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My Favorite Names
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September 22, 2015 02:54 PM

These names are great, but many can run into problems, at least in the American context. Namely:

Simeon is pronounced exactly like simian.

Jedidiah is confused with Jebidiah, which is a made-up name first featured on The Simpsons.

Uriah looks and/or sounds like urea.

Elisha is often confused with the girl's name Alisha/Alicia.

Samson doesn't meet a particularly nice end in the Bible. 


September 21, 2015 02:25 PM

Ellaweise! Wow. That's really something. 

September 21, 2015 09:00 AM

OMG, I just met a Maximus. I have to say, I find this one (almost literally) over the top!!!

September 21, 2015 08:59 AM

So jealous! Anyone interested in an NYC meetup?

August 28, 2015 08:31 AM

Another recent sighting: a two-month old named Emmaline. The mother said that she thought that she and her husband had decided on the pronunciation before the girl was born, but apparently not: She pronounces it to rhyme with the word line, while her husband says -lean. She had a good sense of humor about the fact that they still couldn't agree.

August 20, 2015 03:41 PM

There's also the name Arya, pronounced the same way (or with one fewer syllables--ar-yuh depending) that's a male name of Sanskrit derivation meaning noble. As in the Aryans. But pronounced differently than the American pronunciation of Aryan. Aar-yuhn or Aar-i-uhn.

August 20, 2015 03:34 PM

I thought I'd add to this post periodically with names I'm encountering among the 2-6 month set in a hip NYC outer borough:


Three Noahs

Two Simons

Two Guses



Three Ashers










Two Rosalies (!)

One Rosie

Two Oonas (!)


Eleanor (several)



Luna (several)

Nora/h (several)



Z0elle (numeral added to avoid search engines, since I bet this one's pretty unique).

edited to add: Dorothea

Thought you might find it interesting! I bet some of the namers have visited these pages...and some definitely haven't. 


August 15, 2015 05:23 PM

Intersting! I think of Schuler as a boy's name. It's only the Breaking Bad character who throws that off. 

April 11, 2015 06:07 PM
In Response to Choose three sisters!

Thanks Miriam! I'm in a social sciency-field myself and worry everyone will think I'm naming her after the afformentioned sociologist. She also doesn't have a particularly good rep amongst my set either. Hmmm.... I do wish I had other associations like your beautiful, sweet nurse to sway me toward the name. (Do you think the Eminent SS is going to google herself and have a good chuckle about our conversation?).

April 9, 2015 09:14 AM
In Response to Choose three sisters!

Sorry to briefly hijak, but:

Oh Miriam! You like Saskia? We're considering it. Does it bother you that it means 'Saxon woman'? It does me a little bit (again, trying to activate my Ashkenazi background with some part of my baby's name). Also there's a sociologist named Saskia Sassen whose dad was a Nazi or Nazi sympathiser, and so I kind of associate the name with white supremacy. Am I overthinking it? We love the sound and it sounds elegant with our last names.


/end hijak.

April 7, 2015 03:10 PM

I think that I've read that the names pronounced Roz actually don't have anything to do with roses. They're related to the old English (I believe) word Hros meaning Horse (Hros is the word for horse in Icelandic). So Rosamund and Rosalind etc. I believe have meanings related to horses rather than roses. 

Clearly I don't really solidly know what I'm talking about, but hopefully someone can back me up. I thought people might be interested.


I believe that Mavi is a word for blue in Turkish. I think that's where the Mavi Jeans company gets its name. So Mavi Indigo might be a bit of overkill, essentially meaning Blue Blue, with both blues having denim connotations (since Indigo is /was used to dye jeans blue).


I'd go with Mavi Adelaide Laless if I were you. Mavi Ellington Laless seems to have too many L sounds. Story Sinclair too many S sounds. Mavi Adelaide pairs a very rare name (that's a color name in Turkish) with a more name-like middle name (although it's also a city).

Hope that helps. I may be in the hospital later this week or early next with similar last-minute indecision, so I empathize with you deeply!!

Congratulations on your new daughter.

March 16, 2015 05:17 PM

OK, here's a specific question that still maintains my anonymity:

My last name starts with an M and ends in an -er.  My husband's starts with a B and ends in an -ie sound. Both two syllable. 

He's thinking that many of the first names we're considering sound better with B-- -ie M-- -er rather than M-- --er B-- --ie. 

We're thinking of separating the two names with a space, no hyphen.

My concern is that B- -ie M- -er introduces the initials B.M. (i.e. bowel movement). My husband doesnt' think that those initials would ever be used independently of her first initial. So it would be M.B.M. if we went with Miriam, for example. I think he's wrong, and that in a lot of cases she could be stuck with being referred to as Miriam B.M.. He thinks even if thsi were so, it's not a problem because people don't really use the term B.M. anymore. I'm thinking if we can avoid it, we should. Why saddle a kid with that kind of thing?


In the case of Miriam, the order B. M. would help alleviate the problem with pronunciation that happens when Miriam is followed by M- -er.


What do you all think?

March 8, 2015 08:15 AM

I've read that Lillian is actually a diminutive of Lilly, not the other way around. Lilly's historically a nickname of Elizabth, so Lillian's a nickname of a nickname. Not a particularly helpful contribution to this discussio, but I thought interesting and counter intuitive.

January 29, 2015 10:17 AM

I've heard Ottilie discussed a lot on various name sites. To me it doesn't seem that "ahead of the curve" because of its similarity to Olivia. I'm finding that a lot of parents, myself included, keep being drawn to names that sound a lot like very popular names, but are just a wee bit different. We kid ourselves by thinking they're avant-garde naming choices. I also worry they'll get lost in the crowd. If you had a pre-school with 5 O-LIV-ee-ahs and 1 O-TIL-lee-ah, how much will that Otillie really stand out? How often will her name be confused with the uber-popular name?


David and Elizabeth. Really can't go wrong with those names! Michael and Sophia a close second, although Sophia is just too, too popular these days. I also kind of love Noah, especially in the context of global warming and sea level rise. 

December 22, 2014 03:35 PM

I have to tell you that I, a nearly 40 year-old adult, have a friend named Lucas, and I always think of him as Lucas mucus pukus. Or sometimes poo-kus, without the y sound. In an affectionate way.

That said, the name is now much more popular among young kids when my slightly-younger-than-me friend was named. So people will probably just think of it as a name, rather than as a set of syllables which unfortunately bring to mind other syllables. 

I agree that Lucca will be pronounced differently than Luca in Italian. Lucca is a beautiful city. But I think Luca or Luka are the best ways to go. 

December 21, 2014 04:11 PM

I think this may be because many East Asians are Christian. Although this doesn't explain the custom of having Chinese/other East Asian names as well as English-ish names that they use in public. 

Many Indian names--at least Hindu ones-- have import related to the child's horoscope. I don't know/don't think that's the same for East Asian first names. Perhaps this importance disinclines people to assign Western names to their kids.

Also, I think that since English is an official language in India, many Indians are used to hearing their names alongside more Western names. That is, plenty of people (Catholics) in India are called Mary, Margaret, Catherine, Dolores, etc. So my sense is that their naming universe is just more cosmopolitan than ours. They might not think of the name Anjali or Geeta or Geetanjali as particularly foreign sounding in a Western context, because in India they're used to hearing Geetanjali alongside Mary, Gertrude, Samira, Faiza, etc. 

This also doesn't explain why it holds across generations. 

It would be nice if there were an East Asian or Indian who could clue us in instead of me trying to speak for them! Anyone?

December 19, 2014 07:12 PM

Very strange that she worets that her name, Geetanjali, is "not easy to pronounce, even for Indians like myself." Geetanjali is super easy to pronounce for those familiar with the name (like Indians). geet-uhn-juh-lee. Anyone who knows the names Geeta and Anjali--super duper common Indian names-- would know how to say this compound name. 

December 19, 2014 09:19 AM

I'm intrigued. So I googled it, and learned the following helpful information: "Thursia contains 7 letters: 42.86% vowels and 57.14% consonants." So there you go. All your questions answered!