Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Is the Name Win Too Much Pressure?

I'm in love with the name Win for my daughter. However, I'm slightly worried that people would think I am being "competitive" or that she is expected to be so. The problem is that I fell in love with this spelling and am not open to the Welsh version Wynne, etc. I would probably tell people it is a diminutive of Winifred, but I am definitely not naming her that either. Do you have any suggestions? - Non-Competitive Mom

So you want to name your daughter a common English word, but you don't want people to think of that word when they see her name. At first glance, that may seem a little backwards. Most parents choose word names because of their meanings, not despite them. You'd hardly name your daughter Angel thinking, "I hope nobody thinks of angels!"

Yet some names do move away from their word origins. The name Crystal is closer to Christine and Krista than to quartz. Holly only makes you think of foliage during the Christmas season. And the same folks who sneer at Apple as an "inanimate object name" think of Lily and Rose as impeccably traditional.

Win, though, doesn't have the weight of tradition behind it. What's more, the connection to the common word is complicated. You're not just worried that people will think of "Win at all costs" or "Win and you're in." You're worried that people will think you're thinking of it. And if you think they think you think...well, you can tie yourself in knots thinking about that sort of thing.

How can you make a word name more name-like? You've already ruled out alternate spellings. A longer formal version is a surefire method, but you've given the thumbs down to Winifred. Perhaps another creative formal name like Winter or Rowan could fill the bill?

If you're committed to "just Win, baby," you'll have to face the fact that win is a word, like it or not. That means some people will hear your daughter's name as a cheerleader-style chant ("Win, Springfield!"). If that doesn't matter to you, fine. But if it really didn't matter, you wouldn't have written to me, would you?

Comments

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

February 9, 2010 6:33 AM
By Abby (not verified)

IMHO, Win is too much. Wynne is fine. Winifred with Win as a nn rocks. But Win on her own? I love her brief, tailored sound - I totally see what appeals about Win. But I cannot imagine growing up with the name. It would be lots of pressure.

If you're set on using Win - and it sounds like you might be - you could give her name some balance by putting an impeccable classic in the middle spot. Win Elizabeth, Win Margaret, etc.

February 9, 2010 11:10 AM
By Green (not verified)

Wynne is fine. Win is horrible

February 9, 2010 1:07 PM
By Claire (not verified)

What about just adding an extra "n" to make it "Winn"? That would help a little bit..

February 9, 2010 1:48 PM
By Enid (not verified)

Don't forget that naming your baby isn't just about you. Your baby has to live with your choice. Living with an unusual name is hard enough (and I know this from experience,) without the added pressure of what sounds like a command. "Win!" Or else? I too understand what you like about it. It does have a nice sound, but you really can't get away from the meaning unless you use it as a nn, or change the spelling.

February 9, 2010 2:42 PM
By Azure (not verified)

How about Winnie, Windy, Winsome, Winona, Quinn(Qwin) or Quincy? This reminds of the comic strip Cathy where Cathy's ultra-ambitious girlfrind named her daughter Zenith.

We know a 6 year old girl name Winter.

February 9, 2010 2:44 PM
By Azure (not verified)

I just thought of another one -- Bronwyn.

February 9, 2010 9:19 PM
By Emily (not verified)

Winn with two n's... Winn-Dixie is a major supermarket chain in the south, particularly Florida. Whether that's better or worse than Win with one n is up to individual taste, I suppose.

February 10, 2010 9:39 AM
By Zoerhenne (not verified)

I love Azure's suggestions. I too was going to suggest Winona. I think Win is a cute nn but would not choose to give it as the ONLY name on the birth certificate.

February 10, 2010 12:25 PM
By Shelli (not verified)

I do not think Win is that bad. But if you're worried there are other alternate spellings that aren't Wynne. You could try Whin, Wyn, Winn, Whyn, etc.

I think some of the other names that have been suggested really take away the class and simplicity that is Win. Really? These people think that Winnie or Windy or Winsome (!) or Winona is better than just WIN? I say, not.

February 10, 2010 12:31 PM
By MJ (not verified)

I went to college with 1 of 2 football-playing brothers named Champ and Boss. They are now both successful NFL players. Maybe their names were too much, but maybe there's something to having a name to aspire to... I do think Win as a nn is pretty cute, but not on it's own.

February 10, 2010 12:32 PM
By Joni (not verified)

I love Whynn, Wynn, Wynne... but I don't love Win. Winona is a good suggestion, as is Winter (unless she's not born then). I wanted to love Winsome, but then I thought that 'you win some, you lose some.'

I just think that the puns will be common and frequent. People will think they are being coy and original when they say "like 'go for the win'?" or "like 'win or loose'?" or any other of a number of phrases with 'win' in it.

February 10, 2010 12:41 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Win is a lovely nickname. Choose a given name (and people have given you lots of ideas) that you can derive "Win" from, but allows your child to choose to grow into something else. Do remember that it is your child who will have to live with the name, and that you cannot control what others will think about the name (and thus, bring into their interactions with your child). My paternal grandmother's name was Winnie, and I thought carefully about using that for my daughter, but decided that, although the character is adorable and everybody loves him, I didn't want kids thinking "Winnie the Pooh" every time they met my daughter. There are just too many potty-related and fat-related jokes that come far too easily. I wish she had been named Winifred, which is beautifully old-fashioned, and indeed old enough that your child's peers, at least, would likely not see it as an "old lady name." I think it is always best to provide your child with a full and flexible given name. My daughter (who is 17 now) has had lots of fun "reinventing" herself each time we have moved (or she has moved up to the next level school); and tailoring her name to suit her newly-more-mature image of herself has been a great support in making those growth adjustments. Even if you decide to throw caution to the winds with respect to the competitiveness angle, or Winnie-the-Pooh (which she will surely still be called, even if her name is just Win), I'd say that "Win" is just a bit brief and inflexible for a given name--it doesn't have any "room to grow" built into it. Winifred, Winter, Bronwin (to keep the "in"), etc. There must be dozens of possibilities that would allow you your "Win" but allow her some choices later. Best wishes!

February 10, 2010 12:44 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I knew a boy called Win. His middle name was Winfield, probably a family name, but he went by Win as a nickname. I think he was a "third," and his dad and grandfather may have also been called "Win."

February 10, 2010 12:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Also - you might consider the story of the brothers named Winner and Loser Lane. http://slate.com/id/2116449/

February 10, 2010 12:48 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My daughter's name is Wynn (my mom's Welsh maiden name) and we love it. I personally don't care for the spelling Win because it looks like a verb to me. We call my daughter Wynnie alot and it suits her perfectly. :) I have heard of using the name Winsor for a girl and callig her Win or Winnie but I wouldn't choose that spelling as a given name.

February 10, 2010 1:05 PM
By hillary (not verified)

My middle name is Wynne. I don't love it or hate it. Personally I'd go for Winifred if I wanted to use the nickname Win. It doesn't seem like a full name to me, although I suppose I'd rather be Win than a lot of other names.

February 10, 2010 1:06 PM
By John (not verified)

First thing I thought of when I saw this question was Win Butler, the (male) frontman of the band the Arcade Fire. Wikipedia notes that he was born Edwin.

February 10, 2010 1:15 PM
By archshrk (not verified)

I was thinking the same thing.

February 10, 2010 1:16 PM
By Angela (not verified)

Arwen, Bronwyn, Edwina/Edwyna, Eowyn, Guinevere, Gwyneth, Rowina, Wanda, Wendy, Whitney, Wilhelmina, Winona...

I vote Guinevere, Whitney or Wilhelmina.

February 10, 2010 1:19 PM
By archshrk (not verified)

Sorry, the reply is out of order. I was thinking Winn (double "n") was a good alternative.

On another note, I think the bigger concern should be people assuming Win is short for Winifred. My given name is Luke but far too many people think its short for Lucas (those that don't claim to be my father or tell me to "use the force", that is)

February 10, 2010 2:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The name Winsor reminded me of Windsor Castle. But how do you pronounce it? on forvo.com it is pronounced "Winsa." That is not a bad sounding name!

February 10, 2010 2:16 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

what about
Winna, Wilona, Wilone, Eilena, Willa (like Willa Cather) Wilma, Wina, Winafred, Winefred, Winefride, Winefried, Winfreda, Winfrieda, Winifryd, Winne, Wintar, Olwin (and it's variations such as Olinia, Alwinna), Nelwin (that's where Nelly came from), Gwin, Winette, Winine, Winene, Wilhelmina, Willemina, Willmine, Winoena

February 10, 2010 3:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Spell it Wyn or Wynn, then no one will be concerned with the meaning of the word.

February 10, 2010 3:31 PM
By Wineva (not verified)

I have been called Win (short for Wineva (win EH va, not EE va) but I have a good friend who is named Sarah Wynne, after her grandmother Sarah. She always called Sarah Wynne, as if it were one name.
Do you have a family name to attach Win to?

February 10, 2010 3:41 PM
By Zol Fox (not verified)

After all you can "name" a child what ever you want, it is your decision... but, yeah "but", are you going to try and explain to this child as they mature?? ...and are you going to attempt to get through a child that you've connected the rest of the world to whose total approach to life is going to be predominately "SELF" ? This is a name consisting of three letters forming an identity that is concerned for their fellow man, within what they have as references, the operative word is 'they', they tend to grow up with such a selfish approach and done in an emotional fashion that with the whining and screaming about how they haven't got what THEY want... you'll wonder how you could have "picked" a name with so much chaotic high rebellious nature or attitude... check out the name people that will tell you about how the only way any of us connect with the rest of the world is THROUGH language... and name is made up of language...
I have no vested interest in groups like the Vancouver Canada based Kabalarian Society, but I do recognize the "balance" in many of the names and how people wear them, and how now after 35 years of observation they have "turned out"... PLEASE REMEMBER THIS CHILD NEEDS ALL IT CAN GET FOR A SMOOTHER LIFE, INCLUDING THE PEOPLE FACTOR AND GETTING ALONG WITH THEM...
Zol Fox

February 10, 2010 5:36 PM
By Leighton Isaacs (not verified)

We named our oldest daughter Carrie Winston (a family name)and she kept asking us why we named her after a cigarette. She now thinks it is a nice middle name. My name is Mary Leighton but i have always been called Leighton. Of course it was difficult to explain to people when I was a child, but now I love it. Two friends named their daughters after me; Leighton Elizabeth and Lauren Leighton which was quite an honor. Back to the original question... I think Wynn is the solution!!!

February 10, 2010 5:38 PM
By Katie (not verified)

I would suggest Winn, or even Winnie, because she's probably going to end up being called Winnie anyway. Young kids like the "-ie" or "-y" nicknames. That way you could shorten to "Win" or "Winn" as a diminutive.

February 10, 2010 5:58 PM
By kc_hardt (not verified)

You obviously are being very thoughtful about what you are naming your daughter, it not just a whim (no pun intended.) Consider this, no matter what you name her somebody will think of something and somebody else will assume something about you because of the name you choose. The nature of being human is that we think, sometimes to much, about all the little details. You can't possible, find a name with absolutely no pitfall, they are bound to pop up somewhere. At least this way, you already know what's coming and maybe that will help you and your daughter be more prepared for it. That said, imagine it was your name, it may sound funny but maybe there is somewhere you are going that you don't know anybody and are unlikely to have complications if try this little experiment. Go there and introduce yourself, but with the name Win, write it down if possible and just see what reaction you get. Then imagine living with it for the rest of you life. If you can, then odds are your daughter will to, trust me no matter what she'll hate her name at one point and then at another she'll think it makes her wonderfully exotic. Good Luck!

February 10, 2010 9:51 PM
By Rozax (not verified)

"Win" is, indeed, a terrible name for a child. It's bad enough that children are cruel and always find something to tease each other about, but you're setting your daughter up on a silver platter. If you want "Win" in the name, think of Winifred, or Winnie. But, for the love of God, and your daughter, do not name her win.

February 11, 2010 12:13 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Or- you could ignore all of the advice you're getting and just name her Win. Thats what you want, and most of the alternate names suggested here suck just as much that one does (I mean really, Win?).

February 11, 2010 12:43 AM
By Jess (not verified)

I think the name Win is cute. But I would do it as a nickname and have a longer, official name. That way she has more choices as she gets older. And people who are less open minded won't be taken aback quite as much if they know it's a nickname.

February 11, 2010 9:11 AM
By eph856 (not verified)

You like Win for a reason. Don't hold back because of what others may or may not think about the name because then you're just teaching your child to hold back because of what others may or may not think. My maiden name is Power and my first born son will be named Power. I've already gotten sneers and wrinkled noses about it but that's just too bad. It's not their kid. Not their name. And my son will thereby have the confidence to do what he feels is right regardless of what everyone else thinks or does.

February 11, 2010 10:18 AM
By KC (not verified)

As a child, I went by Wendy, and my best friend called me Wen. It was cute, but I've since learned that the dictionary definition of "wen" is a pimple or cyst. :)

I still think the sounds of Wen/Win is cute - however, I echo previous poster in suggesting a more flexible middle name. I would not have legally changed my name if I'd had a nice middle name to use.

February 11, 2010 8:49 PM
By Antoinette Botsford (not verified)

Hi--I spend a lot of time with children, as I am a professional storyteller. Don't name her "Win". As a nickname for any of the suggested names, it would be fine. My best friend is named "Winnie" (for Guinevere) and it's just fine, but do not name a little girl Win. Besides the implicit competitive challenges, there are several directions that it might go that could be very upsetting and have long-range repercussions...those who will call her "Wink" or "Wine" or "Whine"--if she corrects them and says "My name is Win" they can say, so "why are you losing?" If you MUST use it, please make it a middle name, and give her the option of not using it.

February 12, 2010 10:31 AM
By AmyC (not verified)

Has she tried Wynn?
My husband and I have very commmon names - where in school there were 5 other people witht he same very common name. We do not like common names, but that is us.
We named our oldest (7y/o) Coyote, yes you read that right, we call him Coty w/ a 't' rather than a 'd'. He told us the other day that he likes being called Coyote. We named our youngest (3y/o) Memphis Fox. So, if you LOVE the name go with it - who cares what other people think.

February 13, 2010 7:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I just got into Arcade Fire's music a few months ago and that was the first time I'd ever heard the name Win. Of course Win Butler's a guy, but I can still give you my first impression - it wasn't bad at all. I didn't think of it in terms of the word, I approached it as sound and it sounds really nice! I think having a longer name to shorten is probably a good idea, but I can see how it gives it a different feel. Also, to everyone who suggested Wynne/Wynn/Winn (Winn-Dixie much?) she pretty clearly said she didn't like any of those and I agree, they're completely different than Win. Whatever you do, don't compromise and use any of those!!

February 15, 2010 8:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Win is just fine. If there can be little boys named Chance running around, I see nothing wrong with Win, especially if most people hearing it think Wynne. To hedge your bets, you might like to have Win be the middle name. It's fine to call someone by the middle name.

February 16, 2010 1:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm just curious about why "Wynne" is out of the running. I may be biased (my name is Wynne) but I do love the spelling of it; I consider it quite feminine.

February 16, 2010 1:49 PM
By BR (not verified)

I really like the name you have chosen when it is pronounced, but I personally would not go for the spelling Win... like the other person says, to me it just looks like a verb on paper. I love the spelling Wynn or even adding an extra n to Win and then having Winn.. that way it doesn't look like a verb. Best of luck with whatever you decide to choose. On a different note, our soon to be born son will be Miles and I'm sure some will think of it as in how many miles does it take to get there?! Husband and I don't like the spelling Myles so we are sticking with it. Again good luck.

February 16, 2010 1:49 PM
By BR (not verified)

I really like the name you have chosen when it is pronounced, but I personally would not go for the spelling Win... like the other person says, to me it just looks like a verb on paper. I love the spelling Wynn or even adding an extra n to Win and then having Winn.. that way it doesn't look like a verb. Best of luck with whatever you decide to choose. On a different note, our soon to be born son will be Miles and I'm sure some will think of it as in how many miles does it take to get there?! Husband and I don't like the spelling Myles so we are sticking with it. Again good luck.

February 17, 2010 12:57 PM
By Blakelyn (not verified)

I agree with those who suggested that you give her the middle name Win, and call her by it. I go by my unusual middle name!

February 17, 2010 1:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree...make it short for another name, spell it differently or make it a hyphenated name "Win-marie" or something of the sort...that way you can call her win, but you'll always have to deal with people that scoff at the name based on it's connotations. Good luck.

February 18, 2010 12:02 PM
By Camille (not verified)

Um...I didn't even think of the verb "win"...when I saw the name "Win" I thought it was a totally cute name! I mean, suure, some people will see it the other way, but..my name is Camille.. people in grade school used to call me Chameleon, Camel, and Chamomile. I didn't really mind it though.. what I minded was people calling me Cami.

February 18, 2010 9:23 PM
By Kristin (not verified)

How about Wen or Winn?

February 22, 2010 7:59 AM
By Renee (not verified)

Winifred?? Seriously people??!! You don't think Winifred is an ugly name that children are just as likely to tease for?

I'm not overly partial to Win- for many of the reasons you stated yourself. I think you know it's not quite right, but of course you're hopeful it could be because you like it and it is a great sounding name. I agree Wynne is totally different- don't go there.

My votes are for Winn or Winona. Love them :)

February 22, 2010 6:04 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How about Tolkein names Arwen and Eowyn from Lord of the Rings as a path to the nicjkname Win?

February 23, 2010 3:45 PM
By Katy (not verified)

I just have to say that although Win is completely NMS, I really didn't balk at it. Truly, just examining what I normally do and do not like in the baby name world, I should have hated it, but I don't.

I don't quite get the suggestions for Winifred, etc. If Win is a name you love those aren't. If you decide away from Win, I'm guessing it would be something like it in style and hipness, but not necessarily in sound.

Good luck!

March 7, 2010 8:45 AM
By Nat (not verified)

Hi I think Win is nice,I've got a friend named Winslee who everyone calls Win anyway-thought it was a much better alternative to Winifred (seriously?) hope this helps x

March 9, 2010 1:04 PM
By Rae (not verified)

I had a relative called Aunty Win, who I hadn't thought of in years (she died when I was very young) until I read this post. I hadn't even thought of Win as in 'win' until reading this either. I think it's a lovely name and although some people might make a pun of it, like many people have already noted, you can make a pun of plenty of more traditional names. If you say it as a name people will take it as a name. At the end of the day your attitude will lead your child's attitude to their name, ie if you don't make a big deal out of it why would she?
Personally I love it and I don't see why your daughter wouldn't. Teasing isn't the end of the world and if she is confident in her name the idea of making a joke of it probably won't rise.

March 12, 2010 10:09 AM
By Alexa (not verified)

To be honest when I first read it I didnt even think of the word "win". I thought of Winnie from Wonder Years. but anyhow I think the name is great. Go for it! I can just imagine people getting to know her and falling in love with calling her Win. its really cute!

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

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