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

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Has Disney Doomed These Brother Names?

My oldest son is Flynn Elias. I'm having another boy soon and love the name Rider. But I see a problem because of the Disney character Flynn Rider. Should I be concerned? Would spelling it differently help? My children's names would be Flynn, Beckett and Rider. Does it work, or would people think it's strange?

–Soon-to-Be Mom-of-Three

First, let's forget about spelling the name differently. How many people even know for sure how Flynn Rider's name is spelled? More importantly, how often will people first encounter your sons as a pair on paper, vs. spoken aloud—where the spelling doesn’t matter? So unfortunately, you can't spell your way out of this dilemma.

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How Do I Get Grandma to Agree?

Help! My mother-in-law loves the name Raquel. I want to name my daughter Mia, after my best friend who died in a car crash. My mother-in-law understands the sentimental value of Mia, but is stuck on Raquel as the best name for our baby. My husband goes along with what she says because he doesn't want to make her angry. What should I do?

–Dutiful Daughter-in-Law

Oh, dear: This is more of a relationship dilemma than a naming dilemma. At least in the U.S., choosing a baby’s name is considered a joint decision—but of the baby's parents, not the mother and grandmother. Asking for a grandparent's opinion is one thing. A grandparent who feels like she has the last word on the pick is quite another.

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This Old Family Name Is Too Old!

My husband's name is Charlie, and he is named after his father, whose name is also Charlie. I am now 6 months pregnant with a boy. My husband wants to continue the tradition and name our son Charlie, but I think the name is too old. What do I do?

–Not Sure If III Is the Charm

First, let's talk about whether Charlie is "too old." It’s true the name has been around forever, but Charlie—and Charles—are perennial classics, not so-retro-they're-out style duds. But of course, "old" is in the eye of the beholder, and the point is, you don't care for Charlie—at least for your baby.

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Our Favorite Name Is Taken – By a Dog!

My husband and I are expecting our first child, a boy, very soon. We've chosen a name, but haven't shared it with anyone. We have new next-door neighbors who moved in a few weeks ago. I just found out yesterday their DOG has the same name as what we planned to name our son. I feel devastated. We live in a city, in close proximity to our neighbors. It took me a long time to settle on a name, and we have no backups. Should I feel foolish or not care?

–So Defeated

Unfortunately, I'm a Name Lady, not a fortune-teller. And that's what we really need to answer this question. Do you have any idea how long you'll be in your home, or your neighbors will? Maybe they'll outgrow their space and move on, or you will. And—how to put this delicately?—the dog won't be around forever.

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I Need to Clone My Perfect Name

My husband and I are expecting our third child. We had settled on Asher as a boy's name: I love the rough-and-tumble sound, the biblical roots, and the positive meaning of the name (happiness). Unfortunately, we've realized just how popular Asher seems to be in our community. We've come across three little Ashers just this week! Can you suggest some other names that hit our three check points?

- Almost-Asher's Mom

This is the beauty and frustration of names: no two are alike. You can start with a list of thousands of boys' names and applying just three criteria narrows your list down to one. 

You've described Asher's unique appeal well. It's a have-it-all name, a Old Testament classic that sounds like a contemporary action surname. The name's literal meaning, from the Hebrew for "fortunate" or "happy," feels like an extra gift to bestow on a child.

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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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