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Sibling Names: Unusual Baby Names with Great Meanings

November 6, 2018 Abby Sandel

They found the perfect name for their daughter – different, but not weird, and with a great meaning. But now they’re expecting a boy. Can lightning strike twice? Let’s see if we can help!

Heidi writes:

I’m due with baby number two (a boy!) in about a month, and still haven’t found even a short list of names that my husband and I can agree on.

Part of the issue is that our daughter’s name, Larkin, feels hard to pair with a sibling name.

We love the name Larkin for many reasons. First, it’s uncommon. Three years later we haven’t met another Larkin. Meanwhile, it’s easy to pronounce and spell. We also like the meaning (fierce), and also the meanings of the word Lark found within (a happy songbird or a whimsical adventure).

We would love to find a boy name that has some of those same qualities. Any ideas or advice?

The Name Sage replies:

I have a theory that it’s often harder to name your second – or third or fourth – child than it is your first. Larkin could have been Ava or Beatrice or Marlowe or Gertrude or Lyric or Fern. Your choices were wide open.

Now? It’s about more than finding the name you love. It’s about finding a name you love that happens to go with Larkin.

Or … not. Contrast works, too. I love Savannah Guthrie’s children’s names: the poetic and unexpected Vale for her daughter, and the far more traditional Charley for her son.

Larkin’s brother could be Henry or William or James. It’s not unusual for parents to favor a different style of name for a son.

But there’s something to be said for limiting your options. Since you love Larkin for your daughter, let’s see if we can find some fresh options that you’ll like every bit as much for your son.

Bridger – This one sounds rugged and outdoorsy, possibly thanks to legendary frontiersman Jim Bridger. Plenty of places in the Mountain West bear his name. But bridges can also symbolize connection and change, appealing ideas that lend Bridger a little bit of a virtue vibe. It currently ranks Number 944 in the US, making it a little more common than Larkin, but still unexpected.

Callahan – The name of an ancient Irish king, Callahan carries an auspicious meaning: bright-headed. It has a strong sound, too, and the easy nickname option Cal. It seems easy to spell and pronounce, while still being rare as a given name – that elusive combination of familiar, but seldom heard.

EverestNaming your son after the highest mountain signals achievement, but also respect for the natural world. It’s very close to the popular boys’ name Everett, but Everest remains well outside of the current US Top 1000.

Fraser – Also spelled Frasier and Frazier, this Scottish surname has debated origins. Some tie it to the French word for strawberry, but I think the strongest association is the Fraser Fir, named for a famous botanist and often used as a Christmas tree. Evergreen trees have long been considered symbols of life. It’s a common surname, but rare as a first.

Lennon How do you feel about another L name? Lennon is more common than Larkin – it ranks Number 445 for girls and Number 667 for boys. – but it’s still far from Liam or Noah. While it probably comes from a word meaning cape, others connect it to sweetheart or blackbird. And, of course, the legacy of John Lennon adds another layer of meaning to the name.

Torin – An Irish name, Torin means chief. It’s a name that rules, but feels more subtle than Royal or Reign. While it’s never appeared in the US Top 1000, I can imagine it wearing every bit as well as Larkin.

Walker – Like Lennon, Walker is more common than you might like. It ranked Number 314 last year. But Walker feels strong and energetic, at home on the range or on a college campus. As a surname, it referred to someone who “walked” on wool cloth to clean and thicken it. Today, it brings to mind someone who’s going places.

Wilder Wilder is a fast-rising new favorite, currently ranked Number 573. And yet, it’s a perfect name for Larkin’s brother. It carries a subtle nod to the wild outdoors, while still feeling like a polished choice. Famous Wilders range from author Thornton to actor Gene, but it remains relatively rare as a given name.

Overall, my favorites are Bridger, Everest, and Wilder. They’re easy to pronounce and spell, but you’re not likely to meet one at the local playground. Choosing Wilder might mean turning the dial up on popularity, but it’s still far from common. Everest, on the other hand, might seem more clearly borrowed from the natural world than the other two.

I think any of them would pair wonderfully well with Larkin, but I know I have a clear favorite. Let’s see if others agree.

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.

View all of Abby's articles

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