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Which Baby Name Is Better for a Blonde?

Do you prefer Maeve or Norah? I like Norah, but it's very girly and super popular right now. Maeve sounds tougher and is more unique. I like it better, but my husband prefers Norah. So the deciding factor will be her hair color: If it's dark, her name will be Maeve. If it's light, her name will be Norah. What do you think?

–Mad About Maeve

If all things were exactly even—you loved both names equally, and so did your husband; and you loved them both so much you just couldn't choose between them—then I'd call your hair-color tie-breaker a clever solution.

However, all things aren't equal here. It's a contest, and there will be a winner and a loser. How will you feel if your baby’s hair does turn out to be light-colored, and so her name becomes Norah? Will you be awfully disappointed (possibly even angry or resentful)? And what if little Norah’s hair turns darker as she grows? That's quite common, and could cause even more frustration for you, or remorse about the name that got away.

Many parents like to arrive in the delivery room with a couple of contenders, and choose one based on their baby’s appearance. I don't recommend this approach, because your decision-making (and spouse-negotiating) skills are just not at their best after the physical and emotional drama of childbirth.

In your case, I would think carefully about the implications of your hair-color deal with your husband. You may want to renegotiate its terms, and you'd be wise to do so well before your baby girl makes her appearance.


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May 8, 2017 12:38 PM
By Kate (not verified)

The Name Lady makes a good point about hair color -- I was born with jet black hair, but ended up with blond, and almost all of my kids were born with the same dark hair, but they're all variations of blond and light brown now.

May 8, 2017 12:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree, hair color doesn't stay the same. Also, what happens if she is born bald?

The hair color thing is pretty subjective anyway. The image I get for Maeve is blond or ginger, while I see Norah as being being brunette.

If the only reason for the hair color thing is as a tie breaker, then why not just flip a coin or draw straws or something?

May 8, 2017 4:14 PM
By Sabby (not verified)

I agree don't go with the hair thing. I also don't think Maeve sounds tough in any way. I agree with Anonymous that Norah sounds like a floras CLOSErunette and Maeve sounds like a blonde or red-head. It reminds me of Mauve, which is another issue. Most people will think that is her name. How do you feel about that? Both sound like older-Grandma names that are making a comeback. I would go with Norah or look for another similar name.

May 8, 2017 7:48 PM
By Juli (not verified)

I don't know where the idea that Norah is "super popular right now" comes from. In 2015 in the U.S., 2021 baby girls were given the name Norah (and 5301 without the 'h'). The total number of babies with the letter sequence "nora" in their names was 8063.

For comparison, of people with Social Security numbers who were born in 1990, 8073 were named Kristen, 5300 were Kristin, and 2028 were Sydney. For 1980, the names that correspond most closely to Nora(h)'s current numbers are Katherine, Patricia, and Donna. Yes, I know multiple Patricias, but they're all older than 40, so I would not characterize it as a "super popular name" of 1980. The only Sydney I know is in elementary school, so again, Norah's numbers do not translate to anywhere near "popular" in my experience.

May 9, 2017 1:06 PM
By Heather A. (not verified)

In my neck of the woods both Nora and Maeve seem "super popular." Maybe even more Maeves than Noras in the under 12 set.

May 10, 2017 11:29 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This strikes me as impractical mostly because my daughter was bald for a looong 18 be prepared for a tiebreaker if that happens, I guess?

May 10, 2017 11:56 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You should do some research, but I think blond newborns are pretty rare. Even if your child will end up being a blond, chances are they will be born with darker baby hair, that will then fall out and be replaced by their permanent hair. Then as kids grow, hair color can change. There are a lot of adults who were blond as little kids. Linking the baby's name with her hair color is not a good tie breaker. Maeve has a lot higher probability.

May 10, 2017 1:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you are using this as some sort of tiebreaker, it is no different than flipping a coin, really.

I know Noras and Maeves who have both hair colors. Hair color also changes. Many blonde babies end up as brunettes. I was born with red hair that is now brown.

Social security numbers for names give an overview of the entire country, but often do not reflect the area in which you live. Both names are very popular right now in certain regions, such as mine.

May 11, 2017 4:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah I would check out what the genetic probability of having a blonde vs. burnette, as this may not be as fair as you think, what if it's a mix of both? Is it too late to mulligan for a name that's the best of both worlds? Don't worry about Norah being super girly (it's a girl's name yes, but it's not Buttercup or Emmalee). Or being super popular (it's not thaaaaat popular--not enough to be embarassingly popular like Sophie/Sophia, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mauve or Maeve isn't too far behind in the future--color names are hot, Sage, Scarlett, etc...). I think that's the biggest reason you and he have come to your tie-breaker--is it too popular/ is this's a thing that is holding you back. Plus I'm skeptical about your version of Maeve because it's so tricky to spell. They won't be there's that girl with the kicking name, it'll be, how do you spell your name again? Can I spell it like Mauve does down the street?

May 11, 2017 9:16 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think it depends on where the poster lives. Also, most of the Nora/Norahs I know (and I can think of several) are actually named Eleanor/Eleanora/Lenore, etc. My impression is that Nora/Norah is one of those stealth-popular names since nicknames don't show up on the SS list.

June 8, 2017 1:16 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Oh ya, let's not get things started by hinging it on whether she's a blond or brunette pretty please? The psyche alone is worth considering. (I am one that's arrived at the hospital with my spouse and with a few names saying we probably needed to meet her to be sure... Let her presence and little impression at least pick if that's the case, which is what I think people mean when they say that, not something as such as this!)

June 15, 2017 6:13 PM
By Bridget (not verified)

I always thought Heather and Dawn sounded like blond names and Vivian sounds like a dark- haired name.

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