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Babies with Three Names

3 sleeping babies

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Maybe if I’d ever gotten into watching one of those shows about the Housewives from any place other than my home state of New Jersey, I’d have something better to do on a weeknight.

But no.  After a long day of working on Nameberry, what do I do for relaxation but turn to the hallowed pages of The London Telegraph, where I peruse the birth announcements in search of….more baby names.

This time, what caught my eye were all the three-named babies.  Maybe the oh-so-British three-name arrangement struck me because of the young prince George Alexander Louis, whose own three names are a departure from the usual royal four.  Was that Will and Kate‘s way of signaling that they were just like us…or at least like other young upper class British parents?

A few things we noticed about the three names of the babies noted here:

— More surnames such as Kynaston and Constable in the middle which are not mothers’ maiden names but may well be family names

— Some staid middle names such as Mary and Charles that are probably honorifics

— A few unconventional middles such as Bear and Coco

In case you’re interested in finding three great names for your own baby, you might find some inspiration in these wonderful recent British choices.

girls

Agnes Lily Jean

Arabella Elizabeth Mary

Ava Flora Kynaston

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posted by: upswingbabynames View all posts by this author
mid2a

by Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

If you took a middle name poll of your female friends chances are the top middle name would be Marie. For years Anne and Marie were the go-to middle names for U.S. women. And then something happened. Grace and Rose became the next Anne.

Anne is still a popular middle name, but in recent decades Anne has been easy to replace. This is because one syllable middle names are easy middle names. Almost any first name works with a single syllable middle name.

This is why even underused one syllable middle names feel like they have a short shelf-life. Pearl and Wren may not be as common as Grace and Rose, but may already feel like the next Grace and Rose.

But what middle names have become the next Marie? Louise was popular for a while. Michelle and Nicole began to show up in the middle a few decades ago. But there are many unexplored names that could work in place of Louise, Marie, Michelle, and Nicole.

What do Louise, Marie, Michelle, and Nicole have in common that make them middle name material? These names all have an iambic pattern, two syllables with the stress on the second syllable.

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posted by: upswingbabynames View all posts by this author
elizabethtaylor

by Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

Some names are common in the middle but rarely used as first names. Others are common first names but hardly used in the middle. And then there are a lucky few that are popular first and middle names, such as Grace and James. But the ultimate double-threat is Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s status as a popular first name has endured over a century. Elizabeth is the only girl name that has remained in the top 30 since 1880, the earliest year baby name rankings are available from Social Security Administration. This places Elizabeth among the baby name elite.

While Elizabeth’s many nicknames has kept it a popular first name, Elizabeth’s distinctive rhythm has kept it a popular middle name. This distinctive pattern is four syllables with the stress is on the second syllable.

Four syllable names with the stress on the third syllable don’t flow as well with most first names. For example, compare the following name combinations with Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s Spanish counterpart, Isabella, which has the stress on the third syllable:

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British Baby Names: Two middle names

two middle names

If there’s one British baby names trend that Berries all over the world have embraced full-heartedly, it’s the old upper class practice of giving children two (or even more, ala Uma Thurman) middle names.

Rooted in royalty as a way to honor a raft of vaulted relatives, the multiple-middle-name practice was pegged by one visitor to our pages as being “very posh and a bit snobby.”

But it’s also a way for name lovers to indulge their enthusiasm by using more of their favorites on fewer children.  Americans who give their babies two middle names are often simply packing more name power into one extended appellation.  They may also (as my husband and I were, when we named our daughter Rory Elizabeth Margaret) be adding extra middle names to honor both sides of the family at the same time.

Judging from the birth announcements in the London Telegraph, the three-barreled British baby name is distinct in a couple of important ways:

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Middle Names: 100 fresh choices

3Babies

As first names become more distinctive and more meaningful, middle names take on those qualities in spades.  Anything goes when it comes to middle names now, and parents are looking far beyond the usual given names to find unusual choices.

Four prime sources for middle names: Diminutives such as Jack or Mimi that may honor a beloved friend or relative, nature or animal names, names of heroes of fact or fiction, and inspirational names.

To bring you some new ideas, we’ve mined those areas to come up with 100 fresh choices.  Here they are:

Nickname Names

Annie

Art

Billy

Bobby

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