How lovely is this woman?

This is Rebecca Woolfe, who writes the popular blog Girl’s Gone Child.  Aside from an egregious propensity for terrible puns, she’s a lovely writer and by all accounts, seems like a really fun person to know.

She has two children, a son Archer and a daughter Fable, and as luck would have it, finds herself currently pregnant with the namer’s dream:  twin girls.

I’ve literally lain awake at night trying to “name them” for her.  Yes I KNOW naming is a terribly personal thing, of course it is (I don’t actually want to name the twins for you Bec & Hal).  But I am extremely excited to see what this couple comes up with.  Like us, they take this naming business terribly seriously.

Yesterday she posted her discarded list– the names she’d like to see go out and find happy homes, she’s generous like that.

But when I made the majority of my list below, this is what I had to work with to gauge her style.  We share a love of Salome and Mirabelle.  I’m still trying to talk her into Zelda.

The trickiest part is trying to figure out if she’ll use another word name.


Echo- My first thought.  How poetic is this Ancient Greek beauty?  I thought the concept of an “echo” might appeal to Woolfe’s sensibilities, and as it turns out, I was right!  But Rebecca’s thought this through, it just doesn’t work for a twin.

Calliope- Muse was a name on the first long list.  I prefer a specific muse to just “Muse” itself.  Calliope has a galloping sound in the same vein as Tallulah, and is less common than her long time love Chloe.  Rebecca’s passion of the written word may find her attracted to this goddess of epic poetry.

Juniper- Has a similar modern, galloping feel to Tallulah and Indigo.  The Juniper tree is associated with being able to ward off negative forces and illness.  They have Cypress on the most recent list of hand-me-downs, so trees are a possibility (though she has said they will not be named for flowers).

Zephyrine- Zephyr was a possibility for Fable, so if she likes that, why not Frenchify it with this obscure but legitimate gem?  Also, they live on the West coast, and Zephyr is the God of the West Winds.

Vesper- Greek for “evening.”  Perhaps a possible middle depending on when the babes are born.  I like the style and feel of this but don’t love the -er endings with big brother Archer.

Mercy- Rebecca and Hal have overcome some serious strife together.  Someone has shown their family mercy.  Why not?

Blythe- Blythe might be an easier name to carry, and a more fun sentiment to try to live up to.

Verena, Verity- As the great Keats said (in Ode on a Grecian Urn no less): “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”  They want names that match, but aren’t matchy.  One of these could pair well next to a name that symbolizes beauty, as though there is a part of each twin in the other.

Zelda- The wife of F. Scott FitzGerald, a brilliant mind with a troubled life.  Zingy vintage find.

Clio- The Greek muse of history.  I know they’re great admirers and students of history in this family.

Thalia- Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry.  Rebecca makes us laugh as often as she makes us cry.

Oona- Irish “lamb.”  A super cool name that this super cool fam could certainly pull off.  I like the flow with Archer and Fable, but don’t know if it’s common in LA.  I’ve met a few of them here.

Melba- Retro vibe that could rock with their decor and meld with the likes of Ava and Harlow.  I see an LA baby as giving this name new schwang.

Hedy- Ditto  Melba, but more Hollywood.

Dove- Rebecca talks about peace and strength a lot.  Dove sounds nice with the sibset as well, but what do you name her sister? Paz?  Turns out, they do like Pace.

Snow- The antidote to the hot Cali sun.

Neige- Ditto Snow, the Francophile version.

Capricorn- She’s admitted to being a huge Henry Miller fan.  Would this work for a girl born in October?  Would this work with Snow or Neige?  Not my favorite.

Merritt, Merit-  This name boasts the feminine sound of Mary with a familiar surname twist.  Spell it like the word to get closer to the admirable meaning and further from the surname trend.

Thisbe- Greek inspiration continues with one of my favorite names for somebody else.  The Juliet of mythology. Somebody please use this!

Colette- Colette is another name that I love on somebody else’s child, but for some reason can’t quite bring myself to use.  Come to find out Rebecca feels the same way, but only because this would have been Archer’s name had he been a girl.

Hermione- Perhaps too Harry Potter, but has that lilting quality we like from so many on her list.  Also, Hermione was a messenger.  Hermione and Dove maybe?

Simone- Simone de Beauvoir and Nina Simone.  I could see a daughter of Rebecca’s pulling this off, to borrow Rebecca’s word, with aplomb.

The following four were added to the list after I read her most recent castaways:

Pallas- She loves Zenith, and Pallas Athena was at the apex of the Greek gods.

Cerulean- This should be a name, and symbolizes the sky and even at times, the ocean.

Solstice- She likes Season, so why not Solstice?  I’ll tell you why not– these babies are due in October but may come early.  Equinox just doesn’t have the same ring to it, plus it’s a gym.

Xanthe- She likes Zs and Xs.  Xanthe was a near miss for me, plus it’s Greek to boot.  I really think they’re going to go Greek with at least one baby.  It means blond.  Rebecca is really a blond too.

Rebecca Woolfe and hubby Hal, I do apologize if I’ve exposed your secret names.  Only time will tell, and (obviously) I can’t wait to see what you choose!  Those babies are going to a wonderful loving home.

Would you pair any of these names with one another? What would you name Hal and Rebecca’s twins?  What would you name your own?


Nipping at the heels of Max and Gus are a bevy of three letter power houses.  Parents wishing to pack a punch without taking up much space on the page will want to consult this list of potential cool.  Old goodies Dan, Tim, and Tom need not apply.  We’re moving forward here, folks.

Abe- Short form of the Hebrew Abraham, “father of many.”

Ace- Skilled person, one unit.  With a bit of a soap opera feel when used on its own, this also works well as a nickname for anything.   You could also turn that stereotype on its head, which would be truly aces.

Ari- Triple threat:  Armenian for “brave”, Hebrew for “lion”, Norse for “eagle.”

Asa- Hebrew, “healer.”

Avi- Hebrew, “my father.”

Baz- Arabic, “falcon.”  Also a nickname for  Balthazar, Basil, and Sebastian.

Cal- Short for Calvin or Callum, with potential to be used on its own.

Che- Guevara lovers note:  this name comes from the Mapudungun language as a suffix meaning “people.”  However, it is also an Argentinian exclamatory phrase roughly translated as “hey you”, and rather like the F word in Mexico.  Guevara’s given name was Ernesto.

Coe- Surname, “hollow” or “hill”

Dag- Norse for “day”

Dai- Both the Welsh short form of David and a Japanese name “large”, “great”

Dax- Popular with the Dutch.

Dom- Diminutive of Dominic, Latin- “of the lord.”

Dov- Hebrew for “bear.”  I love that for English speakers this recalls a bird, but it actually means kind of the opposite.

Eli- Hebrew, “ascension.”

Eno- Brian Eno fans might pick up on this one, and have.

Geo- Greek, “earth.”  Can be short for George.

Gus- Short for August, Augustin, Augustus, Angus, Gustav(e), or even Constantine– I move that Gus is the new Max.  But what’s the new Gus?

Guy- You say “gye” and I say “gee.”  May be derived from Wido, Germanic for “wood.”  Worthy of a second look.

Huw- Yes, this is the Welsh form of Hugh, “bright mind, spirit.”  The English version may be less of a headache.

Ian- Scottish form of John, “God is gracious.”

Ike- Diminutive of Isaac, Hebrew for “he laughs.”  Famous Ike’s include Eisenhower, Turner, and the hurricane.

Ira- Hebrew for “watchful.”

Ivo- Ivo of Kermartin is the patron saint of Brittany.  From the Germanic and means “yew.”

Jed- Short form of the Hebrew Jedidah, “beloved of Y_hweh.”  Shedding his country image.

Kai- Hawaian for “sea.”  ”Keeper of the keys” in Welsh.

Kip- Short form of Christopher, and used on its own.

Leo- Leonardo or Leonard pave the way for Leonidas, Leonides, or Leopold.  Or “just” Leo.

Lev- Russian for “lion”, Hebrew or “heart.”

Lex- Better as a nickname for Alexander, and recalls Lex Luthor.  This author is preferring Lev and Lux today.

Luc- France’s answer to Luke, and similarly pronounced.

Lux- Latin, “light”

Luz- Spanish, “light”, often used for girls, Maria de la Luz, etc.

Mac- Could be short for Cormac, any McName, or one of the Maxes

Max- Latin, “the greatest”; stands on its own just fine, but could also be used for Maxim, Maximilian, Maxime, Maxwell

Moe- Japanese for “sprout.”  Bet you didn’t expect that.

Neo- Tswana (South Africa), means “gift.”  German prefix for new.

Noe- Variant of Noah, Hebrew for “rest”

Obi- Igbo, “heart”

Pax- Latin for “peace”, Angelina Jolie’s choice for her son from Vietnam.

Paz- Spanish for “peace”

Pim- Dutch diminutive of Willem.  Could work for your wee William, too.

Poe- English surname, most famously of the poet Edgar Allan Poe

Raj- Sanskrit, “prince” or “king”

Ram- Hebrew, “exalted” and Sanskrit “pleasant.”  Still, I see the animal first.

Rex- Latin for “king”, gaining steam in Britain and a great sub for Max if you’re in Brooklyn.

Rio- Spanish and Portuguese for “river.”  According to Behind the Name, this also has multiple meanings in Japanese:  莉 (ri) “jasmine” or 里 (ri) “village” combined with 央 (o) “center”, 緒 (o) “thread” or 桜 (ou) “cherry blossom”

Sid- Short for the English Sidney, “wide island”

Taj- Sanskrit, “crown”

Teo- Diminutive of Teodor, Mateo, and other names containing “teo”, which is derived from the Greek for “god.”

Tor- Modern Scandinavian form of Thor, “thunder”

Ugo- Italian form of Hugh, “mind, spirit”

Uli- Diminutive of the German Ulrich, “prosperity and power”

Val- From the Latin valens, “strong, healthy”

Wes- Short for Wesley or Weston, but works well on its own.

Wyn- Welsh, from Gwyn- “white, fair”

Xan- A Galician cognate of John, and a oft-forgotten nickname for Alexander

Zeb- Short form of Zebadiah or Zebedee, this could work by itself on a hip babe.

Zev- Hebrew for “wolf”

geomix blocks by haba


Recently I came across an extensive list of anagram names.  Some were quite silly and difficult to think of as names (Argentine Tangerine, anyone?).  Yet it shed light on an avenue of twinny naming that could be quite clever if done right.  Many were mismatched stylistically, but some were surprisingly delightful.  While I’d shy away from naming Teresa’s sister Easter, it could make a meaningful middle.  I myself would be tempted by Claudine and Dulcinea, or Caroline and Cornelia!  

Twins or no, it might be a good idea to know what your child’s name could spell.  Kristen pointed out that she is a stinker.  So get out those scrabble tiles people– and be sure to share what you come up with!


Alice – Celia

Adeline- Daniele












Jonas-Sonja (& Jason)







Above: Geomix, by Haba  

London, Twin City

July 25th, 2009

Rocco and Jay


Many twinnies in this month’s batch of Times and Telegraph announcements.  Ophelia Beatrix Plum.   * Sigh*.  Emilia and Matilda are a nice set.  Pictured above are a pair born in April:  Jay and Rocco.

Evidence of Catholics and Muslims alike– brilliant for Britain’s class conscious society.  What IS up with Rocco?  Was he cool before Madge?  Is he cool now?

“Nicknamishness” persists.  See Lola, Harry, Romy, Jack.

Any favorites?  I’m in a Henry mood today.  The Henrietta Alice Clementine and Henry Horatio Arthur combos are nothing short of genius!  



Agatha Olive

Alba, a sister for Emilio and Felix

Amy Margaret and Megan Annabel, identical twins

Aurelia Maisie Sarah, a sister Finlay

Beatrice Daisy

Charlotte Shea

Darcey Sophia

Delphine Isabella Clementine

Elizabeth Miriam Catherine, a sister for Seamus

Emilia Grace and Matilda Ana, sisters for Sofia

Emilia Myfanwy

Esme Rose

Francesca, a sister for Ivor

Georgina Alexandra, a sister for Henry and William

Georgina Maria Clare

Hannah Rose and Lara Christine, sisters for Emily

Henrietta Alice Clementine, a sister for Freddie

Isadora Edith Phyllis a beautiful sister for Toby John

Katherine Elizabeth Mair (Kitty), a sister for Robbie

Laetitia Mary

Lana Mabel and Romy Constance, twins

Lola Ellen Beatrice, a sister for Daisy

Martha Georgina 

Mollie Carolynn Sarah, a sister for Matilda

Nancy Rose

Octavia Nancy Mytilini, a sister for Tobias and Tessa

Olivia Penelope Caroline, a sister for Louis and Harriet

Ophelia Beatrix Plum and Alice Elizabeth Isabella, twin sisters for Harrison and Florence

Persephone Elizabeth, a sister for Hermione, Ella and Henry

Robyn Victoria, a sister for Jonty

Sally Jasmine

Sofia Hope Cranmer and Naomi Joy Ridley

Zara Lily Noor, a sister for Cameron



Alexis Roshan Michel Singh

Barnabas James

Barnaby Rollo Horatio, a brother for Jasper and Felix

Benedict Marcus Crayden, a brother for Isobel, Olivia and Dominic

Benedict Simon Jackson, a brother to Connie

Cassius Beau William, a brother for Evie and Esmé

Charles Edward Hutchins, a brother for Emily

Edmund Joseph Banner a brother to Lara, Rory and Jed

Felix Edward Peake, a brother for Rory

Fergus Robert MacDuff, a brother to Alick

Frederick Louis Henry, a brother for Ranulph

Grainger Desmond James, a brother for Gabriella

Harry Hugh Philip, a brother for Archie

Harry Patrick Montague

Henry Horatio Arthur, a brother for Hubert and Siegfred

Henry Robin Horsman, a brother for Edward and William

Jack Angus, a brother for Callum Arthur

Jacobi William Charles

Jasper Jonathan, a brother for Freddie

Josef Elias Muhammad, a brother for Ela

Lachlan Alexander Todd

Louis William Dickson

Maximilian Edward Wilfred, a brother for Alexander

Maximilian Thomas Anthony, a brother for Davina

Oscar Alexander Louis, a brother for Max and Sasha

Oscar Charles Thomas, a brother for Bonnie

Owen Alexander Lowdon, a brother for Clio

Rafferty Mungo Kit

Rocco George Alexander, a brother for Archie and Matilda

Rory Henry Cadwallader

Rory William Franklin

Rupert Andrew Meryon, a brother for Imogen

Sebastian William Larsen, a brother for Alexander

Tobias Raphael Matthew, a brother for Harry, Tillsy, Freddie, Jem and Barney

Walter Ralph, a brother for Maisie and Albert

Molly Ringwald


Man, Molly hit it out of the park on this one.  She demonstrated to the world her great taste when she named her daughter Mathilda Ereni five years ago.  When presented with a name nerd’s dream of naming two at once, the much beloved awkward beauty from Sixteen Candles did not disappoint.  

Adele Georgiana Ringwald Gianopoulous and Roman Stylianos Ringwald Gianopoulous made their way into the world on Friday, July 10th.  Evidentally, it was a natural double birth to boot.  Go mom.

A bit saddened here to see celeb use of the understated Adele.  Both it and Georgina are on a personal shortish list.  A Greek friend has considered Stylianos with the English transliteration of Stellan.  She also knows another young Stylianos who goes by Stanley here!  (That’s for you, Bliss).  Roman itself is a pretty stellar choice, already in the celeb sphere but not over done (Cate Blanchett’s middle boy, for one, is a Roman).  Were Adele to go all Addie on us I think I’d cry.  

So now Ferris Bueller and Samantha Baker each have their own set of newborns.  And Michael Jackson is dead.  How times change…

Marion & Tabitha.

June 23rd, 2009



Marion and Tabitha.  Marion and Tabitha.  They have such a nice ring together.


These are the names chosen by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick for their healthy newborn twin daughters, born yesterday.

The full monikers are Marion Loretta Elwell Broderick and Tabitha Hodge Broderick.  Hodge and Elwell are family names of Parker’s.  

The obvious qualm is that one twin was given three names and the other four.  This makes me think that as parents Sarah and Matthew subscribe to the philosophy that twins are individuals and ought not be thought of as a set.  It makes me think that they won’t dress alike and that they will be encouraged to express their creativity and independent thought at every turn.  I myself might have liked to have seen each girl get four names.  Tabitha Fern or Tabitha Enid perhaps.  Totally different from Miss Marion Loretta yet compatible.  

We’re almost straddling a British upper crust feel with your great-grandmother’s birth announcement in her local Midwestern Gazette.  And Sarah is at heart a good Midwestern girl.  

Loretta is one I’ve been anticipating in the city for a while now.  Lots of little ladies sport a kind of country chic.  Nellie Rae is pretty adorable on a six-year-old in checkered vans and a vintage Members Only jacket.  

But back to Marion and Tabitha.  Totally unexpected, under appreciated (almost) gems.  I say almost because they are not quite to my taste.  Tabitha has always seemed a bit prim and is usually reserved for the Telegraph, while Marion strikes me as somewhat masculine with this spelling especially.  But this is really getting nitpicky.  Overall the names deserve an ovation.  They balance one another nicely and neither outshines the other.  James Wilkie must be a proud big brother.

Mabel Lucie Attwell


We have a Mabel!  Mabel Painter Lowe was born to Chad Lowe and Kim Painter on May 16.  A decidedly fusty choice, Mabel has been a favorite of underground name nerds for a while now, and I’d love to see more of them. Tracey Ullman also has a Mabel Ellen, born in 1986.  Congrats to the Painter-Lowe clan!  

Celebs have been on a role lately.  Wanda Sykes and her wife Alex welcomed Olivia Lou and Lucas Claude on April 27.  The Lou ties into twin bro Lucas, Olivia and Claude are both Ancient Roman names that are well loved today.  Spot on match.  

Julie Bowen of Boston Legal now has a Gus and a John, also twins.  Odd pairing, though I’m starting to think John is the quirkier choice these days and sounds pretty fresh.

R & B singer Jill Scott gave birth to Jett Hamilton.  Very cool but not too much so.  

Phoebe Margaret was born to Julianne Nicholson and Jonathan Cake.  Dynamite– love the balance of Phoebe Cake!

Dave Grohl and wife Jordyn had a Harper Willow last month to join big sis Violet Maye.  Definitely more 2009 than their first pick, though evidently she was named for Grohl’s great uncle Harper. 


Eagerly anticipating what names these celebrities will choose:

Rachel Griffiths.  WHAT will top Banjo and Adelaide?

Nicole Richie, who proved to be quite the influence with Harlow Winter Kate.

Molly Ringwald, awaiting twins due in August, who will join Mathilda Ereni.  Sigh.

Mary Stuart Masterson due in October.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick (twin girls due in July).  UPDATE:  Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge.  

Parminder Nagra, due later this month.  UPDATE:  It’s a boy, Kai David.  

Paz Vega, due in August.

Heidi Klum and Seal, expecting a girl this time.

Mira Sorvino.

Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Honsou, likely a boy.  UPDATE:  Kenzo Lee completes the trio with with big sisters Aoki and Ming watching over him. 

Ana Ortiz of Ugly Betty, who favors Ramona after her grandmother.

Kelly Rutherford of Gossip Girl (whose creator has an Oscar and an Agnes).  UPDATE:  Helena Grace joins big bro Hermes Gustaf Daniel. 

Kelis, due in July.

Ellen Pompeo.

Jennifer Meyer and Tobey Maguire, baby boy is here.  WHAT’S HIS NAME?!?


Image above by children’s illustrator and painter Mabel Lucie Attwell.

The Bee's Knees: Flapper Names

January 15th, 2009


Look at her coy sideways glance.  The curl just over her ear, the dark makeup delineating her eyes and lips, the bouquet of roses framing her distant beauty.  She was a flapper, high on fast cars, wild parties, and kicking up her heels.  They were rebelling against the older generation who had successfully lobbied to ban alcohol and sought to repress immoral behavior.  No matter, the speakeasies came to their rescue.  The girls donned themselves in short skirts (just above the knee anyway– knees that would have been powdered with rouge), cleavage framing beads, and the must have cropped bob.  They were fun loving, had their own lingo, and had the air that they didn’t give a hoot what anybody thought of them. 

The recent births of Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell’s twins Dolly Rebecca Rose and Charlie Tamara Tulip have really gotten tongues wagging.  Charlie, a man’s name?  Dolly, a child’s toy?  Yet stylistic similarities exist  between the girls’ names. They would have been right at home during the racy 1920s, and are evidence of a trend sweeping playgrounds across America in the 2000s.  

Below are some names that any card carrying flapper might wear, plus a few more of specific individuals who were somehow otherwise influential during the jazz era. Picture them on a little girl with pigtails, and you may just find a rare gem to bestow on your daughter.  


Anita (Anita Loos was an author at the center of the social elite which included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Louise Brooks.  She wrote the novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which was adapted to film in 1928 )




Billie (Billie Holiday)

Birdie (Busy Phillips recently had a baby Birdie)

Coco (There could be no more imperious fashion icon than Coco Chanel; Coco Arquette)




Dolores (Dolores Costello, actress)



Fay (Fay Wray, actress)





Gladys (Gladys Brockwell, actress)




Isadora (dancer Isadora Duncan; child of Bjork and Matthew Barney)





Lorelei (name of the lead in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

Louise (Louise Brooks)


Lulu (Louise Brooks’ role in Pandora’s Box)


Mae (Mae Busch, actress)









Olive (Olive Borden, actress; Olive Cohen, daughter of Sasha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher, entered the world in 2007)

Pandora (Pandora’s Box)

Patsy (Patsy Ruth Miller, actress)






Theda (Theda Bara, actress)



Viola (Viola Dana, actress)

Zasu (Zasu Pitts, actress)

Zelda (Mrs. Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott, was an infamous flapper and bad girl)


Zora (Zora Neale Hurston, a major player in The Harlem Rennaissance and author of Their Eyes Were Watching God)


Josephine Baker, Clara Bow, and Helen Kane were among famous flappers and fashion icons, though their names transcend the era and did not make this list for that reason.