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    Name advice from our founder, Jennifer Moss.

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Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Sib Names

Hi Jennifer,

Let me start by saying I absolutely LOVE this site and reading the Q&A section. Though I’m not a parent yet, I love looking up possibilities for when the time comes.

I recently read a question submitted to you about cohesive sibling names. You replied that you don’t like “matching” twins names or all names beginning with the same letter…and I totally agree with you! However, my question is about siblings with names from different cultures.

I’m Irish, living in Ireland, with a completely Irish background and a future Irish surname, McCormack. I have my heart set on Tuiren for a girl (Tuiren, in Irish legend, is Fionn MacCumhaill’s aunt, famed for her beauty). My problem is Tuiren is the only Irish name I love and my favourite boys names are DLittle_Women_1933_posteraniel, Matthew and Reese. Another favourite girls names would be Lexie. So my question is, would it be weird to name one child such an Irish name and use names from different cultures for her siblings?


Hi Lauren,

No, I don’t think it would be weird. Your children will have their own identities and their own lives. Like I’ve said previously, their names don’t have to match and they don’t have to form a “theme.”

My mom use to say, “If I had known I was going to have four girls I would have named you Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.” (A reference to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.) Well, I’m happy that we’re Sue, Kate, Jennifer and Mallory!

The only problem I see is that Tuiren is not easy to spell or pronounce, unless it’s different in Ireland…?


Thanks, BN!

Dear Jennifer,

A few months ago, I emailed you a question about names. To recap: my husband gets to choose our second daughter’s name and I was concerned because his front runner was Annabelle and our oldest is named Noelle, nicknamed Noelle-bell.
He ultimately decided against Annabelle and has chosen Lily Christine. I really like the name and was flattered that he chose a variant of my name for her middle name as Noelle’s middle name, Elizabeth, is a family name from his side (my side has several Christians and me, a Christy).

Our little girl is due at the end of June but this is pretty much final as it is written on his “to do” list as “buy a light for Lily’s room.” When I searched the name, Lily Christine was a burlesque actress in the early 20th century but I am pretty sure that will not affect her later in life.

Thank you so much for your help!

lvDear Christy,

You are very welcome, and I don’t think the burlesque actress will have any affect on your child at all. Congratulations and thanks for the update! Lily is one of my favorite names! I’m born in May and Lily of the Valley is my flower. :)

I also think Lily goes well with Noelle. They both have the double-L without being matchy-matchy sibling names. Tell DH good job!


The Honest Company The Honest Company
First/Last Name Makes a Phrase

Dear Jennifer,

My husband and I just found out that we’re expecting. We don’t know what we’re having yet, but I’ve been thinking about names for a while and really like the name River for a girl. The problem is that my husband thinks it’s more of an actor name than a good name for a kid and doesn’t like the way it sounds with our last name which is Walker. Is there a way to convince him that she’ll be fine with that name growing up and won’t be teased for having the name River Walker?

Thanks for reading my question,

Dear Janice,

Because “River Walker” is a phrase with two English words, it definitely has connotations. To me, conjures up an image of someone walking on water, I would lean toward “don’t do it.” But I wanted a little more input so I asked our community. The responses I received to the post pretty much agreed with me.

Here is one such response in particular, from a girl named River: River

“Don’t do it. I can’t even begin to express how many people try to make river related jokes upon first meeting me, and then so many people ask for my surname as well to see if they can continue to jokes with that. Relegate River to the middle name slot for this one.”

Other comments:

“The problem to me is that their surname is a word. When your surname is a word, even an innocuous word like “walker,” you have to be careful about using a word name, or else it will sound like a phrase.”

“[No.] River Walker sounds kind of… hippie-ish. That’s like naming her Rain Dancer or something!”

Sorry!  I wish I had a more positive response for you.


Baby Name Briggs

Hello Jennifer!

My husband and I are looking to adopt an infant boy. Last year we had the pleasure of developing a wonderful relationship with a birth mom that grew up with my sister. Her baby was born 8 weeks early and we got to be there with them in the hospital. We named the baby Owen Briggs and spent 24 magical days with him before his mom decided to parent and keep the name. We still maintain contact with them and they are doing well! Anyhow, my husband and I are still considering using the name Briggs for our future son. I’d really like to see the name added to your site! Thank you!


Hi Jessie,

What a nice gesture. I researched the name Briggs, which is actually an English surname. It literally translates to “Dweller by the Bridge” and was used for families who lived near or by a bridge! It comes from an old Scottish word for bridge: Bryggia. Related to the place name Brigham (city with Bridge).

We have added Briggs to the database.


Rural Bridge

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