Middle Names: What’s your favorite kind?

Middle names are, in many ways, the place where you can get most adventurous with your choices.

Or are they?

What, in your opinion, is the best kind of middle name to choose?

A creative name that you might love but that you wouldn’t dare put in first place?

A name with important symbolism — the city where your child was conceived, the name of a personal hero?

Or maybe you see the middle name as the ideal place to represent family:  to use the baby’s father’s first name, for instance, or pass down grandma’s maiden name or honor a family member who is recently deceased.

Or the middle name to you might be an opportunity to create flow and melody in a name, and so you look for a middle name with the perfect combination of syllables and sounds.

Our question of the week is: What’s your favorite kind of middle name?  And how did you play that out with the names of your own children — or how might you do so in the future?

Tell all… and then come on over and like us on Facebook to continue the discussion, meet your fellow berries, and get insider baby name news.

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44 Responses to “Middle Names: What’s your favorite kind?”

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PenelopeAnn Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 12:18 am

Mostly, I think of middle names in terms of flow. However, most of the names on our middle names list also have either personal meaning or honors a family member.

I wouldn’t say that names we like for the middle spot are more daring than the first names. I think our middle name choices usually tame our first name preferences.

mill1020 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 12:54 am

My favorite middles honor a family member. In fact, our oldest has the same full name as his great-grandfather. We were true to the honoring-middle rule for our first two kids, then deviated with numbers three and four. I regret not honoring my one of my grandmas with our daughter’s middle, because we might not get another chance!

chi1127 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:32 am

I prefer middles that flow and honor family. My son has his father’s first name as his middle name, and I really want to honor my grandmother in the middle spot whenever we have our second child. And I really like long middle names to offset our short surname.

tfzolghadr Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 3:08 am

I simply love when middle names add a little spice, whether through honoring family members or an important place… or whatever. For us, the middle name will be used to preserve DH’s Persian heritage. The first names may end up being from Iran or from the West, but we’ll keep the mn as a heritage place. This also assures that his family will have a name to call the kids by that they can easily remember and pronounce. I’m not daring enough to use Hasti, Bardiya, Baran, Pasha, Asal, etc. as a first name… but they’re great as middles…

Polina Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 3:34 am

A perfect middle to me is one that flows, is creative and has a special meaning at the same time. I don’t believe in naming children after family members (I don’t have a problem with other people using family names, of course, this applies only to me), but I’d love to honor personal heros.

Elizabethclaire Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 3:53 am

I think that middle names, if possible, should honour someone that is important to you or your partner, the name should flow well with the first and for me personally, I would use a middle name that is a bit more tame and mainstream as I tend to like more unique names.

megank4 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 4:16 am

We have chosen the first names of our mothers for our girl, and plan on doing so for any future children. While I quite like my middle name, and think it goes well with my first name, it doesn’t have any meaning to me.

lizibet2 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 4:51 am

Personally, I love names that flow and that mean something too!

My MNs are Rhiannon and Lucy after my parents two favourite songs (Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac and Lucy In the sky with diamonds by the Beatles). I love that my name has such meaning to my parents! My first name is Elizabeth after my dads cousin who he was born next to!

My OH and I love names that mean something to us or that honour relatives. And that’s what we plan on using. I know a lovely couple who went all the way back to the 1800s of her family tree and found Aleksander which they chose (if it was a girl it was going to be Sofka). I love it!

Fourthseason Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 4:58 am

I’m pretty open minded with our mn choices. I love having 2 mn that way it gives our more room to honor both family and whatever we choose. I’m actually using two middle names as a way to honor family tradition so that the mn themselves are open to be whatever we prefer. I’m leaning toward one mn bearing something with meaning and one for fun to spice it up.

linguaphile Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 6:53 am

I think of a middle name as being the space to use something meaningful, whether that’s through a spicier name or one that honours someone. We chose a family middle for one of our girls and something meaningful–the season I got pregnant which also happened to be the name of a friend (Winter)–for the other.

rainierloner Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 8:07 am

For me it depends on the first name. If I already honored someone in the first, why would I need to in the second? I prefer a full name that flows well and sounds good. My middle name must have meaning and also. Rarely will I choose random names for a middle; I choose specific meanings and sounds. Good question. 🙂

chellemma1 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 9:27 am

What the middle name sounds like with the first name and surname is not really important to me, I would not pick a middle name (or discount one for that reason). Apart from that I’m pretty undecided about what type of middle name I’d prefer to go for. I like the idea of honouring family (I particularly want to honour my god mother and my granny). Also where I’m from (as well as in my family) it’s traditional to use family surnames or place names in the middle spot – I like this idea and would particularly want to use my maiden name as a middle name for a child. I also like the idea of using the child’s birth month, season or even day as a middle name. Another side of me however wants to use eccentric, out there names that I wouldn’t be brave enough to use as first names – I love gem stone names and mythology names but I can’t imagine myself naming my child Sapphire, Persephone or Thor, they’d all make awesome middles though.

gjkp2010 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Tradition in my family is 2 middle names. My brother and I both have family names, while my younger brother and sister just have random middles. For my daughter I chose a family name and the second middle is a name I like. I wouldn’t say they are any more daring than her first name because I gave her a first name that is unpronounceable in English. Although, her first name is a family name as well, so that outweighed anything else.

jessamine13 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 9:31 am

I like creative middle names, named that parents really love but mightbe just a bit too much for a first name.

wildewest Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 9:43 am

I feel like with my first boy and girl, the MN will be honorific of family. Any consecutive children will have more creative middles, that way they have a professional name for the top of a resume and a more adventurous name that they can go by if it better fits their character.

indiefendi Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 11:06 am

For girls, I like pretty and strong names that flow with the first name.

lindsW Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 11:07 am

I prefer MNs that honor family members, for sure. My brother and I have first names our parents simply liked, but our middles are family names, which gives connection and a story to our names, rather than “oh, my parents liked it.” If my fiance and I end up using family names as firsts, I may reverse that, but right now, it looks like we’ll continue the trend of first-is-one-we-like and middle-is-someone-we-honor.

kalebsmom Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 11:13 am

My sister and I both have two middles, all family names, and I did the same with my son. The flow of the two middle names together doesn’t matter to me in the least, it’s all about who we’re honoring. However I do care about how the first name sounds with the first middle, as I use them together on a regular basis. He’s Kaleb Gordon almost as often as Kaleb, but if I say Kaleb Gordon Preston it’s always followed by the last name and usually means he’s in trouble. : )

lesliemarion Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 11:14 am

All of the above!
I love honoring family middle names, words or names that are too daring to be used for a first name, place names, flower names, and above all, names that flow well.
Not Marie or Lynn, but I chose Elizabeth as a second middle name for my daughter in part because it sounded good to me with the other three names.

marshmallow1207 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 11:15 am

Obviously, a middle name has to flow for me. Middle names that don’t flow can completely throw off a name. But I absolutely love creative, unexpected middle names. I tend to really like word names for the middle, like Lark, Snow, and Joy. A middle name for me has to be spunky and add a little extra personality to the name. My middle name is very typical of the era that I was born in, and a ton of girls I know have it, so I just love when middle names are offbeat, unlike mine.

sharimsh Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

My personal preference for my kiddos is a combo of family honoring, meaning of name, and flow.

DS has my great-grandfather’s first name (which was one of our favorite names also), and his father’s first name (which is also his grandfather’s first name) for the middle name. The flow is awesome, and while the meaning of his middle name is not one I would have picked, it was a very strong family name and a name we both loved.

DD has a first name that we both liked. It isn’t really a family name (although we found a g-g-g-grandma on my husband’s side with a variant of the name), but we loved the name and the meaning (and was the only girl name we could agree on at the time). Her middle name is a family name, although we changed the spelling to indicate 2 syllable vs. 3 syllable pronunciation since her first name is 4 syllables. I wanted a one syllable middle (Mae, Joy, Grace, etc.), but most of them are “noun names” as my husband likes to call them which he’s not fond of. He wanted a 4 syllable middle (because we both like that name), but I told him that the flow was terrible and if i couldn’t holler the entire name without having to take a breath, it was no good. 😉

For others, the only thing that kinda bugs me is either when they slur together (first name ends in the same sound that the middle name starts with) or when the flow just doesn’t work and there is no meaning behind the middle other than they just liked it. I prefer names to have some sort of significance to the family over flow. 🙂

_blackbird Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

With my first kiddo, I thought I was going to use a middle name that I loved but husband vetoed as the first name. As my due date got closer I changed my mind and picked a family name.

I think anything can go for the middle name (fun, family, flow, etc). I really like when a trendier FN has a more traditional MN.

encore Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

For boys I definitely like using family names in the middle. My family (and my boyfriend’s – the person I someday plan to have children with – family) typically uses the father or grandfather’s name in the middle, but I would also consider my maiden name, or another last name in the family. For girls I do gravitate towards stereotypical “fillers” like Lynn, Marie, Grace, but I would also consider using a famiy name, first or last.

MaryKathryn Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

When I think of middle names I think of an opportunity for a chance to incorporate unique names that I love, but would never name my child, an opportunity to honor my heroes, and an opportunity to pay tribute to my family! Middle names can sometimes be more important to me than first names, I just believe they offer such flair to an already gorgeous name!

BlueYorkie Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:31 pm

When I have kids someday, I want to start a tradition with two middle names. The first name will be a name future husband and I like, one middle will be a family name, and one middle may be a little more adventurous.

leahchristine Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:38 pm

My middle name is Christine. I share it with my grandma. John is my brother’s middle name, and Johnson is my grandma’s maiden name and John was my great-grandpa’s nickname. His real name was Doris Clinton, so John is quite a bit better. I love my mom’s name, Dorothy, and would consider using Dorothy/Thea as a mn.

MariaF Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I think Family names and names that flow with the first name.

SadieJosephine Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Yeah, the middle names make the connection. I like it when first, middle, and last names flow really nicely together–especially if you have a tough last name to make it work with.
Other than that, I don’t have a particular style. I like being able to use initials, like J., for instance–P.J., R.J., A.J. And, I like the names Josephine and Xavier, one because it’s a family name, my middle name, and just works with so many girls’ middle names–and the other, just because I love it and it sounds so awesome with most of the boys’ names that I lean toward using.

AmandaJean21 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Mostly I think it’s a perfect place for honoring family, however, with my youngest Ron we picked Rhys as his middle name because we love Rhys but didn’t want it as his first name (I sort of wish we had chosen it as his first name now though). Flow does matter though, with our long last name I would feel weird with a short first name and long mn, it would be very unbalanced. I prefer 2 syllable first name then either 1 or 2 syllable middle name. With our next child, the middle name will be a honoring family, even if it doesn’t 100 % perfectly flow because we really like to use that spot for meaning.

AmandaJean21 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:55 pm

At should say with our youngest son, Colton. (Not Ron, lol)

hermioneameliastyles Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 2:58 pm

A middle name has to be a name that my child might like to be called if they dislike their first name. However I also feel that the first name and middle name must flow together. It doesn’t matter to me if it honors someone or if it has some other significance. I feel all that really matters is if I like the name and it fits with the first name. My name has no significance what so ever Hermione was just a name my parents liked and Amelia was gotten from a friend who has that as her middle name. Although sometimes people think I’m related to Harry Styles…sorry to disappoint you. I am in no relation to him what so ever.

CandaceMarie321 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

We chose middle names for our three oldest sons (Theodore Martin, Kaelen Arthur, and Jensen Joshua) that are significant to us through our families–our fathers and grandfathers, my husband’s name. But for our fourth boy, Christian Malcolm, expected this May, we chose a middle name that both honors my husband’s Scottish heritage and gives our son the same initials as his Mommy since I don’t get to name any girls.
If we had had a girl we almost certainly would have used Marie somehow since that is my grandmother’s name and my mother-in-law’s middle name. We had also considered Kjersti which comes from way back in my mom’s family line and my dad really likes, but is WAY too Scandinavian for American tongues.

auroradawn Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I like firsts and middles to balance each other well. If the first name is more well-known and traditional, I like a more offbeat middle to spice things up a bit. An example from my list is James Deliverance. If the first is more adventurous, a more traditional middle can ground the combo nicely–for example, Crispin Isaiah. Sound and flow are also important to me; while I’m still unmarried and just playing with my lists, I enjoy creating “perfect” combos, ones that have optimal sound, flow and meaning. If I do marry and end up contemplating names for a real baby, my husband’s preferences and names that are meaningful to us may well trump sound and flow.

nlane825 Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I think the middle’s main purpose should be balance and flow. Whether that is balancing length, sound, feel, etc. If you have a super short first I think the middle should be a bit longer to even out syllables. If you choose an overly feminine/ masculine first, maybe go for more of a neutral or less feminine/ masculine middle or visa versa. And the list goes on. I tend to lean towards more feminine or classic first names for
girls so I like middle names like Maple or Wren because it offsets that sugary sweet first name well (plus I love nature but don’t want to sound too hippy-ish so these are a tribute to a mutual love that my husband and I have).

mel_finch Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I go for sound and flow over significance, since the names will likely have to change to honor future husband’s family as well as my own. I really like it when people use family names as middles, though. My first and middle names are my grandmothers’ names, and my Confirmation name (my choice) is after my great-aunt.

I usually put my longer, more adventurous favorites in the middle spot, like Fitzgerald and Wednesday. I know a girl whose middle name is Apple, which is fantastic because she has a classic first name and the quirkiness balances it out perfectly.

ozdust Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 6:37 pm

For me a middle name is to honour someone, but I also go for flow/style.
Example: My Grandmother’s mn is Mae, which is a little too plain for me. Her family parents are Irish, so I my mn pick for if I have a 2nd girl is Maeve 🙂
All the mns I have picked for future children honour someone important to me or SO.

jacquigirl Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

I feel strongly that a middle name should have personal meaning, not just be something you like. I do like middles that flow and are original, but if the middle Grace or Rose or Anne had a very significant meaning to me, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.

Llumeneres Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I like middle names with meaning. My middle is Indian (it’s my mom’s maiden name) and I love the fact that it not only flows well with my first and last, but has an important personal connection. I like the idea of using the mother’s maiden name as a middle.


ashleyf Says:

January 29th, 2014 at 10:30 pm

To me, middle names have meaning. My middle name is my mother and grandmother’s middle name. I think if I don’t give my children middle names after family members, they’ll probably have some other type of sentimental meaning – after a place, or maybe a name with a meaning I want them to have. I’d like to pass on my middle name to my daughter someday.

mge28 Says:

January 30th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I think middle names should have some special meaning. My future kids will probably have middle names that really mean something to me. Something to honor my parents, grandparents, best friend, favorite band, etc.

Klouie Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I love the idea of honoring family history, parents/grandparents or heritage in a middle name. With that being said, I hate it when the name sounds forced! I am all for creativity in honoring someone but don’t mash two names together just to honor bother grandmothers in one child. My middle name is Rae which is after my grandfather’s middle name, Raymond.
My kids will have Chinese middle names to honor my husband’s paternal heritage.

sarahdoodle Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 10:00 pm

My favorite middle names flow well with the first name and either honor a special person or have a special meaning. I go back and forth between one middle or two. I like the simplicity of one but love that two gives more options for honoring someone/something special and still getting a little creative. My parents chose the names of saints they love for mine and my siblings’ middles. I’ll definitely keep with this tradition if I use two middles.

EmmaF Says:

February 1st, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I reckon a middle name ought to balance out the first name, syllable-wise, and popularity-wise. I have a very common name (Emma) and my middle name is my mother’s surname. I would have loved to have a decent middle name I could switch to and stop having such a ridiculously common name, but unfortunately the surname (Joel) isn’t really useable. Nor could I go by Jo or something because that’s my grandma. So I think it’s important to have a possibility if the kid doesn’t like their name.

arunciblespoon Says:

February 3rd, 2014 at 10:05 am

There’s something indulgent about a second or third name, after all you don’t actually need more than one name; which is why I think middle names are really for the parents, a chance to choose something creative or fun or perhaps that relates to an interest or hobby and might be a little too out there for a first name. I might go for Ophelia, Freya or Plum for a girl and Xavier, Whit or Ignatius for a boy.

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