Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Is There a Polite Way to Dislike a Name?

My daughter is pregnant with her second son. She likes the name Noble, but I'm not a fan. I prefer something like Sebastian or Dominique—something unique. How do I tell her I don't like her name choice?

–Second-guessing Grandpa

Sebastian is actually a far more common name than Noble (top 50 vs. out of the top 1000), and there are also many more boys named Dominique than Noble. So if uniqueness is important, Noble may be a better choice! But putting aside opinions on your taste vs. your daughter's, you ask a good question. If you don't like a baby name that someone close to you is considering, can you tell her so? And how?

I believe that polite feedback is worth expressing—at least before the baby is born. (After he arrives, just smile and accept it!) If everyone around an expectant parent pretends to like her name choice when they really loathe it, she ends up in a fool's paradise that could come back to bite her. You might start a discussion by simply asking, "Are you open to feedback on the name?" That approach acknowledges that the baby's parents have the ultimate right to choose their child's name, putting the discussion on respectful grounds.

Then, in describing your reaction to the name, avoid loaded adjectives (like "tacky" or "ugly"). Instead, share the image or associations that the name brings to your mind, or that you think it will bring to others' minds. In this case, is your concern that the name is too common? While the recent numbers don't bear that out, you're right that names such as Royal, Reign, and Prince are trending; perhaps that is influencing your reaction to Noble.

Or maybe you have other objections that are hiding behind this one. If you can describe them, in a neutral, non-judgmental manner, your daughter will get a different perspective on the name, one she might not have considered otherwise. But once you've said your piece, drop the subject and let your daughter think it over for herself. Whatever name she chooses will belong to your beloved grandchild, and that's a good reason to like it!


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

December 21, 2015 10:23 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Grandpa likes Dominique for a boy?! I think that her choice of Noble is much more appropriate than a clearly feminine name for a son.

December 21, 2015 12:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

A lot of people misspell Dominic as Dominique.

December 21, 2015 12:36 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Nope. Unless you were specifically asked for advice, if you don't like a proposed name, you don't say anything. Once the grandchild is born you'll love it so much the name will grow on you. Don't create difficulties now. Naming is hard enough without outside opinions.

December 21, 2015 1:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Dominique is a unisex name. It's still on the US charts for boys, but not for girls.

December 21, 2015 4:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Dominique is a French unisex name.

Unless you were specifically asked for your advice, Grandpa, you don't say anything. No, not even to ask if she is open for feedback, in my opinion. It not your baby.

December 21, 2015 5:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You want something more unique, but clearly your top choices are actually anything but. I suspect this may be a case of generational-name styles. The names that sound fresh & unique simply won't strike your daughter that way.

Unless you were asked for advise, you don't get to voice your opinion. You got to name your babies, now let your daughter name hers. If you are asked for your opinion, a simple statement to the effect of "It's not really my style" is all you will need to say. If she wants more information, she'll ask you for it.

December 22, 2015 2:32 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I disagree with the posters who say "don't say anything unless you're asked". There are some times when it is appropriate (or even necessary) to speak up. If the name has a silly rhyme to it that the parents don't hear, sounds like a slang swear word the parents don't know about, or has a family history that is generally not talked about (a family member's crazy ex, for example).

In a case like this, where the only issue is style, it is not appropriate to give an opinion without being asked. Noble is a fine name, as long as the last name isn't Gas, Barnes, or any noun where noble will sound like an adjective (like Fox). just make sure that if you do say something, use facts, not emotions. "I hate it" is not productive, while "do you think that a name starting with 'no' could pose a problem for him?" might actually get through

December 29, 2015 6:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Don't say anything! And Dominique strikes me as all female. Sorry! The others are right; it isn't your place to critique the name.

December 30, 2015 4:54 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I remember one of my ex-colleagues complaining to me that her daughter and daughter's boyfriend had given her grandson 'a chav name'. She had no intention of saying it to them, but clearly the name was not to her taste. It was right on trend for names of a couple of years ago now, and is of an age with Noble and its ilk. Names come and go and many people of your generation are probably laboring under the burden of a name carried by most of the boys/girls in their class just the same as the new parents of today are trying to find a name that WON'T be the same as 4 or 5 other children of their year.

Anyway, who knows, your grandson may well turn out to be a Noble. Tall, dark, handsome and successful in 20 years. Who knows?

A final thought - is it a family surname for either parent? My given name is one that could easily be a surname as well as a first, after all.

January 12, 2016 3:37 PM
By Teddy (not verified)

My opinion is that you had your turn to a name a child, your daughter, along with any other children you might have had. So respectfully, I think the polite thing to do here is say nothing. Noble is a nice name and will stand out among the new generation. I'd say it's a winner.

February 20, 2016 3:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

we are naming our next baby Mabel Josephine and I know that some people don't love it yet but overall we have received positive feed back. Mil has yet to acknowledge her name but she has hated all but one kids name before they were born...she didn't tell me but she made her views known to hubs. he was smart enough not to tell me until after the fact lol.

there are some names where you should speak up but in general it's none of your business

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.