"Rhyming" names

I've so far 100% avoided adding certain names to my lists if they end or start with the same sound as our surname. I'm not sure why, as it seems pretty common to have names with (to me) an almost sing-songy quality. Our 2-syllable surname ends with an -in sound and starts with a hard C, so I'm really struggling this time around avoiding either sound for naming our baby boy. For example, my husband's 3 uncles ALL have names that end with an -in sound (one even starts with a K as well) and it drives me, and maybe ONLY me, crazy, but I wonder if I'm just being way too nit-picky and this naming practice is totally acceptable in most people's minds. I'm curious if anyone else even notices or is annoyed by this when they hear names, or if I need to just let it go and broaden my naming horizon a bit, haha.

Sidenote: While it's been difficult, I kind of love having an immediate excuse to avoid the annoyingly popular Aidan/Jaden/Caden/Brayden/etc. name trends that I already don't really care for ;) On the flipside, I've hesitantly pegged a few more names in my search for a (preferably) Celtic name (Eamon, Callum) even though they immediately bother me with our last name. Is this a battle not worth fighting? I'd love to hear all of your input!


August 15, 2017 10:49 AM

It's not just you. This kind of thing is pretty personal, so one person's "annoyingly sing-song" might be someone else's "beautifully lilting", but you definitely aren't alone.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I resisted adopting my husband's surname in large part because I emphatically did not want to be Megan Martin, which I take it is the kind of rhythm one of your uncles-in-law owns. I probably would have also seriously disliked something like Megan Carson. On the other hand, I actually enjoy a certain amount of alliteration, and we gave our youngest son a name that shares the first two letters of our (much longer, non-Martin) surname--think along the lines of Gabe Galileo. I came to appreciate alliteration over time, though; in my early twenties I was probably as anti-alliteration as anti-rhyming.

I think I would continue your current practice of adding names to the list that you especially like on their own, without worrying about flow with the last name. Then you can see if the rhythm grows on you, or if you love the name enough to get over a sub-optimal flow. If you really can't get past it, you can always cut those names later. You might also find that putting some of those names on your list elicits other similar or related names that don't have those issues, or throws into relief some other name that becomes your front-runner.

August 15, 2017 7:27 PM

The alliteration is definitely more tolerable than the rhyming ending, I'm just finding avoiding our particular ending much more difficult.

That's good advice to just try the names on for size despite the flow and see if I CAN get over it :)

August 16, 2017 12:37 PM

^^ All of that. I just got married this year and felt the same resistance. My new last name ends in the same three letters as my first name, so I am now Allison ___son. I feel like no one has quite understood when I tell them that this drives me crazy! It also has taken some of my favorite boy names off of my list permanently due to ending in similar sounds. I agree with nedibles though about addingn names without worrying about flow until you need to use the list and trying them on for size, so to say. 


August 15, 2017 12:28 PM

No, I agree it isn't just you.  I would not discourage someone from using a name they loved because of it, but it is something I personally tried to avoid. 

Like Nedibles, I'm probably somewhere in the middle.  It bothers me more with some names and less than others.  My surname is an occuptional "er" ending name.  Not only does something like Cooper Tanner sound sing-songy to me, two occupational names together sounds like a comical list to me, like naming kid after a nursery rhyme or something.  

In your case, I think the repeated "en" ending would annoy me, especially if they were both two syllable names.  I would very much try to avoid something like Aiden Martin, but would likely be OK if the first name had a different number of syllables.  For example, Adrian Martin and Sebastian Martin both sound fine to me.

I'd probably avoid something like Eamon Martin because I say the endings so they sound very similar.  Aye-min Mar-tin.  I'd be less likely to eliminate Callum because the ending sounds very different when I say them.  Call-um Mar-tin.  

I think there are enough Celtic boys names that don't end in an "en" sound that you should be able to find something you like.  Dougal, Alastair, Cormac, Graham, Angus, Malcolm, Liam & Doyle all came to mind fairly quickly.

August 15, 2017 7:35 PM

Like I said, I've tried so hard to avoid it but now I'm just tired of the effort and WANT to "not care"... easier said than done, of course! 

I haven't found a single name (Celtic or otherwise) than stayed on my list than isn't 2 syllables, oddly. Not for any conscious reason or preference... the names I'm considering just all happen to follow that pattern. Unfortunate, really, since both the surname and middle name (my surname) are also 2 syllables. Sadface. 

Angus is still on our shortlist but I haven't totally fallen for it. Hence the never-ending hunt and attempt to branch out.

August 15, 2017 2:12 PM

Yeah, no, definitely not just you being picky. 

-- Any name that both begins and ends with the same sounds is most likely overkill, but one or the other can be okay.

-- Tastes can change. Like nedibes, I was virulently anti-alliteration in my 20s, but that attitude softened over the years and lo, the perfect name for my daughter began with the same sound as her surname-to-be and I love it. (Though they aren't the same letter, since the first name begins with a hard C and her surname begins with a K.) When my husband and I were dating, I was so glad that I wasn't going to be taking his name because both begin with Ks and I thought that it sounded comical and would have been embarrassed to have that name. Now, meh. I still wouldn't take his name, but the names together are fine enough. This is also an example of exposure lessening how much we notice things and how much they bother us. If you have a name that you love but don't love with the surname, live with the combination for a while instead of immediately discounting it because it might grow on you considerably -- to the point that you question why you ever hated it in the first place.

-- Choosing a name with a different numbers of syllables than the surname makes a HUGE difference to the overall effect of repeated endings. 

- Not liking a group of names is enough reason not to use any of them! You don't need to hang onto excuses because either parent saying, "It's not my taste" is a good enough reason for a name not to go on the list.


August 15, 2017 7:44 PM

I will definitely have to try out a few combos to see if my instant recoil reaction can be softened. Even I didn't immediately notice the rhyming with my uncles-in-law when I first met them since I was introduced to them by their first names.

I wish I had more (edit: ANY) one or three syllable names on my radar! Ugh!

August 15, 2017 4:37 PM

My last name ends in -son, and when I looked at baby names I specifically took off all names ending in -n, because I don't like the sound of it with our last name. I don't think it would be the end of the world if the only name my husband and I could agree on had been one that ends in n, but I definitely looked at other names first.

August 15, 2017 7:45 PM

That's a good point. If some potentially rhymey names end up being loved by both of us, that will have to carry a lot of weight in the decision. 

August 15, 2017 6:26 PM

It really depends on the name - also it may work better if the name was not 2 syllables.  If its driving you beyond the brink now,  it will probably continue to do so,  but most of the time you will only call your son by his first name

August 15, 2017 7:53 PM

The fact that I'm even considering some names that I would have originally not even looked at means it's possible a name could grow on my that kind of rhymes... maybe?! I'm trying to think of it as one strike. If I'm keeping/dropping names for various reasons, I suppose I need to be less strict in case I'm avoiding a really great name otherwise. Two months ago was a different story, but as my due date approaches I'm getting more desperate :P

Definitely true that the name will most often be used alone, so that does need to be on my radar more. Three 2 syllable names, one of which kind of rhymes, is certainly not ideal... but my daughter's name also fell into that trap accidentally. At least the same ending sound was only with her middle name though. 

August 15, 2017 10:24 PM

I've brought up this example before: in her first year of preschool, my daughter had a classmate named F0ster with an older sister named /SKY-lər/ (in some spelling or other; I never saw it written). I remember thinking at the time that the parents really seem to like the "two syllables, ends in -ər" pattern. It wasn't until the Christmas program that I found out their surname: two syllables, ends in -ər.

So it really is a matter of taste.

I think you're actually fairly lucky: the 'Aiden' pattern is _so_ ubiquitous that people don't even notice it, kind of like how they don't notice if all the girl's names end in -a. I know I wouldn't even blink if I were to be introduced to a Kevin Goodwin, and even something like Kevin Colin would only be noticeable to me because both parts are so common as given names.

(And don't give another thought to the fact that the middle name will also be two syllables. I don't know the middle names of _any_ of my daughter's friends or classmates.)

August 16, 2017 12:28 AM

I think that the fact that the second syllable in Goodwin is -win and not -in makes a difference. Kevin Goodin isn't nearly as good as Kevin Goodwin, which shows that even if the number of syllables is the same, it helps if the syllables aren't identical. 

August 16, 2017 8:38 AM

Hmm, that's an interesting observation. I think you're right. The last 2 letters of our surname are -in and definitely make that sound, but the flow of the first syllable is questionable. Depending on your ear, it could be (using a K here instead of the C,) Kash-in, or could come out as Ka-shin. Certainly not EVERY name that ends in an -in sound will sound awful, maybe just mildly irritating ;)

By EVie
August 30, 2017 1:52 PM

I'm late to the party here, but just wanted to note that, knowing what your surname actually sounds like, I think Eamon Ka-shin and Callum Ka-shin both sound just fine :) And I would ordinarily also be resistant to repetition. Something about the "sh" sound in the middle elongates the surname and makes the repetition more pleasing to the ear, if that makes sense. 

August 30, 2017 2:31 PM

I'll probably still be (name) partying until I'm in labour, so welcome ;) Good to know those particular combos don't come across terribly. Neither name is at the top of the list currently, but I am toying with them since they do break the mold a bit for me. I think at this point it's good to branch out a bit and see if it either pushes us back to some original choices or leads us somewhere new :) Thanks!

August 16, 2017 8:45 AM

So true, there are a ridiculous amount of boy names with that ending, so maybe it's just not as huge a dealbreaker as I thought. Still not my preference to have a semi-rhyming name, but in the interest of having a child with a name I'm willing to bend. 

August 30, 2017 2:09 PM

This is something I've been thinking about lately after my mom confessed to me that she's always hated her first name and maiden name combo because she thinks they rhyme. I don't think they rhyme at all! They do both end in similar sounds (think Vivian Carlin, though that's not my mom's name), but, I don't know, for whatever reason it's just never jumped out at me as a rhyme or a particularly bad thing. It woud never be a consideration for me not to name my child with a similar combination of syllables. Which then, of course, makes me wonder if we are accidentally doing something like that to our child.

For the record, i would probably not give a name like Colton Moulton or Mary Carey to a child. But "ends in similar sound", especially if the names have different patterns of syllables and don't have the same suffix-style ending like "son" or "er", I don't have a problem with it. Mason Anderson, I would be on the fence about. Jennifer Morgandorfer I probably wouldn't even notice.

August 30, 2017 2:40 PM

You're right, true rhyming vs loose rhyming/similar sounds are very different, and I do think most people would find actual rhyming names a bit odd, or at least immediately noticeable. This territory seems to be just personal taste. I was mostly just curious if I was in the minority or if this was equally bothersome to a wider crowd. I think the names I'm considering are fairly safe, based on comments, so I'm reassured. At least I'm not in love with a name like Carson or Mason--they would be far too into the rhyming realm for me. 

August 30, 2017 2:53 PM

Not for rhyming reasons, but there were so many names I loved that we couldn't use just because they weren't a good fit for our last name. Ah, the things you don't consider when naming your hypothetical future children as a teenager...