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Dad’s Favorite Baby Name is Taken … by the Dog!

June 6, 2017 Abby Sandel

They’ve already used their favorite name – for the dog! She’s working on finding some fresh ideas, but he’s still stuck on Olivia. What might satisfy them both?

Megan writes:

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in early August – a girl!

We are trying to decide on the perfect name. My husband has fallen in love with Olivia.

The problem? We already used the perfect name. For our dog, Olivia.

We are a cross-cultural couple, so we hope to choose an English first name and a Turkish middle. I like (and my husband tolerates) Lyla, Linden, Marlow, and Sienna.

For Turkish names, we are considering Azize (pronounced A-zi-zay), Kaya, Mina (Meena), and Lale (la-lay).

My top name is either Lyla Azize, or maybe Linden. My husband prefers Olivia Lale.

Could you please give us some suggestions for this baby so she doesn’t end up being named after the dog?

The Name Sage replies:

It’s no tragedy if names repeat in the same extended family, four-legged members included. Let’s say your brother had a dog in college named Olivia, or maybe your cousin just adopted a kitten with the name. These are good examples of times it’s perfectly fine for a creature and a kiddo to share the same name.

But it sounds like this is your dog, in the present moment, and that changes everything. If you wouldn’t name your daughters Olivia and Olivia, the same should be true for your daughter and the dog. Olivia is taken, and it’s not an option for this baby.

Getting your husband to agree might be tough, but I suspect he’ll come around. Most parents would never insist on a name their partner actively dislikes, though sometimes it comes right down to the delivery room before that’s resolved.

For now, let’s focus on finding a name that could be a good compromise between your two lists. One name leaps out at me: Lyla. The related name Leyla is Turkish, which could make it a perfect, culture-spanning pick. It could also allow you to move the English Olivia to the middle spot: Leyla Olivia.

If you prefer to stick with English firsts, I think you might need to forgo Linden and Marlow. They’re both great names, but they’re the farthest from long, romantic Olivia. From your list, Sienna seems much more like a substitute for Olivia.

Or maybe you’d consider one of these names:

Cecilia Cecilia sounds like a middle point between Sienna and Olivia.

Eliza Olivia has that sharp, vibrant ‘v’. Eliza claims a zippy ‘z’ sound. Both names offer a nice balance of traditional and modern styles.

Julia – Traditional Julia has been around for ages, but feels at home with all of these girls’ names ending in –ia.

Lilia – It’s among the least common of the Lily names. But you both seem drawn to names with a strong L sound, so Lilia feels like a possibility.

Linnea Linnea reminds me of Linden and Lyla and Lale and Sienna.

Lydia Lydia makes the list for the same reasons as Linnea, but while Linnea is quite rare, Lydia ranks in the Top 100.

Miranda Miranda is as Shakespearean as Olivia, with a flowing, romantic sound. But it also brings to mind Marlow.

Vivian – If tailored names like Linden appeal to you, I wonder if Vivian would work? It shares sounds with Olivia, but comes closer to those surname names you like, style-wise.

My favorite for you is Linnea. Like Olivia, it’s related to the natural world without being an obvious nature name. It sounds like so many names you both love, and it works well with several of your possible middles.

But I’m still drawn to the idea of Leyla Olivia, too – especially if you’re willing to reconsider the pattern of English first-Turkish middle, at least for naming this child.

Readers, what would you suggest to Megan? And would you ever consider using the dog’s name for a child? Please vote in the poll!

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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