Name Sage: He hates my favorite name

She loves Rory, but her partner says no way! Will their daughter ever have a name?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

Tilly writes:

We’re expecting a baby girl and my fiancé loves names such as Britney, Sarah, and even Sally!   There is only one name that gets me excited when I think about naming our baby girl: Rory. I love it!

But my fiancé wants nothing to do with it.

I’ve even tried pitching Aurora so we could call her Rory but no luck. Also Rory for a girl’s name receives some backlash since it is originally a boy’s name. I’ve looked up similar names but have yet to find anything I like as much as Rory.

Any suggestions at all will be so helpful!

The Name Sage replies:

It’s a crushing feeling, isn’t it? After a lot of thought, we arrive at the exactly right, most perfect name for our child, only to have our partner dismiss it. Maybe with a shrug, or a mumbled, “I don’t really like it.”

You’re not alone!

The question is what happens next. There are a few possible approaches.

Campaign for RoryIt sounds like your fiancé prefers “normal” names – names that he can think of lots of examples of women with the name, from pop music to Peanuts. He won’t accept a name that he hasn’t heard in use before. Would watching an episode of The Gilmore Girls or hey, maybe a documentary made by filmmaker Rory Kennedy of the famous political family help? Might he be swayed if he knew that over 1,000 girls were named Rory in just the last four years? If your fiancé frets about out-there names like Moonbeam and Quinoa, demonstrating that Rory is mainstream might make your case.

Compromise on a formal name – I think you were right to suggest a different formal name for Rory. He’s not fond of Aurora, but maybe Aurora seems too unusual to him, too? There are plenty of names that could lead to Rory. Guarantee that he’s heard of some of them – and might even like a few! Could you compromise on Gloria, Victoria, Marjorie, Caroline, Ramona, Rosemary, or Rosemarie? On The Gilmore Girls, Rory was short for Lorelai.

Use Rory as a middle – You haven’t mentioned your middle name plans. What would you think of a very traditional first name, with Rory as a middle name? Something like Sarah Rory or Elizabeth Rory would work. It means that you get your favorite name, even if it isn’t used on a daily basis.

Find a substitute for Rory – It’s possible that your fiancé just isn’t into Rory. And while plenty of partners change their minds, and agree to favorites later in pregnancy, or heck, in the delivery room, we should brainstorm alternatives. Some substitutes are so close to Rory that they mean you’ll never get to use your favorite name. Names that might make great substitutes include Romy, a traditional German nickname for Rosemary made famous by midcentury actress Romy Schneider; Remy, which is French and masculine, but sounds a lot like Emmy; popular gemstone name Ruby; or maybe Tori, which is very Spelling but still quite wearable. There’s also Nora or Cora, both of which are stylish but more demure than energetic Rory.

Choose a sister name for Rory – Let’s say your fiancé won’t budge on Rory now. But you’re imaging that you’ll eventually have two or three children, and would prefer to wait and try to talk him into Rory in the future. In that case, you might want to find a name that he’ll like and that preserves the possibility of using Rory in a few years. The first name that comes to mind is Sadie. Originally, both Sadie and Sally evolved as pet forms of Sarah. If he’s a fan of Sarah and Sally, there’s a good chance he might like Sadie, too. Other possibilities include Sosie, Ivy, Marley, Charlie, and Zelie.

I wish I had a magic spell to convince your fiancé that Rory is a great name for your daughter! But since that’s not an option, I’d first try to find a compromise formal name. (Caroline? Victoria? They’re both conventional names that he’ll doubtless recognize.) And if that’s not an option, I think I’d move on to sister names for Rory, like Charlie or Sadie.

Readers, assuming Rory isn’t a possibility for their baby girl, what would you suggest as an alternative?

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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
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24 Responses to “Name Sage: He hates my favorite name”

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augusta_lee Says:

July 7th, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Rory is a boy’s name. How about Lorelei, Aurora, Romy, Rose/Rosa, Orly/Orla, Annora, Audrey, Marnie, Arden, Mercy, Roxana/Roxie, Bonnie, Tessa, or Sadie?

Mom2one2 Says:

July 7th, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Rory means “red” so maybe Ruby? Scarlett? Or Rowan? Something like Rowan Reese could definitely lead to the nn Rory!

lesliemarion Says:

July 7th, 2015 at 11:31 pm

I think Rory is great on a girl. I think of Rory Kennedy.

All of the suggestions in the blog seem good to me, but if I were deadset on Rory (as opposed to Britney, God help us), I would tell the father that I would compromise on an official name that can lead to Rory as a nickname (good set listed in blog) and then I would proceed to call my daughter Rory.

If the name were Marjorie, he could call her that and I could call her Rory.

I do tend to think women should get more say about names (until men can carry and bear children anyway).

If I gave up Rory, I would go with Romy. Rosemary or Rowena as a first and then Romy or Rory could be a nn.

Good luck!

maggiemary Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 2:58 am

I don’t like the notion that a woman should get more a say, just because they carry and give birth to the baby, as she wouldn’t be pregnant without the guy’s input. Furthermore, having that opinion penalizes men for something they have no control over, it’s simply down to Mother Nature that women bear children and not men. It’s not something that men decided themselves.

A child is, in most cases, made together and therefore should be named together.

I also don’t like the idea of trying to persuade (force?) the husband in this case, to agree to the name Rory, especially if he doesn’t like it. It’s wrong to try and force one parent, to use a name they don’t like, as it’s their child too.

I’ll try to give some thought to suggestions, and if I have any, I’ll pop back and comment again.

peach25 Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 8:03 am

I like Rosemary, Caroline and Elizabeth because of the wealth of possible nns, as well as classic stand-alone.
Never have liked Sadie. Know too many dogs and cats named Sadie. Sad!

MJadeF Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 8:18 am

It looks like Rory just isn’t going to happen. As much as I like a name, I could never use it knowing my partner didn’t like it as much as I did. It would make me feel terrible and diminish the appeal. If your husband is okay with the nickname Rory, I think Rosemary would be a good choice. If not, you’d just have to move on.

Abby Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 8:34 am

I absolutely agree that no parent should ever be forced to use a name that feels like a mismatch.

But I also know that many of us take time to warm up to a name. If he’d said, “Rory was the name of the schoolyard bully who made my life miserable for years,” well … it’s off the table. But if it’s more of a non-specific ‘meh’ – as it seems to be in this case – then it’s worth considering whether that’s a hard no, or a talk-me-into-it.

I also think that parents are sometimes completely unaware of what’s considered a mainstream name when they’re having their first child. Even a life-long name obsessive like me was easily swayed by my husband’s concerns that our child would dislike having a weird name. (I knew a TON about names. Pretty much zero about children!) By the time we named our second, we were much confident. So if dad’s really saying “I don’t want to name my kiddo Moonbeam,” I think it is worth it to make the case that Rory is actually a pretty mainstream pick!

marisarose Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 8:34 am

It sounds like hubby’s name style is driven by “normal” sounding names. So, my advice would be to skip Sadie and Rowan and go straight for Rosemary or Lorelai.

Other “or/ro” possibilities that lend themselves to “Rory”
Loren (Lauren, maybe, if he is dead set on a “normal” name)

An “out there” suggestion… Aurelia?

cricketbell Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 9:25 am

Romena is so beautiful and very rare, but it also has that “thing” that makes it sounds vintage. Rory for a nickname. How about Romena Petal? 🙂

cricketbell Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 9:26 am

Oh! Ramona is another lovely suggestion!

sarab.cook Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 10:18 am

I am also of the opinion that Rory is a boy name. However, the bigger issue seems to be the common problem of Dad liking girl names that he has heard on women he grew up with, making them very dated. I would try to show him SS data of what girls are being named now and find common ground there.

BCox13 Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 10:47 am

I feel like many are missing that turning down an absolute favorite is not a compromise.

I’ve found that many almost-parents aren’t aware of naming trends, and therefore go for super “normal” names simply because they’ve heard them. This also leads people to think that by naming their child “Harper” for example in the last couple years, they’re being avant garde.

I agree that the best compromise is to find a suitable “normal” name to be Rory’s formal name but then call her Rory. (My parents did that informally with my brother. My dad wanted a junior, but my mom loved the name Jodie.)

I’d challenge your fiancé to tell you what he does and doesn’t like on names to help find a suitable formal name. Here are a few more ideas (I tried not to repeat anyone else!:

Ramona (nn could be Romy too, if you also like that)

My personal favorite avenue to Rory is Aurora. And that name is booming in popularity. Good luck! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Abby Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 12:39 pm

I love the idea of Rowan Reese, called Rory!

Schickler Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 12:49 pm

I really like the idea of thinking about a sister name for Rory. There’s a big chance once you and your fiance have a child, you’ll become much more aware of current names and what you actually like. He may come around to Rory after all. Or you may hear it enough on boys to be turned off. But let’s assume he’ll come around 🙂 So what would her sister be called? I do think a longer form to get there is still the way to go. I like the suggestion of Sadie, but you could go the old-fashioned route and choose his fave name Sarah and call her Sadie? Or Susannah Drew nn Sadie? That paves the way for a future Lorelai called Rory or Rowan Reese called Rory? Good luck! Compromise is tough, especially when you feel so passionately about a name. When two styles collide often you’ll find something you’d never believe you’d choose for a child, and it’ll fit perfectly.

amf0224 Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Aww, I like Rory too! I think its adorable and spunky. You could use Romilly and then nickname with Romy, Milly, or stretch it and use Rory? Rosemary would be the closest thing other than Aurora. I hope he comes around to it, but the sister name idea is good. Some names I think would go well with Rory are Piper, Violet, Ruby, Scarlett, Stella, Hazel, Lucy, Sylvie, Thea, Maisie, Ella, or Lulu. But if those are too “trendy”, Amelia nn Millie, Olivia nn Livy, Rosalie/Rosemary nn Rosie (or Rory!), Luella nn Lulu/Ellie/Ella, or Lillian nn Lily are some more classic options. Sadie and Lucy are also good compromises, they both are old-fashioned and heard of, but have the same sounding ending and are also pretty trendy right now. I hope it works out though and you both end up loving the name!

Saracita00 Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 2:17 pm

“Turning down an absolute favorite is not a compromise.” I didn’t understand this comment. It isn’t a good option for someone to have to give up their “absolute favorite” name? What if the other parent also has an “absolute favorite”? I’m not sure we really know in this case, since the fiance didn’t write in with his side of the story. My husband vetoed all of my top favorites, and you know what, I hated all of his too! Both of us had “absolute favorites” turned down, and now we’re searching for a name that both of us can get behind. Seems like a compromise to me.

I thought Abby had some great advice today in offering ideas on how to test whether the no to Rory is a “hard no” or one of those “can be convinced to come around no” answers. A lot of men seem to value familiarity when choosing a name, so showing him how popular the name is, that it was in a long-running TV show, and that kind of thing might really help! Choosing a different first name and using Rory as a nn, putting Rory as a middle, these are also good possible solutions. But maybe he really just doesn’t like Rory. It could be that he just hears “roar,” or he knows it as a guy name from a different TV show (Rory Williams on Doctor Who from 2010-2012, and the series is still going, unlike Gilmore Girls which ended in 2007). Sometimes, men don’t want to hurt feelings and are hesitant to say something that could be taken as an insult to a favorite name. It can be a tricky subject to handle, so please accept the reason he gives, just as you want him to accept your reasons against Sarah/Sally/Britney. If the parents really can’t come around to the other parent’s suggestion or find an agreeable nickname/middle name/etc solution, then I would say it’s time to start over from scratch and see if there’s a totally different name that can please both parents. @schickler put it really well: “When two styles collide often you’ll find something you’d never believe you’d choose for a child, and it’ll fit perfectly.” The name might be Lucy and you never saw it coming until you got past your own favorites to see the best of what the two of you can do when you work together.

Panya Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Since the given name Rory is male [meaning “red king”], here is a list of some female names that could lead to Rory as a nickname:
Amideror, Amiderora, Amidror, Amidrora, Arora, Aurora, Aurore, Aurorette, Brora, Deror, Derora, Derori, Deroria, Derorice, Derorit, Deroriya, Dror, Drora, Drori, Droria, Drorit, Droriya, Eroria, Frora, Frorica, Froricka, Frorika, Gerora, Leederor, Leederora, Leedror, Leedrora, Lideror, Liderora, Lidror, Lidrora, Magenderora, Magendrora, Marrory, Orora, Ororbia, Prorea, Rora, Roran, Rorica, Roricka, Roriconne, Rorika, Serora, Sororro, Thororma, Tororma, Tserora, Tzerora, Verore, Zerora

LLBaby22 Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 7:57 pm

I agree with a previous poster that one parent should never be talked into a name that they don’t like. And saying the woman gets more say because they carry and deliver the baby… I used to say that too. But now that I’m married and having children, I know my husband would take the pain of pregnancy away and do it himself in a second if he could… he can’t. It doesn’t mean he should be punished by not getting equal say in the name.
Yes, sometimes the name is new to one partner which makes them dislike it and after hearing it several times it grows on them. So I do think any name you love should be visited a couple times. Maybe explain to them why you love it. But the fact that this person wrote into the namesage and has already suggested Aurora as a round about way of getting Rory makes me believe she’s probably already done her fair share of campaigning and if it was going to grow on him, it would have by now.
I really think this couple should start from scratch and go through some name lists together to find something they love equally. Put Rory and his suggestions off the table, they aren’t happening.
I’ve given up some names I LOVE and at first it has broken my heart but honestly, I love the names we’ve chosen so much more because we both love them! And because when my hubby says the names of our children he is just as proud of the names as I am, and that makes my heart smile!!
If the person who wrote in is reading: good luck!! 🙂 I think if you’re both open to something you haven’t considered you’ll find something even more perfect!

lemon Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Great ideas from Abby on trying to convince dad of Rory. I think a previous poster made a great point that dad seems to be drawn to names he likely heard on girls he grew up with (Britney, Sarah). He likes the familiar, mom prefers the spunky, so compromising on a familiar name with a spunky nickname is my thought.

Also: You can nickname a child anything! My family has always called me Birdie, not a thing close to my given name. Mom could just call her little girl Rory, regardless of her name.

Idea #1: I support the idea of using vintage Rosemary and Ramona – which still have some oomph – with Rory or Romy as a nickname.

Idea #2: Use a name meaning “red,” like Rory, which leads you right into Rory as a nickname. I love the suggestion of Rowan Reese “Rory,” but don’t think that’s dad’s style. Ruby seems most his style, but Scarlett or Sienna might work, too.

Idea #3: Use two R names with Rory as a nickname – Rebecca, Rose, Ruby, Ruth; these all seem dad’s style. Rebecca Rose, Rose Regina.

Idea #4: Use a different spunky nickname related to a classic name. My top choice would be Kit (which I could see as a sister name to Rory, should dad change his mind down the road) as a short form of Katherine. Others might be Jules for Julia/Juliet, Lainey for Madelaine, Reese (or Tess) for Therese/Theresa or Marissa, or Scout for Scarlett.

deb_c Says:

July 8th, 2015 at 10:47 pm

How about Aria or Arya?

tiffanyalana Says:

July 10th, 2015 at 9:25 am

Compromise is always important in naming a child. Some people like to do the I pick first you pick middle. Or you name the first child I’ll name the next. Or settling on a name that both like. My husband didn’t love my favorite, which is Iris, because it reminded him of an old lady. I had a hard time accepting that we wouldn’t use it but after a long detailed back and forth search. We found a name very similar to Iris that my husband loved – Emrys. And it honored both of our “Emily” sisters. It was a great compromise. But I also know Iris well never again be an option.
I really like the suggestion of finding a more common name with nn Rory. It seems to be the prefect compromise for both of you!

Saffron_Rice Says:

July 12th, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Rosalind Mary would give Rory

Abby Says:

July 13th, 2015 at 12:23 pm

I like that combination!

9 Names I Can’t Stop Recommending – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

August 23rd, 2015 at 10:41 pm

[…] nickname for Gregory or Aurora, Marjorie or The Gilmore Girls’ Lorelai. Unlike some of my go-tos, this real Irish name is catching on – again, for boys and girls […]

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