The Name Not Taken

Mar 25th 2010

Last week power-blogger Jason Kottke published a list of the names he didn't choose for his baby daughter. In his words, "Since we are so so (SO!) done having kids, I thought I'd share our list in case someone else finds any of them useful."

The list is very consistent in style. The girls are conspicuously but charmingly antique (Beatrix, Coralie), while the boys are quirky, pint-sized traditionals (Hugo, Finn). Milton is a notable outlier. All in all, a stylish group with an upscale urban/artsy feel.

What really fascinated me, though, wasn't the names themselves but the baby-naming psychology that the blog post embodied. The title, while jokey, says a lot: "Baby names for sale, never used." I suspect most parents can relate to this. It's as if our rejected names still in some way belong to us.

Have you ever seen an exchange between the mother of a toddler and another mom with a newborn baby, something like this? "Oh, Felix? Felix was on our short list when Jasper was born!!" Jasper's mom beams, feeling a real link with little Felix. Meanwile baby Felix's mom smiles tightly at the interloper who dares to think she owns some piece of the special name which belongs to HER, darn it!

As we mull over our short lists, we become attached to the names. They each develop personalities, linked to images of our potential future with different possible children. Even after the winning name is chosen and the baby born, the attachment to the runners-up lingers.

Like Mr. Kottke, many of us also view our unused names as a mildly tragic waste. I'm hardly immune to this myself. I was thrilled when a new nephew received a favorite boy's name that had "gone to waste" when my youngest daughter was born. When you stop to think about it, though, it's a little nonsensical to think of names as assets in that way. In my case it was a traditional name, not something I invented. It was an infinitely renewable resource, and not something that would go to the landfill if unused. How can something so abstract and hypothetical ever "go to waste"?

Part of the sense of waste may be about the time and effort we put into assembling our name lists. But more important, I think, is the sense of value being wasted. All of our name lists have something in common: they reflect our own personal tastes. That means they're flat-out gorgeous. They're the best possible names! How can we let such a valuable resource sit mouldering? Shouldn't we share that bounty, "in case someone else finds any of them useful"?


By Larksong (not verified)
March 31, 2010 9:46 AM

I have never been a fan of LELAND.When I look at it, I just see 'leh-land'. Though, I say it as LEE-LIND. It's not a bad name - it's just a bit pompous for me.But, if you like it, that's nice


Would this be corny? What I want to do with my girl name last is have a 6-syllable theme. So, all of the names come to a total of 6 syllable sounds .An example of a sibset is Isla Evangeline & Eden Alyssa Claire

Now, I have Piper Vivienne Leigh on my list, but is the Vivienne Leigh part cheesy because there was an actress Vivian Leigh? There was also Piper Laurie, so the name is kind of a Old-Hollywood stylized name, though this was not intentional. Do you think I should change the name to another one-syllable name or keep it? On the plus side. Leigh/Lee is a family name - though that is not why I chose it. I'm not really bothered with using family names to be honest.It's more of a coincidence

So, in your opinion , should I change the LEIGH in Piper Vivienne Leigh to something else
and if so
what do you suggest?

Thank you!

By SarahC (not verified)
March 31, 2010 10:49 AM

@Linnaeus - yes, still looking for boy names. Matthew and Ryan are right up top on our list, funny! Tend to skew more 'classic' but it's a fine line between classic and bland sometimes!

By Larksong (not verified)
March 31, 2010 10:51 AM

I can make it Piper Seraphine Leigh

because I am toying with Blair Vivienne Nola or Blair Seraphine Nola

It would have been Blair Charlotte Nola, but I want them to all be 6 syllables

Both Piper and Blair are in my top 10

Thanks :)

March 31, 2010 11:18 AM

New baby alert!

My cousin gave birth to J@ce Michael, little brother to B@iley and Cierr@. I was expecting something trendy/maybe a little creative from her based on the girls' names, and the spelling of Cierr@.

My other cousin is 3 days overdue...she was the one who had the really unusual "O" girl name picked out, if you remember me asking about that a little while ago. I think the blog consensus was Odette or Ondine, so I'll let you know if you're right if they have a girl. I have no idea what their boy name is.

And our Eleanor should be arriving in about 3 weeks...we've started hinting to a few people that it starts with an 'E', I think mostly bc my hubby figures if we tell ppl it starts with an E I can't switch to Penelope at the last minute. :)

But I'm super curious to know what my other cousin's going to have, since Eleanor and J@ce are pretty much opposites stylistically, I want to see what third name is going to complete our little cousin-set.

And btw, it was all coincidental--none of us knew the others were even TTC until we all announced our pregnancies within about a week of each other!

March 31, 2010 11:18 AM

margaret anne- congrats! I love Kip with your daughters names! Also, Christopher Marlowe is another favorite of mine and I closely relate him with Shakespeare, so I think even though Christopher isn't as romantic as your daughters name it still can relate to them!

SarahC- I love classic names for boys! Thomas is one of my favorites, as are James and Charles, but I see how those can toe the bland/classic line. I don't have a ton of time to come up with names at the moment but some that come to mind are Philip, Gregory, Andrew, Paul, Adam, Nicholas, Samuel, Lucas and Theodore.

Larksong- I think Piper Vivienne Leigh/Lee is okay if you aren't going to use all three names often or if you're okay with having people ask you if she's named after the actress. Honestly, I'm not sure how many people are familiar with the actress, especially those who'd be the same age as your daughter. I like Piper Seraphine Leigh and think it's very pretty. Also though you didn't mention this one I think Piper Evangeline is really nice and also six syllables. I don't think a six-syllable theme is crazy though it might lock you in later. It's not something that is too apparent usually (my sons both have the same number of syllables in their name but that was an accident, no one has ever noticed it but me.)

By Larksong (not verified)
March 31, 2010 11:28 AM

Anne with an E

Congrats to you and your family !

I can't use Evangeline because I already have Isla Evangeline and Evangeline Sophie in my top ten list. Piper Evangeline is gorgeous, though ;)

I was thinking of maybe
Piper Vivienne Fae
Blair Seraphine Nola

it's not twins - I'm just working out my names

Does anyone have any opinions on Piper Vivienne Fae?

Thanks !

March 31, 2010 11:28 AM


Change it only if you don't love the name as is. Since she will be known as Piper almost all of the time, most people won't think of Vivian Leigh. In essence, it's like a hidden namesake. If, however, you happen not to like Vivian Leigh, then I would change it. I don't think it will be a problem, though.

March 31, 2010 12:04 PM

Congrats to all the new little ones added recently!

Larksong-a 6 syl theme is subtle so it works. Is this your first or are the others you mentioned already actual ppl? If so I like the others names quite well.
Piper Vivienne Leigh is nice but could sound a tad bit corny if you use her full name often. I don't care for Piper Seraphine Leigh it doesn't have the same ring to it. How about:
Piper Leigh Vivienne (just rearranging)
Piper Marissa Leigh (unless its too close to Alyssa)
Piper Vivienne Rose
Piper Theresa Leigh
Piper Vivienne Skye
Piper Samantha Rose
Piper Georgia Leanne
Piper Natalie Anne
Piper Bethany June
Piper Noelani
Piper Chloe Marin
Piper Alanna Rose
Piper Leila Renee
I kept all of them 6 syllables-you have lots of options. Do any of those suit you?

March 31, 2010 12:05 PM


I'm thinking about these names. William is more of an all-time classic. Matthew is a modern classic, becoming popular in the second half of the 20th century, but always having some presence. Ryan is really only about 50+ years old in the USA, but feels like a classic.

Here's a list of classic names of various pedigrees; what interests you more? What's boring?


March 31, 2010 12:10 PM

Eo- I like the concept of the Philippa syndrome, although I'm not sure in Helena's case whether having the emphasis on the first syllable is considered the only correct way- I have friends in the UK called He-LAY-na and HEL-en-a.

But in general, it does seem as if Brits have a habit of emphasizing the first syllable. During the last few days someone here (sorry I don't remember who) wrote about a Talitha, pronounced Ta-LEE-tha, and I thought, funny, I know one in England pronounced TAL-i-tha.

Then a friend wrote to me yesterday to ask how to pronounce the name Lettice, assuming it must be le-TEECE. She was very disappointed when I had to tell her it's LEH-tiss, as in the salad vegetable!

Other examples: Christine, Pauline, Maureen, etc. All are pronounced with the stress on the first syllable in England. Also Maurice (MORR-iss). There may be others.

In terms of Philippa, I know some people were surprised to discover that the first syllable is stressed, as they assumed that the general pattern when feminizing a boy's name was to shift the emphasis (e.g. Ro-BERT-a, Al-FRE-da). I don't think there is a consistent pattern- look at Erica, after all.

Finally, Brits do stress the first syllable in many words where the Americans do not- for example, perfume, garage. But we also stress the last when you stress the first in some phrases: e.g. we say Robin HOOD and chocolate CHIP! I know all of these from having lived in both countries, and constantly being mocked for saying things differently.

By hyz
March 31, 2010 1:15 PM

Valerie, interesting point about Erica. Until you mentioned that, I couldn't think of any other exceptions besides Philippa to the rule (in my head, anyway), that 2 syllable male names + a are stressed in the middle. Are there others you can think of? The only possible one I came upe with was Andrea, which is a slightly different construction, and can be pronounced either way. For the middle stress pattern, I thought of Michaela, Josepha, Mattea, Daniela, Patricia, Alberta, Brianna, Martina, Edwina, Ernesta, Gordana, Leona, Louisa, Alexa, Ramona, Denisa, Augusta, and Morgana. Anyway, I find this sort of thing interesting, and I wonder how these patterns came about, and why the exceptions arose, and so forth.

By Larksong (not verified)
March 31, 2010 1:24 PM


Thank you ! That was very helpful :)

I haven't had a kid yet - I'm just planning.Piper is my 3rd option with Eden & Isla being the 1st & 2nd respectively

I think Piper Chloe Marin & Piper Vivienne Skye are my favourites and are closer to the rest of my name taste

I think I'm going to go with Piper Vivienne Fae,though. That one seem to feel 'right'. I do really like your idea of Chloe Marin,though. I'm actually putting that in my file :)

March 31, 2010 1:48 PM

hyz- wow, thanks for all the examples. I had to laugh when you mentioned Andrea, because in the UK, I've always experienced it pronounced ANN-dree-a. Also one of the most popular names for girls when I was young was Nicola (NIC-o-la).
The others you mentioned are all the same.
I would add Davida, Georgina, Michaela to your list.

Stress on penultimate: Christiana, Wilhelmina, Gabriella, Raphaella.

In Scotland, there was a tradition of feminizing boys' names to what I would consider a crazy extent. Here are some examples from Behind the Name: Jamesina, Donalda, Donaldina, Kenina, Neilina and Ronalda. NMS!

By Eo (not verified)
March 31, 2010 1:53 PM

Hey, I've always said PER-fume, accent on first syllable. And chocolate CHIP, accent on last syllable. Might be the Canadian influence overtaking the Yank. I do believe there are others over here who do too, co-existing with the other pronunciations as well.

But you're so right, Valerie, "garage" is the true giveaway. No one in North America would even approach the British pronunciation, which to my ear ranges from the proletarian "GARE-idge" to the plummy "GAH-raj" with other approximations in between!

Speaking of which, this is one word quirk I haven't been able to crack. For "exit", I say "EK-sit", while hubby says "EGG-sit". He grew up in a Chicago suburb, so I've wondered if it is a regionalism? But he doesn't have a Chicago accent otherwise-- he doesn't even say "Bahb" for "Bob", much to my disappointment!

I haven't asked him about exit, since I don't want to make him self-conscious about it or stop doing it...

By hyz
March 31, 2010 2:02 PM

Valerie, good point on Nicola. That one's much rarer around here, so when I think of the female form of Nicholas, it's always Nicole (which was pretty common when I was growing up). I don't suppose that since Brits put the stress on the first syllables of the French Pauline, Christine, etc., that Nicole is also NICK-ul there, is it? That would definitely boggle my mind, lol.

By hyz
March 31, 2010 2:06 PM

Eo, I say "exit" both ways, pretty much interchangeably, so I'm no help there! It can be a pretty subtle difference, to my ear, so it just seems like a matter of preference or habit, like Laura (lahr-ah v. lore-ah), which I also use interchangeably as the mood strikes.

By hyz
March 31, 2010 2:09 PM

Oh, and Valerie, I almost included Jamesina on my list, but then I realized I wasn't quite sure of the pronunciation, and I think of it more like 3.5 syllables than 3, anyway. Is that right? Is it jame-(uh)-SEE-nah, wth the (uh) being pretty brief? Anyway, I agree, most of those off-beat MTF names are really not my taste!

March 31, 2010 2:27 PM


English uses the Germanic stress rule, heavy stress on the first syllable of the root, while the Romance stress rule is stress on the penultimate syllable (or in 2-syllable words, on the ultimate). This becomes an issue when Romance words are borrowed into English. British English in those cases follows the Germanic stress rule, while American English tends to retain the Romance stress--hence the two pronunciations of 'garage.' American English does have some non-standard instances of imposing the Germanic stress rule on borrowings (e.g., PO-lice, DE-troit, IN-surance). And then we have cases like RO-de-o vs. Ro-DAY-o Drive. Helena pronounced He-LAY-na is common in the US and is in most cases derived from the Spanish pronunciation.

By SarahC (not verified)
March 31, 2010 2:41 PM

@linnaeus - out of your list, I would say Thomas and James would be the only contenders (Thomas is my maiden name so that's one way of keeping the name going!). The others on the list are mostly no because of nickname choices. Not that I love Tom and Jim, but...well I don't know.

@Becky - I like Thomas, James, and Charles (Charlie).

I guess in the US, Jamie is a girl's name, but in the UK Jamie could be a nn for James (Jamie Oliver, Jamie from Eastenders - if anyone remembers him!).

So I think we're still on: Thomas, James, Charles, Matthew, Ryan...but again, none of them scream 'that's the one!'.

I do also like George, Alfred (Alfie), Harry, and various other 'old man' names, but fear them becoming too popular (seems everyone is naming babies Henry these days, and I loved that one!).

March 31, 2010 3:09 PM


i would say that i also say egg-sit and ek-sit interchangably, though i might lean a bit more towards the former. they're very similar to my ear (i'm from the midwest).

i think i might actually say po-LICE and de-TROIT...though i've now repeated them so many times in my head trying to figure it out, i'm no longer sure.

the chocolate CHIP and robin HOOD example crack me up because, while i agree that it is not the norm in america, i have occasionally come across someone who did use this pattern of speaking. for example, a friend once asked me if i would be interested in going to a nickel CREEK concert. i was kind of amused; it's very strange to my ear.

oh, and i've only ever heard andrea as ANN-dree-uh, though i'm aware that there are other pronunciations.

oh, and jamie can be a boys' or a girls' name in the u.s., as far as i know. don't we have a male celebrity named jamie fox?

By hyz
March 31, 2010 3:21 PM

The DE-troit and IN-surance thing cracks me up--my DH says both of those, and I like to give him a hard time about it (lovingly, of course). He's from Kentucky, although he lost most of his accent when he moved away for college, and I grew up in the mid-Atlantic. He also says PIN-cil for pencil--another of my favorites.

emilyrae, I feel like I hear nickel CREEK as the standard pronunciation on the radio, but I can see now that you mention it why it seems odd to you.

And to be clear about Andrea, my first guess would always be ANN-dree-uh, but I've definitely known a few awn-DRAY-uhs, and they weren't all Hispanic, or anything like that.

March 31, 2010 3:33 PM

oh, hmm. in my area, NI-kel creek is definitely the standard. so when she asked me about nickel CREEK, i was sort of like..."what?" i mean not that it was so bizarre that i didn't understand what she was saying. it was just out of the ordinary. i was part of a youth outreach program in college called young life. most people in my area said YOUNG life, but occasionally you would run into someone that said young LIFE. actually, here's my theory! i was thinking: if i were talking about an actual creek, a place that i was going to, i would probably say nickel CREEK. "i'm going fishing at nickel CREEK." and the same thing would apply, i think, if i was talking about an actual young life. but since these things are bands/organizations, the stress goes to the first syllable. because it isn't really a creek or a life, it's just a title for a group of people. i just came up with this, so maybe i'm crazy. i can't think of any other examples though.

hyz, i have so many conflicting and interesting views of your husband! in a good way, i mean. he's korean, he's southern, he's all sorts of things! i imagine he's a very interesting person.

March 31, 2010 3:44 PM

I love these pronunciation discussions we get into often around here. It is fascinating the way others say/do things outside of the boundaries of my own backyard so to speak. My gpa used to say RAD-ee-a-tor instead of the way I'm more used to RAY-Dee-a-tor. It was just a funny quirk he had.

Re andrea: I've heard it ANN-dree-ah, AHN-dree-ah, and also Ann-DRAY-uh and Ahn-DRAY-uh.

Larksong: Glad I could be helpful. I also like Lark as a 1 syl name. I like Piper Vivienne Fae but I just wanted to give you some other options. 6 is a good syl number to work with.

By hyz
March 31, 2010 4:11 PM

emilyrae, thanks. :) You're right--he's definitely an interesting (and wonderful, I should add) person, even if his non-NE tendencies drive me a little nutty sometimes! ;)

March 31, 2010 4:34 PM

I definitely say po-LICE not PO-lice. Actually, I feel like often PO-lice, is used by African American people on tv shows in a stereotypical sort of way...I'm thinking in particular of The Wire, where almost all the African American characters say PO-lice, and the white characters almost all say po-LICE.

Oh, and speaking of husband's pronunciations, my husband always says "ad-DRESS", and never "ADD-ress". For me, the first is an action (I need to ad-DRESS this letter) and the second is a location (this is my ADD-ress), but he uses the ad-DRESS pronunciation for both.

I think he's wrong, but he says I'm being picky. :)

March 31, 2010 4:35 PM

SarahC- I think Jamie can still be a nickname for James on the right child. I know a teenaged Jamie (male) and he's always been fine with the name. I love Charlie as well- Charles has such wonderful nicknames!

Wow this is such an interesting conversation! I grew up around lots of people with heavy New York accents so I say some words with the plain Northeast accent but others are very New Yorkish. Growing up any name ending in "er" got changed to ending in an "a", so for example my Aunt's married name was Kesher, so basically instead of being Chani Kesher, she was Chani Kesha and Meyer becomes My(or May)-ya. Also, strangely, a lot of "a"s get turned into "er"s so like, Rebekah, becomes Rebeker (but the "er" is soft not blatant). The Brooklynite in me also slips out sometimes when I'm writing certain words, so the "r" drops out of words like, formerly becomes formally, or refrigerator becomes refrigerata. The New York accent is actually really interesting and quite funny when you break it down.

Funny story, my son once told me I was saying Spongebob wrong because I was putting the stress on bob rather than sponge (so spongeBOB) and it should be SPONGEbob and I couldn't help but laugh that my six year old was correcting my stressing of the name of an animated character!

New baby alert: a mom in my playgroup just had twins and I was quite surprised by the names. Her older daughter (age four) is named Emily Quinn, nickname Emmy, so, very popular. Her twins are Paulina Fay, nn Polly, and David Xavier, nickname Dax, definitely more unusual.

By Bue
March 31, 2010 4:51 PM

Valerie, the different name pronunciations are something I still can't work out after six years of living here. People are always calling my coworker EI-leen. I'm like, no... her name is Ei-LEEN! Drives me batty. I much prefer "my" way :)

hyz, yes Brits do say something like NICK-ul or NICK-ole for Nicole. Unfortunately I find it terribly unattractive as a pronunciation.

I have to ask about PO-lice. Some Americans really say that? I thought that was something you only ever heard in rap songs, and even then they were just changing it up for emphasis!

Becky, Paulina is interesting. The only one I've ever heard of is Wayne Gretzky's daughter.

By Eo (not verified)
March 31, 2010 5:13 PM

I know of a toddler Paulina, also nicknamed Polly. Very cute. Interestingly, the name is especially popular among parents with Polish background, for some reason. Was there a Slavic saint by that name, I wonder?

PO-lice and DEE-troit are Southern-isms, as is IN-surance. They have a charming agrarian quality to me. Fiction writers sometimes mention that their Southern characters use these locutions, and I encountered them occasionally in New Orleans.

On the opposite side, I seem to recall that New Orleans has its very own distinctive pronunciation of "ambulance" which puts the emphasis on the last syllable-- am-byou-LANCE!

March 31, 2010 5:16 PM

haha, i love it when things like this come up. inevitably someone (usually myself) exclaims, "wait, people actually SAY that???" i will never forget the moment i learned that some people say pasta with a short /a/ sound.

no one i know says PO-lice, but apparently it happens...? i think it must be a regional thing...maybe southern? not sure.

By hyz
March 31, 2010 5:27 PM

Really? Nicole is NICK-ul??? I was kind of joking about that, because I couldn't imagine that it was true. Consider my mind boggled.

And yes, I think I've heard white people in pockets of deep southern Appalachia saying PO-lice, although I agree it seems like more of a TV/stereotypical black expression in general (although, to be clear, I don't think most [any??] of the African American people I know say PO-lice).

March 31, 2010 5:29 PM

It's po-LICE, de-TROIT, and in-SUR-ance for me... I'm from California.

I've met Andreas with all four of zoerhenne's pronunciations.

It's CHOC-late CHIP, NICK-el CREEK, and ROB-in HOOD for me. The first and third syllables are equally stressed.

I remember meeting a NIC-o-la when my family spent a week visiting London from a flat in Streatham Hill (wonderful experience; the local kids were fascinated by us American kids and vice versa--a very positive development for us all!). Otherwise, I've only met nic-OLEs.


Is the nickname more important to you than the full name?

By EVie
March 31, 2010 6:03 PM

I have these British vs. American pronunciation conversations at home occasionally with my stepfather, who is English. I distinctly remember him telling me that while the ordinary English pronunciation of "garage" is "GAA-rahj," the "posh" way of saying it was actually the American pronunciation, "guh-RAHJ," and if you said that as a Brit you sounded snooty.

Becky - my favorite Brooklynism is how the str- sounds, like in "street," "strawberry," become "shtreet," "shtrawb'ry" (I grew up in Manhattan and went to school with a lot of Brooklynites).

Might the American confusion over Philippa have to do with the many languages other than English that have influenced our culture? I knew a German Filipa who pronounced it fih-LEEP-ah, if I remember correctly. Also, Andrea is an Italian male name pronounced ann-DRAY-ah, which may have influenced the way we read the girls' name.

March 31, 2010 8:33 PM

There is an announcer on my local NPR station who pronounces the word "radio" more like "reedio". He pronounces everything else in the flat mid-Atlantic accent favored by all other announcers around here. Is anyone else familiar with this?

By SarahC (not verified)
March 31, 2010 9:24 PM

@Linnaeus - no, nickname is not more important, not at all...just thinking with the names I'm deciding between, that the full name could be a little formal for a kid.

By Kanadiana (not verified)
March 31, 2010 11:02 PM

I did post the name choice but I accidentally posted under "Guest" rather than Kanadiana so it was probably easy to miss....

After much thought and debate my friends named their little guy
Jo@l Olivier
The Jo@l has two dots over the e so the pronunciation on paper is the french pronunciation. They may use both the english and french pronunciations as they do with all their kids, but I don't know for sure....
(They live in an english area currently but the wife's family are from a small french community and she is interested in keeping the french heritage intact...)

Thanks for all the thoughtful suggestions!

By Kanadiana (not verified)
March 31, 2010 11:21 PM

SarahC, you have some great names on your lists.

Juliet (classy, beautiful)
Greta (I know a little Greta and it is absolutely sweet, I love it! And it will go the distance with age too!)
Violet (Sweet!!)

Those are my top 3, after that come:

Elizabeth and Elsa are both solid, can't go wrong with them, and Elizabeth has so many lovely nicknames.

Josephine (.... Josie! that qualifies it as a great name right there...)

Ewan and Clive would be my top picks from your boys list...

I would also add the suggestion:

April 1, 2010 12:07 AM

robin hood falls into my pattern as well. if i were introducing a friend of mine by that name, i would absolutely say, "this is my good friend, ROB-in HOOD." but the character, the movie, this has just become a title in my mind, and it is always ROB-in-hood, the same way i would articulate the word "parenthood." very strange.

April 1, 2010 3:04 AM

Eo: Thanks for the background on those actors. I've never heard of any of them before except for Gene Autry. I did notice that Gilbert Roland was Mexican descent and thought it was very interesting. I'll have to ask my grandparents how they chose the names, but they're getting old. Not sure if they remember...

re: PO-lice and DE-troit: I was taught that this was African American pronunciation, which of course has lots of overlaps with southern U.S. pronunciation.

April 1, 2010 12:58 PM

Just a random question, but do you have to be pregnant, a parent or an expectant-parent to ask questions about names on here ?

Can you just be a pre-planner or name lover asking for advice? Is that ok?

Thanks :)

April 1, 2010 1:06 PM

@Larksong--Well I've been asking about names for a year and a half here, and I've only been pregnant for about 8 months! :) Ask away!

Oh, and new baby alert: baby boy Ezr@ born to my cousin this morning. I guess that means that the "O" name game is going to have to go unanswered...

April 1, 2010 1:15 PM

Larksong- welcome! Many of us here are just NEs (Name Enthusiasts)- so fire away!

April 1, 2010 1:21 PM

By the way, I would pronounce Nicole Ni-COLL, personally. So the difference for me is in the vowel sound not the inflection. Great discussion, everyone! I love hearing about all these different pronunciations.

April 1, 2010 1:35 PM

Anne with an E


Congrats to your cousin!

April 1, 2010 1:50 PM


LOL ! I have my own term :NGU - Name Geeks Unite/Unlimited that I made up a while

But,I'll proudly wear the NE badge as well

By Due within a month (not verified)
April 1, 2010 2:41 PM

I emailed my side of the family this morning with an April Fool's joke, that we had given birth to twins instead of just one (somehow the medical people had all missed this...) and that they were called Nabal and Avril.

I was amazed that people took me seriously (the googled image and fake birth weights probably helped there), but no one immediately picked up the name meanings...

I am now up to my due date, so hoping it won't be long until little Bean arrives (not real name)

By hyz
April 1, 2010 3:35 PM

Due within a month (or should I say "Due Today", lol)--good joke! I like the fake names, too! Avril really isn't a bad one for a day like today, but Nabal is better left in the joke category, I think. I was also fooled by a fake birth announcement today, but at least it wasn't from a close family member, just the author of a blog I read. Good luck on having your little one soon! My daughter was exactly a week late--I think she was giving me a little extra time to get my ducks in a row before she came. Hopefully (especially since this isn't your first), this little bean will arrive sooner, rather than later!

Larksong, welcome! You definitely don't have to be expecting to post and ask questions here (I think the majority of people here probably AREN'T expecting), but I'll go out on a limb and say that questions that start "Ack! I'm due next month and have no idea what to name the baby!" generally get more suggestions than general name ponderings--nobody wants that poor baby to be stuck without a name, lol. But general ponderings are also quite welcome. :)

Anne with an E, congrats to your cousin on the sweet new babe! Ezr@ is a great name, but I admit I'm a bit disappointed we don't get to find out what the O name was!! :)

By Guest (not verified)
April 1, 2010 4:36 PM

Can you all tell me when the 2009 stats will be posted for US names?

April 1, 2010 5:00 PM


Thomas, James, Charles, Matthew, Ryan.

With concerns about nicknames, here are a few classic names that don't nick very well (you can keep the full name:


Anything of interest there? Any sounds you like within a name, even if you don't like the full name?

April 1, 2010 5:32 PM

Anne with and E:
Yes, congratulations on the new family member! Welcome Ezra!

I'm so disappointed, however, that we won't know the "O" name . . . I was hoping for Olwen but betting on Odet (also very cute). Neither of these guesses, however, sounds as though it would have a sibling called Ezra. Then again, many lists I've read are not stylistically coherent (my own included, sometimes).

Due Within a Month: Brilliant! I'd forgotten it was April Fool's.

Regarding pronunciation: I love this topic. I can vouch for the authenticity of the PO-lice pronunciation in some circles; did teach at a school in D.C where the community (all African American) mostly pronounced it this way and would also refer to a single police officer as "a police," rather than "police man/woman/officer." I rather liked that efficiency.

I'm not often thrown by pronunciations; perhaps because I moved around quite a bit from an early age, I tend to accept any old pronunciation without batting an eye. Sometimes I even vary my own pronunciation depending on the flow of the sentence! Time in England taught me that many things can be pronounced in ways that have little or nothing to do with how they are spelled (Magdalen College, anyone? Leicester Square?) Of course there are many of those same oddities here in the US - I just found them more striking in the UK.

By knp-nli (not verified)
April 1, 2010 6:07 PM

Guest: I believe the 2009 stats will be posted on the Friday before Mother's day