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Twin Names: Turning One Favorite into Two

Finding a sister for Mariana or a brother for Gael

They picked a favorite girl name and a favorite boy name – but now they’re expecting twins! Time to double the name search.

Elsie writes:

We had everything prepared for our little bundle of joy’s entrance into the world, especially when we had decided on two names – Mariana Eloise for a girl and Gael Jesús for a boy. One appointment later, it’s a double bundle!

Although the blessing of twins is a joyous occasion, we can’t help but feel distraught over the tricky issue of name-giving. To make matters even more difficult on ourselves, we don’t know their sexes but that’s because we both agreed that we wanted to wait.

Do Mariana and Gael go together? We chose Mariana as we loved its style, its flow. We chose Gael for its strong, masculine sound and its unique feel. We’re having a hard time finding twin names that match up.

We would really appreciate your thoughts.

The Name Sage replies:

Expecting twins is exciting – but overwhelming, too!

The good news? Should you welcome girl-boy twins, Mariana and Gael work beautifully together as sibling names. They’re traditional, but uncommon, with distinctive sounds and plenty of appeal.

Let’s focus on finding a sister name for Mariana and a brother name for Gael.

A Sister for Mariana Eloise

My first thought: would you be willing to split the name? As gorgeous as Mariana Eloise is, sisters named Mariana and Eloise could be every bit as lovely. I like Mariana and Luisa even better.

If not Eloise/Luisa – or Louisa, Elisa, or something similar – would you consider:

Adelina Adelina shares the same flowing, romantic sound of Mariana. It’s another romance language spin on a traditional favorite.

Graciela – One of the challenges of naming a sister for Mariana is avoiding the many long and lovely names with an obvious –ana at the beginning or the end. Graciela shares the same style without repeating sounds.

Ofelia  Shakespeare’s Ophelia is rising in use for girls once again, so I’ll suggest Ofelia. One hesitation: the Spanish pronunciation is a little different – and maybe even more appealing – than the American English.

Serafina/Seraphina – On the other hand, Serafina and Seraphina sound nearly identical across multiple languages. It’s far less common than Mariana, but I think it shares the exact same style.

Violeta/Violetta – Vintage Violet is a Top 100 staple for girls, but the longer, -a ending versions remain underused in the US.

My favorites are Gracelia and Serafina. While neither name appears in the current US Top 1000, I think they’re broadly familiar as given names. They’re pronounced nearly the same in English and Spanish. And they pair beautifully with sister Mariana. Mariana Eloise and Graciela Caroline, maybe? Or Mariana Eloise and Serafina Mirabel?

A Brother for Gael Jesús

We’re looking for a short, strong sound. That almost certainly rules out romantic names like Alvaro and Sebastián. But it leaves dozens of options. Here are a few that I think work especially well with Gael:

Axel – While Axel and Gael share most of the same letters, they sound just different enough. And while Axel isn’t Spanish at all in origin – it’s a Scandinavian twist on the Old Testament Absalom – it’s used in the Spanish-speaking world.

Bruno – We tend to think of Bruno as Italian, but it’s pan-European, known across the continent. It sounds like the name of a boxer, but there’s also musician Bruno Mars and plenty of other notables.

Ivan – We think of Ivan as Russian, but I’ve heard it used across many cultures and languages, an edgier take on traditional John.

Nico – This is the second o-ending boy name on my list. I think they’re upbeat choices that feel strong and modern. It’s easy to imagine Nico as a brother to Gael or Mariana.

Roman Rome is the eternal city, still associated with empire and military prowess fifteen centuries after the western half fell. That makes it a solid name for a son, and one that works across languages.

My favorite brother for Gael is Ivan, though I love all of these equally. Since Gael’s middle name seems more traditional, perhaps Ivan’s middle might be something equally classic: Ivan Thiago, Ivan Mateo, and Ivan Agustín all have potential.

I feel like I haven’t answered one of your questions completely, though, so let’s end with a poll about girl-boy twins, and please comment with your suggestions for both boy and girl names!

Do Mariana Eloise and Gael Jesús work for girl-boy twins?

  1. AYes, they're great together.
  2. BNo, I think they need some edits.
  3. CNot sure.
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11 Responses to “Twin Names: Turning One Favorite into Two”

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stepx Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 6:23 am

We had twin boys this year…identical. And we named them Axel Cicero and Alfred Virgil. I have a previous son who is Alexis Antonin….everyone calls him lex. So i love axel…though we live in scandinavia and axel is rather a bit too popular (though often spelled Ahksel). We stuck with “A” as a first letter. Thats one strategy. But its a real debate as to whether you twin them up with similiar names or dont do it all. Same with how much you dress them the same. We rarely dress them identically, but sometimes….anyway…Gael is a great name I think and goes with Axel fine. BUT….axel is increasingly popular and Gael isnt. Thats just an observation. Make of it what you will. For girls I love graciela. Thats my favorite of those you listed. Bruno has become rather a hipster favorite…..and hence not my favorite. I really adore Ivan. We considered that actually. Also Valentin or Valentine, both. I think Val is a cool nickname. Asa and Abel are cool…..Armand also. Abraham is a big favorite of mine but my wife voted it down. And how about Ishmael? The least used biblical name i know but one with connections to Melville and one with great dignity I think. Best of luck.

peach Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 8:32 am

When I read Mariana and Gael together I immediately thought that they sound good together. I’m not sure how you think they may not match up. I prefer twin names that are not overly similar. When I have met twins as adults, they prefer to be identified as individuals first, and twins second. Mariana is less popular than Gael but neither are extremely popular. So I think they are a good pair.

I do like Eloise or Luisa as a possible twin for Mariana. Graciela also goes very well with Mariana. Gabrielle also seems like a good pair.

For another boy, Matteo seems to fit. What about Luis? Franco?

Best wishes for you and your twins!

springcrocus Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 1:12 pm

I don’t think this should stop you from using the names at all but it’s just too big of a coincidence not to mention: the show The Fosters and its spinoff Good Trouble have main characters who are twins named Mariana and Jesus and another main character named Gael. So I immediately wondered if you were a big fan.

Another underused Spanish language name that I think would go great with Gael is Cayo (or Caio, which I think is the more Italian spelling).

Abby’s middle name suggestion made me think of Mariana and Carolina, which I think would be a fantastic pair. Rafaella is another good one.

Using Graciela might pose a problem if you want to hang onto Gael for a future child, since they share so many letters/sounds.

LCjean Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 3:00 pm

It’s funny you should say that about The Fosters as that is where we got the inspiration – we loved how the names sounded (together and separately). But we didn’t want to use Jesus in first place for obvious reasons. And when we watched Good Trouble we just fell in love with Gael. So yeah, you got us 😄😄.

rlmurphy Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 3:58 pm

For Mariana’s sister I like Adelina Luisa. For Gael’s brother I like Nico Cristian.

mcarolina Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 4:50 pm

My sister suggestion for Mariana is Carolina! There are perfect for a sister duo. As a brother for Gael, I’d suggest Romeo or Jaime. I also think all of those fit very well together.

Wittyusername103 Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Something to consider that to the untrained eye Gael could look like an alternative spelling of Gayle and that it may be misconstrued. If that doesn’t bother you then proceed but is something to consider.

Suggestions –

Boys –

Arlo
Gabriel
Matteo
Ezekiel
Tobias
Felix
Amos
Otto
Xavier
Alonso
Evan
Antonio
Francisco

Girls –

Araceli
Estella
Flora
Inez
Gabriella
Amada
Yara
Sylvia
Raquel
Catalina
Dominica

Estrela Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Mariana and Gael are lovely names! They go so well together! Here are some ideas for your twins:

Camila
Olivia
Victoria
Madalena
Beatrice/Beatriz
Esmeralda
Juliet/Julieta
Flora
Paloma
Simone
Estella
Rosa
Angelica
Belinda/Melinda
Cristina
Violeta
Ines
Veronica
Leonor
Penelope
Oceana
Naomi
Cecilia
Viviana
Teresa
Clara
Margaret
Vera
Alice
Mirabella
Valentina
Gloria
Isadora
Matilda
Laura
Isabel/Isabela
Helena
Catarina

Lucas
David
Benjamin
Alexandre
Leonardo
Thomas
Matias
Rafael
Santiago
Dante
Lorenzo
Felix
Romeo
Saverio
Enrique
Rodrigo
Jacob
Ezekiel
Adrian
Moses
Diego
Eduardo
Christian
Isaac
Marcus
Sebastian
Vincent
Timothy
August
Nicolas
Balthazar
Angelo
Frederico
Hugo
Xavier
Tiago

Sinclaiiir Says:

April 18th, 2019 at 6:56 pm

Hopefully they are boy-girl twins because Gael and Mariana go beautifully together!

I don’t think Ivan or Axel match Gael at all :/ They sound like they would be from 2 different families. I like Gael and Nico or Gael and Elio.

For girls, I would say Mariana and Luciana, Mariana and Seraphina (I think spelling it with an F is hideous!) or Mariana and Catalina, Mariana and Carolina!

WrenEloise Says:

April 18th, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Congratulations! As a twin myself, I think Gael and Mariana are a lovely set — distinct but stylistically on par with one another.

I like all of Abby’s suggestions for a sister name, and I also enjoy the idea of Carolina from previous posters. My suggestions include:

Camila
Esmeralda
Julieta
Natalia
Renata
Valentina

Mariana and Julieta are my favorites, I think, but I genuinely think they all work. Another vintage in the middle – Julieta Catherine, Esmeralda Vivian, Valentina Isabel?

I agree with another poster that Ivan and Axel are not my favorites with Gael. I do, however, quite like the ideas of Bruno and Roman. Bruno in particular seems like an excellent fit. Others:

Adrian
Andres
Iker
Javier
Luis
Omar

My favorites with brother Gael are Bruno, Adrian, and Omar — sturdy and cool. Again, a traditional middle seems appropriate, like Omar Santiago or Adrian Miguel or Bruno Matias?

Mariana Eloise and Gael Jesús
Mariana Eloise and Valentina Isabel
Gael Jesús and Omar Santiago

Those might actually be my favorites! Good luck!

PS I also love Mariana and Adrian as a pairing, or Paola and Gael.

morgantaylore Says:

April 19th, 2019 at 10:08 am

Love Carolina as a suggestion! Also love Valentina!

I think Abby nailed the girl names, but I’m not sure about the boy’s names.

Gael and Sebastian
Gael and Bastian
Gael and Nico
Gael and Matteo
Gael and Thiago
Gael and Rafael
Gael and Diego
Gael and Ignatio

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