New Sibling for Universe Undine

Chez Baby-Name-Wizards,

I am currently pregnant with my second babe, and I am looking for the perfect name to go with my eldest child, a 34-month old girl by the name of Universe Undine Julliard-Ibsen-Beaurevoir. My partner and I are giving ourselves and our daughter a surprise by waiting to find out the gender – this has not been an easy endeavor. As my partner and I are both Doctors of Old Literature (He, an Old Testament Biblical Scholar at an undisclosable university in Europe, and I, an academic of English Renaissance Petrarchan Academia & Karl Marx & French Botanical Studies in Literature - also in Europe but hopefully soon to be South East Asia!), we are looking for dignified names with old roots and even older spelling. Dr. Juilliard and I love the postmodern era, but would like to reclaim the past through the future – our children.

We find ourselves disagreeing on names – below are names that both Dr. J and I have created.

Names that I like:

Women - Pruella, Euphemia, Skylark, Aschenputtel, Griselda, Earthly, Hidi, Minerva, Pattaya, Igraine, Celestial, Jeanne, Anémone, Coral, Rosasia, Pissenlit, Fleur, Perdita, Ambassador, Rosalinda, Rosary

Men - Ignatius, Beauregard, Darius, Ubud, Peerless, Peregrine, Brewer, Xi’an, Llewellyn, Homme, Guillaume, Yu, Gourdon, Laurier-Rose, Earl, Smerdis, Multiflora

Names that Dr. J likes:

Women - Queenie, Heiress, Kettle, Kuala, Estefania, Andromeda, Lillianesta, Rose, Sundance, Hearth, Evan, Astra, Astera, Marianne, Goneril, Duchess, Countess, Caligula, Nadia, Gallica,


Men - Stanislaus, Thaddeus, Angtious, Tsar, Dynasty, Granville, Prophet, Hilliard, Horace, Mortimer, Calypso,  Ross, Paulownia, Jonquille, Muguet, Oleander, Duke, Dougburry, Esquire, Kaiser, Chinensis, Faucet, Enigma

Dr. J and I are looking for both suggestions and opinions on the names here. We are open to different designations, but are hesitant to deviate from our comfort zone. Preferably the middle name would either be Jakob or Tara, as they are family names that we would like to include.

Répondez s’il vous plait

On behalf of Professor Jeremy Julliard & Dr. Maya Ibsen-Beaurevoir,

Thank you, for your time.


March 19, 2018 5:53 PM

1) Chez means "at the home/business of". So, yes, when on the site you are chez BNW, but it's not the way to address a missive.

2) I appreciate the entertaining flights of fancy in your post, but including a "name" like Pissenlit really disrupts the suspension of disbelief required to read such a post. Dandelion? Fine. But the French name for that flower literally translates to "pee in the bed" (it is so-named due to the flower's diuretic properties). Would you like your name to indicate incontinence to all you meet? I wouldn't and I doubt your daughter would appreciate it.

3) While naming a boy Homme is about as creative as naming him Guy, at least Guy has a history of use as a name.

4) Enigma feels much more feminine to me and would be a splendid match for Universe.

By EVie
March 19, 2018 10:07 PM

I think maybe she meant "chers"? 

This is actually pretty solid satire, despite a few flubs (inconsistent in spelling Dr. J's name there -- if you're trying to invoke the music school, Juilliard is correct, and I think you oversold it with "English Renaissance Petrachan Academia"). I appreciate the effort it must have taken to compile that list of names. It's an impressively diverse set of obscure references. (Chinensis? Meaning "Chinese" in Latin?) I actually rather like Pissenlit -- it strikes me as one of the most bitingly satirical choices on the list. 

Others I appreciate: Smerdis (son of Cyrus the Great, ancient Persian king); Muguet (lily of the valley in French, but actually derives from a word meaning "musk," which itself derives from "testicle"), Goneril (Shakespeare), Caligula (for a girl, ooh, edgy), Paulownia (genus of Asian trees that provide a very lightweight wood), Angtious (is this pronounced like Anxious?), Dynasty (reminds me of the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode featuring Shadynasty, pronounced sha-DY-nah-stee -- perhaps that would appeal?), Aschenputtel (German Cinderella), Rosasia (is this pronounced like "rosacea"?)

I do think you are confusing your genres somewhat, which detracts from the effect. Hoity-toity academics don't use aspirational names like Queenie, Heiress, Duchess, Dynasty or Duke. Smerdis, Goneril, Igraine, Euphemia, Andromeda and Calypso, however, are right on the money.

I am curious about your interpretation of postmodernism in naming. The names we use have so many layers of meaning that infinite meanings are possible and thus they don't really mean anything at all?  Or is it more like in architecture, in which motifs of the past are re-appropriated and combined in an exaggerated and nonsensical way? Either way, I actually find your list rather more postmodern than not. 

In the interests of playing along, might I offer the following suggestions:

Girls - Fallacy, Antinomy (not to be confused with Antimony!), Hippodameia, Dysphasia, Kunigunde, Oreille, Chartreuse, Avarice, Melensa.

Boys - Bellerophon, Emygdius, Astrodon, Valitudinarian, Djelibeybi, Garderobe, Chlodovech, Fabuloso, Monseigneur, Gonzo, Boeuf. 

March 20, 2018 9:52 PM

Other literary recommendations:

Girls: Dulcinea (has the advantage of having many of the same letters as Universe!), Rocinante (to carry on the Cervantes theme), Celestina (to continue with Spanish literature), Flanders (a unisex name to reference Moll for girls or Ned for boys!), Eternity (not really literary but sounds feminine, sounds good with Universe, and is a perfume to boot)

Boys: Pangloss (because it's all for good and good for all), Pantagruel, Werther, Lazarillo, Tristram (because we all start as a humunculus)

Congratulations and good luck! ;)

March 26, 2018 1:41 PM

Elizabeth T,

Greetings, old friend. It is so nice to run into you here of all places. I had no idea this was the website you used to procure such unique names for your children. Aspiration and Serpentine are beyond lovely, and right down my alley. If I could find a name for my own second child even half as great as either of your children’s name, I would be a proud mother indeed.

Tell me, how goes your endeavors to be published? I recently read your paper, Women of Shakespeare: The Transgender Odyssey of Male Actors in Elizabethan England, and though I should remain anonymous, I must tell you that it was very educational! There were a few minor inconsistencies, such as spelling of the name of the university you attended, but other than that I have only positive reviews! It really made me reconsider my own position on Homer's epics.

Kind Regards,

Professor Jeremy Julliard & Dr. Maya Ibsen-Beaurevoir

March 26, 2018 4:57 PM

So glad you found it edifying. It was tricky indeed to wind the tale of Penelope's shroud into that of Queen Mab's chariot.

March 21, 2018 12:45 AM

I also really appreciated this post, which, given that I'm probably exactly the sort of person meant to be parodied by this, really speaks for the very high quality of the silliness. 

Thank you also for not inventing all-girl quadruplets to go with your post, even though your prolific name lists could easily support that number of children.  

Pissenlit is amazing. Perhaps you could find a potential compromise with Dr J in more sleek and modern riffs on the concept, like Void, Urea, or Incontinence? Ureter or Jejunum for a boy? 

Frankly, I don't think I can even come close to the niveau in this thread, so I'm just going to participate as an audience member cheering you on. 

(Also I sent this post to Miriam, who deemed it a hoot as well.) 


If we're going to have open season on loads of wholly made up scenarios populating this board, may they all contain this level of world building, creativity and humor!

March 21, 2018 9:44 PM

I'm so happy to read that Miriam enjoyed it!  When I first read this post my first thought was that I hoped Miriam would chime in.  :-)    Please pass on my good wishes to her.  I hope she knows how much she is missed around here.

March 26, 2018 1:43 PM


Niveau! I had no idea that a name could come so beautifully out of thin air. I cannot believe that we ignored this wonderfully fascinating name. Imagine: Niveau Tara Julliard-Ibsen-Beaurevoir! I can see it now! Her name on a thick book, heavy binding with gold tipped pages. The onion-skin pages will fall apart by her fingers, pressing new knowledge into her ready fingertips, oily with anticipation - her waiting mind. I have half a mind to find you and send you a gift basket, full of old and valuable stamps from my very own collection. It’s been growing e’er since my grandmother Tara’s days, and is quite a rich set. My favourite stamp among them depicts Philomela’s severed tongue, and her subsequent transformation into a nightingale. I saw a post about this haunting story in a recent post made by another and have found the matching stamps. To think that some uneducated person would send them without understanding the true beauty or context of them is blood-boiling to say the least!

Kind Regards,
Professor Jeremy Julliard & Dr. Maya Ibsen-Beaurevoir

March 28, 2018 10:35 AM

I always wonder when someone will get called out on their fake quadruplets they're expecting! haha.

March 21, 2018 12:54 AM

I know you have already heard this, EVie, but a friend of a friend is Avarice, pronounced like Ava Reese, who was deliberately named after the concept of greed. I'm also shocked at how regularly Vanity and Envy are in use in the SSA data (Pride is a little less surprising). Perhaps that is a fruitful ground for naming for Dr J, at least, given his interest in both Heiress and Caligula.

By EVie
March 21, 2018 9:34 AM

Oh my goodness, I don't think I remembered that there was an actual Avarice! And to have been done intentionally... that's really something else. It really is a beautiful looking/sounding word, shame about the meaning. 

For the truly erudite, there is also the option of the Latin Avaritia. Or the adjectival form Avarus, Avara, Avarum (because there certainly should be a gender-neutral option). Latin is full of lovely-sounding words with less than lovely meanings. 

March 21, 2018 8:22 PM

"Latin is full of lovely-sounding words with less than lovely meanings." ... and, um, less-than-lovely words with lovely meanings, pulchra being the quintessential as well as literal example.

By EVie
March 21, 2018 9:00 PM

I actually thought of pulcher, pulchra when I wrote that, and I agree that it's visually not so appealing. However, I can definitely hear the beauty in it when it's spoken aloud, especially imagining a rolling Italian-ish accent (we don't actually know what a Roman accent sounded like, though if you google for it there are some educated guesses). 

Some of those less than lovely meanings still didn't preclude those words becoming names. Barbara means "barbarian woman" in the noun form, and the adjectival form barbarus, barbara is worse: cruel, savage, foreign, uncivilized, uncouth.

March 26, 2018 1:33 PM


Dr. J and I adore the name Phallacy (we prefer this spelling) for a beautiful baby girl. Imagine a young beauty sitting by the window, eyes wide as she takes in the skies above her; the clouds will thunder her name as her world is reflected outward into the rain. And then! She Smiles! And the sun appears. I’d say she’d be opposite of Pathetic! We also have a newfound fondness for the name Squallor.

Kind Regards,

Professor Jeremy Julliard & Dr. Maya Ibsen-Beaurevoir

March 26, 2018 1:31 PM


Referring to your fourth point, I like Enigma for both genders - however, I cannot remove my personal love for Skylark, Earthly and the suite of floral names. I am actually allergic to Dandelions. However, I am a great fan of the golden flowers that paint the verdant spring fields around humble abode. Is Enigma really more suited to the sibling of Universe than other reality-encompassing names? This is the greatest dilemma; identity is not only formed by the conditions of one’s upbringing, but the name they are given. It is their introduction into the world, and I am relatively fond of the these Earth and Reality based names for this reason.

There are also many historical and literary references. Both my partner and I are very involved in the humanities and have noticed a definite comeback in historical and literary names among today’s youth. Because of this reason, I feel I cannot truly let go of the names Euphemia and Llewellyn. Perhaps there is a way to combine either of these names with names from my partner. Of his names, I can most assuredly say that my favourites are Andromeda, Oleander, and Heiress. Is there any way to merge these names and still keep what makes them, and their connections to the past, so vibrant?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I can imagine a beautiful young Euphomeda, or Andomia. Dashing boy Oleallyn, Llewander, or Heireander. But still my heart persists! I shudder at the thought of losing the children I could have by not giving them the names to become the people the could truly be… Please tell me that this is not unique to only myself! We want our dear children to know that they are superior to all others, as every good parent does. At the very least, they will be superior to myself and my partner, Dr. J. They will not be afraid to live their lives or love who they love. They will endure and prosper.



Professor Jeremy Julliard & Dr. Maya Ibsen-Beaurevoir

March 22, 2018 9:10 PM

In my head “Undine” sounds like undying, and I just want to note my appreciation for the “world without end” interpretation.

Unrelatedly, Anemone makes me happy, because anemones were my wedding flowers. Perhaps, if the name anemone appeals, may I suggest Kalanit? It is the Hebrew word for the flower and means “little bride”. If the theme is terrible things to name children, I think that sort of aspirational name is apropos. (See? I know some French too!)

March 28, 2018 1:36 AM

It will be challenging to help you unless you can provide some helpful details, such as the hair color and eye color of the unborn child.  Surely you can discern that a name that's perfect for a brown-haired, blue-eyed baby would be totally wrong on a blonde, green-eyed baby!

However, working based on the very limited information you've given us...

Having a consistent sibset is KEY.  "Universe" sets the bar very high indeed.  If you choose the wrong name for your second child, they could end up with an inferiority complex throughout their lives, while your DD Universe might feel pressure as a result of being the perceived favorite, and be driven to self-sabotage via a downward spiral of drug abuse.

No doubt you are familiar with William Blake line about seeing "the world in a grain of sand."  As such, I think the appropriate name to go with Universe would be Mote (for a boy) or Scintilla (for a girl).  Actually, I think a little girl named Mote would be just darling, too!  Only be sure to give her a feminine middle name like Rose or Nosegay so people will know she's a girl.

Side note about parenting:  You're probably finding the 34-month mark to be a challenge; there's a reason it's called the Terrible 34s!  However, relief is around the corner:  at the 156th week you can expect your daughter to become self-directed and agreeable, start questioning cultural gender stereotypes, and become aware of the subjective nature of reality.  She should also have mastered object permanence at this stage (just in time to recognize that the material world is actually an illusion).

March 28, 2018 1:29 PM

Excellent points, Holey! I'm so glad you brought this up. It would be very challenging to be the younger sibling to a Universe. Perhaps Maya and Dr. J should consider perusing the work of some physicists to see if they can find a suitable name in the study of the cosmos. Mote and Scintilla are inspired suggestions, but I hold out hope that there is something even better.

March 28, 2018 3:19 PM

Holey, this is a wholly perfect response. I particularly love how well you're capturing the Terrible 34s. I was thinking perhaps Cosimo or Cosima could work to follow Universe, but I think you really capture the theme in a much more imaginative way. Nosegay is the gender-clarifying middle name we've all been waiting for. 


March 28, 2018 4:30 PM

"The world in a grain of sand"--I love this idea. If I may, I would suggest the name Grit might make a wonderful all-gender nod in this direction, while simultaneously alluding to that most sought-after of qualities in a matriculating undergraduate. And Sandy would make a charming nickname, if the OP is open to nicknames of a more lateral bent. Ooh, Sandy and Undie would be an absolutely adorable sib-set!

March 28, 2018 5:43 PM

I am laughing so hard that I nearly dislodged the nursing baby. This thread is the gift that keeps on giving.

March 28, 2018 6:00 PM

Sandy + Undie -- well clearly baby #3 needs to be named Wedgie! (Wedgewood for the birth certificate, though.)

March 29, 2018 12:53 AM

Oh, yes, Wedgie continues the theme beautifully! “ΠΑ ΒΩ ΚΑΙ ΧΑΡΙΣΤΙΩΝΙ ΤΑΝ ΓΑΝ ΚΙΝΗΣΩ ΠΑΣΑΝ.” The universe, a grain of sand, and a fulcrum--I foresee great things for this family.

March 28, 2018 1:29 AM

One more note - I usually like to keep things positive, but please, PLEASE don't use the name Ross for your baby!  Keep in mind that a name that's cute on a little baby can be jarring on an adult.  Use the Supreme Court test:  Can you imagine a Chief Justice Ross?  I don't think so!