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Did I Make Up a Crazy Name?

I am expecting my first girl, and the name I want to give her came to me in the oddest way: I dreamt it! I am almost 99 percent positive I am the only one with this name in my sights: Miel. I don't remember how it was pronounced, which is silly and stupid but I made up my own pronounciation: MY-elle. My full naming plan is Taela Miel. What will other people think of a name that the baby's crazy mother made up??? - Marie-the-Dreamer

What will people think of you naming your daughter Miel? Well honey, they'll think you called her Honey.

Miel is the word for honey in both French and Spanish. Does that mean you didn't really "make it up"? Not at all. Names can have many independent origins, and it's quite common for parents to "invent" a name that's already borne by dozens of people. Your own name-origin story is still special to you, and it can be special to your daughter, too. But when your "new" name has a pre-existing place in the world, you have to take that place into account.

The good news is that the name you stumbled on has a perfectly lovely place. It's the soul of sweetness, and found in such happy phrases as luna de miel ("honeymoon"). Way to go, dreamland!

The catch is that miel already has a standard pronunciation. While it's not an English word, it comes up in enough contexts that lots of people your daughter meets will recognize it. If they do, they'll expect to pronounce it as one syllable, "myel." Your suggested pronunciation of "MY-elle" will not only cross up their expectations, it will suggest that your daughter has never heard the foreign word that's so familiar to them.

Since you dreamed the spelling but not the sound, perhaps you could reconsider MY-elle? Matching the sound of the word could be a winning solution all around. You'd have the literal name of your dreams, it would still sound fine with Taela, and your daughter wouldn't spend as much time correcting well-meaning mispronunciations. And the story of her name would be better than ever: "It came to my mother in a dream as the perfect name for me, and then she discovered its sweet meaning!"

If you really love MY-elle, though, middle names have extra leeway. Your daughter can embrace that part of her name or keep it tucked away as a special, secret gift from her mom. If at some point she decides to shift the pronunciation, though, don't take offense. It may have been your dream, but in the end it's her name.


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

August 8, 2011 10:31 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If you really like the sound of MY-elle, you could consider the spelling Maelle (technically with an umlaut on the first e). Maelle Ricker won a gold medal in snowboard cross at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

August 8, 2011 12:08 PM
By walshe44 (not verified)

I think the middle name of Miel is lovely IF you embrace the "honey" meaning and the appropriate pronunciation. Indeed, in French, "miel" is a term of endearment, just as "honey" is in English.

And to clarify, in French the pronunciation of the first syllable is "me," not "my." Here is a link that will allow you to hear native speakers from French and Spanish speaking countries pronounce "miel."

Good luck!

August 8, 2011 1:37 PM
By Veronique (not verified)

I absolutely love Miel as a girl's name (if you use the French pronunciation 'm-yell' and not 'mee-yell'). Tara Newley has a daughter named Miel (Celeste) too.

Just a little extra information (that probably won't matter if you're American), but in Dutch-speaking countries Miel is a boys name (pronounced like 'meal' in English). It's a pet form of Emile/Emiel.

August 8, 2011 2:32 PM
By Mir (not verified)

Miel is lovely. Agreed that if you use that spelling it should be pronounced the proper french way.

Your post reminded me of another pretty name, Lielle pronounced Lee-Elle.

August 8, 2011 3:53 PM
By Maureen (not verified)

Are you pronouncing Taela like "TAY-la"? If so, I'd reconsider using that name. It sounds like a non-rhotic pronunciation of the word "tailor."

August 9, 2011 12:22 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like the name but prefer the pronunciation mee-ell.

August 9, 2011 12:57 PM
By hyz (not verified)

Agree with the others--I think Miel is sweet and lovely, but you should pronounce it in either the French or Spanish way, or else go with Maelle (ma-ELL), which is also a lovely suggestion. You could also just do Myelle if you love that pronunciation, but I admit I don't care for that nearly as much as the other options.

August 9, 2011 1:29 PM
By Namelover (not verified)

I know you asked for advice, but the question is why. the name/word Miel is beautiful.It's up to you how to pronounce it. The uniqueness of the name will bring on mispronunciations either way. Since it's not a common name, I think u can pronounce how you like. My daughters name is Teale & while I knew I didn't invent the word, I thought it was a beautiful word. It is pronounced like the color (or the duck), but we chose to be creative with spelling as well. People have called her Tealey at times, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal to her or me. It gave me a chance to correct them, then hear them say what a pretty name it was. Pronounce Miel how you want to. My name is Jaime & French people don't assume I was named for love. As for the full name, I think it's nice, but I like to pair a unique name with a classic or trendy name. That way your child has the option to go by either. My daughters middle name is Kaitlyn- very common for 1990. She still goes by Teale, but she did use Kait for awhile in middle school. Yours would be a bigger problem if you were naming her Carol & wanted to call her Caraelle. :) That's my $.02. Good luck. Miel is such a pretty word, I'd consider it for the first name!

August 9, 2011 1:41 PM
By Tai (not verified)

Miel is also Spanish for Honey I know a girl Name Joanna Miel i always thought it was beautiful good luck to you and baby Miel:)

August 9, 2011 10:46 PM
By Deirdre (not verified)

I agree with Namelover. I think that the two unique names together is a little bit too much. I love unique names, but I think the combo would work better on sisters rather than all on the same person.
I do, however, think that the pronunciation should be me-elle, like it is in French and Spanish. This country has an increasing number of bilinguals for English and Spanish. All of these people will automatically think that it is pronounced the way they know the word is said.
I also agree with Maureen. Are you planning on saying Taela "tay-ella" with three syllables, or as "Tay-la" with two syllables? Because I think you should definitely be going with the first option.
Good luck!

August 9, 2011 11:00 PM
By Ruby (not verified)

I saw my first daughter's name in a dream, too. After we decided that this name I dreamed of would be the name, we found out that it's the name of one of my older relatives, a great-aunt. So it's really cool that you saw this name in a dream, and it turned out to have a real meaning that's definitely positive. Go you!

August 11, 2011 12:28 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Agree - spell Miel then pronounce it Miel, but if Maelle is the pronunciation you want then consider that spelling.

August 15, 2011 9:05 AM
By Beth (not verified)

Miel pronounced and spelled right is lovely. The problem with using a mispronounced French word is that people will think your daughter comes from an unsophisticated family. As a camp counselor, I knew a child named Pilar once -- her family pronounced it Piller, and I have to admit that we counselors chuckled at it. (Unfair, I know, but in my defense I was only a teenager!). Still, I think it's an impression you want to avoid saddling your daughter with.

August 16, 2011 3:13 PM
By phaidra (not verified)

I think that its neat that you want to go w/ the name that came to you in a dream, thats how i got my name. My mom wanted a name for me that stood out and was greek like my last name. She had a lot of different ones picked out, but when she was about 7-8 months preg w/ me , she woke up in the middle of the night, form a dream w/ the name Phaedra, she looked it up and picked the american spelling for it Phaidra and she still says to this day that I picked my own name. I mean I love my name, so maybe i did pick it, lol.

August 25, 2011 6:26 AM
By Zoe (not verified)

My friend's golden retriever is named Miel. That's what I always think of.

What I don't get is why dreaming a baby name suddenly makes it better. I have baby name dreams every now and again and the names have gone from the lovely (Elinor) to the not at all my style (Bianca) to the ugly (Geraldine) to the WTF (Strict).

August 31, 2011 1:25 AM
By Kira (not verified)

A dreamed-of name seems more special because it comes from the mysterious subconscious, and thus seems more significant. While pregnant with my daughter, I saw her first name (already chosen at that time) in lights above a theater, along with the middle name Night. I chose different middle names - but still wonder if I should have gone with Night.

Maybe the influence of director M. Night Shyamalan? :)

January 28, 2012 11:40 AM
By Sharalyn (not verified)

I got my name from a dream my mom had the night before she went into labor. She had the opposite problem though. She had heard the name in the dream, but didn't see it. So then my parents had to debate for a couple of hours on how they were going to spell it. :-)

October 18, 2013 11:09 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

my kid is named miel. ten years ago.

December 6, 2013 8:18 AM
By tmaree (not verified)

Omg. My name is Taela and pronounced like Tay-ella :) it's a great name, your little girl will love it :)

December 22, 2014 3:35 PM
By Honey (not verified)

My middle name is Miel. My family is part French, so it sounds just like they would say it. Some people call me by my middle name (miel) and others just honey. I react to both and its really awesome! I'm glad someone in the world is going to have the same name as I am, because a lot of people say it meow, not MI-el and we get into a huge argument over how MY middle name is pronounced. YAY!

May 21, 2015 1:41 AM
By Crystalmiel (not verified)

My middle name is miel. I have corrected people on the pronouncation my whole life but i really like that its apart of my name. Uts unique and rare

June 22, 2015 11:06 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My daughter is Miel Maryanna Nicole. She was born in 2005. Pronounce it however you like.

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