Alistair for a boy but what for a girl?

Our little surprise bean is due in September and I'm delighted that the new forums mean I can properly indulge my love of names! I look forward to hearing your advice as my husband is not enjoying my level of name analysis!

Our surname is that of a famous golfer, 5 letters, 1 syllable W---s. So that rules out flower and nature names. If baby is a boy he will be called Alistair but no middle name yet so go wild and give me some ideas! We're also in a regional area of the UK (not England) so the Times/Telegraph style names (which I love) are much less common. I'm open to Gaelic names, though probably more as middles. The girl list of names ran to about 40 and we've narrowed it down to the following. I'd love your views on how they fit with our surname and any other names you think we should consider:
Philippa (Pippa)
Elizabeth (Lizzie)
Felicity (- I think this is our current front runner)

For interest my favourites are Philippa, Fiona, Felicity and Georgiana. Hubby likes Penelope, Imogen, Delilah and Felicity. Thanks for your ideas!


April 12, 2012 4:35 PM

They're all lovely selections and you're smart to shy away from nature names. A few points:

- With a one syllable last name, I'd stick with a three-syllable first name and shy away from names that have natural nicknames (Penny, Lizzie, Pippa, etc) Maybe use Helen, Polly, Audrey and Bethan as middle names.

- Pippa seems too tied to Kate's sister, but perhaps it has a different connotation in the UK.

- I really love when letters/sounds in a first name are echoed in the last name. You could pick up that 'd' in your last name really well with Delilah or Adelaide. The 'w' would be harder, but maybe a Gwendolyn?

-On the other hand, I do think Felicity contrasts very nicely with your last name. The quick rhythm and brightness is anchored and balanced by W---s. Plus, if you do end up using Alistair, then Alistar and Felicity make a vary pretty sibset.

April 13, 2012 11:33 AM

Thank you - yes, the longer first name is a real must for me, to balance out the short surname, but I like the idea of a nickname-able name as if she gets married and has a long surname (my maiden name was a right mouthful) then she can go by a shorter version. Also, we have a dog who rarely gets his full name, always nicknames, so I think it is worth considering the nicknames now. That's why I'm not fussed on Penelope. I don't like Penny much, and my husband doesn't like Nell.

Philippa is not unheard of here, I have a few peers, all known as Pippa. I think the wedding last year will make many people think of Pippa Middleton first off, but hopefully that will fade. I remember the day William and Kate got engaged, and I said to my husband, you wait and see everyone notice Pippa now, and I was right! Such a shame, although I do think it is a short lived association, and not negative.

I love the thought of picking up a sound from our surname in the first name. You're right, it really sounds good! Lots to think about.

April 12, 2012 9:37 AM

Congrats NJ! Of your choices for girls my favs are Audrey and Felicity. I would change Bethan to Bethany (unless you meant that and its a typo). Penelope is a maybe. For a combo I like Audrey Ciara. I think the short names like Polly are not right because of the short LN. Philippa (Pippa) is going to get a bit popular imo so I wouldn't use that except maybe for the mn spot.

For boys, the book is open. The first that came to mind though funny enough was James. Alistair James sounds distinguished but approachable to me with the bonus of a nn of AJ if one likes those type of things. Also:

Alistair Reed; Alistair Vaughn; Alistair Isaac; Alistair Daniel it seems the mn needs to be a short 1 or 1 1/2 syl because Alistair is so long. Your surname is in between so it works with either short or long names. 

April 13, 2012 11:40 AM

Thanks Zoe. I think someone else mentionned Bethan - it's a Welsh version of Elizabeth. We're not Welsh, but I really like the sound of Bethan, although maybe more as a middle name. Polly is my granny's name and I know it doesn't work with our surname, both in length and the actual run of names, but it may balance a longer first name.

Funnily, my natural choice for Alistair is James too. My middle initial is a J and it is a wonderful initial to use as part of a signature. My problem is James is such a filler middle name these days. Both my husband's best friends used it as a middle name for their sons just to fill out the name (no family connections) and I am loath to use it incase someone else thinks it's a filler for us too! I love the idea of an AJ though, as I doubt we'll use Al as a nickname (though I envisage using Alistair as a full name most of the time) - maybe I'll have a think of other J names. I absolutely adore your idea of Vaughn for a middle. This name came to me a few weeks ago but I thought my husband would rule it out, so never mentionned it, but your idea and the fact so many people agreed with you means it's fully on the table!

April 13, 2012 9:19 PM

Happy to help! I love J names. Jeffrey, Joshua and Justin for boys with Jessica, Jenna and Jolie as my top girls name. I also have to say that although I realize what topic your thread is about, everytime I quickly look at it in the list I read it wrong. I read it as "Alistair for a boy but what about for a girl" meaning would Alistair be a good girls name? It's all about the commas! So in response to that question, maybe. I dislike boys names on girls in general and my aforementioned many times over dislike of people using Elliott on a girl, however Alistair might work in some neighborhoods. You have the nn Ali or Alis/Alice and if you used a J mn you still have AJ which is cute on a girl too. So just something to think on and create more discussion ;)

April 12, 2012 10:38 AM

I like Philippa and Penelope from your list the best. I think either full name sounds good with your name, and so do Pippa or Penny.

For additions, what about Louisa or Joanna? I know a little Joey, and she's so adorable that it's one of my favorite names now.

As for Alistair middle names - I love zoerhenne's suggestion of Alistair Vaughn!

April 13, 2012 11:42 AM

I love Alistair Vaughn too, it's a frontrunner!

Louisa was on the original list so you have our style spot-on, and now I can't remember why we took it off! Joanna is lovely though, think we'll put it on the list, Joey is a lovely little girl's nickname. Thanks!

April 12, 2012 1:27 PM

I think Ciara or Penelope work best soundwise, but just my two cents. 

By Guest (not verified)
April 12, 2012 2:34 PM

Middle names for Alistair...Alistair James is good.  I also like Alistair Rhys & Alistair George.

All of your girls names are lovely.  With the last name (and keeping Alisitair in mind as a possible older brother someday) I think my favoritea are probably Fiona and Georgina but I also really like Elizabeth, Felicity & Helen.  I also think your list really works well as a mix and match for first/middle combos-most of them flow so well together.  For just a bit of whimsy I really like Fiona Felicity or Felicity Fiona they are both so much fun to say!

April 13, 2012 11:44 AM

I like the double F names, though don't think we'll actually use them! I'm really drawn to F/P/V sounds at the start of girls names - though my husband took Vivienne, Veronica and Virginia off the list already, so we're down to F and P names!

By hyz
April 12, 2012 3:47 PM

I think I remember your earlier posting on the blog, when I mentioned that I'd be wary of Polly as either a nn or a full name because of the rhyming with Hollywood/Dollywood.  The only other one on your list that bothers me with your surname is Georgia, since it sounds like a place to me.  From that earlier conversation, I thought there was also an Alistair MN that was amazing with your surname, but of course now I'm blanking on what that was.  Something like James?  Dean?  From your girls list, my favorites are Philippa, Fiona, and Imogen.  Audrey is not generally one of my favorite names, but for some reason I really like it with your surname.  I got the feeling that Philippa was generally popular enough in the UK not to be solely associated with Kate's sister, which, if true, would not make me avoid it.  What about Rosamond or Rosalind?  Anthea?  Sylvia (too cutesy with the surname?)?  Louisa?  Adela?  Anais? Agatha?  Beatrix?  Matilda?  If Felicity is the overlap between you, though, I assume that's where you will end up, and it does have a very nice flow with the surname.   

April 13, 2012 11:52 AM

Yes, thanks hyz - the list is a little tighter now, I remember you saying about Polly, but we're both so drawn to it. I'm much more reluctant given the reasons above, my husband thinks it isn't a problem. My solution is to make it a middle name, but hubby thinks a middle name shouldn't be beautiful as most people don't use them (I do use mine so am trying to persuade him to let me have pretty middle names too!) so it's still on the list until we can decide! Thanks for the comment on Georgia. I forget that US state names with our surname sound slightly wrong, you're right, it does sound like a place name.

I think you recommended Elias/Elijah as middles, I really like Alistair Elias. Adding it to the list!

For girls I agree with you that we'll probably end up going with Felicity but I want to make sure that we look at all the options in detail as I love so many that are on the list. It's very different from sitting with my list of favourite names and trying to name a real human being! Again, you've got a few of our 'full' list's names on your list. Some food for thought.

By EVie
April 12, 2012 4:12 PM

I don't have a ton to add—I adore your list and I think you have a great LN to work with. Felicity is one of my all-time favorites, so that gets my vote.

zoerhenne - Bethan is a Welsh variant of Elizabeth, unrelated to Bethany. It's virtually unheard of in the US, as far as I know. 

April 12, 2012 9:12 PM

Awesome list!  

I would avoid Polly for the aforementioned reasons. Also Georgia and Adelaide are definitely place names to me. They are great names but with your surname I'd avoid them. Georgiana and Adele or Adeline would work though.

I think Phillipa/Pippa is great and not too tied to Pippa Middleton.

I think Georgiana, Imogen, Audrey, Delilah and Antonia work best for me with your surname and all go well with Alistair as a future sibling.  I like Bethan and Ciara as middles for some reason.

I think for Alistair I'd pick a 2 syllable middle name. Something like:

Alistair Isaac

Alistair Hugo

Alistair Rafferty

Alistair Lewis

Alistair Cormac


By hwar
April 13, 2012 12:13 PM

I immediately thought Philippa/Pippa when I saw your post title, so that is my first vote.  Penelope is nice too...I actually know a little Penelope who goes by Poppy, and I think you could swing a Polly nickname out of Penelope too, if that sways you toward the name at all.  I have a major crush on Delilah personally, for its great nicknames and pretty lilting sound. 

April 15, 2012 6:35 AM

You've gotten lots of great feedback already, but here goes!

Alistair James is very handsome. Here are a few other J middle names to consider: Jared, Jerome (very distinguished), Jonas, Josiah, Joseph, Jude, Julian/Julius. I also like the suggestions of Vaughn, Rhys, George, and Cormac. Maybe Bennett, Charles, Edmund, Giles, Grey, Lloyd, Nigel, Theodore, Thomas, William ...?

Felicity goes nicely with your last name and brother Alistair. Others on your list that I find work especially nicely are Audrey, Fiona, Helen, Imogen and Antonia. I'll second the suggestions of Rosalind/Rosamund as well. Some combinations from your list that sound good to me: Felicity Helen, Fiona Elizabeth, Audrey Bethan, Imogen Philippa ... really you could mix and match a lot of these! I'd probably stay away from Penelope and Philippa as first names though if you're iffy on the nicknames.

Would Paula, Paulette or Pauline be similar enough to Polly for your tastes to serve as a tribute to your grandmother? That might open up some options. Or did she have a middle name that might work as an alternative (seeing as how favorite flower/gemstone/etc. probably doesn't work as well in your situation)?

A few more suggestions (working in a variety of style directions):

Ada, Adrienne, Agatha, Alice, Ariadne, Brenna,

Caris, Catherine/Katharine, Clara, Deirdre, Diana,

Edith, Edwina, Eleanor, Emily, Evelyn, Fionnuala,

Genevieve, Guinevere, Gwendolen, Harriet,

Ione, Isabel, Isla, Joanna, Josephine, Juliet,

Lindsay, Lydia, Pernilla, Phyllida, Roberta,

Simone, Sophia, Susanna(h), Virginia, Willa,

April 18, 2012 2:09 PM

Knowing more about your last name than previously, I still love Fiona for you.  Delilah (interestingly, the stresses are the same) would be really nice, too.  I know a little Delilah and have really grown to love the name.  It makes me think of the word "delight" - not a bad association, in my opinion.  Fiona and Alistair just seem to be in the same world together, but in the scheme of things I guess that doesn't end up mattering too much.  

November 26, 2013 11:45 PM

I thought you meant would Allistair work for a girl and  I was going to give you props. Of you list Fiona is very nice, Adelaide is lovely but I wonder if it is becoming popular quickly. Sometimes names are only popular on naming forums and not in the places in which we live.