Category: Name Problems and Disputes

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Boy Baby Names: Can Remy Be Saved?

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They have the perfect name for their next child – if they can resolve spelling and pronunciation challenges. Can it be done, or should they move on to another choice?

Marie writes:

My husband’s family has a great name that has been passed down (to boys only so far) for many generations: Remy. I love names that aren’t too common, are familiar, pack a good historical punch (either familial or popular history), and feel nice to say.

The only holdup is that the family pronounces it Ray-mee. My husband’s family has been in the US for many generations, originally from Belgium. My mom’s side of the family is very French. To them, this pronunciation sounds like an Anglicized version of the French original (which it likely is). I’m not French enough to feel comfortable committing to the ‘r’ rolling French pronunciation.

So … is there any way we can salvage this name? I think this name could work for either sex and aside from a bit of confusion, no one in my husband’s family would be insulted by a different take on the name.

I think an obvious solution would be to use the “Rem-mee” pronunciation and maybe use the Remi spelling to signal that it is an ode to Remy but a different name. I need some convincing on this though.

Our older son has a name that has two possible pronunciations. I am constantly correcting people. If possible, it would be a bonus to find a name with a straightforward pronunciation and spelling … which might be challenging with this name!

The Name Sage replies:

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Forbidden Baby Names

How crazy does a name need to be to get banned, spark a legal battle, or find itself relegated to the list of forbidden baby names? Not very, depending on where you live, though many names on this roster would be judged totally outrageous anywhere in the world.  Sometimes, a name is so extreme — or local baby name laws are — that the courts have to step in. Here are 15 real-life baby names that sparked actual legal battles in the last decade.

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Bold Boy Names: How about Thor?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

Should they name their son Thor? He’s big on the heroic heritage pick, but she fears it might be too much name for a mere mortal.

Mary writes:

I’m writing with an odd conundrum. My husband is dead set on naming our son Thor.

My husband’s family is Norwegian and very proud of their heritage though they’ve been in the US for several generations. My father-in-law is named Thor. My husband is one of the few men in his family without a clearly Scandinavian name. He’s Kurt, with family members called Lars, Per, Nils, Ole, Bjorn, and even Torbjor.

But he doesn’t want just any Scandinavian name. He wants to name his son after his father.

I shut down the possibility the minute we started talking about marriage and kids. I adore my father-in-law, and he wears his name well. He even loves Thor movie memorabilia.

Therein lies my problem. I fell asleep during the Avengers movie. My favorite names are Henry, Thomas, Jack, August, or Jude. Maybe something from a novel. I don’t want to explain for the rest of my life that he wasn’t named after a superhero. I can’t stop thinking about the looks I’d get from other parents. (I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.) Plus, we plan on having more than one child. What would we possibly name a sibling for Thor?

And yet, since we found out we were having a boy, Thor is starting to grow on me! I love seeing how excited it makes my husband to talk about how much my father-in-law would love it. I know a little boy would probably love to be named Thor, and now a tiny part of my brain is considering it, which I never thought would happen. Am I going crazy? Can I name a child Thor? Should I?

My husband is very stubborn about using it as a middle name, and Henry Thor doesn’t have a great ring to it.

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Boy Names: The new traditionals

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

He says “strong traditional.” She says “unique.” Where’s the middle ground for naming a son?

Kelly writes:

My husband and I can’t agree on a boy’s name. Our daughters are Mischa and Nova. He wants a “strong traditional” boy name, but I like unique and I don’t think any traditional names work with our girls’ names.

We originally liked Theodore and calling him Theo, but now they are popping up everywhere. Another idea we had was Wellington and calling him Wells. However, a recent Bachelorette contestant was Wells, so my husband says that’s out. We also liked Lincoln and calling him Link, but his cousin just named his son that.

Any ideas? Maybe a traditional long name with a non-traditional short name?

The Name Sage replies:

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Baby Name Choice: One couple’s story

By John Kelly

When my brother’s wife went into labor earlier this month, they didn’t know if they’d be welcoming a girl or boy into the world. But Jennifer and Brian Kelly did have a name ready to greet their second child.

“Boy will be Lachlan Grey,” Brian texted me right after they were assigned their hospital delivery room. “Girl will be Reagan Rose.”

At a time when there are more baby name options than ever, and in an era when the pressure to pick the right one can feel greater than before, I was curious to learn how they had settled on these names—and how their process might be instructive for others making this exciting, yet exacting, decision. “You’re actually naming somebody for the rest of their life,” Brian sized up the task when I spoke to him about their experience. “It’s momentous.”

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