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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby Girl Ezra, Sister to Emma

Autumn writes:
My due date is September 13th (although given my history of pre-term labor, I probably won't make it past the middle of August). We just found out today that we're having a girl. We have one daughter already who is four. Her name is Emma Lorelai. We thought we were having a boy this time and had picked the name Ezra Thomas. We were tentatively considering Eva for a girl but hadn't chosen a middle name. Here's the problem: my husband and I both fell in love with Ezra and (after some research on the internet which seems to indicate that it's rising in popularity as a girls name) he still wants to use it. I do really like it and I think we might go with it but we can't pick a middle name. We're stumped. I prefer one or three syllable names since I think it flows better than a 2-2-2 syllable name. Also, maybe something really feminine to offset any implied masculinity from Ezra. I want to know if you think being named Ezra would ruin a girl's life and I would love to hear ANY suggestions you have for a middle name. My husband likes really unique names and I tend toward more classic names but we'll take any suggestions you have. Thank you SO much!

Generally I try to answer the question I'm asked. That is, if I'm asked to choose a sibling name for a name I hate, I choose a list of sibling names that would go with the name I hate. And I have fun doing it, too.

This is because IN GENERAL, I am strongly in favor of people using the names they like, even if the names are not ones I would choose. And this is why I can write a baby name column: if you like a name I don't like, even a name I DISlike, I STILL SUPPORT AND FAVOR AND ENJOY THAT CHOICE. Otherwise, what would the column be? Just a list of the names on my own list, over and over. Pah! Useless!

I am making an exception. In this case I'm not answering the question I'm being asked, which is to find a girl's middle name for the name Ezra. Instead I'm going to give you this advice: Don't use the name Ezra for your daughter. The reason you're so stumped on a middle name is that Ezra is the name you chose for a boy, and you are having a girl. The masculinity of the name Ezra is not "implied" any more than the masculinity of the name Henry or John is "implied": it is instead INDICATED.

If you have two daughters, one named Emma (a completely feminine, completely common name) and the other named Ezra (a completely masculine name, and much less common even for boys, LET ALONE for girls), you are custom-ordering yourself a huge dose of trouble. Or, more accurately, you are ordering that dose of trouble for your daughters. Don't. No, really: don't. Choosing a name is a responsibility and a privilege and an honor, and you are about to sacrifice that for "uniqueness." It isn't a worthy trade.

If you had named your first daughter Flynn, or Garnet, or Mason, or some other name that is boyish and extremely unusual for girls, I could answer your question as you've asked it, and I would help you find middle names for a girl named Ezra. But you chose the NUMBER TWO MOST COMMON GIRL NAME IN THE UNITED STATES for your first daughter, a name that is never ever never ever never EVER used for boys, and so in an unprecedented move for this blog, I will give you no support for using a boy's name for your second daughter, especially because it will communicate to your daughter exactly what you communicated to me, which is "We thought we were having a boy."

If you might have more children, hold the name Ezra in reserve for a possible future boy. If you're definitely done after two, I suggest the name Esme (EHZ-may). Or Eliza. Both names are significantly less common than the name Emma, but they work fine with it and they may have some of the sound of Ezra you're looking for. Or Esme could also be Esmie (EHZ-mee) or Ismay (IHZ-may), for something more intuitive to pronounce. Another possibility is the name Isabelle with the nickname Izzy: Emma and Izzy.

Name update! Autumn writes:
I so strongly associated her with "Ezra" that I couldn't let it go. For fear of destroying her life and making her hate me forever, I compromised with myself and named her Lilith (Lily) Ezra. She's beautiful, always smiling, looks exactly like her big sister and is spunky enough to handle any name I could have given her.


The Schwant Family said...

well said Swistle.

I can see the temptation on the part of the parents but I don't think it is a good decision esp. with a sister named Emma. Everyone I know that chooses a masculine name for their daughter ends up having to clarify that she is indeed a girl every time she comes up in conversation with people she hasn't met.

If Ezra is a must and they really don't want to save it for a boy maybe they could use it in the middle?

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I had to laugh because I can just imagine Swistle struggling to hold this opinion in and then being unable to and having to just burst forth with it!

I agree that Ezra is most definitely a boy's name and Emma is quite feminine. However, people change styles between kids all the time. And I've heard of other boy's names being used for girls- i.e. James or Charlie.

So I personally would choose a name other than Ezra (I really like Eva!) but if you love Ezra then here are my middle name suggestions:

Louise (to keep with the E.L. initials)

How about some other names that might feel like Ezra?

Eva (which you already mentioned)
Zora! (I love this one)
Zara (this one, too)
Zsa Zsa (it's old fashioned but cute)

Leah said...

I agree with Swistle, because your first daughter's name is so classic, and it would be terrible for your second daughter to feel stuck with a name that was meant for the son you thought that you were going to have. So.... goes with Emma, yet somewhat unusual.... Scarlett? Ruby? Jade? June? Huh, these are all nouns so far. Anyone else?

Jess said...

I agree with Swistle. I feel like you picked out the name Ezra for the person you imagined this baby was going to be, and now this baby is not going to be that person at all, and so the name doesn't fit the person that this baby actually will be. And the child will feel that from the name, especially in contrast to her sister's name. So even though, as a previous commenter pointed out, parents sometimes choose different naming styles for different kids in their family, I think "classic girl name" and "classic boy name" for two girls in the same family is just too different to make sense for this child.

I hope you will find a name for this girl that you like as much as you liked Ezra for a boy. I think Eva is a great option, unless of course you want to hold Ezra in reserve for a future possible boy, in which case Eva and Ezra might be too close?

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

LOL, Swistle. You said what I was thinking, but for whatever reason I didn't expect you to go there.

First of all, I'm not a huge fan of some boys names going to The Girl Side (for example, James or Ryan on a girl is just so not my style). Ezra is quite a classic, biblical name and it just shouldn't make the move to Girl. Save it for a future boy, or else put it in the "If we had of had a son he would have been Ezra" pile.

Maybe there are other similar girls names you might like instead. A name like Eliza comes to mind (you could even for fun call her "Elza" as a cutesy nickname which would sound really close to Ezra).

You may also like a name like Elsa. Or Esme.

I love Eva too.

I do agree though with other commenters who caution you on choosing something too close to Ezra in case you do have a boy in the future (which also means just USING Ezra now would negate that too -- what would you name a possible future son?). If this is for sure your last (planned anyway, lol) child, then you could definitely choose a more feminine name close to the Ezra sounds/feeling.

Sorry, but I just can't get on board for Ezra for this case.

stellafide said...

Could not agree with Swistle more, both for your daughter's sake and for the sake of the name Ezra, which should remain squarely where it is and belongs: in the masculine camp. Save it for a son! So many beautiful girl's names to choose from, even if you want to stick with the E theme...
Elle/Esme/Eleanora/Eloise/Eleni/Estelle or Estella
Good luck!

Kelley said...

I too recommend Eliza/Elizabeth. You can use Ez as a nickname perhaps, and it still fits in with Emma.

On the whole, I'm not totally against Ezra as a girls name, the -a ending gives it a slight feminine feel. However, in this case, given the precedent stated with Emma, I'd say stay away.

Karen L said...

I do not think that the world is ready for little girls named Ezra and that that is a difficult burden to place on a child. Further more the Emma/Ezra combo is especially troublesome. Not just the femininity/masculinity but also the twinniness. The previous commenters have made lots of nice suggestions. I especially like Eloise.

But I will attempt the original question. After Ezra I would prefer a name that starts and ends with something other than A (but that's just my quirk). And that's tough, since a lot of very feminine names end in A. How about?


beyond said...

I remember asking my parents (several times) what my name would have been if I had been a boy, and I remember loving their stories of possible names and middle names they had in mind for a boy and for a girl. This is why I think you should try to find a (or a few) girl's names that you love: because you are not having the boy you thought, and because this baby girl deserves her own name. (I quite like the suggestion of perhaps using Ezra as a middle name.)
Here are a few suggestions for a name:
(I think I like Maris best here: Emma and Maris; cute! I also like the suggestion of Eloise...)
Good luck!

Megz said...

I agree I wouldn't name a girl Ezra. I like the suggestions for Eliza or Zara.

Here is one more name for you to consider:


It's uncommon and sounds a lot like Ezra but has a definite feminine feel.

Azura Tamsin

A female version of Ezra Thomas

Beth said...

Excellent response, Swistle.

Anonymous said...

I know someone who went ahead and named their daughter Jack even after finding out she was not the expected son.

At 8 years old, this child is constantly correcting people who think her name is Jaclyn, being put on boys' sports teams (even though they check the 'Female' box on the form).

I wouldn't name your daughter Ezra.

Bethtastic said...

Perhaps Esther? Emma and Esther.

Fran said...

I'll never forget the little girl I went to elementary school with whose name was Benji. Her parents thought she was a boy, she wasn't but they didn't change her name other than to shorten Benjamin to Benji. The ridicule and humiliation she suffered on a daily basis from the older kids was very hard to watch!! Ezra is a fine name, keep it for a future boy or if no boy ever comes along, get a male pet!!

Cassie said...

I agree. I think Ezra is just too masculine. HOWEVER, a little girl in my son's daycare class is named "Ezera," which has the same sound as Ezra but is much more feminine. Maybe that would be a possibility?

StephLove said...

I feel like I'm piling on to say it, but I'm not in favor of Ezra for a girl either.

I like Eva and the suggestions of Elizabeth, Elsa, Esme or Isabelle.

Or how about Ava, Carmen, Jane, Jasmine, Jillian, Josephine, Maura, Maxine, Sarah or Violet? I think they all go well with Emma.

Carolyn said...

Ezra could be an edgy middle name. I like Estella, with Ezza or Esti as a nickname.

Otherwise,maybe change the spelling? Esra?

Finally, here are my middle name suggestions:

Ezra Aurelia
Ezra Vivian
Ezra Jacqueline

Carolyn said...

Or Estrella? Esmerelda?

Estra could be a nn, or even Astrid.

This is such a compelling situation, I hope you find the name that works best for your family. Good luck!

Laura said...

Not a fan of Ezra for a girl.

What about Zoya?

Adey said...

I'm sorry but I also agree with Swistle.

Ezra is one of my favourite names ever. It was #1 on my list for the longest time (until my husband vetoed it) and I can't imagine it being used for a girl.

Normally I don't mind boy names for girls (i.e. I love the name Macyn) but in this case I have to say Please don't!!

Leslie said...

I'm going to add my voice to the throng and say, please, don't do it. Not because of anything to do with the name Ezra itself - which I do think is incredibly handsome for a boy, by the way - but because I would be devastated to learn my parents gave me a name because they were SO disappointed that I wasn't a boy. And, as Swistle and others have pointed out, I think the contrast will be especially obvious next to older sister Emma.

Others have given great suggestions already for alternatives, so I'll just add Elodie, or Elora to the list. Or, if you're not set on "E" names, how about Isla?

Best of luck!

Sarah said...

Bold move, Swistle! And, I have to say, I agree. And for all the same reasons. Hold on to Ezra for a potential future boy.

How about Keziah/ Kezia? It's rare, but with history and meaning, and it has similar phonics to Ezra?

Christine said...

Yowza. I wouldn't use the name Ezra for one of my daughters, but hey, I knew a girl named Michael (right after college) and as far as I know she survived it. It probably helped that she was stunning.

I will say that I veto not only Ezra but Esme (and I love it) due to your daughter being named Emma, and I find it too close in sound form me.

I actually liked Ezera a bit more, but still sounds too close. I like the suggestion of Isabelle. And I like Eva, from your original inclination, so think maybe Evelyn, close but not too close to Emma, can go by Evie?

Good luck!

Stephanie said...

My first thought was Esme! I'm glad to see Swistle had it too. I think it hopefully captures what you love about Ezra, but is decidedly feminine. So,find a great middle name for it and you're set.

Jen said...

Chiming in to agree with Swistle and other commenters because, while I favor androgynous names for girls, it just seems like it sets up a subtle separation between sisters.

Love the suggestion of Elsa above and hope you're not feeling picked on. :)

JCF said...

I totally agree with Swistle on this one. Definitely don't name your daughter Ezra. There are lots of boys' names that make the leap to girls' names quite easily, but Ezra is not one of them. It is a book of the Bible--a total classic boys' name. To me, it would be like naming your daughter Thomas, Andrew, Luke, etc. and not calling her some cute diminutive like Tommy or Andy.

I like Eva with Emma. What about Elise, Eliza, Elizabeth (with its plentiful nicknames), Eleanor, Ella, Ellie, Elsa.

Megz said...

I commented earlier suggesting Azura instead, but the more I think about it, the more I love, love, love Zara. Emma and Zara. Emma, Zara and Ezra (a bit difficult but real cute if you do later have a boy).

Here are some middle names that work equally well with Zara or Ezra:

- Felicity (normally I wouldn't think of this but it flows really well and is ultra feminine if you do go with Ezra)
- Melissa
- Belinda
- Lizette (LOVE the aliteration: Ezra Lizette or Zara Lizette)

Can't wait to hear what you do choose in the end.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm going to go with the majority here: don't name your daughter Ezra. Too big of a difference between the sisters' names, Ezra is really uncommon anyway and it doesn't seem to fit as a girl's name...yeah. I'd find something else. (Especially if you're maybe thinking about a third child, in which case you'd be in trouble if it's a boy.)

Meg said...

I agree with Swistle too. Ezra is a very cute little BOYS name. Sibset Ezra and Emma are always going to be considered a boy and a girl, not two girls. James, Noah and Jackson are all being used for girls (seriously, I know a Jackson Laura), but that doesn't mean that they necessarily should.

What would be think about 2 siblings named Jane and James that are both girls?

How about:


Best of luck, I can't want to find out what you end up naming your little one :)

British American said...

Ezra was on my list of favourites when we were naming our son - but then I realized it was too similar to our daughter's name: Rose - sounding similar if you switch the syllables around. So maybe you'd like the name Rose? Emma and Rose would make a beautiful classic sister pairing.

Emma & Esme are too similar for my liking - but Esme would be a lot girlier than Ezra.

Frazzled Mom said...

I'm so glad Swistle had the guts to say what I was thinking. Some originally male names work well as girl names. So well in fact that these names are considered girl names now. Believe it or not, Meredith and Vivian were once male names. Ironically according to Behind the Name, Esme was once a male name too. But, while I consider Esme a cross-over name like Meredith and Vivian, I don’t see Ezra as gender crossing material. Ezra to me is very masculine like Andrew, Mark, etc.

For a sister Emma, I think Eliza is the best pick. Both names seem very similar in style and are somewhat close in popularity. While Emma is clearly more popular, I see Eliza as an up-and-coming name. I love Zara, but feel it is very different stylistically from Emma, and a little too unique to be Emma’s sister, and frankly I find Ezra too unique to be Emma’s brother – but that’s just me.

Patricia said...

I'm glad Swistle stated her objections and concerns about calling your second daughter Ezra, the name you had chosen for the son you expected this baby to be. Those are my thoughts and concerns too. And as several have mentioned, I too immediately thought "Eliza". I love the name and think it's darling -- and very compatible in style, history and sound -- with Emma.

Best wishes!

KL said...

Well said, Swistle. That (among other reasons) is why I will entrust only you with my baby names when they come along.

Love Esme, and Isla. Eliza and Emma make a pretty darn adorable sibset. Eliza may sound better then Esme - maybe to similar to Emma.

Emily S. said...

I love Eva, Eden (edie for short) or Esme!
I think some of the comments are a little harsh though. Sorry for that....

Best of luck to you!

clueless but hopeful mama said...

I'm so impressed with your response Swistle. Measured but honest and NECESSARY.

I have to strongly agree with the masses: Do not name your baby Ezra. If you didn't already have an older daughter named Emma, I wouldn't be so opinionated, I would think just think "to each their own". But I think it would be really unfair to your second daughter to give her such a masculine name when your older daughter has such a feminine one. It's NOT just a different style. It truly is a different GENDER.

I LOVE Isabelle, Eliza and Esme.

Hope T. said...

My suggestion is Isla. Not as popular as Emma, although it is rising.

If you really, really want to use Ezra, I think the good news for your daughter is that androgyny is so quickly becoming the norm that by the time she enters school, teasing about names that currently cross gender lines will probably be minimal.

Lone voice of dissent said...

If it were me, I would go with Ezra. It doesn't strike me as being strongly gendered because of the fact that it is so unusual. I certainly wouldn't place it in the same realm as a John. Everyone knows plenty of people named John and I'm sure they're all males. How many Ezras do you know? I don't see any reason it couldn't work for a girl.

I guess the bigger issue is the fact that you have an Emma. To that I what? Lots of people have sibsets based on what is popular at the time. And guess what's popular now? Masculine names for girls. To me it would be the equivalent of having a Emily and a Madison. It follows the trends. To suggest that your daughter would suffer some great psychological damage is an overreaction, in my opinion. There are so many girls these days named Harper, Dylan, etc., I don't think it would be an issue.

Although I'm clearly in the minority, I would say go for it! Best of luck.

Sara said...

I have to agree with the majority please don't do that to that sweet little girl.

I have a friend who was born 5th daughter of a couple who had no sons. They named her Billie, because they decided they were done trying for a boy and Billy was the name they'd chosen for their son.

My friend Billie always seemed to think that everyone immediately realized her parents hoped she was a boy, because of the name.

how about:

Evangeline (Eva)
Eden (oooo love that Emma and Eden)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My name is Sarah, and I love it ... :)

How about Olivia? Strong and classic, but very beautiful.

I think a sibset with feminine/classic names ending in "a" is nice: Emma and Sarah, Emma and Olivia, maybe Emma and Georgia??

Best to you and your growing family!

Anonymous said...

I have a friend named Brandon. Her parents then named her sister something distinctly feminine. She is constantly explaining her parents' decision. It is always going to be a question at job interviews. Think about her wedding invitations. Whenever I talk about her to people that don't know her, it always comes up. "Brandon's coming to visit. She wants-" "whoa, huh? Brandon and she? What's the story there?"
I don't know if you've been reading Swistle long. If not, you should know that she hardly ever outright vetoes the parents' names. Actually, i've never read anything like this from her before and I could agree with her statements
I love the suggestion of Eliza. I also think any name that lends itself to the nickname of Ellie works well. Emma and Eliza. Emma and Ellie. Too cute!
Another name I love is Ainsley. Once a boy name that has transitioned over. Emma and Ainsley. How about Paisley? Pipper? Cora?
Good luck!

Frazzled Mom said...

To Anon # 6/3/10 9:29 PM:
I know sisters Emma and Olivia. That sibset seems to work.

Erin said...

While I also agree with the majority and wouldn't personally choose Ezra after Emma for a girl, or Ezra at all for a girl since I like it for a boy, I do still take up Swistle's usual stance which is if you absolutely love it and you can't imagine your little girl being named something else, then go for it. I think everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with a little too much gusto. Ultimately it is a personal decision and you'll have to be ready for that decision to be unpopular, but it is your decision.

I have a unisex name, my sister has a feminine name. Now, mine is unisex and not as firmly in the boys camp as Ezra is probably considered to be (although your research indicated it was rising as a girls name, so maybe its the next Ashley?), but nonetheless it never caused any weirdness between us, nor did she seem girlier to me (or did I feel more androgynous/masculine) because of our names. People are sort of acting like this would be a form of child abuse, and I don't think it would be. I would consider the above suggestions to go with a more popular name and try to get a funkier nn out of it like Isabelle/Izzy, but at the end of the day the question was for middle names, and to that end, I love Ezra Kathleen, or any two syllable with an accent on the second syllable (I know you said 1 or 3), or else maybe Ezra Madeline? Ezra Lillian? Ezra Claire? And I don't think you will ruin her life, it just might not be very popular. Maybe she'll love it. Maybe she'll go by her middle name. Good luck!

Caitlin said...

I am fascinated by this one!

I have to say, I'm really surprised at how many people have such strong associations with Ezra as a masculine name, because I don't at all. In fact, when I first heard it (long ago), I thought it was a girl's name. I still have to remind myself of Ezra Pound when I hear it! I didn't know any Ezras, and it sounded feminine to me. I agree with the person who said it is not a John or a Daniel, and also with the comment about people not knowing many Ezras.

On that note, I could go either way. I think it's fine with Emma. I also like Eliza, Isla, and Esme. If you think you might have another boy, maybe hold off. Whatever is right for you and your family.

Different but related situation: My sister-in-law is the 3rd of 4 girls, and is named Jane: After her father, who is named John. They wanted a boy, a John Jr. Her sisters all have very feminine, classic, multiple-syllable names that, unlike Jane, are unique to their family. Jane does work with these names, but when you know the family and the story it does stick out a little. But, it hasn't caused her any lasting psychological trauma. As far as we can tell :)

Patricia said...

Gender: Masculine

Usage: Biblical, English, Hebrew

Other Scripts: עֶזְרָא (Hebrew)

Pronounced: EZ-rə (English) [key]
Means "help" in Hebrew. Ezra was a prophet of the Old Testament and the author of the Book of Ezra. It has been used as a given name in the English-speaking world since the Protestant Reformation. The American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a famous bearer.
Ezra is a popular baby boy name, and it is also considered trendy. The name has been increasing in popularity since the 1960s. At the modest height of its usage in 2009, 0.063% of baby boys were given the name Ezra. It was #259 in rank then.

In 2009, 1319 American baby boys were given the name Ezra, an increase of 163 from the previous year. In 2009, 88 American girls were also given the name, an increase of 8 from 2008.

Ezra has been a male name for centuries and continues to be so. While recently a few parents have given the name to a daughter (some perhaps not knowing the history of the name but just liking the sound of it), the name remains a boy's name.

Most people who see or hear the name Ezra will automatically think the bearer is a boy. This may cause problems for a girl named Ezra on class rolls, applications, resumes, etc. If there is ever another Ezra in her class, almost certainly that will be a boy. With Joshua, Noah and other end-in-a Old Testament names so popular for boys right now, Ezra most likely will consider to rise in popularity for boys.

I don't think any middle name can offset the indication that Ezra is a boy. I knew a girl - third daughter - who was named Christopher Ann. We knew her as "Chris" which worked well for her. However, no one was surprised when her approved college application had her assigned to a boys' dorm on the basis of her first name. "Christopher" always wished her parents had chosen a girl's name for her like they had for her sisters.

Autumn said...

Just to clear a few things up, neither my husband nor myself were disappointed that we're having a girl. I understand people jumping to that conclusion because I said it's the name we had picked for a boy but we actually both REALLY wanted a girl and couldn't be happier. Also, Emma was a name we chose together years before we had Emma. I had NO idea that it was so popular when she was born or that it would remain at the top of the list. I am not looking for a popular name or a unique name specifically, just one that I love that "feels" like my baby. Because the overall reaction (not just here) has been negative I probably will not use Ezra (we do not plan to have any other children so I will not be saving it). I am really heartbroken about it but I would never name my child something that they would be persecuted for just for the sake of originality as has been suggested. I just really loved it. Thank you for your opinions.

Meg said...

Autumn, I'm so sorry we pummeled your favorite name to pieces. Just because people don't like your choice of names doesn't mean that it's not the perfect choice for your daughter.

Just another idea I don't think has been thrown out there... what about a hyphenated name?


(I think Grace Ezra is really cute!)

Ezra would also make a very cute middle name, and she could go by that.

Claire Ezra
Evangeline Ezra
Caroline Ezra
Paige Ezra
Lillian Ezra

To me, Ezra sounds lovely as a middle name for a little girl. Using it as a middle name (on paper) eliminates the issue of roll call in school or someone expecting a male based on "XXX Ezra " CV.

(and I'm really digging Grace, Page and Evangeline for first names)

Last idea is the alternate spelling Ezrah which just feels more feminine to me, or the alternate form Azur.

Christine said...

Autumn, I am so sorry you feel like you were ganged up on. I think people sometimes forget that they're giving their opinion to real people when it's on a computer screen. As noted above, I knew a girl named Michael, and know a little girl with the middle name James. And while I never spoke with Michael as to how she felt about being named something so traditionally male (moreso than Ezra, which according to at least some sites was a Persian female name) she seemed like she was doing just fine in life. I still think Ezra is a little close too Emma for my tastes, but hey, if you love it, use it.

Allison said...

I don't get all the talk about ganging up and being harsh and ripping it to pieces and forgetting it's a real person. I'm re-reading the comments and they all look really polite and nice, and lots of them say that it's just the commenter's opinion and that the parents should use it if they love it, and lots of people like the name. There were lots of good suggestions too. I don't see what the problem is with people giving their opinions (nicely, like they did) when the parent is writing asking for opinions. People not liking a name isn't the same thing as peopel being mean.

Sarah L. said...

Autumn, I don't think anyone thought you wanted a boy, it's just like what Swistle said that it will make it SOUND like you wanted a boy. No one said the child would be persecuted, just that everyone would assume she was a boy and that would be annoying. And also you said your husband wanted a unique name. If you would be actually heartbroken not to use your boy-name choice for a girl, you should use it because of course people will learn she isn't a boy and of course nobody really cares if sibling names go together. You asked what we thought but that's only opinions and isn't what you should do.

Sarah L. said...

Also, you didn't say what you thought of all the suggestions people gave. I thought Swistle's suggestion of Esme was really good because it's so close to the sound of Ezra you like. I would spell it Ezmay though. I also really like Swistle's suggestion of Izzy.

Autumn said...

My only problem with the suggestions is that most of the ones I like are already taken or have been vetoed by my husband. Which, of course, you guys couldn't know.

Evangeline (Evie) - He says no
Eden (Edie) - My best friend's daughter
Estella - He says no because she's a "man eater" in Great Expectations
Isabella - One of the main characters in the Twilight series and I just can't do that
Esme - Also from Twilight
Charlotte - My niece
Eliza - I feel like she'd end up a Liza which I don't like.

I really like the idea of at least using Ezra as a middle name so I don't have to completely let it go. I like Lillian Ezra a lot. I think.

Also, I get that people feel like sibling names should go together but sometimes I feel like I'm choosing a second middle name for Emma instead of a first name for her sister who is a new and different person. I don't *want* them to clash necessarily but I definitely don't mind them being stylistically different.

Patricia said...

Hi Allison, I've been impressed that you're sticking with us even though the majority -- myself included -- have not been in favor of using Ezra for a girl. I'm glad you know we didn't mean anything personally, but just feel concern about a little girl being given a name that indicates 'boy'.

As for Ezra in the middle, I think that's fine although I'm guessing when a girl is given a classic traditional name like James as a middle name, that's usually to honor a family member (male) named James.

I personally prefer sibling names in the same style, but not so much names that begin with the same letter. That was very common years ago, but now days not as popular. However, I do like Elena with Emma, and I think you could stick with the full name Elena if you don't like "Lena". (A family member is hoping to have a daughter and will name - and call - her Elena.)

Emma is a classic girl's name, ending in 'a'. My daughter's third daughter is Emma, with older sisters Sarah and Catrina and younger sister Sophia. I think any of those names on its own is compatible with Emma.

A few other names I think 'match' Emma in some way and aren't very popular:
Miranda (possibly called Mira)

Lillian is a pretty name, but if you're wanting a less popular name, Lillian might not be the one for you. In 2009 Lillian ranked 27 in the SSA Top 1000 baby names in the USA; Lily ranked 18 and Lilly 117; plus there were other names beginning with Lill- or Lil- that could end up being called Lil(l)y as well. The 'Lily names" as a group are very popular right now.

Best wishes in finding the best name for your baby.

Patricia said...

Autumn, so very sorry to get your name wrong. I've been reading and typing in a hurry and just noticed that...

Meg said...

Patricia... but if her intention is to call her Ezra, using the first name as a formality (making paperwork easier, giving her options as she grows, etc) I don't think there's any harm in a name in the top 50 like Lillian.

Autumn said...

Thank you, Patricia. I'm trying to take everything constructively. And most people mistakenly call me Amber. Sometimes August. I answer to pretty much anything that starts with A. :)

Meg, if my intention was to call her Ezra, I would name her Ezra with her middle name as an alternate in case she hated it. I just meant that I would be happy to be able to use the name for her in some capacity since I do still love it.

I'm not completely against popular names, I think it's more that I don't really like most of what's popular now. Eva, which was one of my alternates, is in the top 10 so Lillian/Lily isn't a problem for me.

Anonymous said...

If you like Lillian, but are still looking for something a bit more uncommon... How about Lorna? It's my sister's name and I've actually never meet another person named that. Good luck, Autumn!

Meg said...

I have one more name suggestion that occurred to me tonight.


It's also technically a boys name but to me it's definitely a girl name.

"The boy's name Ilya \i-
lya,il-ya\ is pronounced ILL-yah. It is of Russian origin. Short form of Elijah (Hebrew) "the Lord is my God". The glamorous Russian Illya Kuryakin from the TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Ilya has 2 variant forms: Ilia and Illya.

Baby names that sound like Ilya are Alia, Aly, Ely, Elia, Ilie and Ola. "

Patricia said...

Autumn, I like to look for sibling name ideas in London Telegraph online birth announcements, where the names tend to be my favorite style - classic, which you mentioned is the style you tend to favor too. Here are names of sisters of girls named Emma:

Isobel/Isabel ("Izzy")
Philippa [often nn "Pippa" in UK]

Any names of interest here?

R said...

Just weighing in with my two cents - I'm a Rusti - and I can't tell you HOW many times I've heard "so - your parents wanted a boy huh?" or "no really, what's it say on your birth certificate?" because some people just don't get that a GIRL could be named Rusti... the funny thing is - if I'd been a boy, I'd have been named Gable - after my dad's favorite wrestler, Dan Gable...

also - I have an Emma Grace, and some potential names for a sister that I've liked (but hubs vetoed this time around, and some might be too close in sound) are Ava, Alli, Aubree, Ella/Ellie, Sophie & Stella...

I also think of Ezra as a completely male name (maybe because I know one?) and don't think that I could name my child a name where they would constantly be asked what their real name was, or if their parents wanted a child of the opposite gender (a boy named Sue, anyone?)... I hope that you are able to find another name that you love just as much, or that you can use Ezra as a middle name for and still be happy...

wishing you the best of luck!

Jennifer said...

I have three nieces that have boy names: Beau, Charlie, and Scottie. (They are sisters.) It does take a little explaining at first, but after the initial explanation, most people think it's cute, especially when you see them. They are precious and they're names fit them!

I personally don't see a problem with naming a girl Ezra. I'm not familiar with it's history (and I'm a pastor's wife!), but it SOUNDS feminine to me. I liked the idea that someone suggested of attaching another name along with it: Ezra Grace or Ezra Claire for example.

If all the negative feedback leads you to not go with Ezra, I think Lillian Ezra sounds lovely. Good luck, Autumn and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Hello Autumn,

I really like Lillian Ezra I think its sweet and sassy. I did want to mention that my name is Eliza and in my 30 years I have never been called Liza. Eliza is fun to say and I have enjoyed my name. I was also wondering if you liked the nickname Lily because Lillian may get shortened. I do like Emma and Lily though.

Shawna said...

I have to agree with what Swistle said about no to Ezra. Also, I am not a fan of siblings with phonetically nearly-identical names: Isla and Maya, Shayla and Kailyn, Hannah and Ella and Emma, etc. Thise sorts of pairings belong on pets, or twins at the very most in my opinion.

Why not something completely different for your second child? Kathryn/Kate, Fiona, Gwen, Caroline, etc.? Picture saying, "These are my daughters Emma and _____" and see what sounds good together without sounding too matchy-matchy?

TRACY said...

Eva or Ava
Esme: I like but very similar to Emma

TRACY said...

I also like Luca or Ellie.

Patsy said...

Okay so, i think its funny because I know Ezra is a boy name, and its actually what I intend to name my son when he is born in Jan. However I find myself telling people it is in fact a boy name and I've done so much research on it and its so so uncommon for even boys yet alone girls. So personally I wouldn't name my daughter Ezra because with all the research I've done it is deffinatly masculin and ment for a boy.

hopalong said...

My daughter's name (first and middle) is Ezra Grace -- she was one of the 88 female Ezras born in 2009. My name (Heather) is pretty common, but my husband has an extremely uncommon hippie-name and is frequently mistaken for a woman on paper -- so I felt better about naming our daughter Ezra when he approved it.

I had never considered naming a boy Ezra, but had had the name in mind for years for a girl. I've seen quite a few women named Micah, and I think Ezra is similar in that it's a more obscure biblical name with an ending that (in Romance languages, and in English) is traditionally considered feminine.

When we meet new people, we introduce her as Ezra Grace rather than just Ezra; some people seem to think it's strange (a hesitant, neutral response and a bit of a strange look), but we've had several people comment on what a wonderful and unusual name it is.

We call her Ez, Ezzie, Ezzie Grace, Baby Grace... the list is long. We chose the middle name "Grace" after a family friend, and so that she would have the option of going by her middle name when she's older.

So, Autumn, I think Ezra is a wonderful name choice for a girl. You have to be prepared to explain a little bit sometimes, but I'm sure that you (like my husband) know what that's like.

For what it's worth, we're expecting our second child and have chosen Josiah for a boy and Elspeth for a girl.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Eliza, Esme and some of the other suggestions are much better than Ezra. I hope you will pick one of those instead. I agree with others that it sounds like, and is, a boy's name and that people will always think that Ezra isn't a nice name for a girl. I know its hard when people don't like your name choice, but it's good that people have honestly given their opinions here - and that you're hearing this before you actually name the baby! My advice is to go with another name. Ezra is best left to boys.

Stephani said...

Oh I hope I'm not too late to comment! I actually found this feed because I googled baby girls names Ezra. Here's my opinion.

I LOVE the name Ezra for a girl! I'm considering it myself! Is has a feminine sound to it and as an above commenter put is not common enough to be completely male. It has a beautiful meaning "helper" and the very appealing "z"! I have asked several of my friends what they think and they ALL LOVE the idea of a little girl named Ezra. ALSO, i have met a little girl named Ezra and guess what her sister's name was......EMMA! Adorable! Emma and Ezra. I just love it. Please consider this....I am 27 years old and our generation is VERY open to unusual names espeically for girls. I think you'll find that by the time your baby girl grows to school age her name will NOT be a source of persecution or redicule. Instead it will be unique, fun, and sassy...maybe like her!


PS has she been born yet and did you name her? :D

Zoo said...

It is a small form of torture to me that there isn't an update to this post. I'm dying to know what Emma's sister is named!!!

Ezra said...

I personally like the name Ezra for the soul purpose that my name is Ezra and I'm a girl. And I have nothing but compliments for my name. It's different, independent and beautiful. Plus you don't hear it everyday.

Robyn said...

Thank you SO much for the update. I've often wondered what happened. Sounds like you've reached a lovely compromise with Ezra as her middle name. Beautiful! :)

Joseph Morton said...

I disagree completely with whatever people have said how the name Ezra is not ready to be used as a girls name. I am a soon to be father of our baby girl, Ezra Lynn Morton. I am also a 20 year old man, and my Wife is a 21 year old female. what is funny about all of these older parents commenting on how they think Ezra as a feminine name is not ready to be used, when they clearly havent heard most of the names that are used today for little girls. AS WELL AS boys. i know a little white boy named Kim. now if there is such disagreement with Ezra as a girls name, how it isnt feminine enough, what would you say about little boy kim? exactly. things have changed in society.

EX: our friend named her baby girl: Jace. now, if you ask me that name sounds completely Masculine. however, she is a very beautiful little girl. nowadays kids have such strange names that kids dont make fun of other kids because their names sound different. if you ask me? kids when their teenagers are more attracted socially and ideally to other teenagers with exotic or different names, and tend to flock to them more and tend to be the leader of their group of friends as well.

I think Ezra is a perfect name for a girl, it sounds beautiful. sorry. thats how people in todays generations are. if you are considering naming your girl Ezra, PERFECT! that is an excellent name for a girl with caucasian or latina or hispanic descent.

Swistle said...

Joseph- How nice to have you visit! The issue was not whether Ezra can be used as a girl's name, but whether it can be used with the sister name Emma.