Alright, name nerds, we have a tricky one this week. I'm posting this a bit early just in case baby arrives before my regular Tuesday advice time! Melissa writes:
We are in desparate need of name help! I am due TOMORROW with baby #5, and there is still no concensus on names. We don't know if it's a girl or a boy. We love old names that are not popular, names that have meaningful meanings (Cameron is out because it means crooked nose, etc), names that are difficult to shorten into nicknames (I hate nicknames), and names that honor family. Our last name is a common English name that rhymes with Barter and starts with a C.I love the names we have picked for our children so far, and we have received many compliments on our selections. Our four children's names are:
Nora Katherine: Nora means "light" and is an old family name on my husband's side; Katherine is my grandmother's name
Christopher Emmett: Christopher is my husband's and his father's first name; Emmett means "hard-working, industrious", and he goes by his middle name (as my husband Todd does)
Claire Eloise: Claire means "bright", and is just plain beautiful; Eloise is a nod to my husband's grandmother Lois
Colin Jacob: Colin means "victory of the people", and was my husband's grandfather's middle name; Jacob is my father's name
Now, there are a few rules. Because of his parent's accidental pattern of initials for the boys in his family (CTC and CJC), he insists that all boy first names must start with a "C". That narrows things down significantly! The family member names left to choose from include William (my grandfather), Andrew (my husband's grandfather's middle name), Laurie (my mother's name), and Leigh (my sister-in-law's middle name). The other women on my husband's side have names like Nancy, Geraldine, and Muriel, none of which we want to name our children!
On to favorites. For the boy side: I have always loved the name Clive. My husband is neutral on it. His family is adamantly opposed to it (which almost makes me want to insist on it). My favorite boy name is Clive William. Clive means "cliff" (which is my husband's brother's name), and William means "resolute defender" (and is my grandfather's name). Strong, masculine, unique. Another more recent contender is Caleb Andrew. Caleb means "loyal", and Andrew means "manly" (and is my husband's grandfather's middle name). And for girls. My husband has a sudden fascination with French names, and has suggested Colette and Lisette, but with no middle name possibilities. I am not fond of either option, and don't think they fit with our other names. My favorite name for a girl is Adelie (or Adelaide) Laurelle. Adelie is Old German, means "noble". Laurelle means "laurel" or symbol of victory, and is a nod to my mother. My other favorite is Eleanor Lauren. Eleanor means "light", and Lauren means the same as every other "Laur" name. :) Our concern with Eleanor is its similarity to Nora, and that it could be shortened to Ellen or Ellie, both of which we strongly dislike.
So given that information, do you have any suggestions? My husband's new position on names is ambivalence; he is no longer interested in name discussion, even though we have not reached a solid decision. We are both open to suggestions at this point. I would love your input! Thanks so much!
I'll do my best!
- Clive: I think Clive is a great name, fits your criteria well, and is the clear front-runner. It is quite a bit more unusual than your other children's names (which are all in the top 150 or so), but that doesn't bother me. It's not entirely unfamiliar — the fame of Clive Owen helps here. The only thing that makes me hesitate is that Claire and Clive might be too close. But if you can get your husband on board, this seems like a great choice (his family will get over it).
- Caleb: Also a good choice. Since meaning is important to you, note that some books/websites give the meaning as "dog" as in loyal as a dog. Caleb is a closer match to Nora, Christopher, Claire, and Colin in terms of current popularity
- Carl: Carl/Karl comes from the Old Norse word for "free man." It can't be shortened, is strong, and isn't too matchy with any of the other C names in your family. Unfortunately, it's not good with your last name.
- Callum: Means "dove." Ca- names are tough with your last name, but I think the alliteration here is pleasant.
- Conrad: This is a German name meaning something along the lines of "brave counsel." It certainly sounds like a strong name (maybe a bit too strong!). I suppose someone could shorten it to Connie, but I would hope no one would assume that a Conrad goes by that nickname. Drawback: consecutive boys named Colin and Conrad may be twin-matchy.
- Cedric: A great name, and it has the same Celtic vibe as Colin and Nora without sounding too much like any sibling names. The problem is the meaning — it was invented by Sir Walter Scott in the 19th century because it sounds like a good name for a medieval night. It does sound good, though.
As for middle names, would you consider Laurence/Lawrence to honor your mother?
In the end, I think Clive William is a great name. It's your favorite and your husband has decided not to decide, so I think that gives you freedom to declare Clive William the winner, in the absence of other contenders. If he really doesn't like it, he'll let you know and you can enter another round of negotiation. It's possible that he may like it, but has reservations about his family's dislike, or hasn't really considered it carefully because it is a bit more unusual than the other children's names.
If he doesn't come around, I like Caleb Andrew, Callum Andrew, Cedric William, or Conrad Laurence.
For a girl:
- Colette/Lisette: I agree that these names don't go very well with the sibling names. They do tell me that your husband is open to something a little frillier, though.
- Adelie/Adelaide: These are beautiful names. I would worry a little about them being shortened — the name Addison has spawned thousands of little Addies, and someone with an Ad- name might find herself with an unwanted nickname. You can do your best to insist that everyone call her Adelie, but you said that you are looking for a name that resists nicknames. One alternative would be to use a shorter name with a similar beginning, like Ada or Adele.
- Eleanor: I don't think you can use Eleanor if you already have a Nora. They are much too close. In fact, two of the three Noras I know are actually Eleanors nicknamed Nora. I agree that there is a strong possibility of Ellie as well.
- Amelie/Amalia: Like Adelie, but harder to nickname. Amelie/Amalia means "industrious" (similar to Emmett). It's a little long/frilly next to Nora and Claire, but is in the same vein as Adelie.
- Stella: Nora and Claire make me think of Stella. Similar in popularity (though Stella is a bit trendier), strong, not too frilly, good meaning ("star").
- Eve/Eva: I think Eve is lovely with Nora and Claire — the name of the first woman means "to live" or "to breathe" in Hebrew.
- Laurel/Laurelle: A great first name, as well as a beautiful and meaningful middle name. I like Laurel better with Nora and Claire — those two names are so strong and feminine without being fussy. Laurel feels similarly streamlined, like Katharine Hepburn in pants, ready to kick ass and look good doing it.
- Helen/Lucy/Phoebe: Both Nora and Claire mean light/bright/clear — it might be neat to have a third sister with a similar name meaning. All of these names mean mean light in some form. I think Lucy is a particularly good match for Nora and Claire.
What do you think of
- Amalia Leigh
- Stella Colette
- Eve Laurelle
- Laurel Adelaide/Adelie
- Helen Leigh
- Lucy Adele
- Phoebe Laurelle/Lauren/Laurel