Guess I'll go first? Due in November

Hi!  Yay for a BNW messageboard!

I'm due with our second child in November.  Too early to find out what it is yet, but my hunch is it's a boy, which has me a little nervous because we COULD NOT find boy names we liked last time around.  We found several girl names we liked, and then our daughter's name popped up and it just clicked and we never looked back.  So I'm hoping that the same thing will happen again.

We're Jewish, and we like Hebrew-based names.  I'm very picky about the meanings of names, and I like names that ae unusual but still pretty, but my husband prefers "normal" names, which as you can imagine causes problems.  Not that this is at all unusual, of course.

My list right now is Elan (tree), Oren (light), Gideon (tree-feller), and Levi (joining or garland).  Trying to stick with the trendy -n ending for unusual names, so that it doesn't stand out stylistically.  My husband isn't thrilled about any of them, I don't think, and Levi has the added disadvantage that we know a Levi, although distantly.  (We tend to shy away from names of people we know - in this case Levi grew up in our congregation, though he was several years older than we were, and we see him once in a blue moon now.)

And I haven't even thought about girl names.


April 9, 2012 1:29 PM

I don't think it is Hebrew, but on tree-based name that I think absolutely rocks (and would have picked if we had a boy) is Rowan. Just a thought! 

April 9, 2012 4:25 PM

Oh, I love Rowan!  I do have family from the British Isles, so the Hebrew thing isn't actually compulsory.  Just a little harder to talk my husband into :)

Hmmm....There is a Hebrew root that could work, if I wanted it to.  (I'm picky about meaning, but I'm also happy to reverse-engineer a derivation if that's preferable)  R, [silent], N, N means flourishing, and could resemble Rowan with a little work.  It helps that Hebrew is written without vowels.

By Guest (not verified)
April 10, 2012 1:27 PM

I love Rowan, too. :)  Are you saying the similar Hebrew word is R_N_N?  If so, maybe Ronan is a better match?  It's a pretty neat name with a good meaning, too.  Along similar lines, and close to Oren, I also love Orson.  And, hmm, what about Lior?  Hebrew, also means light, and isn't too far off from the popular Leo?  Or Zohar?  Although that's a bit more unusual, but shares a good meaning, and I think it sounds good with Tirzah.  Ziv?  Zev?  Dov?  Nadav?  Asher?  From your list, Gideon and Levi are my favorites.  I know a man named Elan, and I have to say the name has always sounded a bit too feminine to me, even though he is not feminine at all, and I tend to like softer male names anyway--I think more of the noun elan than of the name, and tend to group it with things like eclat (for sound) or panache/flair (for meaning), plus the feminine form Ilana is more familiar to me, so it all leans female to me.  Oren makes me think immediately of Orrin Hatch, which is not the most positive association for me--but maybe if you know more Orens, that's not an issue for you.

April 10, 2012 1:55 PM

No, Hebrew has a couple of silent consonants, so the Hebrew word in question is really R-_-N-N It's not a great fit for Rowan, but if the point is to come up with a hebrew meaning for Rowan then it'll do.  I do like Ronan too, but I like Rowan better.

Orson is too tied to Orson Welles for me, and I'm not crazy about the sound.

Lior could work, though I know a Liora and an Eliora so it feels off somehow.  I really don't like one-syllable names, no idea why.  Asher would be on the list if a close friend hadn't named her son Asher a couple months ago.  Nadev is interesting.  I kinda like it.

Would Elon be any better than Elan?  Elan is a little feminine, and Elon might be better for that reason.  They're essentially the same name - I think one means oak and one means tree, but I don't remember which is which and it's not important.

April 10, 2012 5:20 PM

I have a friend whose son's name is ILAN. Same as Elan, but without the word association. (Her daughter is Ari3l pronounced ar-ee-ell). The dad's name is Avi, which is a nice uncommon name. Another friend named her son Zion. While that fits the -n ending for a more unusual name, that might be a bit further out than you'd like to go.

I don't really like the Elon spelling, mostly b/c it's one letter away from felon. Not that that many people/kids would make that connection, I just happened to see it.

I like Gideon from your list.  Ezra, Cyrus, Lazar, Seth, and Asa are all strong names with a quiet bent that won't stick out from their peers stylistically. I like that Ezra, Lazar and Asa all have the same sort of soft "z" sound that Tirzah has.

April 10, 2012 8:42 PM

I hadn't considered Ilan.  Interesting choice.  I'm not sure what I think of that spelling; I'll have to let it simmer a little.  I admit I kind of like the word association of Elan, which may be silly of me, but such is life.  (And I don't object to word names to begin with - last time Comfort was on the list for a girl, after several women in my grandfather's geneology.)  I hadn't caught the felon connection, but I don't think it would bother me too much.  Interesting how these things pop out at us.  It helps that they're pronounced differently.

I've known three or four people named Avi and disliked all of them, so that's entirely out.  Zion is pretty, but I think it's too cluttered with associations to use.  Or maybe I've just watched The Matrix one too many times :)

Ezra and Seth are both pretty, though I do know boys with those names.  Cyrus could work.  It makes me think of the Amelia Peabody character, but that could be overcome.  Cyrus.  Off to look up what it means :)

April 11, 2012 10:36 AM

Seeing the typed Nadev made me want to reverse it and try Vaden. It fits the popular -n ending and sort of sounds kind of cool if you are looking for unusual. I like it except for it rhyming and being grouped with the whole Kayden/Jayden/Hayden clan.

April 11, 2012 2:50 PM

Vaden is kinda fun!!  Wouldn't use it, because of the -ayden thing and because it looks like Vader, but I like the way you think!

April 11, 2012 12:08 PM

If you like the tree theme, how about Linden or Aspen? They also have the bonus of both ending in 'n'.

April 11, 2012 2:51 PM

Those feel a little preppy to me, which may be a weird reaction but whatever.  Pretty though.  The other problem with tree names is that they'll be harder to talk my husband into :)

By Guest (not verified)
April 11, 2012 12:30 PM

If you like Levi and -n names would you consider Levin? For girls, I like Chava and Ayla but alas, my husband's parents would butcher the pronunciation, so they are out for us.  

By Guest (not verified)
April 11, 2012 12:56 PM

I'm due at the end of July, and if it's a boy we're naming him Elan, or Ilan! I think Ilan is the more common English spelling, but we're probably going to use Eli as a nickname, so we're thinking that would make more sense with Elan.

I think we have a similar style...Hebrew names that non-Jews probably haven't heard of, but sound fairly normal. Other boy names we like are Noam and Tomer. Our favorite girl's name is Talia (not sure what spelling we'll use on that one).

Good luck!

April 11, 2012 2:55 PM

We really do have similar style!  Hooray!  I like Noam but it's not a favorite, hadn't considered Tomer but I'm adding it to the list of names to research.  I LOVE Talia.

Also worth considering are the names of the Zemer Levav girls ( - Shalisha, Adrielle, Kerah, Liorah, and Netanya.  Love them all.

By Guest (not verified)
April 15, 2012 5:44 PM

I went to school with a brother and sister called Elan and Talia (20 years ago).  I have positive memories of them, so I think the names make a fantastic sib set!


April 11, 2012 2:15 PM

I think Kian fits in with this group/tone, and it has your "n" at the end!

April 12, 2012 1:49 AM

A good source for Hebrew names from biblical to Modern Israeli:

Some possible names: Dan (not a nickname for Daniel), Dov (bear), Erel (angel--you are sure to have one!), Erez (cedar), Eyal (strength), Gil (joy), Yarden (Jordan River), Roy (shepherd), Tal (dew), Yaari (forest), Zev (wolf), Lev (heart), Amnon (a son of David, now applied to a particular flower), Rim(m)on (pomegranate), Einan (curious), Eitan (Hebrew form of Ethan--flowing stream)

April 12, 2012 1:27 PM

Thanks!  I'd been poking around on, which has some good meaning/background stuff but is not easy to navigate.

There's some lovely ones there.  I like Erez (again with the trees!) and Erel especially

April 12, 2012 3:32 PM

Lady P, I took a look at the site you mentioned, and "not easy to navigate" is an understatement!

April 12, 2012 3:51 PM

LOLOL!  No, not at all.  I was generally using it to look up names I'd seen elsewhere, not to come up with new ideas.

April 14, 2012 11:02 AM

Some Hebrew names i like, but don't hear often are Nehemiah and Ezra. my brother and his wife chose Elijah, over Levi because of having someone at their congregation with the name Levi. Elijah has gained popularity, but not overly, and your husband may consider it normal. unfortunately, i do not know the name meanings of my previous suggestions to you. also i like Uri, too. and Daniel and Samuel, and Aaron, but most don't fit your tree/rock description.

April 16, 2012 9:39 AM

I hadn't really considered Elijah, and I'm not sure why.  Thanks!  (And don't worry about the tree/rock thing - I've noticed that pattern popping up, but it's not a requirement at all!)

April 15, 2012 7:15 AM

Congratulations! I don't know Hebrew-based names that well (other than the familiar biblicals), so hopefully this will still be helpful. Gideon and Levi are certainly the most mainstream of your top four. Levi seems to give a bit of a cowboy vibe to some folks (if you live in the U.S.), if that matters to you, but I like the suggestion of Levin, which sounds very distinguished (does it have the same meaning?). My own personal hesitation with Gideon is the Gideon Bible proselytizing association, but that's a minor quibble with a handsome name. I think I like Oren the best on paper, but unfortunately just hearing it it does bring Senator Orrin Hatch to my mind as well. Elan feels a bit more feminine to me (with the word association and similarity to Ellen), and could also be confused with the Spanish name Elian depending on the demographics where you live. One consideration if you are thinking of future kids is I would probably not use Elan (tree) and Gideon (tree-feller) in the same family.

You've gotten some great suggestions, of which I especially like Miriam's nods to Erez, Eyal, Gil, Yaari, Zev, and Einan. What is your daughter's name? Somehow I had Tirzah in my head but now I'm not finding the reference again ... in which case Erez (and Ezra, which I also like) may be too similar-sounding.

My own suggestions:

Isaac (laughter) = familiar but handsome and stands out from all the -n endings (but I'm guessing you already know at least one ...)

other tree names: Cedar (I've met a few people named this), Oak (seems strong and usable), Ash (could also be a nickname for Asher or a baseball reference if you wanted one) - These all appeal to me as sturdy references and are short and accessible like the other names on your list, but are maybe not "normal" enough for your husband.

April 16, 2012 9:51 AM

Thanks for your thoughts!  (You're corect about my daughter's name, btw - I took it out of my post after a while)

I kinda like the cowboy vibe of Levi, which surprises me because I'm not interested in any of the more common cowboy names.  But there it is.  Levin is a nice twist.  (Meaning is largely a function of parental thought process in a case like this - I probably could come up with a new meaning for Levin, but there's no need to)

My dad was actually part of the Gideons for a year or two - I'd forgotten that.  It wouldn't bother me, anyway.  (We're Messianic Jews, so that's not as bizarre as it sounds)  It is certainly true that Gideon takes out all the tree names - I was thinking I could stretch the name to "giant-slayer" or something but I'm not sure how effective that would be.

I do know an Isaac - probably more than one if I put my mind to it - but for some reason it's a name I wouldn't mind using anyway.  Weird.  He's a very unassuming guy, which might help.  The patriarch seems to have been a bit of a pushover, but there's other historical Isaacs in the world.

April 15, 2012 3:38 PM

I'm curious whether you're saying Elan as EE-lan, as I am, or uh-LAWN, as I've sometimes heard it said.

April 16, 2012 9:52 AM

I generally say eh-LAWN, which is closer to the hebrew pronunciation.  (Hebrew generally accents the second syllable.)  But it's worth noting that lots of people will get that wrong.

April 16, 2012 2:14 PM

I'm not sure, but I think that we might be talking about two different names...

The name I think of when I read Elan is  אִילָן

But if I were to think of the name that would most closely resemble eh-LOHN/eh-LAWN, it would be Elon, אֶלוֹן

As for the emphasis, yes, you're right, but so many people anglicise Hebrew names - and so many Hebrew names have become mainstream in English, and have thus adapted to English stress patterns, that, I put the emphasis in a different place if I'm saying certain names in English or Hebrew (eg. LEE-vye vs. leh-VEE). I just assumed (wrongly, apparently,) that you were talking about using the typical English pronunciation.

April 17, 2012 1:22 PM

To be honest, the two names are essentially interchangable in my head.  Very similar sounds, very similar meanings, and I don't have a strong preference.  If my husband doesn't either we'll have to flip a coin to decide.  Like people trying to pick between Natalie/Natalia or other closely-related names.

And I tend to pick the pronunciation that appeals to me.  My daughter uses the American pronunciation of her name (much to the disgruntlement of a variety of people, but tough noogies) because I like it better.  (I don't mind if native Hebrew-speakers use the Hebrew pronunciation, just like I don't mind when people from the UK call me cathleen.)  If we go with Elon/Elan we're likely to use the Hebrew pronunciation because I think it's more graceful.  I do apologize if that's disconcerting; I know I get thrown for a loop when someone isn't as consistent as I am about something.

April 17, 2012 1:45 PM

I actually find it most disconcerting when someone insists on a pronunciation that feels wrong to me (based on education in the language of origin, for example).Growing up around many people with Hebrew names, it doesn't phase me one bit to say some with English and some with Hebrew emphasis. But it's funny because I can easily see saying Elan with either language's emphasis, but I feel horribly unnatural saying Elon in an English manner.

I am also very sensitive about vowel sounds, having had the moajority of the North American populace incapable of pronouncing my name the way that I do (i.e., the "a" is the same as in "hat" or "cat"). So, yes, while Elan and Elon seem to be very similar, in my head, they are quite different, and if you, as the parent, were fine with me pronouncing whichever one you choose in the manner that feels most right to me, well, I wouldn't be thrown for too much of a loop. If you insisted that it be pronounced in a way that felt wrong, however, a loop would definitely be thrown in my general direction.

(That said, I actually enjoy it when people from other countries say my name in the local manner, and prefer when French Canadians call me Karine, rather than Karyn in a French accent, because it feels so much more natural.)

April 18, 2012 1:18 AM

I know brothers Itai, Ido, and Eran. Those might work for you? 

April 18, 2012 1:04 PM

I think I'm a little late to the game, but two names I love, but couldn't use myself are Lev and Lazar.  I think both are really dashing and manageable to the average person.  

By the way, it's SO odd to go away and come back to find this site changed!!!  I'm sure it's easier to find a specific question/thread, but it does change the chatty group dynamic a bit, right?  I'm sure I just need to give it a chance.



April 19, 2012 2:10 PM

I watched a documentary a few days ago (about electric cars), and one of the featured characters was Elon Musk, which made me think of this thread! He is the entrepreneur and (celebrity?) CEO of Tesla Motors and Spacex, who has plowed his PayPal fortune into futuristic technology, and is married to an actress. I don't know how well known he is, but for many people he may be the only Elon they know of. Anyway, he's an interesting, positive association for the name.

A few other names I thought of (but again I don't know the meanings, and sorry for any repeats): Aaron, Amos, Ari, Asher, Elias, Ezekiel, Ishmael, Gil, Joel, Jude/Judah, Micah, Reuben, Saul, Seth, Zev

And, since a little bit of cowboy appeals to you, can you find a meaning in Hebrew for Zane?

April 20, 2012 2:22 PM

YES!!  I'd forgotten him, but his company was featured in Wired years ago and I think that's what put the name in my head to begin with.  Loved his ideas.

Zane shouldn't be hard...there's tsen, which means prickly, or tsana, which means shield.  (The TS tends to turn into Z as it gets anglicized)  Or there's tsaniph, which is a stretch but a word I'm interested in using in a name somewhere (it means tiara, and notably occurs in Isaiah 62 - You will be a crown of glory, a royal gem in the hand of God.  I've felt VERY drawn to that verse in the past.)  And zun means to be well fed, and zan means type/species/kind.

So really the likeliest choice there is to use Zane as a nickname for Zaniph, only Zaniph is kind of ugly.  Or to say that Zane is "derived" from Zaniph, which sounds unlikely.  But I really like that Isaiah 62 verse.  Well, we will see.