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My Favorite Names
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February 5, 2016 09:18 AM

With celebrities whose last names sound like first names, I usually assume they're stage names formed out of the individual's first and middle names. 

February 4, 2016 08:11 AM

Clarion is pretty brilliant. Especially with the potential nickname "Clare" to make it more name-like. 

February 1, 2016 10:07 AM

Hi VeeMarie 123, I wasn't involved in the initial discussions here about your name choice. But I just want to write in to reassure you that this is a very normal reaction in the emotional first weeks of motherhood. I have a daughter whose name I now absolutely 100% love. But we had to choose between it and the runner-up the day we left the hospital, and I found myself calling her name #2 in my head for at least a week afterwards and sort of mourning the loss of that name. I've thought of several things wrong and right with the name we decided on. I think part of it is that, as someone interested in naming, and who had spent years obsessing about name trends, popularity, traditions, etc., that wasn't just going to disappear because I was done naming little children (witness my current presence on this site). But I'm now totally at peace with her name and it's grown a retrospective inevitability and a rightness that it didn't have at first. 

So, yes, give it a few weeks. 

From an outsider's perspective, all of the names you were choosing from are lovely. If you find that Ava (which I have to say, just typing, is so full of elegance and glamor) feels too short, you might consider formally or informally chaning it to a hyphenated first name, Ava-Louise. It's such a lovely combination, handsome and sweet at the same time.

Another idea to toy with: I know Ava has multiple possible etymologies (in as much as names have etymologies), but one is apparently that it's related to the Latin for bird, Avis. So a possible nickname might be Birdie if that suits your little one.

Congratulations on a healthy little girl and good luck with the naming thoughts and all the other emotions that come with new motherhood.

January 15, 2016 09:31 AM
In Response to Bishop

I agree with the others. It does make me think of the character named Shepherd Book from the (great, shortlived) show Firefly. Which, now that I google it, turns out was a religious title, not his first name. But it feels more name-like to me than Bishop. Just an idea.

January 15, 2016 09:28 AM

Agreed, Emily.ei. It seems very much an aspirational rather than arrogant move. Sort of like naming your son Harvard or Princeton.

January 14, 2016 02:51 PM

Not quite exalted, but an honorific/elite occupation name that I spotted the other day on a baby boy: Captain (!)

January 12, 2016 01:55 PM
In Response to Expert Advice

I'm interested in the spread of the name Arya beyond the Hindu community. A few years ago, that's the only context in which I had heard of it. 

At this point, I'm must more familiar with Arya in the wider American naming context. But my associations are still, in this order: 1. Aryan as in Hitler and others' idea of an uber-race. 2. The Sanskrit name for noble/ the people who supposedly conquered northern India (the idea of these people being the source of Hitler's idea of the uber-race). and 3. Arya Stark and Game of Thrones. 

FwIW, I think Aria is an improvement. Aria makes me think of operas (obviously) and the 1987 arthouse film, which hopefully has been forgotten. 

I also just wanted to add that the original poster might want help deleting this post or something to gain some anonymity for his future daughter. As is, one could google her name and find this whole discussion. 


January 7, 2016 06:34 PM

Very good points. And sorry for my Wildebeast snark. The whole encounter just put me in a really bad mood for some reason. Probably, as you say, because the sense of wrongness of encountering another X, especially one with the same, intimate and somewhat obscure nickname that I did think of as her special name. 

January 7, 2016 02:38 PM

Thanks HNG, that's helpful.

To make matters worse, the little one had the same not-obvious nickname. I had been counting on my X having that one to turn to when in need of diambiguation. Oh well. 

I guess I'm learning that I want my baby's name to be a special snowflake just as much as the people who are naming their kids Wildebeast and Passionfruit (not real examples, just my snarky interpretation). Actually- here's a real example: I ran into a baby boy Capta1n (1 for i) the other day. By naming my daughter something more like Nancy or Susan or Rachel, I was actually going for the unexpected just as much as those who go for more nouveau names. Sigh.

December 30, 2015 07:52 PM
In Response to Lena pronunciation

I've always read Lena as "Lay-nuh," and was really surprised to hear that Lena Dunham's name is pronounced Lee-nuh. Similarly, I'd read Elena as el-LAY-nah. 

December 30, 2015 07:50 PM

"Elisheva/Avital/Avigail/Devora: I have not met anyone not Jewish with this name, so that would have to be a consideration, but Elisheva is the Hebrew version of Elizabeth//Abigail/Deborah"

-- I don't understand. Can you explain? Are you saying that Elisheva, Avital, Avigail, and Devora are all the same name in some sense?

December 24, 2015 09:35 AM
In Response to Help with Henry

I hesitate to post my opinion of Henry because it's not very helpful. But here I go, for some reason. Sorry in advance.

I love the name Henry. I knew only one in my youth. But now it's extremely common in my large metropolitan area among babies/small children. My general feeling about Henry is that it seems to be the go-to boy name for people who want to name their son something a little bit different and don't realize that everyone else is thinking the same thing. It's really lost its novelty and uniqueness for me. In fact, it's even a little bit dated. Like it's what everyone who wanted to name their kids something different were naming them 3 to 8 years ago or so. I'm finding that some other names are filling this funciton for people naming boys more recently. Names like Felix, Oscar (actually maybe they're a part of the older trend that Henry's a part of), Simon, Asher. I've been to many baby activities like baby yoga or singalongs with my under 1-year-old daughter where women seem surprised that there's another Henry, Oscar, Simon, Felix or Asher in the group. But I'm not surprised at this point.

That said, popular names are popular becuase they're well-loved. And Henry's really only somewhat popular. I may be in a neighborhood with a particularly high population of Henries, too.


December 15, 2015 09:53 AM

Is that Aarna (R N) or Aama (M)? It's very hard to discern on my screen. Either way, I'd be interested to learn more about this name. I'm a little skeptical that either would be a popular name, but I'm probably missing something. Aama with an m means mother in many Indian languages, so it doesn't work as a baby name for me. Arna I just find unappealing, personally. I'd like to hear from others what the background and appeal might be.

December 8, 2015 11:17 AM

Tongue-in-cheek suggestion: How about the nickname Bro?

December 1, 2015 08:43 AM

TOH, totally with you on the song, which will now be "rocking" through my head all day long.

Another unbidden idea late last night: Felix and Asher. 

November 30, 2015 07:57 AM

I seem to be immersed in the naming zeitgeist.Just before falling asleep last night, the idea of twins named Theodore and Amadea occurred to me (or Theodora and Amadeus, but the previous pair seems more wearable). 

November 20, 2015 01:53 PM

I think we'll need a little more information on the names that you do like for girls in order to come up with suggestions.

Now that you've implied what your last name sounds like, I'm only coming up with great joke names. Like Arcadia/Arkadie, Serenity, Parker... 

November 17, 2015 09:38 AM
In Response to Hester: disaster?

ETA: Miriam, I am SO with you! That's why I find it annoying when the Israelis I meet seem to think that they have final say on whether my daughter's Old Testament name "Is" or "Is not" a "shtetl" name. I just bristle at the idea that Israelis get to define Jewishness around the world. They don't speak for me.

November 12, 2015 10:51 AM
In Response to Hester: disaster?

Also funny that, although I'm a name nerd, I chose my screen name for this forum without any thought to its origins. I didn't realize that it was Modern Hebrew, and indeed hadn't really heard of it before, but liked the sound of it! 

November 12, 2015 10:50 AM
In Response to Hester: disaster?

So interesting, Miriam! 

I was actually trying to decide between an Old Testament name and a name that I like but that is, at least in one spelling, Modern Hebrew. I chose the OT name because it was more international, whereas the latter is specific to Israel, which I don't want my DD associated with because we aren't Israeli and because I am vehemently opposed to the occupation. 

So it's really funny to me that Israelis see OT names as "ghetto" and Modern Hebrew names as cosmpolitan, whereas I feel it's something like the opposite. Not exactly the opposite, but you see what I mean.

"Funny" or "annoying." 

Sorry to hijack!