About Me

I am a physicist and a feminist and mother of two little girls, Elena (Ellie) and Katerina (Kat)

My Favorite Names
My Recent Blog Comments
August 6, 2018 11:30 AM

Looks like they decided to stick with the core "swash buckling, single syllable names" for their new boy, and dropped the D and K sounds. His name is Crew Gaines.

November 13, 2016 11:36 AM

Funny that this would be the first suggestion. When I saw the last name I thought "Anything but Jason!" Jason Voorhees is the unstoppable slasher of the Friday the 13th movies. ( )

Edit to add -- I would actually rule out Jackson for this reason too. Jackson Voorhees sounds too close to Jason Voorhees, and would inevitably call up the same association in my mind.

With this sibset, I like Dominic or Elliot or Benjamin or Samuel...

November 9, 2016 03:34 PM



Samantha "Sam"



September 12, 2015 07:45 PM

Well, for what it's worth I have a Katerina, who mostly gets called Kat, and occasionally Katya. So I think that's a good long version of both names, if it appeals to you at all.

September 1, 2015 10:37 AM
In Response to Too boring??

Just a thought, if you love Sara and Clara... I know a Shara. A little more unusual, but not at all "out there." I also know a little Seraphina who goes by Sera. 

August 4, 2015 07:38 PM

I've read (and written) articles in peer reviewed scientific journals with less sophisticated analysis than this. Nice piece of quantitative reasoning, here. :-)


Definitely okay to be a geek (I recognized the name, after all :-)  ) but wasn't sure if the homage was intentional or not. Nothing worse than an unintentional homage, y'know.

July 14, 2015 08:31 AM
In Response to Need fresh ideas...

Karina and Ivanna make me think you might like some of my Russian/Slavic favorites: Valentina (the first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova), Alexandra, Tatiana, Anastasia, Natalia, Larisa, Petra, Nadia, or Natasha, or Elena?

For boys, names I think might fit with Mazin and Xavier: Andrei, Cyrus, Marcus, Eli, Dominic, Isaac or Tobias? 


If you used Zefram (either spelling) I think I would assume you were big Star Trek fans:

July 13, 2015 11:53 AM

I also voted for Coraline Ivy, though it was a close call between that and Layla Renee, to me. I like Neil Gaiman and "Coraline" the book and the movie, and I like that "Cora" is a familiar nickname if wanted. And in the end I think it passes the "Can you imagine a Supreme Court justice with this name?" test best.

"Layla" passes too, I think,  but is still just a bit harder to imagine on a judge or a politician or a CEO (I picture a dancer or an artist... or a boxer!) I think "Coraline" gives a kid more options in terms of definining her own identity, while still having a very definite edge to it.

A Supreme Court justice named Salem would be... ironic, I guess.

July 7, 2015 02:19 PM

I think my brain woud insist on hearing this as "Matthias" until you spelled it out for me.

June 30, 2015 09:06 AM
In Response to Please Help!

"Coen" (or Cohen) isn't a good choice -- it is a sort of inherited title in some Jewish families, and shouldn't be claimed by people who haven't inherited it.

"Reed" (more often spelled Reid) is a normal, masculie name in the US, and is actually on my favorites list. I can think of a baseball player, a comic book super hero, and a TV comedy character with that name -- can't get more American than that. :-)

"Lou" and "Louie" are both common nicknames in the US, as others have described.  ("Luke" and "Wayne" or "Wade" also seem good suggestions.)

But I don't think your real name would be hard for English speakers to pronounce!

June 30, 2015 08:36 AM
In Response to Sister for Cora

I prefer Ada, because I'm a fan of Ada Lovelace: "an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer."
Lovelace often questioned basic assumptions by integrating poetry and science.
Lovelace believed that intuition and imagination were critical to effectively applying mathematical and scientific concepts. She valued metaphysics as much as mathematics, viewing both as tools for exploring "the unseen worlds around us".'

June 28, 2015 04:32 AM

I know a "Tiequn" who goes by T.Q. This works well for him because it sounds a lot like his name, but is easy for Americans to say. Lots of Americans go by their initials any way (and those letters really are his initials too, for his transliterated name).

You could be "Z.B." if you wanted.

Otherwise, I'd suggest that "Ben" is a very familiar name for Americans, and sounds somewhat like "Bing."

And there's nothing wrong with "Kevin" either.

I've had Chinese colleagues who did both -- changed their names or kept them. I sometimes feel quite self-conscious using the American names like "Frank" and "Tony" for someone who I know did not grow up called "Frank" or "Tony." It seems more friendly and comfortable to me when people go by their real names. I probably don't pronounce them correctly, though. I understand how hearing your name said incorrectly all the time could be worse than just going by a different name. But what I'm saying is, don't do it just because you assume your American colleagues would prefer you to. They probably don't mind trying to say your name if you don't mind them getting it wrong!

June 25, 2015 06:34 AM

I agree with the comments that it will probably not be useful to you in choosing a name that you like since everyone has different tastes, but it is fun to talk about favorites. Not counting my kids names, and not ruling anything out because it's already used in the family or doesn't go with a last name or other kids' names or my husband doesn't like it...

I think for girls I would go with


Laura -- a name I've loved since childhood, when I was a huge fan of the Little House books. The soft "L" and "R" sounds give it an ethereal and romantic quality to me. It sounds like "Lore" and "soar" and even like "love"... I like "Lara" "Lila" "Lisa" and "Lily" a lot too. But Laura is the one I've loved the longest.

Elise - I love all the "El" names. The queenly names "Elizabeth" and "Eleanor" are also among my very favorites too, and I almost picked one of them for this top three list. But I knew a girl in first grade with this name, and admired it so much. I like the rhythm, I like that it sounds a bit foreign and exotic. I like that it's "Lisa" with the syllables reversed. :-)

Beatrice - I must've loved this as a child too, because I gave it to a very special doll. I almost like "Beatrix" better, because of the nickname "Trixie," but "Beatrice" is the form Dante used for his muse in the Divinie Comedy, and who could be more inspiring? It's a name with so much history (more royalty!), but so friendly and approachable, especially with the nicknames "Bea" and the more modern version "Tris."


For boys:

William - it was the name of an uncle I never met who died in Vietnam, and I grew up thinking of him as this noble hero, like a legend. Again with the royal history, too. And Shakespeare. And there were various "Will's" on TV and in books that I liked, from Lost in Space to His Dark Materials to Will and Grace. :-)

Benjamin - I'm such an admirer of Franklin. And you can't beat the sound of "Ben." It sounds like "Friend" and "Men" and "Win" (at least in my accent.) It just hits that sweet spot of "friendly, but with a dignified history," so perfectly. 

Simon - I'm not quite sure what it is I like about this name, except that I'm a fan of Paul Simon. There's something British about it that appeals to the Anglophile in me (I'm American) and something sort of old fashioned and scholarly. I like that Simon Peter is the most relatable character in the Bible (to me, at least). 


You can click on my name to see the rest of my favorites. I'll leave "least favorites" alone, because I know some people here like them, and why would I want to ruin a name for them?

June 23, 2015 06:30 PM
In Response to Googleing names

I had to stop doing that, because I found that nearly any female name seemed to lead to pictures of naked or scantily clad women. Instead I searched my favorite names on Wikipedia. :-)

June 23, 2015 01:41 PM

Aurelia and Eleanor have sounds in common with "Angela" and might be the easiest for people you know to remember. "Aurelia" in particular has the same first and last letters, and a strong "el" sound, so it isn't a huge leap.

Some of the nicknames people have suggested for "Angela" can also be nicknames for Eleanor ("Nell," "Ella") because of that same shared "el" sound. I think it's also likely to be the most broadly appealing of the names on this version of the list, as well as being my personal favorite.

"Augustine" is very definitely associated in my mind with the (male) saint. Unlike some saints, he has a lot of (mostly postive, some negative) personality traits and opinions which have stuck to the name for me, because so much of his writing survives. I really have trouble seeing it as a female name, or getting past the association with this one specific person. I don't know how many others will have such a strong association, but he is a pretty major historical figure. It's like calling yourself "Aquinas" to me, or  perhaps"Aristotle."

Otherwise I like all your suggestions here.

June 22, 2015 12:11 PM

You asked for advice on first/middle combos. I think the usual advice is "the middle name can be anything, so long as it has meaning to you" and "it flows a little better of the number of syllables / pattern of stress on the syllables is different than first and last names, but flow doesn't matter much since it will rarely be said out loud."

I like the name "Evangeline" for you (suggested by Carencarrillo above), since it has the word "angel" in it, and a related meaning to your given name, but shares sounds with some of the names from this list (the "-ine" from "Alexandrine, Josephine, Delphine, Augustine" the "E" from "Estella" and "Elisabeth" and "Eleanor.")

Eleanor and Elizabeth happen to be my own favorites from your list. I think in spite of the shared initial either could pair with "Evangeline" as a middle, if that appeals (e.e. cummings didn't seem to remind the same repeated initial). I wouldn't pair it with the other "-ine" names, but it could work with the rest.

Other than that, a few pairs I think work from your list (depending on your last name):

Eleanor Josephine

Elisabeth Delphine

Margaret Adelaide

Imogen Estella 

Constance Lenore


June 16, 2015 08:24 PM

"Remington" is all rifles and steel for me, and "Beckham" is all David, so I'd vote for Donovan, personally. They all have a very stylish sound, though.

June 14, 2015 05:51 AM

"Bobbalyn" is not to my taste. It sounds too much like "Bobble," yes, and "Gobble" "Hobble" "Bubble," ""Bumpkin," Goblin," etc...  Words with those sounds that come to mind don't have the most serious and elegant meanings, you know? And because it's not a familiar name, all I hear is the sounds -- there is no positive association of people I've known with that name.

If the goal is to get the nickname "Bobbi," then I think  it is usually short for "Barbara" or "Roberta" or else just given as a name on its own.

I think it could also work for "Robin," which I like a lot.