No info yet

About Me

No info yet

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
July 14, 2018 09:06 AM

Name Finder on this site gives the following four-syllable feminine names that aren't too rare but aren't very common, either:

Adriana, Alexandra, Alicia, Amelia, Anastasia, Angelica, Angelina, Annabella, Arabella, Arianna, Cecilia, Emilia, Esmeralda, Evangeline, Julianna, Liliana, Mariana, Natalia, Penelope, Valentina, Valeria, Veronica, Viviana.

(I've picked just one spelling for variants like Adriana/Adrianna.)

Of these, the ones that are feminized versions of masculine names, such as Alexandra, will naturally have some gender-neutral nickname options, such as Alex. Of course, many of them are a lot more common in English as feminine names (Cecilia, Emilia, Valentina), so the nickname options also skew clearly feminine.

Is there anyone or anything you'd like to honor or reference in your child's name? That can help narrow the field and make it easier to choose.

July 13, 2018 04:24 PM

Joining the chorus that Eleanor sounds perfect for you. I think "of Aquitaine" long before "Roosevelt", but my first association is actually a friend's four-year-old.

Another thought: Julia, nicknamed Ruby (because it's the birthstone for July).

July 9, 2018 10:08 PM

Names in stories should "fit" the characters temporally and culturally. So: when and where does your story take place, and what sorts of educational levels, political leanings, and other cultural characteristics do you have in mind for the name-giving characters?

July 9, 2018 10:16 AM

Both the surname Jackson and the nickname Jack derive from John. Treating the patronymic ending as some sort of anti-diminutive suffix strikes me as a very strange development of modern naming ideas. (Perhaps there's enough in it for Laura Wattenberg to do a post about it?...)

July 9, 2018 07:56 AM

Molly would be an excellent way to honor a Mary. (You could even go full-on traditional and name her Mary, with Molly as her usual call-name, but this would work better if big sister was a birth certificate Sarah.)

July 8, 2018 10:08 PM

Molly and Tess/Tessa match Sadie's vintage-nickname-turned-independent origins nicely. Others in the same vein: Maisie, Sukey, Trudy, Peggy.

There are a lot of possibilities for middle names that could "go with" any of the names on your list or mine. How did you pick Grace? If it has any particular significance to you, then it would be good to find something with similar meaning to you for this child's middle name. Without further details, other classic one-syllable middles like Rose, Hope, and Joy come to mind.

July 8, 2018 04:32 PM

I see "avail" in Availie (/uh-VAIL-ee/), and my brain auto-corrects Avarie to "avarice" or "aviary".

The only names beginning with Ava- and containing an 'l' that have ever made the U.S. top 1000 are Avalyn and Avalynn, both of them less than a decade ago. This means that no matter how you spell [ˈeɪ və ˌliː], there will be some possibility for confusion, because there isn't an established or standard spelling.

I think the version that makes the best use of established names and conventions is Avalee, because both Ava and Lee are well-known names. For some people, Avaleigh could work similarly, but I always want to pronounce Leigh to rhyme with "weigh", so I strongly dislike that spelling.

I agree with a previous commenter that if you want to call her /AY-vuh-ree/, then the correct spelling is Avery.

July 6, 2018 05:44 PM
In Response to Last Minute Fairy Name

Celosia Fritillaria is great! I think you'll be the best-named fairy attending.


Would Christopher work for you instead of Christian?

Other internationally portable names: Gabriel, Sebastian, Peter.

I do enjoy the fact that my family's names don't change significantly between languages (a diacritic here, a different initial consonant sound there), but it is possible to go to the other extreme: you could call your child John, his maternal relatives could call him Giovanni, and he could be Johannes at school. It would be occasionally confusing to his friends and classmates, but to him it would be normal.

June 29, 2018 07:44 PM
In Response to Too uncommon or ok?

I'm vaguely familiar with Thaïs as the title of an opera, but I don't know anything about the storyline. I think I first encountered it as an example of a dieresis (the double dots on the i to indicate that it is a separate syllable).

I think Taisia would be a good compromise between length and simplicity. ("Just pronounce every letter separately.") I think the name could work in English, but I don't know how much my knowledge of Hungarian is influencing me here.

I like Lydia. I've met exactly one, a baby a few years ago. The only negative to the name is the character in Pride and Prejudice, but as long as your surname isn't Bennett, it's not at all a dealbreaker.

June 29, 2018 07:15 PM
In Response to New long name!

Both of these have been mentioned already, but I figure the anecdotal support can't hurt: I have one friend named Ariadne who often goes by Annie, and another friend Anastasia who often goes by Anna. They both had very common maiden names, and both have commented on their ability to go from anonymous to distinctive and back using their full versus nicknames.

June 27, 2018 08:16 AM

It's kind of a different direction, but the boy name I thought of for you is Blaise: it sounds exactly like the ultramodern Blaze, but it's an old name with centuries of history. Another name I thought of is Basil. (The problem with that is that the herb is usually pronounced differently than the name.)

If you don't mind matching initials, for a girl you could use Azalea, nickname Lea. Or Zinnia? I love the flower, and I think it makes a lovely name, but I can't think of a nickname for it.

June 27, 2018 07:49 AM

I agree with the previous commenters on both of their main points: 1. Primrose is lovely and would age perfectly well, and 2. Don't give twins names with the same initial.

I've expanded on point 2 many times on this board. One objection is due to the common use of surname, initial, and birthdate as main identifiers in places like pharmacies and doctor's offices. If you give twins matching initials, then every single one of those identifiers will be the same. Also, twins need things labeled more often than different-aged siblings, because they're usually the same size, attend the same school and activities, take the same bus, etc. Having different initials to write on the lunch bags can be very handy. Third, and perhaps most important, having different initials can help twins feel individually valued, instead of always just being part of a set.

June 26, 2018 10:37 AM
In Response to Natalie or Natalia?

I think Natalia is more likely to eventually sound dated than Natalie, not as a specific name, but as part of the modern trend for international forms of names instead of the traditional English ones. But I also think the whole concept of "datedness" is dated: names are too diverse nowadays for individual names to be tied to any particular time. Unless Natalie completely falls off the chart, which it is highly unlikely to do, the name will not pinpoint a time period any more specific than "probably born after 1960-ish" -- which will be true of most of the population, thirty or forty years from now.

June 25, 2018 07:16 PM

This site's Name Matchmaker thinks you should like Chloe for the first name and Pearl for the second one. (Those are the overlaps in the first two pages of suggestions based on your eldest three girls versus your youngest three girls.)

Some other ideas for the part after the hyphen: Dawn, Dove, Faith, Fawn, Fay(e), Fern, Fleur, Jade, Lake, Lark, Rain(e), Wren.

The field for "5-7 letters, 2-3 syllables" is very large. A few ideas from Name Matchmaker: Phoebe, Giselle, Julia(na), Stella, Lillian.

June 23, 2018 08:49 AM

The Hungarian baby name book writes that Ella is a coincidence of several nicknames-turned-independent names: 1. based on variants of various Germanic names in Erl-, such as Erlfriede, Erlgard, Erltrud, Erlwine; 2.  based on Elisabeth, Eleonore/a, Helen(e/a); and 3. based on names ending in -ella, such as Gabriella or Petronella.

You can use this site's Name Finder to generate a list of feminine names ending in -ella; I think it's likely to contain at least a few names that fit both your and your husband's tastes.

June 22, 2018 09:57 PM
In Response to Is this an issue?

The danger with Greta is "great shot" jokes.

And I don't think anybody's saying that Claire and clear sound the same. They're simply similar enough that the combination with "shot" brings the set phrase to mind.

June 22, 2018 01:49 PM

Laura Wattenberg did a blog post last summer pointing out that in terms of percentage of babies with any particular name, the U.S. doesn't really have any "popular" baby names any more ( The article looks at it from the angle of "names given to 1% of babies", but another way to look at it is that the percentages that put names in the top 10 nowadays would not have gotten them into the top 25 in previous generations.

My takeaway from that discussion is that it's pointless to discard a name you otherwise like and agree on just because it's "too popular". You could choose something much less popular and your child could still end up with two classmates with the same or similar names, while your child's popularly-named best friend could very well go through school never sharing his or her name with anyone. The name charts cannot predict either outcome, any more.

Sienna and Kendall aren't necessarily trendy, but they are definitely modern: they'd be out of place as character names in a novel set any time before about the 1990s.

Mila feels nicknamey to me, but I know that UK name trends currently favor that diminutive feel, whereas I am very much in harmony with the general American taste for "a full name for the birth certificate". I'd be tempted to recommend Mila as a nickname for Emilia -- but this actually points out another potential problem: how are you pronouncing Mila? I tend to apply "European standard" vowel values as a default, so I get /ME-la/, but you could reasonably intend it to be /MY-la/. It's one of those sound groupings with no clear consensus in English spelling.

June 21, 2018 08:05 PM

Ah, yes, how to make me feel truly ancient: point out that the parents of some of my daughter's classmates were toddlers when I graduated from high school...

June 20, 2018 08:23 PM

I think Peter is an excellent sibling for Abraham. Some name-geekery to perhaps convince you: Abraham derives from Hebrew for "father of many", while Peter is similar to the Greek and Latin word pater "father". The only drawback with Peter is your surname, which is basically a Scottish form of "crag", while Peter's actual etymology is a word for "stone" -- but you could just own it and nickname him Rocky.

As I've said many times on this forum, the best middle names have some type of significance to the name-givers. My immediate thought for you was Jacob, which is a different evolutionary path of the same name that gave us James. If that's too much sibling match for your tastes, you could go with another classic J-name, such as Joseph or John, or something further afield but still Biblical, like Joachim or Jerome. Or you could tie the middle name to your name, with something obvious like a matching initial, or with a less obvious connection such as etymology or associations.