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The Art of the Smoosh: The Next Generation of Compound Names

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We’re happy to present the latest inventive post from one of our favorite guest contributors, Abby Sandel of  AppellationMountain.

Once upon a time, parents could name their daughter Mary Anne Jones without fretting that her school records would all read Mary A. Jones.  Then along came the almighty database.  Unless you’re Sarah Jessica Parker, chances are that a double name will cause a few headaches.

There’s a simple way to outfox the registrar, the Social Security Administration, even the insurance company: spell your daughter’s name Maryanne.  Or Marianne.  Smoosh the names together, and no data entry clerk can carelessly put them asunder.

Smooshing together two shorter names to create a new compound is nothing new, but some of the resulting names are novel.  It can satisfy parents who crave something relatively uncommon, but fear choosing a name that seems too strange.

Here are a few to consider:

Annalee, Annaleigh, Analee, Analeigh – The double n spelling seems preferable in these combos, but all of them are popping up on name boards.

Anneliese, Annalisa, AnnaliseAnneliese is a traditional German combo.  Annalise or Annalisa might be more intuitive for American parents.

Avalee, Avarose, Avalynne – Perhaps the most frequently smooshed name these days is Ava plus nearly anything.

Belphoebe – A poetic pick, one with none of the baggage of Harry Potter villain Bellatrix.

Cleobella – Borrowed from a handbag designer, and while it isn’t her real name, it is based on a real person, Cleobelle, the designer’s mom.

Ellarae, Ellarose – They’re both common first/middle combinations, but might be more distinctive together.

Emmalee – It’s part-smoosh of Emma and Lee, part creative respelling of long-time chart-topper Emily.

Emmylou – Like Lulamae, this is one of the more down-home options, and singer Emmylou Harris lends it some creative edge.

Gracelyn, Gracelynne – It sounds a little bit like Elvis’ impressive home, but given Grace’s popularity and the number of ends-in-lyn names, it’s no wonder we’re seeing her on birth certificates, too.

Hannelore – In Germany, this name is as dated as Deborah in the US.  But here, it might sound like a fresh update to the waning Hannah.

Kirabelle – It isn’t just the traditional names that can be smooshed.  Endings like –belle are appearing at the end of even newer names.  Are we ready for Jadalee?

Lulamae – It  sounds Southern-fried, but Lulamae was the birth name of the forever stylish Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

MariangelaMeadow Soprano’s saintly middle name.

Marikate, Marykate – The Olsen twin made this combo mainstream, so much so that it looks nearly as natural as some of the more established Mary- smooshes.

Mariblake, Maryblair – if Marianne and Marykate are options, why not Mary plus a more modern middle?

Mayarose – Or Mayaclaire, Mayajane, Mayajune … the list goes on.

MiabellaMirabella was a magazine for 40-somethings, but Miabella sounds like an inevitable combination of two Top 20 names.

MiasaraMia Sara played Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend, so this combnation probably feels familiar to today’s parents.

Rosabeth – This Rose/Elizabeth combo has been worn by trailblazing Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth MossKanter.  It’s one of those fusty names that could sound surprisingly fresh.

Rosaleah – Rosalita was Bruce Springsteen’s girl, and Rosalie is a French name worn by a drop-dead gorgeous vampire.  Rosaleah and Rosalee feel more like two names smooshed together.

Saranna – A little too close to plastic wrap, but more interesting than the oh-so-common Sarah Anne.

Wrenelise – Spotted on a message board – it’s one-part nature name, one-part petite mademoiselle, making for a powerful combo.

ZaraleighSaralee brings to mind baked goods, but adventurous baby namers might embrace the Z from Zara and the most elaborate way to spell Lee.

Zoebelle – Spotted in a birth announcement, and heard more than once on a message board.

Zoeeve – This one is hard one the eyes, but Zoe Eve does pack a double punch – the zippy Z at the top, and the vibrant v in the middle.

There are a few options for boys, too.  Johnpaul has surfaced in honor of the late Pope John Paul II.  The popularity of Alexander and Xavier has led some parents to join the two to form Alexavier or even Alexzavier.

Would you use a compound name for a child?  And what intriguing smooshes have you encountered?

ABBY SANDEL, creator of the wondeful website Appellation Mountain, lives in Washington DC and is the mother of two young children.

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