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November 22, 2017 10:39 AM

This was sort of my analysis of Aureliya vs Niyle: The former makes your preferred pronunciation clearer (four syllables rather than three) but the latter makes it much less-clear. As someone who has a non-standard spelling of a familiar name, I would suggest thinking twice about how much of a headache the spelling might be for your child.  I personally am OK with a spelling that won't be the first guess based on hearing a name, if it makes it more likely that the correct pronunciation *will* be the first guess on seeing the name, because correct pronunciation matters more to me than correct spelling. I also think an unusual spelling can be worth it if it doesn't change the pronunciation and the parents think it's much more beautiful or distinctive or culturally authentic. But if the unusual spelling makes correct pronunciation much *less* likely I think the cool look of the name is probably going to be more of a burden than a gift.

(To be honest, this bothers me much more in book characters than in other people's real names, since I can just learn their pronunciation and ignore the spelling. With book characters, on the other hand, I have to constantly connect the spelling with the sound in my head and if they conflict it often pulls me right out of the story. Somewhere on The Writer's Name Board you can read my modest requests from a reader to writers, which includes not having unnecessarily confusing spelling for characters' names.)

November 21, 2017 08:49 AM

I think this is good advice. To most people, her name will be something like /kæθ(ə)ɹɪn/, and the spelling will be an afterthought. Some will default to Catherine, others to Katherine, still others to Kathryn, and probably a few to Katharine or some other variant, so you (or she) will likely have to spell it out at least sixty percent of the time no matter what you pick. So go ahead and choose the spelling you think is prettiest and/or that has the strongest personal association for you.

November 21, 2017 08:05 AM
In Response to Help With Quads!

As someone who has done it both ways, I can highly recommend one at a time for a less fraught pregnancy. There can be a sort of romanticization of multiples, but multiple pregnancies are much more difficult and dangerous, physically. My triplets' unadjusted due date was December 23, fifteen years ago, but we lost Baby B in June and I went into the hospital in early labor with the remaining two in August, so this thread and the recent spate of similar threads are bringing back all sorts of difficult memories.

My best wishes for a happy and healthy delivery to all the women out there who are pregnant with any number of babies.

November 17, 2017 09:38 AM

If you like the idea of a Japanese "second son" name, there are actually quite a few names with this as a (possible) meaning, including a lot of the names that end in -ji; the best known of these is probably Kenji.

You could also go with one of the "third" names, since this will be your third child. I'm partial to some of the -zo names (三 in kanji, for three), like Kenzo, Reizo, Taizo (I like them so much I gave one to my eldest son, with different kanji, as a middle name).

I also wanted to mention--I don't actually think it matters that much how sibling names "go" together, except for some basic considerations like not tripping up household members. To the wide world they'll each be an individual, not part of a sibling set, for the vast majority of their lives. I only included the "Set" discussion because I thought it was an interesting way to think about the names, not at all because I think naming children should follow rules like a card game :).

Also, a bit more about Aldo--it's somewhat of a vintage-revival, as it first charted and peaked in the 1910s and 1920s and then returned to similar levels of popularity about ninety years later (after slowly creeping up the top-1000 starting in the late 1950s). It also has some international appeal, having charted in France, Italy, and Switzerland in the 21st century. Behind the Name says it was originally a short form for names like Aldebrand and Aldric and possibly names like Adelbert and Adolfo.

November 16, 2017 02:14 PM

Congratulations on your new little one, and on getting to come home from the hospital!

I can't quite get past the Casper association, either. I think it's partially because I don't have any other strong associations for the name. There's Caspar Weinberger, but I was so young when he was on the national stage that I actually thought of him as "that ghost guy" whenever his name came up on television or in parental conversation.

On the other hand, I LOVE the name Cass, and also like the long forms Cassian and Cassius (though I prefer the somewhat-deprecated three-syllable pronunciations over the Cash- versions). Caspian is also a good suggestion, especially if you like either the sea or C.S. Lewis associations. I think just-Cass would make a pretty good sibling name for Bram, though.

I agree with NAGA about both Bruno and Wilder.

I think Hayward would be a good choice if you especially want to honor your friend, but not if you're sort of middling about both the name and the honor.

Leland and Winston both lean a bit fustier for me than either of your other names. That's not my personal style, but I can see some appeal in heading in a different direction, name-wise, for a third child. Have you ever played the card game Set? Genevieve, Bram, and Leland or Winston would make a good set: all three are familiar but not super-common, all three have a single common spelling, each has a different syllable count, and each has a slightly different "vibe". Between the two, Winston feels slightly more familiar to me, but Leland is actually somewhat more popular, both historically and in recent usage. I guess that's the power of a single strong namesake.

Apollo seems like an awful lot to live up to. That's the kind of name that can be great if you grow up to be Apolo Ohno, but maybe is harder to wear if you're the introverted geek who prefers board games to sports.

I really like Jiro, particularly if you're Nikkei. If you're not, you might get a lot of questions about where the name comes from, maybe some folks who want to pronounce the J like an H, etc. Even though it's not a super-familiar name to most Westerners, I think it fits in pretty well with the current naming landscape (Milo, Leo, et al). It's a second-son name, so perfectly appropriate here, too.

If not Leopold, any chance you'd both like Aldo?

Good luck!

November 16, 2017 08:30 AM

I like both names, but Layla gets my vote because EW. I would say the initials are not a deal-breaker for a best-beloved name (they don't seem to have hurt Evelyn Waugh any), but for me would be an easy tie-breaker between two equally-loved names.

FWIW, I somewhat prefer the spelling Leila, but I think Layla will more reliably get you the pronunciation you're probably after.

November 15, 2017 10:52 AM
In Response to Pulcheria

I just re-read this whole fun thread (while supposed to be doing something else entirely) and this reminds me of my favorite French tongue-twister (OK, it's the only French tongue-twister I know), "le ver vert va vers le verre vert"—the green worm goes towards the green glass. All the V words sound exactly the same in my bad French accent.

November 15, 2017 09:16 AM

The only name story I remember from this year, in the sense that the name was the story, is Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci.

"The Mooch" is a self-created "title" similar to past Name of the Year winner "The Situation", but with the added twist of being an in-your-face appropriation of an insult that essentially means "someone who requests or takes things they haven't earned". Which is either ironic or painfully unironic for a wealthy investment banker speaking on behalf of Donald Trump, depending on your point of view.

November 14, 2017 10:30 AM

Ah, so I was right about the honey! Thanks, Miriam, this was fascinating, as always. I can easily understand the awe and fear of bears; was there an element of propitiation or literally "turning them up sweet" involved in connecting them to honey, do you think?

November 14, 2017 09:08 AM

Bodhi is a name that makes me uncomfortable on multiple levels: borderline cultural appropriation, reminds me of bodies, doesn't bode well, etc.  Spelling it Bode or Bodie helps with the first, but makes the others worse. As a result I can't really recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a compelling personal/cultural reason to use it. I also do think that it will feel rather dated in another decade, as it has surged out of nowhere on the charts: it was never in the top-1000 in the US until it debuted at #904 in 2010, but by 2016 it was already at #363. That's still a small absolute number of people with the name, but I suspect that it will keep rising for the next several years, then level off for a bit, and then drop just as precipitously, so that virtually all people with that name will have been born in the 2010s. (If it turns out to be a "new classic" I'll regret this super-specific prediction!)

Lucius: If the similarity bothers you or your daughter, that would make it a deal-breaker; otherwise, virtually no one in your son's everyday life is even going to know *his* middle name, let alone his sister's, so it's much less of an issue than having a Christina and then naming your son Christian, say. One caution with this name is to be sure you're OK with both common pronunciations (loo-see-uss and loo-shuss). It's fine if you have one you prefer, but it's almost guaranteed that you'll hear the other one regularly, too, so make sure that won't bug you.

I like both Wolf as a full name and Wolfgang, if you can get past your association. Maybe listen to a bunch of Mozart? I also love the suggestion of Wolfram--it has a slightly sleeker sound, and lots of geek-cred due to Wolfram Alpha (though the Angel Wolfram & Hart association is maybe a wee bit of a drawback). Behind the Name has a list of wolf-related names; some of the more usable-looking include Conor, Conrí, Lowell, Lyall, Ulf, and Zev.

Since your husband really likes Rhett, you might want to make a conscious effort to like it better. If you and your cousin are on good terms, the similarity probably won't be an issue. My daughter's name is a bit of a twist on my cousin's name, thoguh I didn't realize that until after it was chosen, and other than the occasional tongue-slip at family get-togethers it hasn't been an issue at all. It might be different if I didn't get along with her or my aunt, but it's more a sweet, subtle connection than a drawback. Like with Wolfgang, it might help to accumulate some other associations--watch or read Gone with the Wind, look through some of these other Rhetts on Wikipedia, etc. If you go to all this effort and still just don't love it, then you can veto it without regret.

Bray really is just the sound a donkey makes. It might be an OK casual nickname for Braden or Brady, but not as a given name. I almost never say flat-out "don't use it" about a name, but this one crosses a line for me. If you wouldn't name your child Moo or Oink, don't use Bray.

I do like Bear or Baer; if you have a family connection to the surname that would make it more usable in the first name slot, I think, otherwise I agree it would make a fine middle name. Behind the Name also lists bear-related names; I note that Beowulf would actually give you both "bear" and "wolf", since apparently the Old English term for a bear was "bee-wolf" (not sure why--maybe because bears like honey?).

Some other possibilities: Brannoc/Brannock, Bradach/Braddock, Bram or Bramwell, Brennus, Nico, Hugo, Tycho.


November 13, 2017 09:08 AM

I agree with this whole thread. For a C name, either a soft-C like Cecily or a harder-Ch like Chelsea would help distinguish the names, but overall I'd be wary of a third C name unless it's the only one that makes your heart sing.

For a long-form for Elsie, I even think you could do a name that ends in -el or -elle. I think Giselle, called Elsie, would be adorable.

If you do want a really obvious source, Elsinore might be an option, though it's a bit more out-there than your other girls' names--it's the castle in Hamlet, and combines the sounds of Eleanor and Elsie/Elsa.

November 13, 2017 07:54 AM

An honor name is really what you and the honoree make of it. Many people choose to name a child after someone's nickname, rather than their birth certificate name, because that's the name that feels the most connected to the honoree. It sounds like that is the case here--your grandmother feels that Emily IS her name, regardless of what might (or might not) have gone on a birth certificate.

If your grandmother's health will still allow it, then by all means, ask her if she wishes you had been named Emilia (and called Emily); if she says yes, you have your answer. On the other hand, if she says no, that she's happiest with your name as-is, then you also have your answer.

If your grandmother isn't well enough to participate in the discussion, then I would suggest leaving it alone right now. You know that she is happy that you are named Emily, and you don't know whether a change would upset her, so better to err on the side of caution. You can always change it later, if you do get confirmation that her birth name was Emilia and it would help you feel more connected to your grandmother to match that more exactly. In that case you would be doing it mainly for you, not to tell her, with faith that she knows how special your connection is regardless of names.

Good luck--it sounds like you have a lovely name connected to a lovely lady, either way.

November 12, 2017 11:43 AM

Forgot to mention—the initials would give me a bit of pause. It's obviously not an inherently negative word, like if you were naming her Fen Lily Alice or Camellia Opal, and initials aren't always used. But if, say, she ends up at a school or employer where initials are the basis of email addresses I could see getting some doubletakes (whether you are Jewish or not). It's not a deal-breaker, but I'd give it some thought.

One possibility that would let you keep your favorite middle and change the initials would be to add another middle before or after Elizabeth. (As a name enthusiast, I love double middle for letting you use more awesome names, but they also have some issues; there have been numerous discussions here about the pros and cons if you're interested.)

November 11, 2017 10:59 PM

I think an L name would be a brilliant solution—when you think about it, your older girls' names also start with "L" (el), so you'd all match. If you wanted, you could use an L form of Elizabeth, like Liza or Lisbet or Lillian, to honor the meaningful Elizabeths in your life

November 11, 2017 11:34 AM

If I met a child named Boomer, I would assume his or her parents were big Battlestar Galactica fans, so that's something to consider. I think the shows (especially the more recent version) have probably made the name a little more usable, but it does still sound more like a nickname or a call sign than a name in its own right. Doable, but I do think you'll get more questions and raised eyebrows than for your other choices.

I think if you really love both Alton and Boomer, you might consider Alton Boomer, and call him both (either as a double-barreled name or alternating, depending on your and his moods—like when you're at a formal occasion he's Alton, but when he's banging on pots and pans in the kitchen he's Boomer :).

For Finn, perhaps you could find some connections you aren't currently aware of? Read Huckleberry Finn together, connect it to the dolphin-watching trip you took on your honeymoon, have it partially represent your Finnish or Irish great-grandmother, etc. (Obviously I'm just making up all but the first of those, but you get the idea.) As an Irish name it comes from Fionn, as in Fionn mac Cumhail or Finn MacCool of Irish myth, and as a Norse name it basically means "Finnish person".

November 11, 2017 11:19 AM
In Response to Second baby!

I love Edmund and Nico. If it were me, I would probably hold on to those two as top contenders (while letting the others percolate quietly in the background, just in case).

I agree that Edmund wouldn't cause any commentary from children at all (and also no eye rolling from adults, which in my experience is now much more common than schoolyard teasing when it comes to names). 

To me, Nico is a complete-enough name that I don't think you need to stretch to find a long form if there's not one you both really like. I know it's a thing now in the US to have a long,  "formal" version for every name, but I also know plenty of "just Johns" and "just Drews" and "just Sues" and I don't think any of them were traumatized by the experience. There are enough little Milos and Leos and Theos in the world that Nico will fit right in, and not feel too nickname-y. It's also worth thinking about how you and your spouse would feel if you named a child Nicholas with the intention of calling him Nico but he decided he wanted to go exclusively by Nicholas or Nick or Cole.

It sounds like you already know that Roman and Callum aren't going to be the name, so I'd go ahead and take them off the list (though it's useful for us to see them if you're still looking for other names to add).

I can't tell whether you really love Oliver but don't want to get too attached in case it's snaffled before you can use it, or if you're more lukewarm to it and kind of hoping it will get snaffled.

Of your other names, Lowen is not my personal cup of tea, but I think would work just fine. I kind of see what you mean about Maxwell with your daughter's name. In general, I don't think it matters too much whether sibling names "go together" since they're going to spend most of their lives as individuals, not a set, but YOU will be saying their names together a LOT, so if you don't like them together that's definitely worth considering. Similarly, I really like Julian for you, but if your class rereads Wonder every year that association probably won't fade as easily for you as if it were a one-time thing.

November 11, 2017 10:50 AM

I think you will probably get more replies if you start a new thread of your own. Feel free to do so (there's a link at the top of the page listing all the questions).

FWIW, I suspect Amison will be popular in some circles, and controversial in others (because of the -son ending for a girl). I would probably guess the pronunciation to be exactly like Jamison without the J, so something like A-mis-sun or AME-uh-sun.

November 10, 2017 08:49 AM
In Response to Middle name for Helena

I don't think Amethyst runs together that much with Helena, because to me Helena ends in a schwa but Amethyst begins with a stressed A-as-in-cat sound, which somehow isn't as trippy for me as some other vowel-vowel connections. You also might try out Amethyst as a first name (like give it at the coffee shop as your name) and see if it gets more comfortable. However, if you really don't think you can use Amethyst in either spot, maybe you'd like another jewel name? Helena Ruby, Helena Jewel, Helena Garnet, Helena Beryl, Helena Jade. 

Instead of Rhoswen, maybe Royse? It's another British Isles rose-name, Medieval English instead of Welsh.

When you say you want to scream 'British', who's your target audience? Modern British naming tends toward the nickname-y as a prime distinguishing characteristic from American naming (lots of the top names overlap, like Olivia, Ava, Emily, Isabella). So names like Lottie and Poppy and Millie. You can see the recent top-500 for England and Wales here.

A few other random names from somewhere between 100 & 500 on the England/Wales list that I think sound especially British and work well Helena (least popular first):

Carys, Pixie, Lilly-Mae (these hyphenated, cute names really scream "British" to me), Astrid (not actually British by origin, but still feels more British than American; also European), Saoirse (Irish Gaelic, pronounced SEER-sha), Gracie-Mae, Bella-Rose, Agnes (still not quite ripe for revival in the US, but #361 on the British list), Verity (British & Victorian), Rosalie, Lily-Mae, Isla-Rose (a twofer, since one half of the hyphenate is distinctly Scottish), Lily-Rose, Ella-Rose (OK, basically any two-syllable name with five or fewer letters hyphenated with Rose), Primrose, Esmee (also Esmae, #115, & Esme, #35), Penny, Beatrix, Edith

November 10, 2017 08:20 AM
In Response to Middle name for Ria

Do you know any of her criteria?

  • - If there are people she wants to honor, or some other sentimental connection she'd like to acknowledge that can be a useful jumping off point. For example if she wanted to honor her mother but didn't like her Mom's name we could help think of related names, or if she's a scientist or a musician and wants a name that has something to do with that we could help think of possibilities.

- It's also helpful if you give us an idea of what kind of style and sound she'd prefer. For example, since Ria is a sleek two syllables, maybe she would like a one- or three-syllable name that's very traditional.

Based solely on sound, I would probably look for either a one-syllable name, a two syllable name with the stress on the second syllable, or a name with three or more syllables. Also, since Ria ends in a vowel sound I'd probably avoid names that start with a vowel. So something like Ria Grace or Ria Delphine or Ria Gwendolyn.

November 9, 2017 12:46 PM
In Response to Evelyn and Jocelyn?

It's closer than I would want, personally, but if it's the name you really love I think it's fine. I always wanted all my kids' names to have distinct sounds, but ended up with two different names ending in -s anyway. What really matters is whether it's too close for you.