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Twin Names: The Ultimate Guide

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Twin names present double the challenge but can also be double the fun. Naming twins is a rare opportunity to choose two related baby names at the same time. With twins, it can be more tempting to use rhyme, sound play, and same initial names, but in our opinion overly-cutesy pairings like Chloe and ZoeyFaith and Charity, or Oliver and Olivia should be relegated to a time capsule.

Twin names should be well-matched, but not similar to the point of confusion. Some celebrity examples that work: Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Rumi and Sir, George and Amal Clooney’s Ella and Alexander, Jonathan Tucker’s India and Hayes, Zoe Saldana’s Bowie and Cy, and Jensen Ackles’ Zeppelin and Arrow.

Although each set of celebrity twin names is very different in style and feel, they all embody the qualities that matter most in naming twins. Each name in the set is distinct from the other yet they make a harmonious pair — exactly what most parents would wish for the twins themselves.

Below, our top considerations when naming twins:

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Twin Names by Style

The best twin names — and sibling names generally — are compatible in style. Most of the celebrity examples work really well, from Nancy Grace’s traditional Lucy and John to Will Champion’s quirky Juno and Rex. The pairing of John and Juno would not be so sweet: too close in sound, yet too far apart in style.

Pro tip: names that share an origin are often similar in style, like Maeve and Finn.  Both names are rooted in ancient myth yet have a sleek one-syllable sound and are popular in the modern world.

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Twin Names by Letter and Sound

Twin names that share the same first initial can work, but it is important that the names are clearly distinct from each other. Always keep style compatibility in mind (Garrett and Gianna would not be ideal, as they are too disparate in tone), but search for names that differ in other ways, such as syllable count or ending sounds. Mariah Carey’s Moroccan and Monroe are a prime example.

The opposite is also true — if you’d rather match the names on a middle or ending sound, it’s best to use names with different first initials. Aria and Ezra is a better fit than Ezra and Ella.

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Gender Compatibility

Gender compatibility may be more important for twins than it is for siblings. Two unisex names can work, like Dylan Lauren’s son Cooper Blue and his twin sister Kingsley Rainbow. But a mismatch can be jarring.

One pair of starbaby twins whose names don’t quite work as well as they should: Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Jessie James and D’Lila StarBoth are girls, yet Jessie’s name seems thoroughly boyish while D’Lila’s is feminine to the point of frilly. Melissa Etheridge’s twins are Johnnie and Miller — but unless you know their middle names, you wouldn’t guess that Johnnie is a girl, Miller a boy. Such gender confusion seems needlessly, well, confusing.

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Names Matched by Meaning

One of our favorite ways to link twin names is by meaning. A unified meaning is a subtle way to enhance the connection between twin names, but just like with letter matching, the key is to choose names that are distinctive. Ari and Leo, which both mean “lion,” or Mira and Kai, which have watery meanings, are sets that work well. Madonna has well-named twins called Esther and Stella, both of which mean “star.”

Some twin names matched by meaning:

Felix & Asher — happy

Arthur & Orson — bear

Frederica & Milo — peaceful

Imogen & Esme — beloved

Laszlo & Orlando — famous

Ramona & Pallas — wise

Ada & Oberon — noble

Cyrus & Surya — sun

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Names with Contrasting Meanings

Another way to go when choosing names for twins is to choose names with contrasting meanings, such as sun and moon, dark and light, birds and bees. Some specific ideas:

Cole & Bianca — black and white

Gaia & Marina — earth and sea

Deryn & Deborah — birds and bees

Rex & Juno — king and queen

Clementine & Hilaria — calm and happy

Edmund & Everett — rich and brave

Calixta & Hugo — beautiful and intelligent

Tarana & Shirina — day and night

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Popular Names for Twins

The most popular twin names tend toward matching sets. Pairs that share sounds, such as Ava and Emma and Elijah and Isaiah are perennially popular, as are those that begin with the same letter, like Sofia and Sebastian.

Other on-trend twinsets are connected in more subtle ways. Luna and Nova are celestial names, and Luca and Mateo both have Italian origins. Mila and Liam are a rare set of compatible anagram names, making them all the more appealing for twins.

Here, the most popular names for twins:

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Unique Names for Twins

Our top recommendations for unique twin names include those that are linked but distinct. Sheridan and Tierney are both Irish surnames for girls, and Gus and Ike are single-syllable retro nicknames. Zelda and Boaz is one of our favorite girl-boy twin sets, as both feature the attention-grabbing Z sound.

There are endless possibilities of unique twin name combinations. Featured below are a handful of ideas to get you started:

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Unisex Twin Names

Some parents want to find unisex names for twins, no matter what their gender. Some appealing gender neutral twin names that can work for both boys and girls include:

Remy & Rory

Avery & Emery

Finley & Quincy

Riley & Brody

Domino & Indigo

Max & Sam

Parker & Sawyer

Eden & Haven

Bellamy & Laramie

Ellis & Royal

Read our twin naming guide at The Twin Source.

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.
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