November 8th, 2012
Names like Emma. It’s a tricky one. From a Jane Austen novel to the set of Friends, she’s sweetly old-fashioned and yet terribly modern. She’s worn by young starlets, Stone, Roberts, and Watson, and yet for many of us, it may be the (slightly) older Emma Thompson who first shone a light on her beauty. She’s both sensible and feminine, a daddy’s little girl and a force in the boardroom. Here are a few names that come close, in different ways, to encapsulating Emma’s myriad likeable qualities. Please resist the urge to do Emma and Ella. If I had to pick just one name to be her heir, it would be Alice.
Siblings could lean more old-fashioned. I think if you already have an Emma, you can stand to really embrace her throwback style and go all out a second time:
Sisters: Frances, Harriet, Jane, Mary, Winifred
Brothers: Alistair, Clarence, Frederick, Hugh, Peter
September 27th, 2011
The consultation bonanza continues, but this time we have twice as much work ahead of us because Amber is expecting twin girls. She writes:
I love reading your blog and am hopeful that you and your readers can help me! My husband and I are having a terrible time trying to come up with names for our twin girls. I love feminine, romantic names but want to stay away from anything too popular. We both love the name Charlotte, but I feel like every other baby that I encounter these days is named Charlotte. Another name that we are both fond of is Estelle. The problem with Estelle is that it was my Maternal Great Grandmother’s name and since I was very close to both my Maternal and Paternal Great Grandmothers I feel strange about honoring one and not the other (for the record Great Grandmother # 2′s name was Ethel Frances – I’m not a fan of Ethel and my husband doesn’t like Frances even for a middle name). I’m considering striking Estelle from the list for that reason alone.
Add in our extremely long, hard to spell-and-pronounce last name and I’m stumped. In light of the last name I feel like we should use something short and simple to spell but my heart is with longer, romantic names. Also to save you from having to Google, our last name is of Laotian decent and is pronounced Vong-sam-pon. My husband immigrated to the US as a child from Laos and I’m an American “mutt” so our children will be half Asian, half Caucasian.
For additional info, names that I love but have been vetoed include Claudia and Colette. Names that are still on our “long list” include Adia, Alice, Blair, Danica, Noelle, Paige. They are all fine names – I just don’t LOVE any of them. Any advice or suggestions you have would be so appreciated! Thank you so much!!
We are still far from agreement but we have found that we really like Rose as a first name. I’ve also come up with the name Faith to be used to honor my Paternal Great Grandmother as she was very religious. I’m not a big fan of Faith as a first name, but by using it as a middle name I feel like I can keep Estelle on the table. Anyway, like I said, we are still miles away from a decision but those are the latest names we’ve hit on. Hope you are doing great and thanks again!
Amber I’m so glad you have come to us. Congratulations on your impending babes! What fun that we get to live vicariously through you as you get to name two little ladies at once. But perhaps it’s not all fun and games for you. Let’s see if we can parse this out.
There are actually three names that SCREAM out at me from reading your letter. Charlotte, Estelle, and Rose. You both love these names as first names, right? That’s huge! Don’t discount your favorites just because on may be getting popular. This is the name that you’re going to be calling your child every day for the rest of her life, the name that she will always live with and introduce herself as. For you both to love the name Charlotte is nothing short of monumental. It sounds great with either Rose or Estelle, and I think it’s one to keep on the list.
You also both love Rose as a first name. It’s a very common middle as you probably know, but as a call name? Highly underused. It’s recognizable the world over and it’s one syllable is brilliant with your lengthy foreign surname. Another winner.
Third, you both love Estelle. Why look elsewhere? You have me wishing triplets on you. I completely understand wanting to honor both your great-grandmothers and think that’s definitely still possible in the middle. If you honored one girl with Estelle, would you honor the other with Faith in the middle?
You said you didn’t love the name Faith, but because your grandmother was religious, feel it would be an appropriate homage to her. Are there other names that might honor her equally well that you actually love? For example, Faye and Fidelity both represent faith, but you also might want to consider her birth month, stone, or flower. Is there anything else that she particularly loved that might represent her? Alternatively, does your husband have anyone on his side of the family he would like to honor?
Twins’ names are tricky. You want names that balance one another, but are decidedly different so as to help them craft their own identities. Estelle and Rose, Rose and Charlotte, or Charlotte and Estelle all work brilliantly. They are more eternally classic than some of the other names on your list (Blair and Paige come to mind). Alice from your long list works beautifully with your top choices too. I’m sorry your husband doesn’t like Frances.
Should you want to branch out beyond your top names, here are a few sweetly quaint names that might be a good match with your family.
Readers, what would you do in Amber’s situation? Has Charlotte reached its saturation point, or is it a classic that will stand the test of time? What name pairings do you like?
Illustration by Emily Finan
September 13th, 2011
The mystery is solved. After months of plotting, scheming, guessing, canoodling, and even attempts at bribing the mother in question, Rebecca Woolf has given birth today to twin girls. (We’ve talked about this before here AND here).
Their names, as previously indicated, begin with R and B. Rhythm and Blues they are not.
Last chance. Anyone want to venture a guess?
They are so her. Perfectly lovely in every way, and word names of French extraction.
Let it be known that the twins’ names are
Reverie Lux, 5lbs 3oz, 18 inches and
Boheme Shalom, 5lbs 12oz, 18.5 inches
They join siblings Archer Sage and Fable Luella. As per her tweets, one is raven haired and the other is flaxen. Yin and yang.
I feared my hopes for a little Reverie had been dashed when they revealed that Revere Blaze had been on of their picks for a boy (Vox Shepherd was the other). Reverie was my favorite R! Yea! And Boheme? SO them, so right for this child, and just delightful to say aloud.
Their names are a gift from Bec and Hal, as if to say, “Dare to dream! Be an individual! Peace and Light!”
They done good.
Pic from Twitter.
July 20th, 2011
A big thank you to my readers Kristen and Debbie for urging a return to this topic:
Rebecca Woolfe is just taunting us! After our speculative Girl’s Gone Child post I really wanted to let her completely surprise us, but she has alluded to twins “Rhythm and Blues”– their pseudonyms, and even bought the letters “R” and “B” for their room! So it seems a second shot at this is inevitable.
The question remains, after son Archer and daughter Fable, will she stick to word names for her twin daughters? My gut tells me yes. How will the names relate to one another?
Here are a few “R” and “B” names that to me, feel very her. We’ll have to wait until October to find out what they choose for sure!
B: Babette, Bijou, Boheme, Bronwen, Briar,
Blythe (on the discarded list, sadly), Bryony, Bronwen, Bard, Bright, Bloom, Bliss, Ballad, Bellamy, Brio
R: Reve, Reverie, Ray, Rhea, Rain, Raven, Rhapsody, Roxanne, Roxy/ie, Regina, Renata, Rio, Romy, Rowena, Rue, Runa, Ruth, Rune, Rowan
I absolutely love the way Reverie flows, its dreamy connotations, and the nickname “Rev” feels very rock and roll. Rune, a name I was previously unfamiliar with, has a layered meaning I can see appealing to them: according to Behind the Name, it’s derived from the Old Norse and means “secret lore.” Pronounced with two syllables, it’s a common name in Norway, though the Irish have a word with similar meaning, rùn.
For the Bs, Bloom keeps calling to me, as does Bijou. It’s so hard to speculate beyond this. I do love how R and B honor the mother (Rebecca nicknamed Bec), and wonder if this was subliminal or intentional. What do you think Bec and Hal will name their baby girls? What do you like paired together? Renata and Bloom ? Rune and Bijou . . .?
July 19th, 2011
Hi Elisabeth, my name is Nicola. My husband Francisco (Frankie) and I have four children and are currently expecting our fifth and six — boy/girl twins. Our oldest child is from my previous marriage and her name is Cherry Guadalupe, named for my ex’s mother Cherise and my grandmother Guadalupe. Together Frankie and I have Luis Francisco, Rafael Oscar, and Celesta Persephone. All three of our kids were named after family and friends.
With the twins, Frankie and I want to continue the theme of naming the babies after family and friends but we’ve almost run out of names that we like and wouldn’t mind having our children bear. With all of our other children, their names have some sort of correlation to their godparents’ names. Our son’s godparents are named Ronaldo Luis and Katherine Anne and our daughter’s godparents are named Michael Alessandro and Veta Narcisa.
For our son we thought about using Ronaldo’s intitials but incorporating Katherine’s name in some way. We really like the name Rey (spelled that way–not Ray) and Katherine (who is married to Ronaldo) has a maiden name of Leon Zayas. So, we feel that we should name our son Rey Leon Falto de Garcia. However, we don’t feel completely confident in his name and are still open to suggestions. We will consider other R names and also the idea of using Lorenzo as the middle name (Lorenzo is the hispanic version of Laurence, Katherine’s father’s name). We did consider Rey Lorenzo as well but feel that Rey Leon sounds nicer.
For our daughter we opted to not use any combination of initials but rather to use variants of her grandparent’s names to incorportate. We would like to incorporate my mother’s name, Rosalind, somehow though as well. For our daughter we are kind of considering giving her three names, two as her first and one as her middle. We decided that we would use Veta but we both like Veda better and we would also use Alessandra. So her name would be Veda-Alessandra Rosalind Falto de Garcia. You can see my concern in the fact that she would have an extremely long name and I am not sold on the whole hypenated first name. I have a very long name myself and it has always been a hassle between signing documents and getting documents mixed up due to the fact that they had the wrong first and last name, etc. It’s really just not something I want my daughter dealing with. I really don’t want to omit Alessandra from the name but we really also want to use Veda and Rosalind or some variant of Rosalind.
If you could help us in deciding on a name for our son and shortening the name of our daughter, it would mean the world to us! They will be here shortly and thinking about them entering the world without definite names is a scary thought for us. We appreciate your help so very much, thank you!
Oh and I mentioned that Cherry is from a previous marriage to clear the air that her name is in fact not Cherry Falto de Garcia — or Cherry Garcia! Her last name is actually just one name, she dodged a bullet on that one!
May 27th, 2011
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?
July 25th, 2009
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!
Alba, a sister for Emilio and Felix
Amy Margaret and Megan Annabel, identical twins
Aurelia Maisie Sarah, a sister Finlay
Delphine Isabella Clementine
Elizabeth Miriam Catherine, a sister for Seamus
Emilia Grace and Matilda Ana, sisters for Sofia
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
Lana Mabel and Romy Constance, twins
Lola Ellen Beatrice, a sister for Daisy
Mollie Carolynn Sarah, a sister for Matilda
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
Sofia Hope Cranmer and Naomi Joy Ridley
Zara Lily Noor, a sister for Cameron
Alexis Roshan Michel Singh
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
July 13th, 2009
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…
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.
May 21st, 2009
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.
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.
Jennifer Meyer and Tobey Maguire, baby boy is here. WHAT’S HIS NAME?!?
Image above by children’s illustrator and painter Mabel Lucie Attwell.