Love That Name, but…

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


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27 Responses to “Love That Name, but…”

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Ashley S. Says:

June 21st, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I love our daughter’s name (Isla Maeve) and it fits her perfectly but, as is so often the case, I didn’t realize it was going to be so popular! She’s almost two so she’s ahead of the game, so to speak–and I doubt we’ll run into many Islas in Kentucky, where we currently reside.

susan Says:

June 21st, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Love a bunch of the names that you’ve vetoed, especially Annika. I’m sure you’ll think of something great – let us know what it turns out to be.

Rose.sio2 Says:

June 21st, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I am glad and sad to see our daughters name on your list, Audrey. We had/have the same concerns about her names popularity. In the end I knew it is a name that will climb the charts, I was just hoping it was going to take a little bit longer to start its climb (she is now 5). But we loved it and knew it fir her. In the end I comfort myself be believing it is a classic name like Emily and not a trendy name like Neaveh, and in the end be OK.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

June 21st, 2009 at 10:26 pm

As long as you’re doling out names I’ll gladly take Violeta and Adele off your hands for the third and fourth daughters! But Lorelei, while gorgeous, is decidedly German, not Hawaiian.

Thanks Pam and Linda for the thoughtful mention of Eulalie’s birth. Congratulations too to my fellow new mommies, Esme and Violet are absolutely scrumptous!

peach Says:

June 21st, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Great post! I have such a list including some of the same names…. Here are a few ideas in case any ring fresh or strike you when she has arrived: Elaine, Elspeth, Finella, Iona, Kenzie, Lilias, Maisie, Thora, Aislin, Brigitta, Maela/Maelle/Maelys, Meriel, Riona, Sabrina, Tallulah. Good luck! Let us know what you choose 🙂

Jenny Says:

June 22nd, 2009 at 8:21 am

Great post! My only concern is that if you have a name that you have loved and loved for years and it was always going to be “THE NAME” for you, won’t you possibly regret not using it when you actually have the chance?

Kat Says:

June 22nd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Good post; I’ve thrown the same kind of reasoning back and forth myself the past few months. Most of it is husband-veto, but some of it is that some of the names i love just aren’t very user-friendly. Fiona, for example, is a favorite of my husband and me, but we realized it won’t be an easy name to say four hundred times a day, and has no easy nickname (well, there’s Finn, but Hubz is not a fan). We also like Lily, but on top of the popularity, Lily is hard for me to pronounce, actually. I always feel like I’m lisping with the two “L”s so close together.
However, we are currently considering a name that is very, very popular but has a nickname we love, so I guess it’s an example of bending our own rule. 🙂

Oh – how about Adela instead of Adele? Sounds a bit more flowery and young, and can always be shortened to Adele when you deem her old enough. Just a thought – I love both names!

Kat Says:

June 22nd, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Speaking of recent births; I’m not sure if anyone’s mentioned it on this website, but Heather Armstrong of dooce just had her second baby – Marlo Iris. A great name!

Elizabeth Says:

June 22nd, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Love all the names!! We were had Isla in the running, or at least I did, but DH was afraid of mispronounciation. At least it didn’t look like it could be made fun of though. Anyway, we’re looking strongly at Iris, Lila, Mazzy, and Macy. Little sis is named Zoe, so we would like something short and sweet to go along with that. I liked the idea of keeping it in the Greek family of names to go with Zoe as well. Good luck!

Maren Says:

June 23rd, 2009 at 12:09 am

I don’t think you have a strong grasp of Hawai’ian names. It’s probably best you won’t be using one (or one that you imagine to be Hawai’ian).

Tirzah Says:

June 23rd, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Maybe you were thinking of Leilani, not Lorelai.

kat Says:

June 23rd, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Here’s one that definately hasn’t been heard much (or at all)-’s the old name for the island of Malta and is sweet when you sound it

Emmy Jo Says:

June 24th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I know exactly what you’re talking about. I have a good number of names on my absolute favorites list that just don’t seem quite right now that I’m actually expecting (and realizing the name needs to be applied to a live human being).

Good luck! I do love your discards, so I’m sure the one you settle on will be great.

adele Says:

June 27th, 2009 at 8:07 am

My name is Adele and I am 33 I used it for my daughters middle name. I personally really like it and feel its feminine and exotic but simple.

adele Says:

June 27th, 2009 at 8:08 am

Ps I have never had any nicknames apart from del or delly but delly comes from very very close friends and family very sparingly

Rachael Says:

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:40 pm

My four your old daughter is Adele. As a nickname she gets called ‘Del’ or ‘Della’. She is often called ‘Della Bella’ by family too. We LOVE her name (we are in Australia) and she regularly gets compliments on what a pretty and elegant name it is.
Her middle name is Georgia. I am yet to meet another Adele her age.

JoElle Says:

July 7th, 2009 at 1:28 am

Joelle is only modernly considered a French name (within the last 50 years). It’s actually Hebrew in origin: the feminine of the biblical Joel, which means “Jehovah is God”.

I’ve carried this name for 30 years and absolutely cherish it, even though I am neither Hebrew nor religious. Even though my father insisted on the stylized spelling with two capital letters to reduce confusion, the only problem I have had is frequent mispronunciations: anything from Jo-lee to Jo-el-ah. I guess people will find a way to screw up any name, though! 🙂

ADC Says:

July 22nd, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Have you thought of Alisa? That seems to suit your style. Pronounced UH-lees-ah.

maria Says:

August 19th, 2009 at 1:31 am

my name is maria anything interesting about it.

Robin Says:

September 6th, 2009 at 10:36 am

It’s been years since I named a baby but my advice is if you and your mate really love a name, use it. There will only be one of whatever name you choose in your eyes and there’s no better way to start your loving relationship with your child than with a name you also love! We did and at any one time our children only knew at the most one or two kids with the same name. Things like TV shows that use a name you like will be gone before too long or forgotten so don’t worry about your source of a name you love. If relatives (parents, sibs) balk at a name you mention, they’ll soon like it once they meet the baby – or at least adjust to it!

Kristen Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I love the rare names. I named my daughter Ambriel pronounced like Gabriel, but with Am. My mom hated this name. I found it in a baby name book. Ambriel is the angel of May, the month she was born in. It was the first name my husband and I agreed on.

Jamie Says:

March 1st, 2010 at 3:40 am

Ew, sorry, but Ambriel sounds like an allergy medication. WTF? People come up with some fugly names!!!!

sauggedge Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 8:35 pm

i very adore your writing kind, very interesting,
don’t quit and also keep creating for the reason that it just good worth to look through it,
looking forward to look over more and more of your own writing, good bye 😉

Freya Says:

June 15th, 2010 at 1:31 am

Freya is my name. 🙂 I live in the ‘states, so popularity is not a problem. I just recently found out that it was super popular in England! Wow! I’ve yet to meet anyone with my name, only a cat. I love your other names too! Audrey, Isla, and Annika are some of my favorites.

Joyel Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 12:30 am

I get your intent but not your reasoning. And by way of warning, I will relate that my roommate in college was born to Scottish parents in England. They wanted to name their children names that were unusual over there, so they called them Melanie and Jennifer (early 70’s). To make a long story short, they all four wound up living in the U.S. with the girls bearing very common names. Name your kid what you want. Stop worrying so much about what other people think.
(pre-Gilmore Girls) Lorelei (of German extraction)’s Mom

jojo Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 3:49 pm

My twins are Ailsa and Isla! My Scots husband named them and I love their names. btw, they’re almost 9, so I’m sad that Isla is now an “overused” name–we didn’t know any Islas when she was born. Actually, we still don’t..

Joelle Says:

July 29th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Having legally changed my name to Joelle at 19, I can say I love the name, but it is sometimes misread. In Canada, people say Joel; in the US I often get called Jo-Lee. I guess people read the Joe and then don’t know what else to do with the “lle”. Do Danielles get called Dannie-Lee?
I also get Jolene, Joanne, and Joellen. I answer to all of them. **sigh** but I still like it better than the one I had.
My advice is to give your child a name that makes his or her life easier, not harder. Been there, changed it.

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