Category: naming multiples
It was early April in 2014 when my husband, Rick, and I learned we were pregnant. After a long struggle with infertility, we were stunned, cautious, and absolutely thrilled. My husband immediately got busy turning the home office into a nursery; I immediately got busy searching for the perfect name. As an academic who spent years studying naming practices, I was excited to finally put my research skills to personal use. And when I later learned that I was expecting twins – a boy and a girl to boot – I felt like I hit the onomastic jackpot. Choosing the perfect names for our little girl and our little boy became a top priority during the pregnancy.
Here in the US, some of the most popular twin sets include names like Matthew & Michael, Daniel & David, Hailey & Hannah or Ella & Emma. Yet others are even matchier such as Lillian and Jillian, Bryan & Ryan or Jesse & Jessica. While there isn’t technically anything wrong with matching names together like this, there are plenty of ways to be more creative when naming twin while still allowing them to have their own identities.
I’ve come up with three ways to help parents make sure their twins won’t have overly matchy names. We will examine twin names that are linked together by meaning while still being different from one another, names that sound very different but still work together stylistically, and names that share a common sound without rhyming or being too sound-alike.
1. Linked by meaning
These names don’t rhyme or sound alike but they do share a similar meaning. This is great for parents who feel the urge to make twin names matchy but don’t want to rhyme or have the names start with the same letter.
Or the rare instance where the meaning of a name is also a name:
2. Very different sounds
These names may be of a similar style or origin but they do not sound the same. They do not rhyme; they might not even have any of the same letters in common. These names stand together but have their own identities.
These names share a similar sound or two, but they are not overwhelmingly similar and they do not rhyme. Often, these sounds will be emphasized differently and the names will have different syllable counts.
What do you think of this list? Whether you like or dislike the idea of making twin names overly matchy, perhaps you can share in the comments some examples of names that you appreciate on twins. Do you have twins of your own? Do you have twin names picked out just in case? Where do you draw the line between the names being subtly linked and being too close for comfort?
I am name obsessed. When I am reading at bedtime to my eight-year old son, I will pause as we encounter new characters, “Hmm … Polly, that’s a good name isn’t it?” before he puts his fingers in his ears and begs for mercy, “Stop the naming madness, Mummy!”
I scan the credits of every TV show, hoping for divine inspiration.
My own mother taunts me; “You have been making lists of names since you could write and you can’t even chose a name for your own daughter. But I don’t like Ruby, dogs are called Ruby, the stupidest person I know has a granddaughter called Ruby, I don’t want a granddaughter called Ruby.”
My husband and I have six kids. If naming babies were an Olympic sport, I’m pretty sure I’d medal. Not necessarily in quality or creativity but in experience.
When we had our first daughter in 2001, choosing her name literally took 5 minutes. My husband suggested Juliet. I loved it immediately but suggested the longer French version, Juliette, because I thought it made a better balance with our short, somewhat masculine-feeling last name. He agreed.
Her middle name was chosen before I was ever even knocked up. In 1998, I was visiting Ireland when a bomb blast in the Northern Ireland city of Omagh claimed the lives of 29 people. One of those souls was that of a little girl named Maura. I made a silent and personal vow to use that name if I were ever to have a baby girl. Also, Maura is the Irish form of Mary and we are Catholic, so it was especially precious to me. We never looked back or second guessed our choice of Juliette Maura.
Today’s Question of the Week concerns twin names
If you were having twins tomorrow—well, maybe not tomorrow, exactly—what would you name:
- A girl-girl set
- A boy-boy set
- A girl-boy set?
Would you go the old-style twin names route and give them matching initials or names that rhyme?
Would you seek a similar feel and style?