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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 November, and my husband and I are in a naming battle to the death. We have completely different styles and cannot agree on even a list of maybes. I’ve also researched names for years and have always been completely stuck with boy names. I feel like I’ve seen everything out there.

For boys, I like surname names and older classic names. I love Davis, Edward, and 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 Maverick, Hudson, Weston, and Roman. I strongly vetoed.

Most likely, the middle name will either be Winston (for Churchill) or 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-Moxie-and-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 Maverick and Edward seem like opposites. But I can imagine brothers named Davis and 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.

Archer Archibald feels traditional, maybe even a little stodgy. But there’s something quite modern about surname Archer. I think it’s just edgy enough for your husband, but still in the same broad category as William and Davis. Current rank in the US: Number 239.

Beckett – A surname name with literary overtones, Beckett falls midway between classic and cool. Current rank in the US: Number 227.

Cole Cole reminds me of the modern favorite Colton, but also brings to mind traditional Nicholas. Style-wise, it falls somewhere in between. Current rank in the US: Number 118.

Harrison – We were wild about Harry way back in the nineteenth century. Now Henry is everybody’s favorite classic boy name. 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 – It sounds like haze, which makes this surname name a little edgier than it might sound otherwise. With boy names like Miles and Brooks very much in favor, Hayes fits right in, and yet it doesn’t seem trendy or fleeting. Current US popularity rank: #343.

Royce – Lots of short R names for boys might work – Rhys/Reese, maybe, or Reid/Reed? But Royce is the rarest of them all. Current US popularity rank: #436.

Wilder Wilder might be a hell-raising brother for Maverick. But I see it more as a brother for 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 Paris and who could be sad about that? But you’d been thinking Caribbean get-away, while your husband was planning a hike in the 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 Hayes. It’s cool enough to fit with Weston and Roman, but comes a little closer to Davis from your list. It also sounds great with Winston, so if choosing that middle name is a priority, then Hayes 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

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.

View all of Abby's articles

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