Baby #2: An even longer list! (girls' edition)

Hello again, everybody! Thanks so much for all your feedback on my boys' list, it's really helped me refine my thinking. I'm back now with my girls' list, which is an embarrassment of riches—there are so many girls' names that I love, I'm going to have to restrain myself from giving six middles to get them all in. Again, the objective at this point is to come up with a curated list of about 10–20 names to show husband, not to narrow it down to one perfect name. First names only for now, though some of these may be in contention for middles down the road. Last name is a familiar, one-syllable Anglo-Saxon name starting with R. Rhys is a good stand-in. Older brother is Thomas Elliott. For a girl, I'm even less concerned with sibset matching than for a boy, as I think Thomas will pair just fine with any girls' name in my preferred style. I have described it here previously as "Swordfighting Princess," which I'm pleased to see has caught on :) Other descriptors that I like are Regal Romantic and Shakespeare & Co. I would ideally like something that dresses up our very ordinary last name a little bit. I just had a brief chat with husband about how we're going to do the naming this time, and he agreed that we will settle on about 3 names that are acceptable to both of us and make the final decision in the hospital; also that I will produce a list of about 20 names for him to exercise his veto power, and if he can't come up with three that he likes, he will come up with his own list of 20 for me to veto. We'll see how it plays out in real life :)

Juliet: Husband was under the impression that we had already settled on this as a girls' name last time (we did not, it was just the only one he was on board with after a brief run through the top 1000 list). So it's pretty much guaranteed to be one of the three. We were previously living in a real Juliet pocket and some of the luster has worn off for me, but we've moved cross-country and I haven't met any Juliets here yet, so I think I can get over that. I'll probably be happy with it, but I want to consider other options as well. This one also has some personal meaning to my mother, though it's a bit indirect. My mother-in-law also has a J name, so we could also spin it as a nod to her, if we wanted to.

Amalia: This is a one-time favorite and still in the top cut. It was the name of one of my great-great-grandmothers, so the family connection is a plus, as well as the connection to the German side of my heritage and its general pan-European appeal. I like the potential of Molly as a nickname. I'm less enthusiastic about the similarity to the much more popular and trendy Amelia, and the fact that it will probably get misheard/misspelled/mispronounced a lot--although having dealt with this problem all my life, I don't consider it big enough problem to be a dealbreaker. Husband will likely veto, as he knew an obnoxious Amalia in middle school and apparently can't get over that.

Aurelia: This one is a nod to the Italian side of my heritage, as well as my love of the Roman Empire. I would use the pronunciation oh-RAY-lee-uh. The many variant pronunciations are a downside here as well, and somewhat more problematic than for Amalia, but again, not a dealbreaker. I'm not sure we would use a nickname (we don't for Thomas), but if we did, it would probably be Aura or Aurie. I like Lia as well, but with a cousin Leo four months older, that would probably get too confusing.

Felicity: Another favorite. I'm not overly fussed about meanings, but considering that this one is an actual English vocabulary word, the meaning is a plus. I can't remember why husband didn't like this one (maybe just too long and flouncy?), but I remember he didn't.

Genevieve: This one has personal meaning to me as it's the name of the main character of my favorite novel. I'm also a sucker for the letter v. This is one that I think husband might be persuaded to consider, though I won't hold out hope.

Marigold: This is one of the more recent additions to my list. I first warmed up to it as a middle name, and I've been loving it more and more. I love that it's a botanical, I love that it's highly unusual, I love that it was classy enough for Winston Churchill to use for one of his daughters and I love the natural nickname Mari (which, being Mary-Marry-Merry unmerged, I pronounce like Marry, and hallelujah, we now live in a place where most other people are unmerged, so it would be pronounced correctly most of the time).  I'm sure husband will veto it, though. Our last name is also a botanical, though it's so familiar as a surname that I don't think the double botanical is a problem... thoughts? (We would definitely avoid another botanical in the middle).

Mariel: This was a favorite at one point, but it was supplanted by Marigold. I would happily consider it, though, if Marigold is vetoed and Mariel isn't.

Mara: I really love a lot of the Mar- names. This name belongs a former colleague of my husband's whom he really respects, so you'd think it would be a contender, but he probably will say that makes it awkward and weird and therefore veto. It's not my favorite in combo with our surname, as my tongue kind of trips over the "-ra ree-," but not a dealbreaker--my sister-in-law has the same ending and has lived with it fine all her life.

Cecily: Last time, husband didn't like that this sounds like the masculine name Cecil with an ee tacked on. Sigh.

Rosamund/Rosamond: I could be swayed to either spelling. I like the potential for Rosie as a nickname, which is also a family name on husband's side. Husband won't like the alliteration with our surname, though.

Mirabel: Love the meaning and Latin origin, love Mira as a nickname.

Eveline/Aveline: More pronunciation ambiguities here, but I like them as EV-uh-line and AV-uh-line. Would probably lean toward the E variant, but I like them both.

Elodie: Like the Germanic roots and the Ellie nickname potential (I know, it's everywhere, but at least it's just a nickname). When I last mentioned it to husband, he was very perturbed by the fact that it sounded like Melody without the M and therefore made up.

Gaia: Husband will never go for this because he thinks it sounds like GUY-ah, but I particularly love it for the ancient Roman connection. The less-likelies:

Ariadne: I'm not sure which pronunciation I prefer... I default to Arry-Adny (with unmerged vowel like in "marry"), but it seems like others say ahh-ree-AHHD-nee (with the vowels as in father). I could be persuaded to switch. Most likely doesn't matter either way, as husband will veto--last time he said it sounds like "Harry had me" in a Cockney accent.

Rosaline: See Rosamund above. I would pronounce it ROSE-a-line, though I know this is not the Shakespearean way. Not sure if that would turn out to be a huge annoyance? Husband will probably veto anyway. I do like Rosalind, too, though I prefer Rosaline.

Chrysanthe: Ok, husband will NEVER go for this, but I'm kind of in love with it. My fantasy twins are Chrysanthe and Marigold (Chrysanthe means "golden flower"). Not that it's relevant here, as this is a singleton pregnancy

Charlotte: This is an old favorite that I had taken off my list because a) popularity, and b) my sister claimed it. But I'm not sure I'm as concerned about popularity as I once was, and my sister has switched to Sophie for a future daughter (because she said Charlotte has gotten too popular... I tried to gently warn her about Sophie, but it seems she's in more of a Charlotte pocket. She's having a boy, so the conversation is tabled for now). So I'm tentatively adding Charlotte back to the list for now, though I may take it off again. I think husband may be ok with this, though it was also used by the same friends who used Oliver.

Claire: Not sure that I will keep in on the list--I love it to bits, but I'm not enamored of the combo with our last name; two one-syllable names in succession often sound choppy to me, and while I can overlook that with more stretched-out one-syllables like James and Graham, this is exacerbated by the -re R- blending together.

Liesel: This was my favorite at one time, but husband hated it--said it reminded him of "diesel" and "weasel." This is particularly unfortunate, as it would be really meaningful for an Elizabeth on his side of the family who once used it as a nickname.

Elowen: This is another recent name crush, but I'm particularly attracted to the Cornish origin, as we have a Cornish connection in the family. Not sure that I would choose it over Elodie, and I think it's a bit more modern than my style in general, but it hasn't been run by husband yet, so I'm adding it to the list.

Violet: Like it a lot, but maybe not the best choice with our last name (I have more issue with Violet than Marigold, because Marigold R. is only a double botanical, not also an adjective describing a noun like Violet R. Anyone want to talk me into it?)

Beatrix: I love it in theory, but I'm just not sure its The One. May be a stronger contender for a middle name. I do love the Latin roots and the meaning via Viatrix (which I would consider for a middle as well if I could persuade my husband, but I think it's too out there for him).

Guinevere: I love this, but have downgraded it in favor of Genevieve, which I think is easier to wear and carries less baggage.

Victoria: My middle name. I'm a little put off by the current popularity (we were previously in a bit of a pocket--I knew two my son's age--though I haven't met any since we moved), and it's long and heavy enough that I would want a nickname. I love Vixie, but husband didn't care for it, and I don't like any of the other options (Vicky, Tori, Vita... anything else?)

Phoebe: I like the classical associations, the meaning and the versatility--it's a name that manages to be both serious and cute at the same time, remarkably successfully. Husband associates it with the batty character from Friends (which he despises) and the word "feeble," so I'm pretty sure it will be vetoed.

Noelle: I'm including this because I used to really love it, but I've cooled on it a bit. I don't usually put a lot of stock in meanings, but I speak French and this one is very overt to me, and I'm not sure it feels right for a May baby born to a very secular family.

It's a long list, so I will definitely make cuts before the final version that I show husband. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated!



By EVie
September 29, 2016 6:38 PM

Expletive expletive expletive formatting... I tried the disable rich text trick and it seemed to work in the Preview screen, but clearly it didn't. Can a mod help out?

September 29, 2016 7:30 PM

Expletive, indeed!! The problem is that by disabling rich text, I can't use the usual mod trick to fix it. Can you please post again the regular way, and I'll fix it the magic mod way!

September 29, 2016 9:00 PM

I believe reason the "disable rich text" trick didn't work was because of the bolding. The minute the forum encounters an angle bracket, it goes into "must eat all line breaks" mode. Or at least so it seems.

September 29, 2016 7:36 PM

I think I got most of it; if you want paragraph breaks in the narrative, let me know where.

September 29, 2016 7:41 PM

Oh good. I didn't have time to do that right now. But it's a good lesson about this posting business. 

By EVie
September 29, 2016 9:01 PM

Thanks everybody! That formatting is fine. I will stay away from disabling rich text in the future, then...

September 29, 2016 8:49 PM

Deja vu all over again (because I just wrote the same comment in somebody else's topic): if Cecily doesn't quite suit, what about Cecilia? And if Beatrix is not *quite* the thing, have you considered Beatrice?

Since you mentioned that you tend to like Mar- names, have you considered Martha? It's my name, and it's one of those names that everybody knows and nobody has. (At least in the USA.) In all my 17 years of school (K+12+college) I *never* had a classmate who shared my name. Of course, school for me was mumble years ago, but I still don't meet people with my name - the only recent one I remember was a cashier at Swarthmore College's bookstore about two and a half years ago.

By EVie
September 29, 2016 9:10 PM

I do like both Cecilia and Beatrice, but I prefer Cecily and Beatrix. However, if husband absolutely vetoed the latter but liked the former, I could consider them. Cecilia would be higher on the list, Beatrice more of a long shot... part of what I like about Beatrix is the unexpected x ending, which makes it feel more fresh and energetic to me, while Beatrice is more of a quiet librarian type of name (not a bad thing, just a little more demure than I'm going for). Similarly, for Cecily vs. Cecilia--it's the bouncier, more tomboy-esque feeling of Cecily compared to the very elegant, refined feeling of Cecilia. 

I think it's very cool that you're rocking Martha! (And cool that you're hanging out at Swarthmore--my husband went there and raves raves raves about it). I think I tend to lean more toward the Mar + vowel names, but I'll keep it on the backburner (also: Margaret). 

September 30, 2016 6:12 PM

You and I have pretty similar taste. I thought so when I read your boys' list as well. I know a lot of people will think Charlotte is now too popular but I think it sounds particularly well with your R surname, as do Mirabel, Eveline/Aveline, Marigold, Victoria, Juliet and Beatrix. Some comments and suggestions (although I hate to add to such a beautiful list):

Alice (too popular?) or Alison

Beata instead of Beatrix-- I prefer both of these to Beatrice, although Beata has a different derivation than the others, I think, and is used in Germany.

Cecily is a great and still underused name. I never even think of Cecil when I hear it.

Clarissa rather than Claire

My husband said the same thing about Elodie and he thinks Marigold is a comically absurd name.

Eveline and Aveline are both beautiful names but they seem quite different to me. Eveline seems more purposeful while Aveline is dreamier. 

Francesca, called Frannie

Georgina or Georgiana, called Georgie or even Gigi

I think Juliet is great for you, maybe with Victoria as a middle name.


Violet is a name I hear on fantasy children rather than real ones though I don't doubt the real ones are out there. I don't think it works with your surname for the reasons you mention.

By EVie
September 30, 2016 9:15 PM

Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely starting to wonder whether popularity really matters with a classic like Charlotte. It's just such a perfect name, and you're right, it sounds very elegant and put-together with our surname. I really like a lot of the names you've suggested--part of my problem is that I love so many girls' names, I have to be super discriminating to narrow it down to a manageable number. Alice and Alison are both great--I think Alison (that spelling!) speaks to me a little more than Alice, even though Alice fits my general style better--I like the Wife of Bath association. Your comparison of Eveline and Aveline is interesting, and something I hadn't really considered. Both names are so rare that I've never encountered one in real life, or even in fiction, for that matter--I stumbled upon them when looking up Evelyn or Ava on Behind the Name, and prefer them to the more popular variants. They also both run the risk of blending in with the popularity of those names... not sure if that favors one name over the other, as Ava and Evelyn are both super popular right now. Clarissa is pretty, but I think crosses the line into too-frilly territory for me. I would be more inclined to use the simpler Clara, or the very unexpected Clarity as a Claire variant, but I think I prefer Claire to Clara, and Clarity is probably too weird for husband. I actually really love unusual and non-religious virtue names, especially those ending in "ity," so Verity is a great suggestion. (I'm considering for a future book a heroine named Perspicacity, nicknamed Cass--I'm nowhere near bold enough to use it in real life, though). I actually do know a little Violet, with a sister named Juliet--I really like the pairing, and their parents are a very smart and accomplished couple whom I really admire, too--the kind of people whose tastes I am happy to emulate! And thanks for the affirmation on Juliet, since I think it is the most likely outcome for us.

September 30, 2016 10:21 PM

Just curious here. If you're unmerged, how do you see Clarity and Clara as Claire alternatives? It would drive me absolutely batty to have Clarity said as CLARE-ity or Clara as CLARE-uh.

October 1, 2016 11:02 AM

i didn't even know there was another way to say "clarity" other than clare-ity but I'm almost completely merged.

By EVie
October 1, 2016 2:50 PM

Well, because they're etymologically related, all from Latin clarus, clara. I do say both Clara and Clarity with the "marry" vowel. But we live in the New York area now, where most natives are also unmerged, so it would be pronounced correctly most of the time.

October 4, 2016 2:30 PM

Oh, gotcha -- related by root, not pronunciation. I must say, it's always a pleasure when I go to NY and most people can say my name properly. 

October 1, 2016 1:28 AM

BTW if I were considering Alice/Alison, I would do Alys/Alysoun, Wife of Bath all the way.

October 1, 2016 11:06 AM

I think if she used Alysoun, she'd have to be prepared for mispronunciation given the state of knowledge about Chaucer in the population.

October 1, 2016 2:17 PM

I said 'I' would go for it.  Everyone I know would know how to pronounce it.  I'm not suggesting it for others, although I think Alys would work for anyone seeking Wife of Bath authenticity.

By EVie
October 2, 2016 6:12 PM

I love the idea of using Alys or Alysoun, but I don't think I could do it in real life--I feel like too many people wouldn't know the background and would just assume it was a creative spelling, and that's not the kind of image I want to project. Another one to save for a book!

October 1, 2016 11:45 AM

I find Clarissa to be an unusual combination of prim and frilly, like an embroidered white blouse that's been freshly ironed and starched.

Perspicacity is a great name for a fictional heroine. I wouldn't mind meeting a little Cass or Persy whose full name was Perspicacity. It seems like an ideal modern virtue name. 

I spent a number of years writing poetry so words, including names, are very meaningful to me. E names almost always seem more serious to me while A names are generally more creative. Alice is an exception though. And I have the same reaction to Alice/Alison. I like the rhythm of Alison better but Alice is more my style. There's a reporter on NPR called Alice Fordham. Every time I hear her name I think how much I like it, especially in her British accent.

Eva/Ava was very popular around here so it's a teen name now. I've heard Evelyn and I know one Avelina but the name in all its variations seems to be passing.       

By EVie
October 2, 2016 9:12 PM

I totally agree about words and names being meaningful. I love your picture of Clarissa--I feel the same way, and I think that's why it isn't exactly the thing for me. I'm looking for something a little less starched and a little more free-flowing. 

A names to me have always been very light, elegant and feminine--I wouldn't have made the creative connection. But I agree with E being more serious and a little bookish (as an E myself!) 

October 2, 2016 12:02 PM

Of your list, I really love most of these. I love Genevieve, Juliet, Noelle, Charlotte, and Mara the most. I do agree about the popularity of Charlotte being very off-putting, though. It used to be my #1 for many years, but alas... No more. Other names that I think may work for you:


Aurora (since you like Aurelia)

Marina (since you like the Mar names)




As far as the Alison thing mentioned by other posters, I guess I am a bit biased towards my own spelling of Allison. I don't know where you are, but I rarely get my name misspelled. The Alisons I know definitely deal with the misspellings, although I understand in the UK and other countries the Alison spelling is more common. Just something to think about :)

By EVie
October 2, 2016 3:49 PM

Thanks for the feedback! I do absolutely adore Aurora, but I sadly said goodbye to it a long time ago, as it just is way too R-heavy with our last name (ro-ra-ree). Ingrid is gorgeous and one to think about, though I do hesitate a bit to use names that are so strongly associated with a culture that is not our own and we don't have strong connections to... we generally prefer to stick with French, German, Italian, Latin or Greek, and preferably Anglicized or at least Latinized variants. The same thing comes into play with Fiona, as it feels quite Irish to me (though less so than Ingrid feels Scandinavian). 

I know that Allison is the more common spelling of the name nowadays, so it makes sense that that would be the default spelling for a lot of people. Alison is actually the original spelling of the given name (it comes from Alice + the French diminutive -on, so it retains the one-L like in Alice); Allison existed prior to the 20th century as a surname, and was a patronymic meaning "son of" a name like Ellis, Allen, Alexander or even perhaps Alice. It only came into mainstream use as a feminine name in the mid-20th century, though earlier in the 20th century, it was actually used for boys the same way other surnames are. All this is to say that, I am a pedant and generally prefer historical spellings to 20th century variants, so I lean strongly toward Alison over Allison :) However, your point about Alisons getting mis-spellings all the time is definitely something to keep in mind, and probably a factor that would keep the name lower on my list. 

October 2, 2016 5:07 PM

The Ing- names are as much German as they are Scandinavian.  The only Ingrid I knew personally was a classmate and the daughter of my German teacher who was a German Friesian.  I had an Austrian student, later junior colleague, named Inge (well, Ingeborg on legal documents).  And there is the German figure skater Ingo Steuer.  And I have a Dutch friend who has a sister Ingrid.  Basically the Ing- names are pan-Germanic.  Ingrid Bergman is not the defining cultural context for the name, although she is likely the first bearer who comes to mind.  If you have German heritage, then Ingrid is certainly culturally appropriate.

By EVie
October 2, 2016 9:23 PM

Thanks for that information, that does actually make me feel more open to Ingrid. My dad's side of the family is exclusively German, except for one branch that may have a Danish ancestor going way, way back, and another great-grandmother on my mom's side was descended from Germans who had settled in the Caucasus. So we are definitely covered on the German front!

October 2, 2016 5:38 PM

My first thought is to ask how does Charlotte compare in popularity where you are with Thomas? Where I am, Thomas is quite common and I would not at all be surprised to meet a Thomas-Charlotte sibset (I would be much more surprised to meet a Thomas with a sister named Marigold or Ariadne or most of the other names on your list!) This is to say, I wouldn't rule out Charlotte or something like it just on popularity given you already have (to me, at least) a popularly-named son.


Having said that, you do have a lovely list of names and I do like most of them. The ones which I would use myself are Juliet, Felicity, Genevieve, Claire (one of my daughter's mns), Beatrix and Phoebe, but I don't dislike any of them.

By EVie
October 2, 2016 6:42 PM

Thanks for your input! I guess I should specify that I'm less concerned with absolute popularity than with spiking trends, and I'm also less concerned with popularity for boys' names than girls' (in part just due to my taste for very classic boys' names, which will never be rare). I know that Thomas isn't unusual or anything, but I think it feels relatively less popular because right now is just about the least popular it's ever been--it has been in a steady decline since roughly the 1970s, after being a top 10-12 name for every year that records were kept before that. So while it's popular, it's just about as far from trendy as you can get. Charlotte, on the other hand, has experienced a huge surge in popularity over just the past 10 years, and is particularly fashionable in my demographic (liberal graduates of private universities in the northeast who have settled in cities like New York and Boston and the surrounding suburbs). I don't have the best perspective on the actual local numbers, because we just moved to our area a few months ago. I've met two Thomases in the wild, one in California and one here, but I feel like I've heard of a lot more Charlottes among the kids of friends and acquaintances. That said, I'm still not ready to rule it out due to popularity, and I agree that a Thomas & Charlotte sibset makes total stylistic sense (though I don't really care about matching sibs).

October 3, 2016 2:51 AM

I would say no to botanicals, especially more unusual botanicals that still feel like a botanical equally strongly as they do a name. I might also say no to Rosamund even though it is not actually a botanical name (but a horsey name), because it sounds like one, especially with Rosie as a nickname.

I like that Julian was on your boys' list, and Juliet here. I think it's kind of nice to name your baby regardless of gender, and then tweak the form accordingly .

I love Amalia, but I agree confusion with Amelia and Emelia is likely to be rife, and I'd do a little soul searching about whether a distant ancestor bearing the name is enough to justify that amount of confusion. Are there relatives alive who remember Amalia and who would be very touched by the tribute? If so, then I might come down on the "in favor" side. How regular a nickname would Molly be -- "everyone knows her as Molly" or "sometimes interchangably called that for short by family"?  I wonder if "like the president's daughter but with an A at the beginning" might be a useful mnemonic?


Ariadne is one of my favorites, not just from your list but in general. It has about as much pronunciation variation as Aurelia does -- I've heard "Are" and "Air" as the first syllables, and likewise "ad" and "odd" in the middle, in all permutations. Having considered it seriously I spent a lot of time listening for the name, and came to the conclusion that using the name would require one being very zen about all of these being the name. I find some permutations much less beautiful, and was thus feeling like it might not be the best choice for us.

Aurelia is beautiful. I like how long and rollicking it is with your crisp short surname. Somehow the multiple pronunciations strike me as more "the same name in different dialects" - this is a name where I'd cheerfully accept all of these pronunciations, rather than some being grating or less beautiful. I like Aura, too - it's the standalone name of a classmate, and a horror story I read in Spanish class once, so I hear it in a really lovely Spanish lilt. 

I like Mariel much better than Mara, especially with your surname - I do find the -ra re- to be kind of tripping up. It's not a dealbreaker as you say, and if it were the only name on your list I'd be telling you to go for it, but since you have many other names you also love, I might help this cull the list a bit. 

If Cecily doesn't work for your husband, what about Romilly? Perhaps too alliterative with your surname. However, I wouldn't let that he didn't like it last time dissuade you from trying again -- I think often names DO grow on people, just like it takes 15 tries for a child to learn to like a new food. 

Mirabel is really lovely, and she could enjoy her signature fruit!

I'd think that Eveline and Aveline would get the pronunciations, because if you'd wanted Evelyn you'd have used that spelling, right? But maybe not. 

That you like Liesel and Charlotte makes me think of Lieselotte (or perhaps better Liselotte if that spelling removes some of the diesel issue). I've never heard it in an English context but I really love it... and if Anneliese is so popular in NE circles, surely this combination is also pleasing?

Have you considered taking swordfighting princess more literally and going for Eilonwy, which shares sounds with many of your names? I know it's a recent invention, but I met one, once, and had to restrain my squeal of enthusiasm.

By EVie
October 3, 2016 11:46 AM

I think I'm prepared to be pretty zen about pronunciations, as I've dealt with it my whole life with my own name. I wonder if I use the "a like in father" pronunciation of Ariadne with husband, he would be more amenable? Although I will probably present the list to him in writing this time, so it may not matter.

Usually feminizations of masculine names are not my style, but Latin names like Julian/Juliet are an exception, since Latin names all come in masculine/feminine pairs. It makes me think I should go through my list and see if there are any other opposite-gender variants I would like. Felix and Victor have been suggested for boys; Cecil? Aurelius or Aurelian?--probably not.

The family connection to Amalia is pretty distant and not a major factor, I agree. It's just a minor plus that comes with the name. I'm actually not very invested in naming for family members, unless there is a hugely compelling reason to do so. My son's name was one--he's named after my father, because he died before he was born, so the name creates a connection that makes it easier for us to keep the memory alive. Also, we both liked the name. There is only one other person in the family whom we might consider honoring for the same reason, but he had a very long, clunky Italian name that I'm not going to inflict on my child. So really, honor naming is a thing that is not going to happen this time, unless in a very incidental way. I'm honestly not sure how much we would end up using Molly--I'm finding that sometimes nicknaming doesn't go as planned! Using it as a most-of-the-time nickname would certainly solve the problem of regular confusion with Amelia, and I do like it enough to do that. I actually find Amalia/Molly to be a pretty perfect name/nickname pairing, as far as having one lovely, elegant, feminine and sophisticated option and one cute, casual and familiar option. I wouldn't want just Molly on the birth certificate, though.

I agree that I much prefer Mariel (and Mirabel) over Mara with our surname. And Marigold--I do have some small reservations about the double botanicals, but I love it so much that I think it outweighs any concern. I will probably eliminate Violet (the color actually bothers me more than the double botanical), and I've already crossed off a few others where the botanical issue was compounded by another reservation (Lily, Bryony). I think it's unlikely that husband will approve Marigold for a first name anyway, though there's a chance I can swing in in the middle, where I think it will be less obtrusive anyway. I'm less concerned by the Ros- names--I probably wouldn't do straight-up Rose R***, or Rosemary R***, but Rosamund, Rosalind and Rosaline aren't actual plant names, and Rosie would just be a nickname (also: another family name, on husband's side, with family members who do remember her affectionately. He probably won't care, as he's very unsentimental about these things, but I might try it as a selling point anyway).

Lieselotte is lovely, but I think it's a little too diminutive and a little too much name at the same time. I would rather have a Liesel and just use Lieselotte as a nickname from time to time.

I think you're probably right about Eveline and Aveline, since people will probably base it off Caroline, and yes, I would use Evelyn if I wanted that pronunciation (though it blew my mind a few years ago to learn that some people pronounce Caroline the same as Carolyn!) I recalled the other day that I did float Aveline to husband last time, and he said it sounded like a car--he was thinking of the Toyota Avalon. So that's another that I'm hoping will go over better in writing.

I've seen Romilly floated around here a lot lately. It's growing on me, but for some reason it just doesn't feel like a name to me (though I know it has a legitimate derivation from a personal name and isn't just a surname/place name). It also reminds me of Romney, which reminds me of Mitt, and while he's not looking so bad compared to what we have going on these days, still not my thing.

Eilonwy is gorgeous, and I would love to meet one, but I think it's too much of an invention for me. Also, I would have to read Lloyd Alexander's books first (which I probably should, anyway). I totally agree that the sound and style are right up my alley, though.

October 4, 2016 2:51 PM

I just realized that I have been pronouncing Aveline as ah-veh-LEEN, which is how it would be in French. I think that it reminded me of names like Micheline, so that's another alternative that you might have to deal with.

Just to make things a tad more complicated, I'd pronounce Ariadne with both "A"s as æ -- though I don't think that would be a typical American pronunciation.

For what it's worth, I love Rosamund R***. I always had a strong dislike for alliterative names, but then the perfect name for my daughter ended up being alliterative with my husband's surname, and well, it's really grown on me. And having a noun surname, I also tend to strongly steer away from names that describe it, and I don't find that to be a problem with Rosamund. Thomas and Rosamund couldn't be a more elegant pair.

Oh, and I'd read Amalia with Mally, not Molly, but again, I think that being in the States (the land of dromma, possta, ohvacohdo, and Mohzda), you're probably safe with the Molly nickname.

By EVie
October 4, 2016 4:17 PM

That's my default pronunciation of Ariadne, too, but my husband didn't like it when I pitched it that way last time, so I'm willing to switch to the other way if he likes it better--I don't dislike it, it's just a little less intuitive to me.

I would expect the French pronunciation of Aveline to come up sometimes. I don't think it really bothers me--it's an easy correction, and if the speaker is actually French-speaking, I probably wouldn't correct at all. I respond equally to the French pronunciation of my own name, having grown up bilingual (it's like Hélène with an a at the end--I once had a French teacher who tried to pronounce it without the accents, since I don't actually spell it with the accents, and that was really bizarre to me). 

Amalia definitely gets the "moll" pronunciation from me, but yeah, I also say all those other words the way you spelled them! However, I do get exposure to the other pronunciations due to my English stepfather.

I don't mind the alliteration of Rosamund R either, particularly because the three syllables of Rosamund separate them enough that it's not too obtrusive (I think that's the case for your daughter, too, with a four-syllable name). I doubt husband will go for it, though--aside from the alliteration, he will probably also think it's a weird old lady name. It's definitely one of the names that I would put forward as a potential middle, though. I especially like Juliet Rosamund, as Rosamund really helps to ground the more girlish, romantic associations of Juliet.

October 3, 2016 11:47 AM

I like every name EVie listed too much to offer much by way of constructive criticism, so I just wanted to mention that we know an Ariadne who is now in her early 20s (sheesh, I feel old). It was a very surprising name choice when she was born, but she's worn it well. She does, however, often use the nickname Annie, I think because spelling/explaining Ariadne just gets old sometimes.

October 3, 2016 8:19 PM

Also possibly relevant: her surname is another common English R- name (five letters, an occupation in -er). Her mother in particular is very verbally-oriented, but I've never heard either of them correcting anyone's pronunciation, to the point that I don't remember whether they say Air- or Are- and -add- or -odd-. (She's my daughter's other godmother, I should know how she prefers her name pronounced, but somehow it hasn't come up in conversation.)

By EVie
October 4, 2016 11:45 AM

I feel like Ariadne is a name that appeals to the very verbally-oriented. I've met one, the daughter of two PhDs (one of them an English PhD) employed at an Ivy League university. Sister was Mir@nda. I agree that it's a name that woks well with a simple R surname. 

October 12, 2016 10:51 PM

I'm really late joining in here (I've had all manner of internet issues lately), so I'll try not to repeat everything that's already been said!

What a great list!

Juliet- I like it, but don't love it. I think I just hear it so much that it's not very exciting to me anymore... It's a solid choice, just not as exciting to me as most of your others.

Amalia- I pronounce this with "mal" in the middle, not Molly, so the nickname confused me at first, but I think I would adjust pretty quickly. I do think it will get mistaken for Amelia, and possibly other similar names like Emilia, very frequently. One thing to think about is that even if you're ok with it being mistaken often, your daughter might not be in years to come.

Aurelia- I like this one and think the length and femininity balances well with your short and simple surname. I notice you have a few "golden" names. (Aurelia, Chrysanthe, Marigold) Maybe you'd like Oriana, too? It's not Roman, but it is Italian. I also like Órfhlaith/Orla, but I don't know if you have any Irish connections and would feel comfortable using it.

Felicity- One of my favorite virtue names and although it's long, I don't think of it as flouncy. Of course, everyone's perception of a name is different, but I would liken Felicity to Cecily- feminine but with an energetic spunk. I also second the suggestion of Verity.

Genevieve- Another favorite of mine, although I do feel the need to point out that this is the name of Madeline's dog in the children's book series and related media. The association probably isn't very strong for most people, but it's where I first encountered the name, so I still think of it when I hear Genevieve. Maybe you'd also like Vivienne? Or even Madeline?

Marigold- Love it! Your surname is so familiar as a surname that I think it loses its botanical-ness so choosing a botanical first name wouldn't be a problem. In case you haven't seen Downton Abbey, (*spoiler alert*) Marigold is the name of the illegitimate daughter of one of the Crawley sisters. Just a heads up!

Mariel and Mara- I, too, prefer Marigold, as well as being tripped up by the -ra R- of Mara with your surname. Since you like Mar- names and the letter v, I have to mention a name I've only heard once and am not sure of the spelling or origin, but it sounded like Mar-ee-va. If I had to guess, I would spell it Mareva, but I'm not really sure. Maybe someone else on here knows?

Cecily- This is my favorite name in the Caecilius family and to me it doesn't sound like Cecil+ee. Perhaps he would prefer Cécile?

Rosamund/Rosamond- I prefer the Rosamund spelling, but I'm not sure I like the rhythm of an R-d name with your surname.

Mirabel- One of my favorite names! I love it with your surname, too.

Eveline/Aveline- I agree with the previous poster who said that Aveline is dreamier than Eveline. I think Eveline will get mistaken for the more popular and familiar Evelyn all the time, whilst Aveline will stand on its own.

Elodie- Is it important to you that people don't perceive the name as made up? I mentioned this name once to my mom and she said the same thing- "Like Melody without the M? It sounds made up." It might be a common perception of the name, so if you don't want to constantly be clearing up that misunderstanding, then you may want to avoid Elodie, even though it's a lovely (and "real") name.

Gaia- You could always go with the Italian pronunciation, Gah-yah.

Ariadne- Your husband is now officially promoted to Captain Veto. Maybe even Admiral Veto. What does it matter what it sounds like in Cockney? (I say that with full awareness that my username is Cockney slang for a cup of tea, which is part of why I chose it.) I like the name, but the various pronunciations would bother me too much to use it.

Rosaline- I default to the Shakespearean pronunciation, but I don't know if I'm representative of the population at large and  that would be an annoyance.

Chrysanthe- Too bad your husband won't get on board because this is an absolutely lovely option with your surname.

Charlotte- This was one of my favorite names for years, but now I'm almost tired of it because I hear it so much. I know two Charlotte Rose Surnames even. I know it's classic, but with the sharp spike it's had in recent years it feels much more like a current fashion than a timeless classic to me now. I do still like it, just not as much as I once did . I hear it and think "Oh, another Charlotte" rather than "Oh! I love Charlotte!"

Claire- I don't like it with your surname for the same reasons you state. Perhaps Claribel as an alternative?

Liesel- Ok, now he's Admiral Veto. Diesel and weasel? Really? Can you use the relative Elizabeth/Liesel as leverage?

Elowen- I love this one! It's more modern than my typical taste, too, but I just adore it. Do you have an interest in other Cornish names? I like Morwen and Morwenna as well.

Violet- The botanical aspect doesn't bother me, but the adjective does.

Beatrix- I think this one perfectly hits that sweet spot of well-known but not used much. I love the connection to Beatrix Potter.

Guinevere- I actually really like this name, but I think the Arthurian association is very prevalent and perhaps not entirely positive. Maybe look through some other Arthurian names for options that are either more positive or less well-known so the general population doesn't have an immediate association with the name. If you're interested in place names at all, Avalon is Arthurian, similar to Aveline, and has the letter v you like, although it feels like more of a modern pick to me.

Victoria- The lack of nicknames I like has always put me off Victoria even though I like the full name. I hadn't thought of Vixie, though, and love it! It makes me think of Vixey in The Fox and the Hound. Other nicknames... Vivi? Ria? Vix?

Phoebe- Phoebe feels more youthful to me than most of your choices, though I'm not sure why...

Noelle- Yeah, the meaning is so obvious to me that a May baby born to a secular family named Noelle would be a big surprise to me. I actually met a Noelle recently and asked if she was born at Christmas. She said she was born in November, but she was glad she was a Noelle because her parents had previously picked the name Starr. They changed their minds after seeing a singer on the Lawrence Welk show named Noelle.

So now that I wrote a ridiculously long and ridiculously late reply, I'd just like to say I love your list and please keep us updated throughout the naming process! I hope your husband is more open-minded this time around.

By EVie
October 13, 2016 5:01 PM

Thanks for your input! It's nice to get positive feedback on the list as a whole :) I agree, my husband has totally earned the title Admiral Veto. However, he has promised to try to be more open-minded this time around, after I told him that since I was agreeing to his request that this be our last child (I had originally wanted more) and this would therefore be my last opportunity to name a child, I wanted concessions on the naming strategy in return... namely, that he can't agree to only one name on the list, I want a set of options to choose from at the hospital, and if he doesn't find at least three acceptable names on the list, he needs to come up with some ideas of his own. 

I feel the same way about Juliet and Charlotte--I think along with Claire, they are the most pedestrian names on my list. I also suspect that for that very reason, they are the most likely contenders for spousal approval--husband is a much less adventurous namer than I am. I think he sees more value in fitting in than standing out, perhaps in part due to his own childhood experiences (for somewhat the same reason, we deliberately tried to time both our pregnancies for spring births so that our kids would be in the top half of their grades in terms of age... husband was always the youngest in his class in addition to being a small person in general, and found it difficult).

I'm guessing you're in the U.K. or Canada, with a "mal" pronunciation of Amalia? I think where we are, the Molly pronunciation & nickname would be pretty instantly understood. There was one in my high school, and that's how she pronounced it. I think if the confusion with Amelia really bothered her, she could just use Molly more and not have to deal with it.

I definitely lean toward the multi-syllabic with our last name! I would probably be more likely to go with Ariana than Oriana, truth be told--for some reason I'm just not super keen on the letter O in the starting spot. I also tend to stay away from Irish names, though I think they are really cool on other people, especially in the original spelling. We have no Irish connection, and it's such a strong ethnic identity in the U.S. that using an Irish name feels misleading. I am more drawn to Scottish, Welsh and Cornish names, though I am still a bit wary of appropriation (plus a lot of Americans think that any vaguely Celtic-sounding name is Irish... Megan, Dylan, Gavin, etc.). I think Morwen and Morwenna are awesome, but I'm not sure I would use them, in part because my brain strongly associates the prefix "Mor" with the Latin meaning, "death" (even though I know very well that they are from different languages and that "Mor" here means something completely different). 

I always pair Felicity with Cecily, too! If I were having twins that pair would definitely be on my list. 

I don't think Avalon would be an option for us for a number of reasons... one is that husband initially vetoed Avaline because "it sounds like a car" (he was thinking of Avalon, which actually IS a car)... another is that in addition to being a place name (not my style to begin with), it has some real new-agey connotations, which is very much not us. (Which is odd, because I like the Arthurian legends and don't find Arthur or even Guinevere to have the same associations... but Avalon has this aura of mysticism about it that I think has been overdone and to some extent commodified, to the point that it now feels somewhat cheap and banal). The one thing I do like better about Eveline than Aveline is the option of Evie as a nickname... it's not my real name, but I've used it as an internet handle for so many years that I've gotten quite attached! Avie just doesn't quite do it for me the same way.

Genevieve nicknamed Evie would be an option as well, since I would want to avoid the Gen/Genny route, and while I'm fond of Ginny, it doesn't excite me. I didn't know that about Madeline's dog--good to know, though I don't think it changes my calculus one way or another. I first heard the name Genevieve when I was elementary-school-aged and watching one of those daytime cartoon shows for kids that retells a different fairy tale every day. I think the story was the Twelve Dancing Princesses, or something similar, and they named the youngest princess Genevieve. I misheard it as Jenevy, but it stuck with me. Later on, in fourth grade, there was a new girl in my class named Genevieve, and I finally made the connection and learned how it was actually spelled/pronounced. And then in eighth grade, I read my favorite book for the first time, in which the protagonist was a Geneviève, and that became my dominant association.  

I stopped watching Downton Abbey sometime in the middle of the fourth season (loved it for the first two, then the plot became very meandering and repetitive and I lost interest), but I do remember reading that there was a baby Marigold... was it Edith's daughter? I actually adore the naming aesthetic on Downton Abbey (Violet, Cora, Isabel, Rosamund, Sybil!) so I would not be at all surprised if I ended up using one Downton name or another.

You know, I like the Beatrix Potter association in theory, but last Christmas my parents got my son a boxed set of her books, and I was kind of shocked at how violent and unpleasant some of the stories are! I definitely did not remember that from my own childhood. I had to put them away because my husband and I both found them too disturbing to read to a three-year-old. The illustrations are adorable, though. 

October 13, 2016 5:13 PM

Felicity and Cecily are two of the three King children in the Road to Avonlea series. (The middle child is their brother Felix.) 

By EVie
October 13, 2016 6:15 PM

Ouch--as much as I like Felicity and Cecily together, Felicity + Felix kind of pains me. I've never seen Road to Avonlea, and until I looked it up just now I would have assumed it was a book series and not a TV series. I am also one of those people who probably should have read Anne of Green Gables as a kid, but never did. I read the first two books as an adult and really enjoyed the first, but found Anne to be kind of insufferable in the second... the cuteness and whimsy that was so endearing in a child becomes irritating in a teenager. I've been meaning to try the third, but just haven't gotten around to it.

October 14, 2016 2:36 AM

Does it help sell Beatrix Potter to know that she was a scientist and postulated (correctly) that lichen was a symbiosis? She was laughed out of the Royal Society for it (probably mostly on the grounds of being female), and thus she went on to kids' literature fame instead... but in recent years a formal apology was issued. My favorite book of hers is the Tale of Thomasina Tittlemouse because not only is a paean to OCD in housecleaning, but also it features a great many insects that have not been cutesified and in those illustrations it is easy to see her science training, which I like.

I know an Avalon. I do like it, but I agree with you that it's much more new-agey, kind of like Sedona (also a car name!).

I love the idea of using a nickname of Evie, EVie. It would be such a great, subtle honor name!

I wish you a smoother time of it with the naming this time around. Also, I suspect that in practice nowadays the practice of redshirting is so common (at least in some communities) that the cutoff dates matter less in determining where your kid is in relative age to other children. My July-birthday kid was the youngest in his class even though the cutoff was in September (there were loads of later summer birthday students but they'd all delayed entry). It is interesting to hear your husband's experience, because I'd been worried that my unusually large-for-age kid might have a hard time for opposite reasons... but I think he will probably not be among the oldest in his class at all, even though his birthday is less than two months after the cutoff.

By EVie
October 14, 2016 12:23 PM

I've definitely read about redshirting, and I'm sure it happens in our academically hyper-competitive area. I know some communities are cracking down--we have friends in California with an August-born new kindergartener who were absolutely required to enroll him at the appropriate time. Here the cutoff is December 31, so my April and May kids should be safely in the middle of the pack, even if there are a bunch of redshirters. I think part of the issue for the youngest kids, and especially the boys, is that in the younger grades the kids are still developing so fast that there can be big differences in physical abilities between the oldest and youngest kids (and I think that's where my husband felt he suffered). So I think in that sense, being the oldest and biggest kid in the class will be more of an advantage than anything. Of course, there are individual differences that can make it a non-issue--I know a little boy so athletically gifted that he could hit a pitched baseball with a bat by the time he turned 2. My kid is still ages away from doing that at 3.5. 

That's great info about Beatrix Potter! I didn't know she was anything but an author. I should go through the stories on my own and see if there are any less-violent ones that I don't mind reading.

October 14, 2016 4:57 PM

I recently read this article about Beatrix Potter, which may contextualize some of the violence of her tales for you. I really enjoyed it.

By the way, I really love your list, but came late to the conversation and feel everything has been said. I'll plug for Ariadne though!

October 14, 2016 6:22 PM

Hopefully he will be more open-minded then and we can demote him back to Captain Veto. ;)

Yes, I feel the same way about Claire that I do Juliet and Charlotte. They just feel a bit lackluster after hearing them so much. I like Charlotte the best of the three, though, in part because I actually do know people of different ages named Charlotte, not just little girls and teens, including a very sweet older woman at my church who makes the most delicious raspberry thumbprint cookies!

I find it a bit odd he feels age matters that much in school grades. I just never thought much about it either way, but then I was about in the middle of my grade with a January birthday.

And, nope, I'm in the Southern U.S. With a Molly pronunciation I think Amalia is actually more distinct from Amelia than with a "mal" pronunciation. I do agree that she could use Molly more if confusion ever bothered her. I adore the nickname Molly, and I like using it for a different full name than Mary, which feels more "plain Jane" to me than Jane does!

I'm with you on the whole Americans think all Celtic = Irish thing! I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain to people the difference between the terms U.K., Great Britain, and the British Isles. Then, of course, that only leads into further questions and explanations about how there can be "two Irelands" and "what Wales is." Somehow people also can't seem to grasp the fact that my aunt who is from France is Celtic. (She's Breton.) I love the non-Anglicized forms of Irish names, and names from other languages, too, for that matter. I hadn't thought of the Latin for "death" in Morwen/Morwenna just because it is a different language, so my mind didn't go there!

Felicity and Cecily would make a great set of twins, but I think I like Chrysanthe and Marigold more, not that it matters either way since you're not having multiples!

Haha! I didn't know Avalon was a car! I didn't think it was quite your style being a place name, just thought I'd mention it for the Arthurian reference and 'v.' I see where it could be perceived as mystical and new-agey, but since I know of a family with a little Avalon who is not new-agey at all, it doesn't immediately have that connotation to me. You may want to browse through the Arthurian name dictionary, whether for ideas or just for fun. The print version is better, but it is online here:

I love the idea of Eveline or Genevieve nicknamed Evie indirectly after you! It also sounds like Genevieve has been a lifelong love, which I think earns it extra "points!"

I basically only kept watching Downton Abbey for the aesthetic- the setting, props, and costumes were worth it to me. Since you guessed, yes, Marigold is Edith's daughter. And, oh Downton names! Isabel is actually an Isobel, which I adore, and then there's Lavinia, Gwen, Elsie, etc. in addition to those you listed. For the most part, I don't find the names of Downton's men as exciting. Robert, John, Matthew, Michael... Although later we do get a Bertie (Herbert) Pelham and Ephraim Atticus Aldridge. I do think it's very refreshing for a show to actually have characters with the same name, since that does happen in real life and even more so in that time period. There's three Richards I think, two Thomases, several Charleses, two Anthonys, two Sarahs, etc. I also thought it was an interesting choice to have a male Evelyn.

I don't mind children's books including not-so-nice bits in them, but, as lucubratrix pointed out, there was much more to Miss Potter than author and illustrator of children's tales. She was also a scientist, conservationist, and prize-winning sheep farmer!

October 14, 2016 2:56 AM

Mareva is a user-submitted name on -- it's listed as Tahitian. Would that origin make sense with your experience of the name?

If I look in the SSA data, the only M_r_v_ names that ever show up are Maravene, Miroslava, Marivel(le), Marivella, Marivic, Mariavictoria, Markevia, Martavia, and Marivi/Marivy (which debuted quite high in 1996 and I am thinking the pop-culture impetus is probably actress Mariví Bilbao winning awards that year? She was born Maria Victoria). Anyway, I think this does not solve your question of what the name was, simply adds the possibility that it's a contraction of something like Maria-Eva or Maria-Valentina or Maria-Valeria or Maria-Vanessa.

By EVie
October 14, 2016 11:58 AM

I found that same derivation for Mareva when I looked it up. It's pretty, though I probably wouldn't use it myself unless the derivation turned out to be from a language that I feel some affinity with. I would definitely be interested to know the background of the bearer. 

October 14, 2016 12:00 PM

I went to school with a Marva--I suspect that name honored a Marvin.

October 14, 2016 6:40 PM

I'm afraid I don't have much context for the name since it's just one of those names I overheard a mom call her toddler when I was shopping. Based on the demographics and naming patterns in my area, I think it was more likely to be an invented name than Tahitian.

ETA: I googled Mareva and an actress and former pageant queen came up, Mareva Galanter: She is from Tahiti with Russian, Polish, Romanian, and Tahitian ancestry, if Wikipedia is to be believed.