Category: baby name rules

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Rule-Breaking Baby Names

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

They have a well-established formula for naming a son, but this time nothing feels quite right. Is there something they’ve overlooked? Or is it time to break the rules?

Rachel writes:

We are expecting our third child and I am stumped on a name if it’s a boy. Our two oldest are Alexander Adlai, called Xander, and Ezekiel Bryce, called Zeke.

I love classic, multi-syllable first names with an easy nickname and the Z/X/K sound.

We have considered Dominic/Nic, Nikolai/Kole, Malachi/Kai, and Maximilian/Max but none of them seem to be the one.

What have we not thought of or considered?

We also take into account name meaning, so bonus points if it’s more significant.

The Name Sage replies:

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The Great-Grandparents Baby Name Rule

By Nancy Man

A baby name becomes trendy for one generation. For the next two generations, while those initial babies are parent-aged and grandparent-aged, you can expect the name to go out of style. But during the third generation, once the cohort reaches great-grandparent age, the name is free to come back into fashion.

Evelyn is a name with a usage pattern that fits this description well.

I’ve seen it described elsewhere as the 100-Year Rule, but I prefer to call it the Great-Grandparent Rule, as it makes more sense to me to frame it in terms of generations.

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By Claire Shefchik

My parents have been in the same house for 25 years, and I’m not a famous enough writer (yet) that my personal papers have been auctioned off at Christie‘s. So when I got that inevitable command from my mother to “clear out your junk or else,” I dove into my childhood closet for the first time in years, getting rare access to the inner workings of my 6-year-old mind via battered college-ruled notebooks circa 1992.

What stood out most are the names, of course,

Whole lists of them. Hundreds. I must have just sat for hours, listing names as they popped into my head, one after another. Names of future children were just for starters. I needed names for puppies and kittens and ponies (both real and fictional), names for villains and princesses and orphan girls, names for when I grew up and renamed myself.

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

Do too many rules make naming a baby impossible, or is a solid list of must-haves the key to finding a great name for daughter number three?

Kate writes:

We are counting down the days until our fifth child and third daughter arrives at the end of June. We cannot wait to meet her, but I’m growing anxious she will arrive nameless.

Our four older children are sons Damian Joseph and Malachi John, and daughters Clara Sophia and Eve Marian.

My husband and I are picky, and I especially have a lot of naming rules. What do we need to let go of to find something we love?

Meaning – This is more important to me than my husband, though it still matters to him. Our daughters have names that mean precious things to me – Clara Sophia (light and wisdom) and Eve Marian (our mother in nature and our mother in grace). If I love a name and find out it has a negative meaning, it is out!

Originated as a girl’s name – This is my rule only, and eliminates Georgiana, Aurelia, Alexandra, Josephine, Caroline, and the like.

No “or” names – Our two-syllable last name has a strong “or” sound on the second syllable. This rules out Laura, Nora, Eleanor, Aurora, Dorothy, Orla, etc.

Traditional Use – This one is stronger with my husband. I like Solana, Seren, Elodie, Elowen, and Roisin, but he prefers names that are more familiar.

No repeats – We have a large circle of family and friends who are excellent baby namers. Because we see these loved ones often, we can’t use Isabel(la), Genevieve, Evangeline, Lucia, Abigail, Anna, Rose, Sarah, Celine, Gemma, or Miriam.

Popularity – We aren’t extreme about this, but definitely no Top Ten.

We have recently talked about Juniper, but don’t know about a middle, and my husband is unsure. He really likes Elizabeth but I am underwhelmed. We both sort of like Thea, but both want to more than ‘sort of’ like the name.

Any advice is so greatly appreciated!

The Name Sage replies:

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How to Name a Large Family

By Kate at Sancta Nomina (Katherine Morna Towne)

Whether you’re planning on it (Duggar) or it takes you by surprise (Gosselin), having a big family means choosing a lot of names. Naming with care can help with everything from reducing the possibility of you having name regret, to staving off your children’s dissatisfaction with their given names, to minimizing the craziness others will inevitably tag you with. (Maybe.)

Be forward thinking

You have a plan for your parenthood, and it doesn’t include having a big family. Maybe you’re going to have two children, and their names are both going to start with K, or they’re going to be named after your two favorite Olympic speed skaters. Then life happens—you marry a guy who really wants ten children and two just doesn’t seem like the right compromise, or you find yourself unexpectedly expecting triplets.

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