These veteran parents know their style, but that doesn’t always make it easier to choose a favorite.
I need some help coming up with a name for our FIFTH baby. Our oldest is a boy and the rest are girls. New baby is another girl, which makes it harder – we already have three! My husband and I struggle finding a baby name we both like – two of our children were nameless five days after they were born. We both like longer names that can be easily nicknamed. We also like older names, but not “popular” older names (no Hazel). Our children’s names and nicknames are:
Thanks for the help!
The Name Sage replies:
On paper, we all think it would be fun to name lots of children. But in practice, most parents run into exactly this dilemma. (Kate wrote about a similar challenge last month.) We go through our favorites fast!
At first glance, the goal seems straightforward: we’re looking for underused classics with spunky nicknames. But maybe there’s a little more to it?
Malcolm and Margo share an initial, but the others do not repeat. This makes me think that another ‘M’ name is probably not your top choice. Too bad, because that rules out Mariana, Magdalena, and the otherwise perfect Millicent.
You’ve chosen three-syllable names, each with a different ending sound. The bigger the family, the tougher it is to avoid a tiny bit of repetition. But let’s focus on names that seem distinctively different from your older girls’ names – while still fitting right in!
Constance – Doesn’t Constance feel buttoned-up, a traditional name from an earlier time? But it shortens to some fun nicknames. Coco is my favorite, but Connie can feel vintage, and Tansy is just downright unexpected. Malcolm, Louisa, Marguerite, Rosalie, and Constance work nicely together, without sharing too many sounds. The best part? Constance doesn’t even make the current Top 1000, though I think everyone recognizes it instantly. The similar Cordelia shares some of these qualities – and again the potential nickname Coco! – but seems slightly frillier.
Genevieve – At Number 184, Genevieve might feel a smidge too popular. And yet, I want to mention it because it fits your list so nicely. It’s a longer, traditional name, but it still feels slightly different. It shortens to Genna and Gen, but also Vee, Vivi, Via, and maybe even Evie or Gigi. I might have suggested Josephine, except at Number 107, I’m guessing you might find it a little too common.
Harriet – Hattie ranks in the current US Top 500, but Harriet? Still outside of the Top 1000 list entirely! Like Louisa, Marguerite, and Rosalie, Harriet sound like the heroine of a nineteenth century novel – strong-willed and capable. Hattie, on the other hand, sounds right at home in 2018. Winifred, called Winnie, might be another to consider.
Therese – Not so along, Theresa was the bee’s knees – a classic pick along the lines of Elizabeth or Katherine. Today, Theresa fails to make the US Top 1000. Instead, Teresa ranks a frosty Number 720. But how about Therese? It’s French, unexpected, and yet still fits your general style. I’ve met a school-aged Therese who goes by Tess, which seems like a great fit with Lucy, Margo, and Rosie.
Theodora – Theodore is big for boys, having recently returned to the US Top 1000. But we’ve mostly overlooked Theodora for girls – it doesn’t make the Top 1000 list at all! That could be a great opportunity for your family. Nicknames like Thea, Thora, and Teddy abound. You could also reverse Theodora and arrive at storybook Dorothy, with darling nicknames like Dolly and Dot.
Veronica – At Number 378, Veronica isn’t truly rare. And yet, it doesn’t seem like an especially common name, either. We can all name a few. There’s the saint, of course, and 40s screen star Lake, fictional television character Mars, and a handful of others. Yet, I think it also feels different, maybe because so few names sound anything like Veronica. I love Vica as a nickname, but Vera, Nica, and Vee work beautifully, too.
I love the sound of something like Veronica Mary or Theodora Jane, but my favorite might be Constance. Lots of middle names work: Constance Eloise, Constance Fiona, Constance Hadley. Coco seems like a good fit with your older kids’ names, too: Mac, Lucy, Margo, Rosie, and Coco.
Let’s have a poll, and then open it up to input from the readers. I know they’ll think of some great names I’ve overlooked!