Baby Name Advice Column: Ask the Name Lady Baby Name Blog

Ask Now
Ask Now

Her Baby Name Sounds Like a Bad Joke

An acquaintance who's due in two months just announced her choice for her baby's name. I immediately noticed the potential for a pun in the name, but I don't think she realizes it's there. Should we tell her, so at least she is aware and makes her choice with all the information, or should we just let it go since she has already fallen for the name? - Trying to Avoid Ben Dover


A creative schoolyard bully can make a teasing nickname out of almost anything. Some names, though, are like giant bullseyes for taunts. It takes a strong kid to live with a name like "Benjamin Dover" or "Candace Barr."

Read More...
Ask Now

How Do I Shed My Childhood Nickname?

My name is Kaitlin, but I've always been called Katie. I feel that 'Katie' is a suitable name for a child and even a teenager, but I am almost 21 and can't seem to shake the little girl nickname. Do you have any suggestions on how to stop being 'Katie' and other possible nicknames to use? - Kaitlin, Not Katie

Twenty is a perfect age to reconsider your childhood nickname. It's a time when you look to the future and think about who you want to become. Since you're in nickname-shedding mode, it's natural to think formal. Yet it's often easier to shorten a name than to lengthen -- to go from Katie to Kate rather than to Kaitlin. (Kate is an ageless classic, too, a la Kate Hepburn.) Picture yourself in different settings, a year from now and twenty years from now.

Read More...
Ask Now

A Peek Into the Name Lady's Inbox

Every day I receive naming questions of all kinds, and I can only answer a small fraction in print. Believe me though, it's "all kinds." Here's an inside peek at some of the more unusual questions and comments from the Name Lady's Inbox.

Read More...
Ask Now

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.

Read More...
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!"

Read More...
Ask Now

How many names is too many?

I really want to name our soon-to-be daughter after my grandmother or my husband's grandmother. But my husband is not a fan of either name. We finally agreed to go with Lyla, using both of their names as middle names. Is Lyla Clara Melanie too much for a little girl? People keep telling me to just pick one but i'd hate to hurt either side of the family. - Name Pleaser


You're not alone in wanting your baby's name to do double duty. Lot of parents today want to honor two (or even three or four) relatives with a single name. That's inevitable in this era of smaller families. When you have just one or two grandkids to carry on the traditions of two whole families, those kids' names have to do a lot of heavy lifting.

Read More...
Ask Now

Are There Rules for Nicknames?

"I was named Margaret when I was born but have been called Peggy all my life. Where in the world does Peggy become a nickname for Margaret? I hate Margaret." "Given name = Richard. Where does nickname 'Dick' come from?" "I've liked the name Katie ever since I was a little girl. We've chosen Caemlyn as a first name and I'd like to use Catie as a nickname. Is this asking for trouble?"

The Name Lady's Recipe For a Modern Nickname: Take first syllable of name. Add -y to taste. Let stand until bored. Once upon a time, nicknames went deeper. We took bits and pieces of formal names, combined them, stretched them and tweaked them. They evolved over time, with Rich spinning off into Rick, which in turn became Dick. William gave us Will, then Bill; Margaret was Marge, then Meg, then Peg. Did you even realize that Polly was "short" for Mary, via Molly?

This nickname buffet was essential back in the days when formal names were in short supply. In 18th-century England, the top three boys' and girls' names accounted for half of the population. With every village crammed with Marys, some Mollys and Pollys helped sort neighbors out.

Read More...
Ask Now

My Mother Hates My Baby Name!

My husband and I love the name Agnes for our little girl. I made the huge mistake the other day telling my mother about "our" name and she made a big deal about how much she doesn't like it, and how my dad will "hate" it. I still love it. However, I have spent the last two days on the Internet trying to find alternatives. Nothing like the words from a mother to cause guilt and anxiety. Help! - C

When you choose a name that goes against the fashion tide, you can expect mixed reactions. How should you react to nasty comments? You can take them to heart and reconsider your name choice. You can ignore them and hold fast to your own opinion. Or you can try to understand where they come from, to prepare an effective response. Let's try to understand your mom's reaction to Agnes.

Read More...
Ask Now

The Case of the Phantom Classic Baby Name

What do you think of naming our baby boy Hans? We like the classic feel of it and it reflects our heritage, but we're wondering why it is pretty much never used anymore. Unlike other old traditional names, Hans hasn't seemed to make its way back to popularity. While this is something we like (a unique name), we can't help but wonder..."why?" - Wondering Woman

With so many old-fashioned names making a comeback today, style can seem mysteriously choosy. Why has Emma risen from the ashes but Ida stayed idle? Why hasn't an old favorite like Hans come roaring back to the top the way other old-time names like Caleb and Lucas have?

Read More...
Ask Now

Worst Baby Name Trends of the Decade


Here at Name Lady Central we see names of all stripes, from the common and conservative to the wild and woolly. Most of them, even the woolliest, are chosen with love by well-meaning moms and dads. But a few name trends from the past decade have crossed the line. Here are the Name Lady's picks for the worst name trends of the decade:

Read More...