Arabella & Auden?

My almost 2 year old is Arabella Rose and both DH and I really love Auden for our Baby girl due in October. Thinking of either Auden Emrys, Auden Elisia, or Auden Eleanor. 


It feels right to us but I've gotten mixed reactions. Just curious what others think! Thoughts? 


July 19, 2017 8:22 PM

I think perhaps the mixed reactions you are getting are due to the stylistic differences between Arabella and Auden.  To me Auden is either boy/girl and stronger, while Arabella is very feminine and elegant.  Personally I know of a few boys named Auden, but not any girls, though I know it can be used for either.  Paired with such a feminine name as Arabella, it makes Auden for another girl a surprising choice.

However, the most important thing is for you to love the name! So if you love it, then go for it!  

July 19, 2017 9:07 PM

Since Emrys is a male name and has been for well more than a thousand years, and Auden is gender-neutral leaning masculine, Auden Emrys would be interpreted as a boy, rather like Taylor George or Jordan Thomas or Peyton Christopher.

July 19, 2017 9:43 PM

I was going to say the same thing. If you want to go with the gender-neutral Auden (which will likely be seen as a male sibling to Arabella,) it would be preferable to pair it with something more overtly feminine. Not that sibling names need to match, and not that her middle name would be readily available to most people she meets, but giving one girl two highly feminine names and one girl two masculine-leaning names doesn't feel quite balanced.

July 20, 2017 1:47 PM

^^^All of what bethany b, Miriam and Karyn said basically. I don't think Auden is unusable as a name for a girl but I would definitely NOT give her a male middle name (Emrys) too. Either of your other middle choices would be fine, my preference would be for Elisia. 

I expect the mixed reactions to the name come from people being surprised at the style difference between Arabella and Auden-on-a-girl. Which is not to say you shouldn't use it, there's nothing wrong with using different styles of names if they're the names you love.

July 19, 2017 11:20 PM

What Miriam said: as a sibling of Arabella, Auden would be 100% interpreted as a boy. Emrys as the middle name would just reinforce this fact.

July 19, 2017 9:42 PM

I really like the name Auden and think that it sounds well with Arabella. Overall Arabella is elegant and very feminie and Auden sounds unisex (however I think it is only a girls name) and spunky but I think it fits well regardless. I like Auden Eleanor the best. 

July 19, 2017 11:24 PM

Actually, Auden is a masculine name that has started down the path to becoming unisex, but is still used more for boys than for girls.

2016 104M 41F
2015  89M 62F
2014  96M 41F
2013  82M 41F
2012  63M 27F
2011  60M 30F
2010  51M 23F

(The first feminine use in numbers large enough to show up in the data is 2000. The first masculine use is 1975. So there's a full generation of masculine use before it even starts down the gender-neutral path, and it's still two-thirds masculine in most years.)

July 19, 2017 11:47 PM

If Auden is the name you love, then go for it!  But definitley pair it with a distinctly feminine middle name.  Most of the people I know with gender-neutral names like Jordan also use their middle name in email signatures etc for this reason. 

Most people are commenting on the contrast between very feminine name Arabella and neutral name Auden.  The names are very close in sound though.  That's not a problem, just about observation.  What about Eden as an alternative?  Very distinctly feminine, and the different first letter  makes them less matchy.

July 20, 2017 12:04 AM

I dunno, if my older sister was named Arabella and I was saddled with Auden, I'd be resentful, no matter what middle name I was given. (I'd probably also become A. Middlename Lastname as soon as possible.) Arabella is just so pretty, and Auden is just so... not.

Auden on its own is a perfectly fine name, and if older sister was, say, Harper, I wouldn't even quibble about Auden on a girl. But with Arabella? Sibling resentment, here we come.

July 20, 2017 2:34 AM

They are very different, but I think the sibling-envy would depend on personality—and could easily go the other way : "my sister got a sleek, unisex name, and I'm stuck with the girliest name on the planet!" (To be clear, that's just a hypothetical, not what I think most people would think, and of course they could each love their own name.)

July 20, 2017 1:44 PM

I agree. There is absolutely no way to predict what (if anything) a child will like/dislike about their name and if they'll resent their sibling(s) name being "better". Auden is a nice name, and crucially is the name you love (which is pretty much the biggest criteria) so you should use it. Possibly your second daughter will resent not having a "pretty" name like her big sister but as nedibes says it's equally possible your older daughter will resent not having a "cool" name like her younger sister, or they could go through phases of these feelings or not have them at all. I certainly don't think it's a given that Auden will feel she got short-changed.

July 20, 2017 2:38 PM

I also think that people's reactions could have an influence on how she ultimately feels about her name. If she gets positive feedback when introduced in contexts where her sister isn't present, then it's possible that she won't think twice about it. But if she consistently has encoutners where she sees people having bigger reactions to her sister's name, she could develop an inferiority complex. My daughter's name is also of the multisyllabic, uber-feminine persuasion and people tend to be very effusive about it. This name sets up expectations for the second, which will not be met and sometimes people don't hide surprise well. It wouldn't even necessarily be that they don't like the name Auden, just that it surprises them. 

But, if YOU love the name and you raise her hearing about how much you love it, she won't feel like you just settled on any old name for her, and that goes a long way, I think.

July 20, 2017 3:17 PM

That's going to depend partly on where the OP is, and what kind of names the folks around her like. In Rhode Island, where the "Defining girls' names" are apparently Aria, Juliana, Violet, and Mila, she might well get that reaction a lot. But in places where there's a preference for names like Riley and Aubrey (Delaware) or Ansley, Skylar, Londyn, and Taylor (Georgia) you might get just the opposite reaction: polite smiles for Arabella, and effusive praise for Auden.

Reactions before the baby is born are probably the best guide for this; just double the strength of any positive remark, and cut any negative reaction down to about one-tenth-strength, and you've probably got a pretty good proxy for what the post-birth reactions will look like.

July 20, 2017 3:48 PM

Oh, that's an excellent point. I guess it would help to know what kinds of reactions Arabella has gotten. 

July 20, 2017 3:27 PM

Good point. It's funny you mention possibly having an inferiority complex due to people having a bigger reaction to her sister's name as I definitely have that with my name vs my two sisters! Although if it's any consolation I like my name in most other ways, it's only when I get it directly compared to my sisters (which happens less and less the older you get) that I feel I missed out. 

July 21, 2017 1:00 PM

If Arabella wishes she had a sleek, cool, less gendered name like her sister, she can go by Ari. If Auden wishes she had a more flouncy, pretty, princessy name, I would suggest giving her an elaboration, possibly based on mashing up with the middle name. Audra, Audette, Audelia, Audiana, Audrina, Audriana, Audeliana, and so on. I know girls with names in this category, and one of them has a little sister with a surprising noun name that's a far bigger disjoin than you're considering. (The name of the mega-continent of the Paleozoic era, if you're curious.)

July 19, 2017 11:54 PM

As others have mentioned, you're getting the mixed reactions because Auden is a boy's name. (See the statistics I posted upthread.)

Arabella is a vintage-revival name whose current usage has vastly outstripped its historical peak. Eleanor is a vintage-revival, too, but it was one of the most popular names of a century ago, so its current revival hasn't quite caught up yet. Elisia is an unusual variant of Elisa or Alicia, one that has always quietly carried on under the radar, first showing up in numbers large enough to register in 1908. (Elisa is one of those names that doesn't qualify as a revival because it never went out of style. Alicia, on the other hand, is currently firmly in mom-name territory.)

Names that are similar to Arabella that you may like: Scarlett, Luciana, Dahlia, Emilia, Melina.

July 20, 2017 12:49 AM

Oooooh, good point.  I have an only child, but yeah.... she's going through a princess stage (ugh), and if she had a boy name plus a big sister with a princess name.... Not a good scene.

How about Autumn as another alternative?

July 20, 2017 7:06 AM

I don't find the style disconnect as large as some: both names read "contemporary" to me. Arabella is of course an older name, but it is more popular now because it fits in with the "Bella" naming landscape dominated by Isabella, and Auden, as a unisex surname option, also fits in with modern trends.

I personally like Auden on either gender, and don't think you are setting siblings up for automatic name resentment, but I definitely agree with everyone that you should give her a feminine middle.

July 20, 2017 10:30 AM

The current usage of Auden as a given name in English comes from its use as a surname, but it became an English surname based firmly on masculine names: it's a form of Alden, which can derive from an Old Norse masculine name Hálfdan 'half-Dane', or from an Old English masculine name Ealdwine 'old friend'. Combined with the masculine association of the poet and the style departure from your older child's name, I can predict that it'd _always_ be interpreted as a boy's name, especially with another masculine name like Emrys for the middle name.

Any interest in Audrey or Audra?

July 21, 2017 6:38 PM

The current usage patterns is about 3-4 boy Audens per girl Auden, but it's still a name that I wouldn't necessarily expect to be belonging to a boy.

July 20, 2017 11:50 AM

About the only thing these two names have in common is their first initial.  Are you specifically looking for an A name?


Arabella is pretty, frilly, princessy, and uber-feminine.  Auden is... very much not any of those.

July 21, 2017 12:53 PM

I would tend to expect that a sibling to big sister Arabella by the name of Auden would be a brother, because the Arabella I know has a sister Julietta. I don't think it's deeply problematic, but it's something to expect and I'd want you to be aware of it in choosing the name. Perhaps you named Arabella after the Strauss opera because dad loves opera, and now you name your next Auden because you were a literature major and the poems of WH Auden are your favorite, and maybe that's a fun conversation for you to have, in which case, absolutely do go for it. (Your daughters won't really have to have the conversation much because they will mostly interact with the world as individuals.)

I don't think siblings need to match, but giving one daughter a very frilly, "pretty" feminine name and her sister a more unisex, literary surname does seem like a scenario that could hypothetically create some friction - in both ways, mind, because I don't think one name is objectively better than the other, just in very different ways. However,  I would mostly focus on having a plan for telling your daughters name stories that make them both feel special for having beautiful names. Plus, if they have a younger sibling in two years named Harvest or Wilberforce, then the whole effect is mostly "eclectic" rather than unfair in either direction.

July 21, 2017 4:21 PM

Lol! Bet she's already jotted down Wilberforce for future reference!