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Category: brother and sister names

Brother and Sister Names in the News

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

If naming your first child is a challenge, naming baby number two – and maybe three and four – can start to feel like a puzzle.  Should you repeat first initials?  Should everyone share the same first initial?  If your son’s name is a Top 20 standard, is it okay to give your daughter a name that’s never cracked the Top 1000?  How about honor names?  If your daughter is named after your grandmother, will his grandmother expect to be next?

There’s no right answer, but there is a right choice for every family.  This week, sibsets were in the baby name news – and on my mind.

Blame it on a trip to the zoo.  We’re lucky enough to live in the Land of Bao Bao, also known as Washington DC, home to the Smithsonian National Zoo.  As we crowded into the panda habitat the other morning, parents called their kids’ names.  Mostly Sophia, with Noah, Aiden, and Hayden tossed in for good measure.

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sibling names

This Question of the Week is inspired by a tweet from one of our berries, who said that Pearl and Rome were her two favorite June-inspired baby names.  Both great names, I commented, but would she use them together, for a brother and a sister?  (And in case you’re wondering, her answer was: Of course!)

Which got me thinking about brother and sister names.  Families with two children, one boy and one girl, are the most common configuration in the U.S., so choosing names for one brother and one sister is the naming challenge the greatest number of us will have to face.

So let’s hear your picks for brother and sister names.  If you had to choose names for one boy and one girl, which would you pick…..or which did you pick?  And why?

What are the best brother and sister names you’ve heard?  The not-so-best?  What advice would you give about brother and sister names?

 

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Sister and Brother Names

brother and sister names

To clear up any misunderstanding, let me say straight off that these are not literally sister and brother names — you would decidedly NOT want to name your children Oliver and Olivia or Seren and Soren.

What we’re talking about are names themselves that are closely related, male and female versions of names with similar sounds and feels, too close to bestow on actual siblings but offering parents boys’ and girls’ choices of what are virtually if not literally the same names.

We’ve written a lot recently about unisex names — the same name used for both genders, like Rory or Emerson — and we’ve also touched on the recent phenomenon of boys’ names that have risen to popularity on the coattails of their trendy sisters: Emmett from Emma, for instance, or Everett from the Eve contingent.

That can work the other way too, with a fashionable boys’ name inspiring the rise of a similar-sounding sister name.  In fact, does it really matter which gender’s popularity comes first?  We see a lot of trendy names these days with both female and male counterparts, so that if you’re attracted to a certain sound or style, you can use whichever version of the name fits your baby’s gender.

Some of these pairs, like Alexa and Alexander or Felicity and Felix, are connected in a conventional way: the female name is literally an offshoot of the male name.

But others don’t share an origin and developed separately, only to be connected at this point in baby name history by their similar feel and the desire on the part of parents for baby name parity, even if they’re not interested in using unisex names.

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siblings4

We’ve talked a lot here about sibsets—those hopefully harmonious pairings of the names of the brothers and sisters in a family, and the elements to consider in order to achieve that harmony—sound, tone, style, syllables….matchy-matchy or not for twins…

Taking all that into consideration, the question of the week is:

What is the best sibset you’ve ever heard—and/or- -if you’re so inclined– what’s the worst? (Twins and other multiples included.)

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