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Friday, June 22, 2012

Baby Girl T@ylor: Looking for a Name with Sass

S. writes:
Hey there, Swistle!
I'm in need of help!!
I'm due on LABOR DAY (good one, right?!) with my first born baby girl.

My boyfriend and I are having trouble selecting a name despite a long list we've managed to narrow down. We love Shakespeare and intially were looking to tie in names with a meaning in some way. We also anticipate a spunky, fiery daughter so we want her name to have some sass!

FYI: Last name T@ylor.

These are the names we've been stuck on for quite a while, though my dear beau has his favorite that I've been leaning towards but still cant commit to...I still have other favorites in this mix.

Jaqueline Elise T@ylor
Juliet Elena T@ylor
Penelope Corinne T@ylor
Fiona Wren T@ylor
Cecelia Pearl T@ylor
Camryn Kay T@ylor
Elliot Reese T@ylor
Marlowe Maeve T@ylor
Gwendolyn Elena T@ylor

We did, for the most part, nix Jacqueline. Mostly because he's always pronounced the name like "Jaclyn" and I've always loved it as a 3 syllable name with the "que" pronounced smoothly as in "question" and I'd hate going through life hearing it pronounced incorrectly (in my opinion - ha!). His sister begged us to avoid Jacqueline due to horrid nicknames, which I don't mind as much - kids will be kids. But there's also the potential of us having another child in the future and my dear partner has always favored "Jack" for a boy.

The middle name Elena stems from "Helena" in Midsummer. Obviously there are a number of other names related to Shakespeare on the list as well I won't single out. Marlowe is from the playwright Christopher Marlowe - a very interesting man with ties to Shakespeare. We like nicknames for a child - but do prefer an adult-sounding adult name, if you will, which causes me to feel slightly hung up about Penelope - though I do love that name. Might be too cutesy, I don't know...
I also have some reservations about Elliott, as I'm fearful the nickname will be Ellie which is nearly identical to my own name (lacking a few consonants) and that's far too rhymey for me.

(I'll also mention we've gone through a number of boyish names for our girl in addition to Elliott/Camryn we've considered Dylan, Dru, Charlie, Griffin and a variety of others I can't recall at this moment...)

Marlowe has been in the top for me since the beginning - I'm open to alternate spellings - but don't know how I feel about people calling her Marley, given the dog and/or the Bob reference. I do favor Cecelia Pearl and Fiona Wren as well.

The boyfriend has been partial to Gwendolyn Elena (he enjoys the lyrical flow) for quite some time now and I've nearly convinced myself of OFFICIALLY selecting this as her name. But I worry that it's quite a refined name for what I hope will be a quirky chickadee. Also, if everyone ALWAYS calls her Gwen - why name her Gwendolyn? As it's such a wonderfully lovely name...

I'm all torn up as you can see!

Anyway - that's far too much information, I am sure. Maybe you can steer me in a clear direction or offer up some alternatives? I'd love to hear some thoughts from your commenters as well.

Thank you so much!

Gwendolyn is my favorite from the list as well. I don't think everyone will always call her Gwen unless you establish it that way (nicknames are much less common/assumed than they used to be), and I think the full name has the drama you're looking for. It sounds refined/dignified to me, but also fiery/quirky and also sweet/gentle---a very nice range of options for a child whose personality remains to be seen.

I'd also suggest Genevieve and Georgia. Both have that same range of options, sweet to fiery, plus good nicknames for even more flexibility. I especially recommend Georgia because of your possible interest in boyish names for girls: Georgia lets you use Georgie and George as nicknames, while still giving an official name that is unmistakably girl. Georgia also has the ultra-sass nickname Gigi. But Genevieve has good ones too: Genna, Genny, Evie, Vee.

My next choice from your list is Fiona. Tons of sass and spirit and energy, and yet I can also picture it on a quiet bookish girl.
And I suggest Francesca. Frannie and Chess are both great nicknames, and the name is full of personality and flair.

I think a decade ago, Penelope might have been more whimsical than what you were looking for. But its recent rapid rise in popularity should help considerably with that: according to the Social Security Administration, it appeared in the Top 1000 in 2001 at #946; just ten years later in 2011, it was already at #169. It still has an appealing whimsy, but I don't think it'll sound cutesy by the time all those Penelopes hit the workforce.

Two of my own Shakespearean favorites are Bianca and Imogen.

If you like boyish names for girls, I suggest putting one in the middle name slot. It gives your girl the option of using it if it suits her, without giving as much trouble with future sibling names. Gwendolyn Elliot, Georgia Dylan, Cecelia Grey, Francesca Quinn, Fiona Wesley, Bianca Riley, Imogen Sterling, Penelope August.

If initials are important to you, I'll point out that Jacqueline/Juliet E. T@ylor both spell JET, and Gwendolyn/Genevieve/Georgia E. T@ylor gives you GET.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite Shakespearean names is Caterina (Katherina), and that gives you the spunky nickname "Cat" or "Cate".

Caterina Pearl T@ylor
Caterina Wren T@ylor
Caterina Grey T@ylor

I also love Gwendolyn and Bianca... Really, you can't go wrong!

StephLove said...

I think Gwendolyn is a great name for you, but I also like Cecilia, Fiona, Juliet & Penelope. I agree nicknames are not inevitable and I don't think Penelope is too cutesy.

Some of the middles (Maeve, Pearl, Reese, Wren) would make good firsts as well or might pair well with other firsts on your list.

Lynnette said...

Just putting in a couple of my favorite Shakespeare names - Cordelia, and especially Hero! Both are spunky.

Anonymous said...

My favorite out of your list is Cecilia Pearl!

Anonymous said...

It's not on your list...but just as a suggestion, my favorite female character from Shakespeare is Beatrice from Much Ado. Awesome female character -- incredibly witty and fiery. Plus Beatrice has some lovely nickname options as well.

Anonymous said...

I second the suggestion of Cordelia-great name.
From your list, I adore Fiona Wren. I would totally want this name for myself. I think it has more sass than your other names. Gwendolyn also has a fair amount of sass, but it seems like a more refined sass. Does that make any sense at all?
I do really like Marlowe too, but would be concerned most people will hear it as Marlo-or worse, think it's a creative spelling of Marlo. Would that loose too much of the impact of the Christopher Marlowe reference?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't know if you'll take to this suggestion, but I love the idea of dropping the G in Gwendolyn and just using Wendolyn! It's a real as corn name, but so incredibly underused and I LOOOVE it. My fiancee said absolutely not when I suggested it during a session of the name game, but it is just too pretty to waste. I want someone to use it! Only problem I see is with Elena as the middle (initials WET), but Wendolyn Pearl, Wendolyn Wren, beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I like the last suggestion, it solves the problem of people wanting to call her Gwen!

Elizabeth said...

You have so many great choices! I especially love Cecelia ... but I have to second the suggestions of Francesca, Hero, and Beatrice - they're both strong, sassy names. (I adore Titania, but I don't know how wearable it is for a 21st-century baby.) Good luck!

Ginny said...

I was totally expecting Swistle to suggest Beatrix, and had to jump in since she didn't! It's close to the Shakespearean Beatrice, but spunkier. If you don't mind initials spelling BET (which actually could make a super-cute nickname!) I like a lot of the E names as middles... Beatrix Elena, Beatrix Elliot.

Anonymous said...

From you list my two favorite are Fiona Wren and Cecelia Pearl. Gwendolyn, I think would me. Mouthful without a nickname and I like the nickname option better of other names. Love swistle suggestion of Georgia and francesca. Also like Beatrice. I really like the combination with the boyish middle names, from this list love Francesca Quinn

Claire Wessel said...

My favorite girl Shakespeare name is probably Regan from Twelfth Night. Definitely has some spunk! My girls all have a little bit o' Shakespeare in their names somewhere, so I highly approve of this theme :) There are tremendous amounts of beautiful names available. I think all the names on your list are nice so no matter what you choose, it will be a great name. Good luck!

hillary said...

I like a lot of Shakespearean names. One that is surprisingly underused is Rosalind. She's beautiful AND smart, and would be a great role model for a modern girl. Her best friend and cousin is Celia, another great name. I also love Juliet, nicknamed Jet, as was discussed in one of Swistle's previous posts! Classic, sweet, and beautiful, but with an edgy modern nickname.

Nichole said...

I have no new names to add to the discussion, but want to second a few of the above suggestions. I LOVE Gwendolyn and Fiona from your original list, but think I am even more partial to the suggestions of Regan or Rosalind. . . .

Regan is probably my favorite of all!

Anonymous said...

Josephine could be good. Josie is a cute yet feisty nickname. And Susanna with the nickname Susie. It's a different style to your other names but Zoe might suit as well, one of my favourites and way underused. All your ideas are great though so you can't really go wrong.

Laura said...

I don't think you can go wrong! You've got a great list. I'm drawn to Fiona (on my own list of names that got away!) and Juliet...the potential for the nickname Jules is so perfect. Best wishes to you!

Mj said...

I love this challenge! We had the same one, as I wanted to use Shakespeare too. I selected Arden as my daughters middle name ( Shakespeare's mothers maiden name, and the name he gave the Forest which provided refuge/reflection in As You Like It). From the same play is Rosalind and Celia....I love both names. But for you I think the suggestion of Juliet nickname Jet is perfect! That is a sweet little baby, feisty little girl, and self-assured young woman. Juliet Arden T@ylor is great, and the initials are inoffensive too.
It also occurred to me that you could adapt Shakespeare's own name for your daughter. What do you think of Willa? Willa Juliet or Willa Pearl or Willa Beatrice.

Anonymous said...

Willa Pearl or Willa Regan.
And Juliet nick named Jet is such a great name!

Anonymous said...

Josephine Elizabeth T@ylor. Jo Beth for nickname.

christine said...

I love your list and the suggestion of Francesca. I will say my FAVE nickname for Francesca is Frankie. So cute! So spunky!

Best wishes!

Angie said...

When I hear your requirements were Shakespeare with a bit of sass, Bianca immediately came to mind.

Bianca also has a meaning similar to Fiona on your original list, for what its worth.

Anonymous said...

I know a Gwendolyn who goes by Wendy, which I always thought was cool. And very spunky, given the Peter Pan character.

Anonymous said...

Cecelia is sassy with fire, in my opinion. & pearl is just so sweet and with that name you have a perfect balance.

Chris said...

I know a couple of girls named Marlo, and I've never once heard or seen them called Marley. I do much prefer the spelling Marlo to Marlowe though! I LOVE Swistle's suggestion of Georgia. Just from the tone of your letter I can totally picture you two calling her George as a family nickname.

Anonymous said...

My favorite from your list was Elliot Reese. If you want to avoid the Ellie nickname, just insist on calling her Elliot. As her mom, everyone will take their cue from you.

Anonymous said...

Juliet Elena and Fiona Wren are two of my favourites from your list that have the most "sass" to me, especially Juliet with the nickname Jet. Cecelia Pearl is also great, esp with the nn Cici.

Gwendolyn Elena is a lovely name but doesn't have as much spunk or sass. Someone mentioned using Wendy as a nn & that has some spunk, as does Wynn or Winnie, which could probably be used?

From suggestions others have made. I love LOVE Josephine & Georgie.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - Georgia!

Caitie O. said...

I'm not so sure about Regan, if you are considering it. I thought Regan was a character in King Lear not the Twelfth Night and she was not particularly a great daughter (Cordelia was!). Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

I love Cecelia Pearl. I like the Fiona name selections some, too. But my fav is Cecelia. I, too, named all my children from literature. From the suggestions I love Francesca. I tried to use it for my youngest, Francesca Bernadette, but my fuddy duddy husband did not care for it.