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There Must Be a Better Name for This Baby!

My brother and his girlfriend are having their first baby and it's a girl. They've got a name in the works for her, but we don't believe that it suits the little girl. However, my family has Scottish and English heritage and I'm wondering what would be a good Scottish English name for a girl? Any ideas?

–Proud Auntie

"We" need to back way up here. When you say "we" don't believe the (chosen and shared) name "suits" the baby, who is "we"? It's not the baby’s parents, of course. Perhaps a group of relatives? Are you a committee designated by the parents to choose a name?

Also, how can a name "not suit" a baby who isn't even born yet? It sounds like you're trying to find a gentler way to say "we hate this name and they should pick something else."

Understand that I'm not saying that you need to butt out 100 percent. It's fine to have opinions, and to express them, but only under two conditions: First, the baby hasn't been born yet (once she has, the only appropriate response is a smile and a hearty "Congratulations!"). And second, the expectant parents are open to feedback. That means they've directly requested it, or they responded positively when you asked if you could share your thoughts.

In that case, it's okay to point out problems they may not have noticed about the name, like unpleasant initials or an association with an unpopular cultural figure. "I just don't like it" is not a good enough reason. If you're polite and helpful, maybe you will be appointed to that naming committee. If you are invited to bring forward suggestions, you can find currently popular Scottish names at Baby Name Wizard or names of Scottish origin at Behind the Name.

Comments

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August 21, 2017 12:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is somewhat beside the point, but: your family (and so therefore the baby's father) has Scottish and English heritage, but what about the actual mom? Does she not get to take into account her own heritage when naming the baby? Or is that part of the "problem" regarding the name they've already chosen?

Regardless, the Name Lady is absolutely correct: no one except the baby's parents gets to decide what to name her. Unless they asked for suggestions (and it sounds like not) they don't need your help.

August 22, 2017 8:15 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, I kind of wondered this also. Like, the mother is some other ethnicity and they have picked a name that reflects her heritage. That would explain why they think it doesn't fit "this little girl," they have an image of a white Scottish/English little girl, but perhaps that isn't what she's going to actually look like.

It's also possible I read way too much into this question. But regardless, it isn't really up to what they think the baby should be named. The parents get to decide, period.

August 23, 2017 5:51 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It is nice that you are considering the needs of the baby. I think the best way to help is to support the parents. Even with the best of intentions you don't have a say in a child's name if you aren't one of its parents. Best to say nice things about the baby and nothing at all about the name (although 'it suits her' is pretty generic - doesn't claim to like the name but is generally positive enough to satisfy the parent).

This letter does read like there may be a racial element - the dad's heritage is important, so is the mother's heritage. Also the baby is presumably an american baby not a scottish/english one. (If you were actually scottish or english then you would know that there is significant historical animosity between the two groups and you would be looking for one or the other). If Dad has both scottish and english ancestry and Mum has a third (or fourth) option then the child is probably sufficiently multi-cultural to have any name of the parent's choosing.

FWIW my favourite Scottish-lite names are Maisie and Skye.

August 23, 2017 7:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If it doesn't fit then you have preconceived notions. Think about it for a moment, people usually grow into their names or surely you've heard of people getting used to a child's name and the fact that it actually does suit them and feels like their name. Also I second the idea that English and Scottish haven't gotten along so do a little more research, anyway. There are appealing and crossover names in variety to all ears so one of your two cents should try be a "compromise." If the parents are interested. :) Normally I side with more traditional per se and with normalized spelling but I'm also raising an eye brow at this one...!

September 14, 2017 10:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Whoaa, auntie, your desire for propriety (that's not a suitable name) is causing you to break one of the biggies (minding your own business). I know I know, being this straightforward makes me bad mannered too. I just think someone needs to be blunt here: suggesting a name will make them feel defensive, like they are not capable of picking a decent name themselves, however nice you may think you sound.

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