Thoughts on our short list?

You all helped when my partner and I initially started discussing names earlier this fall for our due-in-March baby.  We are now down to a very short list and I was hoping to get some additional thoughts.  We are not sharing at all in real life, so this is where I come when I need some outside thoughts.  I'd love to hear which you like best and also any comments on associations, concerns, dislikes, etc.  Don't worry about offending me, if I wanted a name that (statistically) most people would like, I would just choose from the top 10.  Last name starts with L, one syllable.  Think Shakespeare king.


Girls: Middle name likely to be Elizabeth or Ann

Phoebe (nn Phee)- Love all the history.  Haven't found a reference that really bothers me.  Somehow sounds very distinguished to me, but I do worry a bit that it sounds silly/sing-songy to people who might not be as familiar with it.

Fiona (nn Fi)- Love the sound and the nickname.  Concerned a bit about popularity in my region/ neighborhood (I'm in Portland, OR).  Also oddly slightly bothered by the fact that "Fionn" is pronounced "Finn" and that (from what I have been able to glean) Fiona is a more made up feminization (albeit made up 300 years ago.)  I actually do like Fionnula (Fin-oola) but my partner does not. 

Boys: Middle name likely to be Edward

August (nn Gus)- Like both the formal and the informal names for daily use.  Worried a bit about popularity in my particular neighborhood.  Also feel like it kind of blends in with a lot of the other "old man" nickname names today.  (Hmm, was that little boy I just met Sam or Max or Charlie or Gus?)

Tobias (nn Toby)- Like both the formal and informal but it seems like there is a big gap between the two.  Would there be times when Tobias would be too formal but Toby would be too childish/informal?  Also wondering if, in your opinions, having a Toby would rule out having a Phoebe later?


Thanks in advance for your thoughts!



December 12, 2012 2:24 PM

Girls: I love them both, but I'm leaning slightly more towards Phoebe.  Some adults might initially think "silly" when they hear it because of the character on Friends, but it won't be familiar to your daughter's generation, and I think people would get over it pretty quickly. 

Boys: I definitely love August, nn Gus.  Gus is seriously the cutest nn ever, and I don't think it blends with Max, Sam, etc.  Of course, I live in a city that has very different naming trends than Portland, so August is very rare here.

December 12, 2012 2:43 PM

I'd vote for Fiona for a girl.  Phoebe's nice, but Fiona flows better with the baby's last name.

I completely understand how Fiona feels "made up" even though it's been in use for hundreds of years; I've been having the same concern about Vanessa. But really, it is centuries old, and all names were invented at some point. It's no Nevaeh.

For a boy, I'd vote for August.  Gus is really cute as a nickname, and August is dignified for an adult.

I have pop culture associations with Tobias/Toby that make them unusable for me - the character Toby from The Office (utter schlemiel) and the character Tobias from Arrested Development (least self-aware person ever).  Pop culture associations do fade over time, but new episodes of both shows are still coming out, so Toby/Tobias could take a while to recover.

By EVie
December 12, 2012 2:44 PM

I think all your choices are really nice and you can't really go wrong with any of them :) My preference is Phoebe over Fiona, but I also have a great love of classical names and am lukewarm on Irish ones, so I'm coming in with a bias. I like Phoebe's antiquity, its positive meaning and associations, and the fact that it's traditional and familiar without being overused. I also love the sassy nickname Phee. I would pair it with Elizabeth over Ann, just because I prefer Elizabeth and I like the flow of a longer name between two shorter names. Fiona is a perfectly nice name, I just find it a bit more expected these days, and without the appealing history of Phoebe. It may work a little better with your surname, since it's one fewer repetition of the "ee" sound, but that wouldn't be a deciding factor for me.

I would probably pick August over Tobias, again just based on personal style preference and my own associations with the two names. I don't see a problem with the formality of Toby/Tobias, in part because Toby doesn't strike me as being exclusively a child's nickname (like Tommy, Bobby, etc. would). It's just the English vernacular form of Tobias, the same way Jeremy is the vernacular of Jeremiah, and I think it would work fine in a professional setting. I do think that Toby and Phoebe together might be a bit much, if only because they don't really pass the "holler test," so that's something I would take into account. 

December 12, 2012 6:21 PM

I like all of your choices, although Fiona has the Shrek film association.  Toby I like less than August, which is just great. 

Any interest in Phoebe Augusta or Augusta Phoebe?  I think they are both stunning combinations. 

Both Ann and Elizabeth are fairly common in the MN spot, whereas Augusta and Phoebe seem to have more weight.  Of course, I'd ammend that opinion if Elizabeth or Ann has family significance for you, which is a special kind of weight.

December 12, 2012 9:08 PM

Choosing between Phoebe & Fiona is a hard decision for me, as I really like both names.  In your case, I think I lean slightly more towards Fiona because of the flow with the last name.  

I also really like August & Tobias, but my vote would be for August.

My problem with Tobias is the nickname Toby.  It's a perfectly reasonable name and doesn't seem too informal or childish, I've just never liked it for some reason.  I also think having a Toby would rule out Phoebe, but a Tobias without the nickname would be fine with a sister named Phoebe.  

If your main concern about August is that Gus might blend too much with other names in your area, I'll suggest the nickname Auggie.  I've always liked it and it doesn't seem to be getting much use at all.

December 12, 2012 9:12 PM

Forgot to comment on your middle names.  With Phoebe I'd use Ann just because the ending/starting E's bother me.  Flow isn't a problem, it's a visual thing.  For the same reason, I'd prefer Elizabeth with Fiona.  

December 12, 2012 9:50 PM

Oddly or perhaps not, AUgust has suddenly been popping up as a name for tv characters.  There is August (Auggie), the blind CIA operative on Covert Affairs; August, the Pinocchio character on Once Upon a Time, and August (Auggie), the gang henchperson on Sons of Anarchy, now the gang leader since his superior got killed on the season finale.  There is also Christoph Waltz's character in Water for Elephants, and a scattering of recent minor charactors.  In older works, August shows up on historical figures who were actually named August or characters of German background.  So if pop culture is any clue, I would say August is definitely in the air.

December 14, 2012 10:54 PM

Great names!  I prefer Fiona over Phoebe. I think it sounds more sophisticated.  I like it with Elizabeth as a middle name.

I definitely like August better because both the full name and nicknames are great.  Toby is an adorable nickname, but I'm not crazy about names that end in S because they seem like they don't end. 

You have a great list!  I love that these names are original but tasteful.

December 15, 2012 10:26 PM

Thanks all!

I really appreciate all of your thoughts and insights.  While I know of all the Tobias pop culture references, I don't think I realized just how pervasive they might be!  That is good to know.  I think you all are also right that Phoebe and Toby would not work so well as siblings, so I will definitely be keeping that in mind.

Middle names are all family names so are all but decided at this point. . .though I agree that family names aside, there are other middle names that would sound a bit better.

I think right now I am leaning toward Phoebe and August.  Who knows how many times that will change before March!  Overall though, I feel pretty confident going in with this short list and seeing what happens when the kiddo is born.

Thanks again,




By rfb
December 16, 2012 7:21 PM

I like all of your names. August is a nice choice, but in combination with your surname I'm not sure if it doesn't sound a bit too.... regal for me; I'd probably go with Tobias. And Phoebe seems to share too many vowels with your surname, at least if I pronounce it well; but I do like Fiona.

December 17, 2012 11:28 AM

Bugger--I really like Phoebe, but I think Fiona sounds better with your last name. Too many "eee" in it, I  think. 

If last name was different, I'd go with Phoebe  Ann, but in this case I would probably go with Fiona Elizabeth.

I like Tobias better than August. 


Good luck!

December 17, 2012 10:19 PM

you have a very strong list.....

I have always liked Phoebe, except that I sometimes hear feeble when I say it. It's a personal thing for me though.... I also don't love it with your surname. That would make me vote for Fiona.  I do think Phoebe is the more interesting of the two but both are great names.

On the boy side I'd have to vote for August. It's high up on my list of boy names. I do worry that it's getting a bit trendy/popular and Miriam has pointed out a slew of new pop culture references. I'm yet to actually meet any young Augusts though.  Tobias is a name I really like in theory and have been trying to get my friends to use for ages.  I don't think I would personally ever use it as I have an adult step-cousin who is a Toby. I also prefer the full Tobias over Toby. Toby and Phoebe together are too much but Tobias and Phoebe are fine.

January 1, 2013 10:35 PM

Phoebe Ann and Tobias Edward are my choices. Best wishes.

November 26, 2013 11:33 PM

Fiona, Tobias and August are lovely. Pheobe sounds like a daft round faced girl who works in reception. 

Tobias nn Tobin. Gus is ugly, just don't use Gus. 

December 7, 2013 6:24 PM

For girls, I would totally go with Phoebe. Friends definitely influenced my decision on that one :) how could you not like a girl named phoebe? 

And for a boy, I say August 100%. It's very high on our list right now, and it's so handsome and classic. The nickname Gus is adorable :) as for Tobias/Toby, I'm not a very big fan. 

Good luck and congratulations on whatever you choose!