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Name Sage: Naming Kiddo #4

February 9, 2016 Abby Sandel

Elisabeth writes: 

I am great with child, due March 25. My babies have all come early, so we are literally down to the last few weeks!

It has been increasingly difficult to decide on a name with each pregnancy. This is Baby #4. (And no, I don’t know if we’re done yet!) We have Luke Tyler, Sadie Lynn, and Cannon Covey. We tend to fall into the “name them what you’re going to call them” camp. All the middle names are family names, and we plan to use a family name for this little lady too.

My husband leans more toward popular names. I’d prefer something much less popular. Luckily we do agree on quite a few:

Tess – This has been a mutual favorite for years. We’re a bit stuck on a middle name for her. I do love my name, but I have a cousin named Tess Elisabeth. I don’t feel like I can use both her names!

Eliza My husband’s favorite. I love it too, but the “z” bugs me more than it should, having spent my life correcting people misspelling my name. Also, is it too close to Elisabeth? It’s not a deliberate nod to me.

Rose A recent favorite. Also stuck on a middle.

Cosette – We would call her CoCo or Cosy. My husband thinks Cosette is too formal, but I want her to have an option for when CoCo or Cosy is too cutesy.

Molly Is it too much of a “dog name”? I know a lot of dogs named Molly and Sadie. Can we use both?

Millie Very close to rhyming with our last name. Would she hate us forever?

Betsy Again, not a deliberate nod to me. I love it and, while a lot of people might disagree, I think it can stand on its own!

Ellis This is probably my personal favorite, but I think my husband is 90% against it. He wants her to have a feminine name, one that’s not historically male. One other hitch is I do not like the nickname Ellie.

We don’t have a lot of middle name options. We would consider using Lynn again, or Lynne. Belle, Ruby, Pamela, and Lovell are options. I love the idea of Melise in the middle spot – a mash-up of our moms, Pamela and Denise. But my husband is not a fan!

Family names we cannot use include Sophie, Avery, Abigail, Caroline, Charlotte, Ann, Emily, Grace, Jordan, and Elsie.

Thank you for taking the time to think about this!

The Name Sage replies:

Let’s start with the good news: your short list is great! It sounds like you’ve got plenty of names that both you and your husband like and would sound great with your older children’s names.

The hitch, of course, is that your list isn’t getting any shorter as your due date approaches!

We’re starting with eight names: Tess, Eliza, Rose, Cosette, Molly, Millie, Betsy, and Ellis. I’m going to suggest that you drop Ellis for two reasons: first, it’s the one that your husband likes least. Second, you’re not wild about the possibility of Ellie as a nickname.

Let’s look at the remaining names:

TessLovely, literary Tess seems like a great choice. It’s less common than many names, but fits your style. Tess Ruby is a possibility, as is Tess Lovell. One other approach: use Tessa instead, and let your daughters share the middle name Lynn – though this violates your name-them-what-you’ll-call-them approach.

Eliza and Betsy – If I met an Elisabeth with a daughter called Eliza or Betsy, might I ask if it’s a family name? Sure. But plenty of people would never notice. While neither name is especially common, Betsy is currently outside of the US Top 1000, while still being a very familiar name. I think that gives Betsy the edge.

Molly and Millie Molly and Millie are both nickname names that, like Sadie, stand on their own. Since your surname also contains an L sound, there’s a certain amount of repetition – but I don’t think it’s too much. Now, about the canine conundrum: I’ve definitely known pets called Sadie and Molly. But these days, the line between people names and dog names is pretty much gone. It’s absolutely wearable.

Cosette – I agree that Cosy needs a formal name, and both Cosy and CoCo are great nicknames for Cosette. I’m curious, though – does your husband object to Cosette because the name is unusual or because of the nickname/formal name divide? Or is it because it’s more daring than Luke and Sadie? It does make a great sister name for edgy, unexpected Cannon.

RoseRose is such a great name, and Rose Lovell is pure gorgeousness! It’s in the Top 200, which makes it more popular than many of your choices – but I’m not sure that’s a dealbreaker.

My favorite choice for you is Tess. It’s a familiar name, which should please your husband. It can’t be reduced any further, which should please you both. Tessa ranks in the current Top 250, but Tess doesn’t crack the Top 1000.

Millie would be my second choice. In terms of popularity, it’s about as common as Cannon. Style-wise, it’s a great match for sister Sadie.

Now, let’s see if we can talk your husband into Melise.

For your family, it’s a graceful combination of Pamela and Denise. But it can also be a form of Melissa, or Melisende. Melisende is an Old French variant of Millicent. In various forms, the name has been around since at least the sixth century. So it’s definitely not new!

If Melise is a non-starter, I’d also suggest Elise. The connection to pamELa denISE isn’t quite as clear, but it’s there. Plus, Millie Elise is a great combination.

I’m not so sure about Tess with Melise or Elise. It’s a lot of ‘s’ sound. The middle name I most like with Tess with Lovell. It’s on your list because it’s a family surname, but it also sounds exactly right with a shorter first name.

Readers, what would you suggest to Elisabeth and her husband for baby #4?

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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