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July 12, 2016 08:11 PM

Yes, indeed there is a local trigger! You're looking for Gentry Johnson, a pretty, minor television personality who first airred in 2011 or so. She still advertises for a local chain of appliance stores. The things that inspire baby names never ceases to amaze me. 

June 14, 2016 08:58 AM
In Response to Sibling for Cecilia

I also love Elliot! If Robert seems too serious or traditional, perhaps Roland or Roman or Rupert? Others that might fit: Solomon, Alistair, Jasper, Simon, Felix, Edmund, Hugo, Dominic, Gabriel, Francis, Louis.

Girls: I quite liked the suggestion of Felicity! Also maybe Gabrielle, Louisa, Lilana, Eloise, Natalie, Beatrice, Adelaide, Margaret, Matilda, Violet. 

June 7, 2016 10:54 PM

I'll take HNG's challenge as a non-Hungarian speaker. Here's what from her list jumps out as strong and edgy and recognizably namey. Too bad Zoltan sounds like a bunch of old uncles to you, it sounds super "cool" to my ears!  

Aladar, Aldor, Bajan, Barot, Bercel, Kelen, Kolos, Oros, Patony, Tibor, Tarjan, Tuzson, Tarcal, Zalan, Zsolt, Zeko. None of these are even remotely familiar to me as names. 

Kelen and Tuzson are probably my top picks for sounding right on trend in America and for not having any accent marks. Tarjan seems edgy and strong because I'm pronouncing it to rhyme with Tarzan. Tuzson might be mistaken as a creative spelling of the Arizona town "Tucson" but I still like it. Zsolt will leave people puzzled but it seems edgy and cool due to its similarity with (Usain) Bolt and Jolt, like a zippy super hero of a kid. Zeko seems neat, like Zeke + Zeus or Nero. 

From lucubatrix's list, Fabian, Ferdinand, Henrik, Roland, and Teodor all seem like recognizable names that would be pronounced and spelled correctly and not raise "is that foreign???" eyebrows. They seem like a group I'd call educated continental - in a sweet spot of not weird but not at all common. 



June 4, 2016 04:46 PM

This is such a fascinating thread. I just wanted to be one more voice, as an American Non-Jew siding with the majority. Rotem, on it's own, reads as "foreign and unfamiliar", I would maybe peg it as from the Indian sub-continent. I wasn't shocked to see it's Israeli, though. 

However, Rotem Katz reads as definitely Jewish. Rotem David Katz reads as a Jewish name, Rotem Dovid Katz reads as more prominently Jewish - it puts the Jewishness front and center in a way that David doesn't. I would think a Dovid is either named for a Jewish relative or was the son of practicing/culturally connected Jews, whereas a David might be ethnically Jewish but less emphatic about it.  But just about anything Katz is, like others have said, going to be assumed to be ethnically Jewish in the US. 

June 4, 2016 08:38 AM
In Response to Baby Nameless any day!

Margaret - Yes, people can spell this.   It's one of the all time english classics. Great nicknames! Daisy! Maggie! 

Ada - Does get lost a bit in a sea of Avas and Addies, but I know a young baby-of-feminists Ada and she is extremely charming and it suits her well. Once a person is aware of the ADA, they should be long since past the age of teasing about names, if that would even occur to people. 

Louisa - I love this, also Louise. Most people who dislike their name seem to like it just fine when it's applied to a sweet little baby in their honor.

Theodora - A little heavy but certainly doable with the rise of Theodores. Is Theodore off the table for boys?

Evander - Does make me think of th eboxer  but not in a bad way. If "like the boxer?" would bother you, I'd take it off, if "like the boxer!" as a mneomonic sounds useful, then go for it. 

Charles - I don't think the Charlottes are an issue unless having both boys and girls called Charlie would bother you. Virtually no one except maybe older relatives would default to Chuck from Charles without being prompted to do so. Charles is such a well established name, no one is going to think the  baby is named Charl Smith like they  might confuse an Evans Smith. See below for popularity notes for Charles v William

Henry - Trendy in pockets, I think, still quite unique in others. If you know babies named Edith and Olive, you're probably in a Henry pocket. It doesn't really sound like any other names, though, so it still sounds distinct to me. (Think Naomi - popular, but not in a vast trend of rhyming -aidens, for example.)

Walden - I think this is easy enough to say with a difficult surname, the Walden Pond association is very strong for me. Possibly a pro for you.

Arthur - I personally love Art, but can I suggest Archie if you want a cutesy nickname for it, or Ari if you want something more modern, or some people even do Thor if it suits. The show is still on the air after a somewhat astonishing 19 seasons. You could do worse than the aardvark, though, it makes it seem like a nice familiar name for children while still keeping its regal King Arthur feel for adults. I remember the show being rather sweet. 

William - Will be one of many Williams and Liams, but not necessarily one of 4 in a classroom.  It's still no Jennifer, but definitely popular. Maybe a pro if you have a difficult surname. If you're concerned about Charlotte for Charles, William x Liam is worse. 

Charles v William popularity breakdown:

William and Liam and Will: 34,358, all boys

Charles and Charlie, for boys: 8787

Charlotte and Charlie, for girls: 15757

Total Charles, Charlottes, and Charlies: 24544

  • Charles: 7125
  • Charlie, m: 1662
  • Charlotte, f: 11332
  • Charlie, f:  1554
  • Charlee, f: 1121
  • Charley, f: 603
  • Charleigh, f: 590
  • Charli, f: 557


And an astonishing factoid for name nerds: There were more children named Willie than Will in 2015. 303 people thought, "Sure, Willie, that's perfect.". Huh. 


June 1, 2016 08:26 PM
In Response to Help with a Spelling

Is your friend a Star Wars fan? KIH-lo-ehn sounds almost exactly like Kylo Ren, the villain of the new trilogy - maybe that's why it just sounds right to her. That said, I think you're going to have better luck with kylo- spellings because Kylo Ren makes it more familiar and you don't have the Kill- problem. Kyloen? Kylowen? Kylohen? None of these are intuitive at all. I might suggest just using Kylo, maybe with a N middle name? Something like Kylo Nicholas or Kylo Nathaniel could give you Kylo-N as a nickname, and give him something more traditional to fall back on. (I would not recommend Kilo as a standalone, you'll get kee-low and cocaine jokes all the time.) 


If shes' looking for something similar, maybe Enzo, Kieran, Kai, Malachi, Oisin, Owen or Eoghan, Fionn, Keoni? It reminds me of gaelic or hawaiian names. 



May 7, 2016 11:56 AM

You need to remember that popularity is relative and changes over time. If you're looking for extremely rare, Kenadi may not be the best choice - Kennedy ranked 57th last year, with 4496 girls, plus another 801 named Kennedi. Her name will not feel rare, but she will continuously have to spell it. Imagine going through life as Derryk. You're about 3 times more likely to meet a girl named Kennedy than a boy named Derek these days.  Harlem seems like a good choice, it is genuinely rare and yet easily recognized and spelled. 

May 2, 2016 08:51 PM

If you like the sound of the name Nohl but want it to be more feminine, why not just use Noel or Noelle? Nohlyn definitely has a "misspelled boys name" vibe for me, not a "creative feminine name" vibe.  I would pronounce Nohlyn as No-Lynn, not like Nolan. 

April 9, 2016 10:42 PM
In Response to Middle name help!

I agree that anything that ends in A is a bit sing-song, and I'd especially avoid anything with -anna in it. Since you seem to like repeating sounds, how about Breanna Renee? Instead of Breanna Rossanna, Breanna Rosalie? I also like Breanna Rochelle. 

April 9, 2016 02:11 PM

Of those, Clara is my favorite, followed by Julianna. I'm a little put off trying to figure out if one capitalizes or hyphenates in the Marie-variants. I prefer Rosemary to RoseMarie for simplicity's sake. 

I'd describe these names as classically feminine and not too common. Other  names that they remind me of are Lucy, Marianna, Maribel, Lilliana, Violet, Cora, Lydia, Sylvia, Felicia, Annabelle, Genevieve, Cecelia. 

April 5, 2016 09:47 PM

I've never met an Elyssa/Alyssa/Elisa, or frankly anyone under the age of 30, who goes by Lisa. I wouldn't worry overmuch about Lisa. 


I would be hesitatnt to use Elisa just because I wouldn't know if it was Ee-Liss-ah, Or Eh- lee-sa. or even Ee-Lie-sa.  would assume it was similar to Elyssa, not Elise+ah. If you like Elisa, you could also consider Eloise or Eliza. 

March 27, 2016 08:42 PM
In Response to Which middle name?

With all due respect, I think you need to spend some time in contemplation and narrow this choice down for yourself. This is your 4th or 5th post on the subject in the last month or so, and I think everyone with an opinion has had a chance to weigh in. In the end, this needs to be your choice, and if you're struggling to narrow down the field so much, this may not be the right time. The right name, if you need one at all, may reveal itself to you. Try things out, see if Sofie sticks or you end up finding Sarah is right for you in the end.

Sarah Sophia or Sophia Sarah is a nice choice if you do decide to keep using Sofie as your call name but you do not expect your family to change  - having your family call you by the wrong name for the rest of your life might be rather tedious. But right now you need to figure out what's right for you, not what two dozen strangers think of a long list of diverse names.  

March 27, 2016 11:47 AM
In Response to Thoughts on Ezra?

Corinna and Connor sound rather similar to me, it might pass the shout test. Co start with N and R sounds. Evanglina is much frillier than Connor, but it's not at all uncommon for families to have differents styles for girls and boys, especially when there are blended families involved.


I think you can rest easy abou Zachary V Ezra on popularity. There are roughly twice as many Zac(h/k)ery's than Ezra's. and Zachery seems more popular because it's coming down off a huge popularity wave, whereas Ezra is rising fast. Zachery will be more familiar to older people but within his generation, I suspect there will be just as many Ezras and his close cousin, Ekekiel.  See the graph difference between 

Zac-start: versus 


Connor seems like a real new classic - it's held astonishingly steady since *1993*, never below 59th and never above 42nd.  That means it will sound equally appropriate with a name that peaked in the mid 90s as it will with a name that's still rising. I have no idea if a Connor is 25 or 2 months old. 

That said, I think either works.  I personally prefer Ezra as a name. I think it's a spunky old man name with impeccable roots that sounds on trend now, combining a modern ear's interest in high scrabble letters and old testament revivals. However I think Zachary is a slightly better fit with Connor stylistically. I just find it sort of dated. 


March 25, 2016 07:17 PM
In Response to Which parent to honor?

Parabéns and congratulations! What a beautiful name for your little one, I love it and I'm so glad you stuck to your guns to honor your mothers.

March 18, 2016 11:38 PM

I think telling a near stranger that her child's beloved name reminds you of a stinking aquatic mammal is not going to win you new friends. :)  It's certainly not weird to be knowledgable about names (hello, name nerd website!) but out of the ordinary, perhaps. A lot of people just don't really care about a name's derevations or etymology, they care about what it sounds like, or what it reminds them of. My name is derived from "harvester" but to me it doesn't _mean_ harvester, it means me. Or my grandmother, or centuries of saintly women. 

I suspect Miss Brock will spend time with people expecting her to be a boy, but no one will expect her to be a badger, at least. My personal association is with the Pokemon trainer and then I think of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Brock Peters and Brock the bratty kid from the Venture Brothers. An unusual choice for a girl, for sure. 

March 17, 2016 08:38 PM
In Response to Initials opinion?

I consider initials only as a tie-breaker or if they spell something truly offensive (like a racial slur). I work in an industry where people initial things constantly, and the vast majority of people are either their full 3 initials or their first and last.  I wouldn't worry a bit about a Beatrice Jane. Lovely name. 

March 17, 2016 08:33 PM

What works for my family may not help yours, but since you asked:

June Susannah

Dianna Josephine

Dorothy Helen

Mary Margaret

Celia Mae

March 11, 2016 07:06 PM
In Response to Just Kit?

I would also find the Cat/Kat names to be a charming derivative. Catalina, Ekaterina, Katya, Katrinka, or Kathleen, maybe. Or further afield, Cassidy? Or any of the Chris-names works too.  Anything from Christina to Crystal to Crysanthemum could work. Christobel is probably my favorite. I would personally prefer something more formal for the birth certificate, but it certainly *works* as a stand alone name, It's just a matter of preference. 

March 9, 2016 05:51 PM

It sounds like you like traditional English boys names. August is at the top of my list and we would use August Robert (Robert is a family name.) I don't think August is "a big" name, though certainly a dignified one, so I wouldn't limit myself to snappy middles - I usually think a middle is a great place for a name that is significant to you, rather than just one chosen for flow.

Based on Thomas and William, I might suggest: Henry, James, John, Joseph, Peter, Samuel, Nathaniel, Grant, Jude, Francis, Charles

February 26, 2016 10:36 PM
In Response to Intersex Baby

I agree it sounds like your child is lucky to have you, as you will be lucky to have them!


A few more suggestions, sorry for any repeats:

















Sky or Skyler (Skylar is 89% female, Skyler is 44/66)



Something like this list might be helpful:!/vizhome/GenderedNameChanges/GenderedNameChanges