Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Are matching twin names too cheesy?

How do you feel about anagram names? I am debating whether or not the names Celia and Alice would be okay for my twin girls. My husband says that this might be too cheesy, but I think that ryhming names are cheesy for twins, but anagram names are fine. Alice is a beloved family name, and I love the more modern name Celia. Is my husband right; are anagram names too much for twins?
- Anna Gramm

Here's my rule for "theme" baby names: never, ever choose a name to fit a sibling theme if you wouldn't have chosen that name on its own.

Each child deserves a name that's whole in itself, and that was chosen with her parents' total enthusiasm. A little Tulip with big sisters Lily, Rose, Violet and Daisy has been shortchanged.  Tulip comes across as just one more blossom in the bouquet, not an individual. The sibling set mattered more than her name. Worst of all, she'll always know that her parents considered her name fifth-best out of a very small pool.

But Alice and Celia? Ah, that's another story. Each of the names is traditional, stylish and complete. The link between them is subtle enough that not everyone will notice it. Neither name stands out more than the other, or demands to be said first. The names also sound different enough that nobody is likely to mix them up. In short, Alice and Celia just sound like sisters.

Since you've avoided all the many traps of "matching" names, you get to enjoy the advantages. The anagram can be like a secret sibling code. For identical twins in particular, I think it's a powerful symbol of the bond they share. Starting with the same ingredients, you produce two separate individuals -- unique, whole and beautiful.

So your twin names pass my test. Getting them past your husband, though, is up to you.


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

April 12, 2010 6:33 PM
By RobynT (not verified)

I agree. Alice and Celia are genius! If I had twins, I'd want to steal them--although my husband wouldn't go for Alice I think.

April 12, 2010 6:39 PM
By lizriz (not verified)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Celia & Alice. That is a seriously great pair of girls' names, and you are superbrilliant!

April 12, 2010 6:53 PM
By Kayt (not verified)

I think they're great. While I don't particularly care for matchy twin names, I consider this a super-subtle link. They are similar in length and style, and don't sound alike. They do have similar sounds, obviously, but they are in such a different order they aren't a tongue twister. Another enthusiastic vote yay!

If I had twin girls, and their names had to match, I would go Daphne and Laurel. They're different names for the same plant, but they aren't super obviously matchy to most people.

April 12, 2010 7:11 PM
By Christiana (not verified)

I think since you have a reason for picking each of them, it's fine for the reasons the Name Lady mentioned. And they're not "matchy" they just flow together! I didn't even realize they were anagrams until you mentioned it!

April 12, 2010 10:25 PM
By Stephanie (not verified)

Good names for twins, if not my personal taste. The anagram thing is definitely not obvious. Go for it if your husband can get on board.

April 12, 2010 11:11 PM
By zoerhenne (not verified)

Another vote for yes! I like that the theme is subtle. I agree that rhyming names or even names that begin with the same letter are overdone with twins.

April 13, 2010 12:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like the match, actually. I'm not a fan of matchy, but these match without being obvious.

Just be wary - I have a friend who had a daughter Ella, then a daughter Alle (allie) a 3rd daughter is coming. I told her the only option was Lela - she's choosing Olivia. Guess who'll feel like she's not loved as much for not getting in on the matchy action? Or perhaps Alle will hate it because she got stuck with an anagram of big sis's name?

April 13, 2010 12:13 PM
By Ellen (not verified)

I love the idea of Celia and Alice myself!!!

April 13, 2010 12:19 PM
By erica (not verified)

Another vote for YES!! Super fab!!

April 13, 2010 12:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Love ALice & Ceila as individual names, and the link between them is not obvious until its pointed out. My fav boys' twin names are Callum & Jonah as they both have the same meaning and I think they are both great stand-alone names! Go for it!

April 13, 2010 12:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Awesome way to get around matchy names, while still giving your girls something special about their names! It is a great connection for them to have later in life, and very few people will realize that they are the same letters just in different orders. Do beware though when you go to have future children that you give them something equally special, and similar in style. For example, if you have another child, you could use Elias (boy) Callie, Sallie (girls)

Just beware of the "Tulip" issue with future children.

April 13, 2010 12:34 PM
By Beth (not verified)

I have fraternal twin daughters who are now 25. The anagram is clever, and the names are great, but it's a "little" too contrived for my taste, whether they are identical or fraternal. My daughters names are as different as my daughters are, nothing twinsie about the names. There are plenty of opportunities for them to be "twins", and not enough opportunities for them to be just themselves! I know they hate cute twinsie names as much as I do.

April 13, 2010 12:40 PM
By (Beth's daughter #1) (not verified)

I cringe every time I hear of twins with cutesy matching names. Thanks, Mom!

April 13, 2010 12:46 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)



April 13, 2010 12:47 PM
By Maureen (not verified)

My Parents went through the same discussion with me and my sisters. My older sister, Michelle, was named for a close friend, My name, Maureen, is a family name, but when #3 came along, my parents felt like they had to choose an "M" name so she wouldn't feel left out. It all turned out fine, Melinda certainly likes her name, but I know that once you start matchy matchy, you feel pressured to keep it up.

April 13, 2010 12:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think it's subtle enough that if you truly love each name on its own, they work. (And I despise contrived, matchy/themey names!)

If your husband loves the names, too, and that's his only objection, perhaps these comments will assuage his fears. What's most important, I think, is that you find names that you and your husband both love. It's hard, but naming your kids is something neither parent should be railroaded into compromising over. Supressed resentment between parents over things like this (added up over time) has the potential to be as damaging to your kids as getting a terrible name!

April 13, 2010 1:07 PM
By Kate (not verified)

I agree with everyone else that Celia and Alice is a brilliant choice. Both names are independently great, and the connection is nice.

And actually I don't think this choice limits your naming of future children at all. It would be strange (like Tulip) to connect them too closely to the twins' names by trying to come up with an almost-anagram like Elias. As long as you chose something equally special and in the same general style family for number 3, you'd be fine.

April 13, 2010 1:45 PM
By Paula (not verified)

Like most others, I LOVE the Celia and Alice idea! Very individual for each girl, yet it would take some serious thinking (and a person with too much time on his/her hands) to catch the anagram.

However, the Andrea, same spelling, different pronunciations - UGH!!!! That makes for LOTS of confusion in school, and with today's very real threat of identity theft, potential problems as adults! I could see both Andreas being thought to be the same person! And if they are/were identical, a DNA check wouldn't help!

Along those same lines, there was a guy who was a year ahead of me in school whose name was Travis Travis, no kidding! No doubt the parents thought it was funny, but I feel sorry for him!

I was in college with a girl named Sandy, who had a twin sister (at a different college) named Cindy. Now, assuming those were nicknames for Sandra and Cynthia, each one had her own separate name, and since they chose different colleges, presumably her own separate identity. However, here in the South, the words "Sandy" and "Cindy" can sound exactly alike! I had coworker years ago named Cindy, and when her husband called the office asking for her, it sounded like he was asking for Sandy. He finally got to where he'd ask for Cynthia, which stopped us from telling him there was no one named Sandy working there!

Another "sound-alike twins" situation... A couple I know had twin girls. One was named Allie after her mother, and it was just Allie, not short for Allison or anything else, and she also had her mother's middle name. Her twin sister's first and middle names were presumably from their father's side of the family, and as a child, she was called by her first name, a nice, normal, female name, and nothing anywhere close to Allie. (I'm not giving her first name here for privacy purposes.) However, at some point she decided to use a her middle name, or more specifically, a nickname for her middle name, which is Elliott, choosing to go by Ellie. Again, here in the South, Allie and Ellie sound almost exactly alike! And this TWIN chose this - it wasn't the parents' choice! Not being in contact with this family over a period of time, I'm not sure when Ellie decided to use her middle name, but she had made the change by the time she was in college.

Again, I think Alice and Celia are GREAT!

April 13, 2010 2:00 PM
By Andrew J (not verified)

Alice and Celia get my thumbs up.

April 13, 2010 2:07 PM
By Andrew J (not verified)

Andrea & Andrea? Are you kidding?
That reminds me of the show Newhart.
"Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother…"

I'm sure my kids would kill me if I did something like that.

April 13, 2010 2:08 PM
By Andrew J (not verified)

"Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl…"

April 13, 2010 2:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

andrea and andrea?!?! thats the stupidest thing i've ever heard in my life! i'm not even trying to be mean, i'm just stating a fact.

April 13, 2010 2:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree about Andrea and Andrea...almost like a set of b/g twins I know....Aaron and Erin.

I love Celia and Alice together...I think that twin names should match a least a little bit, especially in the case of b/g or non-identical twins, to show their bond as twins. Some sets I know (but don't necessarily love) are:

Kaylee and Kyla
Brandin and Bryce
Carly and Kelsey (their triplet, Krista, died at birth)
Rylan and Reese

April 13, 2010 3:00 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

Interesting, I was just thinking about this issue after reading a comment on another thread about sibling names that don't seem to have a "theme". I think this is subtle enough to pass muster, although my inclination if it were my kids would be NOT to point it out to them (or anyone else)--that way, when/if they figured it out for themselves as older kids, it would be a super-cool secret thing, rather than one more tie imposed on them from birth (some twins love these connections, some hate them, others are indifferent). And definitely do NOT feel compelled to make any future names match in any way.

My first two are twins (boy/girl) so we started out with a sibling set, and made the conscious choice not to try to make them match. I have heard through the mothers-of-multiples grapevine of many twins with just first initials matching who have endless problems when first initial/last name/date of birth are the means of identification. I shudder at the problems Andrea/Andrea would have.

In general, I don't see any need for sib names to match in any way other than in the sense that the parents like the names and think they are appropriate for each child. These are people who will likely spend most of their lives introducing themselves completely separately from each other; unless you are hoping to raise the next Jonas Brothers or Osmonds, why should they have to "go together"?

April 13, 2010 3:05 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

Should have added--I don't think there's anything wrong with families whose names do "go together" in the sense of all being traditional or creative or whatever--just that I don't think parents should feel compelled to do this, or that there's anything strange/wrong with sib-sets whose names don't appear to have a common denominator.

April 13, 2010 4:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I also think these names are FAB twin names. I bet many people will never notice the anagram (except NEs of course), and yet they go together well and are indeed stylish. You may have to do what I did and hold out until you're on the delivery table. My husband was ready to concede any name disagreements we'd had at that point!


April 13, 2010 4:55 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Alice and Celia is a great combination. Like others have said, I wouldn't have realized that is was an anagram if you hadn't pointed it out.
I like the Name Lady's point about picking names that sound different and where one doesn't stand out more than the other. I have twin friends named Chelsea and Shauna, and I feel like their names fit those criteria. I say Shauna and Chelsea just as often as the other way around.
I also know twins named Addie and Ella, and I can never seem to say Ella first.

April 13, 2010 5:09 PM
By Alison (not verified)

I happen to love the names Alice and Celia! And the anagram is clever. Very few would notice the connection unless told. I knew boy twins R.yan and B.ryan. I have also known a set of twins called Caro.lynn and Mari.lynn. Not my taste.

I am an identical twin, and my sister and I both have A names with 6 letters. But they sound nothing alike, no rhyming or anything. Most people just notice the same first initial and never give a thought to the number of letters.

I say: Go for it! Your girls' names have a subtle connection, nothing too over-the-top. As a twin, I probably would've HATED having a matchy-matchy name, but the subtle connection, same initial and same number of letters, we love.

April 13, 2010 5:18 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I LOVE these two names together and I wish I had thought of it!! They go together so stylistically, neither sounds contrived and you'd never know whether you picked Celia first and inverted it to Alice or vice versa.

I always thought Aidan and Nadia would make neat twin names. Though Aidan being so popular kind of ruins it to where I wouldn't use it myself...

April 13, 2010 5:29 PM
By Haleypiglet (not verified)

I love the combo and ditto on the stealing comment. I also enjoy Nadia and Aidan for girl/boy twins. I love the idea of anagrams, I think mostly because I'm so bad at spotting them.

April 13, 2010 5:38 PM
By Kate (not verified)

I love the idea. Anagram names are a very good option. I have a 2yr old named Clara and we're expecting. I really like the name Kaela....And although both girls have the same middle initial A, they sound kind of similar. But I thought Kaela was a better choice than Kirra...Sounds too close to Clara.

April 13, 2010 5:58 PM
By Qazqaz8 (not verified)

I agree that matchy twin names are tacky and way too overused but Alice and Celia seem amazing! They are totally different names and I love them both! Some examples of extreme matching twin names: according to the SSA the combo Jayda & Jayden is the 47th most popular pairing for twins and Heaven and Nevaeh ranked 75. Wow!

April 13, 2010 7:28 PM
By jenna (not verified)

i'm a twin and our names are jenna and jillian. is that too matchy matchy? now i'm going to have a complex, haha.

April 13, 2010 8:14 PM
By Mylo Emma (not verified)

I have to agree; I'd even say SUPRAbrilliant that's one whole step above SUPER- :) well done

April 13, 2010 8:14 PM
By Mylo Emma (not verified)

I have to agree; I'd even say SUPRAbrilliant that's one whole step above SUPER- :) well done

April 13, 2010 10:01 PM
By Sarah F. (not verified)

Love it! Very creative! And, both are very pretty names.

April 14, 2010 3:01 AM
By Shakespeare Diva (not verified)

Beyond Suprabrilliant, this idea is Super-Genius!
Brava to you for coming up with such a creative solution. A welcome tonic for all the "Tia and Mia" twin combos one hears so regularly. (No offense intended!)
Hope your hubby gets on board with this idea! Good luck!

April 14, 2010 7:45 AM
By NAMES (not verified)

I absolutely LOVE Alice and Celia as twin names, I've never noticed the anagram before, so people really won't get it right away! It is REALLY subtle, but once you get it, its like OMG that is BRILLIANT! Instead, haha, they match, in a scarcastic tone.

My parents had a thing for the similiar sounding names... We are: Jannelle Leah, Julie Larissa, and Jill Melissa.
They couldn't think of an "L" name to go with Jill, so they decided to rhyme my middle name with my sister's.... Most poeople LOL at the fact that we're all J's and when we were growing up and we were in trouble, it sounded like a J stutter coming from my parents, eventually ending with a number! My sisters and I have plenty of personality but we are definitely a set versus individual favorites... Oh well.

April 14, 2010 10:27 AM
By Isabella (not verified)

I agree completely with the Name Lady

Alice & Celia make a beautiful twinset :o)

April 14, 2010 2:00 PM
By Bethany (not verified)

Both lovely, traditional names, and the anagram is so subtle I'd bet that the vast majority of people meeting your twins will never realize it. The thing to do is to check whether your husband is just objecting to this as "cheesy" because in fact he simply does not LIKE one or the other (or both) of the names. As a psychologist, there is certainly no reason why you have to provide connections for your twins--they will create their own unique connections, and their own unique identities, as they grow and develop--but it could be a nice thing for them to discover as they are learning to read and write that their given names contain the same letters in a different order. I wouldn't push that on them, though. Bottom line: if you and your husband love both of those names, then use them, and enjoy the anagram element (or ignore it, as you wish). If you don't both love both names, though, keep looking. . . as has been pointed out in previous discussions, kids definitely pick up on cues from the adults in their lives if their names are not favored, and this becomes part of the way they see themselves (the bottom-of-the-barrel "Tulip" issue, in other words).

April 14, 2010 2:44 PM
By Kristina (not verified)

My b/g twins are Alexander and was only after we'd chosen the names that someone pointed out to me that there is a movie called "Alex and Emma." Well, I had already picked the names and become attached, so they stayed. And I have never seen the movie yet.
We really wanted to avoid matchy names, like Brenda and Brandon in the original 90210, or Steven and Stephanie. One of my co-workers is an identical twin; she and her sister are Melissa and Melanie. That's too close for my taste.
But Celia and Alice go very well together!! On the surface, there is nothing contrived about them...the average person would have to think about it for a minute or two before noticing the anagram, I think.

April 14, 2010 6:29 PM
By Qazqaz8 (not verified)

Jenna and Jillian don't sound too matchy to me. They begin with the same letter but other than that they aren't similar in end sound or meaning. The worst is when parents give their twins names that rhyme or b/g twins that have the male/female versions of the same name. I think you're safe! :)

p.s. I love the names jenna and jillian!

April 15, 2010 9:18 AM
By Regina (not verified)

I think these two names are beautiful! What a great way to pair your twins names. It is not cheesy and many people won't pick up on the connection at all!

It's very thoughtful. I think your girls will love it! Two very beautiful names! And I am a sucker for a classic, meaningful name.

I think you did a great job. Good luck!

April 15, 2010 2:52 PM
By Lissa (not verified)

How beautiful! I would never have realized those names were anagrammatic if it hadn't been pointed out. I love those names, I love you idea! I think you have excellent reasons for using those names entirely outside of the anagram idea. Maybe your husband can pick the middle names?

April 17, 2010 9:52 PM
By Mo (not verified)

I think Alle will be the one who feels short changed. Her parents didn't even give her her own name. I know a family with a similar situation and they (the children) think their parents completely lacked imagination and are jealous of the siblings that got names unique to them. It all depends on the quality of the actual name when coordinating sibling names.

On that note Alice and Celia are wonderful names that flow so sweetly together they sound as though they were always meant to be sisters.

April 17, 2010 9:52 PM
By Elisabeth@YCCII (not verified)

I love Celia and Alice together. Mostly, as others have said, because they are stylistically similar and relatively unusual.

I did a post of anagram names a while back. Alice and Celia are among them. See that's the only thing, you won't be the only one who thought of this.

Caroline and Cornelia are somewhat tempting.

April 18, 2010 3:52 PM
By clara (not verified)

I love names Celia & Alice even with obvious connection very differnt styles, very cute! My sisters twins are boy/girl and are called Teagan & Jayden, which are lovely as diff letters T and J but sound connects them as twins.

April 18, 2010 3:52 PM
By clara (not verified)

I love names Celia & Alice even with obvious connection very differnt styles, very cute! My sisters twins are boy/girl and are called Teagan & Jayden, which are lovely as diff letters T and J but sound connects them as twins.

April 18, 2010 9:49 PM
By Holly (not verified)

Must say, I prefer Cecelia to just Celia. As for the anagram factor, I wouldn't even had noticed if it hadn't been mentioned.

My 11 month old twin girls are named Elise and Helena, both rather traditional names. I despise parents who are so short-sighted as to give their twins cutesy matching names that will follow them for the rest of their lives!

April 19, 2010 12:22 AM
By Vomiting (not verified)

I don't like them together to be honest, but I've seen worse. Alice and Celia pop up every now and then in birth announcements for twins.

I've also seen Alice, Celia and Lacie for triplets. Even googling these names shows results.

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.