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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
We’ve had a TON of great reader questions lately—and so I’m hoping to get through a lot of them this week. We’re kicking it off with reader Mandy, who needs a little help with a middle name:
I’m wondering if you could help me come up with a middle name for Maeve, preferably one that starts with the letter J.
Maeve is one of my favorite go-to middle name choices, and I LOVE the idea of putting it in the starring role. With a short-and-sweet name like Maeve, you need a middle name that’s a little longer—so we have to discount common middles like Jane, June, Jade and James (yes, that works for a girl!). But there are still some really intriguing options out there for you.
I absolutely LOVE the thought of pairing Maeve with Josephine. It’s a feminization of Joseph and means “Jehovah increases.” There are plenty of cool historical/literary figures with the name, including Napoleon’s wife, Empress Josephine, singer/actor Josephine Baker, and of course, Josephine March, the heroine of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
Another name with great literary chops and a nice pairing option with Maeve is Juliet, the female part of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers. It means “youthful.”
A few other options for you: I love the two nature names Juniper (a berry-producing tree that is the source of gin), and Jasper, the precious stone (this name is usually reserved for guys, but I kind of like the sound of Maeve Jasper). And then there’s Jolie, a French name that means pretty.
If you want to move beyond the Js, there are a few other names I’d love paired with Maeve. Try the “J” sounding Gs, like Genevieve, Giada and Georgia, or some hard “C” names, like Clementine, Clara or Caroline.
What other “J” names do you like, readers? Or are there any other names you’d like to see paired with Maeve?
If you’re looking for a little advice for your baby’s name, don’t be shy. You can email me at email@example.com, or study names on your own with our Baby Name Finder. And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the very latest in baby names!
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Baby Name Help, In Name Only
Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Boys’ names always seem to be much more challenging for parents-to-be—especially when there are already sibling names to consider. Reader Emily is having a hard time finding a name for her daughter Cassidy’s new baby brother:
My husband and I are expecting a boy in August. We have a 20 month old daughter named Cassidy. We almost came to blows trying to find the perfect blend of not too common, but not too off-the-wall, for her name. For our son, we are having even more difficulty trying to follow this path we set for ourselves. One of the biggest concerns (for me, at least) is our last name is Head (bleck!), so we have to find something that doesn’t sound ridiculous. We also don’t want it to be so common that he will have to be called by his full name in school (I had about 4 Jennifers as friends in elementary school, and STILL call them by their first and last names, out of habit).
We THOUGHT we agreed on Cameron. It met all of our criteria: two or more syllables; good choice of nicknames; and not too common…or so we thought. We’ve met two couples expecting boys, and each are naming their sons Cameron! We are also afraid Cassidy and Cameron are too “cutesy” together.
Any suggestions/thoughts you might have would be MUCH appreciated!
First, let me just say that Cameron and Cassidy are a nice sibling set, and not too cutesy. Cameron appears to be on a big upswing lately, thanks to Modern Family, but hey, if you love the name—you should go for it!
With the surname Head, you do have to be very careful with your name choices. (No word names for you!) You could go for another surname name, like Cassidy and Cameron. Sullivan, Jameson, Donovan and Callahan are up-and-comers that are still not super popular, or consider Finnegan, which has the cool nickname Finn. I do like the “n” ending with Head, and as a nice offset to the “ee” ending of Cassidy. You could also go with names like Declan, Kieran or Brennan, which all sound wonderful with your last name and Cassidy (I particularly like the way Declan matches up with Cassidy sound wise, without mirroring the name too closely).
You could consider some of the “son” names as well: Emerson, Anderson, or Grayson, for example. (I’d skip the uberpopular Mason, which is likely to be even more popular than Cameron is!) I’m a big fan of Emerson as a brother for Cassidy. And of course, there are all the “er/or” names, which are definitely on the rise—names like Sawyer, Jasper and Archer.
Readers: Share your ideas for Cassidy’s little brother! What should they call him?
If you’re still looking for the perfect name for your son or daughter, check out our Baby Name Finder, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names!
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Sunday, May 19th, 2013
I tried hard to get into Dr. Who when I was younger—but even though I was digging the extra long scarf sported by the Doctor back when I was a kid, I could never manage to care enough about the Tardis and the Daleks. But I just finished watching the big 50th anniversary episode of the good Doctor’s show, and I have to say I might be interested in watching more. And I especially loved his current companion, Clara Oswin Oswald—the impossible girl who seems to have saved Doctor Who a whole lot. (Reminding me a whole lot of my other favorite girl who saved the world a lot…Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But with a much cooler name.)
Clara’s experienced a resurgence outside of the Doctor’s fans—after a dip through the 198s0 and 1990s, it’s now climbing and currently at #136. It’s a name of Latin descent, and means clear and bright. It also has some lovely historical meaning, thanks to Civil War nurse Clara Barton, silent screen star Clara Bow, and Clara, the lead character in the Christmas classic, Nutcracker. And it’s a nice alternative to the more popular Claire.
It’s a delicate name that works beautifully with some elegant middle names. I love it with Emily, Violet, Josephine, Margaret or even Scarlett. If you like the short-and-sweet middle names, there’s always Jane, Blue or even Bette.
What do you think of Clara? Is it a name you’d consider for your daughter? (Check out our Name Game to tell us what other names you love—or love to hate!)
Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/Shutterstock.com
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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
When you’re hunting for the perfect baby name, you’re probably checking for awful pop culture references and weird nicknames. But it’d probably help if you could find out, for instance, that your chosen baby name is peaking in popularity, is more popular amongst liberals or conservatives—or even what kind of careers previous Ambers and Alans had, so you can assess whether you’ve chosen your baby’s name wisely.
Enter the newly updated baby naming app called Nametrix, an app developed by a new dad during his paternity leave. He crunched the numbers from U.S. government data and Wikipedia biographies to build out his app, which can give you not only the current and past popularity of a particular name, but which region of the U.S. it’s most popular in, which party someone given that name is more likely to join, when the name’s popularity peaked, and the top profession for people with that name. (Turns out, I probably should have been a set designer—and my political affiliations and locale seem right in line with the rest of the Lisas referenced in the app.) Maybe you won’t want to pick Mason, after all, when you discover that men with that name are most often found working as X-rated performers.
But the coolest thing about the app is that you can also look at names in the other direction, and find out which names are more common among Democrats or doctors, if you’re hoping to raise yourself one of those. (Who knew that Elliot and Helene were such popular names among psychologists?)
It’d be great to get the baby name meaning into the app as well (though of course, Parents.com offers an app for that), but if nothing else, this adds a whole new level to your baby naming research. (As if you don’t already have a billion other things to research right now, right?) And of course, you can get a little more insight into the thousands of other folks in our country who bear the same name as you.
Image: Baby Names by Amir Ridhwan / Shutterstock.com
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