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November 19, 2019 07:19 AM

Forest is actually how I would spell it, since that's how I first encountered the name and that spelling remind me of DeForest Kelly and Forest Whitaker and, well, forests. But I imagine some people like the double Rs as a slightly less-wordy, more-"namey" spelling. Lots of surname/word names seem to follow that pattern: Skye-not-Sky, Taylor,-not-Tailor, Blythe-not-Blithe, Mae-not-May, etc.

November 17, 2019 09:56 AM

I love love love the name Forrest, so in a vacuum that would get my vote. But if you have a strong personal connection I could be persuaded toward either of the others, which are both also good names. For example, I still kind of assume that people considering the name Atticus like the book To Kill a Mocking Bird. If that's your favorite book ever and the reference would make you happy every time you say the name, whereas you just like the sound of the others, then it would get my vote. Or if Samuel Beckett is your favorite author or Beckett is your favorite relative's name I'd shift to that one, etc.

November 17, 2019 09:50 AM

I agree with Suzanne, it sounds great and ticks your boxes--not too "out there" but distinctive and clearly honoring your heritage. You might sometimes find people hear Henry, but that's a really minor issue. Good job!

November 12, 2019 07:51 PM

Weirdly, I only see the notice occasionally--maybe a third of the time.

Yes, come on over to the new site! It's the same thoughtful analysis of names and naming trends, with a slightly different organizational style and far less spam :).

November 12, 2019 07:48 PM

It's maybe not ideal, but it's definitely not terrible, either. If you really love the name them go for it!

As far as spelling goes, I don't know whether it makes much difference. The spelling I'm most familiar with is Olin, fwiw. There was a wealthy family by that name that created two foundations in the twentieth century, so there are a variety of buildings and such scattered around with the name Olin attached. (But I just discovered that the Olin Health Center at my alma mater isn't one of them--apparently it was named for a Prof. Dr. Olin, who taught at the school and helped get the first health center built.)

I'd probably either stick with Olen to be as close as possible to Ole (and with the easy explanation of "like Owen, but with an L instead of W"), or use Olin as the version most likely to be spelled correctly.


November 12, 2019 03:53 PM
In Response to Baby girl!

Collins strikes me as very much in the same two-syllable, unisex-leaning-masculine, recent-pop-culture-association, surname-as-given-name category as your other choices, with the added advantage of a family connection--is there a reason you aren't considering it as a first name? You might also look further into your and your husband's family trees as well as at hobbies or interests you share, to see if there are other surnames that appeal aesthetically and have a stronger emotional connection. Often that type of connection can help change a "like it OK" name into "the one" (my youngest has my mother's maiden name as first name; on its own I wouldn't even have considered it, but the sentimental connection to my mother and maternal grandparents really made it stand out, and is the reason my husband accepted it).

I like the sound of Bentley, which I mainly associate with the luxury car--it's not an association I personally like, but others definitely feel differently about that (witness all the kids named Lexus). Bennett is probably my least favorite on your list: I like the P&P association of Bennett, but its long history of use as a masculine given name and the very common male nickname Ben give a much stronger "only value masculine qualities" feel when used for a girl.

Of your less-favorite names, Lowen is the most interesting/unexpected to me, and feels the most evenly unisex. Kendall has the strongest history of use as a female given name, which you might like or not. My strongest association for that name is a soap opera character who's probably not even on the air any more and, I think, a Kardashian? Spencer is not quite as macho-sounding as Bennett, but close; it also has a potential romantic literary connection, if you spelled it Spenser (as in Edmund Spenser, author of The Faery Queen) and old Hollywood credentials (actor Spencer Tracy).

Finally, your surname also falls into that same exact category, so you might want to consider mixing things up a little bit more in either the first or middle slot with a name that varies in syllables or style or both, just in terms of giving your daughter options and also helping the whole name scan more as a single person's name rather than a string of surnames (the law firm effect that I think someone else mentioned).

November 8, 2019 08:34 AM

This gets my guess/vote, too! (I was trying to make Meridian/Merida work, but not enough vowels and they aren't quite the same name.)

October 31, 2019 02:06 PM
In Response to Nancy

Is there anything in particular you're looking for in a middle name? Often we can give you better suggestions if you can tell us more about what you like and don't like, whether there's anything you'd like to reference in the name (like another family member you'd like to honor, or a favorite hobby or vacation spot or author etc.), if the name's origins matter to you, etc.

Just based purely on sound and style, I'd probably look for a name with a little bit more contrast with the first name. You kind of have that here in terms of rhymes: There's Fancy Nancy of picture book fame, and the cliché of "plain Jane". But I think both names are a little bit old-fashioned and un-frilly, so maybe something more contemporary and/or more elaborate in the middle name slot--something like Nancy Sage or Nancy Genevieve, for different types of contrast.

October 26, 2019 12:27 PM

Parents worry a lot about this issue, but I don't think it's as big a deal as we think. I know many folks who use their nickname exclusively and wish it was their official name because the longer form just doesn't feel like them. I also know people who use nicknames like Katie and Bobby professionally, even in fields like law and academia. As the naming landscape expands, "diminutive" names will stick out even less. I know children and young adults with birth certificate names like Fia, Ellie and Ace and I think by the time your daughter hits the job market a name like Nomi will sound perfectly formal on its own.

Having said that, if you love both the more formal name and the nickname and want to use both, then that's a great two-for-one option. 

And if you really want a more formal option but are only meh on Naomi, we might be able to brainstorm other possibilities for you. Maybe you (and/or your husband) would like a different cognate of Naomi better, such as Noemi, the French/Italian/Hungarian/German etc. version of Naomi. Other variants include Noemia and Noam. Moving away from Naomi, Eunomia and Nomiki are both names from classical Greek. Or something like Nora Miriam, for example, would lend itself to No-Mi as a contracted nickname. 

October 25, 2019 02:10 PM

I would ask yourself: 1. Do you love Naomi as much as Nomi? 2. Does your husband at least like Naomi? 3. Would it be OK with both of you if, at some point, your daughter dropped the name Nomi and just went by Naomi all the time?

If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, Naomi on the birth certificate is a good choice. If the answer to any of these is no, especially 2 or 3, I'd say stick with the name that you really want on the birth certificate.

Nomi is not a natural nickname for Naomi that would easily co-exist with it in folks' minds (like Maddie for Madeline); they're more like two different names that happen to sound alike—like Kristin and Christine or Joanna and Jenna. I suspect that lots of folks will assume that one or the other is an error: that they've misheard, or there's a typo somewhere, or that the person they're talking to is confused somehow. Since Naomi is quite a bit more familiar than Nomi for many English speakers, you're more likely to get people assuming that Nomi is the error. I can picture her correcting someone who calls her Naomi with "It's Nomi" and getting "That's what I said, Naomi." You'll probably get this reaction even if Nomi is on the birth certificate, but if Naomi is on the paperwork I think it will not be very long until Nomi is just a pet name in your house, with Naomi being the universally-used public name.

October 24, 2019 12:17 PM

Is Bland the surname, or a potential middle name? If it's the surname, I like the combo--opinions on this topic vary greatly, but I'm personally a fan of naming alliteration in moderation. The hard T leading into the softer sounds in Bland give a nice crisp feel to the name, which works well with the repeated first initials.

On the other hand, if it's a middle name, I do think you'd get a lot of questions about why you chose it just based on the dictionary meaning, which might or might not outweigh the aesthetic benefits.

October 20, 2019 05:02 PM

I'd be really surprised if people don't secretly think of Nazis when they see this name--they're just too polite to mention it to your nephew or his family. Presumably they also realize that it's an Iranian name and not meant to evoke Nazis. If I met an Aryan from Iran (or some other non-US, non-European country) I would assume it was a name from that culture unrelated to Nazis and quietly ignore the obvious other association.

Having said that, if someone was specifically asking for advice about naming in the US, I would have to point out the fact that here it is a term closely associated with Nazis and white supremacy.

That's why people come to this name board--to get outside perspectives about names. We often point out and discuss connotations and associations to names that folks are considering, good bad and neutral. For example, recently the name Alexa came up, and we had a discussion about the Amazon assistant, which isn't a negative association really but still could be very awkward. Another time someone was considering the first name Vivienne with last name Lee and wanted opinions on how weird it was to have a sound-alike name to actress Vivian Leigh. Much of the time we'll say that an association is not a deal-breaker, just something to be aware of so the parent isn't blind-sinded if it comes up later.

But occasionally an association is so strong and so negative that it gets a stronger warning. Isis, for example, very sadly has gone from "the primary association for most people is probably the Egyptian goddess, which is a pretty positive association" to "this name is now so strongly associated with the terrorist Syrian quasi-state that you should probably avoid it unless you have a really compelling reason to use it." Many girls were named Isis before the new geo-political association entered the public consciousness, and no one is suggesting that they must change their names or that they are ISIL sympathizers or anything like that. But they do experience problems based on their name, and if I were asked directly if it was a good name for a baby today I would have to say no. Aryan, for good or ill, falls into this same category.

October 15, 2019 10:39 AM

I think it would fit into the US naming landscape quite well. Two-syllable, ends-in-n is THE sound for boy names in the past decade or two (think Aiden and its rhymes, Mason, Logan, Jackson, Ethan, etc.) and surname-names in general are popular. The name Weston is poised to break into the top-100 for boys this year (it was #102 in 2018). So I think even though Whitten isn't common it won't sound too "out there". And the short-and-sweet (and witty!) nickname should be easy for folks. Just be prepared for jokes like "more than a Whit of Wit" and such, at least if you have a punny family.

The issue of repeated initials is really a matter of how much initials matter in your family. I have cousins where the second and third share an initial and the oldest doesn't; it isn't a big deal to them at all. In many ways I think it's easier to repeat an initial when you already have a different initial in the mix, since it makes it clear that "two is coincidence, three is a pattern--and this is just a coincidence."

On the other hand, I can imagine if you've been labelling everything with initials all their lives (and they're old enough to recognize them) it might be a harder sell for your Wesley. In that case you'd maybe want to ask him how he'd feel about sharing "his" initial with his new little brother.

October 14, 2019 08:23 AM

Do you have any particular criteria? For example, how much do you care about factors like popularity, ease of spelling and pronunciation, popular associations and connotations, etc.? Also, are these names for a baby currently on the way, a character, a potential future baby, just for fun...? (We're happy to answer questions regardless, but knowing the particulars can help us give better answers.)

October 11, 2019 01:50 PM

I also love Avery for a boy. It is more common for girls than boys now, but I don't think that's a deal-breaker. For sure there isn't a sea of little girls out there with the name--it's not the Jennifer of the current generation or anything close.

Several years ago there was a male character named Morgan on the TV show "Chuck". That's a name that statistically "went girl" in the 1980s and '90s, but I found it very refreshing on a man. Avery's statistics recently look very similar to Morgan's twenty years ago: a name with steady but low-level male use suddenly got semi-popular for girls, with a lower rise in popularity for boys at the same time). Actually, Avery's gender inversion is a little less than Morgan's: it's slightly more popular for boys and slightly less popular for girls than Morgan was at its peak.

For comparison, and to see what I mean about no sea of little girls named Avery: In 1995, the name Morgan was given to 56 girls out of 10,000 and 6 out of 10,000 boys. Avery seems to have peaked in 2014 at 49 in 10,000 girls and 11 in 10,000 boys. So Morgan was more than nine times as popular for girls as boys, whereas Avery is only about four times as popular for girls as boys. And if you didn't feel like there were a lot of little girls named Morgan around in the nineties, you'll find even fewer girl Averys today (but a few more boy Averys now than boy Morgans then).

As with many naming issues, the final decision depends on your personal tolerance and zen-ness--some folks don't mind spelling out the name every single time ("Kathryn-with-a-K-and-a-Y"), putting up with regular mispronunciations ("it's actually Care-uh, not Cahr-uh, but I'll answer to either"), etc. while others find it increasingly irritating.

In this case, you should ask yourself how much you'll be bothered if people assume your Avery is a daughter rather than a son. It may also be worth asking if you'd be as bothered the other way around (people presuming your daughter's name was a male name), and if not whether you can shift your expectations a little bit. Why should it be cool to give girls gender-ambiguous names, but horrifying for boys?

October 9, 2019 10:27 AM

I think your plan to wait and see how you feel after you meet her makes sense. In the meantime, listing all of the things you love about each name can sometimes help clarify things--you can keep a running tally, and if a new plus comes up add it to the appropriate list.

As far as "saving" a name for the future, I would suggest not worrying about that too much--many folks find that their taste in names changes over the years, and adoption entails additional naming considerations that may affect your decision (chiefly how and whether to honor the child's own heritage and/or birth name).

On a related note, I don't know how you feel about internal alliteration, but I have to say Molly Matilda is charming to my ear.

October 8, 2019 07:57 AM
In Response to Baby girl #3 name!

Congratulations on a lovely name! I'm so happy the board was helpful--thank you for the update!

October 1, 2019 10:21 AM

I like Marnet better, probably, though it's a little bit further from your mother's name. I could see her using Marnie rather than Marty as a family nickname that echoes her grandma but is still uniquely hers. It also reminds me of Garnet, which is one of my favorite unisex names and a lovely gemstone (and birthstone for January).

Martinet is a word that means something like "petty dictator" so I would lean toward moving away from Martinette a little more than Martnet. Maybe Martina?

Catherine Elizabeth is also lovely, but the two names feel very similar to me. I like the contrast between Elizabeth and something related to your mom's name. I actually have a friend who named her daughter Elizabeth Catherine (maybe with a K?) because she loved the regal feel and flexibility of both. Then she had a second daughter and couldn't think of any other names that had those qualities in the same abundance--especially nicknames. They ended up going with a name that basically just has one likely nickname. And of course their oldest daughter doesn't need any of the nicknames based on her second name, since there are so many already associated with her first name.

September 30, 2019 01:31 PM

I think Marnet would be a unique and lovely middle name. I like its sleek, more modern style paired with the longer and very classic Elizabeth, and the family connection makes it a home run.

September 27, 2019 08:36 AM
In Response to Middle name for Nathan

I think both Wylder and Hart sound good with Nathan, especially if either has any personal significance to you. I think in general you'll be happier with the name if you can find something that both has flair and some more personal meaning--connected to a favorite hobby or fictional character or family member, for instance.

Also, if you wanted to glitz up Nathan a bit, maybe Nathaniel would fit the bill?