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Are These Names Too Silly For Siblings?

My husband and I are desperately trying to decide on a name for our second child. Our daughter is Mollie, a name that we decided on rather quickly and never had second thoughts about. We both like the name Oliver for a boy, but are concerned it is too similar to Mollie, with the "oll" sound. Also, we really don't want people calling him "Ollie" which sounds even more like Mollie. In your opinion, are these names too much alike and silly together?

--Non-rhyming Mom

A few years back, I offered some thoughts on too-close-for-comfort names: "Are other people likely to get the two names mixed up? If you holler upstairs to one child, will your kids be able to tell who you're asking for? Does it feel like you gave each child a distinct identity?" In that same post, I advised against rhyming names, which puts Ollie right out of the running for your family. Oliver, though, is trickier. You still have the rhyme in the middle of the name, but it’s tempered by that new final syllable.

As plenty of William-not-Bills and James-not-Jims will attest, it's possible to call your child by his full name and ask others to do the same. However, with a three-syllable name like Oliver you're bound to hear Ollie from time to time, whether it's just well-meaning shorthand or a real attempt to tease the rhyming siblings.

To head that off, you might have another nickname in your back pocket. Namipedia offers up Vero, Nole, Levi, and Iver. Or you might jump to Ozzie, Obie, or Opie, especially with the help of a middle initial: Oliver Bennett becomes OB or Obie.

If those—or the thought of frequently correcting anyone who uses Ollie—don’t appeal, you may need to set Oliver aside for now. Instead, try an Oliver alternative like Elliot, Jasper, , Oscar, Julian, Leo, Henry, Felix or Alexander.


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October 13, 2014 2:35 PM
By JenJen (not verified)

Oliver is a really nice name. You should go with it. Don't worry about the sibling thing. As long as you're not naming your kids Adolf and Else, it's fine.

October 13, 2014 8:18 PM
By British American (not verified)

I wouldn't do it. Oliver is very likely to get shortened to Ollie and Mollie & Ollie are far too close.

October 13, 2014 9:29 PM
By C. Andrews (not verified)

A family I knew in high school had three girls, named Mary, Shari, and Kari. No joke. The parents' names were Gary and Terry. Somehow they all managed. If you like the name, use it!

October 15, 2014 8:15 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Mollie and Oliver are too close for me, and I suspect people will think Mollie & Ollie are funny (and use them regardless of your wishes).

Of NameLady's suggestions, I really like Jasper and Oscar for you. I'll also suggest Simon, Hugo, Everett & Owen

October 15, 2014 9:11 AM
By tara (not verified)

I have a lily-may and phillip there complete names are nothing alike but they both get lil and phil (like the rugrats lol) i dont mind i think its cute, and my sister has a summer and a skye with are both linked in the same type of name! Go with whatever u like, you will find ppl get used to it. I think mollie and ollie sound cute :-)

October 15, 2014 9:46 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think its adorable. I also know a family who has 2 sets of rhyming names. The parents are Tori and Jordy. & they have two kids named Blake and Jake! Blake is the girl, too.. So I think it was on purpose. But I think its cute! Mollie and Ollie sounds perfect!

October 15, 2014 2:39 PM
By E. (not verified)

Both names are great and not too close. I've known an Oliver for years and no one has ever called him Ollie--I really disagree with the name lady that it's an inevitable nickname. Don't overthink it!

October 15, 2014 11:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My son is an Oliver (11 yrs old), and says one or two kids have called him Ollie on occasion, but it's very rare. Things might be different with a near-matching sibling, but kids in his class (etc.) won't necessarily know about that anyway. If you like the name (and I certainly do), you should use it!

October 16, 2014 12:36 PM
By anon (not verified)

We know an Oliver. No one calls him Ollie. Don't over think it.

October 19, 2014 11:33 PM
By Mo (not verified)

How many Olivers do you know and how many go by Ollie? My guess is zero. Mollie and Oliver sound perfect together. I would just go for it. Chances are that at some point in his life someone will call him Ollie but it won't stick. It's all in your reaction (and his). If you decide now that IF it ever comes up you just won't make a bid deal about it. Say something like "I know, isn't that funny," and move on. That's what we've done with our kids names.
At the moment our naming culture is not as nick namey as it was 50+ years ago. My children's classes are filled with James, Jeremiahs, Davids, Daniels, Matthews, Jonathans, and even one Oliver all of which go by their full names and so far in grade school no one questions it.
In baby naming take Napoleon Dynamites advice, "just follow your heart, that's what I always do."
Good luck

October 21, 2014 10:28 AM
By Moll (not verified)

I'd look for a different name. Even if you don't call him Ollie, the first thing many people will think - and probably say - when they hear it is "Oh, Mollie and Ollie!" People might not have assumed Ollie would be his nickname normally, but hearing it paired with Mollie will get the wheels turning.

If it's going to bug you hearing comments for the next 18+ years, keep looking. I'm a Molly and am glad I don't have a brother named Oliver!

October 21, 2014 1:10 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think that Oliver is a nice name, and if it gets shortened to Ollie, then it could be nice so the two could share something that isn't JUST blood.
Also, you could give your son a middle name and call him by that instead.
but really, it's your choice, and whatever you decide in the end, go for it!

October 21, 2014 2:58 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My best friends son is Oliver and no one calls him Ollie. I don't remember it ever coming up, just no one does it. My brothers name is Jacob and no one calls him Jake, because my mom was adamant when he was a baby/toddler about correcting people who called him the 'wrong' name, and he still uses the full name. I went to school with a set of identical twins names Amanda and Miranda, and they went by Mandi and Randi. I don't remember ever mixing them up, though there was the occasion when one name was called and they both looked up. And I have another friend who named her kids Alexis and Alexander (they loved Alex, thought they'd only have one, so went with Alexis, then had another and couldn't come up with a better idea). They go by Lexi and Alex.

I say use whatever name you want most. The rest will work itself out.

October 29, 2014 5:57 AM
By Kat (not verified)

My name is Kathryn, and my brother's is Matthew. While not intentional on the part of my parents, they ended up calling us Kat and Matt. My dad called us KatMatt and MattKat very often in a spin on the old "Which kid are you again?" It never bothered me, but it's not quite as obvious when they're both nicknames. I didn't think of Mollie and Ollie right away--the first thing to occur to me was Sweet Polly Oliver.

November 4, 2014 2:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a 4 year old Oliver who has almost never been called Ollie by anyone--despite the fact that I like the nickname and have never tried to discourage it. I think Mollie and Oliver sound great together, and I even like the rhyming nicknames for occasional use at home (which is probably the only place it would usually come up--how often do peers and others tend to refer to your children as a sibling set, especially as they get older?).

November 7, 2014 3:24 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I had friends in high school with similar issues- my friend and her sister are named Natasha and Anastasia. Unfortunately, their nicknames shorten to Tasha and Sasha.

The one I always found weird but never seemed to be a problem for him was my friend Dan and his sister Dana. Like, why???

November 18, 2014 9:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Most of the people above make it sound like Mollie and "Oliver" are going to be attached at the hip for the rest of their lives. Trust me, they won't.

"Oliver" will be in a separate grade and most likely a separate social circle than Mollie, which means most of the time he'll be introducing himself separately (as "Oliver" if that's what he is called) and nobody will make the Mollie/Ollie connection.

I agree with the person who said you're probably over thinking it.

I knew a set of twins who had rhyming names (Eric and Derek) and it was only a real problem when they were being paged.

Unless your kids will be attached at the hip (trust me, they won't) this won't be a problem.

November 26, 2014 5:04 PM
By lhifpgkciv (not verified)

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November 27, 2014 11:49 AM
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December 13, 2014 12:34 AM
By ctydavlmck (not verified)

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February 7, 2015 10:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Mollie and Oliver make good sibling set names. I love them together.

I know a Jen and Ben and no one gets them mixed up.

I know a mom and dad Larry and Mary, and their kids are Harry, Larry, Carrie, Perry and no one gets them mixed up.

You will not regret using a name you love!

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