Twin Names: Choosing Names With Contrasting Meanings

One of the most interesting blog posts we’ve done – interesting from a research standpoint, I mean — was on twin names that shared a meaning.

So today I decided to spin that idea a bit differently and look for compatible names with contrasting meanings, for twins or for siblings.

I tried to come up with pairs in a range of styles.  This is an exercise with near limitless potential, of course, so if any of you are inclined to search nameberry by meaning for other pairs that fit the bill, we’d love to hear your ideas.

Here, the opposing meanings and names that go with them (and each other):

Beautiful & Brilliant

Black & White


Earth & Sea


Birds & Bees


King & Queen


Rich & Brave


Calm & Happy

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25 Responses to “Twin Names: Choosing Names With Contrasting Meanings”

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Pdxlibrarian Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 7:22 am

I would call these complimentary and not opposite. Opposite meanings would be more like happy & sad or rich & poor.

Pam Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 8:14 am

You’re right, of course. Though I think it’s complementary?

ricamaca Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 8:44 am

I love thinking about this!

Keira and Bianca – Black (or dark) and White

Aria and Calliope – Melody and Beautiful Voice

Calla and Beau – Beautiful and Handsome

Asher and Nadia – Happy and Hope

Devlin and Adeline – Brave and Noble

Carys and Sabina – Love and Peace

LJandRL Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 9:54 am

Alice and Sophie – noble and wise
Seren and Luna – star and moon
Soleil and Luna – sun and moon
Imani and Nadia – faith and hope
Serena and Amelia – tranquil and energetic
Arian and Aurelia – silver and gold
Leila and Lenore – dark and light
Irina and Carys – peace and love

Becca Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 10:19 am

This is a cool idea! Hmm so many options!
Great post!

Andrea Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 10:24 am

One of the most interesting sibling sets I came across was a set of quads named for the elements. Three of them were named Mariah, Aurora and Orion, not names you’d automatically associate with the elements. The fourth was named after a sea surfer whose name I can no longer remember and was meant to represent the ocean. Mariah probably represented the wind; Orion possibly represented fire. They’d be teenagers by now.

Andrea Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 10:26 am

I also knew a set of twins named Blythe and Bard, which I always thought was a great complementary combination. The names suited their personalities too.

Kat Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 10:51 am

This is a fun way to come up with names!
However, I would refrain from naming one twin girl a name that means “Beautiful” and the other a name that means “Brilliant”. I can guarantee you both girls will eventually wonder why one was not as pretty and the other was not as smart. It might be better to name them *both* names that mean beautiful or brilliant. As a “baby of the family” with two older sisters, I know sibling rivalry extends even into names!

My daughter’s name is Zoe, which means life, so I have thought often about a corresponding sibling name that would complement this meaning.

Pdxlibrarian Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 11:07 am

Thanks, Pam. That’s what I meant. I like the idea of complementary better than opposites anyhow. 🙂 Something like Dolores & Felicity would work better in fiction than real life.

Nyx Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 11:30 am

Sarah & Brendan (Princess & Prince)

Nyx Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 11:34 am

My two boys are Matthew & Nathaniel
Matthew: “gift of YAHWEH (God)”
Nathaniel: “God has given”

If I had another son, I was thinking about Theodore, and then I learned that it meant “gift of god” – I also thought about Jonathan, and then learned that it meant “YAHWEH (God) has given”. I find it interesting that I stumbled on so many names that meant “God/Gift” and liked them, without ever looking for them 🙂

Wildsyringa Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Love this post! I really like the idea of using complementary names – either for twin sets or sib-sets. Also, that “Copy/Paste” pic is so danged cute that now I want to have twins just so they can wear those shirts 🙂

Joy Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Cherish and Joy

Sara Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 1:56 pm

This practice of twin names having opposite meanings extends from history itself. Cleopatra named her twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. Sun and Moon.

Bella (spotlightstarlit) Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Soleil and Lunessa

Estella and Marina

CassieCake Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I have always loved
Sage and Sophia
because they both mean wisdom.

Madi Says:

August 31st, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I love the post!

Ceaser Perea Says:

December 1st, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Another good pair of names :

Freddy and Danny (cool&chill)

Jossiechris Says:

January 2nd, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Samantha and Tennyson
Sammy and Tenny

dester’edra Says:

January 19th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

As an additional possibility (one i see has already started to crop up), it sometimes works nicely to find two names that have the same meaning, but in two different languages. Selene and Luna (moon) or Belle and Calista (beautiful) are examples of this. It’s interesting, and it subtly links the children together without making anyone feel like they’re stuck in a doublemint commercial.
In high school i knew two sisters whose parents had named them Cedar and Juniper…i always thought that was sort of interesting.

Angela Says:

May 14th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

The only combination I liked was Leila and Lenore – dark and light

So my thoughts

Felicity and Tristan – happy and sad (but nameberry has it as riot)

Ferdinand and Hilla – bold and timid

Olive Says:

May 21st, 2011 at 9:59 am

I am a twin myself, and I think that while twins should have different names, it’s not so important for them to have contrast meanings. What if you were Ferdinand and Hilla? What if you were the timid one? No one would like that. And then, what if you weren’t as bold as your name suggested. You don’t want to name your child something that will be hard to live up to… so that’s what I think.

Twin Names: Your perfect pair? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 12:16 am

[…] Today’s Question of the Week concerns twin names […]

ladybug99 Says:

October 10th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Light and dark:
Darcy & Delaney

El Veeb Says:

November 26th, 2011 at 4:34 am

Ideas from me:

Darcy & Dwight- dark/light

Vita (Vida) & Lucia (Luz)- life/light

(Isa)Bella & Ilona- one it Italian, the other is Slavic, but both mean ‘beautiful’.

Amy & Miranda- loved/admired

LOVED: Estella/Marina, Sage/Sophia, Leila/Lenore

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