Baby Name Advice Column: Ask the Name Lady Baby Name Blog

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No More Nicknames, Please!

My name is Anastasia. I’m almost 25, and I have always been called by nicknames: Annie, Ana, Stasia, Nastia, Anya, Stacy, Tasia (only people like my mother, father, sister, and best friend are allowed to call me Annie). But I’m slowly getting sick of always hearing nicknames and never my full name. As soon as I introduce myself, people ask what my nickname is. I don’t know what to do to get people to use my full name. Is Anastasia really too much of a mouthful? I hear it so little and I do love my name. Do you have any advice? - Anastasia, Please!
It’s clear that this really bugs you. But it’s not clear whether others really know that. So your first step is to make your wishes known, clearly and firmly, but also politely. It will be easiest with new people. If they ask you if you have a nickname, just say “No!” with a smile.
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Is This Name Too Boyish for Our Girl?

My husband and I are set on naming our baby (if it is a girl) Elliott Rose. My concern is with the rise in boys being named Elliott. Is this going to be a mistake if my little girl Elliott is surrounded by a bunch of boy Elliotts? I would appreciate your thoughts! We are so in love with this name and have been for years but are a bit apprehensive!

–A Future Elliott's Mom?

Let's start by clarifying some details about the name Elliott’s history. You're right that the number of boys named Elliott has risen sharply. Every year since 2010, Elliott has reached a new high on the list of American boys’ names. In 2015, its most popular year yet, Elliott was the 213th most popular name on the charts. You’re also right that more boys than girls are named Elliott. In 2015, for example, 1,859 boys received the name Elliott while only 421 girls did.

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Why Did These Names Go the Way of the Poodle Skirt?

How come names from the '50s are no longer popular? Like Gary, Dale, Joyce, etc.

–Ron

Well, if they were still popular, we wouldn’t call them "names from the '50s"! Right? Names take their period style—the feeling that they are the essence of their time—from popularity peaks and valleys.

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Are Two Androgynous Names Too Many?

We love the name Quinn for our little girl. For a middle name, we both agree that we love Adair, an old surname in our genealogy. We are concerned, however, that Quinn Adair is too androgynous and not feminine enough. Should we go with something like Adele or Eloise in the middle instead? Does Quinn Adair sound like a boy?

–Have a Q about QA

It's not clear from your question if you will be using the two names together as a first name (like Mary Rose or Anna Lee). If not, then the practical issue of sounding "too androgynous" really only matters if someone is looking at a document which lists your child's full name, but not her sex. In that case they might use the middle name to try to figure out whether the person is male or female.

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Justin Junior ... For a Girl?

My husband's name is Justin. I want to name my baby girl after him, but I can't think of a name. Can you help?

–Need a Name for Daddy's Girl

There's an obvious answer here: Just take Justin and add an E. Justine is a familiar name, but perhaps there is a reason you "can't think of" it. Justine is not particularly popular right now; it peaked in the '80s.

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What Name Is Natural After Nathaniel and Natalie?

What girl name goes well with Nathaniel and Natalie?

–Mother of Ns

At first glance, this question reads as deceptively easy. Nathaniel and Natalie don't just "go well" together, they are in fact strikingly similar variations upon one another, sharing nearly all the same letters in nearly the same order. The obvious third member of this trio would, like her brother and sister, begin with "Nat": Natasha, perhaps, or Natia or Natania.

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Two Colors for a Baby's Name?

Before I even knew what I was having, I had my heart set on Gray for a middle name. Then I fell in love with the name Indigo. It is strange to have two colors for the first and middle name? Her name would be Indigo Gray Walker. An alternative name would be Temple.

–Rainbow Mama

Two colors need not be a problem, although I did advise against Hunter Greene as a first-middle combo. Just look at little Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z, who seems to be doing just fine with her double-hue (and double-word) name.

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What Makes a Mom Name?

Is Grace a mom name?

–Naming a New Generation

It’s funny to think of a Victorian favorite as a "mom name," in the same vein as Ashley or Krista, rather than a great-grandmother name! Grace was at its most popular in the 1880s, alongside antiques like Minnie, Martha, and Florence.

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Which Name Spelling Is Better?

Which spelling should we use for our baby boy, Silas or Cylas?

–Psyched for Our New Son

This question is more nuanced than it might seem at first glance. It should be a pretty straightforward question, and answer: What's the best spelling for this baby name? But when we look at it, things get interesting.

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Is This Nickname Unstoppable?

I love the name Harrison for our baby boy (big brother is Henry). But we're worried that people will call him Harry, a nickname we're not too fond of—my husband despises it! Do you think the nickname is unavoidable?

–Not Wild About Harry

No nickname is truly unavoidable, especially these days when plenty of boys are named Thomas and Michael—but never go by Tom and Mike. We're quite used to hearing full names instead of nicknames, and both parents and children are comfortable saying "It's Daniel, not Danny" until they get their point across.

But some nicknames are more likely than others. There are a few risk factors that come into play. One is when a name has a single, obvious nickname, like Chris for Christopher, or Beth for Bethany. Another is a formal name of three or more syllables.

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