Nolynn for a girl

We are having boy/girl twins in August. We picked Nash for our boy and I really like Nolynn for a girl but I feel like I stand alone either that. What is everyone's opinions on Nolynn for a girl?


March 24, 2017 8:53 PM

I dislike Nolynn.  What about naming your boy Nolan and his sister Anastasia or Natasha, nicknamed Nash?

Or, for Nash's sister, can i interest you in one of the following?

March 24, 2017 11:32 PM

I read "Nolynn" as in, "No, Lynn, don't touch...!" which is a phrase that's going to come up with twin toddlers in a few years. ;)

Great suggestions here from the previous poster!  (I especially love Nora, Morgan, Rowan or Noelle with Nash)

Is the "lynn" part of Nolynn significant?  Maybe keep that, but find something other than "No" for the start of it?

Also, "Nash and Nolynn" gives off a very country feel (makes me think of Nashville, Loretta Lynn...or N'awlin's...), for what it's worth.

March 24, 2017 11:21 PM

Only because you asked... Nolynn looks like "no lynn": like you're perpetually telling a naughty two-year-old named Lynn to stop whatever it is she's doing. The sound is no better, because it's identical to Nolan, which is an Anglicized spelling of an Irish masculine name.

I have strong opinions against giving girls masculine names. It reinforces subconscious gender inequality: it says it's better to be a boy. (This is unfortunately still often true in practice, but is it really a message you want to underline?)

Can I interest you instead in the Anglicized Irish/Scottish name Finola?

I know that many people like to name twins with matching initials, but please don't. It's not as much of a problem for boy-girl twins, but still: beyond the basic psychology of being always considered only as part of a set, there are logistical problems with matching initials. Think about it: they'll share their surname, their birthday, and their address, and their various ID numbers will probably end up consecutive. Now imagine needing to fill different prescriptions for them. Would you be able to trust the pharmacist to keep things straight, when _all_ of a pharmacy's usual identifiers (birthdate, surname, first initial, insurance policy number) are identical?

March 24, 2017 11:27 PM

I love Nash a lot! I know a little 18 month old Nash and it's really cute on him. 

If I heard someone say, and my twins, Nash and Nolynn, I would assume they were both boys, Nash and Nolan. 

I am not a big fan of it because of that. I do like Noli though either as a standalone name or as a nickname for the name Magnolia. 

What about Nash and Noli? 

April 18, 2017 5:11 PM

Nash and Magnolia is ADORABLE. 

March 25, 2017 3:07 PM

I knew a girl named Jolyn and always thought it was pretty. 

I kind of think Nolynn would be a cute way to honor a Nolan, but not if there's a brother that could get that name. 

March 25, 2017 5:49 PM

I'm afraid I agree with everyone else, I don't really like this name at all as I see No lynn and hear either that or Nolan (depending what accent I imagine it said in). Also Nash and Nolynn are far too matchy for my tastes even for siblings, let alone twins, but I know that is much more down to personal preference.

March 25, 2017 7:20 PM

I'm another no for Nolynn.

It's like the punchline to a joke -- you thought it was triplets and were going to name them Nash, Kate, and Lynn but when you found out it was just twins you scrambled for a new naming pattern. The best you could came up with in your grief to give the poor girl was Nolynn, trying to match her to the boy who is and honor the third girl who never was.

March 25, 2017 7:06 PM

Sorry, but I'm another vote against Nolynn.  I agree it looks like No, Lynn and is likely to sound just like the masculine name Nolan.  If I heard the names together, I would assume twin boys Nash & Nolan.  

I also agree with previous comments about the possible issues with having twins with the same initial.  In general, I'm against matchy/cutesy/rhyming names for twins.  Based on my experiences knowing twins with these types of names, it seems they do reach a point where they resent being constantly thought of as a set.  I think this might be particularly the case when one twin has an established, familier name like Nash and the other has a name that is essentially an invented feminization of a reasonably popular boy's name.

If you really have your heart set on matching initials, I will 2nd the suggestions of Nora or Nola.  Other N names I think could work include Neve, Nova, Naomi, Nia.

Even better might be something like the previously mentioned Magnolia or Finola.  These would allow you to use an N nickname to get to the matching initials.  However, it would also allow her some flexibility when she reaches an age where she might want to exert her individuality.

If you want something that would keep the Lynn element, perhaps Madilyn, Catelyn, Rosslyn, and so forth.

Some other more random names that I think would work well with Nash without seeming quite so "twiny"--Brooke, Greer, Quinn, Harlow, Fiona, Kyra.

Or perhaps you'd want to find another way to tie the names together besides first initial? For example, revserse the first/middle initials for something like Nash Thomas and Tara Noelle.  Or you could try to find a first name that also has 4 letters; Tara, Lucy, Bryn, Maya, Drew, Esme, Luna.  Behind the name says that Nash originally derives from a place name having to do with the ash tree.  So perhaps another name with a derivation related to "ash" and/or "tree."  Behind the name says that Melia is originally Greek and means "place of the ash tree."  Other tree names you might consider are Oakley, Rowan, Hazel, Juniper & the aforementioned Magnolia.



March 25, 2017 9:55 PM

I think that if you would like to name your daughter Nolan, I think there's a lot to be said for using Nolan. Historically masculine names on girls are not to everyone's taste, but if it is your cup of tea, I would wholeheartedly embrace it and use the name as is, without cutesifying the spelling. Nolan is a surname derived name so I really don't see why it needs to be reserved for male use, frankly. Surnames are unisex, so it makes sense to me that their use as given names can be unisex as well. (Indeed, Nolan shows up in the SSA data intermittently as a female name since 1911, though it's just a dozen or two girls.) If you must feminize the spelling, I think Nolyn is better than two terminal n version because my brain parses it less as "No Lynn"... but on the whole, I would find using Nolan as-is to be much more pleasing in terms of the messages that it sends.

Other ideas for names more squarely in the unisex useage. Noel(le) will perhaps be less surprising on a girl.

By EVie
March 27, 2017 6:49 PM

I agree with this philosophy on surname-names, and also love the use of "cutesifying." :)

I also agree with HNG's advice on not matching twin initials above, though, and since she didn't mention it this time and I'm not sure how long the OP has been reading, I'll add she is a twin herself, so take her advice seriously. 

I love the idea above about using Magnolia with Noli or Nola as a nickname.

March 27, 2017 11:55 PM

Magnolia (or Finola or Enola) N__ Surname would also get you Nolan as a nickname, too, with the advantage of different distinguishing initials.

March 28, 2017 11:22 AM

On a philosophical level, yes, English placename-derived surnames should be unisex. (Although I still don't see the appeal of 'dweller at the rye clearing' or 'ashtown'.) Ditto for descriptives and many occupations -- the English ones are usually grammatically masculine, but their usage was always mostly unisex.

Patronymics are a different matter. Nolan came into use in English based on an Irish surname, yes, but that surname is based on -- and in the Anglicized version, identical to -- an Irish given name. An Irish _masculine_ given name. It'd be slightly different if you were actually naming a child O'Nowland after grandma's maiden name: the O prefix is 'descendant', so not as clearly gendered as Mac 'son'. (Leaving aside the logistical nightmare of an O'x name as a given name...)

I specified English placename above because in other languages, the situation is entirely different. Take Hungarian, for example. The most common pattern in Hungarian placenames is to take the name of an early overlord or landowner and turn it into the name of the place, unchanged. There are gazillions of old native personal names that survive only as placenames. Some of them were revived as personal names in the 19th century. Those early overlords were invariably men, so all of the names so revived are masculine, which is strictly enforced by Hungarian law. But it's not at all like the English pattern of "placename -> surname -> given name," because in Hungarian, placename-based surnames are almost always the adjectival form (marked with an -i suffix), so they don't actually quite enter the "given -> place -> given" circle.

By EVie
March 28, 2017 1:50 PM

Persian place-derived surnames follow the same pattern as Hungarian--e.g. Shirazi = "from Shiraz." 

A lot of English place names do derive from personal names--we just don't always recognize them as such because the names have fallen out of use (similar to what you said about Hungarian). But they usually are in dithematic form like other English place names--e.g. Loughborough = "fortified house of a man called Luhhede" (Old English personal name + burh); Cadbury = "fortified place or stronghold of a man called Cada" (Old English personal name + burh in dative case byrig); Pevensey = "river of a man called Pefen" (Old English personal name + ea). I give this with the caveat that Miriam knows much more about Old English than me and may have corrections ;) (these are from my notes, and I don't have it recorded whether these OE names are actually attested or just postulated). There are many, many other examples, I just picked a few that may be familiar to people. 

I sort of agree with you on patronymics, although I also feel like it's kind of sexist that English doesn't have a feminine version of the patronymic ending -son, and so think that maybe reclaiming it as gender neutral isn't unreasonable. I do dislike the use on girls of surnames that are just transferred given names (e.g. Elliott). So I take your point about Nolan--I forgot that one was just a given name as surname.

March 28, 2017 3:08 PM

Of those three, the only one that Ekwall marks with an asterisk (meaning postulated, not actually attested) is Pefen. Reaney and Wilson sees Old English Cada in at least some instances of Cadd, Cade, and Caddy, so that's basically attested. I haven't a clue what modern form to look for for Luhhede, so I don't know what R&W thinks of that.

English does have the gender-neutral simple possessive for patronymics (Peters, Williams, Andrews), but they don't transfer well back to given name use, of either gender. Old English dohtor 'daughter' survived into the 14th century, both for women and men (Joan Tomdoutter, Richard Wryghtdoghter 1379), but not really past that. (My favorite is Alice Wilkynsondoghter 1379.)

By EVie
March 28, 2017 3:54 PM

My source is A.D. Mills's Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names, but I have no idea where my copy of the book is at present--either in a still-unpacked cardboard box or in the back of a double-stacked row of the single bookshelf we have set up. One day, my house will be organized enough to find it again :) I can say, however, that attested medieval spellings of Loughborough include Lucteburne [sic] 1086, and Lucteburga 12th c. (It's pronounced LUFF-bruh now, so I assume the "Lucte" had to evolve into something like "Lugh" [IPA: lʌx], last consonant like in "Bach," before the current form? Interesting variety of pronunciations over time).

Yes, good point about the possessive -s ending being a gender neutral patronymic. But then that still gives the boys both -s and -son and the girls only -s... still an imbalance. The "daughter" names don't really count, as they didn't survive to modern English. 

There are at least a few people considering the -s patronymics as given names... I remember we recently had someone here contemplating Williams. But in general, I don't think they serve very well, as they're too easily confused with the original given name. 

March 28, 2017 4:22 PM

Alia! Remember how the (probably apocryphal, possibly nonce) etymology of Eleanor is from alia Aenor for another Aenor? I think we could tack "alia" onto names to give a feminine version of -son that would fit well with modern naming sensibilities. It would be more like "a chip off the block" than "child of" but I think it still works. So Mary's daughter could be Aliamar or Maralia etc. I think it could work for Dad's name, too: Fredalia, Aliaden, etc. Liam's daughter could be Aliam! Obviously some applications would be more euphonious than others :).

By EVie
March 28, 2017 9:27 PM

I LOVE this idea, and I may very well end up "borrowing" it for a naming scheme for a future novel that I have rolling around in my head--I was already planning on using Latin-inspired (but not necessarily historical Roman) names, and this would fit just perfectly. :) I also find "alia" to be a very attractive combination of letters--I am a creature of my times, I guess.

(I read another fantasy novel awhile back, in Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series, that played on the Latin meaning of alia as well--I don't remember the exact context, but I think that someone was referred to as Alia, and other characters took it as her name when it was really meant that she was "Other," i.e. a non-human race. I could be misremembering, though.)

March 28, 2017 6:26 PM

Just a note: -son is the Anglo-Danish patronym. The English patronym is -ing, as in Buckingham and Kensington. The Anglo-Norman patronym is fitz-.

By EVie
March 28, 2017 9:43 PM

That's interesting--I knew that son/sen occurred in Scandinavian languages, of course, but I never realized that the English use of -son was a direct borrowing and not just cognate.

My understanding, based mainly on studying Mills's translation of place names, was that -ing can be more generally translated as "associated with" (e.g. Arlington = Estate associated with a man called Eorla, Docking = "[place] associated with docks or water lilies"). Or, as you mentioned, Kensington = Estate associated with a man called Cynesige. Mills has the middle element of Buckingham as -inga-, and translates it as "River-bend land of the family or followers of a man called Bucca." Would you consider these two separate words, or is -inga- just a more specific variant of the more general -ing? (Or am I totally off base?) I can certainly see how a word generally meaning "associated with" could come to be used as a patronymic and thereby take on a more specific secondary meaning, similarly to how the general possessive was used the same way (e.g. Andrew's --> Andrews). 

By mk
March 28, 2017 12:09 PM

I agree with all of this.

If Nolynn is being used to as a way to feminize the spelling of Nolan, I'd also recommend Nola.

March 29, 2017 1:05 PM

Another NO vote.  In addition to the excellent reasons stated above, I think it can be negative for a little kid to have 'no' in or close to their names.  I'm reminded of my cousin's son Bo, who at age three was "NO BO NOOOOOO OH NO NO BO!!!!" more or less non-stop. I swear the kid thought his name was No-bo-no.  (This has put me off to names like Nola etc as well.)

I also agree that twins sometimes struggle to establish their own sense of self if they are constantly lumped together as a pair, although this is lessened with b/g twins.  I would avoid names with same first letter, although agree that Nash and Fiona (or Anita, or other n-containing girl name) is fine.  Still, if you want something that somehow 'goes with' Nash in a twinsie kinda way, it doesn't have to be sounds.  What is it you like so much about Nash?  I looked up the meaning, it's English from ash tree.  What about another tree-inspired girl name?  Do you like Rowan or Sylvia, even Elma?  Nash evokes Nashville to me.  Savannah is another Southern city, as is Charlotte.  Louisa, drawn from Louisville in next-door Kentucky?  Obviously these mostly work if Nashville is WHY you like Nash.

My next suggestion is definitely a slippery slope -- I would definitely avoid something like Nash and Shana as too matchy-matchy.  But Nash and Shannon maybe?  Sharon? Shoshanna or Roshanna?  A lot of the same sounds, but more distinct than sing-songy.


How about Elowyn as an alternative to Nolynn?  Elowyn is GORGEOUS.  I love it!

By EVie
March 29, 2017 1:52 PM

I like the idea of matching with other tree names! Since I am in a place-name sort of mood, I went digging for other Old English-derived tree place names that might fit a twin sister to Nash:

  • Appley (apple tree wood or clearing)
  • Appleby (farmstead or village where apple trees grow)
  • Berkeley (birch tree wood or clearing)
  • Elle/Ellen (elder tree(s)—separate derivation from the traditional Helen)
  • Hazel
  • Holly
  • Linden
  • Lyndon (hill where linden trees grow)—I prefer the homonym Linden for a girl, though
  • Linley (linden-tree wood or clearing)
  • Maple
  • Salton (farmstead where willow trees grow)—fun way to get to Sally as a nickname
  • Selby (farmstead or village near willow trees)
  • Waverley (uncertain meaning, but Old English wæfre (waver) is sometimes interpreted here as referring to swaying aspen trees)
  • Willow
  • Willoughby (farmstead by the willow trees, or circle of willow trees)
  • Welwyn (place at the willow trees)


I could come up with a ton more if the category were expanded to include all plants, not just trees, or to "wood" and "woodland clearing" names, which opens up a ton of ley/leigh/ly endings. Plus expanding it to other languages besides Old English would bring in names like Laurel and the rest of the Laur- family, Daphne (laurel in Greek), and more.

Interesting factoid: Nash, “place at the ash tree,” got its initial N because the original Middle English phrase was “atten æsc,” “at the ash,” and the N  from “atten" got elided to “ash”—same way we got Nell from Eleanor, Nancy from Anne, Ned from Edward, etc.

April 1, 2017 1:50 AM

Another vote against Nolynn- the spelling looks made up and also makes me think of "no Lynn."

I'm also not big on matching initials but if you do want another N:








other ideas:













Shayla or Shyla





















April 8, 2017 11:00 PM

I think it could be difficult to pronounce by looking at it on paper. Are you wanting it to sound like Noland? Or NAH-lin? Maybe a more phonetic spelling. I like the pronunciation if NO-lin is what you're going for. I knew a girl with that name who spelled it differently growing up and the teachers NEVER got it right! 

April 22, 2017 6:03 AM

sorry dont like - what about Nola, Nora, Nell or Nelda

Nadia, Natalie

Nevaeh, Nina

Naomi, Nolani

Nolana, Noni

Natalia, Nadine

Nerissa, Nerida

Nyssa, Naree