Boy-Girl Twin Names
by Abby Sandel
We are expecting our first babies in November and so we need boy-girl twin names. We love older, vintage-sounding names that aren’t currently too popular.
We want the same number of syllables for the twins and we are staying away from rhymes and alliteration.
The Name Sage replies:
I think you’ve found your son’s name. Truman checks all the boxes. It’s strong, with a virtue meaning built-in. It feels a little bit old school, but very in step with current names, too. 162 boys were given the name in 2018. That’s not zero, but compared to nearly 12,500 boys named Mason, or 7,300 Lincolns, it’s pretty uncommon.
Plus, it’s your husband’s favorite. And while there are names you might like as much, it sounds like you don’t have any hesitations about Truman. I think your search is done!
The data doesn’t help much here. In 2008, just 41 girls received the name. A decade later, that number had surged to 246. But it’s hovered around 250 for the last three years. Nameberry’s popularity list puts it at Number 555, but that’s still way behind choices like Isla, Cora, Luna, and Rose that make up the Nameberry Top 20.
But do you want to? It sounds like you’d prefer some fresh options for completing your set of boy-girl twin names.
My first suggestion comes straight from your list: Darcy or Hollis. Your husband is right; Darcy is far more common for girls than boys. Hollis seems more evenly split. That makes me wonder if Hollis is the better choice: unisex, and maybe a little less common, too.
Or is it cheating to take a name from your boys’ list and assign it to a daughter? Would you consider:
Havilland – We’ve been naming our daughters Monroe and Taylor for years. So how ‘bout Havilland, as in legendary actor Olivia de Havilland? The Academy Award-winner might not be a household name in 2019, but it’s still an unexpected choice with a dash of vintage Hollywood glam.
Reeve – Reese Witherspoon helped us see her family name as an option for girls. The similar-sounding Reeve has potential, too. Aviator Charles Lindbergh and author Anne Morrow Lindbergh gave this family name to their youngest daughter, who also became a writer.
Wallis – Hollis always makes me think of Wallis. While it’s ancient history to this generation, Baltimore-born Wallis Simpson caused a sensation when England’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry her in 1936. Wallis Simpson helped put her unusual family name on the list of possibilities for girls.
Winslow – If Marlowe only gives you pause because of popularity, would Winslow be an option? It’s less popular than Marlowe – though with that upbeat ‘o’ ending, it’s possible that will change in the future.
While I can make the case for sticking with cool, tailored Marlowe, it’s certainly true that it’s the kind of name that could catch on. If that concerns you, then I’d suggest Adair instead. It satisfies your matching syllable count rule. And I think the parallels between true Truman and daring Adair feel satisfying, too.
Readers, let’s have a poll based on my suggestions for these boy-girl twins. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments, too!
Abby Sandel is the creator of name blog Appellation Mountain and writes Nameberry’s Name Sage column, offering wise advice on baby name questions submitted by Berries every other Wednesday. Abby lives outside of Washington, DC with her husband and two children, Alex and Clio. You can reach her on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest. For a chance to have your questions answered on Nameberry, contact Abby at email@example.com.
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on October 2nd, 2019 at 8:45 am
Truman is great. And I agree with Abby…I really like Darcy and Hollis for your baby girl!
Marlowe is alright, although I prefer the Marlo spelling.
A few additional suggestions:
on October 2nd, 2019 at 9:18 am
Love Flannery or Reeve!
on October 2nd, 2019 at 9:40 am
I like Truman and Marlo!
But didn’t they say they want the same amount of syllables? You gave a bunch of options that aren’t the same amount.
Pamela Redmond Said
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:12 am
I think the problem with Marlowe is that if you take all the spellings together — Marlowe, Marlow, and Marlo — it’s a lot more popular than it first seems.
I was looking at names given to about the same number of baby girls as Truman (162 boys last year) and came up with these ideas:
Theodora — Not the same number of syllables, but same first letter, different sound, plus lots of nickname options.
Murphy (good Marlowe substitute?)
Marin (another Marlowe equivalent)
Pamela Redmond Said
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:41 am
Now I’m fascinated by this subject so I looked up how many baby girls were given all three spellings of Marlowe: about 335. The question maybe isn’t how many babies but which names given to that number of children are most likely to be give to a lot MORE children over the next five years.
And I have to say, I think Marlowe et al IS one of those names that’s trendy and will get more popular. Reasons: a couple of celebrity kids with the name, it’s similarity to the more popular Margo and Marley.
But some other names given to about 330 baby girls feel less trendy to me. For instance:
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:44 am
What makes this tricky is that they want a vintage name that’s not too popular, but vintage names are currently back in fashion, so lots of them are too high up on the popularity charts. Add in the two-syllable requirement, and the options are restricted even further.
I think Marlowe is a lovely choice, but if that’s not quite right, here are some other possibilities:
Willa (might be too popular, but I think it sounds nice with Truman)
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:53 am
And a few more:
on October 2nd, 2019 at 1:49 pm
I love Hollis. What about Quinn, Rowan or Maren?
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:01 pm
While I really love the suggestion of Adair, Truman and Adair. Reminds me of the game truth or dare. Especially if you shorten Truman to Tru(e) then it’s True and Adair. Just something to think about. I say stick with Marlowe.
on October 2nd, 2019 at 10:06 pm
What about Liberty? I’ve always loved this name. It has a slight vintage feel while not being too popular. It has an extra syllable, but nn Libby would fit? I love that it’s a virtue name to fit with Truman.
on October 3rd, 2019 at 9:56 am
My youngest is Truman so I thought it might’ve helpful to share the 10 names we were considering had he been a girl. 5 don’t for your criteria but I’ll share in case those guidelines aren’t set in stone: Isadora, Coretta, Miriam, Zinnia and Tuula. And the 5 that fit your preferences are:
on October 3rd, 2019 at 12:56 pm
For me, Marlowe is a stylistic mismatch to Truman…Marlowe doesn’t seem vintage at all to me. Nor do Adair (as much as I like the name) or Hollis. Holly, on the other hand, seems more vintage & more like a match to Truman, at least IMO. Other names that have more of a vintage vibe & are two syllables:
Honor or Nora
Daphne or Delphine
on October 3rd, 2019 at 1:20 pm
The second I read that first statement about the name choices, Truman and Hollis felt absolutely perfect. I think it’s a wonderful combination. To me, while Hollis is used for both genders, it fits absolutely into the female category – like a classic, sophistocated version of too-frilly Holly.
on October 3rd, 2019 at 2:32 pm
How about Hollis for a boy and Darcy for a girl?
on October 4th, 2019 at 8:33 am
I love both Truman and Marlowe! Other girls ideas (or boys).
on November 23rd, 2019 at 1:52 am
Hi Berries! This was actually my question. Thank you so much for the suggestions!
Our twins were born and we named them Mercer Jude (boy) and Hollis Austen (girl).
Both names go well with our last name, and I think Mercer and Hollis go well together also. I actually started thinking about Mercer as a name after seeing someone’s suggestion for Mercy in the comments above. Thanks so much! Additionally, I was able to incorporate my favorite author by sneaking in Austen as a middle name for Hollis. This also keeps my husband happy since he did not want to name our son Darcy. :/
If anyone likes these names and is interested, here was my list of names I was contemplating:
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