Love That Name, but…

June 21, 2009 Pamela Redmond

Wherever Ewe Go, There Ewe Are is the wonderful blog of today’s guest blogger formally known as “Ewe,” an American living in the United Kingdom with her Scottish husband.  She’s the mom of two sons, ages four and two, and is expecting a daughter, known for now as Lambchop.

I always thought I’d know exactly what I would name my daughter, but now that I’m actually having one, I’m seriously waffling. There are soooo many lovely girl names out there. And as a result, some of my ‘sure thing’ name combination options aren’t looking so ‘sure thing’ anymore. In fact, a whole slew of girls names that I have always thought I would give ultra-serious consideration to were almost immediately off the table for a whole variety of reasons.

Here, girls’ names I love and admire….but WON’T be using.

1. FREYA. I adore the name Freya. In fact, back when I was pregnant with Boo, before I knew Boo was a “he”, Freya was at the top of my list for a wee girl. It’s a gorgeous name that doesn’t even crack the top 1000 list in the U.S., which is a head-scratcher for me because it’s a chronic top 20 name in England and Scotland. But, sadly, that’s why we took it off our list now that we’re actually having a girl; it’s waaaay too popular here. I see so many little Freyas everywhere I go here. If we lived in the states, this would be our likely choice. But we don’t, so it’s out.

2. MALIA. Another long, long-time favorite name. One of my sister’s best friends growing up was named Malia; and I fell even more in love with it during my six years in Hawaii. It’s just so pretty when it rolls off the tongue. But then we elected a new President last year, and guess what? His oldest girl’s name is Malia, which means it’s going to go straight up the popularity charts. Plus, it’s Hawaiian, and my husband isn’t quite as keen on the idea.

3. TRIONA. My love of Celtic and Irish music led me to this name years ago. It’s a shortened version of Catriona or Caitriona. But my husband pointed out that, technically, I was pronouncing it wrong (tree-oh-nah) when it should be pronounced like ‘trina’. And he was only willing to consider the full version of Catriona, which faces the same pronuncation issues, which I’m not as keen on. Plus, we already have an Auntie Trina, which violates one of my existing naming rules. (Not to mention the fact that a good friend made fun of it years ago, but I forgive her. She had a good point. heh heh)

4. AUDREY. Audrey is just a lovely, lovely name, made famous by the even lovelier Ms Hepburn. But it’s been screaming up the charts in the U.S. the past few years, and is clearly headed for the top 20 very soon. An old-fashioned name that is clearly coming back around, and rightfully so. But its popularity means it’s not for us.

5. LEILANI. Another gorgeous Hawaiian name that I’ve always admired; another ‘no’ from my husband.

6. LORELEI. Ditto the Hawaiian gorgeousness. And made even more mainstream in popularity by the quirky television series The Gilmore Girls. And now envision the ‘too Hawaiian’ name being vetoed by my husband with the addition of an eye-roll. Sigh.

7. ADELE. Another lovely, old-fashioned name that I think deserves to make a comeback. But I also can’t quite imagine giving it to a baby because it still sounds like an “older” name. I suspect that’s the reason it still hasn’t re-entered the top 1000 names in the U.S. We’d have to use a nickname, like Ada (and we have one of those in the family already, so ‘no’) or Addie while Lambchop was little. And, to be honest, I’m not huge on nicknames, so it’s an unlikely choice for us.

8. VIOLETA. Pronounced vee-oh-letta, I think this is a very pretty, sweet name for a girl. A lovely flower name, the prettier version of Violet. But one of Ramekin’s best friends on our street is named Violeta, so no go.

9. ANNIKA. On paper, and on the tongue, the name fits all of our potential naming criteria. It’s a lovely Scandinavian name (Swedish, though, not Norwegian), which would probably delight my Norwegian MIL. But after much –and I mean much– consideration while I seriously considered it, I just don’t think it will work with our childrens’ last names. There’s just something not quite right about it for us…. so it was with regret I took it out of serious contention. (I suppose it could make a comeback, though…you never know.)

10a and 10b. AILSA and ISLA. Both names are beautiful, traditional Scottish girl names that my Scotland-born husband really likes. But Isla is incredibly popular right now, so I’m not interested in using it. And, while Ailsa is lovely, the truth is, it sounds foreign coming off my tongue. I struggle to pronounce it properly, and I want a name I can easily pronounce for my own daughter. When I say Ailsa, it sounds more like Elsa, an almost equally lovely Scandinavian name, and, incidentally, the name of one of my husband’s (now deceased) Norwegian Aunts. But we know a four-month old Elsa. And I don’t like the look of it as much as Ailsa. So it lingers on the discarded names list.

11. SERENA. Pretty, but ruined by the existence of the teeny bopper television show Gossip Girl. I can only imagine how many younger moms-to-be will be using this name for their own daughters in the coming years.

12. JOELLE. Getting really tired of my husband’s eye rolls, which is what I got when I suggested it. And a reminder that we’re not French.

13. ARLETTE. My husband again reminds me that we’re not French, the party-pooper.

Bonus round: A few additional lovely, old-fashioned girly names we won’t be using because they’re just too darn popular over here, all in the top 20: HANNAH; CHARLOTTE; OLIVIA; LILY


About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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