How Important are Initials?

My husband and I are expecting our first child and we have chosen not to share our name choices with many family or firends, because people can be very harsh with their opinions. We have fallen in love with one particular name, we think that it will be "the one", BUT we can't decide on a middle name. We have a go-to middle name chosen (my dad's name), however, I'm worried the initials will be weird.

The initials would be DTH - do those initials seem ok to people? Or do they evoke something negative for people? I immediately had a negative reaction to them, but my husband didn't think there was an issue - so I need some help determining if my reaction is the same many would have, and we need to potentially come up with a different combination - or if I'm seeing something the no one else does. The second choice combination would likely be DPH; if that gives people any additional insight. 

Thank you all so much for any advice/thoughts!


February 18, 2019 1:49 PM

I can't think of anything, negative or positive. No associations here. Go for it! 

February 18, 2019 1:51 PM

I don't have a negative reaction to them (or any reaction), they don't spell a word and they aren't an acronym that I'm familiar with.  But will they bother you?  I put initials on everything in the house - can you live with seeing them all the time?

As an aside, I have a friend for whom words are colors.  Ruth was on our short list of names, and she immediately reacted because the name is such an ugly color to her.  (Some sort of muddy-mauve-burgandy color, I had to ask).  But as I don't have that issue, I kept the name and then had two boys, rendering the whole point moot.

February 18, 2019 3:44 PM

I dont see a problem with either set of initials

February 18, 2019 4:20 PM

No, not a problem at all! Sounds like you can go for it.

February 18, 2019 5:15 PM

Around here the DTH is the Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina. It's almost always called the DTH and in my almost three decades of being here, I've never heard anyone react negatively to those initials. In fact, I can't imagine what bad connotation they might have.

February 18, 2019 6:33 PM

I do read them as "DeaTH", but that's probably because I read a lot of Terry Pratchet (Death is a character who talks in small caps) and have a habit of trying to sound out any cluster of letters, including license plates and initials. I would not consider them a deal-breaker, though—obviously others don't have this association, and middle initials are entirely optional in life, anyway. Even if you want to monogram things you can use the traditional dHt option.

If it really bothers you, you might consider adding a second middle; DTPH seems unproblematic. (FWIW, some of my children have two middles, and it has so far been a non-issue.)

By EVie
February 18, 2019 7:48 PM

I had the same reaction—Death? or maybe Darth?—but I think it's a big enough stretch that it shouldn't torpedo a name. Also, Death in Terry Pratchett is awesome, so it's kind of a positive.

(On a tangent, I enjoy license plates as well, especially clever vanity plates, and I saw one recently that you may appreciate—CRIVENS. My husband and I habitually report any good ones we see to each other, but he hasn't read any Pratchett and totally didn't get that one). 


February 19, 2019 11:51 AM

Ach, 'tis a good plate.

Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna' be fooled again!

I started reading Wee Free Men to my kids when they were about five, I think; it's one of my favorite read-alouds. That might get your husband hooked--and if not, T yelling Ach, crivens! all the time will at least give him a point of reference for the license plate :).

By EVie
February 19, 2019 7:32 PM

Ooh, it hadn't occurred to me to start T on The Wee Free Men, as I'm usually a proponent of reading in publication order, but that one does stand alone pretty well! I'll put it on the list (we're currently working our way through Roald Dahl). And I totally agree it's a great read-aloud—I actually listened to all of Discworld on audiobook, and the voice acting really makes them come alive. 

February 19, 2019 11:22 AM

Yes! This is how I read them too - but I also have a bad habbit of watching too many crime dramas and reading into things that just aren't there. 

I appreciate that people are saying it doesn't need to be a dealbreaker. We are also considering the double-middle name because that would honor both grandfathers. My husband doesn't see it at all and doesn't understand why I would shy away from it. 

We are not really initial people, so I may be overthinking - but I just needed some unbiased, fresh eyes on the subject. Thank you so much everyone!!!

February 19, 2019 12:08 PM

I'm glad we could help! I suspect this is one of those "you see it or you don't" things, like vases vs face or rabbit vs duck, except skewing heavily towards not-seeing-it (based on the sample here) rather than a fifty/fifty split.

For more reassurance, think about people you know--coworkers, neighbors, friends. How many could you list the full initials for? I am kind of an initials person (see above) but I honestly couldn't even tell you most of my first cousins' middle initials, and even for the ones whose middle name I know I still don't ever think of them in terms of initials.

March 10, 2019 12:03 AM

I'll preface with I probably have spent too much time on the internet. 

The first thing I started to think when I saw DT and a third letter was ...F. I don't think DTH is problematic though, and a quick search on netlingo didn't show anything bad. My mind would try to fill in the blank with a different word. Down to... Hug? 

But I wanted to point out that if BlueTurtle26 did a double middle name as DTPH, they'd have something that is phonetically similar to DTF (not a good association, if you don't know what it means). I like DTHP and DHP. 

February 18, 2019 6:45 PM

DeaTH?  It's fine.



(Edit: Ninjaed by nedibles!)

February 18, 2019 7:26 PM

I agree with most of the others---that particular set of initials didn't send up any red flags.  I think the CAN matter but it just depends on perceptions really.  

February 21, 2019 3:00 PM

The only thing that makes initials important to me would be if they spell a word like pig or fat. If kids see those initials on something they might make fun of them or bully them.

March 8, 2019 12:00 AM

I stared at DTH for a bit before getting "death." I don't think it's a huge issue - my initials are EVL, and I chose my name!

My first association with DPH is "department of public health," which is pretty neutral.

If you go with two middle names you could get DPTH (depth), which is kind of cool?