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Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby Girl or Boy Kenny, Sibling to Aura Rose

Grace writes:
Here is our dilemma. When we had our daughter three years ago, we didn't know if she was going to be a boy or a girl. We had our list of boy names and our list of girl names. I abandoned names left and right because of their popularity- including Isabella which was once top of our list but was nearly number 1 that year. We were named her a few minutes after her birth. Somehow, we have never regretted this momentary decision and feel her name fits her. Her name is Aura Rose (Rose was fixed from the beginning because of my husband's love of roses, maybe not my first choice since everyone's middle name is Rose, but he really does have a deep love of roses). I like that few people have ever heard the name Aura and everywhere we go, people comment how lovely her name is. We also like that it means "wind," "breath," or "goddess of wind." We think that fits her too.

So, we are expecting again and need a new girl name and boy name. We had loved "Luca" for a boy in my pregnancy with her and have long held it as a possible name for her future sibling. We even thought- we could make that name work for a boy or a girl! However, a friend recently named her son that and I just don't want to anymore. She is a very course person and the name (for them) is all about the strong Italian sound, which I never even noted before (I'm part Italian but we're not really about being traditional or having our kid sound manly). I'm turned off mostly because I learned (somehow for the first time?) that it means "man from Lucania." Our name doesn't have to mean anything particularly profound, but it would be nice if it meant something.

We would really love something that is short and succinct to match "Aura." We liked Luca because it was the same length and had the "a" sound at the end. Are there any similar names? I can't really search for "4 letters with an a sound at the end" on most of the baby name engines I have found. We aren't totally stuck on the names matching to that degree but it would be nice if they had some fluidity together.

If you use this, please refer to our last name as "Kenny."

In the United States, most names that end in an A-sound are girl names. The main exception to this rule is biblical names, and now that most biblical names have gone mainstream (that is, they can still be used as expressions of religious affiliation, but they're no longer assumed to do so), that's the direction I'd steer you to start. Some four-letters-with-an-A-sound-at-the-end possibilities:


Joah would be the least common of those: according to the Social Security Administration, in 2010 the name Noah was #7, the name Ezra was #243, and the name Joah was not in the top 1000 at all (nor was the name Aura). I think you might run into more trouble with Joah than with Aura, however, since aura is a familiar word even though it's an uncommon name, while most people won't have heard of Joah in any context. It meets my preference for an unusual name, however, which is that it has a quick and easy help for both spelling and pronouncing: "It's like Noah, but with a J instead of an N."

Or if we expand the search beyond four letters and an A-ending, Jonah and Judah and Elijah and Micah would be more familiar than Joah, and Eli and Elias and Milo and Silas and Jonas and Levi and Asher and Leo and Abel have a gentle sound without ending in an a/ah.

Since Aura is a noun and supernatural/deity name, another possible route would be to find another noun or supernatural/deity name for this child. Those are harder to find for boys, but some possibilities are:

Ares (probably too similar to Aura)
Arrow (probably too similar to Aura)
Heath (which I think carries some of the romantic sound of Aura)

A name from my friend Mairzy's list is Sterling. I think that might work very well: Sterling Kenny; Aura and Sterling. It was #754 in 2010, and according to my dictionary it means thoroughly excellent, noble, worthy, honorable. Furthermore, I think it works well for a boy or for a girl: for a boy I think it sounds gentlemanly and courteous and British; for a girl I think it has a fresh modern sound that might go very nicely with Aura.

Or Nico is similar to Luca.

I think it's unsurprising for a family to have a different naming style for boys than for girls, but in general I'm in favor of coordinating sister names, or brother names, to avoid implying different expectations for each child: sisters named Aura and Margaret, for example, might feel as if one is expected to be a free spirit and the other is expected to be sensible and traditional. Some possible sister names for Aura:

Freya (another goddess name)
Isis (goddess)
Juno (goddess)

Or if you want four letters ending in an A-sound, there are lots of options but many of them don't seem like good style fits (Anna, for example, or Sara, or Nina), or might be too similar (Aria or Nora). Some that might fit better:

Gaia (goddess)
Hera (goddess)
Luna (goddess)
Maya (goddess)

I'm not sure about the names ending in -ra. They might be too similar to Aura. I left them in, though, because I couldn't decide.

I haven't spent much time on name meanings: it's a long list to look up, especially since I like to look at several sources to see if there's consensus. But if you narrow it down first to the ones you'd consider using if the meanings were okay, that will cut down the task considerably.

I also suggest looking up the goddess names (I probably missed a few on the list, too) to make sure they're goddesses whose stories are acceptable to you; some of those deities got up to quite a bit of trouble.


Clarabella said...

Micah and Jonah are also good "ends in -a sound" names. I like Micah and Aura. I also think of Kai as good with Aura.
For some reason, I love the sister name Zoe with Aura.
That's my two cents.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I only have one boy suggestion: Asa (prn Ace-uh)

It's a biblical name meaning healer. I adore it...but I'm having a girl! Good luck to you :)

StephLove said...

I'm drawn to those -ah names for boys and girls, but boys especially. My son is Noah and on my list the second time around I had

& Micah

(Also Joshua)

On my girl list I had Leah & Susannah.

If instead of four letters you just went with two syllables Jonah, Micah and Leah would work fine.

Meg said...

I really like Lela or Lila for a girl to go with Aura. For a boy the only names I could come up with that fit your criteria are Shea and Raja.

Some other boy names that end in an a but aren't 4 letters: Seneca, Ira, Nicola, Nikita.

Good luck!!

Mary said...



Marilyn said...

I like the way Aura and Sterling go together, because somehow Aura says "gold" to me (I think because of being AU on the periodic table?) and Sterling says "silver." Aura and Sterling, gold and silver, how sweet! :)

Jan said...

For an A sound I like Judah. For a short, crisp name (if you don't mind alliteration) how about Kai?

Nicole Trager said...

I think Swistle just about covered all of the boy names ending in -A. I do love the suggestion of Nico for you.
As for girls names I like the idea of going with another goddess. Juno, Hera, Luna and Thea are wonderful choices. Here are a few more that are short and sweet

Rhea - (Greek) ancient Titan Earth Goddess
Iris- (Greek) Goddess of the rainbow
Isis- (Egyptian) Goddess of Magic

I really love Rhea for you. Short, not popular, 4 letters, ends in -a and is a goddess.. so much to go with Aura without being matchy matchy.

Rhea Kenny
Aura and Rhea
Aura Rose and Rhea

Anonymous said...

My favorite 4-letter boy names ending in 'a' are: Ilya (EEL-ya) and Mika (MEE-ka). Ilya is common in Europe and I now a ~30 yo man called Mika. I think it's very handsome.
Or how about Shia? (Like Shia LaBoeuf)

British American said...

Love Swistle's suggestion of Heath for you. Aura and Heath sound wonderful together.

Annie said...

Like Clarabella, I love the name Asa for you if you have a boy! It's got all sorts of great meanings depending on which language/etymology you go with (doctor, healer, hawk, beautiful), and I think it sounds lovely with Aura. Of course, this is dependent on how you feel about alliteration :)

Natalia said...

I love the suggestion of Luna (Moon in Spanish) and it reminded me of Alma, which means soul in Spanish. Or what about Lola, Lina or Lila? Maia, Mina Or Mila?

In Spanish most girl names end with -a and most boy names end with -o, so I thought of suggesting these 4-letter-names for a boy:
Gino (Italian)
Enzo (also Italian)
And Nico like Swistle suggested.

My favorites are Luna and Alma for a girl, and Roco and Nico for a boy.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Another Italian name:
Enea - Old Greek/Roman mythology. Aeneas is a Trojan warrior who founds the Roman state.

Also interesting: Nima (sun in Tibetan), Sora (blue sky in Japanese), Yona (dove in Hebrew, rather unisex), Yuma (true/genuineness in Japanese)

Natalia said...

Just came across this name and thought you may like it: Vita, meaning life. And there's the masculine form Vito. Vida is another beautiful name, also means life.

Megz said...

This morning in the car my four year old was spelling out random letters and asking what they said. One that she came up with was Xeno which I thought would make a pretty cool name.

Spelt either Xeno or Zino it could fit well with Aura (which is a really awesome name by the way).

I like Haven best as a sister name for Aura. They link together as being peaceful rather than as anything mystical.

Congratulations and good luck.

gail said...

For a girl:


For a boy: (I'd drop the ending in "a"--too limiting)


Best of luck!

namelover said...

I keep thinking of Apollo for you.

Anonymous said...

What about Calla nn Cal? Calla would help tie in the Lily of Easter while allowing you to avoid the nn of Lily. If you went with something like Calla Catherine, Claire or another "C" name in the middle you could use the nn CeCe.

Aubrey said...

I love the name Echo with Aura. I knew an Echo growing up and thought she had a fantastic name. Eden also sounds great with Aura.

although I LOVE the name Judah - it's what we named our son because it means "praise"- I think maybe Nico is great to go with Aura. I love how similar in feel it is to Luca. Theo is also a great one. Ezra, if you're curious, means "God is my help" (it's also one my shorter list for future names for my kids)

I do like the suggestion of Asa. But as someone who grew up with a name starting with "A" and three brothers with "A" names, I'm not personally the biggest fan of doing the name all the kids with one letter thing. Although I think I remember from a previous blog post here that the third kid really sets the trend, so you could always change it up next time.

Anonymous said...

If it's not too late (hoping you'll still see this) I was just reading in a design magazine about a family who gave the name Nova to a son. It's unusual, ends in an "a" and goes phenomenally well with Aura.

gail said...

Sorry, didn't mean to post anonymously--right above--the posting choices got away from me.

Grace said...

Hi everyone,
OP here. I honestly didn't know my request got posted with a response until now. I'm really just so thrilled and excited that it did!

Thank you to Swistle and to all of the kind people who commented! I really appreciate your input!

I read every word and every name you all wrote and I connected with several of them.

Really, just about every single name that you all listed I would put in the "like" category. They are all names I would really like and rave about for any friend's child. The ones that stood out more to me were the ones that were less common. For instance, Levi, Milo, Silas, Thea, Lela, etc. are all beautiful to me but not unusual enough. I know, it's something that really wouldn't be a concern for you Swistle (I have been reading lots of your naming posts) and isn't a concern for many parents who have really wonderful and unique in their own right names, but it happens to be a concern for me.

I really like Asa but if I used it I might try to spell it more as it sounds so as not to have someone calling the child as-a or ass-a.

I'm not religious at all but I like the idea of naming a child "healer."

I have always like Ezra, Noah, and Micah. But, I do want something less common and not so religious.

Joah is very intriguing and could almost double as a namesake (though I never was really motivated to do a namesake) because my husband's name is Joseph. I looked up the meaning and could favor "dove" (symbol of peace works for me) over the God reference.

I am really very grateful for the help and I promise to update with the final name!

For now, here are the ones that made my list, but I haven't fun them by the husband yet:

Joah/Joa – Dove
Asa/Aceah/Asceah- healer
Alma- soul
Sila- (instead of Silas)
Sterling (or Starling) - bird
Ione (middle name? means violet)
Calla (as a middle name, like Calla lily)
Wren – small bird
Vita- life
Rhea- earth/flowing
Enea- to praise
Vespa- Evening Star
Nima (sun in Tibetan),
Sora (blue sky in Japanese),
Yona (dove in Hebrew, rather unisex),
Yuma (true/genuineness in Japanese)
Enzo- short for Lorenzo, means laurel (Lovre and Lovro are Croation forms of this too)
Sela- moon; goddess (Selena, Diana)
Zale/zaleh/zayle/zala- sea-strength
Nova as a boy’s name… hmm maybe Novah? (I also got Nyla or Nylah from this- cloud)
(I love Ilya and Mika (meeka), but don’t like their meanings so much, strength of God and pleasant smell)
(I like Haven and Xeno/Zino but Haven has long been the family cat and you know how name-associations go in families and not so fond of the meanings of Zino/Xeno- either from Zeus or foreign)

I also took your advice and did a Goddess list:
Vesta- fire
Rhea- earth/flowing
Aglaia- one of three graces; beauty;splendor
Thalia- one of three graces; blossoming; luxuriant
Syna- my short of Euphrosyne, joy, merriment
Sephona- my version of persephone
Aegle, aigle- radiance, light
Iuva- to help; goddess of fountains, springs, wells
Laima- goddess of fortune
Lucina- grove, birth
Althea- healer
Ziva- living/alive; Goddess in Slavic mythology (Zivah… a boy?)

God names-
Iah- Moon
Lycus/Lykos- Wolf
Saga- ongoing story; the seeing one; seer; Norse God
Nerah- my version of nearos, Greek God; water
Nuadha; Nuada- Celtic God; Protector
Paxah (from Pax)- Peace; Roman God
Ravi- sun, Hindu God
Vayu- air, wind; Hindu God
Vasu- bright, excellent; Hindu
Vasanta- brilliant, spring; Hindu

Your names also led me on name searches that led me too:
Eka- one
Esha- life
Evah- life/animal
Lyra- as in the instrument lyre
Elka- Noble
Eulah- well-spoken
Saga- ongoing story
Izah- like my own shortening of Isaac- he who laughs
Svana- swan-like (this one could only be girl)

Obviously I have so much narrowing down to do. I'm sure my husband will help by readily veto-ing names. :)

Thank you all again! I promise to update but I'm still early-on.