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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Are Elijah and Elliot Too Similar For Cousins?

R. writes:
My husband and I are having our second baby boy and Elliot is one of our top names.  The problem is that our nephew's name is Elijah and he goes by Eli.  We do not plan to use Eli as a nickname for our child but, we are concerned that our family will think they are too similar because of their spelling.  Any input would be appreciated :)

My opinion is that they're not too similar. The spelling does trick the eye a bit, but the vowel sounds are completely different: ee-lye vs. eh-lee. And the emphasis is on different syllables, which further separates the sounds: ee-LYE-jah vs. ELL-lee-ot.

The styles of the names are so different, too. Elijah: ancient, prophety, biblical, with an ending used mostly for girl names in the United States. Elliot: light, surnamey, intellectual. I can't think of a situation in which I'd ever recommend both names to the same family---but because they're too DIFFERENT, not because they're too similar.

And especially for cousins, I think a slight similarity is completely fine: an Eleanor and an Elizabeth, an Addison and an Adelaide, an Emerson and an Emmett.

Let's have a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Name update! R. writes:
Thank you Swistle and readers for weighing in on our name dilemma. Though we considered a few other names as well, Elliot remained our favorite. Because of the overwhelming majority of people who responded to the poll saying Elliot and Elijah were NOT too close for cousins and the wonderful comments we felt confident in our choice. Elliot Miles was born last week - mom, dad, and big brother are so in love :)


Anonymous said...

You don't mention whether the boys would share a last name or go to same school. But in any event i don't find the names too close for cousins. I share either my first or middle with several cousins. One cousin has the same name, only the order is reversed. But it wasn't an issue or problem. The name you are considering is not even the same name.

Moomoo said...

We have an Elijah and an Elliot in the family. Elijah is called Eli and Lije (L-eye-j), and Elliot is sometimes called, Ell. So nicknames no problem. But Elliot is almost never called by nickname anyway. Elliot is a GREAT name! Use it!! They are sufficiently different in sound and style. We have FIVE girls in the family with derivations of Charlotte ( Charli, Charllee-Rose, Charlize nn Lizzie, Charlotte nn Lottie, and Charlotte nn Arli) - Now THAT's confusing!!!!

Anonymous said...

As long as both boys aren't going to be called Eli, I see no reason why you can't have cousins named Elliot and Elijah.
The only issue I can think of would be confusion about initials. If the boys share a surname, I'd make sure the middle initial is different so their stuff doesn't get mixed up, especially if they are close in age.

Jill said...

In my family, FIVE sets of parents chose the same family name for their children. Some even have the same middle name and all share our surname. They weren't conscientious like you, they all just used the name without consulting anyone! In one instance it's a father-son thing which makes sense, but the rest (and I'm thinking, this was your chance to be creative people!) were like...I like so-and-so's name, let's use it. So in my mind an Elliot and an Elijah in the same family is no problem. Elliot is a great choice by the way, it'll be so cute on a little guy!

Abby@AppMtn said...

They're too close for siblings, but completely fine for cousins. As a PP mentioned, it might be harder if they're in the same school and share the same surname ... but unless you're really seeing each other on a daily basis, I can't imagine it creating a problem.

Elizabeth said...

I think it's fine for cousins to have the exact same name. So, I definitely don't think Elijah and Elliot are too close.

British American said...

I think it would be fine to have cousins named Elijah and Elliot. The different sounds in the name make it ok in my opinion. :)

Eva.G said...

I do not think they're too similar! They're completely different names. If they do share a last name, I agree with previous posters to use a different starting letter for the middle so they don't share all the same initials.

I know cousins who have the exact same name! At the time they were born & named, they didn't even live in the same part of the country so the parents thought it was fine.... Then they moved and ended up living in the same town. Too close for my liking!

I also know cousins who are Leya (LAY-uh) and Leyla (LAY-luh). Too close!

Angie said...

I wouldn't use the two names for siblings, because they are both too close and too similar at the same time. But on cousins, both names are fine.

Anonymous said...

So I actually know siblings with almost these names (except that one is a girl so it's an almost-identical girl's name instead of Elijah), and though I thought it was odd when the younger one was born, it now seems completely normal and works. The sounds are very different, as Swistle notes, even though the letters are similar. So I'm voting that they're not too similar for cousins at all. But, as others have said, this would change if both families planned to call the boys Eli. There, I think you have control of the situation since you would have Elliot, though--and since Elijah is already using Eli. For me, Eli is a real reach as a nickname for Elliott anyway, so as long as you stay far away from it, I think you're covered.

Angela said...

My name is Angela Rhea and my cousin is Alexa Renae, and we had the same last name until I got married! It was never a problem, and we both thought it was actually kinda cool.

So I say go with Elliot. :)