Name Sage: Baby Names for a Fourth Daughter
We are due with our fourth daughter in May and are so excited.
Our inspiration for their names came from our love of our Scottish/Irish heritage and girlie classic names. All of their middles are family names. Middle name options for this baby include Rachel, Susan, Dorothy, River, and Jane.
We need help naming this daughter. Nothing seems right! Ideally we want it to be soft and feminine but something you don’t hear all the time. It’s been hard because I don’t want names to sound similar (like Brynn and Quinn). If possible we’d like to go into meeting her with at least two names to pick from.
The Name Sage replies:
But when we’re choosing names in the real world, over several years, it gets fuzzier. Our tastes change. The names we’ve chosen rule out future possibilities, like Brynn and Quinn. Names that were favorites in 2007 or 2011 seem all wrong by 2016.
So where to begin? Your tastes are eclectic, and that’s perfectly fine. But it does make it harder to build a shortlist. Samantha sounds like Juliana’s sister, while Dylan feels like a great match with Ailey.
It seems like the best fit might be a tailored name (like Brynn) that’s traditionally feminine (like Juliana), and not very common (like Ailey). Bonus points, of course, if we can find something with Irish or Scottish roots.
Clover – The beauty of word names is that they can be rare as given names, but are easy to spell and pronounce. Clover has never ranked in the US Top 1000, but it fits in with popular names like surname Harper and botanical Lily. It’s also a symbol of Ireland. Ailey, Juliana, Brynn, and Clover Jane sound like a quartet as memorable as the March sisters.
Emerald – Like Clover, Emerald is more of a word name than an Irish heritage pick. And yet I think it works beautifully as a nod to the Emerald Isle. It’s also a longer name, so I think it bridges the gap between brief Brynn and elaborate Juliana. While Em– names like Emily and Emma have been the Number One pick in the US, Emerald has never been very common.
Drew – Drew is typically given to boys – especially since it is short for the classic Andrew. But Drew Barrymore has helped this name seem more accessible for girls. I’m including it because Andrew is a name that seems effortlessly Scottish. Paired with one of the more feminine family middles, it might work nicely. Drew Dorothy, maybe?
Adair – Like Drew, Adair has Scottish roots. While it’s used for boys and girls in the US, the handful of fictional Adairs have tended to be women. It gives all four of your daughters’ names different ending sounds, too, which makes them even more distinctive.
Eira – Eira is a Welsh name meaning snow. You’ve mentioned Irish and Scottish roots, but the Welsh Dylan makes me wonder if you’d consider this name, too. I’m tempted to pronounce it like Air-ah, but it’s actually a long A sound – AYE rah. Because Eir is also the name of a Norse goddess of healing, Eira can be considered a modern Scandinavian name, too.
Esme – But is Eira too unusual? For something more accessible, I wonder if you would consider Esme? It has French roots, but it came into use as a given name in Scotland. It has a great meaning – beloved – and, again, a different ending sound than Ailey, Juliana, and Brynn.
Maeve – Back to Ireland for a short name that I think might work really well – Maeve. In Irish legend, Maeve is a warrior queen. It’s a strong name, but one that is clearly feminine, too. It fits right in with stylish names like Ava and Evelyn, but feels distinctive.
Sloane – Sloane is an Irish surname name, but it feels solidly feminine thanks to the first famous use – Sloane Peterson, Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend in the iconic 1980s movie. It doesn’t sound anything like Brynn, but they’re both short, single-syllable names – so I’m not sure if that’s too similar for your tastes.
Overall, my favorites for you are Esme and Maeve. Esme River or Maeve Dorothy, maybe? They both reflect Scottish (Esme) and Irish (Maeve) heritage, are feminine but frills-free, and they’re unusual, but not too out there.
P.S. Have you seen the latest updates? We have birth announcements for three of our past Ask the Name Sage posts! Visit A Brother for Ivan Lawrence, A Sister for Ellie, Tessa, and Drew, and A Brother for Charles Alasdair to learn the names the families chose!
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on April 5th, 2016 at 11:23 pm
Maeve is a great choice! I don’t think any of the others sound very feminine. Bridget, Brigid, or Moira would also be a great Irish choice!
on April 6th, 2016 at 7:40 am
I like the suggestion of Adair, Abby!
Not sure why but the name Sabra popped into my head. Sabra Jane would be nice.
Other suggestions that are feminine but not too girly (and therefore could straddle Brynn and Juliana):
on April 6th, 2016 at 8:04 am
I like Maeve!
on April 6th, 2016 at 9:33 am
Eira, Clover, and Emerald are just the right mix of different and unusual. Great suggestions!
on April 6th, 2016 at 9:57 am
Eira is a really nice name, but it’s just a little too close to Ailey’s name for my taste. 🙂 I love the idea of Maeve Dorothy, though!
Good luck and congratulations!
on April 6th, 2016 at 10:07 am
Clover Jane sounds lovely.
Another suggestion: Isobel. The Scottish versies of Isabel with a strong meaning.
Good luck and congratulations!
on April 6th, 2016 at 11:35 am
GREER! This fabulous Scottish name fits well with your style.
on April 6th, 2016 at 12:08 pm
I love Maeve!
Some other ideas:
on April 6th, 2016 at 12:09 pm
Love Abby’s suggestions of Clover, Adair, Esme & Sloane. I think they all hit the right note in uniting the sisters but being distinct.
on April 6th, 2016 at 1:22 pm
Maeve is my favourite out of all the suggestions and seems to fit the best to me
Elspeth, Maerhed, Niamh (pronounced Neve), Ferelith and Muriel are ones I personally think would suit the requirements. They all have diffferent beginning and endings too
on April 6th, 2016 at 2:57 pm
Perhaps (& pardon any repeats):
Good luck! 🙂
on April 6th, 2016 at 4:26 pm
I like your style, Patricia! Abby’s suggestion of Eira made me think of Elira. I think it means light in…Hebrew? Not Scottish, but it seems like a fit.
on April 6th, 2016 at 8:30 pm
Delaney would be a cute fit!
on April 6th, 2016 at 9:39 pm
I like Maeve best of the Sage’s options. Niamh and Rhiannon could also work well.
on April 7th, 2016 at 7:17 am
I see Jane in your picks for middle names, my mum’s middle name is Jayne and If I ever have a daughter one day my favorite name to go with Jane/Jayne is Rebeca (yes only one C) I like names that have nicknames e.g Beca, Bec Becs. Also I think Rebeca goes well with Ailey, Juliana, and Brynn. Hope this helped a little 🙂
on April 7th, 2016 at 8:46 am
Tara Jane or Regan (ray-gan) Jane.
on April 7th, 2016 at 5:42 pm
I just love both Clover and Maeve! Clover seems so sweet and in my mind flows beautifully with the three older girls’ names.
on April 7th, 2016 at 11:02 pm
I think the name Emery would be perfect for your little family! Its soft, feminine, pretty, and not something you hear all the time! I think Emery Jane could be a beautiful name 🙂
on April 8th, 2016 at 7:24 am
on April 8th, 2016 at 10:50 am
From your notes I love Nina Dorothy! (I know you said Nina was out, but it truly is simple yet fiminine).
I like Abby’s suggestions of Esme and Maeve. Esme Rachael or Maeve Susan are both nice.
My suggestion is Elva. Again I find it simple yet fiminine, and it is an Irish name. I love Elva Jane or Elva Susan.
Good Luck and Congrats!
on April 8th, 2016 at 1:12 pm
I think Clover, Maeve, and Sloane all sound great on their own and with her sisters’s names
on April 10th, 2016 at 12:06 pm
Maeve, Esme, and Adair all seemed like good options. Sloane makes me think of many negative sl- words like slimey, slither, etc. Clover seems a bit too out there for the sibset. Isn’t Brynn Welsh, not Scottish? I’d suggest:
on April 10th, 2016 at 10:29 pm
Great choices! Between the ones listed, and the additions here I like:
Greer Jane (not sure if this one feminine enough though)
I love Delaney, but don’t like it with any of the family middle names:(
on April 11th, 2016 at 10:08 am
Sorry for any repeats….
Ailey, Juilana, Brynn & Lark
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Saoirse
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Fiona
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Claire
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Emme
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Emerald
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Keira
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Leah
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Erin
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Sinead
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Siobhan
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Tierney
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Keva
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Dervla
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Aoife
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Nola
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Flannery
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Carwen (not Irish but gorgeous and Welsh as I think Brynn is)
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Adelaide
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Shannon
Ailey, Juliana, Brynn & Caelie
My favourites for you would be Maeve or out of mine.. Fiona, Claire, Sinead, Nola, Aoife, Tierney and Flannery. Good luck
on April 23rd, 2016 at 6:00 am
My favourites are :
Good luck !
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