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My Favorite Names
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October 19, 2018 08:37 AM

This analysis represents the very best of statistical and critical social analysis and is why I love this site. Major, major kudos, Laura!

The takeaway is so depressing that I find myself having the impulse to share two silly ideas/anecdotes:

a. On-trend twin idea: Violet (g) and Violent (b).

b. The other day I met a little girl named Caper, which I really like in that it's very on-trend in a bunch of mutually-contradictory senses. So it's polysemantic: Caper as in the little berries that are pickled and jarred, which is a nature name like the ones discussed in this blog and strickes me as similar to Olive. It also echoes the professional surname trend, as in -er, a la Carter, Archer, Cooper etc.. Finally it means adventerous exploit. On a girl, that meaning really works against the girls-as-love-and-happiness trend. I love it!  


May 22, 2018 08:42 AM

I ran into a Thaddeo (sp?) the other day and thought it was delightful (which is funny considering I don't like Thaddeus). It's long, but could be shortened into Theo or Deo (which might be a little odd, as it means god).

May 22, 2018 08:38 AM
In Response to A sister for Edith!

I really want to see an Edith and Irene sibset. Absolutely not what you're looking for, but sometimes ideas out of left field wind up working, I've found.

May 16, 2018 09:42 AM

Ooo! Rosalie and Cordelia is pretty great. I like the echoing R and -ie sounds, given that they're also fairly different.

May 16, 2018 09:41 AM

I agree they're too close. 

As I've just named a second child, I've realized that my initial ideas for #2's name were very similar to #1's name in terms of sounds and letters. Like they weren't so much ideas for #2's name as they were ratifications of #1's name. 

I think this might happen a lot. I know a mom of two daughters Suzanne and Annabelle. She thinks the second name really was inspired by the fact that she loved her first daughter's name, especially the Anne syllable. They become Suzannabelle in her mind, which highlights the derivativeness of the second name. 

So if I were you, I'd take your idea about Coralie as a message from your heart that you love your first daughter's name. Then put it aside and think about something quite a bit different that might suit this new person. At least that's what I had to do with #2.

May 10, 2018 11:33 AM

Nedibes, that's so funny! Yes, very similar difficulty.

My husband wanted to spell it the French way, Emile, but I was afraid people would take it as a cre8tive spelling of Emily. 

I still quite like the name. It certainly feels hipper than what we chose. But I think we went for something much truer to who we really are and what makes sense in our social milieu. Emil was a bit hypothetical, even aspirational, to be honest.

May 10, 2018 11:26 AM

MollyCatherine: Please email the mods and all will be revealed!

Thanks for the congrats! 

May 9, 2018 11:15 AM

I hear you on all of the above! Thanks!

Yes, on my surname. The one with the other vowel is very much associated with Jewish folk. And there are actually a lot of Ashkenazi people with my exact last name. I think because it's a locanym (is that the word? Place-name.). But my Ashkenazi side isn't associated with my last name. 

Now that you mention it, I also know several Jewish Larrys, one of whom was rather dear to my family and recently passed away. But my little guy just isn't a Lawrence. I guess that was the objection, actually, more than it being too Anglo-sounding.

I know Miriam will disagree with me on Edward being not great on a part-Ashkenazi kid, perhaps even be offended! I just found it Anglophilic, especially with my husband's very British Isles last name. 

And on Emil, I know!!! I really think I and everyone around me should be able to pronounce it fine. But no. Even I can't pronounce the vowels consistently. Eh- or Ay- or Uh-. And then I have trouble with the -mil, again given my pin/pen troubles. Meel? Mill? M-schwa-ll? 

But yes, I would never have suspected it would morph into Email on some tongues and in texts and emails with autocorrect. YIKES!

I've seen the name mentioned a lot on the more juvenile name sites (on which I was forced --FORCED, I tell you!--to post when this one was down). I think it might be due for a little trendlet. But I wonder if others will encounter the difficulties in actually using it that I did.

I think I'll always have affection for the name, but it just didn't quite suit the boy or any of our friends and family (other than the super Euro-oriented among them).

May 9, 2018 11:01 AM

If anyone who does not have access to the moderators' email account wants to know the actual names (including mine!), please send an email to the address EVie posted and I'll email you!

May 9, 2018 09:03 AM

Do you get the moderator's emails? Or does your sister? 

Is everyone here a moderator except for me?! 

May 9, 2018 09:02 AM

Hi HNG. My internet-related phobias and desires for privacy exceed logic. I'm emailing the moderators now and hopefully you'll get the actual details that way! Please don't share even though the name is so, so common. Humor me. Humor my phobias. 

May 9, 2018 08:43 AM

Please send Miriam my epic update. If you would be willing to get me her contact info somehow, or can give me yours, I'd love to tell her the actual names, since she's been such an inspiration. 

May 9, 2018 08:42 AM

Wow, that was an epic post! Sorry for the length.

May 9, 2018 08:41 AM

Hi all.

Thanks so much for empathizing! It was actually pretty hard. You think the internet community you find yourself a part of isn't that important emotionally or intellectually, or at least I did, but this kind of put it into perspective.

So let me tell you a bit about this naming journey. I think it definitely would have gone more smoothly with you all.

As you may recall, my husband has a very Anglo last name and I one that sounds Ashkenazi but is actually just German. In fact, I'm Ashkenazi on my mother's side. Both my husband and I share German heritage, so that's the sort of shared culture we like to indicate in our naming. (This is all my perspective on the situation, natch. Who knows how he'd put it). To put it otherwise, I'm uncomfortable with names that sound too exclusivley Anglo and he's become uncomfortable with Old Testament names because we all (he, I and our daughter) all have them and he's afraid we'd begin to sound like a very religious family if our son also had an OT name. 

We also travel a lot (or used to pre-kids. We'll see if it ever happens again!), so we like names that are recognizable internationally, especially in Europe, the ME and South Asia where we've spent significant time. 

Our daughter has the perfect name for all of this. It's an OT name that has near cognates in many languages. I don't feel like posting it, but I think you all know it. We brought two names to the hospital, and were choosing between her name and Oona, which has its pros (sounds like a South Asian name and a European name) and its cons (sounds like "one" in Spanish, but then so does Ann in English, sort of, and that's no problem). I'm so glad we went with what we did, because I realize my Oona fixation was largely about sound, like the long oo-sound that was quite trendy then with Luna and Loula etc. Our daughter's middle name is my dearly departed grandmother's first.

Fast forward to about when the Spam Filter woes began here. We were nearing the end of pregnancy with a boy. Husband didn't want an OT name, and I began to realize that I have some sort of weird relationship with my partial Jewish ethnicity where I really want my kids to sound like they could be Jewish or could not be. I realize Jewish kids can be named anything, but found myself really objecting to very Anglo names that my husband liked like Edward and Lawrence etc. Even though Edward and its variants are very widely used in Europe, I just couldn't get over the Anglo (to me) sound of the -ward ending. We did the whole using various names at the coffee shop exercise and Edward sounded like a real contender, but I just didn't love it.  

I found myself leaning toward OT names that honor my Ashkenazi family, but since our daughter had my (German, not Jewish) grandmother's name as her middle, it didn't seem fair to honor my family once again and leave husband's unhonored. But Edward, like I said, which had some family resonances for him, I just couldn't quite do. 

Somewhere I got the name Emil and got fairly affectionate for it. I love the look of it. We also both wanted a somewhat androgynous name because we believe in allowing gender fluidity for people and are generally uncomfortable with masculinity (a bit of an issue as we contemplated raising a son). The fact that it was only one letter away from a much more popular girl's name made me happy, even though I don't have strong positive feelings about Emily.  

We also had a foreign name that is similar to a common American name come to us in a very inspired manner, so we thought about that for either the first name the middle name (and have stck with it in the middle spot).

My son came a few days earlier than we expected, with his birth timing requiring a lot of decisions(to induce or c-section or try for a VBAC), so we had not made a name decision. We brought Emil and the foreign name to the hospital and chose Emil ForeignName My Last-His Last. My husband wanted ForeignName Emil, but agreed with me that it would be too difficult for him to explain in the  US context. 

Then we told people. And realized that Emil was really not cutting it. 

Although I love it hypothetically, and apparently in my hypothetical life I'm European and surrounded by Europeans, and we love how it looks written, it just does not sound good coming out of our friends' mouths. Some said M-uhl. It sounds weird when I say it because of my lingering pin/pen merger from a childhood in the South-Southwest. My mom couldn't get her mouth around it at all. My dad corrected her by telling her it sounded just like "a meal" which made me not love the name. It gets autocorrected to Email and pronounced that way by some friends with Middle Eastern and South Asian accents. We were thinking it was the perfect happy medium between Amir and Adeel, but nope. It sounded more like Email when they said it, and they were super uncomfortable with it. 

Also he kind of didn't look like an Emil.

So we had Emil Foreignname on the birth registration, but we knew we had a problem. I was logging on here maniacally to see if I could post for feedback, but no luck.

We called him various names for three and a half weeks!!! Foreignname, Edward, Julian (which I also love in a similar way to Emil but feels a bit trendy and lacking in particular meaning for us) some others, a new one each day. Nothing was any better than ok. We were flummoxed. 

We had settled on something. I can't even remember what! Perhaps Edward, although clearly I wasn't settled.

Then all of a sudden I added in some wildcard names that we had never considered. Thes included a name I had never particularly liked. But one that is found in the New and Old Testament, is very widely known but not too popular, and is easily recognized and pronounced internationally, with, we discovered, some near-cognates in the Middle East and South Asia.

Moreover, it suits him! 

So now he's Thatname Foreignname Mylast-Hislast. And I find that I love it. LOVE IT!!!

I'm uncomfortable specifying the first name for privacy reasons (which is probably ridiculous given how common it is--in the 200s or 300s for boys in the US I think), but if you could find a way to message me individually or tell me how to message you, I'd love to tell you. 

All's well that ends well, I suppose, but it was fairly agonizing. And it would have been much more fun to have you all weighing in!


February 6, 2018 09:27 AM
In Response to Boy names ideas

Are these names for a real child or a character?  

I ask because you seem to be focusing on style over personal connotation or meaning. Am I right?

You've definitely crafted a coherent style with these names. It's quite impressive. Many of these feel akin to Harry Potter names, which seem to draw from mixtures of diverse mythological and historical sources as you've done here. 

It feels to me like when naming an actual baby, the qualifications are likely to have less to do with style than with family significance and emotional resonance for you.

I'm always especially hesitant when people spend a lot of energy on naming websites focusing on the stylistic coherence and flow of first and middle names together, since on an actual child, the middle name is rarely used outside of official documents, and the flow is greatly shaped by the last name.


February 6, 2018 09:20 AM

With Calliope I might guess the girl was of Greek ancestry. In Greek it seems to be pronounced more like cal-ee-oh-pay, with more-or-less equal stress on all syllables, maybe slightly stronger stress on the oh (keep in mind this is from overhearing Greek people say the name, not from any actual authoritative access to Greek pronunciation rules). Collide-apee is pretty funny but I think most people will just pronounce it like the English word for the musical instrument (which is kind of annoying. I mean the music made by the instrument is pretty annoying). 

Beatriz with that spelling I might presume to be from a Spanish-speaking family. 

Elena could be just about anything. Greek, Spanish, maybe Russian. It strikes me as more international, but that's based on first impressions rather than knowledge. 

Edited to add that I'm sorry for some reason I didn't see all of the very helpful responses before posting mine. I guess my browser didn't load the page fully. I'm leaving my response as is even though it's a little behind the discussion.



February 1, 2018 11:49 AM

I was thinking the same. But was the revival a success? Was it really popular enough to spark interest in the name?

February 1, 2018 11:46 AM
In Response to Khalil?

Thanks all. I really, really appreciate it. Very interesting, although I think we may have pretty much killed the name for me. I realize that my interest in it is very much aesthetic and coming from a place of cultural ignorance. E.g. cultural appropriation straight up. I'm not even a knowledgeable fan of Kahlil Gibran (and his use in the wedding context strikes me as pleasant but hoke). 


Moving on. 

January 19, 2018 01:43 PM

Laurence is on our list, and we're seriously considering it, as you'll see on our thread too! Great minds...

January 18, 2018 03:25 PM

Is that a Catalan name?