Name Sage: On first-last name harmony
They love Silas, but their last name sounds like Smith. Try saying that five times fast! How much does first-last name harmony matter? If Silas is off the table, which names should they consider instead?
My husband thinks this doesn’t matter that much as his full name will be reserved for formal situations – or when he’s really in trouble!
We’ve also considered Asher, Alder, Humphrey, Beckett, Remy, and Jonah. My husband loves the idea of Ezekiel, nicknamed Kiel for the German city. I just don’t love Ezekiel. None of these have really stuck.
How much should the appeal of a full name factor?
The Name Sage replies:
My rule of thumb is this: a middle name can be a mismatch when it has meaning. Henry Harvey Smith isn’t great, but 99% of the time, he’s just Henry (or Harry or Hank or Henry H.) Smith. So if Harvey is your beloved grandfather’s name, it’s still the right choice as a middle name.
But you do hear and say your first and last names together an awful lot. Not as a young child necessarily, but I introduce myself as Abby Sandel routinely.
First-Middle harmony can be overlooked, but First-Last harmony matters.
The question, then, is whether a combination like Silas Smith is a dealbreaker. It’s not the first S that gives me pause – it’s the second. The repeating ‘s’ sounds in Miles Smith or James Smith can be tongue twisters, too.
Let’s brainstorm some more names.
Walton – There’s something gentle about Walton, but it’s still a solid name for a son. And while the two-syllable, ends-in-n pattern is very common for boys’ names today, Walton doesn’t even chart in the US Top 1000.
Kiel – Or maybe, if your husband loves Kiel and you’re on board with the idea, you just use Kiel? Conventional wisdom is that a short surname needs a longer first name. I’m not sure that’s always the case. If you’re after something unconventional, but rich with meaning, Kiel – just Kiel – seems like an option.