Name Sage: Debating Another A Name

Name Sage: Debating Another A Name

Caroline writes:

I'm in a bit of a pickle. Though I'm excited about getting to reach out as I've been a fan of this advice blog for a long time!

We have two children: Alexander Richard and Aurora Jean.

They're special names and they came easily to us. As a history enthusiast and enjoyer of classics and mythology, they go really well together. But they feel modern, too. Their meanings are significant – defender and dawn.

And as it happens, they both start with A.

Their middle names are family names and their last name is a single syllable name starting with R.

Now we have a third baby on the way.

I had a boy name all picked out: August. It fits all the criteria, plus it's a beautiful name that I love.

But it’s a girl - and I have absolutely nothing!

I know we don't *have* to choose another A name but I also don't want her to stick out like a sore thumb.

We’ve considered Agatha (this is probably our favorite), Agnes, Augusta, Astrid, and Arwen – though I don't know if I could actually name my daughter Arwen.

Our cat is named Arya, which further complicates things.

In addition, I love Luna and Willow.

Willow is my favorite. Like I actually love it.

It's very peaceful, delicate, and a little witchy. It has the fantasy flair of Aurora or Arwen but still feels grounded in nature. It doesn't have any deep meaning behind it, it's from a totally different background and the W initial comes out of nowhere. But I'm helplessly drawn to it! I guess I'm just stuck. What if we choose the wrong name? This was so easy before!

The Name Sage replies:

Breaking a pattern can feel like such a risk! What if it makes our new child feel left out?

As it happens, my daughter is the lone C in a family of As, and when she noticed? It was Very Much A Thing.

For about a week, maybe two.

What I learned is this:

If your child’s name has a great story and rationale behind it, then you’re not breaking a pattern. You’re continuing to choose the names you love for your children – and there’s no better gift.

Alexander, Aurora, and Willow sound great together, for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. Aurora and Willow make great sister names – they both relate to the natural world and bridge that traditional/modern divide effortlessly.

But that’s not really your question, right?  

The key is to determine if Willow beats out every other A name. My hunch is that it will. Because Agatha – or Astrid or Arwen - checks all of the same boxes, but you’re not quite sold.

So let’s consider more A names that fit with Alexander and Aurora. A names that feel strong, with significant meanings, and a blend of the old and the new. While they vary from Top 100 to fairly obscure, I think they’d all pair nicely with Alexander and Aurora.


Regal Adelaide fits in with Adeline (and Adelyn and Adalynne), but sounds just a little different, too.


From the Spanish word for soul, vintage Alma feels right at home in this moment.


You’ve considered Astrid. Would this Scandinavian form of Anna appeal?


Long and elaborate, Antonella fits right in with a generation of girls called Isabella, but is far less expected.


Visually, it’s close to Arya. But Anya sounds completely different.


A goddess of the hunt, Artemis is sleek and strong.


Or, if goddess names appeal, why not Athena? While the name is more popular than Artemis, it’s still beyond the current US Top 100.


A mystical place from the legends of King Arthur, Avalon falls midway between Arwen and Augusta.

Avalon is my favorite for you.

Despite sharing a first initial, Alexander, Aurora, and Avalon all sound like completely separate names. And Avalon seems to check every box. It comes from the legends of King Arthur. In Celtic myth, Avalon was paradise – a worthy meaning that fits with defender and dawn.

But is Avalon – or Artemis or Annika – a better choice than Willow?

After reviewing this list and your list, there’s still no A name that jumps out, well …

Then your daughter already has a (beautiful) name.

You might consider something like Willow Augustine or Willow Agatha. It might mean forgoing a family middle, but Willow Augustine is staggeringly gorgeous. And she still has an A name – just in the middle spot instead of the first.

Readers, tell us – have you had to choose between continuing a pattern and starting fresh? What would you suggest for Alexander Richard and Aurora Jean’s new sister? Please visit the forums to share your suggestions.