First baby...

I am having my first child in september, but we are not finding out the gender. It would be fantastic if it went well with our niece and nephews names, Lily Grace, Thomas Asher, and Eamon Bennett., because they live close and will spend lots of time together. The girl names that we like are Harper, Riley, August, Auden, Anne, and Avery. Harper and Riley are just too popular for our taste, which is very sad because they are such cute names. That leaves August, Auden, Anne, and Avery. 

AUGUST: I have loved this name for a very long time, and while it's still a very masculine name, I still think that it would fit a little girl. According to many sights, it means Majestic, Great, or Venerable. Howenver, my husband is still on the fence about if it could work for a girl.

AUDEN: I came across this name while talking to a friend, she said she read a book with a character in it named Auden. It's a variant form of Audun or Audunn, meaning Fate, Fortune, or Friend. We both love this name.

ANNE: This name will definitely go in the middle name place, it's a family name. 

AVERY: My husband likes it, but I'm not the biggest fan. I think it's too common for us. Its meaning has something to do with elves, I couldn't find anything better then that. 

The boy names that we like are William, Roland, Hart, Oliver and Julian.

WILLIAM: It's my mother's maiden name (plus s), so it has meaning to us. Wee both love the nickname Will, and would call him that most of the time. It means desire to protect from what I could find.

ROLAND: It's hard, but I think this one's my favorite boys name. I like how it's easy to spell and pronounce, yet not very popular. The meaning of this one is famous throughout the land.

HART: Hart is going to be the middle name if it's a boy. I like it because it's masculine, but still has a soft side. It means stag, as in a male deer, or hardy and strong.

OLIVER: This one used to be me and my husbands number one, it was nearly set in stone that this was our boys name for the longest time, but i guess that we just grew out of it. It means olive tree.

JULIAN: Ah, Julian. Me and my husband can both agree that one of our kids is going to have this name, although it may not be the first. We also like the nickname Jules. I could not find a definitive answer to the meaning of Julian.

Please help! Thanks so much guys!


July 5, 2017 1:11 PM

Based on solely my own personal preference, I would go with Auden and Julian. I just love those two names. For me, August definitely is more masculine, and I think that will be an issue for people constantly mis-gendering your child. I wonder if you would be open to Augusta? It seems like you arent as excited about Avery, so I think that should really be enough to rule that one out for you.

For boys, there really arent any bad choices here. I like that William has personal meaning to you and a family connection. Again, I will echo the above about Oliver- if you arent sold on it, don't use it! 

July 6, 2017 4:09 PM

Thanks! We did remove Avery and Oliver from our list, but they may pop back in if they are less popular later, for another kid. Alas, neither my husband nor I have any interest in Augusta, as a response below somewhere mentioned an excerpt from a book that completely sums up the different vibes each name gives off.

July 5, 2017 1:50 PM

Of your girls names I like Auden the best for you. It gives you some of the same sound as August but is more feminine. I would always assume August was a boy - I like the name though. Are you open to using it if you have a boy? I like Avery as well but it's a lot more popular and if you are not sure then nix it!

 Of your boys I like Julian. Is there a reason you don't want to use it for the first boy? My personal pick would be Julian over Roland but Roland is a great second pick. I love that William would be for your mother's maiden name but it is very popular if you are concerned with that. If you are no longer sold on Oliver then move on - you have other great options!

Good luck!


July 5, 2017 8:18 PM


I know what you mean- August isn't the most feminine of names. I don't really like it for a boy, it's just not my style. And yes, Avery is very popular, and I think we're ready to let go of it. 

There is not a very good reason we don't want to use it for our first, just that if we don't use it this time around, and we have a boy another time, we would definitely use it then. I love both Julian and Roland, and I agree with everything you have to say about William.  I think we are going to take Oliver off the list, but it just feels weird, just throwing it away like it has or had no meaning to us, even though we both thought that was our son's name when we first got engaged. 

Again, thanks for the reply!

July 5, 2017 3:54 PM

First, I will suggest giving up on the idea of matching the style of your childrens names with the niece & nephew names.  It's hard enough sometimes finding sibling names that coordiante that the parents can agree on.  Throwing the cousins into the mix just seems like too many restrictions.  

I think this is especially the case since it seems your girl name style isn't really the same as the rest of the family.  The cousin names are all fairly traditional & classic, and Lily leans vintage revivial and obviously feminine.  Your longer girl list reads as very modern and mostly gender neutral or boys-name-on-a-girl.  The only girl name on your list that really "fits" with the cousin names is Anne.

August doesn't work on a girl for me.  It's obviously masculine & I kind of don't see the point on a girl, especially when there is a lovely feminine version already out there.  I'd suggest moving August to the boy list, or perhaps considering Augusta for a girl instead.  Same meaning (not that names really have meanings) and same choices in nicknames, if you want them.

Auden is nice, again, names don't really have "meanings" so use caution when considering them as part of your decision making process.  Auden also has some a pretty famous namesake in WH Auden.  It sounds like you aren't familiar with him, so I'd suggest checking it out.  My guess is people who are already familiar with the name will have some familiarity with the poet, so you're likely to get comments/questions.  A similar name is Arden, which you may also like.

Anne is lovely, and if you really want something to "go with" the cousin names, I'd suggest you consider it as a first.

Avery is traditionally a boys name, it's use for girls is a very recent thing.  You can't find anything about it's meaning because names don't really have "meanings." Some did once upon a time, but those meanings are often lost or clouded over time.  Since this seems important to you, I'll suggest the behind the name website.  It's more accurate when reporting on name meanings or derivations than most sources.  

Your boy names seem more in keeping with the cousin names, with the exception of Hart.  Though I see Hart is a middle name option, so style is perhaps less of a consideration.  Of your boy names, I probably lean towards William since it has a family connection.  But I also really like Julian & you both seem so excited about it.  If you use another name now, and then don't have another boy, how disappointed do you think you'll feel?  Have you considered using William as a middle instead of Hart?  I like for middle names to have some kind of significance, and I think it's a great place for family honor nanes. Julian William is lovely, and you'd get to use 2 names you seem excited about.

July 5, 2017 8:40 PM

Yes, I can give up on that wish. I didn't mean that they had to be matchy-matchy, just that they didn't sound too similar and that they weren't completely different, like Thomas and Crystal, for example.

The meanings don't really affect my decision, I just thought I'd put them out there so that other people would maybe have a better understanding...? I don't know. 

You are right, I looked up WH Auden, and he apparently was a poet. Thanks for enlightening me. Arden was vetoed by my husband a long time ago, one of the reasons I found Aden, and he liked it much better than he liked Arden.

I guess you're right if we did end up with no boys or just one boy, and we hadn't used Julian I would be sad about it, as my husband and I are equally enthusiastic about this one. Julian William does sound nice, but I just think that I would be sad if I had another boy down the line and wasn't able to use William because It was one of my other son's middle name.

July 5, 2017 4:56 PM

It's okay for name tastes to change. In the move I unearthed a name list from when I first met my spouse, literally half a lifetime ago, and I was surprised to find it included, among some names that I still love, many that I wouldn't even have considered for naming our actual children. Some of them I still quite like (Josephine, Gwendolyn, Guinevere, Tristan) and others I still am enthused to meet on other people (Daphne, Miranda, Sebastian, Maximilian) and some that the specialness just isn't there for anymore (Isabel, Charlotte, Amelia/Amelie), and some that I have no idea why I ever even put them on the list (Hayden and Collin). It's okay to move on from names, even if your excellent taste in significant others still stays the same. 

It's also okay to, after a good long period of trying to let it grow on you, instead veto a spouse's favorite name (ah, Sebastian, hello!). If it's just not working for you, I agree that you should take Avery and Olivert off the list, and perhaps August as well. I think unusual statement names that require explanation really only work if both parents are buying in, because you'll both get to spend plenty of time explaining your name choice if it's one people haven't seen before. 

I will second that I would only use Auden if you actually liked the poet, or were at least comfortable having regular conversations about how your daughter's name is like the poet. If not, I like the suggestion of Arden (a Shakesperean forest is a good name "meaning"). I also will suggest Idunn... or Iduna or Aduna or other variants (I quite like Idonea). 

Roland is one of my favorites, too, and I second the suggestion of using it with William for the sentimental wallop. Then you could name a future son Julian Hart, if your name tastes don't further evolve.


July 5, 2017 7:45 PM

I love Roland William and Julian Hart for brothers! I do think, though, that if you both love Julian and believe that you will use Julian for one of your children, then go ahead and use it for the first boy. There's not really any sense in "name hoarding" because then you may find that the beloved name you saved for another child goes unused.

July 6, 2017 7:14 AM

I third reading a bit of Auden if you want to go with that. He didn't write anything objectionable, but he is far and away the most significant person associated with that name. I would personally be delighted to meet an Auden because I like the poet, but I would become a bit perplexed if it seemed the parents were't owning that connection. It's much more pronounced than using say, Eliot or Ezra, because it's such a single dominant association.

Read some! It might tip you further towards (or away from) Auden as a name. :)

July 6, 2017 12:49 PM

If anything, learning about the poet made me like the name even more. I have more than one person in my family who works with poetry in my family, so I'm actually surprised I've never heard of him. 

July 5, 2017 7:37 PM

I also don't care for August on a girl, but I do like the Arden suggestion for you.  

And I wonder if there are other girl names you might like, too.  Riley, Harper, and Avery all seem similar stylistically -- spunky, modern, a bit gender-neutral -- and make me wonder if you might also like any of these:  Bailey, Piper, Kendall, Darby, Quinn, Sydney, Kelsey, Kinley, Hadley, Ainsley, Delainey, Marley, Casey, Reese, Rory, Teegan, Ridley, Sawyer.  

July 5, 2017 8:50 PM

I think Bailey, Kendall, Quinn, and Sydney would all be cute, just not for my kid. However, Ainsley and Marley are super adorable, and I like Casey for both girls and boys.

July 5, 2017 8:10 PM

I really do not understand the desire to use August for a girl when there's already a perfectly good feminine version available in Augusta. I know preferences can be very hard to explain, but I would love to hear why you're drawn to this choice.

Also, I know modern parents often think they're being progressive when they use a boy's name on a girl, but it's really the opposite: it reinforces and underlines the unfortunate fact that it's still better to be a boy than a girl. Try thinking about it the other way around: would you name your son something like Virginia or Catherine? Why not? How is that different than using James on a girl (to use a celebrity example)?

July 5, 2017 8:47 PM

I'm not quite sure why I was drawn to August rather than Augusta. I think it's just the pronunciation difference of AH-gust and a-GUS-ta. That's truly the only reason.

I know exactly what you mean, but I promise I do not mean to come across like one of those parents. It's just more of my style preference. 

By mk
July 6, 2017 12:55 PM

It reminds me of this quote from "The Robber Bride" by Margaret Atwood:

"August, Charis named her, because that's when she was born. Warm breezes, baby powder, languorous heat, the smell of mown hay. Such a soft name. Too soft for her daughter, who added an a. Augusta she is now, a very different resonance. Marble statues, Roman statuses, tight-lipped commanding mouths."

(OT: lots of characters in this book play around with their names)

I'm fine with it, but I think any name can be used for anyone.

July 6, 2017 1:25 PM

Wow. That was very interesting to read. But it does make two very similar names seem disparate.

July 6, 2017 7:11 AM

I am not generally a fan of boys names on girls and I absolutely get the appeal of August. I've never heard it on another human (except in the form of Agustí and Agustín), and to me it is primarily a month name. The other month names, April, May and June are for girls, as are the lesser-used January, September and October. Summer is also used for girls, as is July (admittedly with a different pronunciation). August to me sounds like sunshine, tanned legs, freedom and evenings by a lake.

Augusta is always being recommended on this forum but it has an entirely different vibe for me. I see an old lady eating crumpets.

July 6, 2017 12:45 PM

I feel exactly the same way! The two names just have totally different vibes.

July 6, 2017 1:21 PM

I might be the only one here for whom "Auden" leans boy -- every Auden I know is male, and named for W.H. Auden, to boot. 

July 6, 2017 1:27 PM

Really? Although I've never met an Auden, so I suppose you would know better than I.

July 6, 2017 5:12 PM

August is firmly a boys name to me, I would be very surprised to meet a girl named that. I like it for boys but would not use it for a girl. Auden also leans male in my head but nowhere near as strongly, as does Avery. Out of the three Auden is probably my favourite, there is something quite soft and lyrical about it. Although as others have poited out you will probably get some people assuming that you named her for the poet and maybe wanting to ask about the choice; which isn't a bad thing, but I'd probably read some of his poems so I could have an opinon on them! ;)

With the boys names it sounds like Oliver is not really for you anymore, and if you're concerned with popularity then that's another strike against it. William is a great name, and I love the family connection for you but it's very popular currently, if you've eliminated Harper and Riley for a girl based purely on their popularity then I'm not sure why Oliver and William are still on the table. Which leaves Roland and Julian. Of those two my personal favourite is Roland; I just really like it and agree with you that it has the great quality of being known enough that people should be able to spell and pronounce it without difficulty but it's not super popular. But Julian is also a lovely name and I have to agree with all the people who said if you and your husband both love it then there's really no point in saving it for a future child (assuming you have a boy this time) because you don't know if you'll ever have that second boy and then will have missed out on the opportunity to use it. Of course there's nothing wrong with going to the delivery room with two or three names and making the final decision when you meet your child.

July 7, 2017 12:33 PM

 Thanks for the advice!  I will definitely read some of his poems to get a better sense of what I might be getting myself into. 

 Oliver is off the table, but for right now are keeping William on, maybe will decide to use it as a middle name instead of Hart or maybe it will be a first name. 

 I think what will end up doing is taking some names to the delivery room, then naming them when we see them.


July 6, 2017 9:00 PM

Are you considering Anne as a first name?  It's far and away my favorite of your choices.  You just can't beat that sweet simplicity.  It also has wonderfully diverse nicknames, such as Anika, Nina, Nancy, Anouk, Ninon, and Anya, that make it a really flexible name to have.


I love both Julian and Oliver.  If you and your husband definitely want a son named Julian, use that for the first boy.  You can't guarantee that there will be another!  William is really nice too.


I second Behind the Name for reasonably accurate etymologies (although my understanding is that they too can be iffy when it comes to modern names and those that aren't commonly used in English), as well as tossing the criterion that your kids' names have to match with their cousins'.


August is all boy to me, and Auden leans that way as well.

July 6, 2017 9:29 PM

Any interest in Augustana? It keeps the same pronounciation of August, since you didn't like the prounounciation of Augusta (AU-gust-ANN-a) and it would merge August and Anne into one name. It would seem more feminine for your husband, and you could still call her August for short.

July 6, 2017 10:12 PM

I LOVE August and Auden. I think Avery is also very cute but I think August is a name that is perfect for a little girl and feel like it is uncommon but not. I also love Auden.. I think I like the Au- sound for girls because I also like Aubrey, Audrey, Audra... anyways. I think Anne can be cute but it seems so simple. 

For boys, I like William becase of the sentimental value and feel like Julian is also sweet. Third would be Hart because it seems like a strong, hardy name without being overtly masculine. Oliver is so popular now and Roland has always made me feel indifferent as a first name but a great middle name option. 

July 7, 2017 3:31 PM

Thnak you so much for the response! keep in mind, Anne is simple but it is also going to be a middle name.

By rooo
July 7, 2017 6:54 PM

I think you are solid on boy names - it's just a matter of choosing. Girl names I agree with some of the others on. August is all boy. Auden is heavily boy to me, but works better for a girl than August since it's less common. Anne is lovely, but maybe not your style. Avery fits as a truly gender neutral option, but sounds like that's out. Here are a few other ideas:

June, Juniper, Summer, Meredith, Julianne, Juliet, Julene, Liana, Willa, Willow, Wilhelmina, Harlow, Haven, Vera, Vada, Olive


July 15, 2017 4:26 AM

love Anne as a mn,  Avery is pretty,  what about Audra instead of Auden or Audrey,  Avril,  Averill, Aubrey, Ava, Avalon, Avonlea, Avani, Avaline, Audrea, Avangeline Avagelina Avalynn Avabel  Avabella Aviva Avigail Avali  Avaline  Avalina


William is nice,  Roland is ok,  Hart not fussed on but if its a middle it doesnt matter.  Oliver is lovely.  Julian is nice,  use it if you like it,  next ones could be  girls - meaning youth, youthful