Early baby catches parents off guard

Hi Folks,

For baby #2 a few years back this forum helped pick the name Bram for our son.  We have a daughter named Genevieve who goes by Evie as well. We wouldn't change a thing about either name and love them.  Last name is Ellis.

Now our whoopsy baby #3 came 3 weeks early.  He has had some health issues but is a little fighter and doing much better.  That said, we did not have a name ready and have been so focused on his health that we haven't given much cogent thought to his name.  Now we are heading home in a day or two with him and need advice. 

Here are current options and other names that are not an option but give an idea of names that we like:

Casper (Wife loves, I despise mainly because of the ghost thing)

Bruno (current #1)

Wilder (I love, wife is tepid)

Hayward (after a family friend, both like though don't love)

Ivan (runner up last time, still pretty solid)



Apollo (wife isn't thrilled)


Emmanuel (Wife says no)

Leopold (after the author, Aldo, wife says no)


Thanks in advance, this was a fun way of doing this last time. 




November 16, 2017 4:44 PM

I like the idea of Casper, but it is still a little ghosty to me.  However, I got over my grouch associations when I met my first IRL Oscar, so I suspect most people would adjust to Casper.  I wonder if something like Caspian or agreeing to use the nickname Cas would work better for you?

Bruno is OK, but it really seems a bit too similar to Bram for me.  I think I'd likely get tongue tied with the two fairly often.

Wilder is another I find nice in theory, but perhaps too much/masculine sounding.  Like, do you really want a child to be wild?  It strikes me as kind of an anti-virtue name, though I recognize it has very nature-y or Little House associations for a lot of other people.

Hayward is kind of meh to me.  I think I'd like Hayes or something similar a bit better.  Rita Hayworth also comes to mind when I hear it.

I really quite like Ivan.  I'd say it is my favorite from your list.  I also quite like Leland and Winston.

Apollo is just too much for me.  It's also a dog name in my mind.  Not sure why, as I can't recall ever meeting a dog called Apollo.

Don't care for Jiro or Emmanuel at all, sorry.

Leopold makes me think of Leopold and Loeb, which is probably not a common assocation for most people anymore.  I could get on board with Aldo though.

Other suggestions:  Solomon, Walter, Felix, Arthur, Matthias, Mateo, Jude, Rowan, Graham.

November 16, 2017 11:12 PM

Thank for the detailed reply.  We had not thought of the Bruno and Bram "Br" issues.  That could certainlly be an issue.  Oug dogs are named Ruby and Rosy and I mess that up all the time, I could see the same thing happening with the kids. 


Solomon was on an earlier list of ours but we found it hard to put a nickname to.  Sol (like Saul)? 


November 17, 2017 4:39 AM

I know a baby Solomon nn Solly.

November 17, 2017 11:10 AM

Yes, I think Sol (like Saul) would be the go-to nickname for Solomon.  I know of one family who considered it with the nickname Solo (after Han Solo).  They ultimately went with something else, but I can see that as another reasonable option.

November 16, 2017 6:31 PM

Congratulations on number three! Glad to hear he's doing well. 

Honestly I would avoid Bruno with an older brother named Bram, they don't just share an initial but a starting sound which makes it a bit too same-y for my taste. Of your other names Ivan is probably my favourite, I feel like it goes well with both your older children's names and your last name. I do also like both Wilder and Casper but I'm not fond of how the -er ending sounds when said with your last name, and it sounds like they are both out of the running anyway.

How about Caspian instead of Casper? It sounds similar but removes the ghost association. Is it only Leopold you like of the Leo names? Perhaps your wife would prefer Leonardo, Leon or Leander; or a name I recently came across is Elio (which is actually derived from the name Helios, but may not work with Ellis). Other suggestions: Florian, Rocco, Linus

November 16, 2017 11:15 PM

Thanks for the help.  Leopold was the version I liked due to the association with my favorite author, I'll run a couple of the others past my wife and see what happens.  I like Rocco as well but already know how far i will get with that.  Another vote for Ivan i see...

November 16, 2017 5:03 PM

I wouldnt have a Bram and Bruno,  both starting with the same initial and Br

not sure on Casper,  what about Jasper, Caspian

Wilder would go with Bram  or Wilton

what about Hayward as a middle name

Ivan is ok  or Niven,

Leland goes well with Bram  or Leyton

Winston is ok,  or Winton

Apollo is ok

Jiro and Bram go well

Emmanuel no

Leopold ok - what about Aldo,  Alden, Roald

others Taran, Ewan, Ivor, Corbin, Cormac, Coen, Roland, Kane, Tate


and congrats on your little boy and glad he is doing well now

November 16, 2017 11:17 PM

The trend with the Br names is clear, we'll steer away.  Thanks for the help.  We are all home now for the first time but only 4 of us have official names as of yet. 


November 16, 2017 11:20 PM

Any thoughts on the use of Coen due to the priest associations?  I've heard that some folks get pretty uptight about the usage of this as a first name for religious reasons.  But, I like the sound of it, low usage, and my wife and I certainly love Coen brothers movies.  We used a song from the Big Lebowski as our first dance at our wedding which I am sure most of society things is really odd. 

By EVie
November 17, 2017 12:10 AM

My understanding is the Jewish priestly caste is spelled Cohen or Kohen, and yeah, that should be off limits. But Coen is a Dutch name of separate etymology (related to Conrad, a Germanic name meaning "brave counsel"), and should be fine. I'm not sure how many people in the real world will appreciate that distinction, but I feel that if they're knowledgeable enough to object to Cohen in the first place they should be able to understand that Coen is a different name when it's explained to them.

November 17, 2017 12:49 AM

Actually in the case of the Coen brothers, Coen is a variant transliteration of Cohen/Kohen. However, the given name Coen is indeed Dutch, cognate with the German name Con- as in Conrad.

November 17, 2017 4:41 AM

I do feel that the distinction would be totally lost while hollering "Coen" at the playground, however...

By EVie
November 17, 2017 12:19 PM

Yeah, my reservation would be that you don't always get an opportunity to explain and people might get the wrong idea.

I didn't know that the Coen brothers were transliterated Cohens. I feel that gets us into a very gray area... and parsing it gets so very abstract and removed from the practical function of a name that I don't think it's very useful.

On another note, I can't think of Cohen as a first name anymore without thinking of Terry Pratchett's Cohen the Barbarian. Which, I'm not sure whether that's offensive? Given that it's satire? I've actually never seen any Jewish references around Cohen the Barbarian, and I don't know if Pratchett chose the name for any other reason than that it sounds like both Conan and Khan. 

Point being that if I met a child named either Cohen or Coen, I would be mentally affixing "the Barbarian" to it. 

November 19, 2017 12:17 AM

Conrad was on one of my early lists but got nixed.  I appreciate the thoughts on Coen.  Even if it is a good Dutch name, and our second son has one of those, it does seem like it could be too difficult to seperate from Cohen.  There is a pretty large Jewish population in our neighborhood further enforcing the point that this could be troublesome.  Thanks.

November 17, 2017 1:28 AM

Coen is a Dutch name,  different from Cohen

November 17, 2017 1:49 AM

Yes and no. The OP mentioned liking Coen because of the Coen brothers. In that case Coen is exactly the same as Cohen. OTOH, in the case of someone named, say, Coen van Buuren, Coen has nothing to do with Cohen.

November 16, 2017 5:14 PM

Congratulations on your new little one, and on getting to come home from the hospital!

I can't quite get past the Casper association, either. I think it's partially because I don't have any other strong associations for the name. There's Caspar Weinberger, but I was so young when he was on the national stage that I actually thought of him as "that ghost guy" whenever his name came up on television or in parental conversation.

On the other hand, I LOVE the name Cass, and also like the long forms Cassian and Cassius (though I prefer the somewhat-deprecated three-syllable pronunciations over the Cash- versions). Caspian is also a good suggestion, especially if you like either the sea or C.S. Lewis associations. I think just-Cass would make a pretty good sibling name for Bram, though.

I agree with NAGA about both Bruno and Wilder.

I think Hayward would be a good choice if you especially want to honor your friend, but not if you're sort of middling about both the name and the honor.

Leland and Winston both lean a bit fustier for me than either of your other names. That's not my personal style, but I can see some appeal in heading in a different direction, name-wise, for a third child. Have you ever played the card game Set? Genevieve, Bram, and Leland or Winston would make a good set: all three are familiar but not super-common, all three have a single common spelling, each has a different syllable count, and each has a slightly different "vibe". Between the two, Winston feels slightly more familiar to me, but Leland is actually somewhat more popular, both historically and in recent usage. I guess that's the power of a single strong namesake.

Apollo seems like an awful lot to live up to. That's the kind of name that can be great if you grow up to be Apolo Ohno, but maybe is harder to wear if you're the introverted geek who prefers board games to sports.

I really like Jiro, particularly if you're Nikkei. If you're not, you might get a lot of questions about where the name comes from, maybe some folks who want to pronounce the J like an H, etc. Even though it's not a super-familiar name to most Westerners, I think it fits in pretty well with the current naming landscape (Milo, Leo, et al). It's a second-son name, so perfectly appropriate here, too.

If not Leopold, any chance you'd both like Aldo?

Good luck!

November 16, 2017 11:29 PM

We have not thought much about how the third name with go with the names of the siblings but clearly we need to do so after the advice everyone has offered, thanks for the help.  Apollo is officially nixed but Winston, Ivan, and Leland live on. Hayward is likely moved to middle name consideration. 

We cam to Jiro because of the second son thing and wish there were more traditional associations like that.

Thanks again.


November 17, 2017 12:38 PM

If you like the idea of a Japanese "second son" name, there are actually quite a few names with this as a (possible) meaning, including a lot of the names that end in -ji; the best known of these is probably Kenji.

You could also go with one of the "third" names, since this will be your third child. I'm partial to some of the -zo names (三 in kanji, for three), like Kenzo, Reizo, Taizo (I like them so much I gave one to my eldest son, with different kanji, as a middle name).

I also wanted to mention--I don't actually think it matters that much how sibling names "go" together, except for some basic considerations like not tripping up household members. To the wide world they'll each be an individual, not part of a sibling set, for the vast majority of their lives. I only included the "Set" discussion because I thought it was an interesting way to think about the names, not at all because I think naming children should follow rules like a card game :).

Also, a bit more about Aldo--it's somewhat of a vintage-revival, as it first charted and peaked in the 1910s and 1920s and then returned to similar levels of popularity about ninety years later (after slowly creeping up the top-1000 starting in the late 1950s). It also has some international appeal, having charted in France, Italy, and Switzerland in the 21st century. Behind the Name says it was originally a short form for names like Aldebrand and Aldric and possibly names like Adelbert and Adolfo.

November 16, 2017 6:39 PM

I love Casper and Leopold.  Ivan would be my 3rd choice, but it sounds a bit similar to Evie.

November 17, 2017 4:48 AM

I'm probably not much help because my favourites are Emmanuel and Leopold, so clearly your wife and I are on different pages.

Still, Emmanuel made me think of Noel, which shares some sounds but also sounds a bit like the (problematic in my opinion) Coen. Any interest?

I also know a baby Leonard (so named because he was born on Leonardo da Vincis birthday), and while it seemed a bit stuffy at first, it has definitely grown on me.

I also think Jiro is a nice option. And Ivan works nicely with the family.

Wilder is one of those names that just sounds extremely macho to me.

November 17, 2017 7:06 PM

Of the original names you're still considering, Winston is my favorite. 

I really like the suggestions of Noel, Caspian, and Cassian that have been made already. 

I wanted to toss in Walden. It has the W you all seem to like and a literary connection to boot. 

Good luck!

November 19, 2017 12:26 AM

My wife brought up Noel today, does it not seem a little Christmasy?  Walden is interesting, I will bring it up.  It is certainly less likely to get butchered than Thoreau

November 19, 2017 12:39 PM

Noel could seem a tad Christmasy, but I don’t think that’s a negative. Pronounced one-syllable Nole, I think the association is pretty minimal. 

Walden had a similar vibe to Wilder to me, which is another reason I suggested it. 

November 19, 2017 12:31 AM

Thanks to everyone who has posted below, we have had a lot of discussions based on the feedback.  Can't say we are any further along though and are perhaps a little further behind since the #1 option has been knocked down (Bruno).

What about Rowan (Roan?).  Does anyone else think of a boat when they hear this name?

November 19, 2017 2:03 AM

Boat? Huh?

Oh, you mean like in "row, row, row your boat"? Nope, never. My step in-laws are surnamed Rowan, and the association has never occurred to me. However, "rowan" does not sound like "roan": two syllables versus one, to start.

I actually kinda like the boy's name Rowan, which is surprising because neither surname-names nor word-names are part of my style. I know two people with this name: an adult man and a preteen girl. The latter is an Anne McCaffrey reference.

November 19, 2017 4:35 AM

I think Rowan is fine and no I dont think of the boat.  I dont really like Noel,  but do like the reverse Leon

November 19, 2017 2:42 AM

Congrats on your healthy baby! I really like Wilder with your other children's names. Rowan is great too! I'll be thinking for at least one new suggestion.

November 19, 2017 2:52 AM

What about:




Bram and Evie are so cool together because to me they sound like nature words while still being names. Makes me think of brambles and ivy. Brooks or Brook would be cool if it weren't for the shared "Br" beginning again. Anyway these three go along with the nature feel. 

November 19, 2017 11:39 AM

I like Winston, Leland, ad Wilder best from your list. I think you can count out the names that your wife says no to since you have a pretty long list here to choose from. I will echo what everyone else says about Bruno and say count that one out, as well. Hayward is okay, but it sounds like neither of you are really excited about it. I feel like Jiro sounds very different than your other kid's names. I would personally hear that sibset and and think it sounded like the odd one out for sure. Casper is definitely the ghost to me, as well, so I have a hard time with that one although there is really nothing wrong with the name.


Just for fun I'll throw some more ideas at you: Roland, Everett, Hugh, Julius, Oscar, Roy

November 20, 2017 12:23 AM

Down to these now, it is getting close but those last few names to take off the list seem to be that hardest. 


Bruno (I know, but it is the only name we both really like)




Hayward (middle name option only)

We would be fine with Rowan or Callan right now but today I found out there are two female Rowans in the neighborhood.  Seriously, what are the chances.  Callan appears to be coming on strong as a female name as well.  A priority is that the name feels like a masculine name so I worry about these two. 

Thanks again to all of your for helping us get out of a jam with this.

November 20, 2017 1:56 AM

Ivan is ok

Bruno - no

Callan is good

Rowan is good

Dean is great

I'd pick Callan - goes best with Bram, then Dean, then Rowan, then Ivan


Hayward is great as a middle

November 20, 2017 7:07 PM

I love Rowan. Ronan could be an easy alternative, if you don’t want to match the girls in the neighborhood. 

November 21, 2017 2:13 AM

Bruno is a fine name. I personally would get horribly flustered with a Bruno and a Bram running around, and would never want to use names this close for siblings...but I'm also notoriously tongue tied and easily tripped up by similar sounds in names. I will say that the Bram-and-Bruno being too much thing is really only a consideration for you the parents, and possibly also their mutual sibling. If you two are okay with it, then I don't think it needs to be an obstacle, because for no one else will the names be so much of a duo. Most people who meet your sons throughout their lives will not even know that they have a similarly named brother. You might get some eye-rolling or gentle ribbing as the namers, but otherwise I don't think it's an absolute contraindiction. Moreover, the fact that you're having such a hard time cutting from the list it could tell you something about where your heart lies. While as a parent I couldn't hack a Bram and Bruno sibset, and am thus loath to recommend it, the fact that you're saying "this is the only name we both really like" is pretty clear.

TL;dr: If you don't get tripped up like I do, I think it's usable. If you DO get tripped up, I would encourage you and your spouse to consider that you love the name Bruno so much precisely becuse it reminds you so much of your son's name... and that you should then consider an all-new combination of sounds this time, secure in the fact that you will grow to love those sounds equlaly much because they'll be attached to your kid whom you will love beyond reason.

I love Ivan -- it is my very favorite from your list. I would find Ivan and Evie to be a little tripping up, actually, too, with the shared strong V sound, so that tells you that I really am on the extreme on getting mixed-up with sibling sound repetitions.

I do think Rowan and Callan are more androgynous choices, but I don't find that any reason to avoid them. If it's your son's name, it will be a masculine name. However, if your priority is that the name be perceived as male without any ambiguity by all, then I think your other choices are indeed better... or you could consider Ronan, Roman or Rohan.

November 21, 2017 2:39 PM

Ivan-I still like this one, I think it would be a great choice

Bruno-I completely agree with everything lucubratrix said on Bruno. For me it would be way too much for siblings, but if you and your wife do not feel that way then you should go for it if it's truly the name that you both love. I did also wonder if the similarity to Bram is exactly the reason why you love it.

Callan-I really like this and think it fits in very well with your older children's names. To me it reads as completely male but I have never met a Callan irl to sway my opinion of it so I'm going only on look/sound. I really can't say how it would be judged in your area but if it helps neither this website or Behind the Name have Callan listed as a girls name.

Rowan-I actually like this more as a girls name than a boys. If a priority is that the name feels masculine then I'd skip this one because I think it reads as solidly unisex (according to Behind the Name in the US last year it was #182 for boys and #239 for girls)

Dean-This one is definitely masculine, but really nms. I feel like it's one of those names where the perception of it is probably totally different in the US (like Chelsea for girls)

If I had to rank your options I would put the top three in order as: Callan, Ivan, Bruno

November 21, 2017 3:54 PM

My neighbor's son (aged 4) is Callen. Maybe the name is swinging feminine because more girls are being named Collins? Apparently the name Collins took off after the movie The Blind Side came out. The character was named Collins, but the actress is also named Lily Collins (daughter of musician Phil Collins).

November 22, 2017 1:13 AM

Callan is about a 95% done deal.  Now just trying to get a J middle name, Callan ... Ellis.  James is the obvious choice but I wonder if there are some other good ones out there that we are missing.  We like the CJ nickname option. 

November 22, 2017 3:02 AM

Excellent! Congratulations on making a choice!

As far as J middle names go, I used James as a middle name for one of my kids, and it's an excellent choice! In my kid's case, it was after a great-grandfather. Just using James for sound alone seems a bit fillery, since it's by far the most common middle name I hear for boys. So, I'd  upvote J names that have either are borne by special honorworthy family members (and most everyone has a John or John-derivative somewhere in the family tree) or have another special meaning to you.

Perhaps Callan Justice as a virtue name? (Or soundalike Justus?) Maybe Callan Jude, if you love the Beatles? Callan Jett or Jethro because you love rock n'roll? Callan Jasper because you have a geology/gemstone hobby? Callan Jeffrey after a family friend who is special to you? Callan Julius because you love Roman history? There are a lot of J-names out there to chose from, and I'd try to find one to which you can attach a story of some kind. 

November 22, 2017 4:07 AM






Jesse, Jared, Joseph, Jacob

Jonathan, Josiah, Jeremy, Jeremiah

November 22, 2017 11:47 AM

Congrats! I love Callan and think Callan James sounds great together :) 

November 22, 2017 3:21 PM

Congratulations on choosing! I really like Callan. 

James does have a very nice flow, but does also seem like a bit of a filler middle (unless you have a reason for choosing it beyond sound). Have you considered using Jiro as that was on your original list? Otherwise I like the suggestion of Jude, I think that flows just as nicely as James.

November 22, 2017 7:11 PM

Oh! This is a brilliant idea. I think Callan Jiro sounds super!

November 22, 2017 8:56 PM

I like Callan James a lot, especially because it reminds me of James Callis, the actor who played Dr. Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. Gaius was my favorite character.

November 22, 2017 10:36 PM

Welp, here we go again.  I am normally the one in the couple that does all the baby name research (hence, posting here of course) with my wife generally responding to ideas and occasionally putting out a name or two.  I feel like I have a good grasp of what she likes and doesn't so there are some names I don't mention.  Since we are still undecided I implored her to pick up one or two of the baby name books and see if there was anything she saw in them.  Within 5 minutes she said a name that I was shocked by...Eamonn. Some random thoughts...

Eamonn is a name that I really liked but didn't think she did so I never brought it up.  With a J middle name my son would have the same initials as me (how about some hand me down monogrammed towels for your birthday?) 

EJ Ellis is a nickname I wish had stuck for me. 

James as the middle name is, and I didn't think of this before, the first name paired with Hayward.  Thus, it is a little bland but that is overcome by the significance.  My wife said she wanted to honor James Hayward with a name previously ith one of our other kids but other options were chosen. 

My Irish/Celtic ancestry would be honored and the name meaning is solid, a little more so than Callan as I keep seeing all kinds of different meanings inlcuding "chatterbox" in German.

So, thoughts??  Eamonn James Ellis. Genevieve, Bram and Eamonn.

November 23, 2017 12:52 AM

For me, the group of Genevieve, Bram, and Eamonn reads delightfully eclectic. When the person who usually only exercises veto power proposes a name, and the person who usually does all the leg work really likes it (as you seem to), that sounds like a winner to me. Plus, each kid would have a unique set of vowels, which is kind of fun.

November 23, 2017 1:57 AM

All of what Karyn says! It sounds like you have a winner, and a name I love. I think James is a lovely middle name if it's honoring someone special, as it is here, and EJ is a fun nickname option.

November 23, 2017 11:20 AM

Yes, I totally agree with all of this.

November 23, 2017 6:18 PM

Also totally agree with Karyn and lucubratrix. Eamonn makes a great set, is meaningful to you, you both love it and have a nickname that you like as well; it sounds like you have found your name!

November 23, 2017 3:00 AM

Genevieve, Bram and Eamon sounds great too.  I like just the one n though