Baby Name Wizard 3: What Names Would You Like to See?

Oct 20th 2011

I'm delighted to say that I've just started work on the third edition of The Baby Name Wizard book. I truly mean delighted. Working on the book makes me ridiculously happy -- especially this time around, because I'm bursting with new names and ideas that have been piling up in my brain since I finished the last edition.

I'll be reviewing, revising and updating every bit of the book, and expanding it significantly. (For those of you who may recall the great ISBN confusion with BNW 2: yes, this will be a full new edition with its own Amazon identity!) I have a ton of ideas for brand-new features and improvements. And, of course, I'm adding more names. Lots of names.

I already have a list of almost 100 new names that deserve full entries this time around. It's amazing how fast that can happen. In 2008, when I submitted the last manuscript, a name like Bristol was barely a blip on the landscape.

I'd love to hear your suggestions for more names that deserve fuller treatement. Are there names you keep looking up in the book, in vain? Name variants that have established distinct identities from their "parents"? Perhaps names that you're just starting to hear friends discuss, that could be up-and-coming? Nominations, please!



October 20, 2011 10:41 AM

i am obviously nominating the three names i mentioned at the end of the last post.

By Martha J (not verified)
October 20, 2011 10:42 AM

names to consider - Noble, Thatcher, Era, Arbor, Novella

October 20, 2011 10:45 AM

My son's name, Brecken, is listed as a sibling name in the original edition (hi, I'm slightly obsessed with the book :) - it would be awesome to see it with its own little blurb.

By verity (not verified)
October 20, 2011 11:20 AM

I don't have the book in front of me, but, as I recall, Bronwyn was listed, but not the Welsh gender appropriate, though, admittedly, less frequently used in the US version: Bronwen.

October 20, 2011 11:24 AM


By gollygee23 (not verified)
October 20, 2011 11:52 AM


October 20, 2011 12:59 PM

oh, well obviously gax. does it even need saying?

October 20, 2011 2:48 PM

LOL on the Gax nominations! My kids would certainly be delighted.

(For those who don't see the name's appeal:

October 20, 2011 3:57 PM

Firefly-in reference both to the TV show but also to the young girl whose mother posts here occasionally. Her name has stuck in my head all these months/years. (Yes though, I do remember her real name).

Speaking of new names, I received my copy of the American Girl catalog today. New for this year are: Cecile (with an accent on the first E) and Marie-Grace. They are living in New Orleans, LA in 1853. Cecile has lived there all her life while Marie-Grace recently moved back there. It appears that Cecile is Black/Creole and Marie-Grace is white. Also, the girl of the year 2011 is Kanani. So that name may be up and coming.

October 20, 2011 4:25 PM

I don't know if these are already on your list but I was thinking about the names in the news this year:

By Amy3
October 20, 2011 4:27 PM

I just looked in vain for Amyas this morning so I'll nominate that. Also, would you consider a refresh of Astrid? My daughter would be thrilled if the reference to it being "clunky" was removed. :)

October 20, 2011 4:29 PM

what is firefly's real name? (if you are at liberty to say...)

i think martha j's suggestions of thatcher and noble are pretty good ones.

October 20, 2011 4:31 PM

aw, amy3, i am pretty sure you asked for a removal of clunky in the last edition! here's to hoping you get it this time around! :]

also, do you have more details on amyas? what is this name?

By Jodi Y. (not verified)
October 20, 2011 4:45 PM

The only one of my daughters' names that isn't in the current edition is Romilly. I know she's in the English list, but I'd love to see her get her own listing. My girls are quickly catching the baby name bug, and they love to hear what you've written about their names. So excited about the new edition! What color will the new circle on the cover be, I wonder? Or will the cover be totally different???

By annabelle (not verified)
October 20, 2011 4:50 PM

amy3, i wholeheartedly agree re: astrid! i have loved the name for a long time and used it for my second daughter, but i could not relate at all to the entry for it in The Baby Name Wizard. i can't recall the details, but it really threw me off and made me question my choice. ultimately, though, i just decided that the book got it wrong, and went with it! glad i did.

By Coll
October 20, 2011 5:26 PM

I can't wait to get BNW3 when it comes out!

Just wanted to check back in and let everyone know that I had my son about two weeks ago and gave him the name we'd picked years before, Simon Kelly LN. I know there are many fans of the name Simon around these parts. He's a wonderful little cuddlebug and a sweet, quiet boy, so the name fits well. My husband adorably commented at our first pediatrician visit that he likes the name more every time he hears someone use it.

Still holding Josephine in reserve for a potential future girl, unless it reaches unacceptable heights of popularity in the intervening years.

And I'm already thinking about Baby Boy #2 potentials, but I think this time around we'll hold off on talking about anything until we're actually pregnant. It would be nice to have those conversations a bit closer to the baby's arrival than 4 years before :)

October 20, 2011 5:53 PM


i love (love!) simon so much! it is a perfect name name and one of my favorites. congratulations!

By hyz nli (not verified)
October 20, 2011 6:11 PM

Congratulations, Coll! I think Simon Kelly sounds both smart and suave--funny, I don't like Kelly so much on a woman, but it just sounds downright handsome after Simon. Love!

October 20, 2011 6:28 PM

ditto hyz, definitely.

By Kathleen B. (not verified)
October 20, 2011 9:13 PM

I noticed a few pronunciation errors in the second edition. The correct pronunciation of Briony is BRIE-ən-ee, not BREE-ən-ee. Blythe is BLIEDH, not BLIETH.

October 20, 2011 9:40 PM

emilyrae-If I am not mistaken it was C@rolin3.

October 20, 2011 10:06 PM

Yes, you're correct about Firefly's real name. She's Beth the Original's daughter.

Congratulations, Coll! What a delightful name.

By Laura V (not verified)
October 20, 2011 10:21 PM

Gax! Gax, by the by, is also the name of a character in one of my favorite online comics, Wondermark.

By Beth the original (not verified)
October 20, 2011 10:54 PM

Awww, thanks for remembering Firefly (who is, indeed, a Caroline). But is it a real name? It's just an identity a kid chose for herself. On the other hand, lots of people seem to use it as a screen name.

I'm meeting a lot of Amelies (pronounced AH-muh-lee). But it probably has an entry (sorry, don't do hard copy!). And Ottile has gotten a lot of play here.

Kinsey (yes, like the sexologist). I find it faintly ridiculous but it is showing up.

October 21, 2011 4:40 AM

@Coll, congrats!! Glad to hear that Simon Kelly arrived safely :)

I'll third the suggestion that Astrid gets an update, now that I have my own Astrid!

October 21, 2011 4:42 AM

So this is a bit off topic but given we are talking about Astrid and updating it's entry in the BNW I've been wondering what I would name a future sibling. What would you pick as a good sibling name to Astrid Elodie? I'm after boy suggestions and girl suggestions. I of course have lists but happy to have input. I'm not planning another little one quite yet but it doesn't hurt to play the name game :)

October 21, 2011 9:13 AM

*waves hi to Beth the original*
Beth-Is she still indentifying with this name? Its just such a memorable thing and I also thought there was a TV show or book or something. Mostly I was joking though about its inclusion in the book.

Chimu-Interestingly enough I would maybe choose Clementine Hazel; Penelope Charlotte; Nora Vivian; Bridget Maeve
and Simon Oliver; Tristan Augustus; Noah Dawson

By Coll
October 21, 2011 9:33 AM

Chimu, maybe it's just because someone mentioned it above, but I'm liking Blythe or Brynn with Astrid. Also Rowan or Charles for a boy.

By hyz
October 21, 2011 10:00 AM

Chimu, I'd have to think more on it for suggestions, but the real life Astrid sibsets I know are Astrid and Inga, and Astrid and Milo (or was it Miles? no, I think Milo). Astrid hasn't shed its N. European feel for me, so I'd be thinking of things like Soren, Stellan, Ansel, August, Torsten, Annike, Lena, Elke, Adela, Louisa, Milla, Beata, Vera, Mathilda, Petra, Greta, Johanna, Malin, Marit, Thora, Sylvia--i.e. names that are either explicitly scandinavian, or at least passably continental. A lot of those, especially on the girls' side, are more soft and vowelly than Astrid and so may not appeal to you as much, but there are some solid ones in there, I think. I really love this class of names--they seem sharp, smart, and stylish to me.

For the new edition, off the top of my head, I remember wanting a full listing for Averil in the prior versions. I think it might be listed as a variant of Avril, but that's not right, I believe.

By Amy3
October 21, 2011 10:44 AM

@emilyrae, a co-worker of mine has a son called Amyas. I'd never heard of it and wasn't even sure of the correct pronunciation (-my- or -mee-). She says uh-MY-us. I love the way it looks and how it sounds.

@Coll, congratulations! I love Simon Kelly's name. I agree with everyone else's assessment of how well the two names flow together. Well done! Enjoy your little boy!

@annabelle, yay! Another Astrid! Do you mind sharing her first-middle combo? I'd love to know the other name you paired with Astrid.

@Chimu, ahhhh, sibs for your Astrid. How fun! I love that Coll suggested Brynn as I have a niece who's Bryn. Great name and it does fit well with Astrid. I also like a lot of zoerhenne's and hyz's suggestions. I would have suggested Petra and Soren, and I have a cousin called Greta (who's only a year older than my daughter) so it's easy for me to see that with Astrid, too. Also on my list would be: Solveig, Beatrix, Maud, Solomon, Abraham, Laszlo, and Stanley.

And speaking of Maud, I saw a little of a "Maude" episode last night and was totally in love with every name on it (all attached to then-middle-aged characters): Maude, Vivian, Agnes, Walter, Arthur, and Albert. *swoon*

October 21, 2011 10:48 AM

Unity and Brixton!

(sorry, had to plug my own kids names there.)
I found Brixton's name from this board so it only seems right.

By Kristen R. (not verified)
October 21, 2011 11:41 AM

I would like to see the sibling names for the name Felicity reconsidered. I think it fits more with pioneer girl names: Abigail and Rose rather than Meadow and Piper.

By Jane 6 (not verified)
October 21, 2011 12:00 PM

Names I could see being included this time around:



Of course, these are favorites, so maybe it's better if they AREN'T included:)

October 21, 2011 12:35 PM

oh, i would like to strongly second kristin r.
i have had the *exact* same thought about the sibling names for felicity. i think i talked about it at length a while back. to me, felicity is warm and antique and britishy. i would expect to see it with things like eleanor, charlotte, annabelle, josephine, and cecily; and julian, oliver, henry, miles, and simon.

the listed siblings are:

sisters: willow, piper, patience, meadow, serenity

brothers: sebastian, rowan, landen, zander, dawson

with the exceptions of patience, rowan, and sebastian, they all seem very off to me.

willow, meadow, piper, and serenity, while all virtue or word names, all feel distinctly more modern and have a very different vibe for me. and zander and landen (especially with the newer/less traditional/less common spellings) seem very out of place as well. dawson is a bit better.

beth the original,
amelie does not have its own entry! (it's listed as a varient of amelia.) but i'll second the motion; i think it merits it.

i don't think i'd list kinsey though. i hope i'm not letting personal opinion cloud my judgement, but there seem to be a lot of names in that sound family (mackenzie, makenna, kenna, kenzie, kinsey), and while i definitely think they should be represented, i feel like if they all get their own entry, we might as well publish a small pamphlet dedicated just to them.

also, i love that your daughter calls herself firefly. :] and yes, zoerhenne, there is a show (though i do not know if it is related to caroline the original).

ooh. i like amyas. i have not heard it before.

i like many of hyz's ideas, particularly greta and ansel, and i'll also throw out axel/aksel. i like them because (to me) they fit with astrid in that they have a distinct "otherness" to them, but are still familiar to most american ears (unless you're in australia...i forget...).

also, zoerhenne, those are fun combos! penelope charlotte just trips right off the tongue!

By Hera
October 21, 2011 1:54 PM

Consider an entry for Reed as a girl. I know 3 of them and I think it makes the perfect androgynous name. For a girl it gives off the same vibe Willow does. For a boy it gives off more of a Hunter sort of vibe.

Also, I don't know if Sagan is in there, but I loved that idea for a name.

October 21, 2011 1:57 PM

wow, hera, i am impressed that you know 3 female reeds--there were only 24 born last year!

By ErinsFoodFiles (not verified)
October 21, 2011 2:06 PM

Laura any word on the release date? Even a season & year?! Would love to know!

October 21, 2011 2:27 PM

I would LOVE to see inclusion of more non-European/biblical names. I know there don't seem to be too many folks here who are looking for these, but out in the analog world there are more and more of us. A few favorites off the top of my head: Devraj, Aparna (Indian); Kazuo, Toku, Midori (Japanese); Aba (Ghanaian). These are all names of people I know in the U.S. and/or names that we considered or chose for our own children.

@Coll, congratulations! Apropos the previous discussion, I've always loved the theme song to the old cartoon "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings", and it seems especially appropriate for the child of a name enthusiast: "Well you know my name is Simon..." Obscure enough that he probably won't get hit with it every time he's introduced, but simple and catchy enough to be easily modified into a special song for baby :)

@Chimu, I guess I never knew Astrid was Scandinavian, as I've always associated it more with stars, as in asters and astronomy. Definitely never thought of it as clunky--"bright" would be the adjective I would pick if I had to choose one: intelligent and sparkling. I'm not sure what I would pair it with, but I don't think I'd necessarily limit myself to N. European names unless I specifically wanted to honor that heritage (not to say I'd rule them out, either). I quite like the Blythe pairing. What drew you to Astrid?

October 21, 2011 2:34 PM

Apropos of absolutely nothing--

For those who can read German, here is a thread from a poker forum in which a German member asks for help in choosing a name for his son expected in January 2012, offering a 15 euro reward (if the euro still exists by January). Now young wiseacres are overrepresented among poker players, so some of the suggestions are, as expected, highly facetious (Muammar?!), some I think are serious, and some I don't know enough about current German naming fashions to be sure of. The expectant father specifically said, "als kleine ergänzung, der name sollte nicht ganz so exotisch sein !!!" I think perhaps Muammar would qualify as 'exotisch" in Expectant Dad's mind. (Well, it would in my mind.)

(Actually you don't have to be able to read German to pick up on the suggested names.)

And while we are on the continent, no one has mentioned the new Sarkozy daughter Giulia. Papa Sarkozy's sons are Pierre, Jean, and Louis, and Mama Carla's son is Aurélien. Looks like the Italian heritage came to the fore with Baby Giulia.

October 21, 2011 3:46 PM

I'm not familier with the last Baby Name Wizard books, but I'd like to polightly make suggestions based on my familarity with baby name books in general and this website. Girl's name:Poiema...and also names from other languages along with their pronunciation(eg: Yumi~You-me):). It seems like other name books lean toward only names from a certain language. I like how you're expanding the context of baby naming and making it easier to navigate. I'd be gleeful if I was working on such a project right now. Enjoy every moment of it!

October 21, 2011 3:54 PM

In response to Mary J's post:I adore these types of names...especially:Noble and Novella(because of the n).Era reminds me of time, excitment,(also Eragon...but not too much), and Arbor reminds me of the great outdoors. Personally this reminds me that the dictionary is surprisingly a good place to find new names. :)

October 21, 2011 6:57 PM

No suggestions here because I have no idea what's already in the book.

To all the moms of Astrids: I'm one of those people who thought it was clunky UNTIL a few weeks ago when an Austrian girl in one of my classes introduced herself as Astrid. The way she said it was absolutely beautiful and gave me a whole new respect for the name. I don't know how you guys pronounce it, but she said it like ass-TRIT with a little roll of the R. I guess I'm clouded by my own American accent where I pronounce it more like ASS-trid

By KVA (not verified)
October 21, 2011 7:33 PM

I think people are going to start getting sick of the new-variations-on-the-same-sounds game... I know I have! I'm looking for names that are easy to pronounce in various languages and that don't sound like combinations of trendy sound patterns. Although I'm European and my fiance is Peruvian/Quechua, we're finding a lot of Indian and Japanese names appealing. We'd like to learn more about Chinese and African names, as well.

By Sica
October 21, 2011 11:24 PM

I would love it if there was an entry for Mila. We didn't use it, but considered it. I'm already betting that it will be one of the fast-risers of 2011.

By saugifer (not verified)
October 22, 2011 2:03 PM

Girls: Amaryllis, Hadley, Faye, Ursula, Louella, Brielle, Cayden

Boys: Kano, luca, Fox, Adlai, Alfie, Crewe, Caillou, Rylan, Mordecai

October 22, 2011 7:29 PM

Thanks for all the Astrid sib suggestions :) Many of them were already on my list so nice to know others think they 'go' too. Plus, some more ideas.

@ZR - I love Clementine Hazel but doubt my hubby would ever go for it given his dislike of Clementine! There was a little Hazel in Astrid's swimming class the other day and she was a cutie!

A few of you like Blythe and Brynn. Blythe I like but doesn't go with our surname that ends in /th/. Brynn is totally male to me since I know 2 male Brynn's.

@hyz, I was wondering if Soren was too much with an Astrid but I think I could probably get away with it. I am also a big fan of August, Greta, Bridget, Elke, Annike, Mathilde so sort of on the same track as you.

@Amy3 I'm growing to like Solomon and Laszlo!

@emilyrae - I also don't mind Ansel and Axel.

@nedibes - Astrid was one of a long list of names we like but we ended up using it because it just fitted. I like that it is a bit spunky but still pretty, fairly well known but not common and I do like that it has the consonant clusters.

I also have been considering Saskia as a good siblin name. Not a name I considered when we were naming Astrid but I've grown to like it in the last few weeks.

By Hera
October 23, 2011 2:20 AM

@emilyrae - Really? Maybe it's a micro burst of them in our area or something. Although one is out of state and I'm fairly certain she got the idea from my friend here with a little Reed. The other is a middle name (named after her grandfather). My sister is also considering it for her soon to be daughter! Craziness. Can't argue with the cuteness though.

By rhodolady (not verified)
October 23, 2011 5:02 AM

With all the recent mention of Astrid, I must mention a girl I knew in the 40s. Her name was Estrid W@lb3erg. It was definitely spelled with an E, though I forget whether it was a single l in the last name or double ll. I never asked about her ethnic origin but likely Scandinavian or from northern Europe.

October 23, 2011 9:57 AM

emilyrae-I would third? the suggestion of updating Felicity. I agree that it does not seem to go with Meadow or Patience but I do like it with Dawson, Summer, or Marigold. It's one of those flexible names that can go in a few different directions. I think Astrid is also like this.

Chimu(and others)-Glad you liked my suggestions. They were completely off the top of my head. I did remember your LN though. I will have to go back to your previous list and pull a few combos together soon.

October 23, 2011 12:46 PM

Do you think that they have Felicity listed with Willow, Zander, and Dawson because of the time those TV shows were popular? Those of us who watched the shows are now at the age to have children.

I love the suggestions of: Eleanor, Charlotte, Annabelle, Josephine, and Cecily; and Julian, Oliver, Henry, Miles, and Simon. Probably because I have a Miles :)