Rainbow Baby - stumped on girl names!


We have been trying for our rainbow baby for just under two years now, and I found out today that we are expecting at last!
I am a name loving person, my husband not so much, so after about a year he asked me not to bring up names again until "we actually need one".

Happily we have picked out a name for a boy that we both love, my husband was named after his father with a variation name (like Micah for Michael) and I found a third variant and we fell in love.  With the idea of carrying on a beautiful family tradition and I love that it is an easily recognised "old fashioned" English name but not super popular today.

I am now terrified because we both love our boy choice so much murphy's law will come into effect and we will of course have a girl.  About a year and a half ago I made a list of every girl name I loved or even liked in my life and he flat out hated all of them.  That being said, he couldn't tell me what girl names he does like... I think he was just worn out and sad about our loss, whereas I was using names as a distraction to look to the future.

Anyways, I am hoping to take him a new list, now that we are officially have a baby January 2018!

I am hoping to find something similar with a girl name - a variation on a family name that we love, I am happiest when it is a name with the same meaning rather than a straight variation.  Since there seems to be more men in our lives that we would want to name after than women, it makes it that much more tricky for me.  I am hoping that fresh eyes might shed some light for me :)  Or perhaps find a name I have overlooked!

So here are the meanings of the names of family members we would like to honour:
Horn (not the best meaning - but an amazing person!)

Soft, Tender
Dove, Peace
Bright, Famous


Noble, Kind

Lily, Rose



May 17, 2017 2:36 AM


Best of luck to you!  I struggled to have a baby too. 

You mentioned that your family is male-heavy so you're having trouble on the girl name front in terms of honoring someone.  The thing is, there are so many names that have female/male variants!  Have you thought about re-visiting your honorees and looking for women's names?  Also keep your ears open for surprises, like female variants that are not so common in English-speaking countries.  Petra, for example, is popular in much of Europe but not so much in USA.  It's a variant of Peter.  Another one that springs to mind is my friend's Albanian wife Rajmonda - the J is pronounced like Y, so this is really Raymonda.  She goes by the nickname Monda which is lovely.

All that said, I'm finding your list really tricky because, well, I don't really know much about or pay attention to meanings of names.  So here are a few stabs in the dark.

Horn (not the best meaning - but an amazing person!)- Ivory.  Diana, goddess of the hunt?

Soft, Tender - Mercy
Dove, Peace - Birdie, Robin, Wren.  Lots of bird names out there.
Bright, Famous - Stella (star)

Power - Regina means queenly. 

Noble, Kind - Regina again

Lily, Rose - those are names already!

Gracious - Grace


Back to my first idea: what are the male names in the running for honoree-ship?

May 17, 2017 8:10 AM

horn - Keren, Cornelius

soft, tender - Belinda, Lina, Linda, Rosalind,   Mahala, Mahalia, Lina           - maybe you could use Bindy or Rosa

dove, peace - Jemima, Columba, Frida, Irene, Mira, Pax, Paz, Peace, Sakina, Winfred, Columbia, Paloma, Yona, Yonina, Salome                                           - spinof Jemma, Irena, Sally, Winter

Bright, Famous - Clara, Phaedra, Phoebe, Roberta, Roxana , Zahra, Claire, Aileen, Alina, Ellen, Helene, Helen, Helena                                 Clarissa,  Clarisse, Nell, Elena

Power - Keren, Brigid,

Noble, Kind - Ada, Adalyn, Adele, Alice, Allison, Allisa, Arya, Audra, Elke, Freya, Heidi, Caron, Adara, Rose

Lily, Rose - Lily, Lillian, Lillith, Susan, Suzanne, Susannah, Suzette, Rosanna, Rosina, Nerida, Primrose, Rhoda, Rosalba, Rosalind, Rosamund, Rosalie

Gracious - Jane, Jean, Shauna, Sinead, Siobhan, Hannah, Anne, Anna, Anika, Annalise, Annabelle

May 17, 2017 10:41 AM

Names don't have meanings. They have derivations (etymologies) and associations. As a source for said derivations and associations, you can't trust most baby name books and websites, but the regulars on this forum generally agree that Behind the Name is fairly reliable for names in common English usage. It can be incomplete for other languages, but it doesn't engage in the flights of fancy and fabrication that other sites are known for. (Unfortunately, BNW's Namipedia is firmly in the "don't trust" group.)

Off the top of my head, names with derivations related to the ones you list:

Cornelia, Julia, Paloma, Clara, Bridget, Adele, Susanna, Anna.

(Some of the connections are tenuous at best, but I went for names I like. I'm fairly sure that the second honoree is actually Linda, but I like my name a lot more, and the usual [Roman folk] etymology is from a Greek word meaning 'downy, fuzzy'.)

If you want to expand the field, look into masculine names. Many, many masculine names have feminine counterparts, so cross-gender namesakes are easy in the male-to-female direction. Plus, if you're trying to match etymologies rather than actual names, then gender is irrelevant.

May 17, 2017 12:03 PM

Any chance you could list the actual names you want to honor? Or at least your source for the "meanings"? As some of us keep reiterating, names don't have meanings, so 99% of what's listed on baby-name sites (and books) as the "meaning" of names is, um, fanciful.

May 17, 2017 1:38 PM

I agriee -- it'd be nice to know the actual names in question, because we may know of related or similar names, in addition to working from associations.

May 17, 2017 1:54 PM

Why do baby girl names need to honor a female relative?  If you are struggling with this, I'd suggest looking at female variants for some of the male names you are interested in using/honoring.  I also LOVE the idea of a variant of your name, especially since a possible son will get a variant of dad's name (why are women so much more hesitant to name after themselves?)  If you don't mind sharing, the regulars around here can probably come up with some variations on your name.

I'd be very hesitant to pick variations soley based on meaning.  For one, a lot of name "meanings" are pretty tenuous at best (some are just flat out made-up).  Also, I think this can be overly restrictive.  For example, let's say your "horn" name is Cornelia.  Finding other names with "horn" in the meaning will leave you with very little.  You'll get more suggestions if you open yourself up to sound alikes/look alikes and so forth.  Without the meaning restriction, I would also suggest Cordelia, Cora, Coral,  and Cecilia.  So I'll second the suggestion to share the inspiration names.

Also, it might help if you could throw out a few girl names that you do like, even if you can't use them for some reason. This would give us a better idea of your name style.  As you'll likely notice from the list below, a list of names with similar "meanings" can cover a very wide variety of styles.  I doubt they will all be to your liking.

Without knowing the inspiration names, I'll offer the following:

Soft/Tender:  Rosalind, Belinda

Dove/Peace:  Paloma, Dove, Mira, Winnifred

Bright/Famous:  Clara, Phaedra, Phoebe,

Power: Valencia, Henrietta, Harriet

Noble/Kind:  Adela, Adelaide, Ada, Sarah/Sally/Sadie

Lily/Rose: Lily, Rose/Rosa, Susanna/Suzanne/Susan

Gracious:  Mila, Joan/Joanna/Joanne


By mk
May 17, 2017 2:06 PM

If you want to honor a male relative than you can do so regardless of whether the baby is a boy or girl. Plenty of male names have female variants, for example Michael can easily become Michaela or Michelle. I think I would start by choosing the family member(s) you want to honor and go from there.


May 17, 2017 3:09 PM

Sorry! Was trying to be vague in case curious relatives started googling and noticed a lot of our family names in the same place!! lol

The female family members are - Shandy or Jean.

Male family members - Terrance, Cornelis (Dutch, not misspelled, he goes by Casey now that he lives in Canada), Colm, Robin, John, Reginald.

We are holding onto a couple of female family names for the middle name slot, but I prefer variations on the name for the first name so that the child has their own unique identity as well as a great person to look up to.

I am not a huge fan of girl version of boy names... I would never do Cornelia for Casey for example.   I have just never been a big fan.  I know it is a silly hang up but when I was a kid I meet a Patricia and my first thought is "oh, your parents wanted a boy named Patrick and got you instead so they feminized it".  I am likely the only person in the world who had that initial gut reaction, but now that the thought happened I can't make myself like a name that says "female version of..."

May 17, 2017 3:11 PM

It's okay, we all have our hangups! But a cross-gender namesake doesn't need to be something as blatant as Patrick and Patricia. Especially since you're looking at name etymologies/meanings/associations, there are many names that have the same origins but don't sound like somoene just took a male name and made it feminine.

May 17, 2017 4:40 PM

John and Jean are part of the same name family, the original form being Yochanan which derives from a root meaning grace. There are a ton of names in this family: Hannah/Ann/numerous Ann variants, Jane, Joan, Joanne, Siobhan, Sian, Janis/Janice, Ivanka (?!), or just Grace.

A colleague of mine named his daughter Casey, and Robin is of course gender-neutral. For Robin in addition to other bird species names like Lark, Wren, Merle, there are more general bird names like Avis and Zipporah. For Reginald, perhaps less obvious than Regina is Reine or linguistically further afield Malka.

May 17, 2017 4:58 PM

when I saw Jean - I thought Gina or Regina, Jeanette, Genette, Jenna, Jane (anagram), Genevieve, Johanna, Shauna, Shavonne, Siobhan, Janna, Ivana, Sinead

Shandy - Shantelle, Shanice, Shanika, Lashanda, Sandi, Sandra

Terrance - Teresa

Cornelis - Nell, Coralie, Coraline, Kaye

Casey - what about Cassandra, Cassia, Kaycee

Colm - Colette, Colleen, Nicole, Nicola,

Robin - Robina

John - Jane, Johanna

Reginald - Regina

May 18, 2017 10:23 AM

A boy honoring Shandy could be Tristram.

May 18, 2017 4:04 PM


May 23, 2017 2:05 PM

I love Reina for Reginald.  Also liking Jane and Joanna for John, and Nell for Conelis from previous posters.  

Other ideas:

Terrance - Tess 

Colm - Jemima 

Reginald - Reina, Rhiannon, Sarah/Zara/Sadie/Zadie (princess)  

May 23, 2017 2:16 PM

How direct do you want the connection to be? For example, a lateral-thinking namesake for Cornelis is Maisey. Is that connection too remote/non-obvious?