About Me

I bought my first baby name book when I was seven years old and I have been hooked ever since. Now the mom of a nine year old and a six year old I keep an ear out for names on the playground. I am a constant reader, an intermediate gardener and a beginning knitter in the Pacific Northwest.

My Favorite Names

No favorite names yet.

My Recent Blog Comments
August 2, 2018 05:00 PM

The prevalence of this name shows up a lot in my life. My husband is named Chris(topher) and many of our friends also share the name, along with all the dads of my kids' friends. A close friend of mine married a guy named Chris, got divorced and her new boyfriend? Chris. 


It's at the point where in coversation I have to specify "my Chris" when I'm talking about my husband. As the other poster mentioned, we also have several women named Chris in our circle. 

Say what you want to about creative names, but I'm glad our kids won't have to go through this rigmarole.

May 29, 2018 12:24 AM

I know a young Josephine who uses the nickname Joey. That may be too masculine for you, but I thought I'd throw it out there as another option. Though I agree with others that many kids use their full names today and people are less likely to default to nicknames.

February 26, 2018 10:50 PM
In Response to Middle name help

It is impossible for me to be neutral about the name Marcel, since it is my son's middle name and he was named after a very dear friend of mine who had an untimely death.

That said, I think it's a creative, elegant name in the States. ( I know in France it sounds a bit more dated.)

I think a more common classic boys name in the middle might be a nice balance.

Morris Andrew

Marcel Benjamin

Maurice Julian


February 23, 2018 03:44 PM

I think Katherine has such a long and varied history, I don't have a lot stereotypes honestly. I mean, there are some famous people with the name, both contemporary and in various time periods, but I don't think any of them "own" the name. To me it feels like a white button down Oxford shirt- not creative but classic. The various nicknames can also take the name in very different directions. Katie is girl next door, Kate is short and sweet, Kathy is retro, Kat is a little arty. 

As for Gwyneth, the first thing I think of is Ms Paltrow, and her reputation of being somewhat snobby and following kooky health trends.  I don't think it's a bad thing and if I knew a young Gwyneth or Gwyn, I would get over it but right now I think that is the predominant association. 

February 23, 2018 11:20 AM

Yes, agreeing with everything others have said. I once had a coworker first name Jane, last name a variant spelling of Austen. She said that people regularly hung up on her, thinking it was a prank call and that even her studen loan applications had issues. If you can avoid it, there's really no reason to give your child that kind of hassle. 

February 21, 2018 05:45 PM
In Response to The name Jesus

It's an interesting question. A brief google search came up with an explanation that the custom dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain, and that Spanish Christians started naming their sons Jesus in response to the Moorish custom of naming their sons after Muhammad. I'm sure that some of the posters here will have a lot more information and details....but that's one hypothesiss at least.


December 19, 2017 07:03 PM

Long time reader and community member here, just chiming in to say that Unity is the name of my ten year old daughter. We live in the US and knew about the Mitford sister but decided that the association was not enough to scare us off from a name we love and that has great personal meaning for myself and my husband. (Our inspiration was the song "Unity" by California punk bank Operation Ivy.)

In our decade of parenting, only one person has ever brough up the Mitford connection. I think relatively few people know about it to the point of knowing her name, and the positive associations of connection and togetherness are what stay with people. In fact, people who learn her name for the first time often comment on the positive meaning.

Everyone is allowed their own opinion of course, and I'm not bothered by people who wouldn't choose the name for their own child. Just sharing that our experience with the name has been a good one.

July 19, 2017 11:38 PM
In Response to Sister for Ruby

Ruby and Hazel sound the best to me, complimentary without the color thing.


It's funny you mention Stella, I know a sib set of Stella and Ruby and was going to suggest Stella cause I think they do sound good together.

July 19, 2017 11:32 PM
In Response to Opinions, please!

Or there's also Hel- LEE- na, like a young friend of mine.

I guess that's something to consider with Helena, the many pronunciations. I don't think it should be a deal breaker, just something to consider.

July 19, 2017 11:25 PM
In Response to Anything but Kelsey?

I just wanted to chime in here with a personal story that covers both perspectives ( a child being named after a dear loved one in either first or middle name slot.)

I had a very close high school friend who died tragically and suddenly, at age 29. I gave my son his name in the middle name slot. For me, it would have been too painful to call my son by the name of my dear friend, but as a middle name it does feel like a secret special meaning. I have talked to him about it and he knows the story behind his middle name and why it's meaningful. Another friend also gave her baby our friend's name as a middle, so it does feel like we are honoring his legacy in that connection.

My FIL died after a long illness before he could meet any of his grandchildren. My SIL was pregnant when he died and named her son after him. When he was young, he went by a child-like nickname that my FIL had never used, along the lines of "Tommy", so that helped the family think of him as his own person. Now that he is older, he has outgrown the nickname but I think that it did help differentiate the indentity.

I do think in your situation the middle name is a great way to honor you SIL, but still give your child her own identity. But if you do decide to use it in the first name slot, I think a separate nickname can be very helpful. Just my 2 cents.

July 15, 2017 07:30 PM
In Response to Beyonce's twins

To me it's very clear that the name Sir is a political choice. The name says that they are going to force the world to treat their son, a black man, with a respectful address at all times, because it's his name.

I think it's very powerful, if also a sad reminder that all the money and fame in the world can't comeplete shield someone from racism.

April 11, 2017 11:42 PM
In Response to Tori Spelling's 5th

Dean is the middle name, after dad, not the surname. The surname is McDermott.

February 28, 2017 05:13 PM

Laura, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. But I agree with the previous poster, it's so interesting what kind of family info turns up at a funeral.

When I was in high school, I was part of a theater tech group that had a very strong internal culture. One of the rules was that if you joined as an underclassman, and you had the same first name as an upperclassman, the upperclassmen got to rename you and call you exclusively by that name. These names were sometimes quirky but never mean, and often along the lines of "you look more like a George."

Some of those nicknames stuck and people used them for years, even to this day.

December 18, 2016 10:39 PM

Hmm, it seems like you like feminine name with some history behind them.

Just to clarify, are you still considering the list you shared, or have you ruled them out?

I personally think that Eleanor is lovely with Joesephine and Cecilia. They go together well without being repetitive

and they all have the option of great nicknames.

You could even use one of your other choices as the middle:

Eleanor Clare or Eleanor Louisa are both lovely.

If you are looking for more suggestions along those lines, I would add

Lillian and Evelyn seem to have the historical factor

Antonia has the classic dignity and the nicknames

Nora? Beatrice?

December 1, 2016 12:33 PM

Thanks for the clarification Laura. It does seem like we have this debate every year as we sort through the newsworthy and notable events of the year and pull out the naminess relevence. I remember the fierce and painful debate about "Trayvon" for example.

Clearly this was a year with heightened emotions and political decisions in both the US and Europe and many of us are still reeling from all of it. I know jwanders probably considered Boaty Mcboatface as a toss off nomination but I actually think it encapsulates some of what we're talking about here.

Be careful what you ask for, crowd sourcing, what is and is not a "legitimate" process or name, an underdog that's not taken seriously for good reasons that surprisingly wins, and the element of ridiculous absurdidity that becomes part of public discourse. Sounds like a name to represent 2016 to me.

(Though I still like Becky. C'mon guys.)

November 23, 2016 10:08 AM

My vote is for Becky. Beyonce's album was huge and topical, relating to the pain and resistance of black female experience in this country.

Her mention of "Becky with the good hair" has layers of meaning in terms of white beauty standards. There were several articles about whether or not calling someone a "Becky" was racist. I've seen some articles mention that the idea of Becky as a scheming social climber goes back to Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair.

Then there's Sir Mixalot's Becky, who is clearly white and is talking to her friend about dismissing black women's bodies.

The tension in "Becky" is that the name symbolizes both a wholesome sweet girl-next-door vibe (Becky from Tom Sawyer)  and also a racial critique about beauty standards and how the dominant culture skews towards whiteness when thinking or talking about what is attractive.

October 29, 2016 03:31 PM
In Response to A huge dilemma

For me personally, I would avoid twin names that sound too sing-songy. You're going to be saying ( and shouting and whispering) these names together for a long time and I think that two names ending in the y/ie sound would become a tongue twister pretty quickly.

So I would rule out Amy, Chloe, Evie, Lucy and Phoebe.

Sophie sounds both French and Antique Revival. I think Elise also strikes a similar vibe on both counts.

Sophie and Elise, Elise and Sophie. Similar in style but distinctive.

I think Sophie and Sarah also sound nice together but you have the siblings with the same initial problem.

Iris, Jasmine and Lilah are all lovely names but just seem pretty different from Sophie. That's ok of course, but I feel like the fact that they're twins will make it more obvious than other siblings. Of the three, I think Iris goes best.

October 29, 2016 03:13 PM

Gaia is the Earth Goddess in Greek mythology.

Magdalena is a name symbolizing redemption in the Christian tradition.

Dove could be a nod to the peace dove symbol.There's also Paloma, which means dove in Spanish.

Rowan is connected to the Rowan tree, which has meaning in the Celtic traditon

Another option would be to think of natural places that have strong meaning for you. I know several kids named after mountains or other natural places that their parents love.


August 30, 2016 09:04 AM

I'm joining in late to offer my congratulations on your well named arrival, and to welcome you to the club of name enthusiasts who are just in it for the great discussions and digressions. Man, there's got to be a shorter name for it than that, but right now I can't think of one.

I know my husband is appreciative that I have this forum, becuase it cuts down on the amount of imaginary children he has to name with me. I would guess that he thinks naming our own two was difficult enough and now he's glad to not have that responsibility anymore.

It strikes me that, for many of us regulars or semi-regulars, dwelling in the theoretical is what we like best. Whether we are young people daydreaming about possible futures, adults who have already named our children, or people still hoping and longing for an additon to our family, we take joy in exploring all the myriad  possiblities out there and where they come from and what they might mean. And, of course, for those who are expecting, this is such a helpful and nurturing place to sort out all the ideas of names and how the relate to the person you're waiting to meet.

Names are all wrapped up in history and linguistics and the layers of culture through time and region and some of us just love the magestic tapestry of it all.

I'm thankful that we have this place to share all of that. And I'm grateful for those of us who've found a home here.

August 28, 2016 07:58 PM
In Response to Unexpected name.

That was my great-grandma's name, though she almost always went by Tillie.