Name Sage: Naming Nora’s Twin Brother
We agree on our son’s middle name: Manuel, after my father and both my grandfathers.
First names we have considered include:
Gustav – We like the European feel, and the nickname Gus. My family likes the name, but my spouse’s family does not. Our families have said that ultimately it is up to us, but we do value their opinion. We’ve ruled out other Gus names, including August, Augustus, and Angus.
Orion – Is it too different? Too close to onion?
I’m 100% Portuguese, and my spouse’s background is Irish and German. We hope the names for our twins will have similar origins, and it’s important that the name be pronounceable in Portuguese.
Because we live in a part of the US with many native Spanish speakers, people often assume that I speak Spanish. Not really a problem, but it’s something to consider.
We have a four-syllable, double-barreled last name, so we’d prefer to keep our children’s names two syllables or less. It ends with a ‘go’ sound, so that tends to rule out names like Hugo and Santiago.
Lastly, we’d like something that’s not very popular and not too strange.
Can you give us some ideas? Thanks!
The Name Sage replies:
Congratulations on your twins!
Let’s focus on what you want in a name first:
- Short – one or two syllables.
- Easy to pronounce in English and Portuguese, but not too conventionally Spanish.
- Not too common, not too out-there.
And here’s the problem: the boys’ names on your list don’t fit those criteria.
They’re longer, more unusual, or would likely strike others as conventionally Spanish, creating potential confusion.
Based on your criteria, I’d probably suggest Ian (Number 77 in 2014 in the US, compared to Nora’s ranking of Number 49), Xavier (Number 88 in the US), or maybe Christian (Number 42). All are popular in Portugal, so even if the pronunciation is different in English, I assume they’d work well in both languages.
I think your boy name style is just a little different than your girl name style. That’s perfectly fine – it happens all the time. But since you’re naming a brother and sister together, it feels like there’s more pressure to match.
But here’s what matters more: you should choose two names that you love, and be absolutely confident that your enthusiasm for the names and love for your children makes them a perfect pair.
When your last name is complex, it can be helpful to make the first name simple – but simple doesn’t always mean short. Sebastian, Alexander, and Jeremiah are all long names. But because they’re widely recognized as given names, it doesn’t matter if the last name is Kukowski or Clark.
I think there are some options on your list that work really well.
Orion – Orion is out there – literally! The constellation means that most people are familiar with the sound of Orion, even if, at Number 382 in 2014, it’s a little more daring than you might otherwise choose. Nora and Orion share the ‘or’ sound, which is a subtle link between the two names.
Camilo – It seems longer, rarer, and more conventionally Spanish than you planned. And yet, Camilo has family ties, shortens to the very short Cam or Milo, and is a name that you haven’t ruled out. I think it works well in English, too, so it deserves a place on your list.
Roan – Gone are the days when twins are named Tracy and Stacy or John and Ron. But anagrams can be subtle, and I think Roan has potential. There may be some pronunciation confusion. Do you plan to pronounce Roan like the much more popular Rowan? Or are you thinking of Roan, rhymes with zone? I think it’s typically pronounced with just one syllable. I also think Roan and Nora feel very different from each other, and it’s not obvious that they’re anagrams. A bonus? The Secret of Roan Inish is a 1994 independent film based on a legend, and since it’s set in Ireland, Roan might feel like a nod to Shawn’s heritage.
If none of those feel quite right, I would also suggest:
Luca – At Number 185, Luca is less common than Nora, but it hits many of your notes. It’s short, has a certain pan-European appeal like Gustav, and while it’s originally Italian, it works in Portuguese.
Kai – I know several families who chose Kai because it’s so culture-spanning. The name can claim Hawaiian, Scandinavian, Welsh, and German roots, as well as ties to Arthurian legend. I’m not sure if Kai works well in Portuguese, but Caio seems like a reasonable equivalent.
Axel – Axel is a medieval form of the Biblical name Absalom. It’s originally Scandinavian, but is used in German, and it appears to have some use in Portugal, too. At Number 145, it seems like a great stands-out/fits-in name.
Milo – You’ve mentioned Milo as a possible short form of Camilo. While the sounds aren’t exactly the same – I hear Camilo with a long ‘e’ sound and Milo with a long ‘i’ sound – it would work. Or, if keeping your son’s name short matters more, Milo is an option. It has Latin and Germanic roots, so again, it hits the right heritage note.
My favorite from your list is Roan. From my list, I’m leaning towards Luca. But I do think the secret to finding the name that you love might be to forget about matching Nora’s name and start with a blank slate – because you really do have some great possibilities already!
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on September 1st, 2015 at 11:23 pm
Orion and Nora sounds lovely.
So does Roan and Nora.
The r sounds are beautiful together.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 1:35 am
Luca and Nora work perfectly together!!! I think Luca fits all your other criteria too 🙂
on September 2nd, 2015 at 2:27 am
My favorite combinations:
Nora and Milo
Nora and Luca
I like that the names are similar in terms of having two syllables and four letters, ending in a vowel, but don’t “match” otherwise.
My problem with Roan is that it’s not an extremely well-known name, so it almost looks like a forced anagram of Nora rather than a name chosen on its own merits.
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on September 2nd, 2015 at 2:52 am
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on September 2nd, 2015 at 3:53 am
my first thought was milo, I really love the name and it works perfectly with nora. I would definitely avoid orion or roan, just because they’re twins it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve their own letters! I think people underestimate twin’s struggle to have their own individual identity 🙂
luca would be pretty cute, but nora and luca sound so Italian to me (and I’m Italian), maybe not very portoguese.
Julian I always loved: nora and Julian sound pretty great together, but maybe it’s to long?
can I suggest emil? I know siblings milo and emil, so those would be my suggestions to you! good luck 🙂
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on September 2nd, 2015 at 5:47 am
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on September 2nd, 2015 at 6:44 am
So nice to hear about fellow Portuguese wanting to honor their origins! Congratulations on the twins!
Nora Rose is lovely, I would suggest for her brother:
Nora Rose and … Manuel
Nora & Tomás
Nora & Oscar (lovely vintage pair)
Nora & Matias
Nora & Lucas
Nora & Bruno (n, r and o in common)
I love Rafael, Gabriel and Samuel but I guess they’re ruled out because of the middle name?
Parabéns e boa escolha!
on September 2nd, 2015 at 7:23 am
Nora is an Irish name so why not a boys name with Irish roots like Cian, Ciarain, Colm, Aidan, Finn or Tadhg. I think they all work well.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 7:35 am
I like Nora & Milo! To me, they just sound like twins since they are much more equal popularity wise.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 7:56 am
Nora and Milo – so perfect. Easy to say and rolls off the tongue.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 9:06 am
I’m not crazy about Orion…it has an entirely different feel from Nora. Same thing w/Roan.
My favorite option is Ian. Would Evan work?
on September 2nd, 2015 at 9:47 am
Nora Rose and:
My favorite name in this post was Luca
on September 2nd, 2015 at 9:53 am
I loved the suggestion of Milo. Milo and Nora seem like such a cool sibset. But I don’t like Milo Manuel.
I would go for Roan. Roan Manuel sounds very nice together.
I would also like to make a nod to a pp suggestion of Hugo, Alec, and Oscar.
Nora Rose and Roan Manuel
Nora Rose and Hugo Manuel
Nora Rose and Alec Manuel
Nora Rose and Oscar Manuel
on September 2nd, 2015 at 10:36 am
Sorry… I somehow missed Manuel as the mn, so I don’t really like Milo anymore in that case.
What about Otis? Or Felix?
Nora and Felix (their names would mean light and happiness) 🙂
on September 2nd, 2015 at 10:36 am
oh yeah, milo manuel is not the greatest, but not the worst either. I think Oscar could work! Oscar manuel is quite nice.
I like nico a lot too! nico manuel is just lovely. but nora and nico are a bit matchy.
ezra, lucas and Bruno are great suggestions, too.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 11:48 am
Milo Manuel is OK, but the problem is that in Europe, including Germany, Italy, & Portugal, Milo is pronounced Mee-lo, just as with Nico. To get around this, the family could go with Miles.
I really like the suggestions of Alec and Luca.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 1:30 pm
I like the suggestions of Felix and Luca. If I were in Miguel’s place, I’d look for a vintage name to pair with Nora, and consider using a European version. Felix and Luca fit this vibe, and I’d also consider:
Nora and Dennis/Dinis
Nora and Martin/Martim
Nora and Vincent/Vincente
Nora and Victor/Viktor/Vitor
Nora and Arthur/Artur
on September 2nd, 2015 at 2:49 pm
I used to know twins named Magnus and Nora.
Breno and Nora
Luis and Nora
Matias and Nora
on September 2nd, 2015 at 3:13 pm
Oscar, Bruno, Felix, Luca/s, and Julian are all wonderful! I love Magnus and Milo but also question their use with Manuel.
Is Florian too long? It’s been well-used in Germany. Nora and Florian
on September 2nd, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Luca is by far my favorite on this list! I love this suggestion. It seems perfect.
I like Nico, too, as another commenter suggested.
I’ve love a Name Sage Update blog to see what these prospective parents ultimately decide!
on September 2nd, 2015 at 4:29 pm
I like the combination of Nora and Xavier from the post, my favourites from the original list are Orion and Luca. I also like pp suggestions of Oscar, Felix and Isaac.
Here are some other suggestions:
I hope this helps! Good Luck!
on September 2nd, 2015 at 4:56 pm
I love Luca & Julian as options! I agree with @alohahh, Leo is a great option too!
on September 2nd, 2015 at 5:02 pm
I actually like Nora and Roan. It’s not too obvious that they’re anagrams, so I think it’ll pass.
The suggestions of Milo, Orion and Oscar are some of my favourites as well. I don’t think Orion is too out there, and I love the strong “r” sound it shares with Nora. But Milo on the other hand, as someone else mentioned, might be a bit too much considering the middle name and the pronunciation in European language.
You mentioned you like the European feel, so let me suggest some names that are used in Norway, where the name Nora also have strong roots (i.e. Ibsen’s famous play “A Doll’s House”)
Odin – similar to Olin. Odin was one of the great Gods of Norse mythology. A name that isn’t very common, but still has that familiar sound, not unlike Aidan, but way cooler. A big bonus is that it works well in a lot of different languages, and Odin Manuel is a great combo.
Caspar/Casper – a name with rising popularity in Europe – especially Norway. The Spanish variation is Gaspar, so that might even be an option for you.
Magnus – this is a semi-common name where I’m from, but is actually an ancient royal name. I think it has a great sound in English. Easy to pronounce for Spanish speaking people as well, but as Milo, the alliteration might not be your cup of tea, I find it endearing.
Vincent – Nora is a classy girls name, so her brother should have an equally classy boys name. Famous European Vincents include Vincent van Gogh and the Danish Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander. It might be too common for you, but Nora is not the least common name out there, so I think the two go very well together.
Willem – speaking of van Gogh, his last name was Willem. A fun, and not-so-heard of variation of the traditional William. Willem has been used in the Netherlands for generations, and is a quite popular name. In the US, however, it’s a fresh sound. Might be a bit much with the m-ending, followed by a middle that starts with M. Additionally, the double l’s might cause problems for the Spanish speakers.
Nora Rose & Odin Manuel
Nora Rose & Caspar Manuel
Nora Rose & Magnus Manuel
Nora Rose & Vincent Manuel
Nora Rose & Willem Manuel
Good luck, I hope you find the perfect name for Nora’s twin brother.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 5:07 pm
Great advice, Abby. I can’t resist voting for Camilo called Milo! Although it’s not exactly an Irish name, Milo is well-used in Ireland. And maybe you might consider giving Nora a formal name with Portuguese roots too, like Leonor.
on September 2nd, 2015 at 9:18 pm
When I think of great Portuguese names, I think of Rui, Tiago, Alois, Eliseo…I also never met a Guilerme I didn’t like! I love the idea of using a Portuguese name, btw. Such a rich and fresh culture and a great way to celebrate heritage!
on September 2nd, 2015 at 11:04 pm
Thank you NameSage for the wonderful choices and advice…it really helped me and Shawn to evaluate our boy name options.
Thanks to all the commenters as well! Shawn and I really love the following three:
And think any of those 3 would pair well with Nora Rosa.
The babies are due in late November so we will definitely update Nameberry with our final name choices then!
on September 3rd, 2015 at 11:06 am
I like Orion & Nora from the original list.
But from your update, I love Felix and Luca much more. You cannot go wrong eother way. Good luck!
on September 3rd, 2015 at 2:15 pm
Nora and Adam
Nora and Arlo
Nora and Milo
on September 4th, 2015 at 1:12 am
Such great options but from the narrowed three. I think I like Luca and Nora the best and Luca Manuel sounds great! Good luck!
on September 4th, 2015 at 11:24 am
I love Luca & Nora. I think they fit perfectly together, same length, same cross-cultural origins.
Another suggestion I would add is Stefano – which is another name heard in many varieties throughout the globe (Stefano heard in Portugal, South America, Italy, Spain, Stefano is German, Stephan is English/Irish). I think the “N-O” and also “A” sounds are similar in both Nora and Stefano, but they’re still distinct enough as separate names to not sound gimicky. Both are also easy to pronounce by both English and Portuguese-speaking people.
Congratulations on your twins, I hope you find a name you love as much as Nora 🙂 xo
on September 4th, 2015 at 11:25 am
^^ Meant to say Stefan is German
on September 4th, 2015 at 1:22 pm
I really like Luca and Milo the best.
But teamed with Manuel I prefer Luca Manel its a great combination : )
on September 4th, 2015 at 8:19 pm
I don’t like sibling (let alone twins) names that are close, whether rhyming or anagrams. Consider the times when you will be saying your kids names together in a row. Let’s imagine calling them in for dinner, “Nora! Roan!” or “Roan! Nora!” You’ll likely be saying this casually without much thought, and the names will run together. It’s just a tongue twister. I prefer Orson to Orion because the ‘s’ breaks things up a bit.
Hopefully most of these names are pronounceable in Portuguese!
Nora and Ray/Raymond (I like Ray as a nn, or on it’s own)
Nora and Leo
Nora and Lionel
Nora and Carl
Nora and Frank
Nora and Oscar
Nora and Vince
Nora and Calvin (I love the sound of Nora and Cal)
Nora and Orson
Nora and Walter
Nora and Theo
Nora and Martin
Nora and Walter
Nora and Peter
on September 4th, 2015 at 10:11 pm
Nora and Roan is so awesome! I also really like Nora and Luca or Nora and Orion.
on September 4th, 2015 at 10:12 pm
Oh! I forgot Orson! I like that, too, but I’m not sure how well it works in Portugal.
on September 5th, 2015 at 7:14 pm
I was going to suggest Nico, but see that others have already done so. What do you think of Niro. I love so many of the suggestions: Kai, Caio, Eli, Milo, etc. Good luck!
on September 5th, 2015 at 7:29 pm
What about Emilio? Nicknames: Emil, Milo, Leo/Lio, Elio?
on September 6th, 2015 at 6:15 pm
Nora and Luca
Nora and Nolan
Nora and Mica
Nora and Orion
Nora and Nico
Nora and Theo
Nora and Leo
Nora and Felix
on September 7th, 2015 at 1:41 am
I’d be more inclined to use Rohan than Roan as the boys’ name – and add the H to Norah to make a true anagram.
But Luca is also lovely.
on September 21st, 2015 at 10:20 pm
What about Gaius to get to shortening of Gus?
on October 8th, 2015 at 1:57 am
Nora and Noah
Nora and Nolan
Nora and Norea
on April 27th, 2016 at 4:29 pm
Update: My twins were born very early on October 31st. They spent some time in the NICU in November and now are wonderful nearly 6 month olds full of energy.
Nora Rose’s brother was named Gustav Rocha (Rocha being a family name)…my spouse and his family warmed up to the name and he goes by the nickname “Gus”. Nora goes by her nickname “Rosie” because of her rosy cheeks. 🙂
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