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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of
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Feminine Spelling of Avery?

Hi, Jennifer,

My sister-in-law came up with the spelling for my oldest daughter’s name. We had decided on “Avery” but I wanted it to look like a girl’s name. As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it. Our daughter’s name is: Aeverie. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone with that version and I kind of hope it doesn’t catch on, because we like being a bit unusual. But I thought you would appreciate it as much as I do.


Avery Singer from "The Real Housewives of New York City"

Avery Singer from “The Real Housewives of New York City”

Dear Toni,

I’m not as appreciative of that spelling as you are. I advise parents to use the most standard spelling of common names. Using a creative spelling of a common name puts a burden on the child to spell it out for people the rest of his/her life.

And that being said, I believe the standard spelling, AVERY, is extremely feminine! A-names are in style now for girls, and it has the Y/IE ending which is more identified with feminine names.

Yes, Avery is historically a male name. But so were Ashley, Whitney, Lindsay and even Lauren! I understand that there is a character named (Jackson) Avery on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, but that’s the character’s surname. Avery (with its original spelling) is #13 in U.S. girl’s names according to the U.S. Social Security index. If you had used the original spelling, I don’t believe there would  have been any confusion on her gender.

Despite my opinion, though, I wish Aeverie well and I have added the name to our database as an alternate spelling of Avery.


Name Challenge: Orange
, ,

Hi Jennifer,

I’m a trans person looking for masculine names for myself that have a meaning involving orange: the fruit or the color, or something similar? (I feel like i tend to find a lot more feminine ones, like clementine or amber)

Thanks!!! Have a wonderful day!!!


Hi NP,orange

Thanks for writing in! That was an interesting challenge, but I’ve come up with some possibilities.

Arancio is orange in Italian, that would be really cool. Maybe Aran for short (pronounced like Aaron)? Oren (which is commonly used as a real name) is Welsh for Orange.

Rav is Danish for amber. And if you want to do something identified with the sun, there would be Sol (Spanish/Latin) or Solen (Swedish).

Hope that helps!

Do NOT use this NAME!

Hi Jennifer,

I am due in 4 weeks and still have not found a name for little boy!!!! Well today I heard a name but cant seem to find the meaning of it anywhere. I love it but not quiet sure if I want to choose it till I know the background of it. The name is Arsyn. Help Please!!!


Dear Amanda,

Arsyn is an alternate spelling of the name Arsen, which is a form of the Greek name Arsenio/Arsenios. It means “virile” in Greek.

Unfortunately, though, the name is a homonym of the word ARSON, meaning “The criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property.” I would highly advise against using this name for your child.

If you desperately need name advice, please visit our new (free) community forum, where you can post for hundreds of helpful namers to help you: Need Name Advice!


More about Loie

Hi Jennifer,

I saw that someone was asking about the name Loie. My mother’s cousin is named Loie, pronounced Loy, rhyming with boy. She was born in northern Florida in the 1940s from Cuban and British ancestry. Not sure if that would have an effect on the pronunciation. Also, in her instance, her name isn’t short for anything. Just thought I would throw out another pronunciation option! Thanks and love your site!


Hi Hilary,

Thanks for the info! I love when we can find out more about a name.


Where does Loie Come From?

Hello Jennifer,

I was wondering if you could help me out with the meaning of the name “Loie.” A little girl in my family died in the 1920’s and that was the name on her tombstone. I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “Low-ee” and not “Lou-ee.” Anyway, I really love the name and would like to know if there’s a possible meaning, thanks!

Sarah W.

Dear Sarah,

The name Loie seems to have been a nickname or diminutive name for those named Louise or Lois. The most famous Loie was Loie Fuller (born Mary Louise), a Chicago native, child actress and eventual burlesque dancer and choreographer! It’s possible your Loie’s parents heard the name, as Fuller was pretty well known by the 1920’s. In Fuller’s case, it was derived from the old French term, L’oie, which means “Understanding.”

Loie Fuller moved to Paris in 1892 to be a part of the Folies Bergère and was hugely popular. What’s fascinating is that she was also an inventor! Loie started experimenting with stage lighting and was actually issued several patents for gels, slides and the use of luminescent salts for stage lighting effects!  She was well respected in the French scientific community, and was a close friend of Mme. Marie Curie.

The name can be spelled with a regular i, or an ï as in Loïe and is indeed pronounced LOH-ee. I think it’s a cool name, and I’ll make sure we add it to the site!

"Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 02" by Jean de Paleologu

“Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 02” by Jean de Paleologu

Providence as a Baby Name?

Hi, I’m a big fan of your website, I’ve been using it to help name characters for years!

I’m starting to brainstorm names for future kids and was wondering what you think about using the word “Providence” as a name. I would probably use it for a middle name since it’s unusual and I don’t know of it being used as a name before. (It’s the street I grew up on.) In your opinion, does it transition well to a name? Do you think it would have too much of a religious connotation? (The idea of “divine providence” is what sticks out to me.)

For first names, I was thinking Charlotte or Providence for a girl and Henry for a boy, if that helps!
Thanks so much!


Hi Maggie,

This is a new one! I’ve never heard of Providence being used as a name, however I can’t say I object to anything about it. It is similar in sound and meaning to Prudence, which I consider an “expectation” name like Justice, Honor, Chastity, etc. But Providence doesn’t really have an expectation attached to it. Literally, it is defined as “The protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power” which is pretty cool!providence

The name Providence is easy to pronounce and easy to spell so it follows all of our major “naming guidelines” As for the religious connotation, I think it would more likely be associated with the place name (or television show) rather than any religious idealogy.

If you love it, go for it! Meanwhile, I’m adding it to our database. Thanks!



Salaine from Iceland

Hi Jennifer,


Selene – “The Moon”

I wanted to let you know what a bog fan of your site I am! I absolutely love looking up the meanings of different names and reading through the Ask BabyNames blog (even though I’m nowhere close to being a parent), and it has proved incredibly helpful for my writing. I’m glad that you’ve compiled such a diverse, reliable source for names!

I was wondering if you knew anything about the name Silaine. It’s my friend’s name, but she doesn’t know the meaning of it. Her family is from Iceland, and it is very possible that it is a combination name, but it would be interesting to know for sure. Thanks for your help!


Hi Shawna,

Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad there are other writers out there that use the site.

I would venture to guess that Silaine is a Nordic spelling of the name Selene, which has Greek roots and means “The Moon.” It’s also possible that it is a variation of the Irish name, Sláine, however this name is actually pronounced “SLAW-nuh.” So I’d bet on the former.

Thanks for writing! I will add this beautiful name to our database.



Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

Hi Jennifer,

My name is Melisha, pronounced muh-lish-uh. I have looked for years and can’t find a meaning for my name. I know my mom wasn’t sure what my name would be if I was a girl until she was watching TV one day and a shampoo commercial came on. The model flipped her hair and introduced herself and my mom fell in love with the name. I am one of the few people I know that actually likes my own name. It’s unique and I feel like it fits my personality, I just wish I knew where it came from or what it means. Do you have any ideas about this? Thanks for reading!


Hi Melisha,

bee-happyI’ve actually never heard of the name prior to your letter! I love the backstory on your name. It’s always fun when your parents can tell you how they named you! Most likely the name is a derivation/combination of the names MELISSA and FELICIA. In combo names, we try to combine the meanings, as well. So Melisha would be “Happy Bee!”

Thank you for your letter and for giving us a new, unique name to add to the database.


Did we invent Charlene?

I’ve noticed the name Charlene is becoming popular and got curious…I checked to see if the name had been used before 1938. My dad and mom named my sister Charlene as a combination of their names Charles and Ethelene. My sister was born January 11, 1938. Sadly she passed away in the summer of 1948 from the aftereffects of rheumatic fever. She was born in Mansfield, Ohio. I was born at home, but don’t know if she was.

I thought you might be interested and I was curious to know if my mom and dad were the ones to introduce the name to society.

Lovina May Stinehour Dunham

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Dear Lovina (great name, BTW!),

According to the U.S. Social Security name database, the name Charlene was already in existence in 1907, ranking at #876. So the answer would be no, your parents didn’t make up the name, but they did help popularize it!

The name Charlene was most popular in the years 1946-1952 where it actually hit the top 100 in 1949. Famous Charlenes include actress Charlene Tilton (Dallas) and Princess Charlene Lynette Wittstock of Monaco, who married the son of Princess Grace.

Isla and the name Peniel

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I will be having our first child in November. He wants to give her the middle name Peniel, a place in the bible. We both agreed on Isla being her first name but, I don’t know how to feel about Peniel as her middle name. Isla Peniel. Please let me know what you think. It has a great meaning but i’m afraid ppl won’t be able to pronounce it right.

Thank you!

Hi Stephanie,

One thing I always remind parents about middle names is that they are rarely used. Your daughter is not going to walk down the street introducing herself as Isla Peniel. What’s most important is that the first and last name gel and are coherent together. From the last name on the email (I will not disclose for your privacy) I believe Isla [Lastname] would be a spectacular name and very musical with the two LAs in it!
Peniel is an interesting Biblical name, a variation of Penuel, which means “Face of God.” I found we did not have it in our database and have added it. Although it’s historically a masculine name, it could be used for either gender. It is currently used as a name for churches, ministries and Bible camps.