New middle name options for Xavier

Ok, so DH has burst my bubble again (it's a persistent bubble) about Simon.  He's just not going to go for it.  The only boy name I think we both are fond of is Xavier, though it's more popular than I'd like.  It's much trickier to find a good middle name for Xavier, though, because it's historically a last name.  So, especially with my plan of using my LN as a 2nd middle, we end up with LN MN LN LN.  

I've come up with a few new middle name options that I think might work, though.  What do you guys think?

Xavier Rhys 

Xavier Lev (Doubt DH will go for this, but I like it)

Xavier Rafe (seems particularly dashing...maybe even too much of a troublemaker to me.  I do like the repeated long A vowel sounds, though)




By hyz
May 3, 2012 5:36 PM

I think those all sound pretty nice, although the last and initial Rs in Xavier Rhys tend to run together a bit (not a huge deal, just mentioning it), and I do get caught up with all the F sounds with Rafe as the middle name--it feels a bit like a tongue twister.  I agree that the repeated long A sounds are very nice, though, particularly as a balance to the repeated O sound in the surnames.  Rhys and Lev don't speak to me particularly, but they are both very nice, so it would only matter that they speak to you and DH.  And I like the repeated V in Xavier and Lev.  With that in mind, some other MN suggestions that occur to me are James, Blaise, Gabriel, Adrian, Grey, Nathan, Jacob, Amos, Valentin, Evan, Everett, and Pascal (just because I like it).

May 3, 2012 7:55 PM

Grey was my initial favorite middle name to go with Xavier.  I think it sounds great, but I couldn't get over the feeling that it is a "filler" name.  Not that I have huge familial or personal connections to any of the other names, though, so maybe that distinction is silly.   

May 3, 2012 8:59 PM

I'm sorry to hear Simon is off the table but i do love Xavier. It is a little more popular but I only know one baby Xavier so it's hardly everywhere.

I have also always liked the Xavier Grey H-- F--- combo.

Xavier Rhys runs into each other a little for me but it's not too bad.

Xavier Lev is quite nice.

I'll second hyz's suggestions of Blaise, Valentin and Everett. All sound good to me. 

I kind of like the one syllable middle with the double surnames. So:

Xavier Vaughn

Xavier Piers

Xavier Gabe (Gabriel does work too)

Xavier Beau

Xavier Finn

Xavier Max


I also like the slightly longer middle names, ala Everett, so how about:

Xavier Cassius

Xavier Dashiell

Xavier Apollo

Xavier Beckett


What sort of feel are you going for: formal, fun, sporty etc? Might give us some more direction......

May 3, 2012 8:49 PM

I really like Xavier Rhys-a lot.

Xavier Rafe is OK-not a big fan of Xavier Lev.  The flow of both these seems off to me.  I realize this makes no sense at all because the names are each one syllable.  But with Rafe and Lev I just feel like I'm waiting for more.  Something like Xavier Rafael or Xavier Levi works better for me.

By Guest (not verified)
May 3, 2012 10:53 PM

Is Xavier really popular?

I don't know of any, and I really do know gobs of wee ones.

I do know multiple Xanders...

This is probably dense, but do you say it like Zay at the front, or like  Ex?

I like Rhys of those you've mentioned. Seems distinguished but grounded.

Lev seems like a style mismatch to me, though it's just my feeling...

The Rafe combo just doesn't work for me.

I might offer Leif, since it seems a combo. of some you're currently considering. Frankly, my instinct is to suggest something very straight forward like Xavier John or Xavier Michael.


May 4, 2012 5:27 AM

This name is super cool to me-- I actually love it the most pronounced the Spanish way (can be spelled with an X or an J) Hahvi-ERE.  I had a friend in college who went by Xavi (HAhvi) and I thought his name was awesome.  Normally I hear it pronounced ex-ZAY-vi-er.  All the Xavier first names I know have been Spanish, come to think of it. 

Anyway, to answer your questions, I think the last name as first name trend makes Xavier very acceptable, even with a last name as a middle name as well. 

May 4, 2012 9:37 AM

I mentioned the options to DH, and surprisingly he kind of liked Xavier Rafe and really liked Xavier Lev (I was really, super suprised by that).  I agree that Xavier Lev kind of seems like a cultural mish-mash, though.  I don't know why, but I'm still fond of Xavier Rafe, though I know the Rs run together.  

I like Xavier Everett but I worry that the rhythm is just too balanced then - It's the same as the two last names.  It seems like it might be a better idea to break things up a bit by having a short, concise middle name in that spot.  

DH is really fond of the names Emile and Camille for a boy.  I don't think I could deal with either as a first name, but maybe for a middle?

Xavier Emile   

Xavier Camille

In my opinion, middle names that are common recognizable names make me feel like they should be flipped into the first name position, since Xavier is really a last name.  Xavier John, for instance, makes me feel like it's SUPPOSED to be John Xavier.  I guess that's why unusual middle names are more appealing to me.  

I know I should just give my brain a rest until we know the gender, but it's just spinning away.  I'm blaming it on the hormones.  


May 4, 2012 10:59 AM

From your husband's suggestions, I like Xavier Emile.  I think Camille is likely to come across as a bit too feminine for most English speakers.

 I'd agree that a more unusual middle would work better for a recent surname to first, like Tanner or one of the Mc/Mac names.  But  Xavier has been used as a first name long enough that I wouldn't expect too much confusion with it.  My only hesitation would be if it is still a common surname where you live (personally, I've never met someone IRL with the surname Xavier).

By hyz
May 4, 2012 12:42 PM

Ditto to this, particularly the part re: Xavier sounding more like a FN.  I certainly would group it with names like Jacob, James, Scott, Simon, Bradley, Stanley, etc.--not on a historical basis necessarily, but as names that all have lots of use as both first and last names, but which do not sound surnamey at all on first impression.

May 4, 2012 9:47 AM

Oh, I would say it Zay-vier not X-za-vier

By Guest (not verified)
May 4, 2012 12:07 PM

I think the reason that Xavier Lev sounds off is that Xavier is very very Catholic (Spanish saint) and Lev is very very Jewish (Hebrew for heart & Yiddish for lion). The mix doesn't sound interfaith so much as confused.

Xavier Grey sounds great, but it also sounds like you named him after the X-Men comic books/movies. (Professor X and Jean Grey).  Or maybe that's just my nerdiness - if other people don't think of that, it probably doesn't matter.

Do you really need two middle names?  If so, I like the suggestions of Xavier Piers or Xavier Leif.


May 4, 2012 12:21 PM

I guess with a girl I'd really want to give her a middle name plus the last-as-middle.  For some reason, it seems less important for a boy (I just don't know that boys/men care as much about that kind of thing).  But I guess it'd be weird to treat a daughter and son's name differently...? 

And yes, you pinpointed exactly why Xavier Lev sounds confused.  Of course, DH is from a Catholic family and I'm from a half-Russian Jewish one, but I don't know that the name result is very cohesive.  

May 4, 2012 3:02 PM

I really think you should keep the 2nd middle for a boy or girl.  It seems important to you for a variety of reasons-some boys might not care, but you may end up with one who really appreciates the connection to you and your family.  

May 4, 2012 3:55 PM

Oh no, I mean I'd keep the 2nd (my last name) for both.  For a boy, it seems to matter less whether they also have a more surname-like middle name, too.  

By Guest (not verified)
May 5, 2012 4:05 PM

Xavier is quite dashing! While I know it was originally a surname, it doesn't really read that way to me, especially in the age of popular occupation surnames like Hunter and Mason, which are so different stylistically. I've only ever encountered it as a given name, so like with Russell or Wallace I only make the surname connection if I think about it. All this to say, as long as you're not trying to get away with Francis as the middle name, I wouldn't worry too much about people wanting to reverse first and middle. 

Like you, I enjoy some repetition of sounds (or similar sounds) in name combinations. The blurring of the r's with Rhys and Rafe bugs me a little bit, but not enough to rule them out. Stylistically, Rhys seems to fit the best to me out of your first three choices; Rafe just feels a bit too close to a nickname for my taste. Lev is my favorite name of the three: it just seems to pack so much heart and gentle strength into a short name that still feels weighty. I guess it doesn’t “go” culturally as well as Leo would, but I’m not sure how much it matters. The sound of Lev appeals to me more, especially with the repeated v after Xavier, plus Leo makes Xavier feel more Catholic to me than either name does on its own. I don’t know why Rhys has never particularly grabbed me; I can recognize features that are appealing about it (distinctive spelling, short and sweet, classic but still unusual, plus the Welsh heritage connection for those with that background), but for some reason it doesn’t really stick out in my mind. I just looked it up in Namipedia, which lists its meaning as “ardor, enthusiasm,” and that makes me like it more since those are positive qualities to wish for a child. It does make a nice combination with Xavier.

Your husband certainly has an adventurous taste in names! Are Emile and Camille family namesakes (or represent other important people to him), or are these just names he likes? The composer Camille Saint-Saens makes a good male reference for the name, if you decide to use it, and I don't think there's much room for gender confusion with Camille in the middle slot after the definitively masculine Xavier, but I can still understand your hesitation. Also, weren't you considering Camille for a girls' middle? If you are hoping for more children, you may want to save it, though I probably wouldn't use both Emile and Camille anyway, unless they both have special family connections. My other reason for preferring Emile is the "long A" sound in the first syllable (but I am not a French speaker and not positive I'm pronouncing it correctly), which you also like with Xavier. If Emile would really make your husband happy, that's probably what I'd go with. The whole combination just sounds like it belongs to a sophisticated and scholarly gentleman.

Just brainstorming, here are some more options that I think sound good with Xavier --- H--- F---. Sorry for repeats. I’m sure you’ve already considered and rejected many of these, and the more unusual French ones may not be your or even your husband’s cup of tea, but food for thought anyway:

Adrian/-ien, Alphonse, Anatole, Andreas, Anton, Aristide, August, Benoit, Charles,

Darius, Day, Denis, Dominic, Etienne, Faustus, Felix, Florian, Frederick, Gabriel, Griffin, Gustav(e),

Isaac, Isaiah, James (I know it's obvious but it just flows so well), Johan(n), Joseph, Jules, Keith,

Lawrence, Louis, Luc, Marcel, Maurice, Nathan, Nevin, Noel, Philip, Pierre, Raphael, Rene,

Sebastian/-ien, Stephen, Sylvain, Theodore, Trajan, Tristan, Vaughn, Valent, Vincent, Yves

Oh, and my instinct, like yours, would be to treat sons and daughters the same with respect to number of middle names and passing down your surname. Even if the kids don't end up caring, it just seems the fairest way to go.

- kalmia (re-posting not logged in so this doesn't get lost on the way to "moderation" as all my recent comments seem to have)

May 5, 2012 6:05 PM

DH is drawn to Camille because it's a family name of his - a great-uncle.  He's from the South, so both Camille and Emile are part of that tradition.  He really wants Camille for a boy's first name, but I just can't go there.  I might give in for a mn, even if it's a little risky, just because it'd mean a lot to him.  

I'm torn about Xavier James. The name just feels so traditional to me, but it does sound nice there.  James is a family name on both sides, so it's got that going for it.  I guess it doesn't hurt to have something simple and recognizable in that slot.

I brought up the mish-mash multi-culti aspect of Xavier Lev to DH.  It didn't bother him at all (not that that's saying much, because he'll overlook many things an NE would cringe at).  But he said the mix was nice, because the kid would be a mix.  In a way, that sentiment is nice coming from him, because it honors my background, too. It may be too "all over the place" feeling, though.  

You made a lot of really interesting other suggestions, too.  I'll have to mull them over and say them out loud.  

May 5, 2012 6:43 PM

Hah!  I just realized that with Xavier Lev we'd be making a Catholic Jewish sandwich, Catholic on the outside and Jewish in the middle.  

May 5, 2012 10:31 PM

Or Russian Orthodox....

BTW I was thinking of you today.  I am still on some mailing lists from my old neighborhood in New Orleans, and I got posts from an Ava Fontenot and a Cathy Fontenot today, commenting on a burglary issue in the area.  If you were living in south Louisiana, Camille would pose no problem, and neither would Emile.  I can't help it--the name I keep thinking of for you is Theophile, real dyed-in-the-wool Cajun :-).  Also Clotilde.

May 6, 2012 6:17 AM


Good point about Lev being Russian Orthodox as well.  I think it's just recognized as a Jewish name by most these days, though.  My understanding is that Leo Tolstoy and Leo Trotsky were actually called Lev.  Don't know if that's correct.  

That's so funny about the Fontenots.  Yes, Lousiana, especially the region my husband's from, is swimming with them.  I just don't have the comfort level with those first names that he does, though.  Emile is borderline for me, but I don't like the long MEAL sound that much.  I would go for Camille in the middle because it's important to him.  I get that it's dashing in a white-linen-suit-southern-gentleman kind of way, but just can't get over the fact that the boy would be surprising everyone by his gender all the time.  DH has also suggested Andre, Anton, and Beau at one time or another (plus some other classic ones I can't remember).  Our child will NOT be all Cajun, though, and won't be growing up there (hell, we're in New England now), so I think it doesn't hurt to branch out a bit.  

May 6, 2012 6:27 AM

A couple of other thoughts about Lev.  On the one hand, I think it's pretty great that in Hebrew the name means "heart" and in Russian it means "Lion".  On the other hand, we really wouldn't be pronouncing it in the correct way for the Russian name - which I think is something like LYEF.  

May 6, 2012 12:12 PM

Yes, it's Lev Tolstoy.  In Hebrew, at least in my accent (but I don't have an Israeli accent), the vowel in Lev is somewhere between the one in let and the one in late.

After living in New Orleans for 25 years I am very used to Fontenot and other Cajun names.  I had scads of students and colleagues with Cajun names, given and sur-.  In New England, I suppose people would simply think a Camille Fontenot is French-Canadian.

May 6, 2012 1:18 PM

... A French-Canadian woman.

By hyz
May 6, 2012 2:09 PM

But I do think the combination of Xavier Camille is sufficiently masculine that it wouldn't cause confusion, and honestly I think it does sound really nice, esp. with the surname.

May 6, 2012 2:22 PM

Yes, it does sound nice and it wouldn't be confusing. I just meant that in the southern US, Camille might be familiar as a male name, but in Quebec, it's quite female. In each of the last 6 years, over 300 girls were named Camille, while the number for boys made it up to 5 in one year but every other year the number was either 1 or 2. In 2011, there were 328 girls and 2 boys given the first name Camille in Quebec.

On the other hand, Emile is basically 100% male.

May 6, 2012 2:23 PM

Or a French man like Camille Saint-Saens, Camille Pissaro, and Camille Corot.

May 6, 2012 2:28 PM

I'm not denying that Camille has historically been used as a male name. I'm just saying that today, in Quebec, it's being used almost exclusively for girls.

May 6, 2012 2:31 PM

Oh, and Camille Gravel, a very colorful Louisiana political figure.

May 6, 2012 7:29 PM

That's the relative and potential namesake!  Camille Gravel!

By hyz
May 11, 2012 10:12 PM

Oh, neat!  I'd say that's a good reason to use it--it would give Xavier a pretty interesting story to tell whenever he was asked about his name. :)

By Coll
May 6, 2012 8:14 PM

PennyX, I want to congratulate you on the upcoming baby! That's such great news. Too bad your husband won't agree to Simon-- I am always excited to see others loving his name. But Xavier is also wonderful.

You've gotten some great suggestions. I like the sound of Xavier Lev a lot, but agree on the seeming cultural confusedness (however, if you are an interfaith family then that could be a selling point. One of the reasons we chose Simon Kelly for our son is that it combines surnames from both our families and Simon is resonant in both Christian and Jewish traditions).


I alo like Xavier James and Xavier Camille. I think with a strongly masculine first name like Xavier (I have never heard of that one going to the girls at least) you can get away with a little more gender ambiguity in the middle. Though we did have a few people after we announced Simon's birth who apparently were confused by the "Kelly" as to whether he were possibly a girl.

This is also probably too Catholic, but I like Xavier Jude as a combination, too. And if Grey feels too filler, what about Xavier Graham/Graeme?

May 9, 2012 10:29 PM

I have an Xav!er, love the name! His name is Xav!er J0seph, and we also know a little Xav!er Patr!ck; I also think Xav!er J0hn sounds quite nice. Though it was indeed originally a surname, it's used often enough as a fn or mn, especially in Catholic circles, that I'm not sure many people are even aware it started as a surname? At least not among the people I come in contact with. "Francis Xavier" (fn mn) is a very common given name (I see "F.X. Lastname," in all sorts of diverse places); there is also a woman saint with the name -- St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Mother Cabrini); and the Spanish "Javier" is well known as a first name. My Xav3 is named for my grandfather, born and raised in Ireland, whose given name was Dav!d Xav!er, a combo I also quite like (and had at one time considered using as a set, with "Dex" as the nn).

All that said, I do like the repeated long "a" in Xavier Rafe, and I love your description: "seems particularly dashing...maybe even too much of a troublemaker to me"! Xavier Rafe is my favorite of the options you listed, and I think Xavier Lev flows well too.

May 11, 2012 5:34 PM

PennyX-I like Xavier Rhys out of what you've posted. There are so many names that I think "go with" Xavier that I'm surprised that you're having trouble finding one. I do understand the unusual aspect though. I thought of:

Xavier Daniel; Xavier Louis; Xavier Vincent; Xavier Matthew/Mattheiu; Xavier Girard 

May 29, 2012 1:49 PM

Update - I just found out that DHs grandfather's middle name was Joseph.  What do you guys think of Xavier Joseph H F?  Also, DHs mother was named Carol - the feminine form of Charles.  So, we could go with Xavier Charles.  Is that just too obscure of a link for anyone other than an NE, though?

By Coll
May 29, 2012 2:12 PM

Xavier Joseph reads very, very Catholic to me, if that's still a concern. Xavier Charles is more neutral. And I think the family namesake aspect wonderful. Who cares if anyone else knows without being told!

May 29, 2012 8:05 PM

Xavier Joseph also reads quite Catholic to me too, and I generally don't draw a whole heap of religious conclusions from names. Sound wise though it's nice.

Xavier Charles works a little better for me and I think as long as you know the namesake link it doesn't matter if it's obvious to everyone else.

May 29, 2012 10:48 PM

I don't think Carol -> Charles is particularly obscure; most people would need to think about it for a few seconds, but then would go "oh, yeah, of course!" It'd be even more obvious with the more Germanic Carl, which would go with your maiden name (if I'm remembering it correctly).

As much as I love the name Joseph, I concur with other commenters that the combo with Xavier comes across as very Catholic, somehow.

May 30, 2012 9:01 AM

Xavier Joseph doesn't read Catholic to me, but that might be because I have it on my own list as a possibility and I'm not Catholic.

As for Xavier Charles, the link between Carol and Charles isn't that obscure, my concern would be more with the Xmen reference (Professor Charles Xavier) since that's the first thing that pops into my mind.

May 30, 2012 8:46 PM

Love Xavier Joseph -- it's my son's name -- but if you were to do a namesake for your mil (mine is C@rol as well, and we've considered Charles many times in her honor), I would also be aware of the X-Men connection as noted by saenra (we also considered Xavier Charles til we realized). Xavier Carl or Xavier Karol would avoid that (though also beware that Karol's being used a lot by Catholics for Bl. John Paul II -- paired with Xavier might read too Catholic).

By Guest (not verified)
June 14, 2012 9:06 PM

Ok guys, what about X@vi3r C@rol?  or X@vi3r C@roll3?  I know the name isn't used that much for boys/men anymore, but I guess it originally was.  And we were already considering Camille as a mn, after all.  It would be a more meaningful way to honor DH's mother, who very recently passed away, so I want to give it serious consideration.  I'm not sure that I like the sound and rhythm as much as Xavi3r Charl3s or even Xavi3r C@mill3, but because of the emotional/familal connection I thought I'd toss it around a bit and see what people on here thought.  

Thanks in advance!

June 14, 2012 10:34 PM

Sorry, the above post was by me.  I didn't realize I wasn't logged in.  

June 15, 2012 7:34 AM

I think it has a nice flow and would be a nice tribute to your mother-in-law. Are you having a boy for sure? I'm having trouble keeping up with all the forum postings! And congratulations again either way. :)

June 15, 2012 8:54 AM

I like it!

June 15, 2012 11:23 AM

I think it'd work -- and thumbs up for reclaiming a name for the boy's side!

My main association with the name Carol is one of my teachers in elementary school, who was Mrs. Carol. It was obviously her (husband's) surname, not her given name, but it nevertheless gave it a feminine association for me, so that I was quite surprised to encounter it as a masculine name (Carroll O'Connor, although according to IMDB it's his middle -- so probably his mother's maiden name). In origin it's as masculine as you can get -- Latin Carolus (Charles) originates from a word meaning basically "man". (One of many reasons why Charlie on girls irritates me.)

I'd probably spell it as plain old Carol, though, and definitely without an 'e' at the end, because that signals "feminine" to some people, and it wouldn't add anything in terms of pronouncability or intuitive spelling.

June 15, 2012 11:51 AM

Personally, I have only encountered Carol as a female name, but Carroll as a male name. Similar to Frances vs. Francis.

I would spell the name "Carroll" for a boy.

June 15, 2012 1:29 PM

Then there's the Dutch spelling Karel, definitely masculine. 

June 15, 2012 1:34 PM

Like Linnaeus, I've only encountered Carroll for a boy and Carol for a girl. The (male) Carroll I know goes by his initials or C. Middlename since he doesn't like the confusion with the female name. (And he's an out-and-proud gay man who doesn't put much stock in how other people judge his masculinity.) Because of his experience, I personally wouldn't use Carroll, let alone Carol/Karol for a boy's first name.

In the middle name slot, you do have a lot of leeway - especially since Xavier is all boy. That said, I think I'd still pick Camille over Carol/Carroll. Carol paired with Xavier looks like an alternate spelling for Karol, which in the U.S. seems to be used almost exclusively as a tribute name to the late pope, and thus adds up to a Very Catholic Name, which I don't think is the impression you are going for. Carroll looks like a surname, and since you'll already be using one surname-as-middle-name, I'd be less inclined, all other things being equal, to chose another middle name that's also one. I can also think of more ready examples of Camille's usage as a male name than of Carroll's. Finally, if the point is to make a meaningful connection to your husband's family, I'd go with the name he obviously loves (Camille) rather than one he's not particularly attached to.

Too bad about the X-men. Xavier Charles sounds great and would have made a great tribute as well.

June 15, 2012 1:45 PM

I don't know that the X-men association is a problem with Xavier Charles.  The order is reversed, after all.  It's just a coincidence more than anything else, and I don't know how much it would come up.  

I was worried about the "string of last names problem" that Carroll would pose.  In a way, I like that Charles is a traditional, solid, monosyllabic male name in the middle of the other names.  

We're not Jewish, but if DH would buy into the Jewish tradition of honoring a deceased relative with the first initial, Camille could honor both at once.   

By Guest (not verified)
August 6, 2012 3:02 PM

My sons name is Xavier and his middle name is Caide.