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

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Are These Names Too Silly For Siblings?

My husband and I are desperately trying to decide on a name for our second child. Our daughter is Mollie, a name that we decided on rather quickly and never had second thoughts about. We both like the name Oliver for a boy, but are concerned it is too similar to Mollie, with the "oll" sound. Also, we really don't want people calling him "Ollie" which sounds even more like Mollie. In your opinion, are these names too much alike and silly together?

--Non-rhyming Mom

A few years back, I offered some thoughts on too-close-for-comfort names: "Are other people likely to get the two names mixed up? If you holler upstairs to one child, will your kids be able to tell who you're asking for? Does it feel like you gave each child a distinct identity?" In that same post, I advised against rhyming names, which puts Ollie right out of the running for your family. Oliver, though, is trickier.

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Will I Ever Learn To Love My Baby's Name?

Our baby is now 1 month old. She is our 5th baby, and likely our last. We went around what seems like forever deciding on a name -- I wanted it to be just perfect. We decided on Ruby Lyn. Since announcing her name I have had doubts and even hate the name and cringe when I hear it. I really don't know what to do. Is this a bad case of name regret? Am I just hormonal and not thinking straight? Do I just get used to her name?

-- Momma 2 5

You're facing a sad irony of baby naming. It's the parents who put in the most effort -- spending months agonizing over the name, determined that their choice be "just perfect" -- who [LINK]face the greatest chance of regrets. The process ends up numbing your gut feelings about what you love, while raising your expectations to unreachable levels.

The good news is that you've chosen a fine name. If you keep it you'll almost surely find that your daughter grows into it, and you'll end up loving it as part of her.

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Why Can't I Find Any Bible Names For Girls?

What are some female biblical names?

-- Searching Mom

Let me start by pointing out what you didn't ask: "Who were some prominent women in the Bible?" Chances are you're already familiar with women like matriarchs Sarah and Rebecca, and with Mary and Elizabeth, the mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist. I don't even think you'd be satisfied if I pointed you toward additional admirable women whose names are less common, like Eunice and Dorcas. 

So what is it you're looking for? My guess is your question could be rephrased as, "Where are all of the girls' names to go with boys like Elijah, Gabriel and Josiah?"

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Will This Nickname Do?

I'm wondering if you've ever heard a junior nicknamed "Dos." It refers to the number two in Spanish.

--Mami-to-Be

I haven't heard of it, but it's a timely update on tradition that could certainly work. After all, there are Juniors called Deuce for "second" and Thirds called Trey and Trip. That style of nickname can help distinguish father and son better than "Big Tim" and "Little Tim" -- and they're often more stylish than traditional nicknames, too.

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We Have The Same Name!

I'm soon to be engaged to a wonderful man who has two children from a previous relationship. It's a second marriage for both of us, but I have no previous children. I am nervous about becoming a stepmother, but adding to that is that my first name is the same name as his daughter.

We plan to have more children together, and it's always been important to me to change my name to my husband's so that everyone in the family has the same last name. But I'm really torn here. I don't want his 8-year-old daughter to feel like I'm "stealing" her name, or to resent me for it now or later in life. I also expect that it may cause some confusion with mail, official documents, etc.Unfortunately our name is so short that going by a nickname isn't a possibility.

Am I dooming her (and us both) to a lifetime of confusion: "Nooo, thats my Stepmother, Marie B Clark, I'm Marie A Clark." Or am I overthinking this?

- Evil Stepmother, the Name Thief

Rest assured, you're no Name Thief. You and your soon-to-be stepdaughter are just the victims of bad name luck. But as in so many family naming dilemmas, the right path will depend on relationships as much as names.

You've mentioned that you're nervous about becoming a stepmother, which is natural. How well have you gotten to know the kids? Do they know yet about their dad's upcoming marriage, and if so, how do they feel about it? And critically, how does Dad himself feel about the name conflict?

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Is Love For This Name All I Need?

What do you think of the name Lennon for a girl? I really love it, but I'm getting more negative feedback then positive and it's killing my dreams.

-- Lennon Lover

It seems like you're asking two different questions here, Lennon Lover. The first: Do I, the annointed Name Lady, think your favorite name is okay for girls? And the second: Should you let a name dream die when it meets with overwhelming disapproval?

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Is This Name Too Young For Me?

Is the name Charlotte just way too popular now to be used by a would-be name changer, born in the 1980s? I really don't want to date myself to the wrong era, or be thought to have chosen it BECAUSE it's popular now. (Charlotte has had a good run as a top-10 name in my home state of New South Wales, Australia.)

- Time Warper

Charlotte isn't a typical name for a 30-ishwoman, but why should it be? One of the joys of changing your name is that you get to choose a new identity that fits you and your taste today, not whatever your parents liked a generation ago. There's nothing wrong with being fashionable, or sharing your name with a younger set.

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I'm Getting Married, Do I Need To Change My FIRST Name?

I've always looked forward to ditching my unwieldy last name for something short and sweet. I'm getting married next summer, and my fiancé has an awesome last name that I happen to love. Yay!

The problem is, it basically rhymes with my first name. I don't want the actual name printed, but think, "Ashley Blimey."

My middle name is Laura, which could sufficiently break up the rhyming. Should I change my first name to Ashley Laura, and introduce myself as such -- even though it's a mouthful and risks annoying people or coming across as pretentious -- or just include Laura whenever I say my full name, and risk people leaving it out and calling me "Ashley Blimey?" Are there other solutions I'm not thinking of?

- The Future Mrs. Blimey

When we name babies, we custom-select first names to pair attractively with our surnames. Marital names, though, are pot luck. The wheel of romantic fate spins, and the new name candidate may be lovely, ridiculous, or anywhere in-between.

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Is This Name Too Dark For My Daughter?

All my life I've known I wanted to name my daughter Leila. My husband is totally on board with the name, too! But I just recently looked up the meaning of Leila, "dark-haired beauty," and now I'm second-guessing myself. With our genetics, it's highly unlikely our daughter will have dark hair. How important is it that the name's meaning match the child?

-- Too Pale for Leila?

Would it reassure you if I told you that Leila doesn't really mean "dark-haired beauty"?

Baby name dictionaries aren't like the dictionaries we're used to, that describe what a word signifies and how it's used. Instead, they burrow into history to find the name's linguistic roots. Imagine looking up the word "spoon" in Webster's and getting the definition "splinter of wood (Proto-Germanic)." That's the baby name dictionary experience.

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Why Can't I Make a Decision?

We picked out a girl's name months ago and were just struggling on a boy's name. But now that we decided on a boy's name, I keep going back and changing my mind on the girl's. I thought it was because we decided so quickly and really didn't look at other names, but now I seem to be coming up with another name I love every few weeks. I feel like I am confusing myself and my husband seems to be getting frustrated with me. Why can't I make up my mind?

--Nameless Mom

If it's any comfort, many parents-to-be share your struggle. Naming a baby is a challenge, especially today. Just a generation or two ago, most expectant moms and dads chose from much shorter lists: perhaps family names, saints' names, or commonly-heard-in-our-neighborhood names. Now that names are so diverse you have a wealth of options, which makes your decision much more difficult. 

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