Written Vs. Spoken

I'm interested in the collective thoughts on the name Hart for a boy. My husband and I both love the name, but am afraid we would be religating our son to lifetime of clarifying his name ("no, it's Hart, not Heart"). My question is, if you were to meet a person named Hart and not see the name written, would you assume it was Heart? My fear is that at first blush, people will think his name is akin to Rainbow, or Sunshine.

Thanks for the help. This naming business is complicated!


March 7, 2013 1:31 AM

I would probably assume Hart, but only because I'm familiar with it as a surname.  

March 7, 2013 9:27 AM

Unfortunately, I think I would assume Heart, despite the fact that I know a little one (girl) named H@rt -- it's her mother's maiden name, and her dad is actually a cardiologist! I'm sure that for that girl, most people would also assume Heart ... but I do also think my first thought of "Heart" upon meeting a boy named that would be because I wasn't thinking ... if I were to take a minute to think of what the actual name of a boy named Hart would be, I'm sure I'd realize it's most likely Hart and not Heart.

March 7, 2013 10:31 AM

"This naming business is complicated!" Indeed!

I think that I would assume "Heart" if I heard the name, just because so many people near me do give their children names like Rainbow and Sunshine. I'd use Hart as a middle name without hesitation, however.

By hyz
March 11, 2013 4:37 PM

Hmm, I'd probably assume Hart for a boy, and Heart for a girl, but my guess is that the general population would not be very familiar with Hart as a name, and you'd probably get more assumptions of Heart in the real world than you would on this board.  I think Hart is a very handsome and dashing name, but because of this kind of confusion, I'd probably be inclined to relegate it to the middle name.

March 13, 2013 1:39 AM

I think it might be assumed to be Heart at first blush, depending on how popular surnames versus hippie names are in your immediate geographic vicinity... but is that really so bad?

A quick, "Oh, no e! Like the stag!" should totally take care of it, and I think it's the sort of thing that would immediately register and would be remembered from then on. People your kid doesn't know well might not have it right in their heads, but I think people who your child interacts with to any degree would rather quickly get to the point of seeing the name in writing. Does it really matter if a Starbucks barista writes Heart on the cup, or just draws a heart symbol?

And to gather data for your survey: I live in an area where there are a lot of kids named things like Story and Canyon and River, AND lots of kids with surnames-as-first-names (I met a D'artagnan today!), so I would be poised between the two choices... and honestly, probably would tip to assuming Hart versus Heart depending on how hippie-ish the context I met them in was. Are we meeting at the Zen Center? Are you or your child swilling kombucha? Heart, all the way. Otherwise, I'd guess Hart.

Anyway, I would use it if you love it. I don't think it's an unworkably huge hassle as it's a straightforward correction and surprisingly large number of seemingly-straightforward names require spelling out anyway.

By hyz
March 15, 2013 12:15 PM

Hmm, this is compelling, and I think you may have convinced me to switch positions, at least.  Heart is certainly not a negative word to be confused with, apart from maybe being a little feminine if that was a concern for teasing, but then the stag association is so masculine that it should all balance out, especially if he is in a community of more adventurously named kids.  As I said, I pretty much adore the name, and I'd be thrilled to see a kid (or man) with it. 

May 11, 2013 5:20 PM

You know, Hart for a boy is a very strong and traditional name.  For example, one of our best American writers is Hart Crane.  Your son could clarify to people who are confused by saying, "You know, like Hart Crane, the writer." Most people won't know who that is, but it would shut down further silly inquiry.

By Coll
June 6, 2013 3:40 PM

Yup, Hart Crane would be my association, too. And the perfect response to the misassumptions.

May 12, 2013 10:28 AM

For a boy, I'd probably think about it for a minute & realise it's Hart, not Heart.

But I think about names more than most people...

May 13, 2013 1:05 AM

I think Hart is a fine name but to answer your question, yes I think he will be correcting people.  He may resent it when he is young but appreciate it when he is older, which seems to be true of many people with uncommon names.

May 13, 2013 3:20 PM

My name is Katie and I always have to spell it for people just bc there are too many choices... but it's not a big deal to me. I don't think he will mind that much. I would assume it is spelled Hart.
I do think he will be more open to name-bullying though, it's a beautiful name but kids are mean and the perspective we have where we can appreciate it will be lost on those little buggers.

July 2, 2013 4:17 PM

If I were speaking with someone and said "My name is Hart." I would assume Heart because Hart is, traditionally, a surname and I haven't heard it as a first name. That being said, I think it's a great name option and I wouldn't rule it out because of what people may or may not write. 

In addition, my name is Megan. I grew up in the middle of the "Megan name craze". Seriously, one year in school, I had SIX other Megans in my class. I have seen my name spelled every possible which-way: Meagan, Meghan, Meaghan, Megghan, Meggan, Meaggan...the list goes on and on. In school, I hated it - I also hated having to be "Megan #4" or "Megan W." instead of just plain "Megan", but outside of the school setting I haven't had a problem. People will still misspell it just because of the variety of options out there, but I head this off by just saying "Megan. M-E-G-A-N." (especially at the doctor's office.) To me, it's not a huge inconvience and it doesn't bother me. I just suggest that if you REALLY love the name Hart, use it. Just come to terms with possibly saying "Hart. H-A-R-T." 

July 3, 2013 7:53 AM

It's interesting that you mention that you haven't encountered many Megans outside of a school setting. I think this is an excellent point. School is the only time in our lives that we're surrounded by people born the same year we were. Once we leave that environment, we're mixed in with people of all ages and are less likely to run into people with the same name.

July 3, 2013 9:22 AM

For me it has been the opposite.  I'm a Laura born in the mid-70s which was slightly past Laura's most recent peak.  I didn't have any Lauras in my classrooms growing up but now have serveral close friends named Laura - all a few years older than me.

July 3, 2013 10:29 PM

I think it also depends on the naming demographic in your specific area. I was an Army brat; I had a couple of years in school where I was one of a million (it seemed like!), but I think I was the only one in my graduating class. And my mom swears to me that she'd never met a Megan before in her life when she picked the name. Obviously, if I'd stayed in the same town that year that I had a class full of other Megans, I would have graduated with them and grown up around them, and possibly wound up being friends and/or being in the same work place as them.