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My Favorite Names
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August 7, 2019 02:13 AM
In Response to Opinions Needed

Agree with the others. It's not my kid, but I really dislike Koltyn as a girl name.  It seems like one too many bad naming fads all rolled into on.

Colton is a popular boy name?  Where and when?

August 7, 2019 02:10 AM
In Response to Brother for Joseph

Bennet and Reuben also get you to Ben, if that's what you are ultimately aiming for.

You can also get to Sam via Samson or Solomon.

On your list, I actually really like Thomas for you, especially since you lost your dad so young.  Like Joseph, it totally works as a full standalone name - not too formal - but Tom/Tommy is always there for something really short, sweet, and fun.  If you don't like Auggie or Gus, I think Augustin is too risky.  And I agree Peter with an -er surname won't work (although coincidentally, my cousin's sons are Joseph & Peter!)

Other names in your vibe that come to mind are Nathan/Nathaniel, Stephen, Mark, James, Silas, Lucas.

July 31, 2019 12:45 AM

Both are lovely names, no red flags. I personally prefer Grace, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Isla.  My daughter's name is tricky to spell, and yes while we do have to correct spelling/pronounciation regularly, in the end it's not a big dea

Have you considered Graciela as a way of combining your two favorite names?




July 10, 2019 09:22 AM

How about Anya or Anita as alternatives to Annika?  I also know a Nika, not sure if it's a nickname or not.  I think Anita is gorgeous and long overdue for a comeback. I would put Eileen in that same category too, and since it's a family name then perfect!  Annika (etc) + Eileen is a bit sing-songy though.  If Eileen is a family name... any way you might be interested in a mash-up like Analeen?  Or how about Eileen as a first name?

If you're grooving on Tessa but it's not quite right... Tess works as a standalone name, and Tasha is another good alternative.  I strongly urge avoiding Natasha as due to widespread and horrific trafficking in women from former Soviet Union, it's become global slang in many countries for white, ahem, escorts. I know a Natasha who lives in Dubai who seriously had to abandon her first name altogether.  It was impossible to politely operate professionally or personally, and now goes by her middle name.

I love Maiwen!  And since it's a middle name, so what if it's a bit out there?  You love it, it won't be used much, so that's that!  But if you're kicking around for alternatives, Morgan and Morganna are gorgeous.  I am currently now voting for Anita Morgan.  Other spin-off names from your list: Rowena, Rhiannon, Sasha, Romy, Irene, Monique, Carys, Cerridwen.

July 4, 2019 12:17 AM

Let me back up a bit from "I need a name" and recap the dynamics as I understand them, based on your brief post.

Husband chose baby #1's name, and you quickly agreed.  And now it's your turn and are paralyzed.  I also gather you may be over-thinking things in a way that is overshadowing your feelings (i.e., "what names make my heart sing?") and moreover your only criteria are "short" and "masculine" which leaves you with about a million names to choose from.  Am I reading this correctly?

How about your husband makes a shortlist of name, and you pick one from the shortlist?  Alternatively, can you add some more criteria?  Family name, ethnic heritage, nature name, literary name, place name, science name, SOMETHING that is sentimental to you somehow.




July 3, 2019 11:28 PM

Ah, well if you don't actually like James/Keira for baby #2, that's another matter.

Can you do the shortlist option?  Like partner makes a shortlist of names for baby #2, and you help choose one boy/girl name from each?

Another crucial question: you indicate that you love Milo, and he likes it but has odd catch that "only if there's a name that goes with it for baby #2."  Are you, ummm, SURE that he actually likes Milo?  This sounds like caveman-speak for "I'm not crazy about Milo but I can live with it but really want a better name next time."  To him, Milo might be in same ballpark as James/Keira are for you, but he might not want to veto outright if your heart is set on it.  I would really say ball is in his court to define what is a name "that goes with Milo" for baby #2.

Note: you want Milo, he wants James.  How about MILES as the perfect compromise name?





July 3, 2019 11:18 PM

Nice to carry on E tradition, but I think it's best to avoid names that are too matchy with your boys'.  Elijah and Elizabeth have same first syllable; cutting out the girl EL names will narrow your options.  Then suggestions like Erin are too much like Ethan.

Edith, Emily, Emery, Esther, Everly, Estelle, Enid, Edelle, Esmé, Eve, Evette, Eugenie. Eriel, Emerald all keep the E tradition, but still stand out from the way your boys' names begin and end.





July 3, 2019 03:12 AM

Just to recap: You love Milo, but not sure about names for baby #2 somewhere down the road.  Partner's favorites are James or Keira.

How about this: you get to name your firstborn son Milo, but for baby #2 your partner is in driver's seat.  S/he gets James or Keira (or other names that they choose, although you get reasonable veto if you just don't liike one of the names).  Another workaround is for baby #2, partner gets to make shortlist of name, and you can participate in choosing which name from the shortlist.  But the range of choices are theirs.

I think this is a nice compromise that is fair to both of you.




June 12, 2019 01:04 AM

If Layton if the name you really love, then go for it.

If you are deciding between Layton and something else (say, randomly, Connor), then the similarity between Mason and Layton = your deal-breaker.


June 12, 2019 12:49 AM

I agree with Molly that Julianna paired with an A middle name is just going to run together awkwardly, unless you zero on on a workaround like Audrey (nice call!) where the a in Julianna sounds totally different from the a that begins the middle name.  In general however, unless there is a compelling reason (like Julianna Audrey shares intials with grandpa Julien Arnaud), how about shift the A middle name to Ruby?  Otherwise, how about Julianne paired with an A name?  Oooh, I am now crushing on Julianne Alicia.

I don't quite get the bodice-ripper vibe from Ruby Steele exactly, but both are word-names and those can be awkward to pair  together.  Does Rudy or Rory appeal instead? 

June 12, 2019 12:34 AM

You should go with the name that makes your heart sing.  From the way you wrote your post, it sounds like you prefer Lillian / Lily but are overthinking it.  Both Elizabeth and Lillian are lovely names and there are no red flags.  For the record, Elizabeth is near the top of my list of boring-hohum names, but am a big fan of Lillian. But the point is: this is not my baby, it is YOUR baby.  Which name do YOU like more?  Forget the charts.

It is also more than possible to split the difference.  Queen Elizabeth's family nickname was Lilibet.  ;)

April 24, 2019 04:14 AM

I love this post!  I worked in Afghanistan about a dozen years ago, so I'm smiling all over.

Re: Afghan heritage -- it is such a multicultural country that it may be helpful to clarify if your partner's family is of Dari, Pathan, or what heritage.  These are all completely different sets of names.  That said, my favorite Afghan boy name is Javed (jah-ved) which sounds super-cool in English.  Syris/Cyrus of course, hits both Persian and European boxes.  For girl names: Mariam, Layla, and Ayesha work gloriously.  You might also consider a long-form name in one language which shortens into a nickname in another.  Examples include Babak --> Bob, Rafael --> Rafi, and Alistair --> Ali.

You seem to like JUL names.  Anjuli and Manjula are both Indian girl names, you might look into whether there is an Afghan variant?  Zara is also a terrific crossover name: a variant of Sarah found in both Muslim countries and Eastern Europe.  There are also quite a few names in South Asia that shorten to Ash, including Ashwin, Ashok, and Ashraf.  Ash names are trendy in English, so this is another great way to span heritages.


April 9, 2019 03:41 AM
In Response to Baby girl

I agree that it's a heavy burden for a child to carry a dead sibling name.  Middle name spot, yes.  Or perhaps... Skyla?  That is pretty, incorporates Kyle but has a sky/heaven feel to it as well.

April 9, 2019 03:31 AM

More Olivia alternatives: Sylvia and Lydia.  If not Isla.... how about Idella?  It was my great-grandmother's name and I've never heard it anywhere but our family tree, and it's a stunning name.  There is also Ida.

And how about Gowan instead of Cohen?  DEFINITELY Cohen is a no-no.

April 8, 2019 10:56 AM

I think you have a fine list, but am a bit mystified by your concerns about popularity of some names.  Your names are familiar but nothing like Jennifer-and-Jason-in-the-70s.  The one exception is Alivia -- sorry, I just don't think it flies as "not Olivia"and yes that is a very popular name. Harper is... familiar but NOT a dime a dozen name!

A couple of alternatives: Lila and Bram (evocative of Isla and Graham, but distinctive from what you're trying to avoid).  Rowan and Roland could be Owen alternatives.  I am not a personal fan of "no" names especially on a toddler.  This has a lot to do with my cousin's son Bo who seriously thought his name was NO BO NOOOOO BO NO NO NO BO NO! 

If you're in deal-breaker land, you might consider how many children you want?  If you REALLY like one and your partner REALLY likes the other, you could play let's make a deal.  I also think it might be fun to just say Cameron regardlless of boy versus girl! 

April 8, 2019 10:46 AM

A couple more add-on points... I also like Lucas as a way to get to Lu.  I also encourage spelling your surname in English the way it's pronounced.  There are a lot of people named Wong in USA, Vong is fine too although more unusual. But by all means, absolutely write it in English the way that is closer to the sounds.

If you as a Chinese man go to USA and introduce yourself with English name like "Lucas King" most people will immediately ask you what your REAL name is, and in fact you will embarrass many Americans if they think that your name is too hard or foreign for them.  They will immediately want to make you more comfortable by calling you by your Chinese name, and also show that they are internationally sensitive by pronouncing it correctly.  The rest will probably assume you were adopted by an American family and therefore not 'really' Chinese.  Awkward!  Seriously, since Lu sounds identical to the English nickname Lou, there is simply nothign to change.  The only reason to do it would be if it sounded like a bad word in English or difficult to pronounce. But Lu is perfect!  In fact it is perfect Chinese-English crossover name.

April 8, 2019 03:59 AM
In Response to Laney/Lainey

YES!  Exactly.  Ellie and Laney are not too matchy-matchy, but Eliana and Laney are -- indeed Laney can be a nickname of Eliana.  I could totally see bureaucratic snafu somewhere that thinks you have one daughter not two. BLEAH!  But as you say, if you make Laney a nickname for something else that's a bit removed from Eliana/Ellie and all your problems are solved.  Here's some more suggestions I don't see above: Helen, Adelaine, Lanora, Leona, Magdalene, Marlene/Marlena, Milena, Raylene, Marilena, Isalayne, Emmalayne, Catalena, Arlena, Selena.... seriously, with all the -lyn, -lane, -leen, -line, -lena etc names out there, must be a fabulous one you like and/or can tweak spelling of to get to Laney.  Perhaps a family tie-in?  Like I don't happen to like the name Raylene, but Ray is a family name  so I could live with it if daughter was actually called Laney, you know?

April 8, 2019 02:22 AM

Hello, I am an American who has spent much of my life in Asia so this is this is my kind of naming post!  :)  That said, I think Lu Wang is exceptionally easy for Americans and you do NOT need an 'English' name at all to fit in.  It is easy to say and pronounce in English.  In fact, Lu sounds exactly like the English nickname Lou, which is short for Louis (which is also spelled Lewis).  There is also a large Chinese-diaspora population in USA, so Wang is quite a familiar name in America.  I am from rural countryside, and I still had classmates named Wang!  Another idea is that because Lu means path, you can pick the name Miles which also has that "journey" kind of feel.  However, the meaning of a name is not so important in English compared to China.  Most people choose names because of the sound only, not what it means.

I know that it's very popular in China to have a parallel English name.  In your case, I would simply suggest Louis as your "English" name.  I put English in quotes because it's French, but quite common in English-speaking countries.  There were a lot of French kings named Louis, so that's a nice connection to your family name also. 

April 3, 2019 03:32 AM
In Response to Laney/Lainey

If you already have an Eliana, another daughter named Laney might be too much of a good thing!  That said, I have a close friend whose two kids have very matchy-matchy names and.... SO WHAT.  It's not actually a big deal.  In my friend's case, she and her husband come from different countries and speak English together, and there were just not a lot of options that they both liked and worked well in three totally unrelated languages (English, Hebrew, and Khmer).   They are SO glad they didn't pick a name for #2 that they liked less, just to be different from kid #1.  If your heart is set on Laney, then make it work.

That said: the two names are definitely matchy-matchy. I would like to echo the suggestion of Delaney; the D sets it apart distinctively.  Or how about Melanie?  Absolutely beautiful, and it has the sounds that you like.  Janey is another nice alternative to Laney, and if you like longer names you have some gorgeous options like Janette and Janine to work from.   Oooh, and then there's Lacey.  Or another step out from Laney: Avalon? Okay, that's pushing it but one of my favorite names!

April 3, 2019 03:21 AM
In Response to What do you think??

I LOVE Camilla!  Congratulations it's perfect!


On the Cami versus Millie nickname debate: split the difference and go with Mimi or Callie?  Ha!