We are increasingly desperate for a name for our third boy

So I've posted about this pregnancy before, but we still haven't found a name that we love, or even a name that we don't hate enough to use. I'm due at the end of the year, but I have a feeling this one may be a hair early, and we seriously have nothing. My exisiting children are Ivy, Arthur, Peter and Molly. Peter is a name that I've always loved. I like it because it has so many fun cultural associations and it feels entirely timeless. We chose Arthur more as a default name. We liked the hero association and the old-fashioned feel of the name, but really it was all we could agree on for him. We've come to love it though.

Here are some general restrictions we have, although we will negotiate with all of them, since we are indeed a bit desperate at the moment. We can't even talk about names anymore, because we have already said it all.

I don't like single-syllable names for boys. I don't know why. I just don't. 

We don't like trendy tradesmen names or made up sounding names. We don't want anything too 'out there.'

Our last name is quite common, so we'd prefer a name that wasn't. It also is used as a first name, so we'd prefer to avoid a surnameish name. It also begins and ends with the letter N, so we'd like to avoid -n endings if we could. Both of the boys have -r endings, so we'd like to avoid those as well. These are not at all hard and fast restrictions though. 

If I weren't vetoing all of his favorite names, my husband would name the baby something like Simon, Alvin, or Malcolm.  

If my husband weren't vetoing all of my favorite names, we would name him something like Phillip, Patrick or Charles. 


December 8, 2014 1:11 AM

I don't think I'll bring up any names that are new to you. Your style strikes me as fairly classic and somewhat British. My suggestions for you are;










December 8, 2014 1:36 AM

If not Malcolm, Callum? If not Alvin, Calvin? If not Patrick, Frederick? If not Simon, Damon?  I am not sure what your sense of "common" is, since I would consider most of the names you mentioned to be common and not at all "out there."  Would names like Edmund, Raymond, Gregory, Harold, Geoffrey, Lionel, Roger, August, Rupert, Stuart, Ernest, Albert, Louis, Francis, Lucas, Kenneth, Timothy, Randolph, Douglas be of interest?  All of them have long histories of use, do not refer to obsolete occupations, and are not currently overrunning the daycare rosters.  None of them ends in -n and only one in -r.

December 8, 2014 3:14 AM

Oh, sorry, I should have been more specific.  I like names that have been well-used over the years, but I'm just trying to avoid names that are in heavy use right now. Our criteria used to be names outside of the top 100. We can't be that picky anymore, but we'd like to stay out of the top ten for sure. We'd also like to avoid names that are trendy or rising quickly at the moment. I'd like for the new baby to have a name that sounds timeless.

Thank you for the suggestions.

December 20, 2014 5:47 PM



December 8, 2014 10:16 AM

I'll suggest Albert, Henry, Walter, William, Edward, Edmund, Felix, Theodore, Evertt, Oliver

Though, it really sounds like what you need is a break from baby names.  I realize you are getting close to your due date, but take a week off from thinking about names.  You may be surprised how some names might strike you differently once you've taken a step back for a while.  

December 8, 2014 12:33 PM

I wouldn't do Simon as a sibling to Peter, but otherwise I think any of the names you listed would work -- and I don't think your styles are different at all, really; you're just not agreeing on the specifics.

I wonder if this list of names from Renaissance English marriage records might have some appeal?:


The one that'd be the most surprising today is Cuthbert, but there's also Roland, Lancelot, Gilbert, Percival -- and of course John, William, Robert, Richard, George....

I second the suggestion of stepping away from names, even if for just a day or two. Relax: the world will not end if he's born before you've chosen a name, and although there'll be some annoying pressure about choosing one if he's already here, even then you'll still have some time to decide.

December 8, 2014 2:31 PM

No, the one that would be most suprising today would be Marmaduke. :)

For some reason, I really like Gilbert with Arthur and Peter.

December 9, 2014 1:41 AM

Oh, I love the name Gilbert too. It sounds great with our last name, unlike so many boys' names. However, my husband, who did not grow up reading Anne of Green Gables, basically thinks it's the dorkiest name that ever dorked. So that's out. I think we've discussed it every pregnancy though. 

December 9, 2014 2:18 PM

If Gilbert won't work, how about Gabriel? That'd give you two high kings (of Camelot and of Narnia) plus an archangel. :)

December 9, 2014 3:30 PM

Ha ha ha,  you'd be AMAZED at how quickly people go there when they meet Peter and Arthur. I would have thought people would think of Peter Pan first, not Peter Pevensie. I guess that just goes to show what kind of a crowd we run in. if you can come up with a third high king with a good name, that would be awesome, but I realize that's a pretty tall order,particularly given how picky we are. 

December 9, 2014 3:44 PM

Since High King is a title associated with Ireland, here are the names of some of the High Kings of Ireland, real and legendary: Cormac, Niall, Diarmuid, Domnall, Murdoch, Sweeney, Angus, Finn, Flann, Fergus, Conall, Conn, Connor, Brian (the famous Brian Boru), Rory.

(I have anglicized the 'maddening' Irish spellings.)

Of course, I have no idea what would be a "good" High King name in your family, but I think at least some of them would be usable.

December 9, 2014 7:10 PM

Well, both Tolkien and Lloyd Alexander used the title "high king", but I don't know whether any of their names are in the same league as Arthur and Peter:

Feanor, Gil-galad, Ingwe, Manwe, Thingol, Elessar/Aragorn
Math son of Mathonwy, Gwydion, Taran, Don

Probably Taran is the most useable of the lot, although I suppose you could also do Mathew/Mathias or Donal(d), and say that the name was inspired by the fictional high king.

December 9, 2014 7:31 PM

We actually came very close to naming our first son Arthur Gwydion instead of using a more traditional middle name. We both dearly love those books, but I'm not sure we would ever have the nerve to use names from them. Taran is definitely the most palatable of the names, but alas, it is kind of going girl, and anyway the character is a bit of a twinkie. 

I think we may consider Gwydion. It's pretty out there for us, but you know, we've got to name the kid something.

December 10, 2014 2:36 AM

"But you know, we've got to name the kid something." ROFLMAO! Seriously, I'm making unseemly noises here. :)

And I think Gwydion would be an inspired choice.

Or there's Garion (as in Belgarion) - not *called* a high king (to the best of my recollection), but very much in the same league.

December 10, 2014 3:27 AM

Also snorting quietly to myself, and seconding that Gwydion would be a great choice. I really don't think it would be that strange.

December 10, 2014 3:13 PM

Do you REALLY think that people wouldn't blink if they met Arthur, Peter and Gwydion? It seems like one of these things is very clearly not like the others. 

I kind of want you to talk me into it. I'm not sure that we would ever have the nerve (we had stuff like Lysander and Aramis on our list with our oldest boy that we didn't even consider when he was actually born), but it COULD be cool. It might just be too weird though, you know?  We're too cautious, I think.

December 10, 2014 4:08 PM

Lysander makes me think of Leander -- any interest there? Lee or Leo could both be nns.

December 12, 2014 1:09 PM

Evander is another slightly less outlandish suggestion. I think the Evan part makes it blend in much more seamlessly.

December 10, 2014 6:00 PM

I think people would find Gwydion unusual. That's not bad, but it is something to consider. If not Gwydion, how about Adaon? It looks like Aidan, but with a twist. Adaon was another great character, although if memory serves, he didn't last long.

December 10, 2014 8:10 PM

I would love to meet a little Gwydion, but it is perhaps a bit unusual in the U.S. (I just checked: no name in Gw- was given to more than four boys last year.)

You lose the "high kings" reference, but Gideon is a pretty close sound-alike, with plenty of history, familiar yet not overused -- and the biblical Gideon was a "high judge", if you will...

There were ten baby Garions born last year, and 41 Tarans. (And 830 Gideons, which is actually fairly comparable to Arthur, with 1020 babies, and only a thousand less than Peter, with 1833 baby boys in 2013.)

I know exactly what you mean about not having the nerve, though: I'm trying to imagine our family's reactions to some of the names I like in the abstract, and the picture ain't pretty. And with boys named Arthur and Peter, you've paved the way for family expectations that would really be thrown for a loop with a name like Lysander or Gwydion.

I suppose you could go for something like Griffin or Gavin/Gawain or Tristan: something that evokes heroic literature in general, rather than high kings specifically. Perhaps not Lancelot, though, nor any of the other Knights of the Round Table... (Hmm, names from Ivanhoe: Wilfred, Cedric. Or Robert, nicknamed Robin.)

December 10, 2014 9:23 PM


I don't think  Peter, Arthur, and Gwydion would make me wonder too hard, especially in that order with the names getting progressively more daring with birth order (as it usually goes). Children need not be matched sets like salt and pepper shakers, you know? The "high king" theme is also pretty apparent, so they DO "go" rather well, and I think it would have occurred to me pretty quickly.

December 10, 2014 9:44 PM

If her husband thinks that Gilbert is too dorky to use, I hesitate to ask what he thinks of Wilfred. :)

December 11, 2014 1:16 AM

If nothing else, Gilbert may start to sound better by comparison!

Google informs me that another "High King" name is Emeric, but Skyrim may be less up your alley as a source.

Also, behindthename has this handy list of Irish high kings, sorted by frequency: http://www.behindthename.com/namesakes/list/irish-rulers/frequency

December 11, 2014 1:28 AM

Yeah, it's hard to know what my husband will think is dorky and what he won't. I would argue (and do frequently) that many of his favorites are dorky, so you'd think he'd LIKE a name he thought was kind of dorky. At any r ate, yes, Wilfred is right out on grounds of dorkiness.

December 11, 2014 1:50 AM

Worth a try as I wage my one-woman battle to revive this name! (Maybe someone will come along and name their boy/girl twins Wilfred and Araminta and then JnHsmom and I can both retire our respective campaigns.)

December 11, 2014 2:10 PM

LOL! I'd love for that to happen if for no other reason than to see what you two have waiting in your pockets next.

January 4, 2015 2:14 PM

This! :-)


December 9, 2014 6:18 PM

As much as I love the name Gabriel, I just can't endorse it with a brother named Peter. I am a fan of Gabriel's music, but I just couldn't go there (we chose Alexander instead).

December 9, 2014 7:23 PM

Ha! I would have never thought of that. And seriously, Peter causes a lot of problems for his potential siblings, doesn't he? We can't name a kid Starlord either (I'm kidding, we would never do that). It also knocks Edmund out of the running. 

December 9, 2014 1:47 AM

Thank you! My husband thinks I'm being silly every time I protest about Simon on grouds of already having a kid named Peter. We can't name two children after the same person. The names I listed as names we like are completely vetoed for various reasons though. They aren't options (except MAYBE Malcolm, I might be willing to stomach that, although I have a number of objections to it).

We actually just started looking for a name in earnest. This IS our fifth pregnancy though, so we already know exactly how we feel on every name out there, or so it seems. So we don't need a break. We just need more names, or something. 

I loved the parish record list. That was so much fun! Thanks for sharing it.

December 8, 2014 4:23 PM

I also love Gilbert for you!

I was reading a name book today and two stood out to me for you: Byron and Duncan. I know they both end in -n, but I thought I'd throw them out there anyway. And Duncan made me think of Garrett, as I know brothers Duncan and Garret, and I thought Garrett seemed a good fit for you too.

My favorites of the ones you mentioned are Charles and Malcolm. But I really do think my very favorite is Gilbert!

December 8, 2014 9:52 PM

A friend of mine from grad school named her sons Gilbert (Gib) and Byron.  Just sayin'....

December 8, 2014 10:34 PM

Mitchell is the first thing that jumped to mind.  

December 10, 2014 7:19 AM

I agree with this. This is the frist name in my mind too.

December 9, 2014 9:13 PM

Gideon instead of Gwydion?

December 12, 2014 12:54 AM

I really like this suggestion, and we've actually discussed it at length. As it happens, we are Mormons (okay, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'll cite my religion properly if cumbersomely) and there is a character named Gideon who I've long admired in the Book of Mormon. I realize there's one in the Bible too, but he's never been as much of a standout for me.  This changes the name Gideon within our culture quite a bit though. Yes, there is another namesake that is very good, but it also makes it quite a bit more common in the area and gives it kind of a religious sheen. I'm not opposed to religious names, we love telling Peter about Jesus' friend that shares a name with him, but plucking a name from the pages of the Book of Mormon is different somehow. 

So, long story short, that's a fairly inspired suggestion, but Gideon is a much more loaded name for us than it is for most. 

December 12, 2014 1:07 PM

This makes so much sense -- I wouldn't ever be able to name my child Darwin even though many other people who are NOT evolutionary biologists are able to name their child Darwin and have it be just a fashionable surname/place name for them. I just wouldn't feel comfortable making such a strong statement with a child's name, even if it's just perceived as a strong statement within my community.

Anyway, it makes me like Gwydion even more for you. If you are living in a cultural pocket where Gideon is very commonplace, it moves the weird factor of Gwydion down a few notches, I'd think.

Is Lemuel another similarly-loaded name? To me it's all Gulliver's Travels but I imagine the cultural conext matters tremendously for that one as well.

December 13, 2014 4:36 AM

Thank you for understanding. It was difficult for me to explain why that would make a difference, because it should be all bonus, right?

And yes, actually, there is a very prominent Lemuel in the Book of Mormon, but he is a bad guy, which makes the name essentially untouchable. The Book of Mormon is much like the Old Testament in that it has a number of stories about ancient righteous men and women and prophets, and Lemuel is a wicked older brother to one of the stand-out prophets in the book. So such a name would sound like Cain or Herod to Mormon ears. 

December 10, 2014 10:00 PM

I had a couple of new thoughts tonight:

Lawrence -- there's a little twoheaded Lawrence in my 4yo's class who goes by just that, Lawrence, which I find so surprising and it has really grown on me this year. It feels like Arthur to me, so I can see it with your kids. (His sister is PeneIope fwiw.)

Fergus -- Miriam mentioned it above and I like it. My youngest son's mn is Fergus0n (family name) and we call him Gus, which is one of the best nns ever imho.  :)

Digory -- a little out there, but Digory Kirke is a great Narnia reference imo, and I love the sound of it.

David -- kingly (Biblical and Scottish).

December 10, 2014 11:19 PM

 ...there's a little twoheaded Lawrence"

Poor little Lawrence.  Is there nothing medical science can do for his two heads? :-)

David: biblical, Scottish, and most particularly WELSH.  (St. David is the patron of Wales.)

December 10, 2014 11:31 PM

Ahh! Haha! Thanks for catching that -- of course I meant TOWheaded! Poor Lawrence indeed!

December 11, 2014 2:34 PM

Of course, I knew you were talking about a little blond, but I couldn't help thinking of the recent birth of two-headed conjoined twins who were miraculously born alive but only survived a day or so.  Sad story....

December 13, 2014 9:04 PM

LOL, my daughter was reading over my shoulder, and wondered if the two-headed kids shouldn't each have their own name :).

December 13, 2014 10:04 PM

Oh, they definitely should.  On the current American Horror Story, one head of the two-headed lady is Dot and the other is Bette....

December 11, 2014 1:37 PM

My first thought was Louis, he was the king of France for the longest time. I also love Gideon and Gavin.

December 11, 2014 1:38 PM

A baby brother for Ivy, Arthur, Peter, and Molly ...

Basil, Cyril, Desmond, Edmund, Felix, Francis, Gerald, Howard, Leo, Louis, Rufus ... ;o)

Good luck!

December 11, 2014 2:04 PM

Something that is not out there but not to common hmmm how about Dwight? For me that's kinda up there with Phillip because I only knew of 1 person each  with these names and I went to elementary school with them way back when.  Never  met anyone since with them.  Ivy, Arthur, Peter & Dwight.  It works.  Good luck and congrats. 

December 12, 2014 12:34 AM

Wow,  you deserve like a million bonus points for that suggestion. It's actually Peter's middle name, chosen because it is a family name, but still, I'm impressed. 

December 12, 2014 11:47 AM

lol wow seriously, I must have been channeling you or something.  Ok then let change my suggestion.  How about Harris or even Harrison if thats not to many syllables. 

December 12, 2014 10:24 AM

I think someone already mentioned Edward, but I want to suggest it again. It seems so great to me as a brother to Peter and Arthur, it's kingly and English. I prefer the full name to any of the nns, but Ned and Ted are both nice options, and while I don't care for Ed I do think Eddie is cute. There was also my dad's friend Edward who went by Z3b, just in case you want something crazy.  :)