A Few of Our Favorite Names

We try not to play favorites around here, but the truth is that, just like anybody, we have them.  And the reasons we love the names we do are as idiosyncratic, irrational, and deeply felt as those of the average citizen.  In honor of Nameberry’s new look, we thought it might be time to reveal a few of our personal favorite names and why we adore them.  (Floral photo collage by Frances Pelzman)


Picture 12 of 12

Linda: I couldn’t be a self-respecting Chief Berry if I didn’t include an o-ending boys name, a trend we predicted from the beginning and which has managed to retain its charisma for me. I’ve been lucky enough to know three people named Milo, across the generational spectrum, including a teenaged nephew I helped to name.

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36 Responses to “A Few of Our Favorite Names”

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milo2011 Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 1:18 am

Love Otis! 🙂 and Roscoe, Otto and Orlando are pretty nice too.

sarahmezz Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 1:20 am

I really love a lot of your favourite names, too! My favourites from your favourites: Joe, Araminta, Abel, Flora, Barnaby, Eliza and Marguerite. I’m not so enamoured of Chloe (it’s a lovely French name, but I feel it’s a bit trendy – although wouldn’t have been when your Chloe was born), Mirabelle, Otis, Duncan and Milo. Araminta and Rosamund, what a gorgeous sibset! The photos of your children are adorable!

makeupbyjanine Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 1:31 am

This is why you are the Berries Above All Berries! Beautiful choices. Love these names, especially Milo & Otis & Abel. I don’t know a ton of male Joes, but my best friend is Joanna, and her daughter is Abigail Josephine, nn’d Abby Jo, and my mom is Mary Jo. It is such a round, jovial, comforting name to say.

Mclevine Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 1:54 am

What a wonderful blog! Thank you so very much for it.
A dozen of all lovely names but my very very favorites are Chloe, Joseph, Araminta and Otis. Great names, great meanings and so on…
Pictures of your kids are so adorable;)

alzora Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 3:19 am

I totally hear you on Eliza–amazing name, but its popularity is a turn-off. I think my favorite of those listed above is Araminta, though I prefer the less-frilly Aminta, or even just Minta, which has been on my list for years. And yeah, I like it because of mint chocolate chip ice cream and the beautiful shade of mint green. 🙂 Joe is also very cool–love that you’re highlighting a short form of a name.

wattle Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 3:42 am

Oh wow, this doesn’t make my decision any easier! I’m due in August with my second child ( a gender surprise) and I’m torn between Marguerite and Flora if it’s another girl. Cannot decide!!!

maggiemary Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 6:34 am

Eliza is one of my favorites, and while it seems very “on trend” right now, that doesn’t bother me as I loved it since long before it became “on trend” (and I’ve got the diary entries to prove it)!! As my identical twin is Elizabeth, I would want to use Eliza in honor of her, and that’s why nothing would sway me from using it.

Araminta is positively divine and features in my family tree, as the sister of my great-great-great grandmother Florence. There was another sister called Dorothea and a brother called Horatio (named after Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson I suspect, as my ancestors on that branch of the tree were from the same village that Nelson himself came from in Norfolk, England).

Aurra Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 6:53 am

Mirabelle and Eliza are some of my favorite names. Both are still uncommon, but will not have any pronunciation issues. They are very ‘on trend’, with Eliza a vintage classic with the nickname Ellie and Mirabelle reminiscent of Isabella/Isabel and Annabelle.
I hope neither become too common when I have children.

namefan Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 7:09 am

I ditto what some of the above comments said about Eliza – it’s nice but becoming more popular/trendy.

I love Marguerite too! The only problem for me is that a lot of my family and friends think it’s too over-the-top/pretentious for an American girl.

wootz Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 8:25 am

Happy to see Duncan on the list, since I have one! We let ourselves be talked out of it for one son (dumb), but fortunately had another, and by then I couldn’t have cared less what anyone else said since I had loved the name since childhood. My older sister had a little friend Duncan she played with all the time as kids, or ‘Dunk’ as she often called him. Even as a little girl I thought it was the greatest name, and my 7 year old Duncan, who is the coolest, most hilarious kid, totally agrees. He loves having an uncommon but easy to say name, and being the only one everywhere he goes.

Lo Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 8:47 am

My favorites from the list are Abel and Flora. Flora is way to similar to my name, but maybe I’ll Abel to my list.

Pam Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thanks for all these comments, everyone! It was really hard to pick just six favorites each….and then there are new favorites vs. old. It’s complicated!

ClaireElise Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 9:33 am

Oh Flora, such a sweet, vintage gem of a name. I hope I can one day convince my partner of Flora’s charms.

Mischa Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 9:57 am

Some of these are favourites of mine too!

I love Marguerite, Eliza and Araminta for girls and Duncan, Barnaby, Joseph, Milo, Abel and Otis for boys. I agree that Araminta and Rosamund are gorgeous names for sisters and oh-so-English!

Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your children.

skizzo Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 10:00 am

I really like Flora, Marguerite and Milo best. Still hate Duncan, and Joseph/Joe are terribly overused and boring.

GrecianErn Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 10:02 am

Our friend just named their baby Otis in October of 2012… it fits him perfectly. He joined sister Elleanor (Elle) who also is perfectly suited to her name.

I love that everyone loves Flora. That’s my grandmother’s name. It’s so Southern and fabulous. Not our naming style, but I love it just the same. 🙂

And it doesn’t hurt that Flora was a fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and my son (and a whole new generation) have discovered Flora, Fauna, and Meriweather on Disney Jr’s “Sophia the First” as the teachers of the Royal/Magical school.

ashthedreamer Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 10:42 am

Erm, doesn’t Susannah mean “lily”?

Anyway, I love Eliza, Joseph/Joe, Flora, and Barnaby!

Pam Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 10:54 am

Doh! You’re right on Susannah of course, ashthedreamer. Got a little overenthusiastic there in my Daisy-love. Changed it….thanks.

sweets12 Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Abel is my favorite boy name right now!!! I’ve even heard it on a little girl a several years ago (and people complimented her on it!)

Alexia Mae Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

What a great list! Of course, I love Abel and I’m so glad it’s included in your list.

BritishAmerican Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I love Araminta the best. I also found it when looking up “English names” in 2005. It must have been too out-there for my husband. I wish I’d thought of it when I was looking for a 3+ syllable middle name for our daughter. We went with Abigail – Araminta would have been so much cooler!

OceaneBreeze Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I love it! My favorites are Chloe (a classic), Eliza, Mirabelle ( so unique! ), and Araminta (beautiful!).

Kjhall Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Great list! One of my daughters got two of these: Elizabeth Marguerite whom we call Eliza!

linda Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 4:05 pm


linda Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Wootz–I am so with you on Duncan and it sounds like yours fits my image of the name exactly! Are you in the US or the UK?

wootz Says:

May 24th, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Linda- I am a Canadian (though partial Brit through my grandparents) who is currently living in the US. How’s that for bases covered? 🙂 My Duncan could not have any other name. He has been my entertainment practically since birth.

AmelieAmour Says:

May 25th, 2013 at 1:03 am

I love Araminta, Mirabelle and Marguerite! A really great list!

Ellen_B Says:

May 25th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

We used Duncan (a family surname from my Scottish immigrant — to Canada — great-great-grandfather) as the middle name of our son James. My dad always spoke so fondly of his Duncan aunts, and I loved the Scottish clan name. When our son “Jamie” (another fine Scots name) was growing up, my husband sometimes called him “Duncan” as a nn. I’d love to see Duncan used as a first name for a grandchild.

raqkel Says:

May 25th, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Araminta and Rosamund are fabulous!

tfzolghadr Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 11:42 am

My favs are Abel, DUNCAN!!! (but where was the equally cool, Scottish Malcolm???), Mirabelle, Otis, and Abel.

tori101 Says:

May 27th, 2013 at 12:52 pm

So many great choices! I love Araminta & Rosalind such beautiful sister names, but even though they feel upper class and British, in reality Araminta isn’t popular in Britain, sorry to burst the bubble. Otis, Abel, Eliza, Mirabelle, Susannah etc all so gorgeous.

Nyx Says:

May 29th, 2013 at 11:40 am

I love that the favorites can not be contained in any one category – some might be considered feminine, others have a funky feel or a vintage charm or… or… or…

@Pam – I was laughing at your “It’s complicated” remark. I think that most berries would know exactly how hard it would be to limit their favorite names to just 6 😀

ciottolo Says:

August 3rd, 2013 at 10:57 am

One of my favourite, FAVOURITE combinations for a girl is Marguerite Susannah (Idony) – in fact, if I gave birth today, I would probably call her that. So I’m slightly biased on that front! But it’s so funny to hear that Flora and Barnaby are unusual in America; I know so many that I’m avoiding them both purely on popularity grounds…

What wonderful taste in names!

Waverly123 Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Love all the names (especially Joe). Just thought I’d share a funny story, my friend was named Jennifer (she goes by Jen) because of your book “Beyond Jennifer and Jason”. Her Mom received the book as a present and never even opened it, deciding right away that she would name her daughter Jennifer!

Pam Says:

October 21st, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Waverly, that is one of the funniest things we’ve ever heard….

Next time I make a snap decision based on a book cover, I’m going to think twice!

jotickle Says:

November 20th, 2013 at 7:19 am

Barnaby is the name of a really stupid politician in Australia, which is such a pity, because it’s probably deemed the name unusable for a whole generation.
And one of my all time favourites is Milo, but it’s a chocolate drink here. (maybe it is everywhere else too, but nobody cares?) I think I could be happy though with Miles and Milo for a nn. 🙂
Your story about Flora is the reason I never ‘test’ baby names anymore (we’re expecting our 3rd). Though Rory is a great choice too.

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