No info yet

About Me

No info yet

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
May 29, 2017 07:00 PM

There was a discussion a few years ago on the forum on the topic of the usability (or rather, lack thereof) of the name Echo:

May 28, 2017 06:35 PM

Cameron would have to be the middle name. (George, Lucas, James, Cameron: if the boys share bedrooms in pairs by age, then the elder boys would get a Star Wars theme, and the younger two would get an Avatar theme.)

May 26, 2017 09:30 AM
In Response to Unique Flower Name

How about Mauve instead of Malva? The one is the color of the other. (In Hungarian, you kind of have to specify: mályva-virág 'malva-flower [mallow, hollyhock]' or mályva-szin 'malva-color [mauve]'.)

I've never heard of the Seinfeld episode, so obviously I wouldn't think of it. (I had to look up Mulva in Wikipedia.) I think Malva may be quite usable by now -- the TV show is becoming less and less relevant amidst all the new and bewildering array of pop culture associations.

May 26, 2017 09:08 AM

I have a stepsister-in-law named Molly, and I know two six-year-olds with this name, so I wouldn't even blink at meeting another one of any age. (How on earth do people manage to misspell it?) I'm pretty sure that one of the young Mollys is either a birth-certificate Mary or named for a Mary, but the adult has Molly as her full name.

Before I got to your second paragraph, I was thinking of suggesting Mary for you. As you've found out, Molly originates as a nickname for Mary (as does Polly), so while the "directionality" is traditionally the other way, the association is long-standing and therefore natural.

The change doesn't need to be anything formal: you can leave Molly in all the official places, and continue to answer to it among family and friends -- who presumably will not misinterpret it or misspell it! -- but use Mary in new instances of the sorts of contexts where you've experienced trouble with Molly. As other commenters have suggested, start with "throw-away" situations like restaurants or coffee shops. If the change significantly reduces your name frustration, you can start using Mary among co-workers and other such casual acquaintances. Whether you then move it into even wider circulation is up to you -- there are many people who use different names in public versus private life.

May 24, 2017 05:38 AM

Funny story about chrysanthemum (the plant/flower name): I was having a conversation with a neighbor as she did a bit of garden work. She was pulling up dried-out small bushes, and I asked, "are those ex-chrysanthemums?" Her answer: "no, they were mums."

I think the story is relevant to use of the flower as a baby name: people think of "chrysanthemum" as being extremely long and complicated, to the point that it has become completely disassociated from its short form.

May 20, 2017 08:55 AM

Imogen is lovely, although you're right that its U.S. usage is more esoteric than your other three. One interesting factoid: Imogene (with the extra 'e') had a peak around the 1920s, same as Dorothy, Eleanor, and Louise (but not Louisa).

Any interest in a different Juli- name? Julia, Juliana, Julianna, or Julianne could all be nicknamed Juliet.

Two other ideas: Cecily and Beatrice. Yes, Cecily repeats the ending of Dorothy, but it's familiar yet never in the top 1000, which works well with a common surname.

May 20, 2017 08:44 AM
In Response to FIrst Name For Lórien

My not-quite-seven-year-old daughter just named a new unicorn puppet Rosabell. Lunabell(e) rather falls into the same category, unfortunately.

I think the alliteration of Luna Lórien is a positive trait.

May 17, 2017 08:41 AM

Names don't have meanings. They have derivations (etymologies) and associations. As a source for said derivations and associations, you can't trust most baby name books and websites, but the regulars on this forum generally agree that Behind the Name is fairly reliable for names in common English usage. It can be incomplete for other languages, but it doesn't engage in the flights of fancy and fabrication that other sites are known for. (Unfortunately, BNW's Namipedia is firmly in the "don't trust" group.)

Off the top of my head, names with derivations related to the ones you list:

Cornelia, Julia, Paloma, Clara, Bridget, Adele, Susanna, Anna.

(Some of the connections are tenuous at best, but I went for names I like. I'm fairly sure that the second honoree is actually Linda, but I like my name a lot more, and the usual [Roman folk] etymology is from a Greek word meaning 'downy, fuzzy'.)

If you want to expand the field, look into masculine names. Many, many masculine names have feminine counterparts, so cross-gender namesakes are easy in the male-to-female direction. Plus, if you're trying to match etymologies rather than actual names, then gender is irrelevant.


I didn't have a clue what pop culture reference you were worrying about. It sounds like a decent movie, and the title characters are brother and sister, so it doesn't have the "ick" factor of something like Henry and Eleanor (for a history nerd like me, anyway).

May 17, 2017 07:46 AM
In Response to Twins!

I would pair Hugh with Rhys, but don't quite know what to do with Hugo.

Have they given any hints about the lengths of the names?


Whatever method you use for generating your long list, I suggest reading (or re-reading) Laura's blog post on "narrowing up" before you start trying to shorten the list:

As for how to get a managable long list... I found it helped to start with an older (read: shorter) baby name book. For English names, I recommend Withycombe. (The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names by E.G. Withycombe.) A side benefit of starting there is that it's a fairly scholarly work, meaning that the derivations and histories are supported by evidence rather than invented from whole cloth or copied verbatim from someone else's flight of fancy.

Another approach is to start with the Baby Name Wizard book. Each person gets a few days to look through the book and decide which categories (pick two or maybe three) best fit his or her taste in names. You don't have to like every name in the category, but ideally it shouldn't include any names you dislike for purely stylistic reasons. (If you dislike a few of the names because of bad personal associations, the category can still be the one that best describes your style.) If you both choose the same category, then those names can be your starting list. If there's no overlap in style grouping, there may still be overlap in names, because some names fit in more than one group. It'll be a shorter list, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Another source for names is genealogy. This is especially true if you'd like to include a family honor name. For this purpose, you don't need to go back very far -- your great-grandparents will probably do. Compare the names on your tree with the ones on your spouse's tree; chances are that there are repeats, especially if you think about names as a genealogist, not as a modern parent. (That is, Johannes is the same thing as Joannes, Johann, John, Jack, Ian, Ivan, Hans, Jean, Jan, etc.) Find out as much as you can about the people who bore the repeating names, and move the ones with good stories to the top of the list.

May 15, 2017 02:58 PM
In Response to Alexa?

We're not alone:

Can you rename the thing? If yes, is it a set list of options, or can you choose anything?

May 14, 2017 11:27 PM
In Response to FIrst Name For Lórien

There is no name that's as popular today as the top names of the 1970s and 80s. In fact, the top names of today are less than half as popular as the top names of 30 years ago. Last year, only Emma and Olivia broke the 1% mark. In 1985, Jessica, Ashley, Jennifer, and Amanda were all above 2%, and the top 11 were all above 1%. (It's even more impressive for boys: last year, no boy's name was given to an entire percent of baby boys. In 1985, the top two [Michael and Christopher] were both above 3%, and the top 22 were above 1%.)

Unless you live in some sort of Tolkien-fandom-super-pocket, your child's middle name will be sufficient to disambiguate if necessary. Choose the name you like best and stop worrying about name repetition. :-)

May 14, 2017 11:03 PM
In Response to FIrst Name For Lórien

According to the SSA, the lowest Elizabeth has ever ranked is 26th, in 1948. It currently ranks 13th. So yeah, perennial favorite, but use "only out of the top 25 once in 135 years" for a more accurate -- and more impressive! -- description. :-)

But your main point stands: numeric popularity is only a small part of the equation. The other factors are totally unpredictable random coincidences. I just had a conversation today that supplied another anecdote: at a smallish suburban elementary school, there are currently two boys named Odin.

May 14, 2017 09:31 AM
In Response to I need a middle name!!

Tyler and Taylor are very similar in sound, and Andrew and Marie are similar in style. Eldon can derive from an English placename meaning 'Ella's hill', so maybe Ella or Elizabeth? (Other possible derivations of the surname Eldon: 'old servant' or 'swan valley'.)

(If you're saying Allyse the way I'm reading it, I think you'd encounter a lot fewer spelling and pronunciation headaches if you spelled it Alice.)

May 13, 2017 09:17 PM
In Response to FIrst Name For Lórien

Is it really a problem if your child shares her name with a few others? Think of "popular" as "well-liked", and don't let other people decide for you. (Popularity is a numerical representation of other parents' choices. If you talk yourself out of a name just because other parents have chosen it as well, you're essentially allowing those other parents to make your decision for you.)

For some perspective... Luna was given to 3645 babies in the U.S. last year, which is 0.1898% of female births. That's less than one in 500. In 1995, that percentage of baby girls fell somewhere between Jamie (rank 93) and Kaitlin (rank 94). In 1972 (the year I was born), it fell somewhere between Carla and Deanna (106/107th). I cannot recall a single Carla or Deanna in my acquaintance, in school or since. (Ditto for Jamie and Kaitlin, but I don't know very many twenty-somethings.)


Lucidian, Amazon is definitely culpable for the fall in Alexa, and very probably for Alexis as well. In fact, I would argue that Alexander would still be about one place higher in the rankings (that is, still in the top 10) if it weren't for the gadget's name.

(Is the device's name hard-wired, or can you change it?)

May 11, 2017 05:42 PM
In Response to Alexa?

Yes, and amelia means 'lacking a limb'. It's convergent evolution: Alexia the name comes from Greek, alexia the medical term comes from Latin. (Amelia is the reverse: the name comes from Latin or Old Germanic, the term for the birth defect comes from Greek.) I don't think the medical terms make the names unusable.

May 9, 2017 11:10 PM

What I noticed about Eaven was that it's 'heaven' with the 'h' chopped off. I'm not sure what pronunciation I would guess for it if I encountered it "in the wild". "Rhymes with Steven" is certainly among the possibilities, but so are "rhymes with heaven" and "rhymes with haven".

May 9, 2017 11:01 PM

As has been said many times on these forums, the best middle names have some sort of significance. Honor names, like your suggestions of Jesse and Beatrice, are just one possible source or type of significance. Is there a place (town, street, park, whatever) that is important to the parents as a couple? A flower or other plant that evokes good memories? A character from a mutual favorite book/movie/game?

Another thing that has been pointed out often is that middle names disappear in everyday life. First-time parents are especially prone to agonizing over the flow of the middle name, and/or its stylistic match with the other parts of the name, but this is totally unnecessary. If there are two equal contenders, then the sound and style of the full name can be used as tiebreakers, but they should not otherwise be significant factors in the naming decision.

A third common observation regarding middle names is that it's often pleasing if there's some sort of contrast between first and middle, such as length or style. This gives the child flexibility in name usage: if there's a context in which the first name just doesn't fit, the middle name can be an easy alternative.

There's not much to go on in your question, but a few specific suggestions: instead of Jesse, Jessica? (Claire Jessica S. works especially well to my ear.) Would Beatrix instead of Beatrice appeal to them? Rita originates as an Italian diminutive of Margherita, which is Margaret in English: Claire Margaret S. or Claire Margherita S.? (If they're thinking of more than one child, I don't recommend this last option, because it basically uses up both of their current favorite names.)