Alliterative Appellations: Catchy or Corny?

Question of the week:  How do you feel about alliterative names?

At one time, movie marquees were packed with alliterative names, from Greta Garbo and Greer Garson to Roy Rogers and Ronald Reagan to Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe (shown above when she was still Norma Jean)—a style of (often invented) names that has pretty much moved off the screen, except for the occasional Vince Vaughn or January Jones.

So—what do you think of double-dip initials: memorable or gimmicky?

Would you use an alliterative baby name?

Would you break it up with a differently initialed middle?

And—taking it a little farther afield, would you give twins same-initial (aka matchy-matchy) names?

(You can follow a discussion of alliterative baby names on our message boards.)

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42 Responses to “Alliterative Appellations: Catchy or Corny?”

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Linelei Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 2:52 am

I’m down with most alliterative names! Especially if the names have different numbers of syllables or variations in rhythm (different syllables are stressed). My top boy pick is an alliteration – but I would definitely break it up with another first-lettered middle name.

Now for twins, I am not as big a fan of alliteration, but it can be done well if the names are different in other ways. I’ve long secretly loved the idea of twin girls named Matilda and Magdalen/a. These also could work because there are nickname possibilities that move away from matching initials (Tilley and Lena, for example).

Sarah A Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 3:15 am

My mom has an alliterative name, and she said people tell her it makes it easier for them to remember her name. Her initials are KEK, so the K alliteration is kind of snappy and her middle initial breaks it up.

I think an alliterative name has to be with the right letters though. “Strong” letters like K, T, G, R, etc. work much better than B, P, or A in my opinion.

Hubby’s last name starts with a B so we won’t be doing it with our own children, but if you’ve got the right last name I say go for it!

Filipa Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 5:28 am

Alliterative names are easier to remember, but not for good reasons ;D
i like the idea of giving twins or other siblings same initial names, as long as they sound really different!

Sus Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 7:10 am

LOVE alliteration in names…LOVE IT…wanted it for both children, couldn’t make it happen. However, dislike matchy names for twins. But what about repetitive naming that is alliterative? Hal Halverson, Will Williams, Stephanie Stephanie (I actually know a woman with this name) etc. I’m always interested in this naming pattern…

bluegfluff Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 7:32 am

My daughter has an alliterative name, and I absolutely love it. Her initials are MEM, and her first name sounds so good with our last name. In fact, we’ve had lots of compliments on how “snappy” and good her name sounds. I don’t know how matchy I want to get with our 2nd, but I’d lean toward another M name for continuity.

tarat3232 Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 8:15 am

I had an alliterative name (until I got married) and I loved it. When I was little I was always T.T., Tsquared, and other nn’s. As I got older it felt more juvenile and although I’m not a huge fan of my married surname, it does feel more adult and less comic-book character-like.


British American Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 9:08 am

My husband has an alliterative name and I like it. Maybe it helps that his first name is 3 syllables and his last name is 2 syllables. He also likes to sign his name with his A. initial in there – so that breaks it up too. Oh and the initial is B, as mentioned by an earlier commenter – personally I like it. 🙂

One of my current top picks for a girl is an alliterative name – another 3 syllable one to balance our 2 syllable last name. Then the nickname is 1 syllable. But my husband isn’t so keen on the name, so I guess it’s out. Though it’s not the alliteration that he dislikes. 😛

I very much doubt I’d do matching initials for twins though – as I’d avoid it for siblings. I like being able to label things with an initial and the first letters that my 3 year old has learned are H for Henry and R for Rose.

Lola Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 9:10 am

Not a fan. I have an ‘M’ surname and all I see with ‘MM’ is 2000. I mean I’m happy for those it works for. Despite my love for Maud, I can’t make it work for me.

JLyn Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 9:33 am

I love alliterative names, too. Especially if they are on the second syllable–Natasha Taylor, for example. I guess that doesn’t count, but it still seems alliterative to me. My oldest daughter’s initials are CLK, with a hard C on the first name. It works because the first name is 3 syllables and the last name is 2. I can see where alliteration with matching syllables is too cutesy, though, i.e. Katie Couric. I think it depends on the name.

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Whit Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:25 am

Personally I like them. I wouldn’t go with a middle name with that initial though.

Jen Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:28 am

I always think of a cool author or actor when I hear alliterate names, or alliterate sounds in names. Think of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days–Andie Anderson and Benjamin Barry. It just sounds so…cool, suave. Like, “I’m all about hard work and notoriety, and I’m a neat person to boot. People will remember my name for years to come! Come hang with me!”


Ashley Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:49 am

My oldest has an alliterative name. My twins do not share the same initial, although I contemplated it long and hard. They do share a long I sound in their names.

KAshley Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:53 am

I love love love alliterate names! My husband is BCB. I think it sounds great. My name was KAC – which sounded that way too and I loved it. Now I debate if I want that for my kids or not… I’m not in love with any B names for girls though so perhaps only my sons will be the only beneficiaries.

yellow Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I like them for a lot of combos (not for myself, but on others), but certain sounds don’t need to be repeated. I have a chewy surname, short but with lots of N’s and M’s and dark vowels, and I don’t want to pair it with a M or N first name because the whole thing ends up sounding like a mouthful of peanut butter.

In fact, the vast majority of my name list has names that don’t contain ANY of the same sounds as my surname.

suzanne Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I love my alliterative maiden name with SS. My first son has a JJ with first and middle. Lots of nicknames for that kid. I would never do all 3 names the same. Nor would I use the same letter for my kids especially twins.

everwaiteing Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I generally LOVE same initials/sounds for first and last name. I definitely prefer a different initial in the middle though as it prevents the overall name from sounding contrived. I knew a guy once whose initials were H.H.H, and it seemed a bit much. I would have liked to use alliteration for at least one of my kids, but – as a pp pointed out – it works better with some letters than others. If our last name had been something like Reed, my daughter would have been Rebecca Reed. Instead, our last name starts with H, and we couldn’t limit ourselves to H names. Oh, well. I enjoy alliteration in other people’s names.

Kayt Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I grew up as Kayt C@lder, so I am used to the sound. However, I don’t like the sound with my married name, Huff. Between it being a word name, and a short, gutteral sort of sound, alliteration makes it sound too cartoony to me. If our last name was something different, even Hill, for example, I would consider it. I love the name Hugo, but Hugo Huff sounds weird to me. I like Hugo Hill, though, or Hugo Harris.

Emmy Jo Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Some alliterative names are nice, but I avoid them as a general rule. It’s a shame, because my favorite boys’ name starts with G, but so does our last name. We seriously considered Gideon Gaines for our son, but in the end we just couldn’t do it. So he’s Julius instead.

For some reason, I don’t mind it as much when the first and middle alliterate, especially if the first is short and the middle is long, as is the case with Claire Caroline or Maeve Margaret.

isabel Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I’d prefer not to use alliterative initials, especially the same initial sound, but I wouldn’t not use the name because of it. Unless it’s a total disaster.

isabel Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I do know a Will Williams and a Robert Roberts.

Rachael Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I love alliterative names. My initials are RRMR and all four names have two syllables. The second syllable in my second middle and last name start with an R as well. It really rolls off the tongue. I’m considering keeping my maiden name when my fiance and I get married. My fiances last name starts with a G and right now my favorite girls name is Georgia and one of the middle names would be Gisele.

Laura Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I have an alliterative name and I love it! I think it flows very nice and is easy to remember.

Zie Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Both my mom and I have M as all three of our initials – same last name, same middle name – Marie – and our M first names. And I absolutely love it. But I would never use an alliterative name just for the alliteration.

Madi Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I generally like alliterative names – I know people named Morgan Meyer and Josh Jones – but I don’t like repetitive names. This past summer I met two people named Robert Robertson and Davyd Davison. :/

For matchy sibling names, it depends. I know a family with Evan and Emma, which I think is super cute, but Stephan and Stephanie gets too close.

rachelmarie Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Quite frankly, I have a special love for alliterative names. But not middle names, or else it’s way too much.
I adore January Jones’ name, it’s snappy without sounding like a superhero or comic book character.

I would love to do this in the future, if I could, but only if it sounds right.

Stefanie Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I have an alliterative name with the letters SLS; it works for me. I am not a fan of alliterative first and second names though. It just doesn’t sound very good to me.

Joan Says:

February 10th, 2011 at 12:11 am

I used to assume that an alliterative first and last name would be undesirable, until my cousin named her daughter Holly H(3 syllables) and it just sounded so musical to me. When my daugher was born I wasn’t quite brave enough to use an alliterative first and last name on the birth certificate, but her nickname (which is what she is always called) is alliterative–Lena L. Our last name is long and I think very formal-sounding, and a lot of people have told us that the alliteration helps to soften it and make it seem a little less stuffy.

lo Says:

February 10th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Our last name is Tyson and our favorite names are Teresa nn Tess and Thomas nn Tommy. But for our first 4 children we avoided alliterative names. However, with this last pregnancy we decided on Teresa for a girl but hubby is still the no-vote on Thomas and an early ultrasound points to a boy. I think Teresa having 3 syllables with the emphasis on the middle syllable makes it an easier pairing with Tyson than Thomas. I’ve said Thomas Tyson in my head so many times that it sounds normal now but hubby hates it still. I love alliterative names with the letter “m”.

Sengi8 Says:

February 12th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Our son has an alliterative name…his initials are BJB. We were wary at first about this — didn’t want his name to sound “cutesy” — but after reassurance, including that of nameberry folks, we decided to take the plunge. Now, we are loving his name and the way it sounds spunky. We just loved his first name so much and it was the only one that seemed “right,” so I’m glad we didn’t let the alliteration dissuade us.
That being said, we are a little hesitant about the alliteration issue for a possible second child. If we do happen to love another B name, would that just become a little too much?

steponme Says:

February 16th, 2011 at 3:42 am

I’m another Stephanie with the initial SLS (too funny, @Stefanie!) and I just loved having an alliterative name. My new last name is K, so now I’m SSK, which thankfully still flows really nicely, but it just isn’t the same. I don’t have any K or hard C baby names on my personal list, but I desperately want some. I just think it’s the cutest thing!

I always think of a scene from You’ve Got Mail, when Meg Ryan says her name out loud and bounces her head to the alliterative rhythm “Kathleen Kelly”. It would never occur to me, though, to alliterate the first and middle names–seems a little weird to me.

Alyson Says:

March 11th, 2011 at 4:30 am

I do not personally have an alliterative name, but I work as a nanny and the family named their 4 children with alliterative sibling names: Lara, Leonard, Lillian and Lucas. The youngest was born in November and before he was born they were fighting because they even wanted to have an La name, then Le, then Li and then Lo. The dad didn’t want a fifth child to make Lu so he refused to agree on an Lo name for the newest baby.

I personally think it is a bit odd, but I also saw a show with a family who did the same thing with Em: Emily, Emmett, Emma Jo and Ember I think. I believe it was last week’s Supernanny episode. I don’t plan on doing anything like that when I have children, but I wouldn’t be against a name alliteration if it sounded good together.

Maximilian Says:

March 15th, 2011 at 11:23 am

I changed my name to be alliterative (long story), and people seem to be suckers for it. I get compliments about once a month, whereas my old name never got one in 25 years! With a bit of creativity, MWM also makes for a rockin’ monogram.

NotNic Says:

April 27th, 2011 at 11:53 am

When I got married I became NMN (try saying those three letters quickly!) I hated it originally as I thought my name had become a bit of a ‘jazz hands’ / showbiz name (It’s the three syllables in my first name and three in my surname that make it worse.

My sister was Chloe Ch… which was pretty cool especially as the first two letters are pronounced differently in each name. I like alliterative names but our surname now is similar to a boy’s first name, so I think that rules out trying at least boy’s names with the first initial N.

shinysarah11 Says:

October 20th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I want to name a daughter Adah Araminta and our last name is an A as well. I was never sure about the middle name, but if I already have an A first and last name, why not a middle? I think it’s cute that her initials would be AAA. 🙂

chapitaism Says:

November 24th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I know a BBB, 2 syllables each. At first, I though it was too much, until I learned that his occupational mn sounds good, which along to his strong harsh last name just make it balanced and classy =)

I have also known someone like…..
PP – I dont like how this look, and make me wonder why his parents didn’t got a mn for him.
AA – I know 2 woman with this alliteration in fn and mn. One got short A-names, with 2 syllables, different sounds. The other woman got loooong A-names, different sounds also. It always makes me think why they parents didn’t balance it. If I interchange both of her mn’s in my mind, it sounds better in my opinion.
LL – Again, this is fn and mn. I know a woman with 2 long names, 3 syllables each, both names sound old fashioned for a person of her age. She always ask people to call her by a short nickname. Some people ask her how she got such that combo, and she explains their parents wanted to honored people from each side of family. She finish saying that she would like to only get one of them, and that her parents honored the other family with her younger sister. =(

I think there are successful attempts of alliteration, like in Kardashian family, I like how his mother got feminine names and that her last name has a pretty meaning!!! They are so lucky =D

My new lastname starts with Z. I am surely not using a double ZZ for children, because it makes me think of “The Zorro” that much, besides other bullying potential.

danahc Says:

December 14th, 2011 at 5:44 am

I think you can definitely do it, if they don’t sound like they run together into one name. For example, we debated naming our daughter Charlotte Clara LN(which also starts with a hard C). It’s alliterative without sounding sing songy and gimmicky. They also flow nicely together.

DH liked the name Kirk. However, with a hard C LN, it sounds like crap when put together.

I went to school with someone named Kelly Caroll. That works too, even though it’s NMS.

emilymaryjane Says:

February 5th, 2012 at 5:00 am

I know a Cendall Christine Carter her name is spelt like this cos its easier than KCC

bluebonnet Says:

February 21st, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I have a name crush on Mae Mobley from The Help. Our last name starts with M so Mae is definately on list for future daughter!

noro226 Says:

June 2nd, 2012 at 7:41 pm

We plan on naming our son Oliver Olson. Oliver has been a favorite of mine well before I married an Olson! DH decided he loved it, so our son will be Oliver Olson! I’m really going to push for the nickname Lev or Liev in an attempt to avoid him being called Ollie Olson.

madhatter42 Says:

July 1st, 2012 at 4:12 am

My name is overly alliterative. Check this out: Molly Matilda McDade. I don’t think it’s bad, afterall; I have to live with my name.

Whirligig Says:

January 26th, 2014 at 7:37 am

Oh I LOVE alliteration! Sometimes, it is just too much but ahhhh normally it is lovely. Margo Milena is the alliterative name on my list. I also like it when the mn is a different initial eg. OAO

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