The Middle Name Riddle
They’ve found the perfect first name for their daughter. But when it comes to middle names, that’s a riddle they just can’t solve.
J & M write:
We’re expecting a baby girl later this year. Luckily, my husband and I both love the name August.
However, we can’t seem to agree on a middle name.
We’re good to go on this first name. Please help us find a middle!
The Name Sage replies:
Sometimes going through endless lists results in a eureka moment, where suddenly The Exactly Right Name comes to you both. More often, it’s an exercise in frustration, as names are suggested and shot down, over and over.
When you’re stuck, it often helps to back up and think about the qualities you’re after. Should the middle name honor loved ones? Balance out an unusual first, or spark up a traditional choice? Are you hoping for a few more syllables to complement a short first, or do you want to keep it simple? Or is it just another name that you like every bit as much as August?
Based on the names you’ve considered so far, I’d say that a middle name for August should be:
Flowing – I noticed some of your names, like Ava, almost blend together: Augustava. It’s an intriguing, attractive sound.
Time to dive into the suggestions!
Claire – If there’s a middle point between Clo/Sloane and Amelia/Eloise, it has to be Claire. Spare and elegant, but still traditionally feminine, Claire works well with August. It’s common as a middle name, but not nearly as overused as fellow single-syllable names like Rose and Grace. But does Claire feel too traditional?
Elle – If Clo makes your shortlist, I wonder if Elle might work? It’s more sound than name, but it wears well. Plenty of El– names, like Eloise, feel popular and stylish today. August Elle – say it fast and it almost becomes one longer name!
Lou or Lue – Depending on your perspective, Lou is either television’s Lou Grant – masculine – or Heidi Klum’s youngest, Lou Sulola – feminine. Respelled Lue, it’s quite rare, and yet might make an appealing middle. Longer Lou names, like Louise and Luella, might also appeal.
Laine – August Laine sounds great together, but maybe it’s a bit too double noun name? I suggest it because, like Claire and Reeve, it seems like another name in the key of Sloane. A quick note on numbers: while Lane is significantly more popular for boys, Laine is favored for girls.
Reeve – Reeve reminds me of Sloane, but also the V sound in Vivian and Ava. Writer Reeve Lindbergh – daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh – takes this name in a feminine direction. But overall, it’s quite rare. Fewer than 50 children received the name in 2015, three-quarters of them boys.
Lia – Because mini name Ava made your list, I wonder if you’ve considered Lia? It’s a spin on traditional Leah, influenced by mega-popular Mia. But just as Clo owes something to long-time favorite Chloe, Lia seems just different enough. Like August Ava and August Elle, it becomes a name that can almost be said in one breath: Augustlia.
Selene or Celine – Selene and Celine sound the same, though they share different roots. Selene is from the Greek word for moon; Celine, from the Latin word for heaven. Either way, it seems like an unexpected choice that combines the best of tailored names like Sloane and feminine picks like Eloise.
Eden – Is a summery name and a garden name too much of a phrase? Maybe, but I quite like the sound of August Eden. Eden seems to split the difference between all the styles you’re considering, too – modern, but not invented; feminine, but frills-free; not wildly popular, but not unknown.
Overall, I’m drawn to E names, like Eden and Elle, to pair with August. Though I think you have plenty of great options – and I know readers will suggest more! But don’t hesitate to think a little bit about the kind of name you’d like – and what functions you might like it to serve – before you go through all of the ideas.
Readers, can you suggest some middle names for August?
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on January 25th, 2017 at 12:05 am
August Claire and August Vivian are stunning. I’m surprised to find myself actually kind of liking August on a girl.
on January 25th, 2017 at 12:19 am
My immediate thought is to ask if there is a family/honor name you both can agree on. That aside, I love the name August on a girl and think August Claire is gorgeous.
on January 25th, 2017 at 12:24 am
I love the sound of August Lia and August Claire. I like August on a girl; it’s cute. My suggestions: (some are based off of the Name Sage’s post, some are what I think sound good with August)
Congratulations and good luck!
on January 25th, 2017 at 12:56 am
I second the suggestions of:
on January 25th, 2017 at 3:00 am
August Ayerose (eye-rose)
August Neila or Neala
Toya B Said
on January 25th, 2017 at 4:05 am
I really like the Sound of August Leah (or Lia, but it looks a bit to much like August Liar, which would really not be good…)
on January 25th, 2017 at 5:21 am
August LaRue ! ❤️
on January 25th, 2017 at 5:34 am
on January 25th, 2017 at 6:26 am
Seems to me, J & M, like your ideas thus far have a romantic quality that I’m not sure was fully captured in the recommendations. I have a couple more to offer up:
on January 25th, 2017 at 6:36 am
Am I the only one who thought Riddle was the actual middle ?? Anyway, I think August Clio/Cleo is absolutely perfect.
on January 25th, 2017 at 8:00 am
I thought Riddle was the middle name too, lol! I really, really like August for a girl (I had never considered it before, but it’s great)! I think August Claire is so pretty. That would be my pick. I think a longer middle would be very nice, as well – August Alexandra, for example.
on January 25th, 2017 at 8:00 am
I love August Celine the most but also love August Vivian and August Claire!
on January 25th, 2017 at 2:50 pm
I love the name August Rain…
on January 25th, 2017 at 3:49 pm
August Laine is just gorgeous!
on January 25th, 2017 at 4:07 pm
I love August Claire or Clare, or August Vivian. August Vivianne is stunning. August Jade works well. With August Ava, a variation of Ava, such as Avia or Averie, might make a more unusual, but similar choice. Avalon is another Ava alternative, and that might work. Annelise would also make a lovely middle name.
on January 25th, 2017 at 4:16 pm
Short and feminine:
A little longer but still light and not plain:
on January 25th, 2017 at 4:52 pm
August Laine is a terrible suggestion, doesn’t matter how you spell it, people will hear “lane”, and Lane/Layne are far more common for boys.
August Eden also sounds like a boy to me.
on January 25th, 2017 at 6:47 pm
I actually really like August Ava.
Ava might be way overused as a first name but I love it in the middle 🙂 The AA alliteration is cool, especially with August sounding so strong and bold and Ava sounding soft and sweet.
on January 25th, 2017 at 9:42 pm
My first thoughts were August Uma/August Oona.
So many other great suggestions I’m probably not gonna take the time to offer more suggestions, but I just wanna say that I LOVE all your ideas and think that August is a lovely choice for a little girl 🙂
on January 26th, 2017 at 12:31 am
on January 26th, 2017 at 1:26 am
August is adorable for a girl!
I actually quite like August Marie, even though Marie is so popular as a middle name.
August Laine is my favorite suggestion
August Margaux (long but cool)
on January 26th, 2017 at 7:22 am
I really thought they wanted to name their daughter August Riddle, I was very concerned!
on January 26th, 2017 at 8:37 am
I think a feminine middle is in order with a traditionally boy’s name like August.
August Olivia has a beautiful flow.
on January 26th, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Adding Celine to my own baby girl middle name possibility list. Beautiful.
on January 26th, 2017 at 4:05 pm
I like August Selene from the recommendations! Maybe: August Tess, August Belle, August Eliza, August Lucy, August Avalon or August Amelie
on January 26th, 2017 at 6:08 pm
I LOVE the sound of August Amelia. It jumped out at me immediately from your list. What if you used the “Emilia” spelling instead, to counter your husband’s concern that Amelia is too common. I think August Emilia sounds just lovely.
Genevieve Apple Said
on January 27th, 2017 at 12:15 am
August Selene is my favourite!
August Aviva, August Viva, August Viv, August Vienne, August Annevi, August Aria, August Eliza, August Iva, August Io, August Iona, August Leona, August Rhona, August Ramona, August Simone, August Clove, August Clover, August Cliona, August Calypso, August Callisto
on January 27th, 2017 at 2:48 am
My favorite from your list was August Ava. You fear the name is “overused” but just because the name is closer to the top of the Social Security list for given names doesn’t mean that it has become the new Marie, Rose, or Ann for a “filler middle”. Does it really matter that a name is popular if it feels like the right name for your daughter? Your August may even appreciate having a more common, clearly feminine name in the middle slot.
Eva, as another Berry suggested, may be a great alternative if popularity truly is a great factor in your decision! This similar sounding name has all the charm of Ava while ranking much lower on the chart. August Eve is beautiful and more tailored. You could interpret the moniker as two word names giving her name the air of a relaxing summer night.
Elle and Eden were my favorite Name Sage picks- though I see the potential confusion of her full name sounding like the invented Augustelle as a downside. It’s especially unfortunate because August Elle flows together so perfectly it’s as if the names were invented for each other!
Edith and Ivy were suggestions I had that other Berries beat me too! Edith is as classic as Amelia and sounds like Eden’s more sophisticated sister.
Ivy is a gorgeous botanical choice both on the vine and sitting next to August on her birth certificate.
Best wishes to you and your family both on the upcoming birth of your daughter and in finding a middle name for your August!
Ella Frances Said
on January 30th, 2017 at 8:39 pm
1. August Caroline
2. August Kellie
3. August Claire
4. August Lia
5. August Virginia
6. August Dorothy
7. August Natalie
8. August Luka (I don’t know if Luka is a real name, but it sounds super cute)
9. August Jane
10. August Caitlin
on December 13th, 2019 at 3:10 pm
I like the sound of the middle names beginning with E for August:
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