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May 18, 2018 03:52 PM

Deneen (or one of its variants)! Especially if she was born in 1964, or named after someone born that year. Otherwise, I think the other suggestions are great. For a more unusual story, maybe her name was something like Marina, but she and/or her twin couldn't say it, and Nina was the compromise.

May 17, 2018 10:37 AM

Well, there is some precedent for using the word "Junior" as a name. You could use whatever first name you both love, then Junior as the middle name—tell your mother it's for your brother, and tell your husband's family that it's for him ;-).

As far as fairness goes, I think this is really up to the two of you. Some folks feel that if a child gets one spouse's family name, that's a good reason to use a family name from the other side in the first or middle spot; others alternate kids; others just honor whatever relatives they like the best, regardless of "side"; some couples don't do any kind of namesaking at all, on general principle...the possibilities are endless, and really only the two of you can decide what's best for your family.

In other words, I agree that you should talk to your husband, and figure out how the two of you want to name your child(ren). Maybe you would really like to honor your brother in some way, and that's fine with your husband because he understands how much you miss your brother, but the two of you aren't crazy about any of his names—in which case the folks here can help you find something that is meaningful to you and also your style. Or maybe it will turn out that your husband thinks your brother's middle name is absolutely the cat's pajamas and that turns out to be his name. Maybe you've already picked a name that seems absolutely perfect to both of you, and you just want to stick with that. And so forth.

Good luck!

May 17, 2018 08:51 AM
In Response to I'm back!

Welcome back!!! I hope you're able to stick around for a while :).

Those are some spectacular names and sets.

Do you know if there's a story behind Proctor Peacock? That just sounds too good to be true--like it should be the name of the star of a children's book series.

The fidelity to a theme of some of these parents is impressive. On the other hand, I'm tickled by the ones who "break" the theme partway through. Like, was Tesla a typo for Tessa that they decided to roll with, or was she born in the car, or...? On the other hand, I really want Finnley to be Flannery, for an all-female-authors literary set.

Is the Australia family from Australia, or do they just have a great fondness for the place?

And how do you pronounce Mavourneen? Also Svea?

May 16, 2018 03:46 PM
In Response to Baby Sister

With a very common last name, I would generally lean toward the less-common first name, but I do agree that Cate has a little more aural oomph with your last name than the smoother Brynn. If you settle on Catherine, you might want to look for a pretty distinctive middle name just to help with any identity snafus down the road.

One possible alternative is Britt or Britta, which has the same snap as Cate with the more-distinctive Br- cluster from Brynn. Both can be used as stand-alone names, or as nicknames for Brigitta, Birgitta, or Bridget, if you prefer to have a more traditional name on the birth certificate. (Or Brittany, of course, but I'm guessing that's less your style.)

May 15, 2018 04:36 PM

Are you thinking of Tillie Mae as a double-barrelled first name, or as first and middle? The double-barrelled style seems to be particularly popular in the UK right now, with Ellie-Mae, Gracie-Mae, and four different spelling variations of Lily-Mae showing up in the top-500 for England and Wales in 2016. So if you're in the UK, she would fit right in, and if you're in the US she'd have a bit of British-flair (though I suspect a lot of Americans would still perceive such names more as Southern/Beverly Hillbillies).

May 15, 2018 02:40 PM


I am also in the "too close" camp, though I like the idea of using Coralie as the "nickname" for the shorter Cora, rather than the other way around.

Otherwise, can I interest you in Coretta? It has two great, obvious nicknames (Cora and Etta) and a pretty good namesake into the bargain. Although you'd have to consider whether Rosa(lie) and Coretta might be doubling down on the Civil Rights namesakes more than you want.

May 11, 2018 11:51 AM

The US Social Security name stats for 2017 are out today, and Rosalie has continued to gain ground--it's ranked #236, up from #254 the previous year.

May 11, 2018 11:24 AM

This is so satisfying. Now we just need to see that commercial :). I feel like Ivory could make something of an internet/social media "thing" out of this--the Ivory ad that launched a thousand babies!

May 10, 2018 07:41 AM

Thank you for sharing all this! I'm sorry we weren't around to be a sounding board, but you landed on a great name regardless.

On Emil: There was a venerable Italian restaurant in my Midwestern hometown named Emil's--it was one of those "town institution" type places, been there forever (or since the 1950s, which felt like forever to me), everyone knew it, etc. But there never seemed to be a settled pronunciation for the name. One of my friends went to work there as a busboy in high school, and he honestly thought the restaurant was "Emily's" until one of our other friends told him it wasn't (after he'd been working there a week). Most commonly I heard something like A-ml's, stress on the first syllable which sounded like Fonzi's catch-phrase/the letter A, with a schwa or zero vowel in the second syllable. But both vowels and where the stress fell all seemed to be subject to change, depending on the speaker. This sounds a lot like the difficulty you're describing.

May 4, 2018 10:28 PM

Oh, no! (But really, congratulations!!!) I feel let down on your behalf, and also on ours--I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing we could have been a part of your naming saga. It's always lovely when a regular has a new little one to name.

In any case, I'm sure you picked the perfect name even without our collective wisdom. And if you feel like sharing any part of your name story, please do!

May 4, 2018 10:13 PM
In Response to Theo vs. Theodore

If you genuinely like Theodore and are OK with your son potentially deciding he wants to be Ted someday, then Theodore will give your son the flexibility to easily make use of those options. But if you aren't really crazy about either of those and would really prefer that he just go by Theo, then name him Theo.

There's a long tradition of Theo as a stand-alone name (going back to at least 1880, the earliest date we have social security name data) and I think it's solid enough to stand alone (unlike, say, Teddy). 

On the topic of your friend: pregnancy loss is incredibly hard, and there are probably all kinds of things that are bringing up pain for your friend. I suspect a similar-sounding name might give her a twinge, but unless you're extremely close (you see each other several times a week, and she's going to be godmother to your son) I don't think this name choice will have anywhere near the impact on her as it will on you. And if she were that close a friend, I would expect you would probably already have discussed the issue of having sons with rhyming names, in which case suddenly not using the name might also be a painful discovery for her.

May 2, 2018 08:37 AM
In Response to Angeline

I don't really have a preference between any of the names, but some additional thoughts on associations. I lived in LA for a decade, so Angeline is all pink cadillacs and cleavage to me. That's obviously not a strong association outside of Southern California (and the billboard queen spells it Angelyne), but something to be aware of. I do know one Angelina in real life, but she goes exclusively by Annıe. I think she found it a bit much to live with, as a down-to-earth person (and a ballet teacher! Eek!).

One thought, if you like the French flair of Angeline you could consider Veronique. It has some of the same glamorous, va-va-voom feel as Angeline and Angelina but without the heavenly baggage, and also seems a bit fresher to me than Veronica (though probably not in France, where I note it was a top-ten hit about ten years before Veronica peaked in the US).

May 1, 2018 08:15 AM
In Response to My new baby

This seems to be one of those Atlantic divide things--this does not seem to be a concern in the UK the way it is here, and the cultural issues are different enough that there may be drawbacks to having a "big, formal" version of the name that wouldn't occur to most folks in the US.

May 1, 2018 08:09 AM

Another vote for C@spian. I also like V@lor; I'm not sure if it's too much to live up to, though. I tend to feel that way about a lot of virtue names, like Charity and Chastity--ugh--and Patience. I think names like Hope and Pax, that are more a wish for the child's future rather than a charge to their character, seem like they would be easier to live with.

I don't think you need more names, but the juxtaposition of Hir@m and C@spian put me in mind of Hadrian, especially if you wanted an H name for any reason.

April 30, 2018 09:34 PM
In Response to Baby #1 Ideas

I love Judd! If you want to call him Judd, I would go with Judd Robert. I have two kids with one-syllable names, and it has not been a problem at all in terms of "not enough name". One is just always his name, the other has somehow racked up about six "nicknames" that are longer than his given name (think Juddy, Juddso, Judder, etc.).

Also, anecdotally, most of the people I know whose parents called them by their middle name eventually either reverted to the first name or have a long list of bureaucratic complaints. I know there are people out there who make it work, but I don't think it's worth the downsides without a very compelling up-side (like a five-generations-long tradition).

April 30, 2018 11:36 AM
In Response to My new baby

I like Nellie and Hattie. I agree with others that Honey seems a step too far--in addition to the generic endearment, it also has some sexual overtones that I would find a bit uncomfortable for a young woman.

As an alternative to Honey, maybe Bonnie? It sounds similar and also has a sweet meaning. Henny is sometimes used as a nickname for Henrietta (if you're wanting to honor a Harry or Henry with Hattie you could get an honor-name and a Honey sound-alike); I don't know if it sounds too chicken-ish, though, as in Henny Penny. Hmm, Penny is a cute option, too, actually.

Is Lottie your own name, or just part of your handle? If it's not your actual name, Nellie and Hattie together remind me of Lettie, which I love. 

April 30, 2018 10:06 AM

Adley is much more my cup of tea than Alice, so I definitely think you should at least keep it in contention. (I've always really liked the name Adlai, as in Adlai Stevenson, though of course Adlai is a masculine name and the particular association probably isn't helpful nowadays.)

If you like the idea of a formal longer name and like Adelaide on its own, I think Adelaide nn Adley is a great idea, but I don't think Adley needs a longer form.

I do think Adley fits in pretty well to today's naming landscape (somewhat unisex, surname-style, with the popular -lee ending sound) without actually being a huge hit, which is maybe what you mean by simultaneously trendy and different? If so, Alice strikes me as at least as trendy, but in a different style (hipsterish-revival). I don't think either is really "future proof" in the sense that they'll still sound exactly as fresh and usable when she's forty as they do now (almost no names are "future proof" in that way), but I do think either would age just fine with her.

April 27, 2018 04:28 PM

So this old thread was revived by a spammer (since nuked), but now I'm wondering if the article was ever published. Anyone ever see it?


Is there a prominent Nicholas somewhere in the family? Like Mom's father or something? (Or maybe Clasina I's father, Mom's married-but-irresistible-and-unforgettable secret lover!)

I once ran across a family with five boys (or maybe six? it was a large family--there were some sisters, too). The oldest was Lewis, next came Chris, then two more, then...Chris Lewis, who went by Little Chris. (Not their real names). I guess they just ran out of ideas.

April 27, 2018 08:41 AM

I think you've gotten a lot of great advice already. I'll just note that the SS name data will be coming out in a couple of weeks (early or mid-May is typical), so you'll be able to see if Rosalie's recent popularity is continuing. My guess is that it will continue to see steady use, and will be more and more familiar even to folks who don't pay much attention to names.