This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Finding Out the Baby's Name

Lara writes:
I have a bit of an interesting conundrum. I'm a lifelong name enthusiast, and have been pretty much my entire life. An co-worker of mine had a baby - I'm kind of shy and he's kind of an introvert. I eventually asked another coworker what the baby's name was, and he answered with something that sounded like, "Amyquinn," or, perhaps more accurately, "Emiquin." It sounded like a name I should have heard of - it does sound lovely... but I can't seem to find existence anywhere. Is there a name that sounds like this? Or maybe it was a name they created, or maybe it is "Amy Quinn"? As someone who spends a lot of her free time thinking about names, it's frustrating!

My top guess is that the child's name is Emme/Emmy/Emmie Quinn or Emma Quinn---that he was giving the first and middle names. But we are definitely going to need a follow-up on this one: you are going to have to steel yourself to ask the co-worker who had the baby what his baby's name is, for all our sakes.

It will be easier if he puts a photo of the child on his desk, because then you can start by cooing over the cuteness, and then ask at the end of an awwww. Like this: "Ohhhhhhh, is this the BAY-bee?? Oh, she's so CUTE! Oh, look at her little CHEEKS! What a SWEETie! Awwwww...!....What's her NAME?" Maintain tone of voice and fond gazing at baby's face throughout, so that "What's her name?" is said in the same cooing voice as the rest.

If he says it and you still don't understand it, say, "I LOVE it! How are you spelling it?" This question CAN backfire, as when someone replies, "....E-m-m-a..." with a strange look---but these things happen, and you just have to have "Ha ha! No, I mean the MIDDLE name!" on deck ready to go. If you are not the "I LOVE it!" type, you can start with "What a GREAT name!" instead.

As an aside, this is a good opportunity to mention to the world at large that those are the only two appropriate responses to a baby's name, and they must be said instantly, before the name has even registered in the brain (and in fact, I find it's easier to give a hearty positive response if I haven't had time to form an actual reaction). Anything else sounds like a suppressed "Oh ick, seriously?"---and new parents are highly attuned to tones, pauses, and word choices. A reaction such as "Ohhhhh...that's an...interesting choice!" might seem to the speaker as if it's a safe and tactful response, but it might as well be "Ug, I hate it." Honesty has no place in baby name reactions---and besides, "What a GREAT name!" is true in the sense that all names are great names to the people who chose those names over all others. Our own subjective opinions about the name have no impact on the objective value of the name. (Well, or if they do, this is no time for pointing it out.)

Back to the subject at hand. If he doesn't have a photo on his desk, you can open with "I hear you have a new baby at your house!" (Don't say "Congratulations" right away: you'll need that for your exit line.) Then wait for his reaction, which will probably be something along the lines of "Yeah, it's pretty great" or "Yeah, we haven't been getting much sleep ha ha!" or possibly he will even take that opportunity to mention her name. When you need to get away, say, "Well....congratulations!" and duck out. This exchange will force both of you to make some eye contact and do some talking, but it is for the greater good.

Or perhaps your office will release some sort of birth announcement? Or you could search online for your co-workers name to see if you can find the baby announcement in the local newspapers. Or you could see if the local hospital posts baby names/photos online.


Does a name like Emiquin/Amyquinn ring a bell for anyone? Can we figure out what name it might be?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: We Already Used the Best Names

Alayne writes:
Hi. I am due with my second child in less than five days! My husband and I do not know what we're having, as we didn't with our first child; a beautiful daughter named Elise Claire. We are totally settled on a boy's name. He would be named after both of his grandfathers (William David). However, we just can't settle on a second girl's name.
We both feel as though we chose the two most lovely names for our daughter. Would it be wrong to use the name Claire for a second girl (as her first name)? We're thinking Claire Danielle, as my middle name is Danielle. Our last name is Muscarella, which I also like to keep in mind. We also like the name Lucy, but not as much as Claire.
Here are some of the options that we've discussed:

Claire Danielle
Claire Lucille
Claire Elizabeth
Claire Juliet
Lucy Anna
I love the first name Lucian(n)a, but hate the Italian pronunciation Loo Chee Ahna and don't know what could be used as a middle name so this is totally out.

Please help! We're desperate!

In the greater scheme of things, it wouldn't be a big deal to use the same name twice (especially since middle names aren't often known), and I know plenty of people have done it and for the very reason you'd be doing it. On the other hand, it means making it clear that the firstborn got the best two names in the whole world, and the secondborn got only one of them. And if I apply The Baby Name Wizard's test of "Would _I_ want this name if I were the baby?," I think no: I wouldn't have liked to have my sister's middle name as my first name.

It is almost always the case that parents use their first-choice names for the firstborn: we look for our favorite, and we use it. Sometimes we have a very close second choice to use later, but more typically we have to start from scratch. I suggest continuing to look for other names you also love, even if you don't love them as much as your first child's names. My guess is that with time, you will come to love the names nearly as much, if not just as much or more. Don't panic: you will have time to think, even after the baby is born.

It can be difficult to search if you're both stuck thinking you can't find anything you love as much. A stubbornness sets in: each new name possibility is compared to the favorite name and found lacking, and so is rejected. This is the same trouble a parent sometimes has when their first choice is rejected by the other parent: the parent can't begin the search for a new favorite until they realize their favorite WILL NOT be used and therefore they must drop it, and stop comparing everything to their not-going-to-be-used choice, and help look for another option. I suggest trying that as an exercise in this case: think to yourselves "We already used those two names. They are out of the name pool. We need to find our favorite from what's still in the pool."

I could suggest some names (Celeste, Camille, Cecile, Corinne, Genevieve, Simone---pretty much anything from the French section of The Baby Name Wizard that doesn't have an -el- sound or an -a ending) but if you are comparing each one to Elise and Claire, you'll reject the whole list. Keep in mind what we've already talked about: it is typical and normal to use the favorite name for the first child: we choose the name we like BEST, so you're not alone in having trouble finding another name you like identically well. It's about finding the NEW best. Compare each name possibility not to the names you've already used, but to the other names in the name pool: Don't think "Do we like the name Lucy as much as we like the name Elise?" Instead, think "Do we like the name Lucy more than all the other names in the name pool?"

Let's also have a poll about your original question, and see what people think about using one child's middle name as a subsequent child's first name. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name update! Alayne writes:
Well, it was a girl! Elise Claire's new little sister is named Lucy Elizabeth Muscarella. I must confess, I was still quite anxious about selecting a name all the way up until the day I went into labor, which coincidentally was five days past my due date (you'd think the extra time would have helped in deciding!). I was so anxious about it that I had convinced myself, the day of, that Lauren needed to be the name if it were a girl (which wasn't on our list at all). Needless to say, the baby names books went with us to the hospital. In fact, Lucy wasn't named until the day following her birth, which in part was due to the fact that she was born five hours before my husband was to be the best man in his cousin's wedding (yes, the tux accompanied the baby names books to the hospital). I knew Lucy was the right name when I saw how happy my husband was to say it aloud. Plus, Lucy was born on August 6th, Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday. We took it as a sign! Thank you for all of your wonderful suggestions and especially to all of your followers who commented. We love our Lucy!

Name Updates Galore!

I let the updates get away from me for a minute there, so we have a whole bunch today!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Hall!
Update on Baby Girl Campbell, Sister to Hadley Kate and Mia Brynn!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl or Boy Wiebe, Sibling to Evanie Josephine!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Boy or Girl Collins, Sibling to Ashton and Clara!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Boy or Girl Guarraseemo, Sibling to Lilliana Avery!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Naming Issue: Initials That Spell EEW!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baby Naming Issues: Will and Kate as Sibling Names; Matching Name Endings

Elizabeth writes:
I'm 14 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child and starting to think about names seriously now. Boy or Girl we do not know, but will in about 6 weeks. We are pretty set on a boy name. Lucas James (James is DH's name) If its not Lucas (Luke) then our 2nd choice is William (Will, I love Will, but then I would have a Will & Kate??). Our DD's name is Kaitlyn Elizabeth (which I do not love Kaitlyn) most people call her Kate, Katie or Katie Beth. What do you think of having the same ending for a girl name? Madelyn (Maddie), Emmalyn, etc? I love simple middle names like Rose, Jo & Claire

Any suggestions would be great.

Two interesting questions here: (1) Do we think Will and Kate are still usable as sibling names, and (2) How do we feel about matching endings? I'll give my own answers, but I think opinions will be all over the spectrum on these---from "AAAAAAA NO NEVER!!" to "What's the big deal?"

I would not use Will and Kate as sibling names. Other sibling pairings that would be off my list: Charles and Diana, Brad and Angelina, my mom's name and my dad's name. Some two-name sets are so well known for belonging to a particular couple, hearing them together on siblings is highly evocative and sometimes even a little disturbing. (I remember, back when I was looking for names for my twins, finding a comment by a woman who said she'd named her boy-girl twins Romeo and Juliet. Oh...dear.)

But on this issue I can see how someone else might say that Will and Kate are both classic/traditional/popular names and there's no reason to reject them just because some couple is currently in the news (and in the case of some celebrity couples, might not be anymore by the time the child is in school). Some people might even say "Will and Kate? Who are they?" And certainly I would use Will and Kate before I'd use Romeo and Juliet. It helps that your Kate is short for Katelyn not Catherine, and that the order would more often be Kate and Will.

And there are plenty of couples whose names don't immediately trigger an association for me (er, at least when they're not all together in a list like this): John and Kelly, Sarah and Matthew, Michael and Catherine*, so clearly it's a complicated equation with many personal-association and particular-name elements. In short: while I wouldn't use Will and Kate for siblings, I WOULD use Michael and Catherine, and I probably would use my grandmother's name and my grandfather's name---so it wouldn't surprise me to find plenty of people who would use Will and Kate. It also helps if there are more than just two siblings, and if the names are separated by a sibling: Kate, Henry, Meg, and Will is far less of an issue. But I suggest avoiding the whole issue and sticking with Lucas.

Matching-endings is another area where I'd generally avoid it, but there are plenty of people who do it on purpose---so it's not anything clear-cut. If my top two favorite girl names were Katelyn and Madelyn, I might use them (especially if I planned to call them Kate and Maddy)---but I think I'd be more likely to change the spellings to avoid at least the visual element of the match: Caitlin and Madelyn, or Katelyn and Madeline. (It's too bad that the -lyn has already been used for Katelyn, because I really like the way the -lyn ending clears up the pronunciation question of the names Madeline and Emmaline.)

In short: I'd prefer to avoid repeating endings, but if I loved the names and couldn't think of any I liked better, I might go ahead and use them---changing spelling if possible.


What do you think? Would you use Will and Kate as sibling names? Would you repeat a name ending?

In fact, let's add polls, because polls are fun. There's one for each question, and they're over to the right. The "it depends" option is for things like "If Kate were short for Katelyn, but not if it were short for Catherine" and "Not this year with all the fuss, but maybe a few years down the road" and "Only if I planned to use nicknames that were less similar." [Polls closed; see results below.]

*Travolta, Jessica Parker and Broderick, Douglas and Zeta-Jones

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby Girl Foreman

Erin writes:
I'm due December 3 with our first baby (and the first grandbaby on either side). We just found out it's a girl and are super excited. Unfortunately, the mister told his parents what our front runners for girl names were and his parents, well, they registered an opinion. A negative one. My response was (as it normally is), "screw them and the horse they rode in on," but my husband is a little more worried about offending his parents.

Our last name sounds like Foreman and we're settled on the middle name Rose. Our two front-runners for girl's names were Evelyn and Sophia. Evelyn was my favorite, with the nickname of Evie, and Sophia was the mister's.

My husband has vetoed Ava and Eva. We've nixed Christine, Katherine, Caitlyn, Annabelle, and all their variations for family reasons. Emma is out as my best friend just took that name for her girl. We both like Elizabeth, but fear it's too common. I think the first name should be at least two syllables and I love very feminine sounding names. We both like old-fashioned/traditional names. Help?

If it's of any interest, my first choice for a boy was Bennett James and my husband's first choice for a boy was Wyatt James.

Thank you for any assistance you can offer!

I am right on the line when it comes to the importance of family approval of a name. On one hand: they had their turn to name babies, and this is your turn; it's your choice and you should choose the name you love; they will likely come around to it and then not be able to believe they ever objected.

And on the other hand, it's nice to have the people you're close to love the baby's name, and it's nice for them to like the name of someone they're going to be close to. It also seems reasonable for people who love each other (either actually or theoretically) to keep strong dislikes in mind: to avoid names of exes and family black sheep, to give a little warning if they're going to use a name known to be disliked.

In this case, though...they hate Evelyn and Sophia? Did they...give a reason? Because there is nothing immediately obvious to me about those names that would cause the in-laws to have veto power. Unless there's more to this story (such as that Evelyn is the name of your father-in-law's first wife, or something of that sort), I can't see any reason that using either of those names would OFFEND your in-laws. I understand your husband's feelings, but in this case I am more inclined to side with the "and the horse they rode in on" point of view. It might help your husband if he considers what it is he wants to do here. Does he want to present his parents with all the names the two of you are considering for your child, until they choose the one they like best?

I am going to assume that the reason your in-laws don't like those names is that Evelyn and Sophia are names being used for this current generation of babies. It could be that I'm way off in this assumption, but in that case this paragraph will still apply to other situations where this is the problem---because it is such a CLASSIC problem. The current generation of new grandparents CLASSICALLY thinks that the current generation of new parents likes "weird" or "old" or "made-up" names. My grandparents had never HEARD of the weird name Kristen before. My parents wince a little (though they do it politely/understandingly: they are familiar with the way this baby-naming thing goes) at names like Henry and Oliver. We will likely be the same way about the names our children want to name our grandchildren ("Shirley for a girl or Howard for a boy? That's...interesting!"). It is the cycle of baby-naming: each group of names seems totally normal/fresh to the generation using them, and quite weird/dated to previous generations.

IF this is what's going on in your situation, I am solidly on the side of ignoring their input. If the two frontrunners have already been ruined, I understand; in that case, I suggest choosing new names, but seeing if your husband will agree not to ruin the new ones as well by telling them to his parents before the baby is born and named.

I don't think the name Elizabeth is too common. My children have, so far, been in 17 classes of preschool/school, and there has been one classmate named Elizabeth. The name was #12 in 2010, but the name Sophia was #2. (Source: Social Security Administration.) If you want something similar but less common, one of my favorite variations is Eliza---dramatically underused at #240 in 2010. Eliza Rose Foreman. Love.

I wonder if you'd like Amelia? Amelia Rose Foreman. (I wouldn't recommend it if your surname initial is actually F, though, because of the initials ARF.)

Clara is such a pretty old/traditional name. Clara Rose Foreman.

Or Claudia, I think, has some of the sound of Sophia. Claudia Rose Foreman.

Lillian is somewhat similar to Evelyn. Lillian Rose Foreman. The two flowers of Lily Rose could be a plus or a minus.

Name update! Erin writes:
While Evelyn, Sophia, and Eliza (love) were on our short list when I went into labor, poor baby girl remained nameless for two days in the hospital, since none of those names felt right. As the time for checkout neared and we cast about for other names, one of the names from the comments, Caroline, stuck out.

Caroline Rose.

While I sort of regret not naming her one of our other names, just to irritate my in-laws, I love love love the name we ended up with.

Thank you so much for your help!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby Girl Stratton, Sister to Twins Colton and Chloe

Melissa writes:
We are having a girl in two weeks and she still doesn't have a name.

We have 15 month old twins Colton Thomas (my father's first name) and Chloe James (husband's middle name).
We are veering away from another "C" name but would totally name her a C name if we loved it.

Our last name is Stratton
My name is Marissa and my husband's is Matt.

Names on the list:
Husband likes Colby.....I think it sounds like a tongue twister with the twins.

For some reason Stella is in the lead but we can't pull the trigger?

We are thinking Stella Vita or have tossed around Stella Maris. My name, Marissa is a derivative of Maris (meaning sea) and Stella Maris means star of the sea. Middle names we have used family names. Vita is my great grandmothers name.

But is Stella getting too popular? Everyone tells me it is but no one can tell me that they know of any Stellas???
We also love boy names for girls.

I know I haven't given you much time but would LOVE to hear you toss any suggestions our way.

We are DESPERATE : )

I agree with you: I think adding another hard-C and L name like Colby is too much---especially since it also repeats the first syllable of her brother's name. Shelby might work instead, or Darby, or Darcy, or Delaney, or Laney.

With Chloe, I think Lola might be too much Lo---or maybe not, I keep saying them together and can't tell. Chloe and Lola. Hm. Maybe it just ties them together nicely? Lila would work too, without the repeating -lo- sound---though it's still a lot of L.

Stella Maris is so pretty, and I love names that lead to a collection---in this case, it would be fun to collect starfish-themed items. (And I've been considering tattoos lately, so my mind goes immediately to how fun it would be to get a sweet little starfish tattoo! or a star over a wave!) I'm a little worried about the name, though, since it's also used to refer to several other things, including the Virgin Mary. Stella Vita is also wonderful.

The name Stella IS getting more common:

(screenshot from the Social Security Administration)
(click it to see it larger)

But I think that's a point in its favor: according to the Social Security Administration, Colton is #73 and Chloe is #9. Stella is right now entering that same level of popularity.

The name Hadley is much less common (#216 in 2010), but I like it with the sibling group. I like Haley even more: it's more coordinated in femininity with her sister's name, and its multiple spellings bring it closer to the popularity of Chloe.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baby Girl Marsh, Sister to Owen and Eli

Katie writes:
My husband and I are expecting our third child on 9/22/11, although I have a history of early labor and delivery. We have two sons together Owen Samuel (age 4) and Eli Benjamin (age 17 months), and I am thrilled we are finally expecting a little girl! The pregnancy has been fairly easy so far, but the hardest part has been picking out this little girl's name.

When it came to our sons names, we both agreed on the names fairly easily with little compromise. Owen's middle name Samuel is my husband's middle name and Eli's middle name is my father's name. With our little girl, we would love to have a virtue middle name, more specifically Grace, but it is not a necessity.

The one girl name that my husband and I loved before we had children was Ella. The problem is that we now have an Eli and the names are way to similar for our comfort. We want our little girl to have her own identity in our family.

Our short list of girl names are:
Stella- our compromise to the Ella problem, but it doesn't feel like the perfect name and I don't know if this is the compromise I want to make.

Mia- our front runner at the moment, but once again it does not feel like the one. Also it's rising in popularity, the name just doesn't feel complete, and the alliteration with our last name seems to bother my husband

Savannah- although I love this name and my husband seems to like it too, we both feel that it doesn't seem to go with our son's names.

Halle- a new name that I found while reading an online article and I love it, but my husband isn't as sold. He thinks it will be constantly mispronounced as hay-lee instead of hal-ee.

Addison- a name we both just like, but don't feel like its our baby girl's name.

Just for reference, if this baby would have been a boy, his name would have probably been Caleb Jackson or Luke Alexander. Please help us! We are running out of time, patience and we are tired of Owen and Eli referring to their little sister as "Baby."

Stella Marsh is a terrific name, but I can see how if what you wanted was Ella, the name Stella might be too different in sound and style.

Willa is probably my top choice for you. It has the sweetness and gentleness of Ella, but without the part that makes it too close to Eli. Willa Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Willa.

Or perhaps Clara is my top choice: it has the sweet and gentle, it has the L and the -a, but it's not too similar to either sibling name. Clara Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Clara.

Sadie is not quite the same style as Ella (sassier, I think), but I love it so much with the surname and the brother names. Sadie Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Sadie. And I like the repeating long-A sound if you use Grace as the middle name; it seems like it would be very pleasing to call her "Sadie Grace."

Molly, too, has sweetness (and a double L) but it won't work if your husband doesn't like alliteration. Molly Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Molly.

Savannah makes me wonder if you'd like the name Anna. I recently read a novel that made me PINE for the name Anna Hope. They called her Anna Hope (that is, instead of calling her just Anna while the Hope disappeared into Middlenameville), and I couldn't believe how quickly it grew on me. I had a mini-crisis over the idea of never getting to use such a great name myself. Anna Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Anna.

Or the name Annabella would give you the -ella at the end---sort of a combination of Savannah and Ella. Annabella Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Annabella. If that seems too long and frilled for the brother names, Annabel would be very nice. Annabel Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Annabel.

Speaking of names from novels, now I'm reading another book with a Nell. I wouldn't have thought that was a name I felt one way or another about, but I like it quite a bit in the book, and it has the -ell from Ella. Nell (Nellie) Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Nell.

Calla might work. Yes, I like it, and I like the nickname Callie, too. Calla (Callie) Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Calla.

If you like Mia but it doesn't seem like enough name, I've heard it used as a nickname for Amelia. Amelia Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Amelia. It bothers me a little bit that the name Eli is in the name Amelia---but it's pronounced differently, so it's not likely anything anyone would notice except to say "Oh, cool!"

There's also Mila or Mina or Mira, all of which have pronunciation issues that might be worth the hassle to add substance to the name (Mia has a couple of pronunciations, too).

If pronunciation issues are the main problem with Halle, I've seen it spelled Hallie. Although perhaps that would look like a creative spelling of Haley and would make things even worse. Hm.

Out of nowhere: I wonder if you'd like Delaney. Delaney Marsh; Owen, Eli, and Delaney.

Name update! Katie writes:
So sorry this is coming to late (and so long!), but with a newborn, a kindergartner, and a little boy who has hit his terrible-twos, things have been a little hectic in the Marsh household. Our baby girl decided to grace us with her presence slightly earlier than expected on August 15th, 2011 and her first 26 days of life were spent in the NICU due to a bacterial infection. She is home now, safe and sound, but due to her early surprise, we were unprepared on her name to say the least. When she was 4 days old, my husband and I finally sat down to figure a name out for our little miracle. Just days before she was born, we finally eliminated Ella/Stella from our list because we knew it just didn't sit well with us, compromising on a name we loved. We came to your website and we waffled back and forth between Molly, Sadie and Delaney. Each name sounded great with the middle name choice "Grace", but we were stumped. After another day, we eliminated Delaney because that was our least favorite of the three names. I loved Sadie, my husband loved Molly, and we were stuck, but ultimately, my husband ended up adjusting to Sadie and so our miracle preemie daughter became Sadie Grace Marsh. Thank you so much for the help Swistle! We couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Name to Consider: Cozette

A. writes:
My husband and I are considering Cozette for a girl's name. It's not on the social security website and I'm very curious (worried) as to how people will respond to this name. Any feedback?


According to the Social Security Administration, 17 baby girls were named Cozette in 2010. Another 58 were named Cosette.

For me, the nickname Cozy is a negative---but there's no reason it should be, since it's a perfectly pleasant word.

Let's have a poll over to the right: what do you think of the name Cozette? [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results (342 votes total):
I love it! I'd use it! - 17 votes (5%)
I like it! I'd consider it! - 35 votes (10%)
I like it for someone else's child - 93 votes (27%)
No particular opinion either way - 25 votes (7%)
Slight dislike - 117 votes (34%)
Strong dislike - 55 votes (16%)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: The Pronunciation of Emmaline

Amanda writes:
We are due in the next week or so with our second child, gender unknown, and I've just discovered I've been pronouncing one of our finalist names wrong this whole time! Our frontrunner for a girl has been Emmaline. I've only ever seen it written, and in my head, the ending rhymes with 'teen'. But I just looked it up in the Baby Name Wizard and found out that it officially rhymes with 'twine' which I don't like nearly as much. I had really liked the nickname options of both Emma and Lena. Is my way a legitimate alternative, or have I just made something up? Would I be dooming my child to a life of constant corrections? Our other choice for a girl is Norah. The middle name will almost certainly be Imogen. Our last name is pronounced De-FLOR-ee-o, and our older son's name is Wy@tt.

I was finally feeling prepared, and now the fretting starts anew. Arrgh!

First I found the pronunciation on Forvo, where two readers pronounce it EmmaLEEN and one pronounces it EmmaLINE.

Then I found a preference/opinion discussion on Nameberry, where a couple of people say that the French pronunciation is EmmaLEEN, and where other people say it can be pronounced either way or even a third way (EmmaLIN).

Then I found a million other message boards that had the same basic content: people claiming to have ONLY ever heard it a certain way while other people insincere-LOL-ingly claimed to have NEVER heard it that way; lots of people claiming to be personally acquainted with three babies with that name when I suspect they are only trying to bolster their personal opinion with invented evidence; lots of people stating preferences but very little discussion of what is correct/legitimate.

Message boards give me a headache, but I think the consensus here is that EmmaLEEN is considered a legitimate way to pronounce it, and that no matter which way you chose to pronounce it you'd have some people pronouncing it wrong. I think I would come up with a standard correction ahead of time---something like, "Oh, no---it's EmmalEEn, like Emily," or "It's EmmalEEn, like Pauline or Christine."

If you want to make the pronunciation more clear, there's also the option of altering the spelling. Emmaline is already spelled a ton of different ways (Emeline, Emmeline, Emaline), and none of the spellings are common enough to seem like a "main spelling." Emmalene (like Irene and Arlene), Emmaleen (like Colleen and Kathleen), or Emmalena (to make it clearly a blend name) would all work, I think.

Name update! Amanda writes:
Thank you so much for all your help with our naming problem. All the comments really helped us make the final decision, and the work was not in vain! Despite the majority of friends and family predicting another boy, Emmaline Imogen arrived in the early hours of August 8, weighing in at a quite respectable 8lbs 12oz. We were keeping our name options top secret until she got here, and the reactions have all been very positive so far.
Thanks again!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby Boy Kaufman

Bethany writes:
Hello! My husband, Scott and I are expecting our first baby, due October 13th! We found out that we are having a boy and are very excited! The only problem is coming up with a wonderful name that we both like and know he will love as well. My husband and I both want his name to be cute and fun for when he is a little baby and boy and something that transitions to masculine when he is adult. I LOVE LOVE LOVE all old fashioned 50’s names for boys, but my husband is not as keen on them as I am. I loved the names “Graham”, “Reid” and “Grady” but my husband hates all of them. He says they are not “manly” enough. We did however come to an agreement on two names…. “Jack” and “Oliver.” I really wanted to name him Jack after my grandpa who I was deeply close with, who passed away a few years ago. My grandpa’s name was actually John, but everyone called him Jack. However, my sister also recently had a baby boy, born July 12th and they decided to name him Elliott Jack. They used the name Jack as a middle name because her husband’s father’s name was Jack, but now I feel like I can not use it since she did. I also feel she might be offended if I use Jack and we really do not want to step on anyone’s toes. So that leaves us with the name “Oliver” which we both love! However…we have had several people express how much they hate it. We have decided to use “Jonah” as the middle name, because we both like that name and feel it flows nicely. The naysayers who do not like the name (including my own dad) say he will be called “OJ” (which I hate) and “Ollie” (which I don’t really care for but my husband LOVES!) I know if we name him Oliver, my husband Scott is going to call him “Ollie” all of the time.

I should explain how the name Oliver came up as a suggestion as well. For the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was incredibly sick with “morning – all day” sickness. I would see everything I ate again… it was awful. But, for some weird reason the only thing that I always wanted that made me feel better instantly was to eat Green Olives. I eat about a half a jar of green olives everyday! My husband joked that all of the Olives would turn the baby into an Oliver (I thought for sure I was having a girl) and apparently they did because we are having a BOY! Well… the name sort of stuck and now we are in a bind since a lot of friends and family are not on board. We would love any suggestions you would have for us! It’s less than three months away now, and I would love to have his name settled for sure! Please help us!!

Thank you so much!!

P.S. I should also tell you that we have an English Bulldog named Ruby.

There are two basic and widely-experienced issues here: the sister-used-the-name issue, and the some-people-hate-the-name issue.

I think you should talk to your sister. My own temperament wouldn't stretch to asking her outright if she'd mind if you used the name Jack, so I won't suggest the direct approach to you either, but you could raise the subject casually and then gauge her reaction. Like, bring up the subject of baby names, mention a few names you're considering, and then say, "We were thinking of Jack, after grandpa..." and see if she startles or if her eyebrows go mad-shaped or if she says "But WE used Jack!" And then if necessary you can back down quickly ("But then you used it, so THAT'S out! Ha ha! Obviously! Ahem!") and be no worse off than you are now. Or maybe she will say, "Ohhhhh, how sweet!" or "You totally should!," and then think how happy you'll be.

For one thing, she used it as a middle name, and the middle name is just not the same as the first name: people don't tend to feel as possessive about it, and it's much more common to have duplications---especially in an extended family where a bunch of people might want to honor the same ancestor. For another thing, she was honoring her father-in-law, perhaps mostly because it was something her husband wanted to do, whereas you'd be honoring your grandfather. It would be hard to argue that once one person has been honored, no one else with that same name may be honored, not even someone from a completely different family. But if she DOES in fact argue that very thing, at least you know for sure she feels that way, instead of possibly giving up the name for nothing.

Or, you could use John. It's definitely not as satisfying as using the nickname your grandfather mostly went by, but it WAS his given name, and you'll know it's "after grandpa." And it may be better than not getting to name a child after him at all. And John Kaufman has a wonderful sound.

As for people hating the name, it is a sad thing about baby-naming that EVERY SINGLE NAME has some people who hate it. EVERY name. There are no exceptions: the name you give this baby WILL be hated by some people. This doesn't mean I'm in the "Screw what everyone else thinks, it's MY choice!!" camp---far from it. I can easily empathize with their desire to love the name of an important baby in their lives---and I can easily picture how I'd feel if the name of an important baby in my life was one from my "Ug, I can't STAND that name!" list. But because every name will be hated by some people, it depends on things such as WHO hates the name, and HOW MANY of them there are, and WHY they hate the name, and how likely they are to come around to it with time, and how likely they are to hate ANY name I like. People from other generations classically dislike the names the current generation of parents is using: their complaints are typically that a name is weird, or that it's old-personish. (We will likely feel the same about the names of our grandchildren, although it helps that we are keeping our baby-name muscles exercised here.) And sometimes people just have completely different naming styles: perhaps you don't like the names they used for THEIR children, either---and yet they still used those names, perhaps without consulting everyone first.

In the case of your nay-sayers, it sounds like their primary objection is the initials with the chosen middle name. Is this something you could fix without stress? If your reasons for using it are just that you like the name and it flows nicely, are you willing to save that name for a possible future child, and find another name you like equally well that flows nicely but doesn't start with J? This might not stop the objections, of course: sometimes people who don't like a name come up with "legitimate reasons" for not liking it---but if those reasons were removed, they still wouldn't like it. But it's worth a try, if it's something you'd be willing to do. There are lots of two-syllable names with a similar flow:

Oliver Eli Kaufman
Oliver Ezra Kaufman
Oliver Henry Kaufman
Oliver Leo Kaufman
Oliver Levi Kaufman
Oliver Matthew Kaufman
Oliver Micah Kaufman
Oliver Noah Kaufman
Oliver Phillip Kaufman
Oliver Riley Kaufman

Or it's a great place for a name one of you likes that the other one likes okay but doesn't want to use as a first name. Oliver Grady Kaufman, for example. Or it's a good place for a family name: perhaps Oliver Scott Kaufman.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people tend to come around to a name even if they disliked it at first. In fact, it's common for them to say later on things such as "When I first heard the name, I HATED it! *merry laugh of how hilarious this is now that they love it*" and "What are you talking about? I ALWAYS loved that name!" Once an actual little sweetie-biscuit is on the scene, the name has an entirely different feel to it. (In fact, you might find you end up loving the nickname Ollie: we've had commenters mention on nickname-related posts that they've completely changed their point of view on a nickname they thought they couldn't stand, once the child was born and turned out to be Exactly Right for that nickname.)

It sounds like you have several really good reasons for using the name Oliver. I think at this point it's a matter of whether you think your dad and the others will get over it, and/or how important it is to you to have unanimous agreement in your circle about your child's name. If you decide to use Oliver, I'd suggest saying to your dad (and to others) gently and with a touch of affectionate humor that you just want to give him the heads-up that you're planning to use the name he doesn't like, so he should start bracing himself for that. And perhaps you can soothe him with a different middle name (perhaps HIS name would work?).

Also, I have one name suggestion: if you like Graham and Grady and Reid, I wonder if Grant would be manly enough for your husband.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Name Updates!

Update on Baby Boy Lou, Brother to Adam and Naomi!
Update on Baby Girl Zarembsk1!

Baby Boy or Girl Wibbly

C. writes:
I'm freaking out! My husband and I are expecting our first child in 4 days and I am way more anxious and stressed about naming this baby than I am about the whole labor process. Its such a big responsibility and we desparately need your help!!!!

We’ve been making lists of names now, since we found out we were expecting, but cannot come up with first/middle name combinations that fit with our last name. Our last name is pronounced Wibbly, which definitely rules out many of my favorite names (Rylee, Hadley, Kingsley), since I don’t want our child to have rhyming first and last names. Also, we’ve made the mistake of sharing our favorite names with opinionated family members… we were settled on Ayla if we have a girl, until a family member told me “it sounds like alien.” Now I’m having second thoughts, although my husband and I both still like it alot…

I don’t know if we have a particular style, but I seem to like names that start with vowels or soft sounds, and prefer names that are less common...

So, here’s what we have so far:


Isaiah - I love Isaiah and its growing on hubby who initially said it was too old-fashioned and biblical…. So, we would like a newer trendier middle name (I like Dax, Jax, or Finn, but hubby is not so keen). I wonder if you would have any other suggestions?

Everett - I like this a lot too, but need suggestions for middle names…



Kingsley - too rhymey

Aidan - My old favorite, but now we have several aquaintances who have used it

Jackson/Oliver - I love the idea of shortening to Jax/Oly, but just too popular for me now


Ayla Reese

Ayla Jean - Jean is after my grandmother, but I think this combo is too old fashioned for me… I worry that it sounds a little Hillbilly when pronounced with a Southern accent... I would love to hear yours and your readers opinions...

Aubrey Jean

Selah Jean

Selah Reese

Ayla Brielle

Rylee - husband’s favorite, but I think too rhymey with our last name

Hadley - again too rhymey

Thanks so much for your help!!!

PS We are feeling most stuck with boys names. So, if you are only able to help with one or the other, we would really appreciate help with our boys names. Thanks again!

There are several tools I think might be useful here:

1. The Social Security baby name website. Oliver is too popular for you---but your frontrunner Isaiah is even more common (#45 in 2010, versus Oliver's #88). However, Oliver's popularity is increasing while Isaiah's is holding steady, and that's a consideration too. Rylee is #102, but it's #14 when combined with the spellings Rylie and Riley and Ryleigh. This is the sort of thing the site is great for: you can see where a name is, and you can also get an idea for where it's going.

2. Choosing Between Two Finalists. You have more than two finalists, but I think these exercises can be very helpful for narrowing a list down.

3. This post, in which I give the advice I give all first-time parents, which is to see if you can figure out what your naming style is BEFORE you name the first baby (is it more Isaiah/Everett, or more Sawyer/Kingsley?), and to look through your lists for names where you could only use one of them (for example, Ayla and Selah: using one will eliminate the other, so make sure you're choosing the one you like most) or names that wouldn't make good sibling names later (would any of the name candidates pair poorly with any of the names you might like to use for siblings later on?).

I think Isaiah Wibbly is a great name. For the middle name slot, do you have any family names you'd like to use? Or any names that commemorate other things that are special to you (places, authors/characters, artists, schools)? Since you're keener on Isaiah than your husband is, are there any names he liked that had to be eliminated for other reasons but could still be used in the middle name position?

You might also like Josiah, which comes with the nickname Joe if you want it---although perhaps Joe Wibbly is a little close to Bo Diddley.

Eli is nice, or Levi, or Ezra, or Asher.

For Everett, I like middle names that might be too common to suit your style: Everett John Wibbly, Everett James Wibbley, Everett Jack Wibbly. Or Everett Reid is less common. (I like Reid with Isaiah, too.)

Everett makes me think of Elliot and Everest.

If you like Kingsley except for the ending, Kingston might work for you.

I like Ayla Jean very much. The name Ayla is similar to Kayla; adding Reese as a middle name increases that similarity, and using Jean decreases it. The "alien" thing doesn't bother me, but I know how these "helpful comments" from family/friends can really wreck a name. Paul and I were considering a pair of names for our twins, and a friend said "Oh, I love them! They sound just like characters from a romance novel!" ...Oh. *names fizzle right before my eyes*

I worry that you'll be unhappy with the popularity of Ayla over time. Right now it's way down in the 300s, but the sounds in it are so current: Kayla and Haley and Lila and Ava and Bella rolled into one. I suspect it will either increase in popularity dramatically---or, more likely, just FEEL more popular because of all the similar names.

My favorite is Aubrey, but I don't like the bree/blee combination with the surname. The name Audrey eliminates the B, but still is a little rhymey.

Since the -lee/-lie/-ly endings (and some of the -ee/-ie/-y endings) have been nixed by the surname, I think -lyn and -anna and -ella endings might work well, or -ra or -is or -er. If Rylee is a favorite, do you like Rianna? Rilyn? Raelyn? If Hadley is too rhymey: Hadlyn or Hayden or Adelyn. Aylyn would be even MORE like alien, but Kaylin/Caelyn/Braelyn/Ashlyn are less, or maybe Avelyn or Ariella or Sierra or Iris or Aida.

Name update! C. writes:
So, I am way late sending in an update. My baby is already 3 months old! We named him Isaiah Steven. Thank you for all of your help, I was so happy to have such positive feedback on the name Isaiah, which had always been my first choice. And, Steven is after his Daddy, which we hadn’t seriously considered until you suggested choosing a name with meaning behind it. Thanks again, we are very happy with his name!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Boy Smith, Brother to Declan River

Natalie writes:
My husband Aaron and I are expecting our second son on October 19, 2011... Which may seem far in the future, but when you have absolutely no idea what his name will be, the due date seems all too soon!

Big brother is Declan River. We settled on his name easily, but it was a total one-off; literally the ONLY name in the baby name book that we both loved.

My style for boys is kind of uncommon/old-fashioned/quirky, with a few surnames thrown in - Leo, Dashiell, Gideon, Sullivan, Beckett, and Jasper are all favorites that my husband has nixed. Aaron's favorites all seem to come from three categories: Irish/Celtic (Keegan, Angus, Tiernan), uber-masculine (Hunter, Gunnar, Stone, Magnus) or extremely popular (Aidan, Noah, Liam).

With Smith as the surname, one of my top priorities is staying away from anything too common. I'd rather not use anything distinctly Irish, since we already have a Declan - it's not the direction I want our set going. We want one more after this baby (three total) and I don't want to be stuck in a rut. And the uber-masculine names just don't appeal to me. At all.

We have agreed on a few names, but he always retracts his agreement within a few days, for one reason or another. This is (was) our short list, all of which are now crossed out:

Archer - Definitely our top name, but is now nixed due to Aaron's fear of the nickname "Archie."
Jonah - My second choice, Aaron liked it for a day, then claimed "it's too soft."
Finn - I was iffy on this one due to both popularity and the flow with a 1-syllable surname
Hudson - Just doesn't feel "right" to my hubby, I can't decide if it's too trendy
Holden - Same as Hudson

At 25 weeks pregnant, we're left with nothing. This would have been much easier if he were a girl, as our styles have more overlap - Annabelle, Georgia, Lila, Violet, and Rosemary were our short list, all of which we both like.

So, Swistle, do you see any obvious compromises that I've missed? Is there any hope of convincing him that Archer won't be called "Archie," or that Jonah is a strong name? Please help!

I know we are avoiding Celtic, but the name that sprang to mind is Aidric. It's similar to Aidan, but way less common. Aidric Smith; Declan and Aidric.

Callum is another Celtic-choice-even-though-we're-supposed-to-be-avoiding-Celtic. What I like about it is I don't think it SCREAMS "Celtic": it's Celtic enough to go well with Declan, but not so Celtic that I think it would be incompatible with non-Celtic names. Callum Smith; Declan and Callum.

Felix is one of my own favorite quirky names, but I'm worried the X blends too much with the S of Smith.

Another favorite is Milo---but I suspect you will like it and your husband won't. Milo Smith; Declan and Milo.

Or Hugo? Hugo Smith; Declan and Hugo.

Another I like is Ruben. Ruben Smith; Declan and Ruben.

Can I talk you into one of my new favorites? Pascal Smith; Declan and Pascal.

I think Archer is such a great choice for you. I think he might indeed be called Archie, but I think Archie is adorable. Perhaps you could still use it as a middle name, where it won't be nicknamed: it's nice with River.

Jonah's main issue is that soft-A ending---used almost exclusively for girls in the U.S., except for biblical names. Jonas is a little better, but it blends with Smith and there are the Jonas Brothers to consider. Josiah, maybe, or is that getting too close to Joseph Smith?

Judah sounds stronger to me, but with the surname it sounds like Judas. Jude Smith works, I think: it's a 1-1 syllable name, but Brad Pitt and Sean Penn carry it well. Jude Archer Smith; Declan and Jude.

Or Judson, nickname Jud if you want it. Judson Archer Smith; Declan and Judson.

Or Griffin. It has the Finn you both liked, but it's longer. It's more common on the Social Security charts (#231 to Finn's #300 in 2010), but I suspect that's a deceptive figure, considering how many people use Finley, Finnegan, Phineas, etc., to get the nickname Finn. (Which you too could use, if you wanted to.) I won't suggest Archer as the middle name for this one (initials), but the middle name slot would be a good place for a name you'd both agree on except for a major issue (i.e., maybe a name you'd both love if it weren't so popular, or if it weren't too Celtic). Griffin Smith; Declan and Griffin.

And I know Finnegan is kind of Celtic, but it seems like a good way to make the name Finn a little longer. Declan and Finnegan is a pretty dashing pair of brother names.

Or Haskell. VERY uncommon, yet feels familiar from it's use as a surname. Haskell Smith; Declan and Haskell.

Name update! Natalie writes:
Our little guy arrived via emergency c-section on October 12, 2011 - although it was very scary at the time, we are both doing wonderfully now. His name, Asher Wesley, fits him perfectly. We have gotten compliments on his name from nearly every nurse and doctor we've seen, and our family and friends have reacted to it very well also. He's 6 pounds, 15 oz, and 19 inches long... seems so tiny compared to his big brother, who was nearly 9 pounds at birth! Big bro Declan (almost 2 years old) is just as head over heels as we are, constantly wanting to kiss his "beebee Ashoo."

Thank you so much for the help in finding the perfect name! I can absolutely say that Swistle and commenters are where we got his name, we may never have settled on it without you all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baby Boy Moncla, Brother to Lucy and Eli

Amanda writes:
We are due with our third child in October. We are having trouble naming this little boy mainly because I am being stubborn and I am set on a name that my husband likes "o.k." but I guess he is not head over heels for it the way I am! Anyway, to give you some background information our last name is Moncla. I believe it is french and pronounced just as it looks Mon (like mom) cla (almost like claw but without the w). Our first child was a girl, Lucille (Lucy) Elizabeth and our second was a boy Eli James. He goes by Eli.
I knew for when naming them that I wanted each of them to have a saint name being that we are part of the Catholic faith. What I didn't intend was that they would each have a saint name and a biblical name. So for our third son I would like to stay with that criteria.
I would like for his middle name to be Jude for St. Jude (but not a must) and this would leave his first name to be the biblical name. (Yes, I know that Jude is also a biblical name.)
The name I "LOVE" is Abram. My husband actually had read it to me but it didn't strike me until later. Now he is unsure about it. The other names that I like that he has shot down were Silas and Asa.
Names on my husbands list include Isaac, Ian, Sebastian (too long to go with Lucy and Eli, in my opinion) and Xavier. I like Isaac and Ian but I do not love them.
I am having a really difficult time making a decision and knowing that I have approximately 98 days left as of today is making me quite nervous!
Any help would be appreciated!

If you would like to be talked out of Abram because of your husband's uncertainty, I'll mention that the M at the end blends a bit with the M at the beginning of your surname, and that the name Abram Moncla is a little difficult for me to say aloud. Neither of these things are dealbreakers by any means---but I find for myself, it can help me to release my grip on The Perfect Name if I can find ways in which it's not completely Perfect.

The name Abel leaves you with much of the sound of Abram (as well as with the great nickname Abe), but it removes the M problems. Abel Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Abel.

I wonder if you would like the name Asher? I think it goes very well with Lucy and Eli. Asher Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Asher.

Or Nathaniel. Nathaniel Jude Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Nate.

I think Seth helps balance the strong sounds of the surname, and also goes well with the similarly gentle name Eli. Seth Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Seth. I don't think it works well with the middle name Jude, however.

Or Gabriel. Gabriel Jude Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Gabe.

If your husband likes Isaac, I wonder if he would like Zachary? Same "zac" sound. Zachary Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Zach.

I think Samuel would work perfectly: Samuel Jude Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Sam. That's my favorite option.

Or Jude could be moved to the first-name slot, though this is something you would have thought of already, so I'll just say it because I like it: Jude Moncla; Lucy, Eli, and Jude.

If you find yourself hopelessly stuck, I'll remind you of something you already know but which is so easy to forget during the baby-naming process: any self-imposed restriction can be removed. It's easy to inadvertently set up a series of preferences that paint us into an impossible corner where not a single name we like works with all the preferences, and it can be a relief to realize that that's all they are: preferences. You've mentioned that Jude is also a biblical name---which means that if necessary you could look in the Saints section for a first name instead of in the Biblical section, which wouldn't even require the preferences to be altered (though I can certainly see wanting the Saint Jude instead of the Bible Jude). James and Elizabeth are biblical names, but they're also regular traditional names used without biblical associations---which means you can drop that restriction if it's trapping you, especially if you chose the names originally without thinking of their biblical characters. The name Jude could be ditched entirely in favor of a saint first name and a new biblical middle name---which again, means you could try your luck in the Saints section instead of butting heads in Biblical.

Name update! Amanda writes:
I very much enjoyed reading your suggestions for naming our third child and also the comments were great! You had suggested a name that I had thought of but didn't really care for before but after seeing it with the other childrens names I fell in love with it. Samuel Jude Moncla was born on October 4th at 11 am weighing 8 lbs 8oz. There were some comments about the way Sam Moncla may sound like salmon claw but even that didn't stop us. I absolutely love his name and it fits him perfectly! Thanks for all of your help!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let's Name Kate Hudson's Baby!

I notice that actress Kate Hudson and musician Matthew Bellamy have not yet named their new baby boy. I think we should help.

Here are the issues, as I see them. Kate Hudson's first child is named Ryder Russell Robinson. The name Ryder, to me, is in categories like Cool, and Quirky But Not Too Out-There, and Tough But Still a Hippie. Also, the initials are RRR. Also, he has his father's surname.

A different father this time could completely change the style of the name---but my guess is that it won't, or won't MUCH. The name Ryder has increased in popularity since Kate Hudson used it, so she may be looking for something even more unusual this time, or she may be trying to find something that roughly coordinates with its current popularity. My guess is that she will make the same decision this time to use the father's surname. If she wants to repeat the triple-initial theme, this means the second child would have the initials BBB; if I had to guess one way or the other, I'd guess she wouldn't do that this time.

My top choice for her is Hudson. I love mother's-maiden-name-used-as-child's-name names. Hudson Hawn would be nice, after her mother (the middle name Russell was after her step-father). Hudson Bellamy; Ryder and Hudson.

My second choice for her is Dean. James Dean gives the name a rocker/hippie toughness/gentleness that I think goes well with Ryder. Dean Bellamy; Ryder and Dean.

Another possibility is Devon, from the place Matthew Bellamy's group Muse began. Devon Bellamy; Ryder and Devon.

Or George Bellamy, after Matthew Bellamy's father George. I think George is the next Max/Sam, and celebrities tend to be on the cutting edge of such things. They jump first, while other people are still thinking "Wait, IS this funky-uncool-cool, or is it still just uncool?" But as Devivo points out, the Republican politicians George Bush and George W. Bush may have ruined the name for rocker-hippie types.

More possibilities in the rocker/hippie area:


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Name Updates!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Naming Issue: Are Violet and Philo Too Similar?
Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Hamilton, Sister to Richard (River)!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Naming Issue: The Protocol of Using a Namesake Name!

Baby Girl or Boy Ele____

Nicki writes:
I've been following your blog for most of my pregnancy, hoping to find the perfect name for my child, but so far, no luck! We are due in the next month, we don't know the sex and we are floundering without a solid name for either a girl OR a boy! Please help! my husband and I have some very mismatched name lists and would love some additional suggestions from you and your readers!

Husband's list of names:

Ava - (Solid 'no' from me as it's way too common)
Katrina - (Both of us are losing confidence in this one. We don't like Kat, but are fine with Kate)
Christian - (Also a 'no' from me, and this might be weird but I don't want people to refer to him as "that Christian guy" :)
Sebastian - (I can't find a decent nickname for this one)
Luca - (I like this one; husband think it sounds like a pro footballer)

My list:

Maya - (Always loved it, husband is warming to it but prefers Maia)
Ivy - (Husband hates it and is really good at coming up with horrible ways to distort beautiful names! H-I-V for this one)
Fern - (l love that it's from Charlotte's Web. Husband and our families all disapprove!)
Oscar - (Husband sings the Oscar Meyer weiner song) (does anyone else have a husband like this?!!)

I should also mention that many of my favourites were cut early on due to the mismatch with our last name that is three syllables and starts with Eli- (like elephant). These were:


As for middle names, we both feel strongly about using family names. We would probably choose based on sound match, but as you can see, this is going to be tough!



Any advice you can pass on will be helpful!! THANKYOU!!

PS. I should also mention that this baby will be born in France. Everyone seems to think we should find a french-sounding name, but I havent come up with anything (aside from Noelle, I guess). I also really liked the name Paris when we thought we would be delivering in Canada, but now that we are in France, I refuse to be that corny :( I feel that all my favourites have been thrown out the window! I need some fresh and expert name advice!

My problem has become a little more specific so I hope that you and your readers can help. Basically, we have more or less decided on a girl's name, but are stuck if this little one ends up being a boy! We can't agree on even a short-list so we are hoping for some fresh advice from you and your readers before this baby comes (due this month!).

Our last name is 3 syllables, starting with the sound Eli- (like elephant). The names we would like to use as middles are from our families: John and Rudolf, and we wouldn't be opposed to using both for one child (I have two middles). We are even in mild agreement over using the name Jonathan Rudolf, but thats the closest we have gotten to a boys name at all. Since John/Jonathan is a major family name on my side, there are many in my family and so I do feel a bit repetitive using it for our child. Other names we have liked are:

Husband's choices:


My choices:

Nicholas (although it is similar to my name.. so I wouldnt want to use the same nickname that I go by. I like the nn Cole though.)

Girls names that we have decided on are:

Maya Noelle
Maya Christine
Katrina Alexis
Alexia Grace

Any and all help is much appreciated!

From his list, it sounds like the name Christian is probably out for you; from yours, it sounds like Oscar is out for him. That leaves us with Luca, Sebastian, Felix, and Nicolas.

Sebastian appeals to me most because it's in the French section of The Baby Name Wizard, but it doesn't hit us over the head with its Frenchness. I would probably spell it the French way (but leaving off the French accent mark): Sebastien. I've heard two nicknames for Sebastian/Sebastien. Back in middle school, I knew a Sebastien who went by Bas (pronounced Baz, to rhyme with jazz). And one of my former classmates now has a child named Sebastian, and she calls him Seb or Sebby.

Speaking of the French section, don't react right away to this name: I think it's a tough sell because of being unfamiliar (only 28 boys were given the name in the U.S. last year), but that it has tremendous potential for working wonderfully. Ready? Pascal. It's French, and I think the sounds in it are similar to both Felix and Oscar (but with no song for your husband to sing).

I also wonder if you'd like Hugo. It has the rhythm and some of the sounds of Luca, plus it's in the French section.

His choice of Luca and your choice of Nicholas make me think of Nico.

Looking ahead to future sibling name implications might help narrow things down. I'd say that using Oscar would eliminate Maya (speaking of the song) and vice-versa. Oscar and Felix would also be unusable as a sibling set for me, but I'm not sure how many people are still familiar with The Odd Couple. Felix and Alexia might be great together or might be too much X.

Name update! Nicki writes:
Thanks to you and your readers, we went into the hospital with a confident list for either a girl or a boy (finalists were Felix, Nicolas, Theodore/Teo, and Jonathan), and after a long labour we met our baby boy and named him: Benjamin Rudolf. It was such a random, out-of-nowhere name that I had vetoed from the very beginning. But oddly, the day after the birth, my husband and I just looked at eachother and said his name is Benjamin! After nine months of crazy name discussions, we didnt even hesitate. Regardless, we thank you all for your naming help and perhaps one day a little Maya or Felix will join our clan!

Thanks again!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Baby Boy Beal, Brother to Henry Konrad

Claudia writes:
Back in June 2009, your blog helped us pick the name of our first son:

Henry Konrad Beal was born July 17th, 2009 and we couldn't be happier with the name choice. It fits him perfect. We are now expecting our 2nd son in just a couple weeks (due date is July 26th) and this time are really struggling to come up with another name. We've narrowed our list to 7 first names.

* Anderson
* Eliot
* Graham
* Julian
* Simon
* Theodore
* Truman (the only name we've reconsidered using for #2)

For middle names, we have 2 choices and will pick whichever goes best with the first name we select. First is Dane, a version of Daniel which is a family name on my side. The second is Dawson, a relation of David which is a family name on my husbands side.

Please, please, please help us pick as we are quickly running out of time. My husband's favorite right now is Eliot Dawson and I'm leaning toward Julian Dane but now Simon is creeping up to my top spot.


With Henry, my favorites are Eliot, Graham, Simon, and Theodore. My own personal favorite is Simon. Let's see what everyone else thinks: poll over to the right! [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name Updates!

Update (and photo!) on Baby Girl Putzer, Sister to Samuel, Sean, and Gabriel!
Update (and photo!) on Baby Boy M (Rhymes with Acquire)!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby Boy Jelens

F. writes:
We are expecting our first child, a boy, the first week of August, in less than a month. He is still nameless, and this starting to worry both my husband and I.

I never thought it would take me so long to name my child. I have been interested in and besotted with baby names for as long as I can remember. It’s a great honor and a huge responsibility. Exciting on a good day, and terrifying and depressing on a bad day. Thanks, pregnancy hormones.

His surname will my husband’s: it sounds like Jelens.

A few criteria: His: no L; a good one-syllable nickname. Mine: no J; something that will work (more or less) in English, German and French; not too popular, although if I fell in love with a name, I wouldn’t care.

My list has mostly old-fashioned names, some baby books might put many of them in the “Ladies and Gentlemen” section: Henry, Arthur, Walter, Willem, Casper, Homer, Theodore (Teo!). I don’t like all of these to the same degree, but you get the idea.

He has vetoed every single one of them, mainly because they’re “old man names”. (Which they’re not!)

He likes:


Zachary (Zach). I’m the one who suggested this very early on. I’m not convinced.

Nicander (Nico, Nick). This has special significance for him. I’m warming to the idea, but I’m not sold. Is Nicander strange? Or does it sound familiar enough because of Alexander, Leander? I like Nico as a nn, but that’s getting really popular.

Kai. I’m not fully opposed. We both like its internationalism and multiple meanings.

Tyler (Ty), Skyler (Sky), Ryder (Ry)… there’s a pattern here. I’m not a fan.

We both sort of like Milo, too. I don’t object to Nicander and Kai.

The middle name might be a family name, from my side or his, depending on who got more say in the first name department. We’ll deal with that once we have a first.

For reference, my girl-list would have been: Louise, Greta, Adele, Frieda, Mathilda, Camille, Minna, Agatha. He really dislikes most of these.

His would have been: Miranda, Calliope.

I know that there will have to be a compromise. Should we scratch all these and start over? I feel like we’re all over the place. Any feedback and help from Swistle and her wonderful commentators is appreciated.

It seems to me that men more often than women have trouble updating what a "current" baby name is. I remember Paul's name ideas being pretty much all the names of his former classmates.

I suggest Isaac. I think of it as "the next Zachary" (and in fact it can use Zac as a nickname), and it's a name that occasionally gets called old-mannish even though it's well into the Top 50. Or "the next Noah": a name that seems biblical but is in fact already mainstreamed. Another nickname possibility is Ike, which is similar in sound to Ty, Sky, Ry, Kai. I love it with your surname: Isaac Jelens. And I think it goes well with many of the girl name possibilities, in case he has a sister some day: Isaac and Louise, Isaac and Miranda, Isaac and Mathilda.

Since you like Arthur and you both like Milo, I suggest Arlo. No good nickname, sadly.

If Arlo is a little too uncommon, I suggest Archer. It has the NOT-old-man sound of a name like Archie or Arthur, but with a surname/occupational sound that's very current. Again, nickname problem: Archie is great, but it's two syllables instead of one.

I think the nickname Nic/Nick saves Nicander from seeming too odd to use. Another huge plus is being able to say "Like Alexander, but with Nic instead of Alex." This is the first time I've encountered the name and I don't know if it's nih-CAN-der or NIH-can-der (I would guess nih-CAN-der because of the Alexander model), but I think I'd only need to hear it once to remember it. If I heard it without seeing it, I'd be pretty sure I knew how to spell it; I might put a K in there, but it looks more right to me without a K.

The main consideration, I think, is future sibling names: if you name your first child Nicander, will you be painting yourself into a corner? Nicander is either completely or virtually unused in the U.S. (it's hard to tell for sure: it isn't in the Social Security site's data base for the past five years or so I looked at---but that data base doesn't show any name used fewer than five times in a year, so there could be, say, 4 Nicanders born per year and it would look the same as if it were zero), and so if you'd like to use compatible sibling names, that will present a commonness/style-compatibility challenge right away. Nicander and Arlo might work, or maybe Nicander and Kai---but probably not Nicander and Joshua, or Nicander and Tyler. If you wanted to change the middle name concept from "family name" to "name of special significance," Nicander might make a wonderful middle name choice---while still letting you use family names for future siblings.

Name update! F. writes:
Nicander Ferdinand "Pattner" "Jelens" was born on Aug. 4th 2011.
We decided that Nicander was familiar sounding (not made-up), and the more my husband and I talked about names, the more I grew to love it. I tested it with potential sibling names, and it seems okay to pair it with more traditional names. Most people have not had trouble with it (if they do a simple "like Alexander, or Leander" provides instant clarity). Some people think it sounds Scandinavian, and our Greek and Italian friends think it's fabulous. (Nicander of Colophon was a Greek poet and physician, and Nicandro is an Italian patron saint.)
Ferdinand is my paternal grandfather's middle name, Nicander is his first great-grandchild and he is tickled pink. I've always thought that Ferdinand was a pleasing, quirky, unconventional name. His second middle name "Pattner" is my surname.
The name fits our little Nick perfectly. He's a happy baby, and sleeping well at night, too, which keeps his parents on the sane side.
Thanks again, Swistle and friends!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Baby Boy or Girl Guarraseemo, Sibling to Lilliana Avery

Jenn writes:
Hello!! I should have written sooner, but I don't know - I thought we'd come to a few names on our own? But, this is not a drill... our 2nd baby will be here in 2-3 weeks; this is serious business. I don't know how you would even publish the mess that I'm about to go through, but I'd love your help in one way or another. Even if you decide what part of my question you want to answer, I know the following is a ton. PS I said on twitter - it's going to be convoluted, consider yourself warned - though maybe just long winded is a better description?!

Here's our story:

Our first daughter's name is Lilliana Avery Guarraseemo (not really our last name but close enough to give you the sound of it - I know doozy). We call her Lilli, though I always envisioned Ellie for a nickname, I know it's a stretch. BUT L - Elle/ but since you don't call people just one letter? Go with Elle or Ellie - anyway I'm the only one that calls her that, it never really caught on. Her name both first and middle are mixtures or derivatives of great grandmothers & grandfathers (Avery is a derivative of Alfred, for example). I LOVE the family connection, but with baby 2 just moments away, we might need to step away from that, because I need something I just love. Lily was always a name I have loved, my great grandmother, Lillian - was always a name I wanted to use. I did not, however, realize at the time how freaking popular Lily/Lilly would be - and the way we spell it kind of just happened it wasn't meant to be annoying or different on purpose? It kind of just started to be the way we wrote it, so we aren't really trying to take names that are spelled one way and throw a wrench in it. It's kind of annoying considering one of things we did want was to avoid super common names (coming from a Jennifer & Christopher born in the 70s - which is everyone's name born around then - I do believe).

Another fan favorite name was Jackson (again don't love how popular it is) but I love the sound of Jax - and my father-in-law's name is John - so that brought in a connection (of sorts) - and middle name to be Cole (for Coleman, my maiden name). My sister-in-law unfortunately just snagged Jack though, so it can't be done now. But I do still love the name... for reference.

In terms of boys we were thinking: Jamison Cole (nickname: Jace) OR Owen Coleman.

I don't know if I'm 100% on these. Apparently there is some kind of a show called 16 and Pregnant that people keep telling me about every time I say Jace... which will eventually go away - but side note, why do we put ourselves through the anguish of telling people names we are thinking?? Also, Owen is kind of popular and I would love to think of another name that ties in some kind connection to names like John or Jack that are uncommon? Although I did find something somewhere that Owen came from Evan, which actually is a version of John... which kind of in a long division/ degree of Kevin Bacon gets me my "family" connection. I could also use John as a middle name and get that connection if we need to, but not Owen John (OJ - no thanks). Owen isn't really as long as I like a name- I love names to have TONS of nickname possibilities? I don't know why - but it's something I think about. That said, I am gravitating toward Owen, so maybe I'm more open to that rule than I think?

For girls, we love: Luella or Evalena.

The nickname for Luella we seem to be leaning toward Lulu - but I just feel like for our 2nd child, to have a Lilli & Lulu - it sounds like a kid's clothing line - and for our Christmas Card we'll all have to wear the same outfit on the beach ... nothing wrong with this - but it's not really who we are? It's also like - can they use more than 2 letters? But I LOVE the name and I don't know that can or want to go Ella for the nickname, again super popular? My mom's name is Lucy, so this is a perfect connection to that. For Evalena - we love the nickname Lena... again with the L's... it's not ideal but I can't walk away from them yet? We are stuck on middle names, if we use these names... though I'm open to different ones, in fact I feel like I need a dark horse to come in from nowhere.

For a middle name - I NEED some kind of variation for Mary or Claire - and Marie is NOT an option.

Names for boys & girls that we love that haven't made the final list are:
I know you said you give preference to boy OR girl name help request, but I'm not 100% on either I don't think... and since I don't know if it's a boy OR a girl... I feel like I can't choose - so if you have to choose, you go ahead and pick a section to share.

What the heck are my questions?
I basically have some names or some name thoughts, but none of them scream to me - THIS IS IT! I feel like with my first I had some strong contenders that I really thought - once we meet him/her one of these will be it - and it was. Now, I'm not sure!
I'm looking for a boy name - that is uncommon(ish), nickname possibilities are semi-important and if it had some kind connection to the name John or Joseph that would be great but I don't think there is. Although we could maybe do middle name John in a case we pick up a totally different name.
For a girl, most certainly I need some kind of idea to tie in Mary, ideally - but not Marie. I do love Louella & Evelena as names... but again all the L's and the nicknames might be TOO much for me so suggestions welcome.
OK - work your magic won't you? Name my kid! (said in the same robust way as Ty Pennington in "Extreme Home Makeover" screams "Move that bus!" at the end of a makeover...

There are so many fun topics here, it is hard to know where to start! I will go with my impulse, which is to find a Mary-based middle name that is not Marie. Because you like Ella and Lena and Lulu, what leaps to mind is a Mary combination: Maryella, Marylena, Marylu. Depending on how far you want to go from the original name, there's also Mara, Miriam (The Oxford Dictionary of First Names says Mary is the New Testament form of Miriam), Mair(e), Maris, Moira, Maura, Mariel, Marin, Marina. Most come from the same Latin root meaning "sea." Maire combines Mary and Claire. I like Luella Marin and Evalena Mariel.

For the name Evalena, I suggest the nickname Evvie. It's similar to Ellie without the Lilli/Ellie problem. Evalena Marylu Guarraseemo; Lilliana and Evalena; Lilli and Evvie. I have a feeling this name would lead to tons of cute nickname combinations: Lena Lu, Evvie Lu, etc.

To get away from names that have sounds in common with Lilliana/Lilli, I suggest Josephine. I like Josephine Mariel. This gives you the Joseph connection, but with cute nicknames like Jo and Josie. Lilliana and Josephine; Lilli and Josie. That's my favorite solution, I think: two family tie-ins just like Lilli's name, good nicknames but not too similar to each other.

Another possibility is Felicity (Fliss, Flip). I like Felicity Claire. Lilliana and Felicity; Lilli and Fliss. Possible problem if you end up with Lilli and Lissie.

Or Genevieve. Lilliana and Genevieve; Lilli and Evie.

Clarissa would give you a connection to Claire. Clarissa Maribel, maybe. Not very many nicknames (Lilli and Clare?), but it gets two family connections and I think Lilliana and Clarissa are very nice together.

Or Anastasia (Annie, Stacie). Lilliana and Anastasia; Lilli and Annie.

Or Emmaline. Lilliana and Emmeline; Lilli and Emmie.

Or Penelope (Penny, Nell). Lilliana and Penelope; Lilli and Penny or Lilli and Nellie if that's not too similar.

For a boy, would you consider Coleman as a first name? I find the "mother's maiden name as first name" idea totally charming. Coleman John, perhaps, or Coleman Jax.

To me, Jace is not a natural nickname for Jamison. After making mental note of both names, halfway through this sentence I still had to scroll back to remind myself what the full name was. If you don't want to use Jace as the given name (Jace Coleman works particularly well, I think), Jacen would work as a full form. Jacen Coleman; Lilli and Jace.

Lilli and Owen sound like excellent sibling names to me.

Boy names with tons of nicknames are few and far between: our culture is more likely to do that with girl names than with boy names. The boy names that do have a lot of nicknames tend to be the old traditional ones that NEEDED a lot of nicknames because so many boys had that name---and they tend to still be common now, because there are so few of them to go around for everyone who likes lots of nicknames. William has Will and Bill and Liam. Nicholas has Cole and Nick and Nico. Alexander has Al and Alex and Xander and Xan. Robert has Rob and Bob and Robin and Bert. Edward has Ed and Ned and Ted. But I don't think any of those names are your style, and/or they're too common.

This is why you're going in circles, I suspect. You'd like a name with lots of nicknames...but all the names with lots of nicknames are too common or not the right style. So you look for something less common...but it doesn't have any good nicknames, or the name isn't the right style. So you find some nicknames you like, but all the names associated with them are too common. And so on. I think there are three basic options here: (1) Choose a common name with lots of nicknames. (2) Choose an uncommon name with sparse or absent nicknames. (3) Choose an uncommon name and choose nicknames not usually associated with that name. With the third choice you will have plenty of company: lots of people are taking letters or sounds from names and making their own nicknames. You will find me an old stick-in-the-mud on the subject, however. My friend and fellow name aficionada Mairzy periodically has to take me aside and tell me gently that resisting a certain newly-used nickname is now officially a lost cause and it is time for me to stop being stubborn about it.

My first choice for you is Coleman, but my second choice is Nicholson. This adds an option 4 to my list above: (4) Modify a common, nickname-rich name to be less common. Nicholson is unusual, it makes a slight reference to your maiden name, and it has all the nicknames of Nicholas: Nick, Nico, Cole. It's good with the sibling name: Lilliana and Nicholson; Lilli and Cole. Nicholson Joseph, maybe.

Another possibility is Wilson. Less common than William, but still gives you Will if you want it. But Lilli and Will may give you the same feeling as Lilli and Lulu. To me it doesn't, I think because Will is one syllable and so traditional: I definitely notice the repeating -ill- when I type them both out, but for me it lands on the side of fun and appealing coincidence.

Robertson would be a more current version of the name Robert, giving you all the nicknames: Rob, Bob, Bert, Robin.

Redford would work, I think and it gives you both Red and Ford.

Name update! Jenn writes:
Hello! First, THANK YOU so much for helping me - I read through your response a few times and of course the comments. They helped us to think about different arrangements of names and keep playing around with some options. Your post & suggestions (like Josephine for a girl or a commenter saying to use John as a middle name) helped to narrow down some choices and inspire a new one! My husband threw this name out there 3 days before the big day and when we met her, we just knew it was the one...

Josslyn Jane arrived healthy and happy and perfect fit for her name! Attached is a picture of Joss & her big sis, Lilli. Thanks again!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baby Girl or Boy Biondini, Sibling to Meadow Alexis

Staci writes:
My husband and I recently found out that we are expecting our second child in January 2012. We had a horrible time agreening on a name for our daugther, but settled on Meadow Alexis. We love the tranquility and playfullness that Meadow conjures. My husband is Italian, and our last name is Biondini (pronounced bee-on-dee-nee). He favors unusual names and Italian names. I tend to like names that have stood the test of time, but that are not super popular. There aren't many Italian names that I like, as I feel like we already have strong Italian last name. Both of us like nature names. Our dog is named Sunny, and the other top contender for Meadow was Daisy. We both still agree on Daisy, but I am afraid it may be too much with Meadow, especially since they will be 14 months apart in age. Also, the middle name will probably be Anne, in honor of my mother.

Here are some girl names that I like, but that my husband does not care for:
- Willow (husband says it is too trendy because of Willow Smith and Willow Palin)
- Eden
- Charlie (as a nickname for Charlotte, or by itself)
- Emmet (nickname Emme)
- Isabel (nickname Bell, but probably would never use now due to the popularity of Isabella)
- Gillian
- Laurel
- Vivian

Names that my husband likes, but that I do not care for:
- Shiloh
- Rain
- Fiore

Could you help please help us come up with a playful, not too popular name for Baby Biondini number 2 that doesn't sound like the hippie cousin of Meadow and Sunny?

I think what we are looking for here is WHIMSY: nothing too hippie, nothing too staid. The Baby Name Wizard recommends sister names Willow, Ember, Harmony, Winter, and Lark.

Lark doesn't quite work for me because of the meadowlark, but I do like the concept of a bird name. Robin is hard to say with the surname, and it's not as current a name as Meadow. Wren is another possibility. Phoebe is subtle: it's a bird, but I don't think of it as a bird. But again, I don't think it's good with the surname. I like Starling: it's highly unusual but I think it would quickly seem familiar and easy. Meadow Alexis and Starling Anne.

Winter works in theory, but the contrast with what I imagine a meadow being like (warm sun, soft breezes, pretty flowers) makes the name Winter feel chilly and grey to me. Summer and Autumn would both work, and I wonder why hardly anyone uses Spring?

I think Story would work well, or Fable, or Haven, or Juniper.

One of my favorite whimsical names is Clover, but I'm not sure if it's good with Meadow. On one hand I love it, but on the other hand clover seems like a subset of meadow---like using the name America for one child and Georgia for the next.

Another of my favorite whimsical names is Marigold. This SHOULD be exactly the same problem as Clover, but this just goes to show how very subjective name impressions are: to me, it's a much smaller problem and maybe no problem at all. Perhaps because I think of clover as growing in meadows, but I don't think of marigolds growing there? perhaps because they both start with M? I can't explain it.

I think the name Serenity would be great with Meadow, but I hesitate to suggest that name: it could be such an ill fit for some personalities.

I like the cheerful sound of the name Brighton, but the -on ending makes it seem masculine to me. Perhaps Brighten? Brightly? But then it looks less like a name. Hm. No, I think Brighton is best. Brighton Anne.

Sierra is a nature name like Meadow: Meadow Alexis and Sierra Anne. For something less common: Vienna.

Or Liberty: Meadow Alexis and Liberty Anne.

Piper would be darling: Meadow Alexis and Piper Anne.

Or Padgett: Meadow Alexis and Padgett Anne.

You only mention girl names---are you also looking for boy names? Those feel less fun to me: there don't seem to be as many whimsical boy names, and the nature names seem more serious: Stone and Flint rather than Marigold and Clover.


Name update! Staci writes:
Our daughter, Aria Fable Biondini was born yesterday Feb. 1, weighing 7 lbs. 13 oz., and 21". We are calling her Fable which is a name that either you or one of the commenters suggested. We think it is the perfect whimsical complement to big sister Meadow Alexis. Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Virtue Names For Baby Boys

Amanda writes:
We are pretty sure we are expecting a daughter late this fall. We have a daughter who is one named Hope Elizabeth. Our last name is Burleson. I really really love virtue names, and I just love the name Mercy for baby # 2. In case this baby or future children are boys, the only virtue name for a boy I can think of that I like is Justice. Can you or your sweet readers think of anything else? We are moving to an African country where virtue names are very common, so while I do think having all your kids with virtue names is a bit cheesy, I also love it and think it is beautiful and perfect for us.

OH, yes, boy virtue names are so sadly skimpy!

One of my favorites is Merit.

Another is August. I think of it as a month name but it's also a virtue name: the word august means "inspiring admiration; venerable; of supreme dignity."

I also like Worth. I think it comes across as a pleasingly old-fashioned name, like Ward.

Sterling works, too, if we think of it as referring to character: one definition of sterling is "thoroughly excellent."

The Baby Name Wizard mentions Constant, Sincere, Reason, Truth, and Wisdom.

Or there's Earnest: "serious and sincere."

Or Loyal.

Or True.

Or Noble.

Or Moral.

Or Reliance, which sounds a little like the more common name Riley.

Pax might work: it's a word for peace. However, it's generally used for IMPOSED peace---the kind of peace a stronger country forces on a weaker one (Pax Britannica, Pax Romana). On the other hand, I find that doesn't keep me from thinking of the word as meaning the regular kind of peace, and the Britannica/Romana addition being the part that makes it forced.

I also suggest Able. There could be some spelling issues because of confusion with the name Abel---but my guess is that the little Abels out there get misspelled as Able, too.

I'm not sure how far you want to drift from mainstream names, but Benevolent is a great virtue name, and has the more familiar nickname Ben if needed. Or Philanthropy, with Phil? I don't know, these might be getting a little close to names like Peace-That-Passeth-Understanding Jones.

Can you think of more boy virtue names to add to our list?