Brainstorming baby #2

Long time lurker here. I regularly visit for the linguistic and history lessons from the wise posters, despite not having named a child in well over four years.

Well, after the election threw us for a loop, my husband and I said screw it, let's do something life-affirming, and here we are, swiftly pregnant. 

Of all the parts of being pregnant, the naming process is the most delicious to me--all those possible futures! All those letters and sounds! Unfortunately, my common tale of woe is that my husband is pretty closed-minded about what he likes, and he has never suggested a name in all of our discussions over the years, except in jest. He is perfectly happy to veto, though.

So I want to take him a list of names that maybe he won't uniformly hate?

Our daughter's name is Iris. I adore it's simple spunkiness and it's multiple meanings, botanical, anatomical, mythological and scientific. This will definitely be our last child.

Below are some names on my lists with a few annotations. I would LOVE further suggestions, input, whatever!


*this is a very hard category for me, since there are few names I love that work for a mixed Jewish/formerly Christian couple. "Goyishe" names like Christopher, William or the like are emphatically OUT.

Clark - this is by far my favorite. Really matches the feel of iris for me, but the last name begins with K - two syllables, and sounds a bit "Clark Kent"/alliterative. I may be able to get over this.

Joel - I like this name. My husband is on board, but I don't love it. I hate the ambiguity of the middle vowels. People will say Joe-el and Jole I fear. I don't prefer one or the other, but I hate the in-betweenness of it.


Clive - too hipster? Too alliterative?

Ansel - too hipster?





*middle name will be Simone for family reasons

Beatrice - was in love, bit ardor has cooled. Would be tempted by nickname Trixie even though this belongs to Beatrix

June - I think I could get my husband on board for this, but it lacks some of the flavor of Iris. I would love to go with Juniper, nn June, but my husband thinks I'm a crazy person.

Tamsin - though not the full Thomasina. My husband is NOT into

Miranda - love those Shakespearean names

Moriah - too associated with La Carey?


Viola - see Miranda

Helen - same first initial as me. That's a strike against it.


Would love to hear your thoughts!


December 20, 2016 4:37 PM

Random thoughts/responses.

I think one reason Clark Kent's name works is that the L in Clark breaks up the straight-up alliteration. Cole Kent would not have worked nearly as well. Both Clive and Clark have that L, so as long as your surname is something like Kohen rather than Klemens, I think they would both fall well on the "pleasing, like the superhero" end of the alliteration spectrum.

Many names have that "how many syllables did you _actually_ hear" problem. Take my name, Julia, for example. I say it and think of it with three syllables, clearly enunciated, but a lot of people make it into two syllables, often without realizing they're doing so. ("Hi, I'm Joo-lee-ah." "Pleased to meet you, Jule-ya.") I find the shortened pronunciation kind of annoying -- _if_ I notice it, which I mostly really don't. Sometimes I only figure out the subliminal "wrongness" in a conversation hours or days afterwards: "oh, it's 'cause she kept saying my name as jule-ya." But even if I do notice the annoying pronunciation while the conversation is ongoing, I never say anything -- it's not that important, really. If you can adopt a similar Zen attitude about Joe-el versus Jole, then it sounds like it's an excellent candidate for you. If you can't, then it's time to move on to other names.

Trixie "belongs to" Beatrice just as much as to Beatrix. There's no law or rule requiring a nickname to be contained within the full name. (I know parents who chose a truly weird spelling of Alexander so that it would contain their two preselected nickname choices -- neither of which they've ended up using.)

Both June and Viola coordinate well with Iris: well-known but somewhat rare, pleasant word associations, short and spunky. I'm fond of long-and-flexible feminine names, so Juniper nicknamed June is more my cup of tea, but June by itself is more classic.

December 20, 2016 8:08 PM

Thank you for this!

It makes me feel much more bullish on advocating for Clark.

And...sigh, how I wish I could reasonably hope for Juniper, but I will give Viola some serious consideration!

December 21, 2016 6:07 AM

Just wanted to put a vote up for Tamsin if it's a girl (and if your husband can come round to it!).  I briefly considered it before finding out we were having a boy, and I think it sounds great with Iris as a sibset.  

December 22, 2016 1:02 PM

Tamsin is so beautiful! Sadly I realize it just sounds weird with our last name -- a near rhyme beginning with K and ending with N.

December 21, 2016 11:17 AM

I'll suggest Jude for a boy. You have several J- names on your list, and it has the punchy quality of Clark and Clive.

I love June (and Juniper). Maybe you'd consider Juliet? Shakespearian and has the Ju- sound that appears several times on your list.

December 22, 2016 1:04 PM

Ugh Jude! It was my absolute fave as an emo, Thomad Hardy-loving teen. Not sure it has survived that epoch in my heart, though...

Juliet is also lovely. I think it may be growing on me!

Love the suggestions!

January 1, 2017 10:59 PM

Interesting list of names here :-)

I love Clarke, although I've heard this more on girls than boys around me. And Joel is a refreshing change and I really like this name for you, but does it have the spunky feel of Clarke?

I really like Viola. Or how about Violet? Another floral name to go with Iris.

June is a classic. Call her June and nickname her Juniper!

Beatrice is beautiful. Its actually on my list. I just love its elegance. But I'm biased now so I'll leave it up to you. 

The others arent my cup of tea so I couldn't comment.

January 2, 2017 5:32 PM

Congratulations!                                                          I like Clark, Joel, and Oren fine. They are great names. Jonah and Julian are my favorite boys' names off your list. Clive sounds a little too dated to me, and Ansel I just associate with Ansel Egbert.                                 I love Beatrice, but I am afraid it runs together with her middle name too much. I LOVE June and Viola! Helen, Margot and Tamsin are pretty as well. Miranda is a little too 70s-80s for my taste.                                 As for Moriah, usually I would say that it is not too "Carey" associated, but after last night I'm not so sure. Do you think her train-wreck performance will lose popularity  throughout the year, or continue to be  renowned?

January 2, 2017 9:23 PM

Moriah is the mountain mentioned in the Bible as the place of the sacrifice of Isaac. Like other biblical place names (Sharon, Bethany, Jordan), Moriah is occasionally used as a given name.  Got nothing to do with Ms. Carey, unless there was a typo.

January 3, 2017 10:38 AM

I recognized that, but Mariah is pronounced the same way as Moriah (at least where I live). I don't think it will be too associated with Ms. Carey. I've known kids where at first I had a major association, then as I get to know them I don't even think about it anymore.

January 3, 2017 11:49 AM

Moriah=maw, rhyming with raw and jaw

Mariah=mah, as in father

These two vowels alternate all up and down the east coast of the US and around the Gulf Coast--I can usually tell where someone is from by which vowel they have in which word. But the distinction between the vowel in more and the vowel in Mars is maintained pretty generally. I don't know of a dialect where more is pronounced like mar, although there may be one somewhere.

January 3, 2017 6:35 PM

More definitely has a different vowel than Mars, but Moriah is generally pronounced with the latter vowel, despite being spelled with an O. And maw and mah are different ways to write the same exact sound, so I'm not sure what you're trying to get at with your Moriah=maw/Mariah=mah distinction. :)

January 3, 2017 7:49 PM

I definitely had the Mountain in mind, and while in my head there is a clear distinction between Mor- and Mar- I'm afraid the difference gets mushed up in my mouth, at least. And since we would be the ones introducing her, I fear it would be just Mariah with a weird spelling.

While I occasionally find Ms. Carey's antics amusing(New Year's Eve being a shining example), the diva life is SO not my style!

January 3, 2017 8:15 PM

Maw and Ma (as in Ma=mother) are not at all the same vowel.  Do you pronounce paw and pa with the same vowel?

January 3, 2017 10:31 PM

Ayup. Maw, mah, Ma, paw, pah, Pa, raw, claw, ah, cot, caught... they all have the same vowel. I can't even conceive of how anyone could pronounce them differently, unless they adopted a horribly fake British accent for one word and not the other. Or something.

(And yes, Mary, marry, and merry are three different ways to write the same sound. Well, maybe merry has a teeny-tiny bit of difference - it's the same vowel, but it's shorter in duration. At least in my mind; I have no idea if that difference actually exists in my speech.)

January 3, 2017 10:46 PM

I don't have the cot-caught merger, and neither do a lot of other Americans. It's not fake British.

January 3, 2017 10:51 PM

Google cot-caught merger. I don't dare give a link lest I fall afoul of the drafted spam filter.

January 5, 2017 2:24 PM

I don't have the cot-caught merger, either (though my kids do, which sometimes leads to confusion). However, when I put the stress on the second syllable, both Moriah and Mariah come out of my mouth with a pretty mushy, schwa-ish vowel in the first syllable. So I imagine they tend to sound alike when I say them, even if they're very different in my head.

(And unfortunately if the stress is on the first syllable, Moriah reminds me of Tolkien's Moria, AKA the Black Pit. Noting that it's "like the mountain" makes that association worse, even though Tolkien apparently explicitly denied any connection.)

On the other hand, the sound of the name Mariah to me is strongly associated with all those Jane Austen Marias, which greatly dilutes the Carey-association, and with a different spelling I think the pop star would not be an issue when looking at the name, either.

January 10, 2017 9:56 PM

I definitely have it. Most people do where I live.

January 2, 2017 9:07 PM

I like Clive and Julian from your boy's names. Although Jonah is biblical and very nice I feel it has become a hipster name. 

Love Miranda and Mariah despite Mariah Carey association. It's a lovely old fashioned name. 

January 3, 2017 2:38 PM

I lovee Tamsin... and if that's not to be, then Margot is gorgeous too.  Miranda or Viola are lovely! The only thing about Viola is that people aren't sure how to pronounce it. Other Shakespearean favourites include Rosalind and Perdita.

For boys, I don't love surnames as first names. How about something so out it's in, like Roland or Clarence? I also love Marius. Easy to proounce and spell, but only rarely used.

January 3, 2017 7:55 PM

I actually LOVE Clarence! I had a pseudo-grandfather named Clarence and a great-grandfather named Clare. They were both apparently rather salty, crotchety figures, but some of the more benign male namesakes my family has to offer.

And Roland...the more I think about it, the more it grows on me!

I like this direction!

January 3, 2017 7:38 PM

NameMatchmaker and I went with ideas on mythology, multiple ties, and Shakespeare, and came up with some ideas to stir the pot.

Boys: Odin, Orlando, and Orion (I also really like the Jude suggestion for you, maybe Julian, too.)

Girls: Juno, Luna, Penelope, and Rosaline

January 3, 2017 9:52 PM

Thanks for this!

My husband has a connection to Orion, so he might actually be open to it. I think it's quite handsome. And Julian is definitely a contender.

As for the girls, I guess I would tend more toward a certain layer of fustiness and less whimsy. That sounds so sad -- boo, whimsy! --but that's the best I can do!

January 10, 2017 8:26 PM

I love so many of the names on your list! I've added a few possibilities.


Boy Suggestions:

Jonas (though it ends in s like Iris)

Clark Michael or David (I don't think Clark with a K last name is bad at all. I have a friend named Clark w/ K last name and we never made Superman references with him. I've always thought his name sounded smart.)


Girl Suggestions: 

Miriam (Biblical - Old Testament)

Rosalind (Shakespeare & floral like Iris)

January 10, 2017 8:31 PM

Rosalind is a horse name, not a floral, but that is a very old bit of confusion.

January 10, 2017 8:37 PM

Thanks for the clarification! I meant that it had a floral sound, but I'd hate to give misinformation.