name, but they have the European piece in place.

As for using it on a girl -- it's not quite my thing, but also not without precedent. In the SSA data, Florian shows up as an occasional oddity for girls starting in 1913 (and ending in 1935), as well as the Florean spelling. There's also Floreine and Floriene, which were somewhat more popular... and the spelling you suggest, Florien, shows up once in the data for 1920 (with 6 girls born with that name).

Florine, Florene, and Floreen have more staying power, suggesting that the gas isn't a big issue for most people for this name family.

With your surname, I find the -an An- boundary to be cumbersome, and I would strongly preference a choice like Fleur. In fact, you could very plausibly nickname a Fleur/Flor* An____ Florian just from smooshing the surname in, with or without an I/E sound middlename.

October 4, 2017 10:58 PM

Thanks so much for your data-driven response! :) So helpful. I love learning that even though it's a bit "out there," mothers in the 1920's and I agreed. 

October 4, 2017 3:34 AM

The only Florian I know is a male in his 30s from Romania.  Not sure it goes with Anderson either,  both 3 syllables ending in n.  I think Fleur A goes well,  what about Floriana or Florianne


Flora, Florence, Florinda, Florina Florentina Flortenine Florencia 


October 4, 2017 11:26 AM

Great point about the name pairing. That's been bothering me too. It's hard to have to let my favorite go because of reasons like these, but I think I will be happier in the long run.

October 4, 2017 10:01 AM

I'm going to be blunt: Florian is a masculine name. Changing the 'a' to 'e' doesn't make it look at all feminine. It just makes it look misspelled.

I think somewhere deep down you realize this, and that's why you haven't been able to commit to it.

The feminine name with the same Latin 'flower' root is Flora, although Floriana also has some history (and etymological validity).

October 4, 2017 11:27 AM

So you're saying it IS too weird. Thanks.

October 4, 2017 11:29 AM

With the mega-success of the whole Aiden/Jaden/Braden/Kaden family of names, I have a really hard time seeing -en as a feminine ending at all, let alone ultra-feminine. Really, the ends-in-n trend is so overwhelming for boys right now that it feels like this name is much more masculine than its floral meaning should suggest (I've even wondered whether my own ends-in-n female name, Megan, could one day work on a boy based on this trend).

I don't think it's particularly hard to say, but you might want to consider whether you like the repeated sounds between first and last name. Altogether the final syllable of the first name plus the first and last syllables of the last name all end in -n. It gives the name overall a sort of Roseanne Roseannadanna feel (though less so than, say, Ariana Anderson). I personally kind of like this pattern—I'm a fan of, for example, the name Galileo Galilei—but it's not everyone's cup of tea.

One other issue to consider is the name's similar sound to fluorine, the highly toxic chemical element. It's probably not something that will immediately spring to mind for everyone, but something to keep in mind.

If you are interested in alternatives to Florien, perhaps one of the Greek anthe names would appeal? Anthea (flower), Calanthe (beautiful flower, also a type of orchid), and Diantha (heavenly flower, also a flower related to carnations; stands for "motherly love" in the language of flowers) are all distinctly feminine, but have never appeared in the top-thousand names in the US.

Behind the Name allows you to search for names by meaning or tag, and then filter them in various ways; here's a list of names tagged "flower" then filtered for feminine names that have never appeared on any top-whatever list. Some that have a similar feel to what I think you might have been going for with Florien include Royse (medieval variant of Rose), Clover, and Lilias (Scottish variant of Lillian).

With all that said, if Florien turns out to be the one name you absolutely love and that you can't give up, go ahead. The opinions of strangers on the internet are ultimately less important than what you and your husband think, and there's nothing that's absolutely a deal-breaker in this name.

October 4, 2017 11:52 AM

I'd be surprised to meet a female Florian/en.  That said, I know quite a few names that have "crossed over" the gender divide and this could be one.

October 4, 2017 11:34 PM

I agree!!! It absolutely can't be that crazy, and to make a cross-over, someone has to be the first to do it. What did the poor fool endure who was the first to name her girl child Robin? 

October 5, 2017 1:42 AM

It's not so much crazy as misogynistic. ("It's OK to be mistaken for a boy, because boys are better.")

I have a new rule: would you name your son Faith? No? How about Megan? Two syllables, ends in N? Still no? Then you're not allowed to name your daughter Florien. Or Charlie. Or Wyatt. Or James.

That all said, Florien only appears in the SSA name stats in a single year, 1920; while Floriene, its feminine version, was frequent enough to be listed in a couple dozen years (1914-1930, 1933-1935, 1943, 1946).

October 7, 2017 9:23 PM

You can absolutely cherry-pick names and claim mysogyny. To counter, I'll cherry-pick girl's names from my experience that are used effortlessly as male names: Kelsey, Paige, Addison, Cary, Kim, Taylor. Megan could "sound masculine" next year. They're names, and our responses to them are inherently subjective.

October 8, 2017 12:22 AM

These are mostly surnames that were given to boys as given names first. 

Kim is a male character from Kipling before it was used for girls.


October 10, 2017 4:06 PM

Yeah, none of those are actually feminine names that have subsequently become masculine names - rather, the other way around, with some holdouts still using them for boys. (Ashley and Meredith are a couple more examples of the phenomenon.)

And none of this contradicts, or even addresses, the real objection I have to masculine names on girls, namely the attitude that it's perfectly OK if your name says you're a boy and you turn out to be a girl, but Lord have mercy on you if it happens the other way around. It's the underlying subconcious bias I'm objecting to, the one that makes "effeminate" be a bad thing but "manly" a good thing.

October 10, 2017 7:19 PM

Also a girl given a masculine name may grow up under the impression that her parents really wanted a boy and that she was second best from birth...and sometimes she will be right.

October 4, 2017 11:31 PM

I have an easy time with -en as a feminine ending because my literary favorites were females like Arwen, Eowyn, Felurian. These names were of course influenced by the Welsh language, where you see a TON of traditional Welsh names for girls ending in wyn or wen. Arguably, this naming style was trending there first :). So to me, a female with -en name sounds like a badass elf or a warrior who takes down Sauron. 

I love Royse, Clover, and Lilias. They are gorgeous. Thank you for your input!

October 5, 2017 12:01 AM

Wyn is masculine, wen feminine. Welsh names like Wynn and Brynn are masculine, while Gwendolen is feminine. Eowyn is derived from Old English, nothing whatever to do with Welsh.

October 7, 2017 9:30 PM

You caught me. I'm not a Welsh name expert. 

By mk
October 4, 2017 1:45 PM

I don't think it is weird so much as it is not common in the U.S. (for anyone).

There are women named Florien based on a quick google search, primarily from the Netherlands. So it is not an entirely new concept.

I do see its appeal over many of the other flor-/fleur- names, which are generally not my personal favorites.

October 4, 2017 1:48 PM

Florien is unambiguously male in its current usage. There are plenty of nature names ending in -en for a baby girl: Aspen comes to mind immediately.

October 4, 2017 2:24 PM

I can't think of conciously ever hearing the name Florian before but clicking on the post title "What's wrong with the name Florien" I was assuming it was a boy's name--just a very soft one like Julian.

F names in general are not very popular right now and Florien has never been popular in the US so it doesn't have that throwback vibe like naming a daughter Florence. The fact that not only is is not in the top 1000 but it also has sounds that aren't in style might be what is holding you back. 

October 4, 2017 7:11 PM

You wouldn't expect to find Samuel or Maximilian listed as feminine names, would you?  Florian is masculine.  The -in an- flow of Florian Anderson isn't that great anyway.  I think you need to keep looking!

October 7, 2017 9:42 PM

It might be hard for some to understand, but in my case, I had never heard the name before. Chances for having come across it were maybe lower for me because I'm not European. I was playing with endings for Flor and thought I'd stumbled upon something unique that could work. I thought it sounded feminine then and I still do. I suppose I will be one of those ignorant folk whom people look at down their noses.

October 5, 2017 12:43 AM

To me Florien is a male name.

Or a take on the Florienz reference in the musical "Chess". The character Florence Vassey is called that by someone trying to remind her that she's from Hungary originally. 

That's a stretch but tribute names do get weird sometimes.

October 5, 2017 3:17 AM

To answer the question the Original Poster posed to me - the Florianne I know (American) pronounces it Flory-ann. 

If you really love the sound of Florian, I do think that spelling it Florienne makes it look firmly French feminine and therefore be a much better bet.  I have to agree though that it the fact that paired with your surname, it's is a bit too sing-songy for me. I agree with something like Flora or Floria might work better.

October 5, 2017 1:22 PM

If I saw Florienne on a class list I would peg that as a feminine child, and I'd probably pronounce it less like Flory-ann and more like Florian based on Vivian/Vivienne. For some reason I feel like this give it a bit more of a mainstream feel even though it's an unknown name and therefore would seem less 'weird'.

October 6, 2017 10:43 AM

On second thought, Flora and Floria run into Anderson too much!  Florienne actually works better after all, I think.  A bit sing-songy but not over the top.  Or maybe Fleur or Florence?


October 7, 2017 9:46 PM

I agree. I was reluctant to tack on more letters for the same sound, but it does sort of make a lovely distinction.

October 5, 2017 8:30 PM

I think you are probably overthinking it just a bit!  If you want a name that you've never heard it before for an American female, then it's probably not a terrible sign if you don't find it in a baby name book/list.

Personally I don't love the idea of tweaking the spelling of a name to make it seem more feminine, but that's just a matter of taste.


October 6, 2017 9:08 AM

I'm with you on names whose spellings are changed to seem feminine, but this isn't that case. Many names that originate in romance languages have masculine and feminine forms, and Florian/Floriane/Floriana is one such name. The feminine form's history is just as long.

By EVie
October 6, 2017 12:55 PM

Like others, I thought this post would be asking about Florien for a boy, most likely whether it was too effeminate ;) (My answer would have been no).

All the Florien/Florians I've known have been European males, mostly German, so it reads pretty masculine to me. I totally agree with the suggestion of just adding -ne to feminize it, though. Florienne could be pronounced exactly the same, but it's totally clear it's feminine. Florianne I would give a little more stress to the -anne part.

However, I have made the argument before that names like Julian and Vivian should be more gender-flexible, given that they are Latin names that have lost their gendered ending (Julianus/Juliana and Vivianus/Viviana). Florianus/Floriana fits into this category, so I can see making the etymological argument that Florian/Florien should be acceptable as a gender-neutral.

I think the concerns about -an Anderson are overthinking it a bit. After all, it's worked well for Gillian Anderson.

October 7, 2017 9:59 PM

I'm at such a disadvantage never having known a Florian; I would never have associated it with masculinity. It's rather a lucky break for me that it has romantic roots and could arguably be gender-neutral *wipes sweat off brow*. I'll put in my support for Vivian as a guy's name too. I love Florienne and Floriana.

You're right--Gillian Anderson is doing just fine.

October 8, 2017 9:58 AM

I also assumed from your title that you would be asking about Florian for a boy (but I am in Europe and honestly my first assciation for the name is Florean Fortescue in Harry Potter, who I always pictured as an Italian gentleman given his name and ice cream shop). I think that in this case changing the spelling to Florienne is definitely the answer; that looks totally feminine, so should eliminate any gender confusion, and really doesn't affect the pronunciation very much at all (for me I would say them "Florry-an" and "Florry-en" very much like Vivan and Vivienne). Plus it has history of use in Europe as the feminine form of Florian (admittedly as Florianne/Floriane) so you can point to that if anyone supposes you made it up. 

Floriana is also lovely but for me that does run into your last name too much, which Florienne(/Floriene/Floriane) doesn't at all imo.  

October 8, 2017 2:27 PM

Florienne is very pretty and feminine. I have come to love the "enne" ending for women's names from watching Call the Midwife. Sister Julienne us such a force of nature. 

October 8, 2017 2:46 PM

Whether you feminize the ending or not, I'd say that your "lay off of my name!" reaction to the answers here is a strong hint that you have found "the" name :).

October 8, 2017 3:52 PM

Agreed. Florien/ne is clearly the name you want to use, so go for it! It's unique, beautiful, and will definitely stands out in a world of Sophias and Ellies. Who cares if a couple of people don't love it, they'll adjust.

October 10, 2017 3:24 PM

My German professor (who I may or may not have had a bit of a crush on), was called Florian, and was male.

That said, if you are in the US, where masculine names are routinely given to girls, I would disregard the disapproval of this board and go with the name you love. It is a name that hardly exists in the US in any case, and the Flor sound ties it easily to Flora, Florence (my personal favourite) and the lot.

I personally think Florienne robs it of some of that spareness which makes it appealing. I also tend to pronounce Vivienne differently from Vivien and Juliette differently from Juliet, emphasizing the ending more, so I would probably do the same with Florienne. It just makes it a lot more flouncy. I would just prepare to tell naysayers "it has some use as a feminine name" and leave it at that. 

October 11, 2017 2:08 PM

As far as the names sounding alike, the actress Gillian Anderson doesn't seem to have a problem.  I personally like the sound of Florian Anderson.  My name is Stacey--formerly a boy's name--and I once dated a boy named Stacy.  I don't think he felt less male because of my name and I certainly didn't feel less female because of his.  If you love the name, go for it.  If you think your child will love her name, go for it.  It is a unique name in the US and very usable.  Will you regret NOT giving her that name later?

October 11, 2017 3:20 PM

It's clear from your replies here that you are very fond of this name. Florien is pretty enough (yes, masculine to my ears, but I'm not in the US and I think in the US most would assume it's a girl's name) though I don't consider it an improvement on existing names like Flora or Floriane. A girl with this name will wind up saying 'my mom made it up; she thought it sounded pretty' when questioned about her 'unique' name, which will happen a lot. I have a co-worker with a 'unique' name and she winds up having this conversation way more than you would imagine, and she finds it tedious more than anything at this point. Not burdensome or anything, but not exactly a plus. In contrast, a girl with the name Flora can cite the Greek goddess Flora which is a slightly more interesting story to tell.

October 11, 2017 4:26 PM

I think Florian is a cute and easily feminine-sounding name! And I don't think it sounds oddly at all. Just cute and sweet. No, I haven't know anyone with that name to bias my look at it either, but I can see it either way. If you're worried about it not looking feminine enough, I like the suggestion of making it "Florienne." Definitively feminine then, and if you don't mind the length, don't care about others' opinions. Let them do them and you do you. People have different naming styles, and we can remember and respect that, I think. 

Personally, I adore longer names, and keep in mind that longer on paper doesn't automatically equate to cumbersome-mouthful-to-say. In this case, the addition of two letters doesn't even lengthen how the name is said, so even better if you know judgey-about-names people. 

We did two middle names for our daughter, which equates to ten syllables before her last name, with four syllables in the first and three in each middle. I actually had some random person ask me her name once and then say, "really? You know, you could still change it." Seriously. The audacity. We are NOT short name people at all, but I would never say such a thing to someone with a "Sam Jack" or some such thing. Differences in naming styles are OKAY, People! Haha And I was annoyed when that person said that, but it did not make me want to change our little girl's name. We both just love it, and it is exactly our style!

Further, I personally have no problem with "Florian Anderson." The way I'm saying "Florian," it ends with an "-in" sound, as opposed to your last name's "ann" start, which seems okay to me. Now, Flory-in Inderson or Flori-Anne Anderson would to my ears sound a bit more clunky in the redundancy of the sounds. 

So, I see no problem with Florian at all, and think if you love it that much, you should go for it!

October 15, 2018 4:21 PM

Thank you all. Asking the internet was as illuminating and helpful as I could have hoped ;). I did choose Florienne for baby girl 9 months ago because we fell hopelessly in love with it after several of you suggested it. When she arrived, no other name would fit. 

October 15, 2018 6:10 PM

Florienne is a fabulous name and I am so pleased you got the opportunity to use it on your daughter! Thank you very much for the update; it's always a thrill to know how the naming adventure concludes, but especially when it reaches such an excellent conclusion. Florienne is a name that is sleek and international in feel, feminine without being frilly, and hits the distinctive but not weird mark perfectly. Well done!

October 16, 2018 3:19 AM

Hooray!!!  And as the first person to suggest the alternative spelling Florienne, I am smugly glowing with pride here!!!

I am totally going to take credit for this as second baby that I named who wasn't mine.  The other was someone I knew -- American guy, nice but young and kinda flaky, with Chinese girlfriend.  Mom would choose Chinese name, Dad would choose English.  Name meaning is very important in China, and as they were both outdoor travel enthusiasts who actually met while hiking, she had her heart set on a name that meant "voyager" or somesuch.  Dad wanted a tie-in to an English name, but the closest in sound were Evan and Ethan, and he just wasn't enthusiastic about those names.  So he decided he wanted a meaning-theme and somehow hit on.... Journey.  Everyone including me was going NOOOOOO DO NOT NAME YOUR SON JOURNEY but he kept insisting it was an awesome name.  Fortunately, Chinese girlfriend pronounced it "Jenny" and he just couldn't quite deal with having a son named Jenny.  That's when I suggested Miles, and it turned out he really liked it.  Nice travel theme, goes with voyager, not silly!  Hooray!  And that's how I saved a boy from being named Journey/Jenny.