Baby Nameless any day!

Almost 39 weeks with a surprise. We made shortlists, but I find myself second guessing all the entries. Last name is 9 letters, starts with S, has only 1 vowel and many harsh k/v sounds. To go with the last name, we are thinking shorter >longer, common/familiar>unique. Family names marked with an *. Especially having a problem finding a distinctive, not trendy boy name, that he wouldn't have to spell all the time. 


M@rgaret--great nicknames (Maisie, Greta, etc!!), but will people be able to spell it?

Ad@--love the nod to strong STEM women, but too trendy with all the Adalynn/Adaline action? Would it be another source of teasing if she were disabled (Americans with Disabilities Act)?

L0uisa*--both sides of the family name! But the one on his side dislikes it.

Theodora--probably too long/heavy (I also like Theodore!)


Ev@nder--longtime favorite of mine for the meaning and classical reference, but may be too connected to the boxer?

Ch@rles*--love Charlie, greatly dislike (up)Chuck. Too much like the rising Charlotte? Would the 's' ending get lost with an S- surname?

H3nry--too trendy?

W@lden*--too uncommon/surnamey with our last name?

Arthur--Art is OK, dislike Artie. Is the aardvark TV show still popular?

Willi@m--lost in a sea of Liams?

Thanks for the help!


June 3, 2016 9:20 AM

I like Margaret and Ada both. I don't think Margaret would get misspelled, and I like the nicknames! I don't see Ada being made fun of ever. Theodora does seem heavy maybe, and I am not personally that into Louisa, but there's nothing wrong with it!

For boys, I do think ending a name with s when the surname starts wtih S can cause problems, so I would personally avoid it. William and Henry are both quite common, but are nice names. Evander, Arthur and Walden are my favorites for boys. 

June 3, 2016 4:40 PM

Margaret - I can't think of another way to spell it - Margret? Margeret? It's traditional enough that almost everyone will know the correct spelling. I love Maisie!

Ada - Ooh, this is one of my favorites. I do worry about it becoming trendy, or getting confused with Ava. With this one I think it's about deciding whether the name and its awesome association are worth the potential drawbacks. For me they are, but that's totally up to you.

Louisa - Love it! It seems like it's just about to have a huge comeback, and for good reason. :) Do you love it, or are you considering it because it's a family name? I think this is another one that depends on the circumstances. If your husband's relative dislikes her name, would she feel honored anyways, or as though you weren't thinking of her? I can't imagine someone disliking having a new baby namesake, but it's definitely worth discussing with her.

Theodora - It's all right, but I like Theodore so much better! It doesn't sound like you're super enthusiastic. If you do love it, I think any perceived heaviness could easily be overcome with a nickname like Teddy, Thea, Dora, etc.

Evander - Boxer who? Either I'm rather disconnected from the world around me or the boxer isn't a big deal at all if you're not into boxing. It could easily be the former though, as my associations with boxing go about as far as Rocky Balboa. FWIW I think Evander is a great name! I also love Leander.

Charles - Great name, great nickname. Chuck isn't anywhere near inevitable anymore, and I doubt most people would even know it's a traditional nn for Charles. I equate it Jack for John or Sadie for Sarah. Normally I would prefer a name not ending with s to go with the surname, but that would only be for logistical reasons. Charles is traditional enough that no one will think his name is Charle Smith. Based on your surname, do you think you'd have issues with Charles Mith? Of course, if he goes by Charlie most of the time, the issue is solved right there.

Henry - Henry is super pocket-y right now. There's another thread right now where someone's debating Henry vs Warner, and there's a lot of great discussion about the trendiness there. A nickname like Harry or Hank or Hal might help keep him from being Henry S. if there are a lot of others where you live.

Walden - I've never heard this one, but it sounds like it fits right in with current trends without being actually popular. I think it's pretty cool, and despite being uncommon, I can't imagine it being mispronounced. It works great with your description of "distinctive, not trendy", but isn't too crazy with a difficult surname. If you don't use it as a first name, you might have a winning middle name right here.

Arthur - Unless I was told otherwise, I wouldn't call an Arthur anything but Arthur. If I met a baby Art, though, I'd be quite tempted to cute-ify it into Artie. As far as I know, the show is still the main association for young kids. :) However, I'd be inclined to see it as a cool thing rather than something negative. I imagine there are plenty of little Thomases who love the connection to the tank engine.

William - I wouldn't say lost in a sea of Liams, I'd say lost in a sea of Williams. It's ranked number 5 in the country, similar to Ava, Isabella, or Mia for girls. While that certainly isn't a bad thing, if your goal is distinctiveness, it might not be the best option. However, I have a preschool aged cousin named William, who goes by Will and just loves it. If you decide you don't mind the popularity, or if he can go by Billy etc to differentiate, that's totally your call. Any interest in Wilbur or Wilfred?

June 3, 2016 5:02 PM

The boxer reference is to Evander Holyfield, probably the only Evander most people have ever encountered.  He is most famous for having his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson during a fight.  In addition to being a bitee, Holyfield held the heavyweight boxing championship on five occasions.  I just looked him up and discovered that his children are named Eleazer Evan, Eli Ethan, Eden Eloise, Evette Ashley, Ewin Exekiel, Elijah Esaias, Elijah Jedidiah, Eve Elizabeth, Emani Winter, Evander, jr., and Ebonne Esheal.  (I can't say much about that since my son, daughter-in-law, and gradnson are Edward, Elaine, and Elliott--E cubed as they call themselves.)  Evander is not quite up to George Foreman whose sons are all named George: George jr., George III, George IV, George V, and George VI.  He also has a daughter named Georgetta, as well as other daughters named Michi, Natalia, Leola, Isabella Brandie Lilja, and Courtney Isaac.  Must be that boxers have serious egos and superior fertility.

June 7, 2016 11:50 PM

Two Elijah's and an Eli? Eve and Evette? All E names is one thing, but wow. I'm amazed at their confidence in their ability to not confuse their children's names. 

June 3, 2016 6:43 PM

Perhaps I'm living under a rock, but I can't imagine anyone misspelling Margaret. It's one of those rare names where I love the full name and almost all of its traditional nicknames: Meg, Maggie, Maisie, Greta... even Margie or Marge can be carried off by the right girl.

Ada and Louisa are both names that I like more in theory than in fact. Dunno why.

Theodora has lots of nice nickname options (how adorable would a little Dora be? just saying), plus the derivation (God + love) is about as nice as it gets, but I like Margaret better.

Evander is all Holyfield for me, sorry.

Charles Slastname can be fine if your last name doesn't actually start with an S sound - Schmidt, Shutz, that sort of thing. It can also be OK if taking the S off your last name results in something that is highly unlikely as a last name, e.g. Smith (Charles Mith? Yeah, I didn't think so). Otherwise, I think you unfortunately have to remove it from consideration. (I wouldn't worry about Charles being too much like Charlotte - it's not like they're easily confusable, like Francis and Frances.)

Henry, Arthur, and William are all pretty popular. They're lovely names, but they don't meet your "distinctive" requirement. (Also, they're not really trendy -- they can't be, because they never fell out of use -- but they're definitely trending, if you know what I mean.)

Walden is definitely distinctive and yet easy to spell; it's not really my style, but if you like it, go for it.

What I actually like best for a boy name for you is Theodore. Same great derivation as Theodora, plus nicknames: Theo, Ted, Teddy.

June 3, 2016 9:16 PM

Only people who just can't spell will misspell M@rgaret

Yes, iit's trendy. The ADA thing is absolutely a non issue. 

Let's toss out any that you are have strong reservations about or that someone actively dislikes. 

You could consider Thea.

It's the boxer for me. 

Great name; no one uses Chuck automatically these days. I don't think it's too connected to Charles, or too close to Charlotte.

H@nry-We have one. See my comments on the other H@nry post. :)

W@lden-It's a little too something for me....earnest, maybe? The adjective-not a name suggestion. llol

Archie or Archer? Yes, it's popular, but only with small children. 

There are lots of other great nns....I don't think he'd be lost unless you used L@am.

You might look for that post Laura did on up-voting names....finding a reason to love one oveer the other, rather than looking for flaws in each. Perhaps one of the kind souls on here will link to it. 

hth! You have a great list. Baby will surely get a fine name! 


June 3, 2016 8:44 PM

Honestly, some people could misspell the name Ed. I hardly think Margaret is a hard to spell name generally. Great name and nn options.

Ada - I'm not sure about trendy, but the disabled thing is a non-issue. Great name.

I LOVE LOUISA. Your husband's Louisa should be told how beautiful her name is and appreciate the honor.

Theodora used to be a name I was ok about. Now I have one I'm close to and I love it. She goes by Tedi.

Evander is not my style. I'm very aware of who Holyfield is, but honestly don't know if that is what I'd think of. There are many Muhammads and Alis - but unless said together, I don't think I'd think of The Greatest. Of course because it's not MY style is neither here nor there. Certainly nothing wrong with it.

Charles, Henry, Arthur and William are great classics. I agree with other posters' various opinions for the most part - Arthur maybe my favorite out of these.

Walden - I'm surprised no one's brought up Walden Pond. If you like poetry - Thoreau, Emerson and beauty and are environmentally conscious, this is a great name. Different, yet goes along with other names of the day.

They are all fine. My loves are Louisa and Walden.

Good luck.

June 3, 2016 11:21 PM

M@rgaret does have different spelling variants. Margret, Margarete, Margrit, Margritte... but I think that the one you list is by far the "standard", so I wouldn't be too worried. Most names do need to be spelled out occasionally. (Like, not Aida or Ayda, or not Theadora.)

I think Ad@ is a superb choice, combining an excellent namesake and a fashionable sound. I do find the Adalynn cluster to be a bit trendy, but Ada itself doesn't seem colored by the same brush, yet. I've only heard the A.D.A. referred to in speech as "Ay dee ay" and never as "ay-dah", so to me the acronym is totally unrelated.

I don't think Theodora is too heavy or long, but I named my daughter an even clunkier feminization of a common T-name for boys, so I might be biased. I do think Thea and Dora are trim, lighter nickname choices should you or she ever want them, so there is versatility built in to address this concern.

I like Ev@nder, too, but the Spouse vetoed it for boxing reasons, too. Might you be interested in Leander or Lysander? If we had twins gestating rather than one very sizable singleton, I think there'd be a Lysander on board.

Ch@rles seems a bit less exciting in comparison to the other names on your list, but I also wouldn't use it with a surname that begins with an S-sound. (If it's a "sh", like Charles Shipman, that'd be fine, but I have a hard time saying Charles Seaman without a graduation announcer pause. It's not an absolute dealbreaker, especially if your surname with the S- lopped off isn't ALSO a surname, but ability to say first and last name together smoothly would be enough of a concern for me that I'd upvote other choices if you have them... and you do. I would not, however, worry at all about Chuck.

H3nry is very on-trend where I live. I am happy it was one of those names that migrated off our list when we were actually expecting children because it didn't feel like my kid, because I think I might have qualms about the large number of little Henrys I have in my life sharing the name of my child (I am a Jennifer, so I am particularly sensitive to this). If you like any of the traditional nicknames (Hank, Harry, Hal), though, that pretty well solves the problem of on-trendness because absolutely none of the many Henrys I know use any of the nicknames.

W@lden is an uncommon name, but it's also definitely heard of (because most people took high school English) and it fits in with a style of names that is very well represented where I live. (Walter, Winston, Wallace are all names of kids I know, and W@lden has the super-on-trend n-ending additionally to recommend it along with a more smooth, melodic sound and a great literary reference.)

Arthur is a great choice. I don't think the Aardvark would be a dealbreaker for me -- I haven't seen the show, but the books are well loved in our household. I haven't seen the marketing tie-ins (e.g. Arthur mac-n-cheez boxes) much lately so I suspect that the TV show may also be on its way out, but I'll leave more tv-savvy posters to confirm that.

Willi@m would be more likely to be lost in a sea of Willi@ms, where I live -- the only little Liam I know is a birth certificate Willi@m. It's another fine, classic choice but I can't get very excited about it.

June 4, 2016 12:29 AM

Thanks for all the honest commentary! It's great to get meaningful input rather than "cute" or blank stares. Still having a rougher time with the boys, but feeling more confident about the girls :-)

June 4, 2016 12:37 AM

I know an adult Theodora who goes by Theo, which is super cute, just to add another nickname to your pile.

June 4, 2016 10:38 AM

Margaret - Yes, people can spell this.   It's one of the all time english classics. Great nicknames! Daisy! Maggie! 

Ada - Does get lost a bit in a sea of Avas and Addies, but I know a young baby-of-feminists Ada and she is extremely charming and it suits her well. Once a person is aware of the ADA, they should be long since past the age of teasing about names, if that would even occur to people. 

Louisa - I love this, also Louise. Most people who dislike their name seem to like it just fine when it's applied to a sweet little baby in their honor.

Theodora - A little heavy but certainly doable with the rise of Theodores. Is Theodore off the table for boys?

Evander - Does make me think of th eboxer  but not in a bad way. If "like the boxer?" would bother you, I'd take it off, if "like the boxer!" as a mneomonic sounds useful, then go for it. 

Charles - I don't think the Charlottes are an issue unless having both boys and girls called Charlie would bother you. Virtually no one except maybe older relatives would default to Chuck from Charles without being prompted to do so. Charles is such a well established name, no one is going to think the  baby is named Charl Smith like they  might confuse an Evans Smith. See below for popularity notes for Charles v William

Henry - Trendy in pockets, I think, still quite unique in others. If you know babies named Edith and Olive, you're probably in a Henry pocket. It doesn't really sound like any other names, though, so it still sounds distinct to me. (Think Naomi - popular, but not in a vast trend of rhyming -aidens, for example.)

Walden - I think this is easy enough to say with a difficult surname, the Walden Pond association is very strong for me. Possibly a pro for you.

Arthur - I personally love Art, but can I suggest Archie if you want a cutesy nickname for it, or Ari if you want something more modern, or some people even do Thor if it suits. The show is still on the air after a somewhat astonishing 19 seasons. You could do worse than the aardvark, though, it makes it seem like a nice familiar name for children while still keeping its regal King Arthur feel for adults. I remember the show being rather sweet. 

William - Will be one of many Williams and Liams, but not necessarily one of 4 in a classroom.  It's still no Jennifer, but definitely popular. Maybe a pro if you have a difficult surname. If you're concerned about Charlotte for Charles, William x Liam is worse. 

Charles v William popularity breakdown:

William and Liam and Will: 34,358, all boys

Charles and Charlie, for boys: 8787

Charlotte and Charlie, for girls: 15757

Total Charles, Charlottes, and Charlies: 24544

  • Charles: 7125
  • Charlie, m: 1662
  • Charlotte, f: 11332
  • Charlie, f:  1554
  • Charlee, f: 1121
  • Charley, f: 603
  • Charleigh, f: 590
  • Charli, f: 557


And an astonishing factoid for name nerds: There were more children named Willie than Will in 2015. 303 people thought, "Sure, Willie, that's perfect.". Huh. 


June 4, 2016 5:20 PM

Super good point about Thor... because I feel like *all* toddlers are ideally suited for that as a nickname. ALL of mine, anyway. The amount of time the mallet spends on the xylophone compared to other objects/family members is comically not-as-intended.

June 6, 2016 1:58 AM

My name is Margaret and it gets mis-spelled a LOT.  Not as much now as when I was younger, but people still ask how to spell it.  

I get:  Margret, Margit, Magrit, Magret, Margrette, etc


I like Ada from your list.  I don't think it would get lost amongst the Adalines as it is a different pronunciation.


Evander does make me think of the boxer, but I think that if I actually met a little Evander he would become the primary association and I would forget the other one pretty quickly.  In fact I think I like it the most out of all your names.


Good luck