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Name Sage: A Sibling for Mars

January 12, 2016 Abby Sandel

Leonie writes:

My wife, Anita, and I are expecting our second child in late January. She insisted we keep the gender a secret, since that’s what we did with our son, but we have run into a very important problem:

We can’t decide on a name!

Anita loves shorter names. For a boy, she loves Ezra, Asher, Miles, Finn, and Liam. For girls, she adores Thea, Lila, and June.

However, I prefer longer names. For boys I have dreamed about having a Maddox, Graham, Everett, Grayson, or August. Girl names are trickier for me, but names like Florence, Harper, Everly, or Josephine have caught my attention. Although I think we might settle on Thea for a girl, if we can’t find another compromise, since that’s one of the names I don’t mind.

Our first child has a longer name with a nickname, and that might work again. He’s named Marcus River, although we call him Mars.

As for middle names, neither of us have any special honor names in mind. River was the name of our hometown, and the only sentimental name we had lined up. Since we’re huge nerds, though, and we both loved the new Star Wars movie, we considered Finley as a middle name.

Our last name sounds like Carson.

Time is running out for us, so we’re open to a lot of suggestions!

The Name Sage replies:

I think you’ve got a great formula for compromise, and it worked so well with your son’s name! Let’s see if we can come up with longer formal names with shorter nicknames that will please you both.

While there are plenty of longer, nickname-rich names, we’re looking for one that’s similar to Marcus/Mars. That means the formal name should be a little more traditional, and the nickname name slightly bolder.

Happily, there’s no shortage of possibilities. Let’s start with names suggested by your current list of maybes, and I’ll add a few more ideas, too. (And our readers always have the best comments!)

A Brother for Mars

Finn – This seems like the obvious place to start! While Finn is more mainstream than Mars, it has some serious space opera cool thanks to the new Star Wars hero. Plus Finn has history galore, a name from Irish myth and American literature. There’s no shortage of longer name options here: Finley, which is already on your middle name list. There’s also Finnegan, Fintan, and even Finnick – which is a Hunger Games name, but one that I think works in real life.

GrayGrayson is already on your list of longer names. It’s pretty popular, but Gray is a little less common. It seems like a potential compromise, though I’m not sure that Gray is a big enough name to pair well with Mars.

DashDash, on the other hand, seems like the kind of surprising, lively choice that holds its own next to Mars. It’s most often short for the literary Dashiell, which sounds like a good potential brother for Marcus. Mars and Dash; Marcus and Dashiell. I think they balance well.

Luc, Luca, Luke – All that talk of Star Wars made me think of the Luke names! It’s a great family of names, as ancient as Marcus, but with a very current vibe. Lucas might be too close to Marcus, but other options for a longer name include Lucian, Lucius, and Luciano.

JudeJude isn’t traditionally short for Julian, but it’s been associated with the name ever since The Beatles recorded, “Hey Jude” – written by Paul McCartney for John Lennon’s son, Julian. It’s opened the door to using Jude as a short form of Julian or even Julius. Marcus and Julius are a lot of ancient name together, but I think they work well. Jules is another potential short form, one that reminds me of Miles.

A Sister for Mars

Let’s move on to the girls’ names. Again, I think you’ve got some great options on your lists already.

JuneJune is a great name to lengthen. There’s nature name Juniper, ancient Junia, literary rarity Djuna, and classic Julianne. Julianne might be my favorite because, like Marcus, the nickname is formed by contraction. But I think Juniper is a great sister name for Marcus, too, and any of the longer names could work.

LilaLila isn’t traditionally associated with a longer name, but it could be short for Lillian, as well as any of the Lily names – the French Liliane, the Spanish Liliosa, or the Welsh Lilwen. Other possibilities include Delilah and Kelilah.

Thea – It sounds like Thea is your frontrunner if this baby is a girl. Theodora and Dorothea are the logical longer names, but you might also consider Theresa, Alethea – a Greek name meaning truth – or Anthea, another Greek name, this time related to flowers and the goddess Hera.

Evie, Eva – Since Everly is on your list, I wonder if one of the many Ev- names combined with nickname Eva or Evie, or even just Eve, would appeal? From stylish choices like Everly, Evangeline, and Genevieve, to much rarer names like Everild and Evolet, there are plenty of names that could easily lead to the nickname Evie.

Cora Thea makes me think of Cora. They’re both vintage names that stand well on their own, but do have a lot of formal name possibilities. Cordelia, Coralie, and Corisande are a few of my favorite longer Cor– names, but there are more.

For middle names, I think that Finley seems like perfection. It works well for a boy or a girl. It speaks to something your family is passionate about, and yet it’s more subtle than naming your child Thea BebeEight or Luna Rey Lyra. It also pairs beautifully with most of the names on this list: Grayson Finley, Juniper Finley, Theresa Finley. And, of course, there are other forms of Finn to consider, too, including just Finn.

From the names we’ve discussed so far, I do like some form of Finn for a son, though that sends you back to the drawing board for a middle name. For girls, since Thea is your frontrunner, I wonder if Alethea Finley, called Thea, would work? It gives both children a longer, and ancient, formal name, a fun nickname, and a middle name with meaning.

Readers, what would suggest to Leonie and Anita for their baby on the way?

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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