initials

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Should We Just Say No to These Initials?

My husband and I love the name Lily Sophia, but our last name starts with "D." Should we be worried about the initials "LSD"?

–Lily's Mom?

This is a tough one: "LSD" doesn't spell an unpleasant word, nor is it an abbreviation that the name-calling playground set would know about. And yet, most adults will recognize these letters as shorthand for a dangerous and illicit drug. Given that, many parents would hesitate to attach these initials to their sweet little girl.

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Right Name, Wrong Letter!

I really love the name Ryker, but want to stick with M names for all my kids. I decided on Myker after seeing Ryker, but I am nervous about how it really sounds to others and if it has a meaning I can't catch (I am French Canadian and don't know all English words or expressions yet). How does it sound to you?

–M-loving Maman

To my ear, and mind, Ryker and Myker are worlds apart. Ryker is a super-charged surname in the "men of action" style. It turns up in high-energy, macho settings from Star Trek to Marvel Comics to professional wrestling. It’s a fast-rising hit and a crowd-pleaser.

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Are These Initials a Tease?

I love the name Lillian Adele E. for my daughter, but her initials would be LAE. Do you think kids would tease her and pronounce it "lay"? Teasing could get worse in high school, I presume.

- Cautious Dad

I spend my days obsessing over baby names from every angle. So when I say this, please take it to heart: you are seriously overthinking this name.

Yes, the wrong set of initials can be a problem. In the past I've advised parents to reconsider name choices that resulted in monograms like PIG. But your choice is far from that level. LAE doesn't even spell a word, and the "ae" combo is unusual enough to keep most people from reading it as one. Your daughter's initials just look like...initials.

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Amar'e Stoudemire Welcomes Fourth Child

Amar'e Stoudemire Welcomes Fourth Child

New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire and his wife Alexis have added a baby boy to their growing team. Alijah Carsares Stoudemire, born May 21, joins sisters Ar'e (age 7) and Assata (age 5) and brother Amar'e Jr. (age 6). Like the Kardashians, Amar'e and Alexis have chosen to find names for their children that all begin with the same letter, so Alijah's "A" name was no surprise. We're particularly interested, though, in his name's lack of an apostrophe.

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Are These Initials Too Much?

My husband and I would like to name our child Patrick Irish G_____(last name). Patrick is after his father and Irish is after my grandfather. But the initials are PIG! What are your thoughts? My suggestion was to add a second middle name. My husband says I am making too big a deal of this and two middle names is overkill. What do you think about bad initials and what are your thoughts on two middle names?
--Not OK with PIG

I believe parents often worry too much about initials. As it happens, though, a PIG monogram was the very example I once offered of initials that are worth worrying about. When a child's initials form a full word that is recognized and taken as an insult starting in preschool, it’s asking for trouble. Ask your husband to imagine bearing the initials PIG himself—as a six-year-old. Perhaps a pudgy six-year-old?

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To E or Not to E?

I love poetry and have always planned on naming my children after poets. I love that we named our daughters Eliot (Elle) and Emerson (Emmy). Now that I am pregnant again, I'm worried about breaking the pattern. I've looked and can't find another E poet. So do I go with the E theme or the poet theme for the new baby?
- Poetry Lover

I think your own first sentence contains the answer to your question. You named your first two children after people, not letters of the alphabet. So that’s the pattern that should take precedence.

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How Bad Are These Initials?

Dear Name Lady,
My husband and I are expecting our first child. My husband especially likes girl names that start with "V", but our last name starts with "D", which instantly makes me think of the common abbreviation for "venereal disease"! I just can't give my child the first and last name initials of "V.D.", but would it be acceptable to still use a "V" name for the middle name, or would that still bring up the "V.D." connotation? We're also considering a first name starting with "E", but will "E.D." make people think of "erectile dysfunction"? I'm probably over thinking this but I know children with the initials "B.S." and "B.M." and couldn't help but think that their parents should have thought about the initials a little more.
- Initially Challenged

These are challenging times indeed for the initial-sensitive.  Between text-speak, marketing speak and good old-fashioned slang, these days there's an acronym or abbreviation for just about everything.  Pity the poor parent who sees the worst possible meaning in every set of initials. If you look hard enough and are good enough at wordplay, you'll find unsavory associations in countless pairs of letters, not to mention name anagrams and spoonerisms.

With the last initial D you're in particularly hairy territory.  Even if you choose a "clean" initial pair today, there is no guarantee that tomorrow the medical community -- and its pharmaceutical marketers -- won't discover some new "Disorder," "Disease" or "Dysfunction" that KOs your perfect initials. 

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Ivanka Trump On Naming Daughter Arabella Rose Kushner: We Loved Her Initials!

Ivanka Trump On Naming Daughter Arabella Rose Kushner: We Loved Her Initials!

One month after becoming a first-time mother, Ivanka Trump has opened up about her baby naming process, revealing that “cool” initials — ARK — helped seal the deal when selecting a name for daughter Arabella Rose Kushner.

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Does My Baby Need a Whole Name?

I want to name my baby boy J.R. as his first name. My grandfather was nicknamed J.R. and I want to name my son in honor of him. Since my husband and I can't agree on what the J and R would stand for I'm thinking of just naming him with initials. Do you think it's okay to name a child with just initials? Or do you think we should pick a name and then call him J. R.? - Initial Decision

Well, that's a creative solution to a naming deadlock: not choosing a name at all!

I can understand the temptation. You'll call him J.R. regardless, so why go through the agony of hammering out a compromise? But you planned to give him a full name. And there was a reason for that, wasn't there? I don't think it's fair to your son to punt just because the choice is turning out to be tougher than you expected.

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Can bad initials sink my baby's name?

I am pregnant with my fourth child. My previous three children have names beginning with, in order, T, B and A. My favorite names for this baby are Gerard if a boy and Genevieve if a girl, but my husband says that the kids' initials taken together will spell something that has a negative slang meaning. I didn't even know about this slang until he mentioned it, but what do you think? Does it matter what the kids' initials spell when taken together? - TBA mom

Many a fine baby name plan has run aground on rocky initials. I've heard from lots of anxious parents fretting over the wisdom of names like Emily Zinn and Andrew Stephen Summers. Your full-family question, though, is a first. Before we start digging for every possible baby name acronym, anagram and inversion (Lana?), it's time to set some limits on how much we let letterplay rule our naming decisions.

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