Baby Naming Battles: They Don’t Agree on Anything

July 2, 2019 Abby Sandel
They’re the baby battlers – the couple thrilled to be expecting, but struggling to find any one single name that they can agree on. Let's help them find a great name for their son that they can both like. Annie writes: We are expecting a son in boy names. I feel like I’ve seen everything out there. For boys, I like surname names and older classic names. I love William. But I refuse to use a name that is anywhere close to being popular. I also want the name to be meaningful. My husband likes more modern names. He has suggested Roman. I strongly vetoed. Most likely, the middle name will either be Franklin (hopefully not). Another naming battle we’re in. Please help! The Name Sage replies: Naming babies is such fun … when it’s a maybe-someday, sure-I’ll-name-my-kids-Pilot kind of exercise. Many of us feel stuck when it comes to choosing a name for an actual human being, especially because it means compromising with another, well, actual human being. Here’s my suggestion: instead of listening for the differences, look for the similarities. It’s true that Hudson. Even though it seems impossible, I hear plenty of overlap. Your tastes lean traditional, while your husband prefers something more modern and daring. But you both agree on surnames. And it seems like you’re both eager to find something familiar, but not popular. There’s plenty of common ground in that list. Davis. Current rank in the US: Number 239. Beckett falls midway between classic and cool. Current rank in the US: Number 227. Nicholas. Style-wise, it falls somewhere in between. Current rank in the US: Number 118. Harrison puts a surname spin on the long-used names, making it both very current and tied to the classics. Current rank in the US: Number 115. Hayes fits right in, and yet it doesn’t seem trendy or fleeting. Current US popularity rank: #343. Royce is the rarest of them all. Current US popularity rank: #436. Forrest, an outdoorsy name with a polished vibe. Current US popularity rank: #523. Now the hard part: I’m guessing that none of these names is perfect. But is there one that you and your husband look at and think maybe … Compromising on baby names is a little like taking a vacation to your third-choice destination because it was the only one you agreed on. Sure, it’s Pacific Northwest. The choice you make together is best of all – even if it’s not what you originally imagined. Naming can be like that sometimes. Based on your lists, my favorite is Winston would be my vote. Readers, what would you suggest to Annie and her husband? And tell me – did you have to compromise on your kiddos’ names? 

About the author


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

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