Baby Boy or Girl B.

Hi Swistle!
I started writing this a month or so ago and never finished thinking we had plenty of time since we are due in 10 weeks however this past week I was hospitalized with preterm labor and will be here until this baby is born. We are hoping for a few weeks but it could be any day now so we are running out of time! A few things about us that might help with the naming process… we don’t want a cutesy name but are a fan of the classics, we think a name needs to fit a baby and an adult, and our last name starts with a B. This is our first child and we are not finding out the gender!

We are stuck on boy names….we went through the family history and the only name we liked was my dad’s middle name Franklin, which we would only use as a middle name. For some reason I am getting caught up on the fact that a lot of the names we like don’t have nicknames even though we agree we don’t need one. We tend to nickname everything so having SOME kind of nickname just seems to make sense.

Names I like:

Names he likes:

Names from our list that we ruled out:

We have the name Crawford overlapping but somehow it just hasn’t felt right. We don’t have a leader and are open to suggestions! For reference, we have the names Anna or Lydia picked out if it is a girl.


If you guys tend to nickname everything, nicknames will evolve naturally even if the name doesn’t have a natural nickname. Paul and I are big nicknamers, and all five kids have multiple nicknames, and most of those nicknames have nothing to do with the child’s actual given name. Henry’s main nickname is a two-initial name (like PJ or JD) that isn’t the same as his actual initials. Elizabeth’s main nickname is Pinky. These things just happen.

True, a family nickname is not the same as a nickname the child can use at school, and so if that feels important to you, it may be appropriate to reevaluate the “it doesn’t need a nickname” agreement.

With a possible future sister named Anna or Lydia, my favorite from both lists is Henry. I find Henry Holden and Henry Crawford appeal to me, but Henry Franklin is great too.

I wish Franklin could be a first-name option. It shares sounds with many of the other names on your lists; it’s classic and non-cutesy; it’s adorable on a baby but great on an adult; it’s great with Anna/Lydia; etc.

I think at this point, where you each have a list and the only overlap doesn’t feel like The Name, I’d do the “similar names” game: writing down each name from your lists, and then seeing if you can brainstorm names that are similar to those names in style or sound or general feel. The names that feel similar will vary considerably from person to person, but I’ll show you how it would look if I did it:



Another fun exercise is to get your hands on a copy of The Baby Name Wizard, look up each name on your list, and pick your favorite name from the suggested brother names; then look up THAT name and so on. For example, let’s say we look up Clarke. Suggested brother names for Clark are Ward, Carlton, Hal, Lewis, Clyde, and Stuart. Don’t worry if you wouldn’t choose any of those; just pick the one you like BEST. Let’s say you choose Lewis. We look up Lewis; Lewis doesn’t have its own listing, but Louis does and I like that spelling better anyway. Brother name suggestions for Louis are Arthur, Jules, Edward, George, Theodore, and Charles. Let’s say your favorite from that list is George, so then you look up George and etc. etc. etc. If you get to a dead-end or a loop, you can go back and try another brother name for Clark. You could also start by looking up brother names for Anna or Lydia.

What I find is that this game helps me narrow down my style (“Hm, I seem to keep ending up with Timeless names and Ladies and Gentleman names”), helps me identify outliers (“No matter which path I follow from this name, I don’t find any names I like”), and helps me beef up my list in general.

Baby Girl Freitag, Sister to Sophia and Oliver

Hello, hello!

We will be welcoming baby number 3 at the beginning of August, and we are in desperate need of naming help. Baby sister’s older siblings are Sophia (Sophie) Lauryn and Oliver Henry. Our last name is Freitag. I like that our other 2 children both have 6 letters in their first name; however, that is not a necessity. This entire pregnancy we have referred to the baby as Hadley. As her due date nears, I find myself not loving the name, but maybe acquiescing because it is a name that both my husband and I agreed upon easily…. Our boy name we had decided upon was Elliot.
We (I) have considered these other names: Ella, Sutton, Ashlyn, and Elliot (nn Ellie). My husband does not like gender neutral/boy’s names for girls so I don’t think I can convince him of this, and I don’t know if it fits with our traditional naming preferences thus far for a girl.
As far as middle names I would love to honor my mom by using her name, Marie Margaret, somehow or incorporating my grandmother’s name, Mildred Serena-possibly Millie? My husband is not on board with Millie. I love it. Another honor name possibility we have considered is Jane. It is my mom’s favorite name and my middle name.
Please help!

Thank you!


It looks to me as if you have two preferred naming styles. One style includes Sophia/Sophie, Oliver, Ella, and Elliot-for-a-boy. The other style includes Sutton, Ashlyn, Hadley, and Elliot-for-a-girl. At this point, there are three approaches you could take. One would be to say, “We used one style for our first two kids; now it’s the other style’s turn.” The second would be to say, “We used one style for our first two kids, so let’s stick to that style for a third.” The third would be to say, “Let’s pick our favorite name and use it, regardless of style.”

My own personal preference would be to stick to the established style (or a similar style), because I like sibling names to be compatible. So from the names you’ve mentioned, I would start with these:


Then I would see if I could plump that list out a bit with some similar candidates, looking in particular for names with six letters, names that have sounds in common with Hadley/Emma, and names that might honor a Marie/Margaret/Mildred:

Adeline (similar to Hadley and Ella)
Amelia (six letters)
Annabel (similar to Ella)
Audrey (six letters; similar to Hadley)
Eleanor (similar to Ella)
Eliza (similar to Ella)
Ella Jane (double first name)
Evelyn (six letters)
Greta (similar to Margaret)
Isabel (six letters; similar to Ella)
Lillian (similar to Ella)
Lydia (similar to Hadley)
Madelyn (similar to Hadley and Ella)
Matilda (possibly somewhat similar to Mildred)
Margot (six letters; similar to Margaret)
Mariela (Marie + Ella)
Marina (six letters; similar to Marie)
Melody (similar to Hadley and Ella)
Olivia (six letters)
Stella (six letters; similar to Ella)


I singled out Ella Jane as a double-first-name candidate, but I also think Ella as a first name with the middle name Jane is great. And in fact, I’d be inclined to use Jane somewhere in the name if at all possible. Audrey Jane. Eliza Jane. Isabel Jane. Jane Margaret. Jane Marie. Margaret Jane. Jane Evelyn. Annabel Jane. And so on.

If you decide to go with a name from your other preferred style, I suggest Ellery. It fits with names such as Hadley and Sutton; it has six letters; it sounds like Ella and Elliot and gives you the nickname Ellie; it’s used almost exclusively for girls.

Baby Naming Issue: Trying to Love an Honor Name

Dear Swistle,

I have composed this letter to you many times in my head while lying awake in bed at night. I am worried I will leave something important out! Here goes…

FYI my husband and I are pregnant WITH TWINS (!!) who are due in October. By the way, your posts about loving having twins on your main blog have been so encouraging to me! So many people react with negative thoughts about us having twins so it’s nice to have your perspective to balance that! These will be our first babies, but second pregnancy. We hope to have at least one more child after these. We are not finding out the sexes of the babies. But, we would love one of each and have a feeling that is what is in there. For boys names, we have about three solid options, any of which we would both be very happy with. Because I think you will want to know what those are – they are Abraham, Jacob, and Homer (all honor names from immediate or close to immediate family members). Abraham is the strong front runner, with us probably using Homer as his middle name. (My absolute favorite is Homer but we usually think it would be safer to use in the middle spot). It’s the girl’s name that I need some help with. I say “I” because my husband knows what he thinks and I feel I need some outside encouragement (yours, specifically) to feel certain about my choice.

Also FYI, my name is Amy, his is Barry, and we will be using my husband’s last name for the babies which is pronounced Wall – boor – skee. My maiden name, which I kept, and which was my mother’s maiden name which she took back after her divorce from my father, is Banner. I actually changed my last name legally from my father’s surname to my mother’s when I was in my late 20s so it is a special name for me.

Here goes for real…

My mother, to whom I was very close, died several years ago. Her death is something I have accepted because I had to, but not something that feels “ok.” I very much want to name a daughter after her, and my husband is all for it. He loved my mom and loves her name. Her name was Jeannette. Well, to be exact, Jeannette was actually her middle name but she despised her first name, never went by it, and would only concede to using it as a first initial when legally necessary, so I don’t associate that name with her at all.

The thought of a daughter of mine having my mother’s name brings me a joy and a peace that are literally breathtaking. It *almost* makes my losing her feel “ok.” I love imagining saying to people, “this is my daughter, Jeannette, she was named after my mother.” Ah, what a wonderful warm feeling for me. BUT, here’s my dang issue. I just never have really liked my mom’s name. I mean, I didn’t and don’t hate it, but I don’t like it, either. Maybe because it’s just not in style at the moment. Not that I care about what’s in style at the moment. But you know how our tastes tend to match up with the tastes of the moment somehow. I do love the way her name looks, though. Just looking at it gives me a wonderful feeling. I love the way the e and a look together side by side. And I think it looks very feminine, which I like. I will probably use it regardless of how much I like it, just because of that wonderful feeling I think it would bring to me. BUT, I want to really LIKE IT. You know? And I think I just need a little outside help with liking it. Like, someone to help me see the beautiful sound to it, or something. Please help me with that! The way it’s pronounced in America, the juh in juh-net is just not a very appealing sound to me. Oh, another fun thing about using Jeannette is that it has the same number of letters as her last name will – 9. And 9 + 9 = 18 and 18 is a very special number in Judaism (we’re Jewish) – it represents life (chai pronounced hi).

I will share the two alternatives I have come up with to using her exact name: 1) to either use Jeannette as a middle name or 2) to use Jane as a first name. The Jeannette as a middle name option is nice enough, I mean it still keeps her name in there, but it doesn’t bring that same wonderful feeling that I think having it in the first name spot would bring. I would probably use Miriam as her first name in that case. The reason for using the name Jane in the first spot would be that my mother told me she had always wished her name was Jane, after her beloved grandmother, Jane. And when she said it, she said it with such a sweet shyness, it was clear that it was very dear to her. I think I would feel a real warmth in that being my daughter’s name, and that it would feel connected to my mother, but not as strongly or obviously as using her actual name. There is something very appealing to me about the option of Jane, though, because I feel that it symbolizes what my mom wished she had been, the best version of herself so to speak. I think that if my mom were to be given the privilege of naming the child that she would name her Jane. Plus, I prefer the name Jane. I find it very warm and sweet, probably because of how my mom felt about it. My husband also likes Jane enough to use it, but he likes Jeannette more, but he feels that it is my choice and he wants me to use whatever would feel best to me. Oh, one more vote for Jane would be that I think it sounds better side by side with the other twin names we’re considering (both boy and girl names). Let me know if you disagree/agree! But, I’m not a person who needs sibling or twin names to be perfectly matched.

The girl baby’s middle name will likely be Chaya (pronounced hi – yuh) which would be after my husband’s deceased father whose Hebrew name was Chaim (hi – yum) and which means “life.” Like the saying “l’chaim” (to life), but the feminine version. His English name was an H name that is unusable now.

So, my hope is that you can help me to really like the name Jeannette or help me feel more solid about Jane. It would also be fun to hear some nickname suggestions for Jeannette!

Thank you, Swistle!


You’ve mentioned that the thought of saying “This is my daughter, Jeannette; she was named after my mother” brings you a joy and peace that are breathtaking. What approximate percentage of that feeling do you get with “This is my daughter, Jane” or “This is my daughter, Miriam Jeannette”? How much breathtaking joy and peace are you willing to trade to get a name you like better? I think the way I’m phrasing this makes it sound as if I’m saying you shouldn’t be willing to trade any of it, but actually I don’t take that stance at all: I think it’s a matter of what the trade is WORTH. If there is a 10% reduction in joy/peace, but that leads to a 250% increase in name-liking, that could be considered a pretty worthwhile trade.

The name Jeanette/Jeannette is indeed out of fashion right now. It hit its peak in the U.S. in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and is currently at its lowest point in the Social Security Administration’s online record. Upside: once a name falls out of the Top 1000 entirely, as Jeannette has done, it can be due for a comeback. Downside: but it’s not back yet. Right now it sounds like a mom/grandma name, depending on how old the hearer is: it fits in with names such as Joyce, Barbara, Janice, Suzette. Nothing is WRONG with any of these names, but they’re too familiar to feel fresh again yet. They have to wait their turn, just like Charlotte and Emma and Lucy did.

You have asked for something interesting, and that is for help loving the name more. When a name is out of style, it’s hard to even imagine how good it once sounded to parents’ ears: how did someone once choose the name Mildred/Elmer/Bertha/Herbert on purpose, thinking of it as the best name out of all baby names? It’s strange when the order is reversed, too: marveling at how a name that used to seem so dusty and dated now sounds so surprisingly fresh and usable. I remember long ago when I felt so sorry for a co-worker with the harsh-sounding name Charlotte—and NOW look at the name Charlotte! I felt similarly sorry for a co-worker saddled with the boyish clunker Georgia (like Jacoba! or Ethanette!)—and now Georgia and George are both on my favorites list. I remember when Emma sounded like a generic old lady name—and not just old-lady, but farm/hick old-lady. I remember when Olivia was the weird name of the character on Sesame Street: it was fine for her, but no one would name a BABY Olivia, any more than they’d name a baby Oscar! I remember when I was waiting at the airport and heard someone call out to their child Lucy. LUCY?? Like the bossy grouch in Charlie Brown?? Like LOOSE-y?? Why do people have to give their kids such WEIRD NAMES??

I seem to have gotten off track. It’s just so interesting to me the way fashions influence our perceptions. Right now I am hearing Jeannette as a mom/grandma name—and yet I know with near-certainty that one day I will be looking at a new baby girl and thinking “JEANNETTE! Boy, am I ready to hear THAT name again!”—just as I did with Ruth, and Eloise, and Rose, and Jane, and Genevieve, and hundreds of others. Even just writing the name again and again for this post is having an effect. It is starting to sound light and dancey and cute, like a French ballerina.

I’ve found it helpful to spell names different ways—not with the intent to use those spellings, but to help me re-see and re-hear them. Charlotte seems quite different spelled Sharlit or Sharlot, and Loosey would be a hard sell. My eye skips right over the name Lynn, but Lin? Ooo, now I see it as light and sweet, compact and poised—and suddenly I get a glimpse of why Linda was such a hit in its time. We wouldn’t spell Jeannette this way (and some of these wouldn’t be pronounced quite right), but when I play with spellings such as Jennett, Jinnette, Gennett, Ginnette, etc.; or look at similar names such as Jenna, Etta, Ginny, Linnet; or think of contemporary names such as Bennett and Elliot and Violet and Juliette; I can see the name more as the parents a hundred years ago would have seen it.

Plus, I don’t know if this was the case, but it seems like some of those parents would have been seeing it as a fresh new spin on the name Jean. Jean was okay, kind of plain and serviceable. Jeannette was fancy! Frillier! Like taking Emily and turning it into Emmeline! Like taking Anna and turning it into Annabelle! Like taking Jenny and turning it into Genevieve!

French chic, for sure. For those of us who say it Jen- or Jin- instead of Juh-, it had the darling sound of the cute and popular Jennie or Ginny, combined with the French fad of Paulette/Suzette/Lynnette that preceded Nicole/Michelle/Danielle. And it ends with the interesting/fresh/unusual -t sound, like Charlotte, Violet, Juliette, Harriet, Margaret, and Scarlet.

It has excellent nickname options, too: Jinny, Jenny, Jenna, Jeanie, Nettie, Netta, Etta.

If you decide against using Jeannette, I would lean toward Jean instead of Jane. Jean feels like a more natural leap, and it preserves some of what you like about the name visually. And Jeanie is adorable. I might increase the honor by using your mother’s surname as the middle name: Jean Banner Wall – boor – skee.

I would also be on board with the idea of using Jeannette as the middle name. If I were you, I would then introduce her as “Miriam Jeannette—Jeannette is after my mother,” to maximize the good feelings. But I find I am sadder at the idea of you using it as a middle name. It sounds to me from your letter as if both you and your husband would prefer to use it as a first name, and of course I can’t know but my GUESS is that you will find the usage of the name for your daughter will make you love the name. Furthermore, I suspect your daughter will end up being on the very front lines of a fashionable name—like the women now in their 30s and 40s who were among the first to be named Sophia and Charlotte and Emma instead of Jessica and Ashley and Amanda.

One issue you don’t address in your email is what you will do if both twins are girls. With such an emotional and important honor name, I think it would be good to think ahead of time about possible strategies. For example, a friend of mine had twin boys, and one was to be a junior; she gave the other twin a very important family surname as his first name, to try to balance it. If you have two girls, and one is Jeannette, perhaps the other one should get the middle name Chaya. Or you might want to use Jeannette for one middle name and Chaya for the other. Maybe you would find it satisfying to use Jane/Jean/Jenna/Genevieve for one twin and Natalie/Garnet/Antoinette/Linnette/Etta for the other twin, to sort of split your mother’s name between them, with Chaya/Banner as middle names.

I think Jeannette and Miriam go nicely together as first names. Jeannette Banner and Miriam Chaya is nice, or perhaps Jeannette Chaya and Miriam Banner would be more balanced. Or Jeannette Chaya and Miriam Jane.

Edited to add: I was doing some housework after posting this, and as I thought it over it felt to me as if I’d left out another point that I think I want to make. It’s this: that I feel like people get Extra Honoring Credit if the name is not what they would otherwise have chosen.

That is, it seems as if everyone who has an Emma/Charlotte/Ella anywhere in their family tree has found that Emma/Charlotte/Ella and named a daughter after her—whether or not she was someone anyone wanted to honor. Meanwhile, Grandma Mildred was the loveliest woman in the world, everyone’s favorite sister/aunt/grandmother—but has no namesakes.

And so when I encounter a child with a somewhat dated or unfashionable name, and then I find out the child has been named after a relative, I feel EXTRA happy. It’s completely excellent and fine to love a name for itself AND because it’s an honor name, or to use a name you love and feel extra loving toward it because it happens to also be a family name—but where there had to be a little personal-tastes sacrifice to use the name, that is where I see some hardcore honor.

This is NOT TO SAY that I think you must use a name you’d prefer not to, just to honor your mother—and this is why I was not sure this was a point I wanted to make at all. The thing is, I think it works only one way: that is, if you use a name you don’t love, in order to honor someone you do love, I think you get extra points; but if you choose not to use a name you don’t love, I don’t think you lose any points.

Baby Name to Consider: Fennec

Hi Swistle,

I am over the moon to finally have my own question after reading your blog for many years, albeit, it would be even better if I didn’t have a naming conundrum of my own but you get the point.

My boyfriend and I are expecting our first in November. We are in agreement on a girl’s name but when it comes to boy’s, I am finding myself drawn to a name I would never have thought I would actually consider!

For the longest time, my all time favourite boy’s name has been Ambrose, but I have always had difficulty pairing a middle name that I liked the flow of with the baby’s last- which will be Bobinson with an R.

Our second favourite name (and I say “our” because I am not really sure bf would have agreed to Ambrose) was Augustus but again, there are reasons why this name just doesn’t seem right for this baby.

Enter pregnancy dream #2 about said baby in which I referred to him as Fennec. That’s right- the name of the fox. First thing, I had never heard of this type of fox, I had to google the name when I woke up and found the association. Two, I think the name actually came from The Hunger Games’ Finnick but my dream brain changed it. I have always liked his name. Three, Fox is on my list as one of several nature names that I would have only put in the middle. Four, when I jokingly told my boyfriend what I had dreamt the baby’s name was, his answer was “I love that!”

So now we are kind of going with Fennec. Is this crazy? Are these pregnancy hormones at work? I would happily put it in the middle name spot but it feels perfect up front- with Ambrose in the middle.

And lastly, you might ask why not just go with Finnick? Two reasons, I don’t like the rare possibility it could be shortened to Nick and I don’t know if I am alright with naming a child a pop culture name with no other real history behind it.

Any thoughts on how you would feel to see a baby or adult Fennec? I think for short we could call him Fen (or Fenn). We don’t plan on sharing our naming preferences with anyone prior to the birth as I don’t share naming styles with them and would rather not defend any choices.

Looking forward to seeing what you and your readers think!



I would not go with Finnick, either. I do like that it could be shortened to Finn, but it makes me think of the word finicky.

I am surprised to be saying it, but I think Fennec works. I pictured seeing it on a class list, and I would think, “Wow, THAT’S unusual!”—but it seems like a Real Name to me. That is, I would be thinking, “I wonder if that’s Norwegian?” and not “That’s a crazy thing to name a child.”

Plus, Fennec foxes are beyond adorable.

My other association is with Fezzik from The Princess Bride, but (1) that’s a highly positive association, and (2) it serves to make Fennec even more name-like, and (3) it is not even the same name, just a name with a similar rhythm/sound.

I looked it up in the Social Security data base, and I see there were 5 new baby boys given the name Fennec in 2015. There were none in the data base for the previous 5 years. I suspect the combination of The Hunger Games + the recent popularity of foxes may be leading other parents in the same direction. I searched online for “baby name Fennec,” and got a bunch of hits for discussions of the name on baby name sites.

If I were considering using the name, my main concern would be future sibling names, particularly brother names. If sibling-name coordination is one of your preferences, Fennec could be a hard act to coordinate.

Let’s have a poll to see what everyone else thinks. Remember that when we do Name to Consider posts, we’re not exactly discussing whether the name is to our own personal tastes (though that of course will factor in), but more whether we think it could work as a name. The comments section is a good place to expand/explain your vote. Particularly if you vote “definitely no,” we’d appreciate hearing why not: otherwise I tend to chalk those votes up to the phenomenon I’ve noticed where a certain small percentage will choose the contrary answer, no matter WHAT the question is (“Is Emily a stripper name?” – 1,073 no votes and 7 yes votes).


Do you think Fennec works as a name?

Baby Boy Rise-with-a-W, Brother to Nicholas

We need your help! My husband and I are expecting our second baby boy, due in October. Our son’s name is Nicholas Patrick, and since Nicholas was the only boy name we could agree on the first time around, naming his little brother is proving to be a challenge. Our last name is Rise but with W instead of an R. Our son goes by both Nicholas and Nick. I tend to like longer names that allow for nicknames. I also like older, classic names. My husband is all over the board with the types of names he likes, although we agree that we don’t want to go with a very popular name. We will probably use Harvey or Charles as the middle name. The name we had chosen for a girl during both pregnancies was Clara.


Names we both like but can’t use for one reason or another:

Grant (Favorite! But this is also the name of husband’s best friend.)
Maxwell (Husband doesn’t want to use because a coworker of his just named his baby Max.)
Owen (Just not totally sold on this name)


Boy names husband likes:

Lambert (I physically cringed when he suggested this name)


I like:

Looking so forward to whatever help you can give! Thank you!



I like Gabriel best from all the lists. I like that both boys would have a longer name with a shorter nickname: Nicholas and Gabriel, Nick and Gabe. I like that both names are older/classic, but neither one is overly common.

Every parent has a set of personal preferences, and one parent’s Definitely Yes is another parent’s Absolutely Not, and so I will not be startled if something that is a Definitely Yes to me is an Absolutely Not to you. But I want to urge you to reconsider Grant, if at all possible. It’s the top favorite name for both of you? And you are having a terrible time agreeing on a name? And the Grant you know is a very positive association (at least for your husband)? This seems like a slam-dunk to me.

Names that remind me of Grant: Clark, Dean, Reid, Spencer.

I also suggest Benjamin. Nicholas and Benjamin; Nick and Ben.

And Jonathan. Nicholas and Jonathan; Nick and Jon.

And Daniel. Daniel shares sounds with Lambert and with Gabriel. Nicholas and Daniel; Nick and Dan.

There’s no nickname, but I love the sound of Simon with your surname. Nicholas and Simon. And I suppose Si/Sy would be a short form of the name.

It doesn’t seem to quite fit your style, but I keep coming back to Isaac. Nicholas and Isaac; Nick and Ike/Zac.

I’d take Eli from your husband’s list and make it Elias instead. Nicholas and Elias; Nick and Eli.

I would like to suggest Wesley/Wes, but I’m not sure about that with the surname.

Nathan and Gabriel make me think of Nathaniel. Nicholas and Nathaniel; Nick and Nate.

Surprisingly similar to the name Maxwell/Max is the name Matthew/Matt. Nicholas and Matthew; Nick and Matt.

Oh! Or I wonder if you might like to use the two middle name candidates? Charles Harvey is a pretty spectacular name. Nicholas and Charles; Nick and Charlie. I love this.

Baby Girl Archibald, Sister to Rainey, Rutledge, and Ryatt


We’ve got baby #4 on the way – it’s a girl!! Any ideas for a name that will go with our others? Our last name is Archibald and kids names are as follows:

Rainey Alyn (f) (said Alan)
Rutledge Henry (m)
Ryatt Edward (m)

All first names are R’s and 2 syllables and we’re planning to stick with that pattern. Middle names are after family members. For #4 we’ve come up with Maylee as her middle name. Ideas we’ve had for first name: Rogen, Rebel, Reegan – but none have come shining out like the other kids. When we first heard their names we just KNEW. It needs to be unpopular and not rhyme with any of the ones we’ve got already (for example, many have suggested Remington, Remi for short. Which is way to close to Rainey for me. Also, Riley – too close to Ryatt and it’s too popular for my liking)

Thanks for your help!!


From your list, Reegan/Regan is my favorite: Rogen seems like a boy to me in this sibling set, and Rebel has a strong/immediate association for me with Rebel Wilson. Also, it’s a name that seems to set an expectation for the child’s temperament.

Because the names will all have two syllables and start with R, my inclination is to find a new vowel sound for right after the R. So far you have Ray, Ruh, and Rye, so I would be less inclined to suggest Raven, Rayla, Raelyn, etc.

Rhianne/Reeanne (maybe too many sounds in common with Rainey)
Rio (though I think I would get tired of references to the Duran Duran song)

If it didn’t have to be two syllables, I would suggest Rarity, Rafferty, and Romilly. (Also, Rarity is the name of a My Little Pony.)

Twin Baby Boys Blew, Brothers to @ri@nn@

I found your website a few months ago and have devoured your archives – obsessed with this site and fabulous community! Really hoping y’ll can help us – I find boy names incredibly hard & we need TWO for the twin boys we are expecting this August.

My boyfriend J and I have a two year old daughter @ri@nn@ who we call Ari. We are using his last name for all of the kids – last name Blew but spelled and pronounced like the color. In naming our daughter I had a list of a gazillion and some names that he would 1 by 1 veto until we got to her name and he said – I like that, let’s do that. He now refers to that as “our process” & we certainly have burned through a ton of vetoing this round.

I absolutely adore the name Beau and we have agreed on that for one of the boys. I am hoping you and your readers might be able to give us some suggestions for the other nugget.

Right now our leading contender is Miles – although neither of us is certain that Miles is “the” name. I have some concerns about it (will kids associate it with the Disney show “Miles from Tomorrowland” & it’s the boy equivalent of naming my kid Dora the Explorer? 2. Will he be called Miley? Which I don’t love yet totally see myself nicknaming him unintentionally). To me Beau sounds very light, fun, precocious and I seem to lean towards other names that “feel” that way and Miles sounds a bit “heavier” to me (if that makes sense at all!)

Lately I am REALLY loving the name Shane and also Ames is starting to grow on me. Both vetoed.

I also LOVE Levi but Levi w/ our last name the blue jean connotation is a bit much – & J just generally doesn’t like (he doesn’t like name w biblical/church associations – Deacon was another one that was vetoed).

I really love the name Rhys (pronounced Reese) but feel hesitant to using it because Reese seems much more “girl” to me. But, I wonder if it is still an option because when it is spelled this way it identified it as boy? I feel the same way about some of these names: Blake (love for a girl name – would use for a boy but we don’t want two B names), Avery (also seems too close to Ari), Finn (plus J pointed out w/ our last name this kid would likely be called Tuna), Peyton/Payton (I feel like a hypocrite because I would totally give a boy’s name to a girl which seems hypocritical/not very cool of me but I digress…)

We both sort of liked the name Fenton for a hot second but J was concerned was that this would also result in a nick-name of Tuna. And we also seemed to have an issue pronouncing it.

I also would have gone with Dillon but J hates. Other random names I liked that were vetoed for a wide variety of reasons: Austin, Graham, Dex/Dexter, Damon, Reed, Russell, Bentley, Weston, Nolan, Jake, Hudson, Nash and many others

The one name J offered and felt strongly about was Hunter. I think it’s unlikely we’ll go with Hunter as it turned out to be more common than he expected (he is a huge reader and associated it with the author Hunter S. Thompson). Also he feels like Beau & Hunter don’t work – it’s too much like “hey here are the boys they are going to head out and kill some deer”. We considered Ryder/Rider – another name I like a lot in theory but don’t envision as our baby’s name. With both Ryder and Hunter they sound more like words to me than actual names.

We don’t like matchy matchy so assuming one baby is Beau we’d prefer a non B name (altho apparently I seem to love B names for boys). Before we solidified Beau J suggested the name Bodhi (I think the meaning of the name is very cool but don’t love the spelling of it – and also prefer Beau to Bo), Bowen, Bowden, Bowie (a bit crazy w our last name), Beckett, Becham (J struck down due to hunky soccer player). I love Brechin (J thinks a bit preppy). Also J has an incredibly unique name (I’ve never known anyone with it) and while we are not looking for something as unique as his name he’d not a fan of too traditional or overly common names.

If one of the babies had been a girl her name would have likely been Quincy with the option of Quinn – like @ri@nn@ I like the flexibility of Ari’s longer name and nickname (but contradict myself in James, Blake, Quinn, Sloane were all top contenders on my list – and I know very inconsistent with the longer lacey sounding Ari@nn@). Also really liked Noa and Collins.

And this is not a priority – but I’d be curious to hear peoples thoughts in naming twins – do you determine before they come out “who’s who’s?” I.e. when they are in the womb Docs assign them Baby A and Baby B so I was thinking, oh Baby A could be Baby Ames and Baby B be Baby Beau to keep that going on. Or, do you have your two names and then look at them to figure out who’s who? I’m nervous about giving my boys the wrong names!

I am all over the place J Love your thoughts!


I cringe at the idea of sending you all the way back to the drawing board, especially when the two of you are having so much trouble finding names, but Beau Blew is a tough one. It’s hard for me to say, it runs together into Boblew or re-divides into Bobe Lew, and I get it scrambled up with other combinations such as Little Boy Blue and Bob Loblaw and Code Blue.

Speaking of shooting down names, I think that J shooting down all your suggestions until you come up with one he likes/chooses was a process that happened to work out well for your first child, but that it is not working this time around. A person who thinks a child named Fenton would be called Tuna is a person whose turn it is to come up with a list, and let you take a turn shooting them down.


I have several short-answer opinions, and I’m just going to stick them in a list:

1. If you love B names for boys, and want to use two of them, I don’t think that seems too matchy-matchy. Many siblings have a shared first initial, because it’s common for parents to be drawn to particular sounds.

2. I definitely think “boy” when I see the spelling Rhys. People hearing the name may still be uncertain if the child is a boy or a girl, but that’s the sort of thing that’s easy to clarify. It comes down to how bothered you think you’d be by occasional mistakes.

3. I wouldn’t think to call a Miles “Miley,” but if it’s something you can easily see yourself doing, and if you would not like that to happen, and if you don’t think you could stop yourself from doing it, then probably the name Miles should be ruled out.


Let’s talk a bit about how to pick which name goes with which twin, because that is seizing my interest. Mine were easy because they were boy-girl twins, but I was still a little distressed to think that Baby B might be born first. It seemed wrong—and yet of course it happens all the time, and at this point (nearly 11 years later) I think it would just be a slightly interesting detail of their birth story.

With twins of the same sex, I think what I’d do is decide which twin (either by A/B status, or by actual birth order) would have which name ahead of time, but then leave it a little flexible in my mind just in case meeting the babies made me feel the names should be switched. To relieve name-choosing anxiety, I would think of it as if the boys were both singleton births: I would imagine Baby A being born now, and Baby B being born two years from now, and think about how little I would worry in that case that the names might have gotten swapped.

I would try a few different exercises to help me figure out which name belonged to which baby. One would be to pretend they were being born one at a time in separate pregnancies, and see if I could figure out which name I’d use first in that case. A similar idea would be to say that the first name we decided on belonged to the first baby to be born, whether that was Baby A or Baby B. Another method would be to just pick which order sounded better to me: Dean and Reed, or Reed and Dean? Another would be to see which name “felt” older/younger/first/second. Another would be to go with alphabetical order. Another would be to flip a coin. Another would be to see which order I was hoping would win the coin toss.


Now let’s go back to the names themselves. I see a lot of one-syllable names on your list, so I’m going to pull heavily (but not exclusively) from the Brisk & Breezy section of The Baby Name Wizard. I’m going to include names that have been vetoed, in part because I think one of the pitfalls of having a suggester and a vetoer is that the vetoer can get into the habit of snap-vetoing without thinking about it carefully. Pairings with Beau:

Beau and Beck
Beau and Casey
Beau and Chance
Beau and Clark
Beau and Colby
Beau and Dash
Beau and Dex
Beau and Eli
Beau and Flynn
Beau and Gage
Beau and Grady
Beau and Jace
Beau and Joss
Beau and Kai
Beau and Keane
Beau and Kip
Beau and Lee
Beau and Mack
Beau and Nash
Beau and Nolan
Beau and Rhett
Beau and Shea
Beau and Tate
Beau and Teague
Beau and Trey

I like how any of the C names gives you A, B, C with all three kids—unless you plan on having more children and so this would put pressure on you to choose a D name next.

For A/B pairings:

Abe and Beau
Ace and Beau
Ames and Beau
Andre and Beau
Archie and Beau (one of my favorites, except feels like an archery reference—archer/bow)
Asher and Beau