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Congratulations! I think that asking people to tell you their favourite names is a really good way to get inspiration.
My 5 favourite girl names are Cecily, Edith, Emmeline, Louise and Katherine, and my 5 favourite boy names are Simon, Caleb, Eli, Sebastian and Theodore.
I don't really tend to make lists of names I like, so seeing all my favourites lined up like that really gives me a good idea of my style, which is neither rare nor Scandinavian.
My middle name is Malin, which is a Scandinavian cognate of Magdalena. My parents chose it in reference to their time spent in Sweden before I was born, so I thought that might interest you.
I think the pronunciation of Victoria is very dependent on the accent of the speaker. When I say Victoria out loud, it's very definitely 4 syllables: vik-tor-ee-a or vik-tor-ee-ya.
For what it's worth, I prefer Angelina, but I do think that Victoria is probably more of a classic name.
"Roux" also means red-haired in French. It's the masculine version of the adjective: the feminine is "rousse", which unfortunately lacks the X.
I love Emma Montgomery! It sounds very elegant - I wouldn't be surprised to read about a nineteenth-century society lady named Emma Montgomery - without being frilly or sounding like someone you couldn't take seriously. It's a name that I think could suit any personality or career path. If it's the name you like the best, then I can't see any downsides to it at all.
1) Boy: Axel Edward
2) Boy: Kiernan Micah
3) Girl: Zoe Willow
4) Singleton girl: Beatrice Isolde
5) Boy: Colt Enzo
6) Girl: Edith Hero
This was really fun to do! While I certainly do not plan on having six children, some of the names on here (Axel, Enzo, Edith) are real-life favourites of mine, whereas others (Isolde, Hero) are names I like but which are too offbeat for my tastes.
Marais is a French word for "swamp", so maybe not the best baby name. If you're going purely on style and aren't going to meet a great deal of French speakers, I suppose it could work, but it is definitely not recommendable.
Valerie is very firmly a "grandma name" for me, since it's my actual grandmother's name. However, when I looked at the US stats, I saw that it peaked in the 60s (my grandmother was born in 1938), so clearly this isn't the general association.
Hi and congratulations on your new arrival!
I am the disgruntled owner of a variant spelling name, and I can honestly say that I don't think it's that big of an issue. In addition to it already being a variant, I live in a country where there's only one established spelling of the name and my spelling is actually pronounced differently.
In light of that, I can say that it's not that big a deal. Elliot and Elliott are both established spellings, meaning that your little Elliot(t) will probably get about a 50/50 split. If he gets the wrong spelling, he can correct it without anyone being surprised at his spelling of the name.
Personally, I prefer Elliot, but they're both lovely and I hope you find a spelling (or even totally different name) that you're happy with.
Drop: Savannah, Melissa
Adira, Anna, Aviva, Celeste, Chloe, Edith, Ella, Faith, Ingrid, Isla, Lacey, Lena, Luna, Quinn, Teagan
While my personal preference is for Louise (it's been a favourite since I was very young), I think your worries about Clara are unfounded. It goes perfectly well with S1mon and H@ttie/Henrietta. They're a similar "classic" style and I personally doubt that any of them will ever be really dated beyond perhaps a vaguely "old-fashioned" feel.
In short, if you like Clara, absolutely go for it! It's a lovely name, and its level of popularity is irrelevant: what really matters is whether or not you think it's the best name for your baby.
Dinah - just ugly.
Daisy, Dana, Danica, Daphne, Darcy, Davina, Dawn, Deborah, Debra, Diana, Diane, Dionne, Dora, Dorothy
This should be interesting, as I'm not American and have no clue what most of these shops/businesses are!
14) Sephora - I do know this one, and it's purely the shop to me.
13) Oakley - I don't understand the appeal at all. It's perfectly acceptable, but I can't imagine liking it.
12) Lane - a small road, not a person.
11) Chanel - I'm not a fan. I don't like describing names this way, because it seems kind of classist, but I'd call this pretty trashy.
10) Zara - also only the shop, but I wouldn't object to this on a person.
9) Tiffany - seems kind of silly and frivolous for some reason, but there's nothing wrong with it.
8) Delia - I've always despised it as sounding stuck-up, but there's nothing I can really object to.
7) Rue - it's very hypocritical of me to put this so far ahead of Lane when it basically also just means road, but I just vastly prefer it.
6) Kay - a pretty name but maybe a bit dated.
5) Claire - I can't really express an opinion one way or the other on this name. It's just that neutral.
4) Francesca - pretty, but I wouldn't use it myself.
3) Penny - I prefer this as a nickname for Penelope, but it's nice.
2) Macy - I wouldn't use it, but I do like it quite a bit. It seems like a confident name.
1) Charlotte - a lovely, classic name that works well for anyone and has an abundance of nicknames.
New list (-son names, whatever gender you feel is best): Harrison, Madison, Alison, Jamison, Addison, Samson, Anderson, Emerson, Jackson, Hudson, Mason, Wilson
Love: Maris, Fabiana (a bit elaborate, but fine), Marian
Like: Eden (I agree that it might get a bit dated), Leela, Benita
Lose: Winona (I can't stand any Win- names, really), Shana (just don't like it), Doreen (very dated)
New list: Maris, Fabiana, Marian, Eden, Leela, Benita, Alisha, Emilienne, Kamryn
I vote Evelyn! I also think that Layla lacks substance, although I can see why it appeals to people. I prefer Evelyn with your other children's names, as well.
I have a LOT of name baggage, wow. My first and middle names are Is0b3l M4lin.
First off, having a variant spelling of a common name is a nightmare even in a country where multiple spellings of the name are accepted. I live in France, where Isabelle is the only spelling of the name, and Isobel is pronounced differently anyway (Iz-AH-bel vs Iz-OH-bel). I've been told it's made up, asked if it's a typo, and told (in a rude tone) that with a name like that (in combination with my English surname), I had to be English.
So, if and when I have children, I'm not giving them any first names with multiple spellings or any "foreign" names. It's too much hassle.
As for my middle name, it was bestowed in honour of my parents' time in Sweden before I was born. It's the Scandinavian form of Magdalena, and I have no issues with it - apart from the small fact that "malin" in French is a (masculine!) adjective with many meanings, most of them linked to cunning. I don't blame my parents, who didn't know of this adjective or that I would live most of my life in France when they gave me the name, but it's still not ideal.
So, hopefully no names that turn out to be random words in a foreign language.
There's also the fact that while Isobel was just a name my parents liked, they gave my little brother an honour name, which always irked me a little. Honour names, in my opinion, are all or nothing when it comes to siblings.
If you like Isabel/Isabelle, can I suggest my own name? I'm Isobel, which might add a bit more unusualness to the name, especially if you live outside of the UK. Otherwise, names you might like are Cecily/Cecilia, Violet, or maybe Emmeline?
Love: Arlene (the -ene makes it feel dated, but it's lovely nonetheless), Eileen (again, I don't like -een, but I love the sound of Eileen), Amie (this spelling is all "female friend in French" to me, but I love Amy)
Like: Norma (not at all, but it's respectable), Bellarose (I don't like this either), Earth (silly and pretentious but better than the Lose names)
Lose: Rush (what?), Fedora (a hat), Marine (forever tied to Marine Le Pen, much to my regret)
New list: Arlene, Eileen, Amie, Norma, Bellarose, Earth, Katrin, Libby, Aylee
A lot of people have said that Augustine is the French feminine form (it is! Of Augustin!) and as a person who's lived in a French environment for most of my life I would say that in a French context it's definitely feminine. However, in this English-speaking context, I had a brief see-saw and went with male. I don't think this would be much of a problem, especially since -ine is a common ending to feminine names, but it's something to consider.
As with most August-and-co names, it reads as a bit much to me, but then I think a lot of names are a bit much, so that's nothing to worry about. Possible nicknames are Auggie, Gus, Gussie, Tina... The list goes on.
12) Bettina - I've always despised Betty and Bettina is worse.
11) Zosia - I don't like Z names and this is just overall NMS.
10) Allegra - never liked it.
9) Amoret - something about this name gets on my nerves.
8) Cambria - I can tolerate this, but it's not great.
7) Odette - never been a huge fan, but a recent positive association is warming me to it.
6) Mariska - it's fine. No issues here.
5) Idalia - this is actually quite nice, but I wouldn't use it.
4) Viola - I don't mind it at all, but I dislike the pronunciation ambiguity.
3) Fleur - it's okay, but as a French speaker this reads exactly the way someone naming their child Flower in English does, which may not be the intended effect.
2) Primrose - I like this a lot, but the Hunger Games association makes t unusable.
1) Linnea - a personal favourite, which I would use with no qualms.
New list (Katherine derivatives): Catherine, Catrina, Kate, Caitlin, Kathleen, Karen, Kath, Katie, Catalina, Katerina, Carina, Caitriona