About Me

Mum to Jo1y0n Max, Rup3rt James, Th0masina Adele, and Wi1fr3d George.

My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
November 18, 2017 04:12 PM
In Response to Help With Quads!

In the meantime I am contemplating triplet girl names for the chickens we will get in spring. Casterdella, Dineen and...???

November 18, 2017 10:48 AM
In Response to Help With Quads!

You may be interested to know that just last week we had a poster chosing the names Temperence, Lani and Jade for their triplets... I would have thought those names are very eclectic, but much to my surprise, purportedly different people think those unusual names and sounds make natural groupings for their higher order multiples.

Amazing coincidence, but if next week anyone is tempted to elaborate on the fun with a quintuplet (or more!) addition, I advise moving to the Name Games board for purely fanciful constructing of sibling groups, where no one will become annoyed that the children under discussion are figments of the imagination.

November 15, 2017 12:46 PM

Bodhi does have cultural appropriation issues for me when used by vaguely spiritual white people. Bode, well, bodes poorly for correct pronunciation. Bodie probably has the best of all compromises, but I do think it is a name that's likely to be very datestamped to the teens.

If your daughter's name is Lucy, I too would have reservations about giving your son the name Lucian. It's essentially giving the same name twice. 

I have a baby Wilfr3d whom we call Wolf as a nickname (not 100% of the time, but it's in regular circulation). Wolf is I think a very wearable name, and Wolfgang is my favorite on your list. If Wolfgang is too much (I don't myself), I think just-Wolf or Wolfram are great alternate suggestions. 

Rhett is very Gone with the Wind, but I imagine you know that. I would not worry about an extended family member named Brett... unless he lived with you in the same household, I don't think that's problematic. If Brett-the-cousin is a regular feature of your lives, you could consider Everett, with Rhett as a nickname, since the longer form in the home would allow for easier disambiguation when Rhett and Brett are in the same room. But still, Brett and Rhett are NOT the same name so I don't see this being much of an issue.


November 11, 2017 07:18 PM
In Response to Girl options

If the royal association is a strong one, and your partner might be the best judge there, I agree that it might be best left off at this particular moment in Catalan history. Pity: it's a beautiful name (Elinor was on our list, too).

I think if you don't like the FLAY pronunciation of Flavia, I'd axe it, as that will be how the name gets handled by all English speakers in your lives, and you do in fact have English speaking branches of the family. 

Florence is a great name. I like Ren/Wren as a nonstandard nickname choice for this if Flo and Flossie aren't feeling quite right, and I think the unusual nickname option would help it keep up in interest-level with your daughter's name. 

I think I prefer Isolde, especially with a t-containing name, but I think either way this is a superb choice, and I think it holds up to your daughter's name in terms of wow-factor.  

I love Octavia, another one on my own list, and I certainly don't think you need to have seven other kids before Octavia becomes usable. It's worth noting, though, that we had sort of the same reservations as you about just preferring to use it with an 8-connection, since the root is so up front and transparent.

I wouldn't want to use Rosemary with Ivy, even if a nickname... especially without other children acting as a buffer.

Sybil/Sibyl- the spelling on this one would make me a bit crazy, with the y and i being interchangable and without a clear standard. It's a lovely name, though. Could you use Sibilla without the mark in English speaking contexts, where the pronunciation would be the same? I find the y-free spelling very pleasing, and less confusing to explain.

I kind of love Ursula and think it's perfectly usable. I would go read every thread by PennyX/Mirnada. The discussions go on and on because she was agonizing about it for many years. Everyone was very pro-Ursula pretty consistently throughout that era, and then she actually DID get a chance to use it! 

November 10, 2017 11:53 PM

I immediately thought of Artemisia for you, a name I love which is I think a lot less directly associated with the goddess due to the different pronunciation, plus gives you some cool historical namesakes (a Greek queen, a renaissance artist) also the name of a genus of plants (in the daisy family). 

November 7, 2017 10:54 AM

I truly don't think Rollo has roly-poly problems-- and it is worth noting that it's not a term I hear in the mouths of young people except to refer to isopods (in the most affectionate of ways-- the students who called the that and not pill bugs, woodlice, etc. tended to be the most positive about them). The language for referring to plump or chubby people has moved on, I think.  


Also, I think people besides grandparents are very unlikely to nickname such a short and sweet name. 

November 6, 2017 10:15 PM

It makes your current strategy of ignoring the news seem like a very sound one, frankly... I am stuck in trainwreck rubbernecking mode myself. 

I feel like I should go ask my spouse what names she would recommend, because I think her naming instincts tent to run towards sleeker, smoother names whereas I tend to feel more comfortable actually bestowing clunkier, ornate behemoths. Cyril, Cecil, Basil? Maybe something like Merle or Bram or Carl, maybe Vern? Those run the gamut from courtly to more homespun, and I fully agree about Jasper sitting at the intersection of those two style groups. It would, I think, be nice to find another name that sort of straddles that boundary: Virgil or Homer, maybe Roland? It's too bad about -x names, otherwise I'd want to recommend Rex - I recently met one, and it was delightful (and not at all overly canine).

Other -o names: might you like Ivo or Tycho? Perhaps Waldo or Vito?

From what's left on your list as contenders, Leon seems like an obvious choice, but I really like Roscoe as well if you're feeling like you can't go in with just one name! 

November 5, 2017 09:23 PM

Oh, I'm so happy to hear an update, and that J@5per is expecting a little brother! 

Milo was my spouse's favorite name, I think strongly influenced by the Phantom Tollbooth. I vetoed it -- too energy drink, maybe, but mostly just didn't feel like it could be my kid. At some point last year when Mr Yiannopolous started hitting the news in a more major way, she at one point turned to me and said, "you know, I'm really glad we didn't name our kid Milo." That was even before Mr Yiannopoulos was at the center of a shooting at our place of work. We DO have a cat named Milo and it is indeed a very nice name, and I'm sure that your Milo would become the major association for your circle of friends quite quickly, but I thought I'd mention it. It's worth noting that we're in the LGBT community, where this particular Milo looms a bit larger and is probably discussed a bit more, in addition to the incident with the protestor being shot being obviously close to home... so I feel like for straight people in the rest of the country, it is likely to be a much more subdued association.

I love Leon. I know what you mean by the awkwardness of the second syllable, I have a Jo1yon whose last syllable has a similar issue, but I'm happy to say that it becomes less problematic with familiarity, or did for me. I also do not think of Leon as an Old Jewish Man name at all. Leonard, yes, but Leon is really free of any particular associations for me. (It is a fairly popular name in Germany, for what it's worth, which is another data point in the "not a Jewish name" association.) I think using Leo as a nickname is a great have-your-cake-and-his-too solution.

Arlo with your surname isn't too much Ar sound for me, but it does make me think of Mr Guthrie. Oscar is on the other side of too much repetition with your surname, and I think it is a lot of -er with his big brother's name (which isn't an absolute dealbreaker, but nice to avoid if possible).

Felix is a great name but I would not use it with your surname. First names running into surnames is something that I'd chose to avoid if you have other options on the table without that problem... and your surname is unusual enough that I think it really would be parsed as Felix Arkissian regularly in a way that Felix Smith probably wouldn't. If you decided that Felix was THE NAME then I think the graduation announcer pause obviously solves it, but especially with a lengthy surname I would avoid the need for it if you can. 

I like Roscoe! I think it's perfectly usable, and it's the sort of name that's definitely back in the area I live in. I would be less concerned about Ross as a nickname -- it's just two syllables! -- but your child will have determined grandparents, it sounds like. I would try to treat it as a pet name rather than a nickname and just ignore what the grandparents make of the name... I think the rest of the world will be much less determined. Somewhat analogously, we have a Wilfr3d where I think only once or twice have people asked if we're using Will as a nickname... and there I think it's a fusty name with a really on trend nickname. Ross is less on-trend, so I think it'll be even less assumed. The age of assumed nicknames by the general public is an all-time low, so it's been a total non-issue for us... but grandparents are the exception. In our case, we have steered grandparents in search of a nickname towards one we liked better (Wolf), which I think helps (the grandparents who didn't like that option are thus determinedly using the full name). I know a Coe (adult), would that be more palatable to you to present to the grandparents?

Ezra is a name that strikes me as being very Biblical, still. Like, there's an actual BOOK of Ezra, correct? I wouldn't be exactly surprised to find an Ezra in a nonreligious family, as it's a very popular set of sounds, but it's a name that I would not feel entirely comfortable using myself, as someone who is neither Jewish nor Christian. 

We know several young Edmunds in our kids friend-circles! It's a great name, and one I long liked, but I also couldn't quite use it either. They all go by Edmund, actually, although one family thought they'd use Ned they never quite got it to stick. 

I really like the name Ira, but that one does have strong Jewish (cultural, not necessarily religious) associations for me. I don't think it needs to be a problem, and I would think it was completely fine for a non-Jewish family to use Ira, as well. 

If you like Theodore but have Theo-root issues, have you thought about Theodoric? Different root, equally fashionable name. I think you'd have to do some schooling on the Thee-OH-dor-ic pronunciation, but I love it.


November 5, 2017 08:39 PM

Whoops! I stand corrected. My browser has this annoying feature where the first line is mostly obscured when in the #new version of the page, as default, so I didn't register the girl part.

Isn't Augustine the French and German feminine form?

November 5, 2017 07:15 PM

I love it! I would assume it is being considered for a boy, but given how many other -ine endings are used as feminizations, e.g. Ernestine and Josephine, I'm frankly just fine with considering Augustine as a female name as well, and I like it in that context as well. It's very regularly used for half as many girls as boys, since the start of the SSA data being collected, so this is not a new controversial unisex name in the US, either.

My kid is friends with a young Gus, and Augie's is the name of a local establishment, and I think it's an absolutely very wearable name with many nickname options. It does have some pronunciation ambiguity, but I think that needn't be hugely problematic. Though I'm guessing you have a preference and will have a pronunciation that you use, I would approach it with a zen attitude that both are correct pronunciations of his name in different languages/regions, so I wouldn't feel the need to correct every random person who says it the other way, either. People who feature regularly in his life will probably upon hearing you say his name regularly then pick up the pronunciation you desire.

November 1, 2017 06:00 AM

 I have a Rupert and a Wilfred (sometimes called Wolf) so you might enjoy looking through the other favorite  names listed on my profile! I love all your choices-- Edward and Alexandra seem a step more towards the well loved classic end and others, especially Wallace and Winifred, more toward the delightfully fusty-clunky side. Roscoe, Greta and Rufus give me a slightly more hipster-y flavor. I might consider other feminizations of male standards, perhaps Walter and Edmund as well. I think it might be worth considering if you plan on potentially having more children, as some of your names are too similar for me to want to use on siblings, so there is the potential for doing some sorting and picking your favorite Win- name, for example.

October 26, 2017 12:01 AM
In Response to Impossible Boy's Name

How did you end up with the miracle of Annabel? KNowing the answer to that might help with trying to repeat the miracle. Does he like it because it's a family name or has sentimental meaning to you? Can he articulate what about it made him fall in love with it and made it possible for him to see it on his child?

I think I would hand him some name books and perhaps the URL of (which is very comprehensive and can be sorted in different ways) and ask him to start generating ideas of names he DOES like... or set him loose on the Name Matchmaker on this site, where he can input names that he likes but aren't quite right for some reason and get similar names suggested. Often when one person is very picky and dislikes most names, it's because they've gotten to play the role of just having names served to them on a platter for perusal and their job is to veto or approve. That's not fair; he may find that he is more charitably inclined to really consider choices when he discovers how much work goes into generating lists of names one likes. :)

The other suggestion that I found fun for when you have too many choices is doing tournament where you do pairwise considerations between names, and devote some time to really considering the merits that appeal to you about each name and seeing what rises to the top. It sounds like that isn't your problem, though... and what really is needed is for him to trawl the universe of names and come up with suggestions he likes, or could live with.

Ultimately, the goal is to name the baby, and that has to happen, so if he doesn't LOVE any of the choices, perhaps he needs to settle for a name that he doesn't dislike, which he can grow to love because it will be the name of his child whom he will love beyond reason. 

I also recommend really trying to let particular favorites of the other spouse grow on you. One of my kids has a name that I was really not sold on when the spouse first suggested it to me. "It's a fine name," I said, "but it just doesn't feel like my kid." I gave it a try though and tried to let the spouse's enthusiasm sell me on the name. What really helped is reading books and consuming media with different characters/people with the name.  By the time I was approaching the end of pregnancy, it DID feel like it could be my kid.

Which name books sort of depend on what parts of the name universe he'd like to explore. The BNW book is a good one for more common names... the Paul/Charles/Annabels will definitely have entries there, and the graphs and sibling suggestions and the name lists on the back make it a particularly easy book to browse by methods other than going alphabetically through. (Perhaps that's how he ended up liking Annabel and Zev?) Finding what his overall naming style is may make it easier to come up with areas of overlap with your own. 

For your more adventurous taste off the beaten path it might be more restricted in utllity, i.e., you may not expect Thurgood to have an entry. For you I might recommend and also the delightfully eclectic Llewellyn's Complete Book of Names: For Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens, Mages, Shamans & Independent Thinkers of All Sorts. 

October 25, 2017 01:05 PM

Where we live it's soft Christmas carols as well. The first time we encountered it, we had a dinner party and had been playing background music, but the record came to an end. Suddenly music started to swell and we were really confused about what kind of weird malfunctioning it was, but then the music crescendoed and a fire truck stopped at our house, firefighters came to our door and handed our child a teddy bear, and went off into the night as the carols ebbed. It was really surreal; we have no idea how they knew we had a child who might like a visit just a couple of months after we'd moved in. Otherwise, you have to go and meet the Santa Engine on its route! (This very charming practice has since stopped because the legal requirements for driving the pumper have been upped to people who have a commercial license, and now they don't have the wo/manpower to spare... I think someday after my kids are all in school i might step up as a volunteer for the fire department.)


Anyway! Sirena! I wouldn't do it as a call name, personally -- though I'm not a native Spanish speaker, and I don't live in Latin America either. Serena or Selena would strike me as a more livable choice with similar sounds, or for the origin story the other Siren-associated names (Lorelei, Ondine, Melusina). I do think Sirena, as is, would be a great middle name, where the commentary wouldn't be as constant due to the lower exposure, and young ___ Sirena would be able to use the middle name only when she wanted to stand out. 

October 15, 2017 09:54 PM
In Response to Names like Thessaly

I have a hard time with Th and S in the same word sometimes, so I find Thessaly challenging to say. My favorite th-sound name is Theodosia, which is certainly unusual, and Thora is another super choice. (My favorite name that begins with a Th is Thomasina, though, though it's missing the sound.)

Other names that strike me as having some similar sounds or rhythms: Thisbe, Persephone, Circe.

October 15, 2017 09:48 PM
In Response to Irene or Irena?

I like Irene better, although Irena is also a fine name. I think it's one of those names that's ready for a comeback just around now... it has a similar heft to other slightly dinery choices that have been revived more throughly, like say Hazel.

For what it's worth, I (an American) would vacillate a little bit with pronouncing Irena in a more foreign-ish sort of way (ee-REH-nah?) or pronouncing it like Irene+a. Irene would get your desired pronunciation much more reliably, although there's also the older eye-REE-nee pronunciation for it, as in the Forsyte Saga, which I also think is very pretty.

October 11, 2017 04:09 PM
In Response to Jesusita

Yes, absolutely on the -ita ending being often added on as a pet name even when it's not on the birth certificate. I know a Sara who goes by Sarita for disambiguation from the other Sara in the household where she lives. Tomasito is adorable, and I really like Alvarito (and Alvaro) as well!

October 10, 2017 09:04 PM
In Response to Jesusita

Jesusa is the feminization, and Jesusita is a diminuitive of it. Just like Gretchen, it's gotten a fair bit of use as a given name -- there are about half as many Jesusitas as Jesusas in the SSA data, consistently... and they've both seen steady use, especially in the first half of the 1900s. I imagine the allure of the -ita ending increased with names like Rita. 

October 10, 2017 08:58 PM
In Response to Boy name

Ditto about Fletcher being my favorite of the occupation surname names; for me I think it's because archery is so fun and also an added boost because it's so great to finally be able to discuss Fletcher without it triggering the spam filter. (This was just because it had the characters etc in the middle: Gretchen was similarly banned.) Even before the lure of the forbidden was extended over Fletcher, I really liked the name and it's very wearable (my kids have a classmate named Fletcher).

I love the soap opera influence for you: sometimes those formative impressionable years have a big impact. I wonder sometimes what style grooves I've worn on my children inadvertently.

October 9, 2017 10:54 AM
In Response to Gender of Callahan

And, since no one is really answering your question about gender bending names, I would suggest looking at your own family tree and seeing if there are any surnames that you might like. I suspect that  grandparents might take a more favorable view of a gender-neutral surname-name if it's one that has a personal connection.

October 9, 2017 10:44 AM
In Response to Gender of Callahan

I think once a name becomes entrenched as a surname, even if it derives from a masculine given name originally, then it becomes rather more reasonable to consider it as a unisex item. Surnames as first names aren't my personal naming style, but if it's yours, I see no reason why the family surnames shouldn't be fair game to all the kids as given names... and the same for surnames you don't have in the family tree, although I can see the allure of those less from a personal perspective.

Carrying on with the "totally a unisex name", unpopular minority opinion though it might be around here, Callahan's history of unisex use is about as long as its use as a given name. It only triggers the 5+ babies of a gender threshhold for occasional years in the mid-80s for a small number of boys, but in 1988 there were 7 girls born named Callahan, as well as 6 boys. For a while (through the 90s) the male and female usage is pretty tied, with some years there being a few more boys and others a few more girls. Turn of the century it becomes a little more popular for boys, but still being used for over half as many girls. I'd still consider it a unisex choice now: although the name has taken off more for boys in recent years, so in the last few years ratio has gone from more like 4 boys/girl, it's continuing to be used at exactly the same rate for girls. I suspect the reason it's not taking off for girls alongside the boys is because Callie is a slightly dated nickname these days, whereas the sounds feel a little fresher on a boy. 

Bottom line, if it's a name you like, I see no reason why you couldn't give it to your child absent of any expectations of their gender. Although it's not the tack I took in naming my kids, I think there's something really fun about just naming your baby before you find out the sex (and extrapolate the gender from that). The fact that Callahan has Callie, a very mainstream female name, as a nickname means that if your daughter ever wanted a more gender-coded name, she could have one (possibly two, if you consider Hanna as another possible nickname)... and likewise, Cal (or Han, as in Solo) would be fairly traditional masculine choices to spinoff from the same given name.