Category: long baby names
We’re expecting a baby boy, due in May, and our name crisis is twofold.
First of all, my partner and I are having a confidence crisis over the name we were previously set on – Leonardo, or Leo. We like Leo as a given name, but we’re not keen on shortened/nickname versions of a full name being put on the birth certificate. Leonardo would be there if our child wanted to use his full name later in life, and I liked how distinguished it sounds – and its catalogue of interesting namesakes!
However, I’m getting cold feet as we get closer to our due date. I’m starting to think that Leonardo is a bit of a mouthful and that we’d just never use it. The other name I would have used in a heartbeat is Theo/Theodore, but a co-worker recently used it for her baby boy, and I just don’t think I could use it for that reason.
There are only a few other names I like at this point. Oscar is one that my partner and I both like, but I don’t love it. And Lorcan is one that I really like, even love, but my partner isn’t keen on it at all!
The other part of our problem relates to middle names. We aren’t yet married, but have agreed that our baby will have both our surnames. We’d like to use Berry as a middle name, as it was my partner’s mother’s maiden name, and honors his much loved and missed grandparents. But I would also like our boy to have a first middle name – John – to honor my grandfather.
My partner thinks this would make our baby’s full name far too long, but I’m not so sure.
What do you think?
The Name Sage replies:
By Abby Sandel
Looking at this week’s baby names in the news, you might think that parents are all about short names. We’ve heard high profile birth announcements for Edie and Della, Iyla and Poppy – no formal names required.
But it’s not that simple. Sure, Ava and Mia are in the current girls’ US Top 10. But so are Olivia and Isabella. Cheerful nickname Liam is the Number 2 name for boys, but classic William isn’t far behind.
For nearly every short name that’s trending upwards, there’s a longer possibility that’s also on the rise.
A glance at the US Top 100 lists from 1963 and 2013 suggests that the most popular names have gotten longer over the last fifty years. Back in 1963, the only Top 100 name longer than three syllables was Elizabeth.
There are more three-syllable names, and fewer single-syllable ones, too.
Maybe it has something to do with Harry Potter attuning our ears to long Latinate names like Bartemius and Xenophilius—after that, suddenly the four syllables of Tiberius and Cornelius or Persephone no longer seem too weighty for a modern little babe.
After all, Isabella is the Number 2 girl’s name– and other four-syllable names like Penelope, Amelia, Cecilia, Seraphina and Valentina are standing right in line to join her. So clearly, many parents today are looking for just such substantial names, just as others are seeking them out to balance a short, brisk surname.
Here are our Nameberry Picks of the 20 + freshest four-syllable choices on the table. (But do note that variations in pronunciation and/or speedy speech can sometimes elide four syllables into three.)
We got an email the other day from a mom with a very short, simple last name — let’s call it Cole — who wanted advice on a first name for her daughter.
All we could think was: Are you lucky! While it’s theoretically possible to give a child with such a last name an equally short and sweet first — Jane Cole may not feel inspired, but it’s acceptable — the field is open to get as elaborate as you want. In fact, with a surname that straightforward, it may be desirable to choose a first name that’s got lots of syllables.