A non-excerpt from Baby Name Wizard 2

Jul 17th 2009

As the revised and expanded Baby Name Wizard slowly trickles in to bookstores, I thought I'd share one name spotlight that was cut from the manuscript at the last minute:


Gax (GAKS)
Popularity: Rare
Style: Fanciful and Fantastical
Nicknames: FatMan
Sisters: Moo, Spamela, Beer, Soup, John
Brothers: Flax, Vilx, Clax, Eleanor, Xax
Gax is a name you should not give to your child at all.
It's only in the book because my kids are beside me as
I'm writing and they absolutely insisted.  Keep this in mind,
prospective parents, if you're planning to work from home.



By Tess not signed in (not verified)
July 21, 2009 1:55 PM

I guess I would assume Madden was a family name--and an opportunity to use the very popular Maddie as a nn.I like it as little as I did the recent naming of Bradley for a new baby girl.

By Valentine (not verified)
July 21, 2009 2:16 PM

I love Vivienne Violet & I don't feel it's over the top. Nice alliteration. And also the nn Vivi can come from the first four letters of Vivienne or the first two of each name, lol. Love it.

July 21, 2009 6:56 PM

Confused Mama - I also love Josephine, I think it is elegant and refined, yet spunky and altogether delightful. Josie is an adorable nickname. Yes, it is a feminine version of Joseph, but that doesn't make it unfeminine any more than Danielle or Stephanie, for example.

jenmn - I'll just give you my two cents as the mother of an almost-one-year-old Juliette. (Her middle name is Vict0ria.) No one has once mentioned Romeo and Juliet yet when hearing her name, but we have gotten lots of comments on what a sophisticated, beautiful name it is. The only person who has made the connection, embarrassingly enough, is me. I named a stuffed giraffe that she got as a gift Romeo.
As for the spelling, I actually preferred Juliet because, growing up as an Alison (not Allison or Allyson) I like the simplicity and no unnecessary letters. Also, our last name is one syllable and very German, so I thought the simplicity of Juliet would go better. However, DH preferred Juliette, and, since he really wanted to be a part of the naming process, not just ok-ing or vetoing names I suggested, I wasn't going to argue!

Of your other choices, I also like Vivienne Claire and Linnea Claire. I think Claire is a wonderful middle name, simple and sweet.

July 21, 2009 2:30 PM

i've been hesitating to write because both you and your husband seem to really like vivienne violet, and i don't want to offend, but,if you're looking for honest opinions, i have a few thoughts about this name. like qwen, i often hear things in names that are off-putting to me. when i say vivienne violet, what i hear is vivi inviolate. i don't know if anyone else would hear the names this way, or if it's just me and my nutty brain. i also prefer names of differing sylables as fn, mn, so i prefer vivienne claire to vivienne violet. lastly, i had an alliterative name till i married, and disliked it so that i can rarely find charm in an alliterative name. please take all of this with a grain of salt...it's just one person's opinions. if you two truly love this name for your child, that is all that really matters.

July 21, 2009 2:52 PM

Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to access the BNW blog consistently due to living in an area of the country that doesn’t have any high speed internet options. :( However, I have finally moved back to civilization, and I now have DSL! I have been catching up on months of great posts, and I’m excited to join in once again.

I just had to jump in with my $.02 on ‘Madden’. My husband has worked for a retail giant that sells video games, and each year, the latest version of the game ‘Madden NFL’ is released. This is an (American) football game named after Pro Football Hall of Famer and sports commentator, John Madden, and every year millions buy it and play it. So for me, my immediate reaction to hearing the name 'Madden' is that the parents are either gamers or football nuts, or both.

Also, Laura, I got my copy of BNW2 at my local B&N last week, and I’ve been poring over it. Thanks for another fantastic resource!

By Guest (not verified)
July 21, 2009 2:51 PM

jenm - I love the name Claire! It works perfectly as a middle name, which is actually my problem. We want to use it as a first name, but finding a middle name that goes with a one syllable first name and a two syllable last name is proving difficult.

I had thought Claire Beatrice for a while, but someone on this board suggested the name would sound better transposed and I tend to agree.

Still, we want to keep Claire as the first name. I'm open to any suggestions, but a "D" middle name would be great (that would mean that both my mother and mother-in-law are honored by the first letter of the two names.)

For style reference, Claire's older brothers are Iain and William. And if Claire turns out to be a boy, he will be Malcolm.

Thanks in advance for any help. I'm always impressed by the intelligent postings on this board.

By Amy3
July 21, 2009 2:57 PM

Guest, what about Claire Delphine? That sounds lovely!

July 21, 2009 3:15 PM

i agree with delinarose:
when i hear madden, all i think of is football.

By jenmn (not verified)
July 21, 2009 3:17 PM

I have to agree as well, Madden = Football. And we are not even very big football fans!

By Mirnada (not verified)
July 21, 2009 3:24 PM


Claire Delphine sounds nice, and my original thought was Claire Elise. I think the trick is maybe a two syllable name with the stress on the second syllable. All of these names might not be your style, but they at least don't seem like they should be transposed, I think:

Claire Delphine
Claire Elise (I personally think this one flows really well)
Claire Josine
Claire Nadine
Claire Louise

I'm sure there are many others that would work in this way.

Confused Mama,

I know many, many people have weighed in already, but I have to add my resounding support for Josephine. It's very elegant and timeless and offers so many options to suit whatever personality your daughter grows into. I also grew up with Little Women, and think Josephine March is a great role model for a girl.

July 21, 2009 3:27 PM

Checked today and there were 3 copies of the NEW BNW at the local B&N. So it seems we are now up with the new stock in many areas Laura. I did not purchase it because alas, I have a gift card to Borders. Luckily, I will be able to head there tomorrow. Wish me luck!

jenmn-Vivienne does match very well to your other dd's mn. In that case, these sound good to me:
Claire Vivienne
Adele Vivienne
Gianna Vivienne

Guest-the first D name that came to me was Claire Denise (I know that's a bit 80's but it was my first thought)
Claire Danielle (maybe works better reversed)
Claire Delilah
Claire Dominique

DelinaRose-Welcome back! I agree on the Madden thing but also am just starting to get a "defeatist" attitude about all the names that are spelled differently and the boy names that show up on girls, etc. I start thinking "so what does it matter to me" but for some kids (Sincere S!n City) I feel a bit sorry for the family.

July 21, 2009 3:35 PM

jenmn: I think Vivienne Violet is cute. Also, like others have said, she won't often be called by her MN anyway. I prefer Juliet to Juliette. I find the eXXe at the end of both Vivienne and Juliette a little much.

By hyz
July 21, 2009 4:09 PM

Guest, I think Claire Beatrice 2sylLN sounds lovely. I know one young Claire who is Claire B3rnadette 2sylLN, and I think that's great. And actually, it's her sister who is Josephine nn Josie. I love both of those names, and both might've been on our list if these friends of ours hadn't "stolen" them first. ;)

By hyz
July 21, 2009 4:15 PM

Oh, and jenm, I think Vivienne Claire M. P. flows fine--it doesn't sound choppy to me. If you really like the flow of Vivienne Adele, I think you could go with almost any 2 syllable French name and acheive the same thing--I like the suggestion of Delphine, but maybe there are others you'd like?

July 21, 2009 4:18 PM

Guest #156

"but finding a middle name that goes with a one syllable first name and a two syllable last name is proving difficult."

We had the same problem when we named our DD 'Rose'. I ended up picking a random name just because it was 3 syllables long and it balanced out her 1 syllable first name and our 2 syllable last name. I kind of wish I had a better story to tell her in the future, rather than "I needed something with 3 syllables to make your name flow right!" Especially as we then went on to give our son a family middle name (his great grandfather's middle name).

I recently found this article, with lists of middle names broken down into syllable categories:

Maybe that will help.

By Anna (not verified)
July 21, 2009 4:47 PM

jenmn: Comments on some of your names

Vivienne Violet: The "amount" of alliteration in this combination is too much for my taste. 2 V-names is OK, 2 Vi-names with different pronunciation; maybe. But the triple Vi-vi-vi - too much for me. My opinion may or may not be influenced by that I don't really like Vivienne and Violet. Sometimes it's hard to see past that.

Claire: I see this as a lovely can't-go-wrong name, sort-of a French equivalent of Kate - a little more adventurous but still safe. I think Claire fits better with Elise than Vivienne.

Louise: Same as Claire. It's rather close to Elise, though
Louisa: One of very few -a/-e names where I like one form (Louise) and the other (Louisa) not at all. I'm not sure there's a rational explanation.

Juliet/Juliette: I like this too. I think the t-sound at the end makes it more "strong" (which I like) than just Julie. I have no strong preference over the et vs ette spelling except I like consistence. So I think Juliet goes better with English middle and last names while Juliette goes better with French-ish last names. Same for Vivien(ne), Susan(ne) and similar names.

July 21, 2009 5:34 PM

I came across an intersting sibset the other day:

Pal0ma Jean (15mos)
0livet Eliza (3mos)

They are the daughters of a college mate of mine. Their mother has always been known for her creativity (she is a dancer and a choreographer) and I think her choices here are lovely.

By sarah smile (not verified)
July 21, 2009 5:48 PM

What about:

Claire Danae
Claire Daniela
Claire Deanna (dee-ON-ah was what I was thinking, although other spellings and pronounciations would work too)

I agree with the previous poster that the names flow slightly better with the accent on the second syllable rather than the first, but I don't think that's a dealbreaker. So I'll throw out some other D names:

Claire Daphne
Claire Daisy
Claire Deborah
Claire Deirdre

I think Claire Beatrice works fine too.

July 21, 2009 6:09 PM

jenmn-How about Vivienne Renee? Is has that French flair and is a simple mn. (It's my dd's mn so I am a bit biased though). There could also be Natalie Claire for those looking for something like that.

DelinaRose-Pal0ma J3an is lovely. the flow is very nice. Olivet sounds weird to me I much prefer Olivia but not obviously with Eliza. Olivia Elizabeth sounds better to me.

July 21, 2009 6:09 PM

I absolutely love Juliet (one of my favourite names) but not at all fussed by the Juliette spelling. They seem like different names to me, although this makes no sense! I do however prefer very slightly Vivienne to Vivien/Vivian.

By Qwen
July 21, 2009 6:40 PM

@Guest - I like Claire for a first name. I thought of a couple D mns for your consideration too:


The last one is my best friend's name. I think it's beautiful and unique without being weird. And I think it would go with Claire so nicely!

July 21, 2009 7:02 PM

Going back to the discussion on high concept names, you could go with Claire Annette. It has a french feeling, a stress on the second syllable and it's a musical instrument! :D

July 21, 2009 7:15 PM

British American-I LOVED that site-thanks for sharing! Some other combos that struck me while I was reading it (for anyone who needs a girls name):
Miranda Claire
Vivienne Celeste
Delaney Claire
Delaney June
Calista Roxanne
Josephine Maribel
Vivienne Nicole
Lucy Kathleen
Sybil Janae

July 21, 2009 7:45 PM

maybe i'm misunderstanding what you are saying, but vivienne and violet ARE two vi-names that start with different sounds...right? the former uses a short i and the latter uses a long i.

as it happens, i do agree that two vi-names that sound the same (vivienne victoria) would be too much, but that isn't the case here, i think (unless i'm totally misunderstanding).

well, at least with my particular accent, i think vivienne violet is very pretty, and i like the alliteration though i happen to think many of your choices are very pretty.

(just noticed that the vi-vi-vi in vivienne violet uses three different pronunciations of the i! i kind of think that's neat)

(oh and for what it is worth, i very much prefer juliet. juliette seems...i don't know. like adding more frill to an already frilly name? not sure--just my preference)

By Anna (not verified)
July 21, 2009 8:33 PM


It's the triple 'vi' in Vi-vi-enne Vi-olet that makes it too much for me, even though the 'vi's are not pronounced the same. A "maybe-OK" name would be something like Vittoria Violet where there are only two 'vi's and they have different pronunciations.

July 21, 2009 8:41 PM

oooh, okay. got it!
vittoria is an interesting name.

By Penny in Australia (not verified)
July 22, 2009 5:57 AM

Interesting names I heard in the news today – Jim Stynes, an Australian footballer (originally from Ireland) has a daughter called Matisse (from photo I think she’s aged about 8) and a son called Tiernan (aged about 4).

Presume that Matisse is pronounced the same as the artist (muh – TEE – ss). It’s not quite my usual style, but I think it is really beautiful. I believe Tiernan is an Irish surname (correct me if I’m wrong).

By the other Amber (not verified)
July 22, 2009 10:57 AM

Laura - that post made me laugh out loud. Thanks for sharing your non-exerpt! I loved seeing John as a sister and Elenor as a brother. I hope your kids have forgiven you.

Josephine - I had namers remorse for two months after naming my son, and that is even without having any ppd. Now I think I would've regretted it if I had given in to the remorse: I have loved his name, and now he really can't be anything else. I agree with the others to stick with Josephine: it's a traditional feminine name with many nn options, and it's so classic that it won't be date-stamped. Give yourself at least 2 months (not weeks) to allow the newness of the name to wear off. If you really love the name and it suits your baby (congratulations, by the way!), you will regret changing the name to something else.

Name snobbery - One of the things that I really like about Laura is the genuine lack of snobbery. I have never seen her make fun of or degrade another or their parents because of the style of a name or the spelling of it, and I am very grateful. I can find thousands of other NEs everywhere on the internet and on bookshelves who are snobs, and I really appreciate Laura's respect for those who have differing naming values. I hope to see more of that. For example, even though Madison doesn't appeal to me as a girl's name, I am appreciating its staying presence in the top 5: it's a sign of determined diversity in naming values.

"Different" names - I had wanted to share this story before, but I didn't get the chance to. My husband grew up with an unusual first name paired with an unusual last name: D@n3l M@y0. He's been teased, of course, but he likes his name. In fact, he told me a couple of weeks ago that his name has given him an edge when dealing with other people: he knows what kind of person they are depending on how they react to his name. If they make fun of his first name, they're not the type of person he'd like to hang out with in the first place. If they make a mayonaise joke, he knows they're "low class" and don't have good manners. If they're surprised but they don't make mayo jokes, he knows that they're "low-class" but are polite. If they mention the clinic, they're high-class. And if they say "Mayo like the Irish county?" they're just too cool.

Basically, another side of the unusual name argument is how unusual names show the character of others. Because of my husband's unusual name, he was able to pick out good friends and avoid hanging out with arrogant kids. And now, today, when I start verballizing concerns about teasing, he's the one to tell me to not be afraid of our name.

... Yeah. I just wanted to let y'all know I'm still lingering, even if I don't say much.

By pyewacket (not verified)
July 22, 2009 11:42 AM


Maybe it's an odd idea about what's "ignorant," but it does seem to me that recognizing that some names have equivalents in other languages is rather more basic than knowing the meanings (as in, the derivation of) various names. The latter only comes up in discussions about naming, or perhaps in literature, where a name might be chosen for a meaning that would be more obvious to those who know Latin or Greek (of course, this doesn't happen now the way it once did). Knowing that "Catherine" comes from the Greek and means pure isn't particularly relevant to interactions with others. But the first issue, knowing that Giuseppe is Joseph or Sean is John - that's living knowledge, something that would come from having exposure to foreign language classes even at the high school level (our high school French classes were dismally bad, but we still were all called by the French versions of our names) or by knowing people from other cultures. I know a good number of French and Italian speakers, and used to work with a large number of Spanish speakers - all of whom would be quite surprised to hear that someone would not recognize Paolo as the equivalent to Paul, and the name "Paul Paolo" therefore as a bit odd. Not to say that it's any odder than David Davis, and I've certainly met more than one Dave Davis in my life. But that really should be a deliberate choice on the part of the parents, not something that arises from lack of knowledge.

I think this is quite different from knowing/caring whether the Mac in MacKenzie means son of - many wouldn't know, most wouldn't care. I don't care for the name, but my point about that was just that it stands out less to me that "James-son," even though I'm well aware of the derivation.

I love both Vivienne and Violet, but I don't care for the alliteration. Totally a personal preference thing.

the other Amber: I'm probably more judgmental than most on this board - it's a definite flaw. But if someone is "surprised" by an unusual name, even if they are perfectly polite about it, that makes them "low-class?" That's a bit harsh, wouldn't you say?

By Betsy (not verified)
July 22, 2009 12:02 PM

I like Juliet oh so much but don't like the Romeo & Juliet connection, and I think a lot of the people I know would think of me as a romantic, and therefore loving Romeo & Juliet and falsely think that was a deliberate choice. I thought maybe Juliette would help ease that, but I agree that its more fussy then.

By Anna (not verified)
July 22, 2009 12:07 PM

the other Amber:

Funny that you should mention your appreciation of LW's lack of snobbery - and then go on to make some very interesting assumptions about others based solely on their familiarity or lack thereof with an unusual name. I agree with Pyewacket (#179) on this. And BTW, the condiment is spelt mayonnaise.

By Anna (not verified)
July 22, 2009 12:25 PM

Betsy - I'm not sure you'll distance yourself (or the name) from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by using Juliette instead. Here's what the characters are called in other languages:

French: Roméo & Juliette
Italian: Romeo & Giulietta
Portuguese: Romeu & Julieta
German: Romeo & Julia
Norwegian: Romeo & Julie

So, unless you live very, very far from everywhere, there'll probably be someome, somewhere who associates the name (whichever form you choose) with Shakespeare ;-) Personally, I don't think the Juliet-character in Romeo & Juliet defines the name, even Shakespeare use the name Juliet twice.

By PunkPrincessPhd (not logged in) (not verified)
July 22, 2009 12:34 PM

Re: Name Snobbery

I'm the first to admit that I'm a name snob by some of the above definitions: I care about etymology, traditional usage, and something resembling standard spelling/pronunciation. But I'm also the person who corrects others' spelling and grammar, and tosses around random, useless pieces of name trivia because I happen to find them interesting. I strongly believe that my Name Enthusiasm Syndrome derives from my bibliophilia in general.

However, I don't think this is in the same category as *judgment* (although I'm as guilty of that as anyone else). Anyone who has an interest or investment (emotional, intellectual, or financial) in names will make judgments based on a number of factors: personal taste, class, level of education, geography and local trends, etc, etc. That's been the point of many of Laura's blogs, and something we've all discussed from a number of angles. So I think it's a bit disingenuous to declare that one reaction to a name is *judgmental* or *snobby*, while another is legitimized as personal taste.

It's very rare that anyone on this blog makes a name judgment that is mean or tactless. So can we not just say "to each his own?" and not take it too personally?

By PunkPrincessPhd (not logged in) (not verified)
July 22, 2009 12:35 PM

Apologies for the extra question mark!

July 22, 2009 12:54 PM

Re: Vivienne Violet, actually the point that all the 'i's are different is just making me like this one even more! I don't know what it is about it, but I just love it!

the other Amber- Interesting thoughts. I see your point about getting a sense of people from how they react to your name, but I feel like I react more than many people because I'm so interested in names! I'm not sure I would have reacted particularly strongly to your husbands name though, it's unusual, but I've known other M@yos and certainly wouldn't have made a condiment joke:).

Who gave the mn article? I lost track, it was really interesting though!

By Anna (not verified)
July 22, 2009 1:02 PM

Vivienne Violet - Jenny L3igh is the second person to note that all the vi's are pronounced differently - how do you say it? For me, the two vi's in Vivienne are exactly the same.

By Amy3
July 22, 2009 1:28 PM

Anna, for me the /vi/s in Vivienne Violet are vih ("short" I), vee, vi ("long" I).

British American, I loved the mn article too! Thanks for the reminder to read it, Jenny L3igh.

July 22, 2009 1:10 PM

Viv (rhymes with Liv, as in Liv Tyler) vee (like the letter "v") --that's in bland mid-Atlantic American.

As for naming snobbery, I totally agree with Amber that Laura does an outstanding job of not making judgments on other people's naming choices. So many blogs are filled with snarky, mean-spirited comments. It's refreshing to come to a place where one doesn't feel it necessary to prove one's intellectual heft by making small-minded or nasty remarks!

By Anna (not verified)
July 22, 2009 1:18 PM

I see, thanks. I say it vih-vih-'ennnn.

July 22, 2009 1:30 PM

Sorry if you've already said this before, but where are you from Anna? I have not heard that pronunciation of Vivienne/Vivien before. I would also pronounce it vih(short I)-vee-en. (I find it a very pretty name, too and like the subtle alliteration of Vivienne Violet.)

July 22, 2009 1:32 PM

interesting about the pronunciation of vivienne violet! i pronounce it the way that amy3 and elizabeth t do. i have to say, i like the name a lot less with your pronunciation. (no offense at all! it's just really interesting how one tiny vowel sound can change a name so much for me). do you pronounce vivian and other variations like that as well?

out of curiosity, how does the mother in question pronounce it?

By jenmn (not verified)
July 22, 2009 1:51 PM

Wow, lots of great comments on Vivienne Violet! Thanks, I have a lot to think about now where before I just wasn't sure about the name but didn't know why.

We would pronounce Vivienne (VIH-vee-en) as opposed to Vivian (VIV-ee-un), but this is a very subtle and almost unnoticeable difference. Where Violet (VY-let or VIE-let) is the normal (I think!) pronunciation.

I agree that all of the 'vi's in Vivienne Violet would be different pronunciations of 'vi'. So I think it would be a short 'i', long 'e', long 'i'.

By Anna (not verified)
July 22, 2009 1:57 PM

I'm from Scandinavia. The way* I pronounce Vivienne is probably more towards the French than English, but I think it's more about rhythm than the sound of the vowels. Except for the length of the syllables vih (short) and vee (long) they are the same tone, right? I say the middle syllable in Vivienne just a bit "shorter" than you, I think.

*I'm talking about the way I say Vivienne in English, which I speak with some sort of, but not entirely, British accent. When I lived in Canada people though I was British, in the UK they think I'm continental (which is correct).

July 22, 2009 2:23 PM

I also say Vivienne the way Amy3 and Elizabeth T do, however this is interesting-- jenmn, I say Violet as *almost* three syllables. If I'm saying it slow I say Vi-oh-let if I'm saying it faster I say Vi-(uh)-let. It's very quick and not stressed, but it's definitely there so the whole name would be Vih-vee-enne Vie-(uh)-let if I say it. Which I like:)

Amy3 I went ahead and read some of the other things on there as well and it was very interesting!

July 22, 2009 4:04 PM

First time post here, not pregnant, but trying to start the very long and arduous process of picking baby names...

A brief background: I'm Jewish-American, my husband is Italian-American. Due to my traditions, we'd like to use an "M" or an "S" name for the first name, although we could settle for the middle name. I'd love if the names reflected my heritage, but I'm not sure that's possible. We like Japanese names, too, but if we give the (future) child a "foreign" name, then we want to give them a more recognizable middle name.

And here's the kicker... my husband's last name starts with LaBr and ends with a. It's very harsh sounding.

The only two names I've found that even seem to go with it decently for girls are:

Briony Megan
Madeline Rei
Misa (some sort of middle name)

I figured it's better to start early, then to run around trying to figure this out when I'm pregnant. Name suggestions and help for both boys and girls are much appreciated!

By sarah smile (not verified)
July 22, 2009 5:42 PM

For eiriene:



Can you give us a few more ideas of names you like, even if you don't think they 'fit' your last name or preferences? That might help us come up with suggestions that will appeal to you.

By Qwen
July 22, 2009 6:07 PM

Like Jenny L3igh, I also pronounce Violet more along the lines of VIE-uh-let with a very short second syllable.

@eiriene - Welcome to the board! I'm excited that you're looking for help but I agree with Sarah Smile in that we need more info. What kind of Japanese names are you partial to? Are you a fan of more traditional Jewish names? Is your last name just the two syllables?

July 22, 2009 7:18 PM

PPP-Well said back at 183 and I totally agree.

To all the "pronouncers"-I too say it mostly like Jenny L3igh. A while back Laura (or someone) had a link up to a pronuciation test of sorts to see where everyone's accents were from. Can anyone find this and repost-it was fun and the newcomers might not have seen it?

eiriene-Welcome! The first thing I though of for a boy was Samuel. Some others that may or may not work for you are:
Maxwell (and all derivitives)
Marcus; Matthew; Micheal; Malcolm; Malachi
Scott; Sebastien; Stephen; Seth; Simon

Sarah; Sasha; Maren; Molly; Miriam; Miranda; Michelle; Melissa; Muriel; Madeleine

July 22, 2009 7:44 PM

Hi again everyone! Let me see if I can reply to everything...thank you all for your help.

Last name is three syllables.

In terms of Jewish names, if we had a girl her Hebrew name would be Malka after my Grandmother, Molly. I like neither Malka nor Molly as names though. I've been trying to find something similar to both of those, to try to honor her, but I'm drawing a complete blank. Jewish names could mean anything from Yiddish to Hebrew inspired; I'm very open. I just don't want to name someone something like, Dishe (actual great-great-grandmother's name), because it just doesn't work in modern society. =)

I tend to like names that you would find in Victorian times or old-fashioned romance novels. For example, Verity and Corisande are both lovely, in my opinion. For girls, I want names that are feminine, but not overly girly. I'm not that fond of names that sound like surnames, although I'll never say never. For boys, it's a bit easier because I want stuff that seems masculine, but not overly macho. Traditional Jewish names are really easy to use there. Samuel is out, but that's because we have a Samuel in the family already (named after my grandfather).

My husband and I grew up in the 80s, so we want to avoid names that were popular then. (We exemplify the stereotypes: my given name is Jenny and his is Christopher.)

I like a lot of the more modern Japanese names, like Haruna, Misa, Mine (which I don't think I can get away with in English), Rin (all girls). I like names like Kohei, Takumi, Mukai (surname), and Toma for boys.

@196, sarah smile: What does Sivan mean? I like that it's really quirky.

By sarah smile (not verified)
July 22, 2009 8:19 PM

That's funny that you asked about Sivan - I almost left that one out because it's a bit less mainstream, but it's the name of a good friend of mine so I tossed it in. Sivan is the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar. It falls in the springtime, so I suppose it's the equivalent of naming a child April/May/June, although the months don't match up exactly. My friend pronounces it see-VAHN.

For Malka/Molly, I think Maya would work if you like that. Or if you don't mind drifting away from the letter M, what about Amalia? You could use Molly as a nn if you wanted, but even if you stuck with the full name I think it would be a nice way to honor one. And it fits the feminine but not girly, slightly old-fashioned feel you described.