What to do with "White"

My husband and I are expecting our fourth child, our first (and likely only) boy. He and I both have the name White in our families (his great-grandfather's first name, my grandmother's maiden name), so it would be a good two-for-one opportunity to honor each side, but I just don't like the name. We are thinking of using it as a middle name, after R0bert, but particularly because our last name starts with W, it's just now flowing for me. What do you think of R0bert Wh1te W0oten? If it's not great, do you have any suggestions?


November 1, 2014 11:56 PM

Hmm... that is a bit of a challenge. As middle or as a first name, White Wooten still sounds strange, because of the "W" sound. How about a name that means white or relates to it, in different languages?

For girls I would suggest Blanca, Bianca, Blanche, Alba, Alva, Elvira, Finola, Fiona, Guinevere, Gwendolen, Candida, Livana, Whitney, Neva, Nola, Rima (also means Rhyme in Spanish)...

For boys: Wyclef, Whitney, Dwight, Finn, Frost, Gavin, Alban, Albus, Aubin, Alvar and Arjun.

As for Robert, I like it, but don't love it. I hate the nicknames for it, Bob, Bobby, Rob, Robbie, Bert, Bertie...


November 2, 2014 5:06 AM

Gavin doesn't "mean" white.  It's one of those names whose derivation is uncertain.  It is a form of Gawain which some derive from Gwalchmei 'hawk of May', but that is by no means certain.

Neva is a short form of the place name Geneva, also related probably to Genevieve.  It doesn't relate to "white," although the Welsh Gwen, -wen (e.g. Bronwen, Blodwen, Olwen, etc.) names do.

Nola is also a short form of any name ended in -nola or something similar.  It can be a nickname for Finola/Finnuala, etc., but in that case it's the finn- part that derives from the word for 'white.'

As an English name Rima is a literary invention for a character in the novel Green Mansions by William Henry Hudson.  Rima is the last member of a lost tribe that once lived in the Venezuelan rain forest.  Audrey Hepburn played Rima in the movie which I saw when it came out, but not many others did.  There is an Arabic name usually transliterated Reem or Rim which is said to come from the term for a white antelope, but I don't know enough Arabic to verify that.  The name is familiar to me only through Reem Acra, a designer of bridal gowns.

The Welsh masculine names Wynn and Gwyn are also 'white' anmes.

November 2, 2014 1:37 AM

R0bert Wh1te W0oten is perfectly fine. You don't need to worry about 'flow' with a middle name -- they all but disappear in daily life. It's not even a tongue-twister, so you can use it for "boy, are you in trouble now" alerts without fear of tripping. And I actually like Robert, because it's so classic and unambiguous; it's bound to come as a relief on a class roster full of surnames and creative respellings.

I wouldn't use White as a first name, regardless of the surname. It's such a common surname that it'd lead to endless confusion about which name is which, and it just doesn't sound like a given name. A name derived from a word meaning "white" could work, though: Alban, Albus, Finnian, Finn/Fionn.

November 3, 2014 5:42 PM

Exactly this! All of it!

By EVie
November 3, 2014 4:25 PM

I don't see a problem with the flow of Robert Wh1te W0oten. In the middle spot, White sounds like a family surname, which it is. The whole thing sounds very distinguished and literary. I would go for it. 

November 6, 2014 4:23 PM

Not sure if anyone else mentioned it but the RW initials are a bit of a tongue twister. Robert Right Rooten, Wobert White Wooten. I wouldn't do it.