Working on boy short list

Guys, we're almost halfway there and true to my word, I have not brought up boy names with my husband even once.  We knew that a boy name would be the biggest struggle so instead we've been discussing girl names and we've come up with a solid list that we're quite happy with!  Since we both love them all, I'm comfortable waiting until we have a baby in our arms to truly decide but my confidence waivers when I think about boy names!  

For reference, the three boys we have already are Atticus, Malakai, and Isaias.  

The only name Finn has suggested is Silas.  I do like Silas but I'm not sold on it.  I just don't know if I want to hear people calling my baby Si.  I considered Cyrus but I have the same issue, and Finn does agree with me on that point.

So here's the list of boy names I've been working on when we do sit down and talk about it:

Gideon, Dominic (I like the sound of Dom Dillon), Raphael (but I KNOW where my sons will go with that), Augustus (maybe Gus?), Elliott (maybe called Otto?)

I don't love any of them but if we have a boy the name is going to be a serious compromise, and I know that.  

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I considered Thaddeus for awhile but scrapped it.  I've also been kicking Seth around quite a bit lately.  It's just so different than the other names we've used but I love it a lot.  Not sure that Finn will feel the same though.  


December 9, 2018 11:43 PM

I was thinking of you the other day and Gideon popped into my head as a name that would complement your sons nicely. So it's good to see it on your short list.

I think Elliott is also a good choice for you - I've also seen Lio as a nn for it, I wonder if you like that - otherwise Otto is a pretty great nn. If you don't mind the alliteration, I also like Dominic for you. Along those lines (i.e. a D name!) have you considered Dashiell? That seems like it might be a good fit.

December 10, 2018 12:04 AM

Some alliteration annoys me, but I like the idea of Dominic Dillon/Dom Dillon!  I had not considered Dashiell...but I shall!  I was binging Fuller House the other day and one of the babies who plays Tommy is named Dashiell.  I don't know how I feel about the inevitable "Dash".  But I've got time to mull it over.  

I do like Lio/Leo as a nn.  I was trying to figure out how to get Ian from Gideon.  Eon looks like ee-on, not an especially nice word.  But I don't want to change the speling of Gideon either.  Can I just do that?  Pull Ian from Gideon?  It feels like it's got to be breaking some sort of rule, lol!

December 10, 2018 2:28 AM

Hmm, my original reply seems to have disappeared? But you must have seen it because you replied to it!


I think you can definitely use Ian as a nn for Gideon. But Eon is actually not too bad, I think ... I could see it working as a word name. You could also use Deon - or Deo? But Ian is certainly not too much of a stretch.

December 10, 2018 4:38 AM

The reply got "unpublished" possibly because a moderator (maybe me? sorry if so!) clicked on that option mistakenly? I've fixed it!

I think Ian is a fine and workable nickname for Gideon. I would probably not spell it Eon, unless you have more nuanced vowel pronunciation in mind that I'm not capable of, as Gideon pretty much includes Ian as the last two syllables, in my mouth anyway. In general, I would spell it a nickname in such a way that it most obviously produces the sounds in the nickname as said aloud, even given that English is not a terribly phonetic language. Like Michael becoming Mike, where one doesn't have to spell it Mich just because those are the letters in the name. 

I would be prepared for a nickname based on the middle/end of a name to be less immediately intuitive to the outside world than one based on the beginning of the name, especially if it's not the stressed syllable... but Ian has going for it that it's an recognizable name and a child who is introducing himself as EE-uhn or who is overheard being called EE-uhn is probably just going to be assumed to be Ian, without any question. Most schools/doctors office intake forms have a 'prefers to be called' spot and you could just put Ian in there if that's in fact what young Gideon prefers to go by some of the time. 

Bottom line, I don't think Gideon nicknamed Ian is breaking any rules at all. People have been fairly accepting of a less-than-standard nickname in my youngest which takes advantage of the squishiness of vowels far more than Gideon/Ian does. (Actually I find I'm fielding no questions at all about Wolf, and far more about Tamsin.)

By Eko
December 10, 2018 5:22 PM

Could you spell the nickname Ion? Then you have all three letters from Gideon. 

Other possible nickname is Don.

December 10, 2018 5:36 PM

or Deon,  I think Ian would work ok though

December 10, 2018 7:08 PM

Chemists and biologists will say Ion as eye-on and think of positively and negatively charged atoms... which isn’t terrible actually and I think it could be a potentially fun, dynamic name (ha). But it could totally work as a science nickname - I love science and unusual names so I’m here for this Venn diagram overlap. If you want it to sound like Gideon I’d stick with Ian, though!

December 10, 2018 3:07 AM

I like Dominic, Raphael and Elliott are all great- I think a non-Biblical name this time - so no to Thaddeus, Seth and Silas

I think keeping with 3 syllables is good and a non s ending - Nikolai to match Malakai

Donovan, Sullivan, Tennyson Damien Broderick Cameron Darian Finnegan Harrison Jamison Julian Jeremy Everett Nicholas Nikolai Lorenzo Xavier Raphael Sebastian, Ebony, Dario Diego Emery Julian Orion Bendict Cyprian Callahan Florian Gulliver Leopold Emerson Evander Lysander Ferguson Hamilton Vincenzo Llewellyn Ptolomy

to match the 6 letters of Isaias, Damien, Darian, Jacobi, Elliot, Jamari, Jabari, Jovani, Jeremy, Julian, Oliver, Xavier, Dmitry Edison Indigo Zoriah


December 10, 2018 10:02 PM

Suzanne, I really appreciate all the effort you put into making these eclectic lists for everyone. I always enjoy seeing the wide mix of names that you put into them. 

December 10, 2018 5:06 AM

In my experience, fourth children tend to be really in-charge to be able to keep up with older siblings so one could probably use "Dom" as a nickname for any name on your list, including Silas... I have to say it's not my favorite as far as names go because I have been a listener to Dan Savage's podcast for over a decade now, so even though I am not actually in the BDSM community, when I hear "dom" my brain immediately follows with "sub", as in dom/sub dynamics. This is unlikely to be a problem with peers or with anyone else, unless, as came up a long time ago ( ), you are drawn to creative spellings of Sabrina for future siblings. Though, Ace in combination with Dom definitely does put me in the mindset less of names and more of "shortenings of modern sexuality terms". (Ace is being used for "asexual".)

I don't see a problem with the TMNT association with Raphael, as I've said before! It seems like it would be a positive for young people but not likely to be a problem for older people: win-win.

I do like Augustus but in your shoes I'd prefer to avoid using it with an Atticus, especially an Atticus who is mostly going by Atticus and not Ace these days. I think the -us ending is distinctive enough that my brain registers the overlap much more than repeated -n endings for boys or -a endings for girls. Are there other routes to Gus that you might like too? 

Elliott is a great name, with loads of nickname options! I really like it, in general and for you both. 

If Seth is a name you love, and a name that Finn also loves, I would use it, rather than worrying about whether it "goes with" the sibling names!

December 10, 2018 6:01 PM

Another traditional route to Gus is Gustav(e), but it occurs to me that I actually haven't the faintest idea how to say that in English.

Angus is the other route, but it shares both the initial and ending of Atticus and August(us).

December 10, 2018 7:02 PM

There's Fergus too, which is less similar to Atticus.

December 11, 2018 4:30 AM

I think a non S ending name and 3 syllables

December 11, 2018 4:19 AM

I've been reading Dan Savage for years, and in isolation I have the same response to dom... however, I do actually know a Dom, and this does not happen to me at all in the context of his name.

December 10, 2018 5:59 AM

I may be an innocent, but what's the problem with Raphael?

How about Lionel to get to Leo/Lio. I feel like Messi has gone a long way to make this name cool again.

December 10, 2018 5:58 PM

He's one of the turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (if I recall correctly they are all named after master painters). I assume the OPs older sons would have a great time making jokes about it.

December 11, 2018 12:21 AM

Ah, yes.  My boys are 8, 6, and almost 4.  They're in to TNMT but I'm slowly learning that no name is safe from pop culture so there's no line I can draw.  I just have to decide whether I want it to be an issue or not.  I do think Raphael fits into my sibset nicely!

December 11, 2018 4:24 AM

TNMT is still on??? In any case, he's a positive character right? Another name I always think goes with Raphael is Gabriel.

December 18, 2018 7:53 PM

It's fun to see what cultural phenomena just keep on going strong a generation later! The other one that really surprises me is Maury Povich and his paternity testing. I keep wondering whether it's a relevant cultural reference to make to students (I teach about genetic testing), and whenever I look it up I am delighted to find that it's still going (and still doing paternity testing)!

Raphael is the strongest one: not much for stealth or strategy, just for brawn. He's not the appointed leader (that's Leonardo) but sometimes chafes at at being led, like he strikes off on his own when he feels unappreciated or unfairly overruled.  Rounding out the character archetypes, Donatello is the brains of the operation (and also the most quiet/awkward one). Michaelangelo is the goofy joker, being both creative and most unfocused. I think they're all positive if flawed characters now, as in my own youth... and I would not hesitate to use any of those names because of the turtle associations. 

Raphael strikes me as the happy in-between archangel name. Michael and Gabriel seem so oversaturated as to feel less special (I grew up in a Gabriel pocket, I'm aware that it's not been as broadly popular nationwide as Michael), and the others seem hardly usable.

December 11, 2018 10:40 AM

I know a baby Raphael who was intentionally named after TMNT. It gets very enthusiastic praise from most who are familiar with the characters. 

December 10, 2018 5:56 PM

I think Gideon works really well in the set, and I don't at all see a problem with the nickname Ian (even spelled that way). Dominic I think I said before that I like for you and I still do.

Raphael is NMS but that's obviously not the question here; I do think it would be ok as long as you were happy to lean in to the TMNT association, if the idea of your sons making comments/jokes or other adults asking if that was your inspiration bothers you then you should probably cut it from the list. 

Augustus I do like (Gus is a cute nn) but for my taste it would be a little too similar to Atticus. I don't think it's at such a level of similarity to be unusable though so if you and Finn are both comfortable with it I'd keep it on the list. 

Elliott I really like both as a name itself and in the set. It's similar to both Gideon and Dominic to me in that it manages to be very distinct in sounds from the older boys names without feeling like it doesn't "match" (and I really like Otto as a nn). Seth actually also fits this category for me; the biggest difference I see with Seth is that is's already one syllable so you can't do the short-nickname thing, but I don't think that matters in the face of you loving it "a lot". 

December 10, 2018 7:09 PM

I love Gideon with the other three!  Raphael is my second favorite as a brother, but my least favorite as a name.  Augustus is great, but not with Atticus.  Dominic is... fine.  Kind of a let down after the more interesting names you have chosen so far.  Seth is nice, I think it works fairly well.  Elliott is too surnamey for me.  I find that it pales in comparison to other similar names (the Eli- family).  You could consider Octavian/us to get to Otto.


My rank ordering:






Augustus (my favorite, but too similar)

December 11, 2018 12:24 AM

Octavian is a cool name!  I like the idea of Otto as a nickname for this!

December 11, 2018 12:58 AM

Given the other names in the sibset - all three syllables, all with an Old World appeal to 'em - I would personally go with something ending -iel or -ael. There are some obvious options - Daniel, Michael, Gabriel -  and some less so. Raphael actually would be my favorite of these names. I have a soft spot for Is(h)mael, but that might be awkward with a brother Isaias. Israel is a bit much post-1948. Gavriel is cool but might look like a typo. A lot of -iel names starting with a Y have currency in Latino communities, Yadiel and Yariel being my favorites.

If you lik Cyrus but hate the nickname Cy, Darius might be worth considering?

December 11, 2018 1:34 AM

You have a really solid list. The only ones is have reservations about are Augustus, just because it does feel awfully close to Atticus to me, and maybe Dominic. I share some of Lucubratix's associations, plus I'm old enough that Dom Dillon sounds a lot like it should be Dom DeLuise. Neither of those things is a deal breaker, though.

i was reminded of the name Morris recently, and thought of you--it feels a bit like completing the set with your boys' names plus Silas, and personally I've always liked the nickname Morry (though it does repeat an initial).

I agree that Seth stands alone and fits the sib-set just fine, but if you want a long form and are willing to get a little adventurous I think you could derive Seth from Nazareth. Or Zenith, though I prefer that as a girls' name.

December 12, 2018 5:20 PM

Being a Dan Savage listener myself, I hear you on dom/sub. You could call a Dominic Nic or Nico though.

December 12, 2018 5:27 PM

Have you thought about using Raphael, but spelling it Rafael? The sound is obviously still the same, but it's less TMNT to me, and even less so if you use Raff or Rafe as a nn.

December 21, 2018 9:52 AM

We have a Rafferty called Raff in my son's class. It's a slight style departure from your list, but I think it could still work. That said, don't let TMNT get you down, it might just mean your boys are more likely to dote on their younger brother, which could be a good thing.

Otherwise Elliot or Octavian nn Otto is inspired. Actually, anything nn Otto really gets me excited!

Gus I do like, but I know I would mix Augustus up with Atticus all the time. It might not be a problem for you when they use their nicknames, they might not always wish to do so and you might meet a lot of people like me which could cause them to feel differently about their names. It's something to ponder.

Dom Dillon is fun. There's also the possibility of switching to Nico as a nn if Dom just doesn't work for any reason.

Good luck.

December 23, 2018 12:14 AM

Rafferty is interesting!  I've never heard this before!