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Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials

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Baby Names: Spelling Counts

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts
baby name spelling

She’s found the perfect name for her Fall 2016 baby. But how to spell it? The Name Sage wades into the data to find the best answer – but wants to hear your opinion, too! 

Lindsey writes:

I’m trying to decide on a name for my little girl and I’m stuck.

The options are either just Calli or a longer version of the name, like Calianna. (You pronounce the –anna like Anna in Frozen.) Or maybe Calli (first name) with Anna (middle name) – except I might merge it into Calianna anyway.

I like short and simple, but I like the longer name, too. But will spelling be a problem? Pronunciation?

My name doesn’t really have nicknames, so it’s always been pretty simple! I’d love some input.

The Name Sage replies:

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boy names in translation

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Now it’s the boy’s turn to romance their names.

We recently posted a list of 100 girls’ names in translation, where we took some rather prosaic appellations like Helen, Henrietta and Hedwig, and gave them some international flair via their translations into other languages. Well, several of you asked us to do the same for the boys, and so here they are. Of course there are countless other versions and variations—maybe you’ll find the honor replacement you’ve been looking for!

Ralph and Roland, meet Raoul and Orlando.

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Adorable Baby Names That Start With A

baby names that start with A

by Pamela Redmond Satran

A is hands-down the most popular first initial for baby names. Maybe that’s because parents know that children whose names start with A may do better in school (yes, really) or because A simply has an innate tendency to come in first.

You can find an A-starting name to love whether you favor popular names or those that are highly unusual, whether you want a traditional name or one that’s more contemporary. We’ve pulled a wide array of A names to showcase the possibilities.

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Nickname-Proof Boy Names

nickname proof

Their lists are so close – but agreeing on the right name for their son has proven impossible! Can they find a nickname-proof name with a possible built-in nickname? It sounds crazy, but the answer might be yes …

Angela writes:

When we decided we were ready for kids, we discussed names and knew Stella was our girl name. Our daughter was born in 2014 and we named her Stella Lucille. Lucille was my grandmother’s name. Now we’re expecting our second, a boy due just in time for Thanksgiving!

Unlike with Stella’s name, there is nothing that jumps out and gives me the “This is it! The perfect name!” feeling. Every boy name seems so common to me.

I know Stella is growing in popularity, but to me it sounded fresh yet vintage. I would love something with that same feeling for our son. All of the names I see are just okay.

Our short list includes August, Bennett, Harrison, Hugh, Maxwell, Theodore, and Raymond/Ray. We also like Gus, Luke, Leo, Owen, Evan, and Ryan.

I like Owen August, but my husband doesn’t like it. I also love Bennett. It was my grandmother’s maiden name; however we have a very close friend named Ben, and it comes from the same grandmother that we honored with Stella’s middle name.

My husband’s favorites are Leo, Gus, Ryan, and Evan. He really wants a masculine, normal sounding name.

I would like a name which isn’t too common, but not off the wall. I prefer names without obvious nicknames, but since my husband is William, called Will, he doesn’t mind nicknames.

Any help you can give would be great!

The Name Sage replies:

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Trendy Boy names ending in i

I-ending boy names

By Meagan Burke

Since May, name enthusiasts around the world have been poring over the Social Security Administration’s list of the most popular names for 2015. Though the high-ranking boy’s names from last year are mostly classic, timeless choices; still a few new trends have emerged. In recent years we’ve seen cool names ending in –s, like Silas and Elias, rise for the guys. We’ve also seen an upswing in lively –o ending names like Milo and Leo. I’ve also taken notice of another trend: names that end in –i increasingly being used for boys. From Eli to Kenji, there’s a lot of variety in –i ending names to explore!

The Most Popular:

Levi

Levi is the most popular boys name right now ending in the letter –i. Currently ranked at Number 42, Levi is up over 100 spots in the last ten years. Levi is a Biblical name with a cool cowboy edge, in part due to the Levi Strauss jeans association. Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey both used this cool name for their sons.

Eli

Eli comes in next, ranking at Number 53 in popularity. Eli is a Hebrew name meaning ascended. While popular on its own, Eli is also commonly used as a nickname for Elijah and Elias, both of which are also in the Top 100. A few other cool names leading to the nickname Eli include Elia, Elio, Elian, Eleazer, and Elisha.

Giovanni

Giovanni is theclassic Italian form of John, meaning God is gracious. Giovanni comes in at Number 130, making it a usable and familiar, but not overly heard name in the US. Giovanni easily pairs with the Italian names for girls like Isabella, which is still topping the charts. Fashion designer Gianni Versace’s full given name was Giovanni.

Kai

Kai is definitely a name to watch, having climbed 60 spots in the last five years. Currently ranked at 145 for boys, Kai is also Number 895 for girls. In addition to its cool sound, one of the things that I love about Kai is that it’s used in several different cultures and therefore has many meanings. The Hawaiian meaning is sea.

Malachi

Malachi is a Hebrew name meaning my messenger. Malachi re-entered the Top 1,000 in 1987 at Number 992 and currently ranks at Number 162. There are numerous Malachi’s in film and literature, including the evil Malachi Boardman in Children of the Corn. (And not to be confused with the Irish Malachy.)

The Quickly Rising:

Omari and Jabari are two of the ten names that had the biggest increases in popularity last year.

Omari is currently Number 510 – up 198 spots from 2014 to 2015

Jabari is currently Number 945 – up 194 spots from 2014 to 2015

Bodhi

Bodhi first entered the charts in 2010 and quickly rose in popularity. Bodhi is currently the most popular it has ever been at Number 499. Bodhi is a tree name and a Sanskrit name meaning awakening and enlightenment and has become a celebrity fave, used by Oliver Hudson, Amy Brenneman, and Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green (whose Bodhi is illustrated), among others..

A few more great names i-ending names:

Esai

Esai is a Spanish name possibly derived from Esau or Esaias. Actor Esai Morales, who pronounces his name EE-sye, helped introduce many people to this great name. Esai has never been in the Top 1,000.

Dimitri

Dimitri is a Russian form of the Greek name Demetrius, meaning follower of Demeter. Dimitri has never been too popular in the US, peaking in 1992 when it reached Number 502. Today Dimitri ranks at 905 for boys, having made an appearance in the Twilight saga. It is also spelled Dmitri and Dhimitri.

Kenji

Kenji is a Japanese name meaning second son. Kenji is a name I think more people would use if they knew about it. Kenji Kishimoto is one of the lead characters in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me book series.

Nikolai

Nikolai peaked last year at Number 478, the most popular it has ever ranked. Nikolai is one of the many attractive forms of the name Nicholas, meaning people of victory. It has been borne by important Russian cultural figures such as writer Gogol and composer Rimsky-Korsakov.

What are your favorite names for boys that end in the letter –i?

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