Baby Boy G____er, Brother to H@zel D0r0thy

Hi Swistle
LONG time reader, first time caller. I have long been obsessed with names and never thought I would need assistance, but here I am totally drawing a blank on what to name our second child.

My husband and I have a 2 year old daughter named H@zel D0r0thy. She’s named for my husbands great grandmother and my grandmother. We are expecting our son and last baby in November and can’t agree at all on a name. Our last name starts with a G, is two syllables and ends in an er sound.

This baby’s middle name will be my maiden name which sounds like Pennyworth but starts with a B.

There are three main thoughts/concerns I have with naming this boy

1)I’d like to honor my father who passed away 3 years ago this August. His name was Stephen Roy. My brother just named his son Stephen so that name is out. But I thought about incorporating my father’s names meaning which is Crowned King. My husbands name, Ry@n also means little king. So maybe a name that means some form of King?

2) The name Simon seems to check all the boxes for me. It honors a dear friend and starts with the same letter as my father’s name. The problem is that my husband doesn’t seem to be too excited about it or any names for that matter, as explained below.

3) So the greatest challenge/concern when it comes to naming our son is my lovely husband. His only contribution to the name list is Crash. This is the only name he’s suggested and seems to be considering (even if this baby had been a girl). I couldn’t be more opposed to this name. My brother’s name is Wilder and he’s definitely lived up to his name. Plus, and most importantly there’s nothing about this name that gives it roots like my daughter’s very family centric name. His exact reasons for liking Crash are that “it sounds cool, its onomatopoeia and it’s not a crazy name like Satchel” I’m not sure why he wants a name that’s has onomatopoeia but can understand wanting a name that is unique.

Names I’ve considered:
Simon- My top contender. It honors a close friend and has the same letter as my father’s name
Emerson – family name on both sides
Sam – I’ve loved this name since I was a little girl
Henry – means estate ruler – my father built houses
Walter – my grandfathers name
Otis – his grandfathers name. We both LOVE this name but found out at Christmas that his grandfather was not a nice man at all.

Names my husband likes
Crash – I hate this
Redmond – location of where we first met and probably our top contender, just doesn’t feel like the one.

Girl names we were considering

Help! Any strategies to help open up my husband into considering more names? I promise to send a prompt update and pictures!



When I get a new baby-name letter, I open up my spreadsheet and I start filling out the cells as I get to those parts of the letter: name of letter-writer, due date, boy/girl—and then a brief description of the issue. As I was reading along, I was thinking it was unlikely I’d answer this one. I’ve done so many “husband fixates on one name and won’t consider others” letters that I figured I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything you hadn’t seen me telling dozens of others: tell him the name has to be off the table; tell him it’s not a matter of finding him a name he likes better than that one, but rather a matter of finding a name the two of you can agree on; tell him he has to do some of the work here rather than just waiting for you to bring him names to reject.

But then I got to the name in question. Crash. CRASH.

On this site we are name-friendly and open to every name within reason. If you were writing to me about finding a middle name for the name Crash, you would not see me flinch: I would make you a list and I would discuss the interesting issues involved and we would all have a marvelous time.

But this is not such a letter. This is a “one parent has fixated on one name” letter. While generally I think that if one parent is set on a particular name, the other parent should try hard to come around to it, in this case I see no reason not to go directly to ABSOLUTELY NOT. The Felony Fever Vice letter comes to mind: there are some words that are unpleasant and describe bad things, and I don’t think we should give those words as names to people.

The word “crash” has only negative connotations. A car crash. A crash down from a high. A hospital crash cart. It is a violent, negative word. I can’t think of a single good meaning. The kind of “cool” it sounds is the kind of cool that is violent and dangerous, which is not the kind of cool we want to inspire in our children.

Here is the strategy: you say to him, “Are you nuts? Have you lost your fool mind? We are not naming our baby an ugly, violent word. Now get real and help me make an ACTUAL list.” Or just say it with your eyes.

Then it’s the regular, familiar drill:

1. The name Crash is off the table.

2. This is not a matter of finding a name he likes better than Crash; this is a matter of finding a name the two of you can agree on.

3. This is a task that belongs to both of you.

4. The labor is not going to be divided as “You bring him names to consider”/”He vetoes them from on high”: that’s not a fair division. And if he thinks it is a fair decision, perhaps he’d like to swap roles for awhile.

5. He needs to make a nice longish list of reasonable names for the two of you to consider, or else choose some favorites from your list.


You would like to honor your father, but your brother has already used his name. I see what you’re trying to do with a name that matches your father’s name or profession, but it feels like such a watered-down honor compared to using the actual name. If your maiden name was also your father’s surname, then that seems like you already have a very good way to honor him.

If you do want an occupation name, I’d go with something more like Decker, which is apparently an old word for a roofer, carpenter, or builder. The job of ruling over an estate seems so different from the job of building houses, and not in a positive way: that is, building the houses seems more honorable.

If you do want a name with a king-type meaning, there are these:

Brendan – prince
Cyrus – king
Darius – king
Elroy – the king
Kendrick – powerful royal
Leroy – the king
Rex – king
Richard – rich, powerful ruler
Roald – famous ruler
Roderick – famous ruler
Royce – king’s son
Xerxes – king

For those definitions I used Baby Names Made Easy: The Complete Reverse Dictionary of Baby Names). You’ll want to double-check meanings in a couple of different baby name books, because they can vary considerably.

I want to give some support to the name Redmond: that’s a pretty great name. It has meaning for you two, and it satisfies the urge for something very unusual while still feeling like a name. Red is a cute nickname (any chance he’ll be a redhead?). It goes well with the sibling name: H@zel and Redmond.

I also like Royce. The -ce gives the name Roy a more modern feel. H@zel and Royce.

And I like Cyrus, which has some sounds in common with Simon. H@zel and Cyrus.




Name update:

Hi Swistle,
Thank you so much for posting my question. I tried out Simon for a few days but felt that it was a one sided name; it didn’t involve my husband at all and that didn’t feel right. This left us with the name Redmond. Crash was off the table. And once we decided on that, it just felt right. Your readers comments also really helped me feel more confident in choosing his name. Redmond arrived a few days ago (on my birthday) and we are in love! Thank you again for your help!

26 thoughts on “Baby Boy G____er, Brother to H@zel D0r0thy

  1. Renee

    I love the tweak to Royce! It’s my favourite as your dad would have grandsons Stephen and Royce, it’s poetic, and the name is unique enough to check your husband’s boxes maybe?

    Though, I came here to say – why not go straight to a king name? Kingsley or Kingston would be perfect here. Rex has to be my favourite king meaning name, and I know people avoid it because it’s a ‘dog’name, but there is a little Rex at our daycare and just like always, knowing one puts it firmly in the awesomely usable camp.

    About Crash, I think Swistle said all the things. I would like to add that the only way I could see using it is if it’s a funny nickname he earned for being daring or clumsy, and only used until he could speak up and say he didn’t like it anymore. I find it fascinating that your brother Wilder lived up to his name, so you have family evidence to stay the heck away from Crash. I’ve never admired names that set up literal descriptions of what a person might be – I know a little Golden who is so far from golden (both in appearance and personality) that it’s comedic.

      1. vanessa

        Unfortunately it’s now the name of our inept Secretary of State, and I wouldn’t name a child the same thing as anyone associated with what will almost certainly go down in history as the worst presidency…ever.

        (I mean, not an unusual name, like Rex).

  2. Stephanie

    How about Dashiell? Gives the nickname Dash, which is similar to Crash but without the negative connotations. I might go with a double middle then to honor your father. Dashiell Stephen Pennyworth G—-er.

  3. Margaret

    I wonder if you two could agree on Sebastian, nicknamed Bash. Sebastian starts with an S to honor your father, while Bash is really similar to Crash but seems more acceptable as a name (or at least as a nickname). Stephanie’s suggestion of Dashiell “Dash” is also a good idea!

  4. StephLove

    I agree with the suggestions of Redmond, Royce, and Rex. Dashiel’s a good idea, too.

    One of the advantages of Hazel as a sibling name is that it seems to fit in a lot of style boxes– old-fashioned, nature, quirky, so a lot of different styles of name go with it. Maybe try generating a list for each of those categories (and any other you think Hazel occupies) and see if anything sticks. Possibly, you could do the quirky list and your husband could do the old-fashioned list to see if that helps you move closer together stylistically.

  5. Jd

    I had a husband who wanted to name our kid Jack daniels. He was dead serious. I told friends at a party in a “can you believe he is this crazy but I still like him ” tone of voice and everyone laughed. That friendly laughter killed Jack Daniels for my husband.
    What about Cash? As a nickname for Cassius, Cassian or Cashel (means castle)

  6. Alison

    I see other commenters have already provide -ash nicknames. I taught an adorable Dash/Dashiell so I have Very Positive connotations. I would also like to throw out the very popular but cool-sounding Asher. Hazel and Asher. Asher and Hazel.

    But I would, if I could, vote 10 times for Redmond. It’s a name your husband already has considered. It’s a million times better than Crash for so many reasons: it isn’t a violent ugly word, it’s a place name with a positive meaning for you BOTH, and it sounds like a “classy old school” name like Hazel. Robert Redford is reminding of Redmond. Love it. Hazel and and Redmond. Redmond and Hazel.

    Redmond P(B)en-y-worth G____. (Middle name butchered to avoid the google.) Nicknames Red, Ready/Reddy, RG, RB.

    Initials RBG are a huge bonus for me.

    1. Kerry

      I wonder if you could even stretch it a little and get to the nickname Rex with Redmond, and then get the king meaning.

      Or, since you seem like someone for whom meaning is very important…what about Rory, which means red king, or Roderick, which is a traditional anglicization of Rory.

  7. Kerry

    Also, I wonder if a man who likes Otis and likes Crash might like Otto…and if Otto might be enough not his grandfather’s name to make a difference.

  8. Kay W.

    Please make your husband do the “Starbucks test”—go to your local coffeeshop, order, and in front of you and the other customers and the baristas, give his name as Crash. Of course it’s possible that your husband would enthusiastically call himself “Crash”, with no embarrassment, but this trick seems to work on MOST men. When forced to actually use the outlandish, hypermasculine word names themselves, they get sheepish and retreat.

    This is how my husband came to let go of Bear, Wave, and Echo. On the flip side, he also found himself unable to fake-use my then-favorite, Lionel, as he suddenly found it too “pretentious.” Lionel’s estimation has never recovered. So maybe attempt at your own risk…? That said, Crash is so terrible, and you are in such a pinch, that I don’t think you have anything to lose!

    Re: Otis, how bad was this grandfather? Are the people he directly mistreated still alive? If you both love the name, it might be worth seeing how usable it actually is.

    Also, I don’t want to pry, but does Simon honor a close friend of yours, or your husband’s, or a mutual friend…? Asking because maybe your husband’s reluctance around the name has more to do with the association than the name itself. In which case there’s nothing to do, sadly, but let it go and move on to another option. I love Swistle’s suggestion of Cyrus!

  9. Christina Fonseca

    Rex means king. I suspect a 1 syllable name might appeal to your hubby more than a long name.

    Also, Rex and H@zel sound nice together.

  10. TheFirstA

    Ugh. Crash is awful. It sounds like something a child would pick. And siblings named Hazel and Crash? Just no. Sends the message that girls should be sweet and traditional while boys should be just the opposite because “boys will be boys.”

    I second the suggestion of Dashiell/Dash. Something like Cassius nicknamed Cash could also work. Asher is another name with similar sounds.

  11. Holly

    I actually taught a boy named Crash (but with a K) about 10 or 12 years ago. His family was a nice upper middle class family and his sibling had a nice normal name. He was a good kid – smart and quiet. He would be past 20 now – I wonder how he has turned out. I was always so curious about his name! There must be a story there. Anyway, because of him Crash feels sort of like a cute name to me, but definitely more nicknamey. Like you name Redmund or whatever but Crash is his fun Dad-only nickname? And I am joining in to say Redmund is such an awesome name and I so hope you use it!

  12. liz

    I’m dittoing Dashiell, Asher, Cassius.

    Also voting for Redmond.

    What about your MN as a first name? 8ennyworth nn Ben or Worth is terrific as a first name.

    Since your dad builds homes, what about Mason or Tyler?

  13. Kanah

    If you use Redmond, each kid will have a matching initial with their parents. Also, Red is a FUN BUT NOT NEGATIVE NICKNAME, rather than using Crash for the name. Good luck!

  14. The Mrs.

    I literally started hopping as I read your letter!!
    You have the perfect name in front of you!
    The meaning of king, a great sound with Hazel, flows nicely with “P”ennyworth…


    It sounds like “wrecks”. That’s a whole lot like “crash”! You get the T-Rex association, too!
    There are the How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night books. He could even be your darling, little “Snuggle-Saurus Rex” (awww!)

    Rex “P”ennyworth G___er

    And you’re honoring your dad by giving your son your maiden name…it was his surname after all. :)

    Best wishes to you and your family!!

  15. The Mrs.

    As a side note:

    My daughter goes to high school with a boy named something long and Russian. His nickname?


    He got the nickname from his daredevil antics, but he’s a studious introvert and a really nice kid. All the teachers like him a lot, and his female peers consider him quite easy on the eyes. So I have a positive association with the name Crash.

  16. Emarie

    I actually don’t have any objections to Crash, but the fact that you do is enough to take it off the list!

    I vote Rex, Dash or Redmond. If your maiden name is your dad’s last name, then that makes the middle name a tribute to your Dad and to your side of the family. But if that doesn’t feel like enough of a tie-in to your dad, then I vote Rex to get the king meaning in there.

  17. Nessie

    What about Edmond if Redmond doesn’t feeling right? And I agree that using tour maiden name already honors your father.

  18. Brooke

    I completely agree with Swistle’s comments on Crash. Redmond is my favorite from your list because it sounds wonderful with Hazel and has a meaningful connection. I love love love Royce as well.

  19. Kelsey D

    I will also agree completely with everything Swistle said. I too find the negative associations with Crash a name-killer for me.

    My favourite is definitely Redmond. Little Red is pretty dang cute. As he gets older, Redmond is certainly a usable name and if not, he could easily go by Edmond.

    Good luck!

  20. Colleen

    I vote for Royce as it honors your father with the name Roy(ce). Royce also means royal which goes along with that king feel.

  21. Dances with diapers

    Oh boy, if my husband was stuck on the name crash I think I’d revoke his naming rights. (Just kidding, but I would definitely not consider him to have good taste.) My son’s name (Lennon) is a name my husband was obsessed with and I didn’t feel as passionately about/ had reservations. It meant a lot to him and I’m glad we used it! But Crash…. I don’t consider that to be the same situation. I do however LOVE the other name on his list. Redmond is also on my short list if baby #3 is a boy. The fact that you met there makes it even better. I actually did a blog post about the name Redmond and I’m going to just put a link here because it’s easier than retyping the history of it that I find appealing. Maybe it’ll be the final push to make you love the name (or maybe it’s all info you already know and won’t phase you one bit haha.) Good luck.

  22. Sarah

    Redmond is great and Red is such a fun nickname. I also second the ideas for Cassius/Cash.

    My husband’s grandfather was named Royal. Perhaps your husband would like that? Royal is such a cool name and very kingly, honoring both your husband and dad’s name meaning. And also incorporates Roy from your father’s name. Hazel and Royal.

    Actually what about King itself? Social Security says “For 2016, the number of births with name King is 2642, which represents 0.132 percent of total male births in 2016.” So it’s not super popular but definitely unusual and has the cool factor while honoring both your husband your dad. It also sounds like zing, ping, etc. which are onomatopoeia.

    Of if you want to honor your dad as a home builder – what about Mason?

    Another cool name your husband might like – Jett.

    Maybe you could think of other fun word games and try to spin the names that way? If your husband likes onomatopoeia, does he also like palindromes? Otto is a great palindrome name.


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