Twins offer a rare opportunity for parents to choose two related baby names at the same time, but also multiply the potential difficulties of sibling names. With twins, it can be more tempting to use rhyme, sound play, and same initial names, but in our opinion pairings like Eddie and Teddy, Faith and Charity, or Nicholas and Nicole should be relegated to a time capsule.
While same-initial names that are clearly distinct from each other – Garrett and Grace, say, or Susannah and Simone – are okay, different-initial names are consistent in style and tone are preferable.
Some celebrity examples that work: Brad and Angelia’s Knox and Vivienne, Zoe Saldana’s Bowie and Cy, Jensen Ackles’ Zeppelin and Arrow, and Ronnie Wood’s Alice and Grace. Although each of these sets of celebrity twin names is very different in style and feel, they all embody the qualities that matter most in twin names. 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.
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 Star. Both are girls, yet Jessie’s name seems thoroughly boyish while D’Lila’s is feminine to the point of frilly. Melissa Ethridge’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.
Style consistency is also important. Most of the examples here work really well, from the traditional Lucy and John to the 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.
One idea: Look for twin names that are distinct from each other and yet have a unified meaning. For specific ideas, see our twin names blog.
The most popular twin names tend toward the matching sets. While the United States Social Security Administration no longer reports the most popular pairs of twin names every year, we’ve included a few combination that work from the 2011 list of favorites.
POPULAR TWIN NAMES
Olivia and Sophia
Isabella and Sophia
Abigail and Olivia
Ava and Emma
Ava and Mia
Ava and Ella
Abigail and Emily
Caleb and Joshua
Alexander and Benjamin
Andrew and Matthew
Alexander and Nicholas
Gabriel and Michael
Benjamin and Samuel
Logan and Mason
Henry and William
Isabella and Alexander
Olivia and Ethan
Abigail and Benjamin
Sophia and Alexander
Emily and Matthew
Emma and John
Charlotte and Henry
Ava and Jackson
Emma and Jack
CELEBRITY BABY TWINS’ NAMES
ARROW RHODES & ZEPPELIN BRAM/Jensen Ackles
BOWIE & CY/Zoe Saldana
CARTER STONE & CASH STEVEN/Robbie E
CHARLENE RIVA & MYLA ROSE/Roger Federer
CHARLIE & POPPY/Stephen Moyer & Anna Paquin
COOPER BLUE & KINGSLEY RAINBOW/Dylan Lauren
GABRIELLA & JACQUES/Prince Albert & Princess Charlene of Monaco
GIDEON SCOTT & HARPER GRACE/Neil Patrick Harris
GRACIE JANE & ALICE ROSE/Ronnie Wood
HARTLEY GRACE & LYDON EDWARD/Mark McGrath
LEO & LENNART/Roger Federer
MARION LORETTA ELWELL & TABITHA HODGE/Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick
MOROCCAN & MONROE/Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon
NELSON & EDDY/Celine Dion
ROMAN STYLIANOS & ADELE GEIRGIANA/Molly Ringwald
PHOENIX & LENNOX/Chris Bosh
TRISTAN & SASHA/Chris Hemsworth
VICTORIA & YSABEL/Michael Jordan
VIOLET MOON & KNOX BLUE/Sarah Shahi & Steve Howey