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Naming a Daughter – At Last!

May 12, 2015 Abby Sandel

Alice writes:

My husband and I are expecting our first baby girl in June after having four boys, and we CANNOT agree on a girl’s name.

Our sons are Dashiell Zion, JedidiahJediKai, August Simon, and Lincoln Atticus. The surname sounds like McLachlin.

We’re looking for a name that is feminine, but not frilly. My husband likes names that are a little bit more modern and I like older names. We don’t want to repeat an initial, so D, J, A, and L names are out. We do agree on a middle name: Moriah.

Our shortlist includes Maeve, Eleanor/Elinor, Cecily, Scarlett, Elizabeth, and Fern. But we’re not in love with any of them.

It seems like you’re experts in naming boys – what great choices you’ve made for your sons!

Any of the girls’ names on your short list would work beautifully. Names like Fern and Eleanor are exactly what come to mind when I think of “feminine but not frilly.”

Here’s what leaps out at me: all four of your boys answer to two syllable names. Even Jedidiah is Jedi at home, right?

Let’s take a fresh look at names that fit your criteria, but are two syllables – just like her big brothers’ names.

There’s no rule that you have to match syllable count, of course – for every set of sisters named Jane and Claire, there’s another called Anastasia and Sarah.

But when your shortlist isn’t getting any shorter, I think it can be helpful to start with a fresh list of possibilities. Either you’ll discover The Name, or you’ll realize that the choices on your original list are what you were looking for all along.

Some great two-syllable possibilities to go with Dashiell, Jedi, August, and Lincoln:

Isla – What do you think of an ends-in-a name? Isla is very popular in the UK, and is catching on fast in the US, too. I think the strong ‘I’ sound works well with your boys’ names: Dashiell, Jedidiah, August, Lincoln, and Isla. The only drawback? Isla Moriah isn’t a possibility!

Zora, Zara Zora and Zara straddle that modern/traditional divide, and feel feminine but not too frilly.

Esme – Maybe it’s because Dashiell is such a literary name, I keep thinking of other names with similar associations. Esme – it was a Salinger name ages before Twilight was ever dreamed up – has the same literary, frills-free, under-the-radar vibe.

Violet Scarlett is on your list, which makes me think of all the great ends with ‘t’ names for girls. Violet reminds me of August – a nature name with history that feels nicely modern, too.

Colette – Anther great ends with ‘t’ name that comes to mind is Colette. As with Dashiell and Esme, there’s a literary vibe to this name.

OliveOlive is effortlessly feminine and nicely tailored. Not a lot of names sound like Olive. It stands up to the strength of your boys’ names.

Honor Eleanor is such a great, frills-free name for a girl. But it’s undeniably a more traditional choice. More modern possibilities include Juniper (but that repeats the initial J), Clover, and Silver. Honor is somewhere in between, a virtue name with a tailored sound.

Hazel Hazel has a certain vintage style, but the sound is all 2015.

Readers, now it is your turn. What would you name a sister for Dashiell, Jedidiah, August, and Lincoln?

Want to see your question featured? Please email namesage@nameberry.com. Preference goes to questions submitted with a photo – creative pictures welcome, of you, your older children, or anything that might help narrow down the perfect name.

About the author

Abby

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 namesage@nameberry.com.

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