Need names starting with "D"

My FIL just passed away suddenly this week.

His name was Derek. I really dislike that name. We might try to name this one with a D for him. Problem is I don't like any D names.

My children are Jack and Audrey. 

We do not know yet if we are having a boy or girl. 

We are Jewish. 

Anyone have any suggestions?




December 9, 2012 11:38 AM

Audrey & Jack both reached their first peak back around 1929.  Audrey (#58) and Jack (#14).  So I looked for D names with similar popularity in 1929, hoping to find something with the same vintage but usable feel.  I found David, Daniel, Dale, Dean & Don.  Of those, I think David & Dean probably work best with siblings named Audrey & Jack.

For other, more current suggestions, I'll offer Declan, Dash (Dashiell), Donovan, Drew & Doyle.  

If you are willing to think of ways to provide a namesake for Derek other than D names, I think Eric would certainly work, based on similarity of sound.  


December 9, 2012 11:49 AM

What was your father-in-law's Hebrew name?  It is entirely appropriate to name a child with the Hebrew name and then have the civil (English) name be anything you wish.  In the grand scheme of things it's the Hebrew name that is the real name.  The English name has no real  significance and can be anything you want.  It is customary that the Hebrew name and the English name be linked by sound (not necessarily by initial) or meaning to the Hebrew name, but there is no such requirement.  The English (or other vernacular) name is merely a convenience, and there doesn't have to be an English name at all.  Girls do not have to have a Hebrew name.  A girl can be given any name whatsoever,  although many have a Hebrew or Yiddish (for Ashkenazim) name plus an English name.  Bottom line, there is no reason to pick an English name starting with D if you don't care for any.  Start with the Hebrew name and go from there.

If you care to post your father-in-law's Hebrew name, we can develop some ideas for an English name.

December 9, 2012 12:04 PM

Another approach to honoring someone who had a name you don't like is to consider the name's origin, and choose something with a similar derivation, such as some other name derived from the same source, or a name from another source with a similar meaning, or a name that shares sounds or spellings with either of these, etc.

Derek is derived from an old Germanic name Theoderic, composed of elements meaning "folk" and "ruler" or "rich"; a more German-style version is Dietrich.

Going with the "folk-" part, using just other Germanic-derived names, you can end up with anything from Fulbright to Lothar to Tybald. The second part yields names like Alaric, Eric, Emeric, Godric, and Frederic. (I used and Namipedia to compile this list.)

Considering that you don't seem to be averse to nicknames as full names, how about Theo? Another suggestion is Falco, which is unrelated but similar in sound to one of the Germanic "folk-" elements (fulco-).

For girls, Dorothy or Dorothea comes to mind, both because of the D- and because of the similarity between the Greek "God" element (Theo, Thea) and the Germanic "folk" one (Theud-).

December 9, 2012 9:48 PM

Wow. Thank you for the thoughtful replies. 


His Hebrew name was Yahuda Ben Yitzhak. 

I don't really think of Jack as a nickname as a name since he was named after my husbands grandfather Jack. Jews don't realthose the name John, so it surely isn't a nickname for that. all the Jewish Jacks I know, even age 70, are just Jack. 


December 9, 2012 10:35 PM

Most of the older Jewish Jacks I know (and know of, including my great grandfather,) were named Yaakov by their parents and called themselves Jack in English. So, I guess it wasn't exactly a nickname... but it kind of was.

By the way, I really enjoy your screen name. It made me smile :)

December 10, 2012 2:43 AM

OK, then your son's Hebrew name would be Yehuda after your father-in-law.  The English equivalent of  Yehudah is Judah, so that's a possibility.  Also you could follow the Jewish-American custom of choosing any English name that begins with J.  The meaning of Yehudah is 'praised', but unfortunately unless you resurrect the Puritan name of Praise-God-from-whom-all-blessings-flow, I can't think of any suitable names with the meaning of 'praise.'  The heraldic symbol of the tribe of Judah is the lion, and traditionally men with the Hebrew name of Yehudah were given vernacular 'lion' names. So the Hebrew lion names are Ari and Ariel.  An assortment of lion names from European languages includes Leon, Lionel, Leonard, Leopold, Leander, Leo, Leonidas, Lev (not to be confused with the Hebrew name Lev which means 'heart').  A famous example of a Yehudah with a lion name is Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Chief Rabbi of Prague who made the legendary golem of Prague.  So there are lots of possibilites if you don't care for the using the D of Derek.  Personally if I were working with the name Yehudah, I would go the more tradtional route in choosing a vernacular name and forget about the Derek, especially since you don't seen to be enthusiastic about either Derek or D names.

BTW my uncle Jack was a Yaakov.

December 11, 2012 7:53 PM

I really like Judah, and it makes a ton of sense for this situation.

December 11, 2012 9:13 PM

Although I might be biased as it is my name, Deborah, spelled tradiationally, would be a good name.  Or Debra if you want a more modern spelling.

It nicknames easily to Debbie, and now a days is a unique name but it doesn't have the made up feel of some others.  Also it has an empowering and interesting biblical story to to go with it.

December 11, 2012 9:34 PM

My son Jack is Yakov Simcha. 

The point about the link to Lion through the tribe of Judah is very interesting as my FIL's middle name was Leon. 

This information helps to give more options. 

and btw I don't know if I am having a boy or girl yet but this info can help either way. 

What Hebrew name would you give to a girl for a female Yahuda equivalent?

December 11, 2012 9:47 PM

I would say that Yehudit (יְהוּדִית) would be the female correlate of Yehuda.

December 11, 2012 10:04 PM

The female name us Yehudis(t), that is, Judith.  Yehudah comes from a root meaning "praise," and Yehudis(t) means woman from Judea.  The place name Judea, of course is derived from the tribe of Judah (Yehudah), so Yehudah (Judah) and Yehudis/t (Judith) come from the same root.  If you want to go the "lion" route for the English name then you have Arielle and Leona, Leandra, Leonie, Leontine.  Of course, besides Judith, you could follow the Jewish-American custom, and pick any J name (Julia, June, Justine, etc., etc.) with the Hebrew name of Yehudis/t..

So if your late father-in-law was named Yehudah, with an English name of Derek Leon, my assumption is that his parents just liked the name of Derek but included Leon because of the association of the lion with the tribe of Judah.

In the same way the tribe of Benjamin has the heraldic symbol of the wolf.  Thus many men with the Hebrew name Binyamin have a vernacular wolf name--which would be Ze(e)v for a modern Hebrew name, and Wolf, Rudolph, Randolph in German/English, and Velvel in Yiddish.  My own grandfather was a Wolf.

December 12, 2012 2:56 PM

Leona is a wonderful girl's name!

January 10, 2013 8:24 PM


Recent name ideas:

Elsa Leonie (Lee-Oh-nee)
Elsie Leone (Lee-Ohn)


Any thoughts on the combinations?


January 10, 2013 9:09 PM

congrats on having a girl!

Of your two options, both are nice but I prefer Elsa Leonie. Only because Elsa seems more complete. Elsie is great on a baby/child but I'm not sure I'd put it on the birth certificate.

I do like Elsie and I don't see why you couldn't name her Elsa and call her Elsie as a nickname. I actually slightly prefer Leonie to Leone but both are nice. I've always pronounced Leone as Lee-own rather than Lee-ohn, which sounds like the male Leon to me. Maybe it's an accent thing though?

I also don't see why you can't do Elsa Leone if you want to mix and match, it also works!

January 11, 2013 8:42 AM

I too would pronounce Leone as Lee-own, I guess I didn't spell it out well.

I guess we could consider Leonora? But I don't know if I real like it becasue some people will say La-nora as opposed to Lee-oh-nor-ah.

I don't know if that even makes sense.


January 11, 2013 4:38 PM

I also prefer Elsa, just because I think it would age better and gives her more options.  Elsie could still be used as a nickname.

Any of your middle name options are nice with Elsa.  

I do understand what you mean about La-nora vs. Lee-oh-nor-ah.  I say it more like Le-nora.  However, I can also say La-nora or Lee-oh-nora and I think it'd be easy to remember once I was corrected.  I don't think pronunciation is as much of an issue with middle names though.  They're mostly just used by family and I think family is more likely to get it right.  

January 10, 2013 9:52 PM

I completely agree! I think that Elsa Leonie works very well and prefer Elsa as a given name over Elsie, which I think is a cute nickname. Elsa works really nicely with your other kids' names, too, and I like how the two girls would have different name endings.

January 11, 2013 4:49 PM

I second (third, fourth??) Elsa over Elsie. You can always use Elsie as Elsa's nickname! Leonora is beautiful, so that one has my vote, too!

January 12, 2013 11:11 PM

i like Elsa Liora, but that goes against the whole lion connotation, i guess. the other middles you picked are nice, too.

January 14, 2013 10:44 AM

Well, we have given up on elsa NN Elsie because a lot of people seem to think of a Cow when they hear Elsie. What if she's chubby? That could be a real problem.

back to the drawing board...

January 14, 2013 12:38 PM

Ilse/Ilsa might not be so bovine, but Ilsie seems a bit strange for a nickname.

By hyz
January 14, 2013 12:42 PM

Aww, that's too bad--I love Elsa!  I think it has a rather sleek and trim feel, and sweet, and sophisticated, but I guess those old cow associations are out there (although I'd think Bessie for a cow before Elsie any day).  I do love Leonie and Leona, so maybe you'd consider moving those to the first spot if Elsa is definitely out? 

January 14, 2013 1:54 PM

Elsa makes me think "lioness" (Born Free), but Elsie definitely has bovine associations. But I've been thinking: Elsa is in origin a nickname for Elisabeth, so why not Elisabeth Leonor/Leona/etc.? You could use Elsa or Elsie as occasional nicknames, or just let the nicknames arise organically -- Elisabeth is a *very* flexible name.