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Name Sage: A Short, Spiritually Meaningful Name

May 26, 2015 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel

Tanecia writes:

We are expecting our third child. We have a boy and a girl already: Cruz Andres and Veda Josephine. I like that both of their names are four letters (though we’re not committed to four letters) and have spiritual ties, but I can’t seem to find a name that I truly love for a third child.

Our top names so far are Makaio and Eden. We have some family names we might use for the middles. I would love if you could offer me any suggestions at all. I don’t have any set rules for the names, but I want to love it, and I also want it to flow with Cruz and Veda.

Our last name is a long, common one – starts with an R, ends with a ‘z’ sound.

The Name Sage replies:

Cruz and Veda are so perfectly matched! They’re culture-spanning names with subtle, spiritual ties. Neither name is common. Both feel like names that would wear well throughout life.

This makes for a few challenges with naming a third child. A name like Noah or Maya would fit in some ways, but could also feel too ordinary compared to style stand-outs like Cruz and Veda. Much as I love the name Eden, and think it hits the right notes for many reasons, would you be upset if Eden shared her name with other kids – often? Over 2,000 girls were named Eden last year, and more than 2,000 the year before that, too. That’s about twice as many as Cruz, and ten times as many as Veda!

Makaio – the Hawaiian form of Matthew – might actually go too far in the other direction. Cruz and Veda are unusual, distinctive names, but they’re easy to say and spell. Makaio fits with your global, eclectic style. But is it too much name?

Now, let’s talk about name length. You’ve said that you don’t feel strongly about sticking to four letters, and there are plenty of great names that break the pattern. Plenty of siblings have names of different lengths, in terms of letters and syllables.

That said, there are some great names that happen to come in at four letters and meet your other criteria, too. So I’m inclined to keep my other suggestions on the shorter side.

Since you’re not certain about Eden and Makaio, let’s see if we can brainstorm some new name possibilities. If none of these feel quite right, it might be a signal that Eden and Makaio are The Right Names after all!

Boys’ names first:

  • KoaKoa looks like a creative spin on Noah. Not so. Koa is a type of tree native to Hawaii, and the word means warrior. The name is fierce and gentle at once. If you decide that sticking with four letters matters, I’ve also seen it spelled Koah.
  • Zion Eden always makes me think of Zion. It’s undeniably spiritual. However, it’s been nearly as popular as Eden in recent years, so while the sound and meaning seem ideal, it’s not necessarily as unusual as Veda and Cruz.
  • Tyge – Here’s a name seldom heard in the US. Astronomer Tycho Brahe would have been called Tyge in his native Denmark. It sounds like the first syllable of tiger. Cruz, Veda, and Tyge. It comes from a Greek name and means “hitting the mark.”
  • Kito – I love the idea of an ends-in-o name for baby #3. Kito is definitely unusual in the US – it’s a Swahili name that means precious jewel. Kito feels energetic, distinctive, and a good match for Cruz and Veda.
  • Caio – Here’s my favorite of the many ends-in-o options. It comes from the Latin Caius – rejoice. I understand it’s reasonably popular in Brazil, but I’ve never met a Caio in the US. The first syllable sounds like the increasingly familiar Kai.

Now, on to names for girls:

  • Ciel Ciel is the French word for sky, and also heaven. In Spanish, it’s Cielo, and you might respell it Cielle to make the pronunciation more obvious. I think of Ciel as a great substitute for Eden – a spiritual name that packs a lot of meaning into just a few letters, and has a very current sound.
  • Vrai – Maybe I’m stuck on French names because of Ciel. Or maybe I’m suggesting Vrai for all the right reasons. Vrai has a bold, unexpected sound – it rhymes with fray. And Vrai’s meaning is great, too – truth. I like the way that Vrai and Veda share a V, but maybe the names are too close?
  • Ever – As word names go, Ever is much more straightforward than Vrai. Plus, Ever still has that great ‘v’ sound: Cruz, Veda, and Ever.
  • Zuri – Another Swahili name, this time meaning good or beautiful. It’s sometimes heard for boys, but has been catching on for girls in the US in recent years.
  • Naia Naia might feel like a twist on the very popular Mia/Maya names. But Naia is also a Basque name meaning wave. It’s popular in Spain, but uncommon in the US. Cruz, Veda, and Naia.

From the two lists, I’m most drawn to Caio for a boy and Ciel for a girl – though I do feel like the possibilities are endless!

Readers, what would you suggest to go with Cruz and Veda? And would you stick with four letters, or move on?

Updated, 12.28.15: He’s here! Welcome to Koa Nigel West.

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.

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