What’s Your Naming Style?

Our Question of the Week

“Euro-inspired chic”

 “Eclectic British aristocracy”

 “Lionhearted yet fun”

 “Whimsical and fairytale-esque”

 “Frilly, with just enough clunkiness not to swing princess”

These are just a few of the fantastic descriptions our members came up with in this recent thread on the subject of naming styles from the Nameberry Forums.

So, we’re running with the theme for today’s Question of the Week: how would you describe your own naming style, in no more than ten words?

It seems like a simple enough question, but it’s actually a surprisingly difficult one to answer…

So often, our baby name loves are drawn from all over: from famous figures, to family trees, to favorite characters of stage, page and screen. And it’s not at all unusual to have markedly different tastes for girls and boys: just look at famous sibsets like Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka’s twins Harper and Gideon, or Australian actress Rachel Griffiths’ kids Adelaide, Clementine and Banjo.

But nailing down your naming style can actually be extremely helpful, no matter whether you’re dreaming up name combos and sibsets for “one day” babies, or whether you’re down to the wire  for a name for an imminent new arrival. It can help to whittle down your existing list, pick out perfect pairings and sibling sets, and provide a starting point for discovering new names to fall in love with.

So, tell us: is naming style something you keep in mind when building your lists?

Are there any names you love that you wouldn’t use because they feel like outliers next to your other favorites? Or any names you should love… but just don’t?

What’s your favorite style of baby names, on your own kid and/or on someone else’s?

How has your naming style changed over the years? Have you ever had a complete style overhaul?

Share your answers in the comments below, or join the discussion over on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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32 Responses to “What’s Your Naming Style?”

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lesliemarion Says:

November 23rd, 2018 at 12:19 am

Interesting questions. It’s not like I am consciously having a naming style and keep names out that don’t fit it. I just either love a name or I don’t.

But thinking of the names I love I’d say in 10 words: “Eclectic, Intense, Book, Nature, and Place Inspired, Old Fashioned, Zesty”

brittanyanitarose Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 2:06 am

One of my posts got quoted, it’s a dream come true!

I feel like the best summary of my naming style is large antiquated names generally outside the top 500 with familiar nicknames, with some influence from nature, history, and literature.

EloiseT Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 3:01 am

Evolving, but thinking about the past decade or so, I’d say “clipped frilly” or “tailored romance”!


Sky85 Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 3:11 am

“Unique with a classic flare”

That’s the best I could come up with. I love more unique and outgoing names (Severin, Ambrose, Axiom, Aderyn, Eowyn, Arwen, Olwyn, etc) as first names but with more common names (Matthew, Benjamin, Jane, Eleanor, Grace, Nathaniel, etc) as middles.

SoDallas3 Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 4:28 am

Uniquely and Classically Continental is my best attempt at referring to my style Names that have the properties of the classics like Thomas, John, Mary, Anna etc. but are less popular or frumpy. E.g Jonas (Lithuanian form of John) or Mariella etc.

GemmieBee Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 7:09 am

“Nature-Inspired Classics, and other Golden Oldies”
Formerly “Badass Scottish Antiques”

QuirkFlower Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 8:57 am

I usually describe my style as something like “Beatrix Potter-approved.” If it would seem out of place in one of her books, I’m probably not into it.

Basically short, approachable names with a happy sound — bonus points for botanical.

calyma Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 9:51 am

Right now I would say “Unusual, but not strange, names that aren’t too feminine/masculine” but I’m thinking maybe that’s too broad a style and some of my favorite girl names definitely don’t fit the later part.

This is definitely something to ponder.

pixiegretch Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 11:21 am

“Eclectic British Aristocracy” was said for me! It’s a perfect description of my style.

paw Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 12:02 pm

simple but versatile, not overly common, vintage

birdies Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Chicken Noodle Soup: traditional, tried and true. (Jeffrey, Kenneth, Dennis, Mary, Catherine, Rebecca).

Bobcat108 Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 12:10 pm

I’m w/leslie marion…either I like a name or I don’t…I don’t set boundaries. That said, the names I like tend to be “British/Celtic/European w/a Side of Nature Inspiration.”

linda Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 12:34 pm

What wonderful answers so far!

GoogleChrome Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Vintage names with a modern feel, not too common and usually girls’ names have 3 syllables whilst boys’ names have 2.

beynotce Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 2:49 pm

To crib from my forum signature, my style summed up is: eclectic, literary, globalist, futurist, boho but preppy, vintage but rock’n’roll.

I looove names, and I have broad tastes. I love Alice and Aspen, Madelief and Mateo, Kiley for a boy and James for a girl, Blue and Xavier and Ransom and Calliope.

When it comes to planning for my own future brood, it’s my wife’s much narrower style that will drive our picks.

elanorelle Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I am definitely the type with a fairly consistent style. I suppose I would describe it as ‘gender-specific and rich in history’ (nothing modern/invented, dated, or unisex), which is pretty broad. Naturally, therefore, not all of the names I like would quite work as siblings, in my personal opinion. But, in general, I tend to like a good mix of names from the classic to the exotic, from Emma to Jane to Francesca and Henry to Theodore to Nikolai–bonus points if they’re literary!

Pansy Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I would say “Fairy Tea Garden”. A lot of my names are either nature inspired (River, Ivy), have a fairy tale quality to them (Runa, Bridgette, Ronan) or sound like they belong at an English/Japanese tea party (Yumi, Aya, Elizabeth, Harold).

catcher5 Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 7:25 pm

My naming style can be summed up in one word: Meaningful. The names I love most are the ones that mean something to me. I’ve been naming kids for a decade. Of my six kiddos, some names are in the top ten, other not in the top 1,000. From four syllables all the way down to one. Some have nicknames, some don’t. Origins from all over the globe, etc. But the one constant in them all is that they have a meaning. I would never ever pick a name just because it sounded cool.

Lara88 Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 7:26 pm

My naming style is modern vintage, old fashioned names that aren’t out of place on a modern baby. Lately I have been favoring short, hard names for girls like Ziva, Lux and Dove. For boys I’ve always preferred soft, sometimes nature names, often unisex. Basically just whatever I like the sound of!

flamingo Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 9:00 pm

I like to call mine, ‘Biblical Chic.’ All my kids have names that fit that description, with a few family names thrown in too. To me, nothing is better than a name that channels the virtues of a righteous person who came before them!

lissylou Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Timeless and simple, yet chic. Names easily pronounced and recognizable, but that don’t feel common or plain.

Msleahpeah Says:

November 26th, 2018 at 11:36 pm

“Great Gatsby, 1920s gangster, western, Americana”

I love all things vintage. If a name was popular in the early 1900s it’s most likely on my list. I also tend to go for unfrilly deeply American names. No more than six letters and two (maybe 3) syllables. I like rough and tumble names for boys and zippy/sassy names for girls. Nothing in the top 800 but outside the top 1000 is preferred. Love rare gems that aren’t wired…just forgotten!

Kew Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 6:35 am

I would describe my style as “Homely Mystical” or “Earthy Folkloric”.

My favourite names are quite diverse – many could be described as old-fashioned, but certainly not all of them. They have a mixture of biblical, mythical, and legendary roots. My favourite girls’ name is the most classic feminine name of all time – Mary – but I also have names on my list that have never ranked since data has been kept. I completely agree with what @catcher5 said: the one criterion that trumps all others in a name for me is meaning, whether it is etymological, cultural, or personal.

For other people’s children, I love all kinds of styles, from the historical to the ethnic to the inventive. I don’t believe in being snobbish about names: Nevaeh is just as beautiful as say, Emily, because it has a beautiful meaning and intention behind it (as well as a nice sound).

Asherose Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 7:06 am

My choice
Girls, Classic, romantic, dreamy, soft, sentimental (don’t throw me out please)

Boys, Traditional, classic, strong, manly and some quirky

livia Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I’d probably call mine Euro-Vintage! I like names like Conrad, Jonas, Dmitri, Saskia, Eloise, Paloma, Tobias…

mclola Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 5:07 pm

When it comes to actually naming my kids I choose names that have a meaning. Either after a family member or a place or thing that is important to us.
When it comes to my top 100 lists I am all over the place, with a lean towards vintage classics

jmsouthern Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Unique, but not YOU-NEEK. My daughter’s name is extremely rare — she’s never met anyone else with that name; it’s way off the Top 1000 — yet it has a familiar feel.

baffled_jessica Says:

November 27th, 2018 at 11:36 pm

i’ve never really thought about my naming style. I don’t have kids yet so I’m not sure if you can really have one until you’ve named an actual human (I’ve named pets, laptops, phones and other assorted objects, but its not the same).
But if I had to try: historically significant and personally relevant with several fun nickname options.
As for the other question, I should love Millicent and Mildred, Millie is a great nickname option, and combine it with middle name options you could get nn MJ or Emmy and Millicent was my grandma’s backup name if my uncle Stan was a girl. But I hate Mildred with a passion, its the ‘dread’ sound at the end and Millicent sounds like a skin condition.

danirose01 Says:

November 28th, 2018 at 1:24 am

I would describe my taste as “quirky classics with a European twist”. Names like Alphonse, Kaspar, Otto, and Walter for boys. Lorelei, Delilah, Marguerite, and Daphne for girls.

mermuse Says:

November 28th, 2018 at 10:02 am

I’ve always proudly been part of the “eccentric British aristocracy” camp myself, but I’m not sure if that’s EXACTLY it, at least for the girls, maybe I’d add a bit of an “ethereal” twist?

SouthernPeach Says:

November 29th, 2018 at 9:37 am

Boys- Traditional Twists (Theodore “Theo”, Nathaniel “Nat”, Asaiah “Asa”)

Girls- Stunning Melodies (Magnolia “Nola”, Thacia (Thay-SEE-uh), November “Nova”)

I love the unique ones that aren’t too far out there. I.E. Asaiah sounds like Isaiah, but with the awesome nickname Asa. Also, book characters have a big impact on my names. If Asa from A Gathering of Days, or Nathaniel Bowditch had been jerks, I’d probably hate the names.

brianerose Says:

November 29th, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Ethereal bohemian with dashes of modern whimsy 🙂

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