Baby Boy Kaplan, Brother to Zoë

Baby Kaplan is already here :O (now less than a week old) and we still have not settled on the name! We have a 2 year old named Zoë and wanted a name that went well with her name so we were thinking Zac or Zachary and middle name Aaron named after a relative. But i am not a huge fan of Zac. I feel its kind of immature not necessarily the most grown up name. I personally prefer Jack but my husband does not like Jack :(. So we are kind of at a standstill… unless I just learn to live with Zac… which I don’t hate, but I just don’t think its a very mature name… there are other names I’m sure I would like but seem stuck on these. Should i just live with Zachary? especially since it goes well with Zoë…


I don’t think you have to choose a name just because it goes so well with your other child’s name. In fact, I will make that statement stronger: I don’t think you should choose a name just because it goes well with another child’s name.

If you loved the name Zac, then of course “going well with the name Zoë” would be another point in its favor. But it sounds right now as if it’s the only point in its favor for you. It also sounds to me–though this is conjecture–that your husband is pushing you to use Zac, and that this has turned into a “my choice vs. your choice” discussion with him. Generally at some point this means both choices need to be removed from consideration.

If you would like an argument against the name Zac, I’d say it’s on the matchy side of coordination: three letters, starts with Z. If you plan on having more children, I think you’re going to find yourself stuck on a third name. And the name Zachary has the same starting sound AND the same ending sound as Zoë. But the best argument is that you’re just not feeling it.

If you don’t want to use Zac, now is the moment for a strong statement: “No, Zac is not the name. I agree it goes nicely with Zoë, but I’m not a fan of the name itself. We need to find something else.” Then make sure the discussion is “Finding a name we can agree on for our baby boy” and not “Finding a name Husband likes as much as he likes Zac.” And make sure the discussion is never “It’s Zac unless you can think of something else I like better”: Zac should be off the table if you want it off the table. You shouldn’t have to live with it any more than your husband should have to live with the name Jack.

It sounds like this is a situation in which you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and start with a new list (or go back to whatever choices you had besides Zac and Jack). Don’t panic: you still have time. Here are a few to consider:

Dax (three letters like Zoë, similar in sound to Jack and Zac)
Eli (three letters and two syllables like Zoë)
Ezekiel (Z-sound like Zoë, nickname Zeke similar to Zac)
Ezra (Z-sound like Zoë)
Ian (three letters and two syllables like Zoë)
Isaac (Z-sound like Zoë, hard-C-sound like Zac and Jack, nickname Ike or Zac)
Jax (only a slightly different sound than Jack, but very different in style)
Leo (three letters and two syllables and long-O-sound like Zoë)
Max (three letters like Zoë, similar in sound to Jack and Zac)
Milo (long-O-sound like Zoë)
Quinn (cool initial like Zoë)
Xander/Zander (Z-sound and cool initial like Zoë)
Xavier/Zavier (Z-sound and cool initial like Zoë)
Zane (Z-sound and cool initial like Zoë)

24 thoughts on “Baby Boy Kaplan, Brother to Zoë

  1. Alison

    I like Swistle’s suggestion of Leo a lot. Classic, but spunky, like Zoe. Leo Aaron. Zoe and Leo. Leo and Zoe.

    I also like Ian, but it rules out the middle name Aaron for me.

    Turning away from three letter names entirely, how about Aaron for the first name? It’s familiar but I rarely hear it. I like the Z then A initials in your sib set. Zoe and Aaron. Aaron and Zoe.

  2. Shaeby

    I was thinking Xavier as I read your letter! I also like Swistle’s suggestions of Max, Finn, Leo, and Zane.

    I might also add Isaac–it’d give your husband the possibility of Sac/Zac as a nickname and you could use Isaac or Ike. I think Ike and Zoe sounds adorable.

    Congratulations on your little one! I know you’re awash with hormones, sleep deprived, and exhausted, but take a deep breath and don’t feel pressured to make a decision before you’re ready!

  3. Alexandra

    I like the idea of Zane – by using Aaron as a middle name, his initials would then be ZAK, which could be a fun nickname for your husband to use. Good luck!

  4. Rachel

    I have a brother named Zachary Aaron K___ and he goes by Zak. He loves his name, I love his name, basically everyone loves his name. Plus, most people think it’s fun that his preferred nickname is also his initials. He does go by Zachary occasionally, too. He’s well-educated and well-respected in his field and I do not think anyone thinks Zak is too immature, etc.

  5. TheFirstA

    I think Zac with Zoe goes too well. It’s really starting to stray into “too cute” territory for me. I also agree that if you go with Zac, you’re going to feel really boxed in if you have any more children. There just aren’t that many 3 letter names that start with Z out there. In fact, I’d suggest staying away from other Z names for the same reason. There just aren’t a ton of them out there.

    If you want the names to coordinate, the 3 letter thing might not be too bad. Though again, you could be boxing yourself in-Eli, Ian, Fin, Abe, Gus. You could also consider a longer name that has a 3 letter nickname-Abram/Abe or August/Gus for example.

    Zoe is Greek, so you could coordinate by looking for other names with a Greek origin. Galen, Alexander/Alex, Jason, Nicholas/Nick. I actually quite like Nick for you, it seems similar to both Jack and Zac.

    Other names similar in feel to Zac & Jack—Jake, Max, Nat, Nate, Ike, Mac. Again, some of these could be nicknames for longer names. For example, Isaac could lead to Ike.

    Other more random names that I think could work with Zoe: Theo, Luca/Lucas, Andrew/Drew, Milo, Miles, Jude, Rhys.

  6. Erin Beth

    I like a lot of Swistle’s suggestions–and I also like Aaron as a first name–but without knowing what attracted you to Zoe or what you are looking for in a boy’s name, I not sure what to suggest. Maybe considering what led you to Zoe and thinking about what exactly you are looking for for your son could be a helpful exercise.

  7. Reagan

    I honestly do not think Zac goes well with Zoe at all. And I am not a fan of Zachary either.

    I do like the idea of Aaron as a first name but assume that is already ruled out. I also think I prefer names without the long o sound with Zoe and names that don’t end in n with your last name. However, I do like Zane (Kaplan). Also, from Swistle list, I do really like Max and Wyatt as options.

    other names you might want to consider:


  8. Nicki

    You are at a standstill with Zac/Jack so I too think you can get rid of that pressure and choose something else. Zach and Jack just might not be the right name. If you need reassurance that Zac sounds mature, then we can give that to you too! But if you just dont love the name, dont settle for it just because your husband likes it.

  9. The Mrs.

    My first thought (like others) was Isaac with the nickname of Zac. If he dislikes being Zac (or you realize early on that he just isn’t one), Ike and Isaac are solid options.

    If you want the initials of ZAK, how about Zed for a first name? It does sound excellent with Kaplan! Zoe & Zed.

    Otherwise, someone mentioned Alexander (Greek origins) with the nickname of Zander. Zoe & Zander. Technically, they’d have different starting initials, but you’d still get the matching ‘Z’ nicknames. He’d have options options for nicknames galore with Alexander, too.

    Best wishes to your son and family!

    1. Vanessa

      Great suggestions. My only concern is that in some countries the last letter of the alphabet is pronounced “zed” and not “zee”.

  10. Jd

    I like Zack better than Zac. Slightly matchy matchy with Zoe for my taste, but I don’t see Zac as immature at all. Zachary Aaron K; Zoe and Zack. I think the K makes it better.
    I like Dax. To get to Dax you can name him David Alexander or something similar. Or just name him Dax.
    I like Knox too. Xander could be spelled Zander to get the “z” if you like both kids having a “z” name. Zoe and Zander.
    Can I suggest Drake or Archer?

    1. Vanessa

      I was going to make the Zack comment as well. Great minds, and all that. I do think the K makes a difference.

  11. liz

    I agree that Zac is too matchy matchy with Zoe. I love Swistle’s list, and the idea of Aaron as a first name.

    Also: What about Noel or Joel? Very different sounds from Zoe, but similar looks. Noah? Jonah?

    If you want to be very literary, what about Francis? It’s gender swapped from Franny and Zooey but still a nod to the classics.

  12. liz

    Also remember that most of his life will be spent away from his sibling relationship. Even you and your husband won’t be thinking about them as a unit after they’ve moved out.

  13. beep

    It may come a little out of left field, but I immediately jumped to Cyrus for you (for reasons not clear to me, except I think it’s Greek).

    I am generally a fan of matchy/theme sibling names, but if it were me I would be trying to match the Z sound somewhere in the middle (e.g. Moses, Isaac, or Enzo), the two syllables with -ee sound at the end (e.g. Charlie, Henry, or Bernie), or just the three letters (e.g. Eli, Max, or Dan) rather than the Z at the beginning. Or for more fun but maybe more research/time/contemplation than a newborn and higher-stress naming situation allows, looking for Greek names, e.g. Ajax, Dorian, Gregory, or Homer. Actually, I quite like Homer for you–the long O is another subtle match with Zoe.

    1. Elisabeth

      Cyrus is the Greek version of the Persian name. The ancient Greeks were forever fighting the Persians, though.

  14. StephLove

    Someone already suggested it, but if you like Isaac better, it contains the sound “zac” so your husband might like it. Zoë and Isaac sounds well coordinated but not too matchy.

    Or how about Owen? Similar long O sounds and a snappy consonant, but not too similar.

  15. Carrie

    I agree with others that I like Zack better than Zac, although I can’t explain why. It seems a little more grown up somehow?

    Your naming style seems similar to mine so I wonder if you would like any of these names as alternatives to Jack and Zac(k)?

    Oliver; Zoe and Oliver
    Charlie; Zoe and Charlie
    Sam; Zoe and Sam
    Henry; Zoe and Henry

    I realize these aren’t super matchy, but I think focusing on whether names “go” together rather than match will help keep you from feeling boxed in.

    FWIW, I do think Zachary Aaron is a lovely name. Whatever you chose will be great. Good luck and congrats on Baby Kaplan!!

  16. Tabby

    How about Zeno?

    If you like the idea of another Z name but not enamored with Zak I think Zoe and Zeno sounds great. Matchy with the same Z and O sounds but quite distinct in their own right and I don’t think it’s immature at all – in fact it feels like Zeus but without the weight of such a well-know God-ness about it. Bonus that he was also a Greek Philosopher. I have a friend named Zeno, friendly, intelligent and the only one I know!


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