"Silly" last name...

Hello all! I have long lurked on this forum and am now pregnant with my first! We are not going to find out the sex, so we'll be thinking about all sorts of names. 

Here is our dilemma - our last name sounds exactly like the word "silly" though, thankfully, it does have a different spelling. Some names are obviously off limits, like Silas or Lily, though some are a little trickier. William would be okay, but Willy Silly would certainly not be. Names like Isadore quickly become questions like, "Is a door silly?" And so on.

Here are some names we are considering. Please let me know if you find any nicknames or other things that would rule them out when used with Silly. Likewise, if you think of other names that fit this general style and are silly-safe, please let us know!

Arthur, Calvin, August, Hugo

Margot, Juniper/June/Juno, Petra


Thank you!


October 9, 2018 4:16 PM

I think all of those names are ok with your surname

Edward, Robert, George, Henry, Michael Albert Alexander Patrick

Katrina Juliet Phoebe Freya Phaedra Portia Greta Nina Delphine Ursula Imogen Ingrid Primrose Astrid Ariadne

October 9, 2018 5:08 PM

Congratulations!  That is a bit of a tricky last name to work with, isn't it?


I see two names on your list that don't quite work for me.  I'm finding that the T in August Silly gets swallowed up when I say it, leading to Augusilly if I'm not careful to enunciate.  Petra Silly also kind of becomes Petrasilly, which sounds like a penicillin product or something. :)  This doesn't necessarily happen with all -a names but Petra isn't all that commonly known so it's somewhat likely to be misheard to begin with.


Walter, Caspar/Caspian/Jasper, Milo, Albert, Edmond

Ramona, Imogen, Rosamund, Leona, Harriet

By rfb
October 10, 2018 6:22 AM

Petra Silly also sounds a lot like the German and Dutch words for parsley, Petersilie and peterselie, respectively. Not that words in other languages should hold you back, but if you do have ties to continental Europe...

Silly Lilly happened to be my plannend name of endearment if we had gone for Lilian or Cecilia, but with a surname in the mix I wouldn't do that either. 

Sounds like a challenge, good luck!

October 10, 2018 2:43 PM

It is too funny that you mentioned the penicillin connection to Petra! I kept feeling that that combination was the name of a medicine. I even googled things like Petracil and Petrosil because I was sure there was some connection, to no avail. But I think you've hit it spot on -- Petra Silly just sounds too much like penicillin. It's too bad as that was one of the few girl names we both liked. But I'm grateful to know sooner rather than later that I'm not the only one getting a medicine vibe from it.

I also agree with the swallowing up of August. We both love it, but strongly dislike the nickname Gus, so it was already losing ground on our list.

To everyone who has offered suggestions of other names to consider, thank you so much! I've been toying with Freya and Harriet for a while, but my partner isn't quite sold yet. I hadn't thought about Ingrid before, but I do really love that name. That could be a great addition to the list. We'd just have to avoid M middle names.... IM Silly might be too much to handle. :)


October 9, 2018 11:43 PM

Ooh, that is a challenging name to live with, isn't it...

I don't know if you are nickname people but if August goes by Gus it would sound like Gussily, which isn't technically a word but is used as one. (e.g. "I dressed up all Gussily to go to the party.") There's nothing bad about the association, but it did stand out to me. 

October 11, 2018 2:33 PM

The only thing I can add that hasn't been covered already is that I think that when the surname is a word and especially a word that is far better known as a word than as a surname, it can highlight the word-ness of given names that are also words. I would vote for Juno over June, for example, because June is poised in between a name and a month for me, but when you pair it with your surname, that starts to tip it into less namey territory. Juniper is a little better for me than June, because I encounter it more often as a person name than the word for the plant. Ultimately, I think this isn't an absolute rule but given that you have a cohort of similar choices, I'd opt for the ones that don't have this problem. Juno Silly is fantastic.


October 11, 2018 3:21 PM

Yes, this! I have a lot of experience with word surnames and this is so very true.

October 12, 2018 9:45 PM

Juno Silly becomes You Know Silly for me.  (It is a stretch, you may not want to "stop" on that!)