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  • Ask BabyNames - baby name advice from our founder, Jennifer Moss

All about Nene

Hi,

Just wondering if you would know where the name Nene comes from. Pronounced like “knee knee.”

Jess N.

Hi Jess,TV Guide Magazine's 2012 Hot List Party - Arrivals

The name Nene can be traced back to many cultures: Aztec (Nahuatl), African and even Japanese. Most likely it is a variation of the male name John, meaning “God is Gracious.” It could also be a nickname for someone whose name begins or ends in ne or nee, like Renee.  In the case of celeb Nene Leakes, her real name is Linnethia.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Pronouncing Maille

Hi Jennifer!

First off, let me just say I love looking at your website. I’ve been coming to your website since I was young just to look at names for fun and I love all the advice you give!

I’ve always wondered how to pronounce the name ‘Maille.’ I’ve looked up how to pronounce it and some sites it says it’s pronounced like ‘Molly’ or ‘Mehl-leh’ or ‘May-lee’ or ‘My-lee.’ Is there any certain way you would pronounce this name?

Thank you!
Georgie

mailleDear Georgie,

As you may know there are many ways to pronounce names, depending on your heritage and region. According to our International Names Expert (who has a specialty in Celtic names) traditionally Maille is pronounced MY-lyeh in Ireland. In the U.S. it’s probably more like MY-lee.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Hubby’s Name Choice

Hi Jennifer,

My husband gets final say on this baby girl due in June as I named our two year old. The two-year-old is named Noelle Elizabeth and I have called her my little Noelle Bell ever since she was very little. The problem is my husband’s top name is Annabelle. I like the name but feel it is too close to Noelle and it is “stealing” her nickname.

What do you think? Should I stop calling Noelle my Noelle Bell now and just go with it? I am really hoping I can just talk him into Lorelei (his second choice.)

Sincerely,
Christy K.

annabelle-posterDear Christy,

Well, this is a tough one. You have given hubby the right to name #2, so if you like the name Annabelle I’d stay stick with it. I don’t think you need to stop calling your first daughter her nickname if she’s used to it.

THAT BEING SAID, my personal opinion is that the “belle” suffix is too diminutive for girls and may give her a disadvantage in life. Annabelle is cute for a three-year-old, but will it work in the board room? Case in point: you are already using it as a diminutive nickname for Noelle. So maybe you can use that as a case against Annabelle for #2.

Also, when searching the name Annabelle, I found that it was the name of a recent horror movie (see poster to right). That should help with your case…

Good luck and let me know how that goes!
Jennifer

Name Roots

Hi Jennifer,

I love your site & have been searching for the meaning of 2 names I am interested in. The first one is Liviana or I may spell it Livianna & the second is Kindley. I really love both of these names but haven’t been able to find the meaning or either. Perhaps you can help me & add them to your site?

Thanks,
Mrs. B

vikingDear Mrs. B.

Sometimes you have to break down names into roots just like we do words. Livianna is a constructed name made from the names Olivia and Anna. Similarly, Kindley could be an alternate of the word “kindly” or a variation of the name Kinley, which means “Fair Haired Viking.”

Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

I want to use a Tolkein Name

Hello Jennifer,

I adore your site and have been using it to add and or change up my “future” baby name list since I was 18, and I love being able to check the meanings/origins of names and also how they rank in popularity.

Now that I am married (all of 6 months) my husband and I have officially decided to start trying to start our family and the Great Baby Name Game has begun. You see, I absolutely love Tolkien. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are such wonderful books and I hold them dear to my heart. Most of the names of the characters are a little eccentric for our liking but I am am in LOVE with “Shire”, for a girl.

I feel it’s unique enough so she’ll have her own identity in a sea of Emilys, Scarletts and Olivias, but it’s familiar enough that fellow parents (and peers when she grows up) will recognize what she’s named for. I’ve looked and looked for a meaning for it, and as my husband likes to point out…the only thing we can find reference to is a rather large and stubborn draft horse. He isn’t quite sold on the name for that reason alone.

Could you possibly find the meaning and origin for it so I can reassure him that she won’t be teased for being named after a horse breed? Although, Morgan is very popular and also a horse breed and he isn’t opposed to that name. (I’m from Vermont and know all about them)

Thank you so very much!!!

-Leanne

Dear Leanne,

Shire is an old English word that refers to a specific piece of land. It would be equivalent to a county in the United States. The word was used specifically in the rural Midlands of England.

So no, you don’t have to worry about the equestrian meaning. We will add the name Shire to our database!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Shire

An English “Shire”

 

Pronunciation of Madeline

Hi Jennifer,

I have always wondered what the appropriate pronunciation of the name Madeline. I have heard it pronounced Made-line and Made-lynn. Me and my husband really like the name Maddie and are thinking of using the name Madeline (Made-line). Do you think that this name is too outdated or confusing?

Thanks!
Layla

madDear Layla,
The reason we don’t put pronunciations on our site is because there is no “one correct way” to pronounce a name. It depends on geography, culture and personal preference. I have met women named Dana that pronounce it “Day-na” and some that pronounce it “Dan-na.”

I believe in the cartoon of the children’s book they pronounced it Mad-eh-LINE, if that has any influence. But my answer would be: you can pronounce it any way you want.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Anthony has no Meaning

Hi,
I just wanted to let you know that I saw that the name Anthony, as I tried looking up its meaning on babynames.com, reads “Unknown.”

Well I also happen to have a Name That Baby book that lists its meaning. Would you like to see? Please see attached photos.
Cheers.
J.E.

namethatbaby

Dear J.E.
Thank you for writing and providing your source. According to our international name experts, there is no known meaning to the name “Anthony” which originated as a Latin surname.

Apparently the researchers for that book found that the meaning was “unknown” and interpreted that as it meaning “unestimable.” However that is incorrect! It’s unfortunate the number of websites and/or books that propagate incorrect information…

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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