Hi Swistle & readers –
I’ve been a long-time fan of your site and now need some help with naming my own child. My husband and I are expecting a baby boy in about 7 weeks, he will be little brother to Adrienne (pronounced the masculine Adrian). Honestly I think a lot of the trouble we have with finding names to agree upon is our last name — it’s very common, particularly in our area — rhymes with Donson but starts with J.
We lean towards the traditional side vs. trendy and want to stay out of the top 10, preferably top 50 if we can (although you’ll see some of our favorites cross the latter list). The challenge with traditional though is it can be almost too boring with the last name.
Top contender for a middle name is James, followed by Ryan or Timothy. All family names but none that we “have to use”. Our daughter’s middle name (Louise) has family ties, but it’s something we picked because we liked it with her first name, not so much because of the family history.
I should add that our top boy names the first time around were Wesley or Cameron. Not super wild about them this time around — I don’t really like “Wes” or “Cam” with Adrienne. The first time around my husband really wanted a longer name with a nickname we would primarily use — he still likes that concept but isn’t as set on it this time around. My husband is a Caleb who has always gone by Cal, and I’m Elizabeth who’s always gone by my full name — so we have very different perspectives on nicknames :)
So here is our current list so you can see our trends — additional ideas and insight are very welcome! Help us not be boring!
Aaron — husband’s current favorite if I force him to vote. I like how it sounds, but am not wild about both kids having “A” names and I’m also not a huge fan of the double “a” and how it looks when spelled. Weird, I know.
Carter — has been a boy favorite of mine for a long time, but I am slowly coming off of it due to popularity and husband isn’t a fan.
Bennett (Ben) – my current favorite
Jack (we both love, but aren’t sure about Jack “Donson” and we know it’s quite popular)
James (same as Jack — not sure about pairing it with “Donson”)
Clayton — inspired from a friend who passed away, so we both love the meaning but neither are super wild about the potential nickname of Clay (and I’m not sure I like paired with our daughter’s name)
Names that have been vetoed by one or the other, either because we don’t like or we know too many people with the name:
Thank you for helping us not be boring and think outside of the box!
I would like to put in a word for reconsidering Wesley. Wes is my favorite of all boy-name nicknames. I think it’s darling/sweet on a little boy and friendly/professional on a grown man, and I think it works just as well on an intellectual, an athlete, a manager, a clerk, a serious guy, a funny guy, and so on. Wesley is traditional but not boring, and a little different without seeming like you’re choosing something different just to be different. And I like it with Adrienne.
But I know how sometimes a name can just feel Not Right no matter how much someone else tries to boss you, so if we must move on, we will move on. (Are you SURE, though? Okay, I will stop.)
Nothing from the list is grabbing my attention. If I had to choose one, I’d choose Bennett: it hits that same nice “a little different but not just to be different” spot, and the nickname Ben is another really good one.
Aaron seems like it hits too many of the same notes as Adrienne: same beginning letter, both end in an N-sound, both have an R in the middle.
I wanted to recommend Ian instead, especially since you’ve considered Owen and Liam, but when I said it with Adrienne I realized it’s the last two syllables of her name.
Simon, maybe? Traditional but not boring or overused. Adrienne and Simon.
Or Oliver? Adrienne and Oliver.
Edward is a classic I haven’t heard enough of lately, with cute nickname possibilities such as Ned and Ted. Or Edmund is similar, and I might like that even better.
I’m ready to hear more Karls, too. Adrienne and Karl.
And more Pauls. Adrienne and Paul.
Louis is on my sad-I-can’t-use list, and feels similar to Wesley. Adrienne and Louis.
Elliot is in that same category for me. Adrienne and Elliot.
George with your surname has the pleasing alliteration of Jack or James, but it’s less common. Adrienne and George.
I have a soft spot for the name Alfred and would love to see it around more. Adrienne and Alfred.
I am also fond of the name Frederick. Nice old name but not as out-and-about as it used to be. Adrienne and Frederick.
I wonder if you might want to consider Timothy as a first name. It’s familiar, but not high in current usage. Maybe Timothy Jack, or Timothy James, or Timothy Clayton. Adrienne and Timothy.