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May 23, 2019 03:59 PM
In Response to How is this sibset?

Excellent! I'm always a little worried that my knowledge of non-local slang terms gleaned from the media might be based on ignorant misunderstandings or malicious misdirection ;-). I would love to know if you run across an authentic  "cor blimey!"

May 20, 2019 09:57 AM
In Response to Stuck Between Names

How much more do you like Shane on its own? I think the flow with your stand-in surname is fine, even if not quite as mellifluous as a longer name would be. And most of the time you'll be hearing just the first/call name, other than waiting rooms and such (or else Mr. Berner, without the first name). So if you have a pretty big preference for Shane I would go with that. If it's only a tiny difference, and the flow would bother you tremendously, then I'd give the nod to Max.

Alternatively, have you considered looking for a longer form for Shane? Charlemagne/Shane has a similar flow with your last name to Maximilian/Max, or Shannon/Shane would keep you in the Irish realm for first name. And other folks might have other ideas if that's a direction you're interested in taking.

Overall, both Maximilian/Max and Shane are great, so you really can't go wrong.

May 17, 2019 11:52 AM
In Response to One Week Ago...

Congratulations!! Genevieve is "the name that got away" for me, and I'm so happy to see it in your sib-set (between your boys' first and middles and my boys' first and middles, we have two overlaps, and more in your extended list). Thanks so much for the update--I look forward to hearing your birth story, when you have time to post it. Wishing you all good rest and happiness :).

May 13, 2019 03:21 PM

Beautiful! I'm so glad to hear your update (even if we have spam to thank for it).

May 8, 2019 09:12 AM
In Response to Naming ideas?

I think Ramm is probably pretty marketable, especially depending on what genre of music you're in. It has some pretty strong connotations of masculinity, thanks to the animal namesakes and the verb. (Think of all those trucks that are "built Ram tough".) There are probably still genres and locations where you could play that up to good effect--the same audiences where the Dodge catch phrase still plays, for one. The only real drawback I can see is if your audience was especially sensitive to gender issues--it might raise eyebrows for a Lilith Fair hiring committee, for example (though I don't think it would automatically disqualify you). Either way I think it's pretty memorable.

I think in general Ramm is pretty good in terms of being easy to say and understand. Some folks might want to spell it with only one M, but I don't think that's a huge deal, and the double Ms makes it look more "name-y".

For your first name, again think about your audience and the persona you want to convey. I can sort of hear "Dan the man Ramm" or "my man Dan Ramm" as a radio DJ intro on some types of shows. If your initials are genuinely DJ, then DJ Ramm also seems like a serendipitous name for some purposes. But in other settings all of those might be too cheesy. Daniel J Ramm looks good on a resume, but for saying out loud it's a bit weird unless you plan to go by Daniel J.

Do you have industry contacts who might have more specific advice for you? 

May 8, 2019 08:53 AM
In Response to Boy name

Of those choices, I prefer Cade. As a first name Aiken mainly reminds me of Aiken Drum, the guy who lived in the moon and "played upon a ladle, and his name was Aiken Drum...And his hair was made of spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti" etc. That might be a plus for a doll, though, since you can kind of make him up as you go along, just like the song.

May 6, 2019 09:34 AM
In Response to How is this sibset?

Is it still in use, do you know? I kind of associate it with mid-century takes on Victorian Cockney, like My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins. It does seem odd to me as a given name, but I could easily see it as the call-name for Corey or something like that. Sort of like Con, which I see now and then in novels and have to imagine is short for Connor or Connell.

May 3, 2019 09:48 AM

Congratulations! I like the contrast between a more modern, unisex-feeling first name and the vintage-style, clearly feminine middle. I also like that you can tell her "Shhh! Your initials are SH!" if you ever want her to quiet down ;-).

May 3, 2019 09:43 AM
In Response to Chose a name

I love Esme! It feels very literary to me, between J.D. Salinger and Granny Weatherwax and whatever book I first encountered the name in. I also like it as a nickname for Esmeralda, though I think it stands on its own just fine.

May 2, 2019 01:45 PM
In Response to 7 Letter Suggestions

Most of us here are word nerds, so we know that Richter and rigor aren't etymologically related; and we also know that emotional associations aren't strictly based on logic and etymology (see the long and entertaining discussion here a while ago about the name Pulcheria). It's just a standard practice here to point out potential associations of unusual names.

This isn't because we don't want people to use those names, or because we think a name "means", say, earthquake or inflexibility, or will somehow magically cause a person given the name to have a convulsive (or stiff) personality. It's just so that potential namers have an idea of what thoughts might go through the heads of others hearing the name for the first time, and can decide for themselves whether the name is worth having the same old "Richter is a common German name meaning judge, and geologists don't even use the Richter scale anymore" conversation every time they introduce their child (or the "no, it's Ottilie, hard T and three syllables, not 'oddly'" conversation or the "actually, we do know about the Disney character, but we named him Hiro after my grandfather" conversation etc.).

May 2, 2019 01:34 PM

It's not a lot longer, but that spelling of Mae makes me think of Maeve, which does at least feel a bit more formal to me. There are two slightly different French names, Maelys and Maylis, that might work; the one with the Mae- spelling is not quite the right pronunciation, but Maylis is said something like May-lease (like a mash-up of Mae and Elise). Both have been fairly popular in France in the past couple of decades. I think if you're not in Europe or Canada you could probably get away with the Mae- spelling and the May- pronunciation, if you wanted to.

In my history work I've run across Mae/May as a nickname for Mary (plus plenty of stand-alone Mae/Mays), so maybe you'd like one of the many Mary variants. Marianne has a similar feel to Josephine to me. Marigold would be a fun, more whimsical choice if you want to maintain a floral connection.

I actually think Mae would work pretty well as a nickname for just about any M- first name. 


(Incidentally, Mei-Mei, pronounced like May-May, is the Chinese term for a younger sister. It's often used familiarly within the family, kind of like "sis" in English, so I find Mae or Mae-Mae especially charming as a nickname for a youngest daughter.)

April 28, 2019 09:13 PM
In Response to 7 Letter Suggestions

I tend to agree that the associations are not ideal, but I think your impassioned defense of the name might be a hint that Richter really is the name of your heart. If that's the case, then the associations can be overcome. Still best to be aware that they might come up, but worth dealing with if it's THE name.

April 23, 2019 11:22 PM
In Response to Vote on a first name

Apropos of which, TIL that Anna Quindlen has a new book out about becoming a grandmother--her son Quin and his wife Lynn recently had a baby (named Adam). So Quinnlynn really looks like a nod to her family now, though probably only to anyone who might have read her recent book.

April 17, 2019 09:10 AM

I agree with suzanne--pick a name you love, and don't worry about "flow" with Rollie. If you really think it doesn't work for some reason, try it as Firstname R. Lastname, since that's much more likely to be how he's known by the world in general.

(The one exception to this would be if you want to use a double-barrel name a lot of the time.)

I also agree that the name somehow feels more name-like when it's spelled Raleigh, even though I would pronounce them just about the same, so maybe imagine it that way when you're saying names out loud. I wouldn't try to actually change the spelling though; in the middle name slot, I would stick with the spelling that is more meaningful to your husband. In a similar vein, I have to mention the name Rollo--Rollo was a Viking warrior who became the first Duke of Normandy, and combined with the name's fashionable liquid consonants and -o ending I think it would be a pretty cool name choice.

Having said all that, I think all of your names sound fine with Rollie, so if there's one you love the most or that feels best with your last name, I'd go with that one.

April 12, 2019 11:49 AM
In Response to Vote on a first name

I love Carys--it's sweet and sleek, with a cool etymology, so that gets my vote. My second choice for you would be Hadley, followed by Quinnlynn. (On the subject of Quinnlynn, it mostly reminds me of Anna Quindlen--if you like weepy mother-daughter movies, you should watch One True Thing.)

April 9, 2019 08:16 AM

I have a nephew named Owen; it's a popularity level where you probably won't be the only one in the school (and will definitely meet people who say "oh, I love Owen! That's my nephew's name!"), but probably will be the only one in class (unless you hit a particular pocket, which can happen with any name; we've found ourselves in a weird Maya pocket, for example).

If Owen is too popular for you, though, I would also strike Conner from the list. That spelling isn't particularly common, but if you add in Conor and especially Connor then it surpasses Owen.

I like Graham, but in the US it runs into a pronunciation ambiguity--is it one syllable, rhymes with ham, or two syllables, rhymes with day-um? Or maybe one syllable, rhymes with same? If you don't specifically want the gram pronunciation, you might consider Graeme as an alternative, which I think is more likely to get to a long-A pronunciation and also looks a little less expected.

I like Bennett a lot. I'm a big Jane Austen fan, so I get snappy-romantic warm fuzzies from the name. If you are on the fence about this one and aren't already an Austen fan, you might consider reading or watching Pride and Prejudice and see if that pushes you over the line.

I like Isla; it does seem to be taking off like a rocket at the moment, but whether it's destined to be a mega-hit or a nine-year-wonder I think you'd be slightly ahead of the curve.

Alivia--I'm with everyone else, this isn't really a different (enough) name from Olivia. In many accents they would be pronounced more-or-less identically, and if Olivia isn't going to make you happy I don't think Alivia would, either. On the other hand, if you love love love Olivia except for the popularity, you might consider just going with Olivia--it's popular for a reason, after all.

I really like Nola. I also like it as a nickname for Magnolia, if you like the idea of a froufier, old-fashioned long name to go with the sleeker nickname.

Harper is a genuine hit, but still popularity really isn't what it used to be. At #10 in the US in 2016 it was given to just over half a percent of babies; that's about half as many babies named Harper as babies named Emma (#1) or Olivia (#2) that year, but also only about half as popular by percentage as Jennifer was when it was #10, 50 years ago.

I don't love Cameron either way, and if one of you would always regret it on the "wrong" child I think I would cut it. I also would cut Cohen for sure; there have been numerous discussions here of why it's so problematic, and I just wouldn't want to hang a potential red flag on my child like that if I knew about it. There are lots of other lovely and meaningful names out there.

Speaking of meaningful, you have a number of surname-names on your list. I often find that the most meaningful way to use a surname as a given name is to find a name from your own family tree, so you might consider looking to see if there's a name in your or your partner's family that would fit the bill. Nola also has a bit of a Victorian feel to it, so you might also look at given names in your family from that era, if you can find them.

On the other hand, if you hate the idea of naming for family or just don't have great family options, you could also consider whether there's a personal connection to a name from some other direction--for example, the name of the street or school building where you met, or a favorite author or movie star or personal hero. That kind of connection can take a name from "I like the way it sounds well enough" to "I love it, and it's meant to be." Maybe if you think about it, one of the names that's already on your list will have this kind of connection.

Good luck!

April 8, 2019 02:58 PM

I agree with everything that's been said. If you want to add a name, then using Lucas or Lewis/Louis as a way to get to the "nickname" Lu would make sense, but no one will have a problem if you stick with Lu. I'm not sure people would even guess that it was Asian if they just see or hear it, without your family name.

If hearing your name mispronounced bothers you, then by all means change the spelling to Vong. The only drawbacks I can think of to this is that you might meet the occasional individual who mistakenly assumes that you're part of the Chinese diaspora via Southeast Asia, and the overall hassle of a name change.

Actually, that hassle is probably worth considering--although the legal aspect will be easy for you since it's built into the naturalization process, you still will need to individually change all of your records (like credit cards, utilities, any relevant places like schools, etc.), which can be kind of a headache. Millions of people go through this every year, so it's definitely doable, but it's worth weighing in your decision.

The main reasons I can think of to change to King are if you want the meaning to be more obvious, and if you're concerned about your "on paper" presentation. As an Asian American with a very identifiably Asian surname, I can tell you that some people do make assumptions based on seeing the last name (and there have been a number of studies backing up this impression). I don't know whether there have been studies of what happens if a non-white person with a stereotypically "white" name shows up to an interview they wouldn't have gotten with an Asian name--is there just as much discrimination, only at a later stage, or is that first foot in the door actually beneficial? Whatever issues and lost opportunities my name might have caused are worth it to me to have my own name, but that's an individual decision that you should make on your own.

March 30, 2019 02:38 PM
In Response to First name ideas?

Whoops, just realized you want more gender-specific, rather than more gender neutral. So maybe more towards Catalina, Poppy, Trillium...

March 30, 2019 02:16 PM
In Response to First name ideas?

I think some crisp sounds in the first name would balance the softer, more liquid Norah. Maybe something like Brett, Garnet, Brooke, Cassidy, Cleo, Tierney?

March 27, 2019 10:18 AM
In Response to Naming baby #4 (GIRL)

I like Lucia in theory, and I think if you are in a place where some romance language predominates it's probably a great choice. However, in English it's one of the most ambiguous names in existence, pronunciation-wise. There are at least three common variants, none of which is a widespread default: Loo-shuh, Loo-CHEE-uh, and Loo-SEE-uh (I'm guessing this is the one you want). This isn't necessarily a reason not to use the name, but just a caution that you should be prepared to be pretty laid-back about hearing a "wrong" pronunciation probably more than half the time.