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Baby Name Patterns: To Keep Going or Break the Mold?

June 21, 2016 Abby Sandel

What do you do when you’ve created a baby name pattern, and now none of the names you love fits? Does your next baby break the mold, or does family unity carry the day?

Katie writes:

My due date is September 30 and we are expecting a girl, our fourth child!

We are feeling a bit stuck trying to find the perfect name to fit with siblings Jamison, Lillian Blake, and Rosewyn Cole, nicknames Jam, Lilly and Wynnie.

Names we’ve considered but still hesitate on are: Magdalen or Madeleine, Noah, Elouise, Lawson, and even Gable. Noah Madeleine is a favorite right now.

I unintentionally started something with the first three children. All three names end in n, are 7 letters long, and the girls both have flower names. The girls also have traditionally male middle names.

I’m finding it hard to pick a name that matches our previous criteria.

The Name Sage replies:

Plenty of parents find themselves in your position. Whether it’s a shared first initial, similar meanings, or a certain number or syllable count, it’s easy to inadvertently create a pattern.

You are under absolutely no obligation to continue any part of this pattern. It wasn’t planned, and honestly? It’s probably not as obvious as you think it is. At least, I didn’t notice the 7-letter connection until you pointed it out.

For families in your position, I think the best approach is always this: try to find a name that satisfies at least some parts of your established pattern. But don’t insist on satisfying every part of the puzzle – that will likely result in a name pleasing only to crossword puzzle enthusiasts.

Let’s start by looking at names that meet your criteria:

Elouise is the only name on your list with 7 letters. It doesn’t end in n, but it feels like a sister for Lillian and Rosewyn. Nickname options abound. I’m partial to Lulu, but Ella works nicely, too. Elouise Noah has some appeal. The only part missing is a botanical reference, but I think the name fits your criteria nicely.

Still, if you were settled on Elouise, I’m not sure you’d be writing! So let’s look at some more options.

Eleanor, Abigail, Cathryn/Kathryn, Beatrix, Frances, Georgia, Clarice, and Colette are all traditionally feminine first names, like Lillian, and exactly 7 letters. The only n-ending name is Cathryn/Kathryn, but the one I like best for your family is Colette. A few combinations:

Colette Koa Koa sounds like Noah, but it’s a tree native to Hawaii. It’s traditionally masculine, but I think it works as a girls’ middle name. Colette doesn’t end with an n, but it’s in-between popular Lillian and rare Rosewyn in terms of use, so I think that makes it a good choices. And Lillian, Rosewyn, and Colette sound like sisters.

Colette IvyWhile Ivy is almost exclusively used for girls today, the name has a history of use for both genders. Colette Ivy combines a seven-letter name and a floral tie-in, too.

Colette Sutton Sutton is more common for girls in 2016, but feels like a gender neutral name in the key of Blake and ColeColette Lawson and Colette Gable are great, too.

You might also consider surname names, like Cameron, Ellison, Elliott, Emerson, Forrest, or Collins. The one challenge is that Cameron and Jamison sound more like Lillian and Rosewyn’s brothers than another sister. It’s up to you if that’s a dealbreaker, because there are some potentially great combinations:

Ellison Ivy Ellison’s seven letters and n-ending tie this name to Lillian and Rosewyn. Nicknames Ella or Lissy work beautifully. And I just thought of another reason to love the name Ivy. Not only is it a nature name, the Roman numerals IV represent the number four – perfect for this baby!

Emerson Violet – There’s no shortage of flower names, and Violet is among the most popular in 2016. The reason I really love Emerson Violet? Possible nickname Evie, from the initials EV.

The final category I keep coming back to are the seven-letter floral names. There are more than you might guess, which could lead to combinations like:

Jasmine Reid – I feel like Jasmine must have come up in conversation at some point. After all, it’s seven letters, ends in n, and is a floral name that’s different from Rosewyn and Lillian. It’s possibly you’d rather not repeat an initial, but I don’t think Jamison and Jasmine are too close for sibling names.

Jonquil Blair Jonquil is instantly recognized as a flower, but it’s seldom heard as a child’s name. It’s seven letters, and while it doesn’t end with n, I think it’s a good style match for your older children’s names.

Jacinta Gray – There are so many great one-syllable middle names, I’m experimenting with ideas along the lines of Cole and Blake! I think Jacinta – the Spanish word for hyacinth – is especially lovely with a trim, tailored middle name.

Garland TateGarland feels just barely botanical. It’s gender neutral and unexpected.

Now let’s look at a few other ideas that don’t fit the seven letter pattern, but might appeal to you:

Vivian and Hazel are both Top 100 names for girls with a tailored sound. Vivian even has the n ending.

Or maybe Noa? While Noah is the top name for boys in the US, Noa is a different name, also used in the Old Testament, but originally feminine. It’s also used as a girl’s name in Japan. It’s While Noa would be very different for a girl in the US, it’s not unheard of – the name ranked in the mid-700s last year.

Overall, I like the idea of sticking to at least some of the pattern for your next child’s name – whether it’s letter count, floral tie-in, or something else. Jasmine Reid is my favorite, probably because it matches so well. I also love Emerson Violet and Colette Koa, and think they’re well-connected to their siblings’ names, without locking you into too narrow a pattern.

Readers, I would love to hear what you think! Are there other names that fit the pattern? Or should they forget the pattern entirely?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

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