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Category: Middle Names



Middle Names: 100 fresh choices


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





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Middle Names 2012: The New Connectors


There are several hot trends in middle names 2012.

One is the Middle Name with Meaning — family surnames, place names, virtue names you might not use in first place but that make for distinctive middle names.

Another is using two middle names, often to honor family members.

And then there are The New Connectors.

These names don’t mean or stand for anything or anyone special.  They just sound good, bridging the first and last names with a euphonious single syllable.

How do they differ from the standard middle names of yore, the Anns and Lees and Johns that might be thought of as The Old Connectors?

They don’t, so much, except that they’re not Ann or Lee or John.

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No sooner had we declared the death of such old-style middle names as Ann, John, and Marie – mere connective tissue between the first name and the last – than we started seeing the rise of a whole new generation of undistinguished middle names.

There are now officially enough little girls with the middle name Rose, thank you very much, and so too have we heard an awful lot of Grace, James, Claire, Lee, and Rae for girls, Ray for boys.

Granted, middle names are not as important as first names and may be rarely used after the birth announcements are printed.  But that’s no reason to default to whatever’s easiest.  In fact, the middle can be the perfect place to use a name that’s more meaningful and distinctive than one you dare put in first place.

Here, some places to find distinctive middle names:

HONOR THY MOTHER, THY FATHER, AND THY GREAT-UNCLE – If your family is barging into the baby-naming act, make peace by using a family name in the middle.  My husband and I used both grandmothers’ names as middle names for our daughter, for instance, and revived a great-great-grandpa’s distinguished but eccentric name as our older son’s middle name.

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Cool Middle Names: Find one for Facebook


More people are coming to nameberry these days in search of cool middle names to use on Facebook. The whole give-yourself-a-new-middle-name thing started on Facebook way back in 2008, when supporters of Barack Obama took his middle name Hussein.

Next up: Facebookers began adopting the middle name Equality, to show their support for marriage equality.

Of course, adopting new cool middle names on Facebook is not all altruism.  On a more self-serving level, they can keep snoopy relatives, school administrators, and would-be employers from finding you and your potentially-embarrassing party pictures.

Self-namers in search of a cool cover can check out nameberry’s list of Cool Middle Names. Short and spunky, these names work best for girls. Among the best choices:

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Middle Name Switches


Clearly, parents today are giving a lot more thought to their children’s middle names than their own parents did.  Long gone are the automatic connective choices like Lee and Lynn, Beth and Bruce;  more likely now might be something more imaginative like Maeve or West—or Sebastian or Story—or Mom’s maiden or another family name.

For some people, the reasoning behind this is to give the child an additional option for later in life.  It works both ways: either he could switch his classic William for his jazziermiddle  Jasper, or she could opt for using her traditional, grown-up Elizabeth middle name over the less sophisticated Poppy.

It turns out that a surprising number of celebrities have done just that—chosen to use their middle as their marquee moniker.  Sometimes it was to drop a wimpy appellation for a more stylish one (Eldred for Gregory, Orvon for Gene), sometimes because a name was too common at the time (Mary, John, James) and the middle had more character (Farrah, Orson, Montgomery), sometimes maybe because probably just seemed cooler to be Brad than Bill.

As a result, some of the most stand-out celebrity names –Evangeline, Reese, Rihanna, Ashton and Jude—started out in second place on the birth certificate.  Here are some of the most prominent–And note that the last names given aren’t necessarily the ones they were born with.


Kathryn BRIDGET (Moynahan)

Lily CLAUDETTE (Colbert)

Mary DEBRA (Winger)

Nicole EVANGELINE (Lilly)

Audrey FAITH (Hill)

Mary FARRAH (Fawcett)

Dorothy FAYE (Dunaway)

Deborah HUNTER (Tylo)

Mary KATHLEEN (Turner)

Olive MARIE (Osmond)

Holly MICHELLE (Phillips)

Carole PENNY (Marshall)

Laura Jean REESE (Witherspoon)

Robin RIHANNA (Fenty)

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