Have I locked myself in?

So I'm already getting baby fever (and she's not even a year old yet!), and I've been thinking a *lot* about names. Here's what we have:

10 year old son: Alex@nder J@mes  family nn: X@nder

(not quite)1 year old daughter: Ev@ngeline K@thryn  family nn: Evi3


In looking at their names I've realized a couple of things: each first name is 4 syllables, is Greek in origin, and each starts with a vowel! If I were to be looking at baby #3 and following the pattern, we'd do a 4 syllable, Greek "I" name. Have I locked myself into a pattern? I'm super sensitive to naming patterns as my entire family (including pets) were all "S" names. Can I break the pattern or would it be glaringly obvious?



April 11, 2012 7:09 PM

Further info:

We've decided to avoid all duplicate first initials, so no: A, E, S, G, or J's allowed. We like names that lend themselves to multiple nicknames so that the children have options as they grow (case in point, our son was going to be called Al3x, but turned out to totally be a X@nder, but currently introduces himself with Alex@nder). I very much like traditional names, and name meanings are important to me (and I like to use family names, but we're running out of decent options there). My husband has determined that he likes the "really" traditional Greek and Roman names. I refuse to name my child something that ends in "us" (He desperately wanted Augustus if DD had been a boy--I just couldn't).

Names he really likes:

Augustus, Octavian, Maximus, Cassius for boys and Angelique, Cassandra, Cassieopia, Ekatarina for girls.

My style of names:

Benjamin, Patrick, Matthew, Nathaniel for boys and Caroline, Margaret, Violet, Eleanor for girls.

If DS had been a girl, he would have been K@theryn Elis3 (nn K@te). If DD had been a boy, she would have been Willi@m P@trick (nn Li@m).

I would go with William again, but a family member has used the name now. (I don't think she'd be offended, but we are a close-knit family, so it would be easier to not).


April 11, 2012 7:44 PM

Don't worry, it won't be obvious! People hear the names' overall style, they don't notice shared linguistic origins. IMO as long as the new name has that "elegant classic" feel to it, a consonant or a 3-syllable name should fit in just fine.

April 12, 2012 1:00 PM

Thank you, Laura!

Any suggestions? I'm beating my head as it took us weeks and then 4 hours of intensive arguing to finally come to our daughter's first name (totally different naming styles!).

April 11, 2012 7:51 PM

I agree with Laura, people will notice more if you DO stick with the pattern than if you break it and still choose a classic longish name. I think something from your list like Cassandra or Nathaniel still fits quite nicely. I also like other 3-4 syl names like Olivia, Octavia, Penelope, Imogene, or Samantha.

April 12, 2012 1:02 PM

Ok--good, cause all I could come up with was Isadora and Iolanthe for girls' names that fit the silly pattern! ;-) Sadly, my husband has now become obsessed with Iolanthe. *sigh* (that backfired on me!)

April 12, 2012 8:03 PM

Sharalyn -I think if it were me I'd skip /I/ names and go straight to O if you do in fact decide to keep the theme going. I think Octavia matches your current children better than Iolanthe.

April 11, 2012 8:58 PM

You definitely haven't locked yourself in. It's a pretty subtle pattern that would only be picked up by name nerds and people who know the kids full names at that.  Besides, I agree with the above that the pattern is only likely to become more obvious if you pick the 3rd name to fit in with it.

By hyz
April 11, 2012 10:23 PM

Ditto all of this.  No worries. :)

April 12, 2012 1:02 PM

Thank you to both of you! I was getting really worried, but this is all very reassuring!

April 12, 2012 8:14 AM

Well, I do see a pattern, but I would not define it as strictly as you do.

You: 4 syllables, Greek origin, begins with a vowel

Me: Long, classic-ish

To me, the vowels don't really seem to strongly define the sound/look/feel of the names. It's like with e.g. Edward, George and Andrew - they all contain an r but that's not a glaringly obvious or defining trait with them.

I also don't really feel the Greek-ness of the names, because they've been used in English and other languages for centuries. In fact, I'd say your husband's suggestions of Octavian and Ekatarina would stand out a lot more than Benjamin and Margaret from your list. Octavian and Ekatarina may fit with the Greek/Roman origin and beginning with a vowel, but they clash in a common/uncommon sense.

April 12, 2012 1:03 PM

Thank you! I was hoping that the long, classic-ish was more what would stand out to others. I'm overthinking things again! :-)


April 15, 2012 10:53 AM

Absolutely how I hear it, too.

Names that might bridge the gap for you and your husband are Greek/Roman-derived names with pan-European and long-standing English usage, and classical versions of common biblical names, e.g.:

Amelia, Aurelia, Cecilia, Helen/Helena, Julia, Lydia, Phoebe, Virginia

Julian, Lucas, Matthias, Marcus, Philip, Sebastian, Victor, Theodore

April 16, 2012 5:37 PM

Well, removing repeating initials would remove Amelia (one of my favs), Aurelia, Julia (another one I like), Julian, and Sebastian.

I like Cecilia and Lydia, but DH hates them. He likes Helena, but I can't quite do it for some reason.

I love Matthias and Theodore, but DH hates them. He likes Sebastian, but I can't get past the little red crab in The Little Mermaid (iconic movie of my childhood).

Thanks for the suggestions! Maybe I can talk him into one that I like. ;-)

By EVie
April 12, 2012 3:17 PM

sharalyns, can we trade husbands? ;-) I *wish* mine were up for names like Octavian and Iolanthe. 

I think the vowel and 4-syllable aspects of your pattern are easily discarded—no one will notice, particularly if your kids end up going by nicknames. If I were you I would stick to the Greco-Roman style, but that should be easy—there are a  ton of traditional names that come from Greek or Latin roots. I would probably suggest something along the lines of Lucas, Maximilian (as opposed to Maximus), Theodore or Nicholas for boys, or Phoebe, Beatrix, Vivienne, Penelope or Lydia for girls.  

If you decide to disregard the classical theme, though, I agree that any long and elegant sounding name will be a good enough match. I do like your husband's choice of Cassandra—it's an ancient Greek name, but not one that sounds outlandish by any stretch, and it actually fits well with your choices of Margaret, Eleanor and Caroline (all Jane Austen names—and did you know that Jane Austen had a sister named Cassandra?) Of your choices, I think that Nathaniel, Benjamin, Margaret or Violet work the best. Nathaniel and Benjamin both have an ancient-world vibe that makes them fit with Alexander; Margaret also has Greek roots, and I like how Violet picks up the V in Evangeline. I would stay away from Matthew, unless you want to make a very obvious Christian reference with your kids' names (Matthew being one of the Four Evangelists). 

April 16, 2012 5:47 PM

LOL! It's difficult when you are working with someone who has opposite preferences in names, isn't it?

I love that Phoebe has come up a couple times, but we had a cat that was Phebe, so it's out. DH didn't like the name while I loved it. I was thrilled when I came upon a Phebe in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" since we have a Shakespearean theme for naming out cats (we've had Hamlet & Ophelia, Phebe, Robin Goodfellow AKA Puck, Duncan & Malcolm--each set that we get has to be from a different play. ;-)  )

I also love Lydia, but I cannot convince my husband. He can't even tell me why he doesn't like it. The others in classical don't quite suit either of us.

I love the *idea* of Cassandra, but I run into the "every Cassie/Cassandra I've ever known has been...." feeling from myself. DH adores the name.

I adore Margaret, but my husband just thinks it is too old fashioned, and I can't get him to let go of his refusal for "noun names/word names" which threw a major kink in Evie's middle name (I thought Grace or May/Mae would have gone very well, but they are "noun names" to him. *sigh*). So I haven't convinced him that Violet is acceptable. I think this is why he liked Iolanthe when I (jokingly) submitted it to him. It's Greek for Violet. LOL! I really don't think I could saddle a little girl with Iolanthe as a first name.

I do love Nathaniel and Benjamin. I almost had him talked into Benjamin for E if she had been a boy, but there really aren't any nn from it that we like, which is part of why we like the kids names so much--lots of choices for nn, and most of them we like.

I hadn't thought of the Matthew aspect, so thanks for that!

April 12, 2012 8:11 PM

I wouldn't have noticed that pattern.

Just wanted to throw out the name Marcus/Markus.  It's one of my favourites (can't use it with the last name M@rshall though).  I think it sounds really masculine with the us ending, but not quite so obvious as some of the other 'us' names you mentioned.

April 16, 2012 5:48 PM

Sadly, I have a cousin with the name, and we're fairly close, so Marcus/Markus is out. Plus the Jr. High right up the street is Marcus Whitman Jr. High, so that's a no go for us.

Thank you though!


April 16, 2012 10:46 PM

Sharalyn-I quizzed my DH for some ideas. He said:


I also couldn't remember if Honora had been suggested.

April 17, 2012 5:48 PM

Yeah, I have yet to find a name ending in "us" that I like. Still. Thanks though!

I can't pronounce Honora without difficulty. I like the idea of it though.

April 17, 2012 4:50 PM

Sharalyns, Since I have a son with the same name, I thought I'd throw out the names of my other children: Sarah Br0nwyn and Peter J0seph. My daughter's middle name pairs nicely with Evangeline.

April 17, 2012 5:49 PM

Well Sarah and Peter are family (sigh--too big of a family), but I love Bronwyn and Joseph! Can't talk my hubby into Joseph, but maybe we could swing Bronwyn....  Thanks!

April 17, 2012 6:00 PM

Love Bronwyn! What about Cassidy Bronwyn or Margaret Bronwyn for mn ideas. If first then, Bronwyn Helena, Bronwyn Iris??

April 17, 2012 6:06 PM

Ohhh.... I'd actually flip to get Bronwyn Margaret--I like that flow, oh, but not the initials with a last name of "S"... bummer.  I like Margaret Bronwyn though. :-)


That last initial of "S" throws kinks into a lot of my favorites....

April 17, 2012 7:21 PM

Forgot about that wicked S lastname. Another name that flows well is Madeline though.

I also don't mind the repeated N ending. Lillian Bronwyn, Evelyn Bronwyn,etc. there's lots you could do with it. Great suggestion!

April 17, 2012 7:59 PM

Ugg---Yeah, we contemplated Patrick Matthew, but that S just threw that right out. ;-) There are just too many things that can be made with S at the end. :-P

Bronwyn seems to be one of those ending in "n" names that still goes with other "n"s.

I do love Madeleine. Is it too weird to have Evangeline and Madeleine though? (Especially since we use the eh-VAN-jə-leen pronunciation) I love Margaret, and DH said he liked Marguerite, maybe I can live with that especially since it gets me either Maggie or Maisie as a nn, which I love.

April 17, 2012 8:14 PM

I always say Mad-uh-lynn and Ee-van-gel-leen. It borders on tongue twisting. I wouldn't rule it completely out if it were me. But actually I rather like Bronwyn as a first. But then you need something that isn't an M name. 

P.S. did u see my email about the genealogy stuff. I was having trouble with things that day so if it didn't get to you, give a shout and we can try again.

April 18, 2012 12:36 AM

Yeah, it's Ee-van-gel-leen for us, but I've always said Mad-uh-line when spelled the French way. Hmmm...


I did get the email. I've been popping on here to play instead of answering things I should. I've slotted baby's naptime tomorrow for answering emails, so look for it tomorrow! :-)

April 18, 2012 1:11 AM

Would it make any difference to you to know that in French, Madeleine is actually said (more or less) mad-LENN? Or is it just one of those things that that's how your brain sees it?

April 18, 2012 1:48 AM

Hmmm.... that would actually make me less likely to use the name for some reason! I don't even know why.

April 18, 2012 2:13 AM

Well, I know that I don't like to knowingly mispronounce words of other languages. Once I know that I was wrong, I need to change it.

Personally, I like Marguerite more than Madeleine because the latter abounds, while the former is quite rare. However, if you do prefer Madeleine, there are so many different spellings that at least one traditional spelling will align with your pronunciation. Now, whether or not you *like* the spelling(s), well, there I cannot help you :)

April 18, 2012 12:07 PM

LOL Karyn, Madeleine is a family name for me. So that's why I would choose it over Marguerite. Plus the way I say it Mar-gar/ger-eet it comes out with a weird sound in the middle like the end of yogurt. It's a pretty enough name but its for someone else. 

I don't care for the Swedish pronunciation on that link but the American versions are close to mine. I can't remember if the pronunciation for others in my family was more of a -line or a -lynn and if they really emphasized the -uh in the middle. There are only a few left from that side of the family but I always saw her name spelt the French way in the census' and other documents. I'm not sure which spelling I prefer though. Probably one of these: Madilynn; Madeline; Madeleine

April 18, 2012 12:45 PM

Nope--it's good info to have--I hate mispronouncing things also. It just makes me less likely to use the name now that I know. :-) I love how Madeleine looks though.


April 18, 2012 2:04 PM

Yes, it's definitely aesthetically pleasing.

(And I *really* wanted to bust out the G.I. Joe reference and respond with "And knowing is half the battle!", but I wasn't sure that you would know what I was talking about :D)

April 18, 2012 2:39 PM

LOL! I almost typed it myself! ;-)

April 17, 2012 8:15 PM

I love the name Marguerite. It happens to be my husband's grandmother's middle name, but since Ashkenazi Jewish tradition is that we do not name after living people, I'm hoping not to get to use it.

April 18, 2012 12:37 AM

Do you think it would "go" with Alexander and Evangeline?

April 18, 2012 1:12 AM

Absolutely! I think that they all have a classic elegance to them and make a lovely set.

Plus, even though Marguerite is one syllable shorter, visually are all well-balanced.

April 18, 2012 1:49 AM

Oh, it would give us the same number of letters for the girls despite the difference in syllables. I'm noting this one down on my list for the future... ;-)