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Ask BabyNames

Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Liam or Asher?

Hi Jennifer,

Which name do you prefer, Liam or Asher with the last name Bowman?

Sincerely,

Ashley

 

Dear Ashley,

If you say both names out loud, Asher Bowman sounds better than Liam Bowman. With Liam, the ‘M’ in both the first and last name makes it a little clunky.  Also, Liam is trending high and we predict will be the #1 name for boys very soon.  If you do not want a super-popular, trendy name, then that would be something else to consider.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

How to Ask Jennifer

I receive hundreds of emails a month asking for name advice. I do love researching names!  However there is a right and a wrong way to ask. So I thought this was worthy of a post:

1. If asking about the meaning of a unique name, first look up alternate spellings of the name in question. Sound out the name. In other words, please don’t ask me what “Tiphanie” means because it’s not in our database. In these cases, I take a drink of my coffee (or wine if it’s after 7pm), mumble “People are stupid” and press DELETE.

2. If you are asking about a family name, it is helpful to know: your surname, where you grew up, and the ethnicity of the person with the name. Names are very much tied to region, and that cuts down immensely on research time. I’m more likely, then, to take a drink of my coffee (or wine if it’s after 7pm), say “THANK you!” aloud and commence my research on your name.

3. Please do not ask me to suggest names for you. I am busy running a big company and rarely have time for name consultations unless they are paid–and when I do agree to be hired, I charge beaucoup bucks. Bucks that would be better spent on a crib. Or coffee and wine, for when you’re not pregnant anymore. If you want solid name advice, join our BabyNames Community. There are many parents, name-o-philes and even several name experts in our community that are happy to help you!

4. Keep it simple. If your email/question requires me to scroll and scroll and scroll, chances are I’m already bored with the story and have jumped out of my chair to refill my cup. This does NOT contradict #2, as most times the long letters are about family drama, in which I am not interested as I have more than enough of my own.

5. If you have created a name, don’t ask me what it means. And don’t tell me it means “Beautiful Princess” because it does not.

Cheers,
Jennifer
glass-of-red-wine

Meaning of the name Chainie
,

Hi Jennifer,

My husband’s cousin’s name is ‘Chainie’. I have never heard of this name before until I met her. As far as I know this is not a nickname and is her actual first name. I could not find it on your website so I was wondering if you could shed some light on her name’s origin and/or meaning.

Thank you,

Kaitlyn

Dear Kaitlyn,

Sometimes you just have to sound it out!  Chainie is an alternate spelling of the surname Cheney.  (Remember, our Vice President under G.W. Bush?)

According to the Surname Database, the surname Cheney is from the Old French words “chesne, chesnai” meaning oak tree, oak grove. It is most likely a geographical surname, indicating that the family comes from a certain area of that name or where the oak trees grow.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

New Names: Nathana and Veina?

Hello Jennifer,

I’ve come up with two new unique girl names. The names are Veina and Nathana. I think I came up with Veina because I was thinking about the name Reigna which is beautiful as well. Nathana is derived from Nathan but has a feminine side to it. Both names are feminine yet strong willing. For the name Nathana, you can shorten it to Ana or Athana (Athena) along with Natalie.

Please consider adding these names to your site.

Thank you,

Emilee D.

Dear Emilee,

I love when people create new names from existing names. (See my article on Game of Thrones Names, where author George R.R. Martin does this a lot!)  I really like the name Nathana.  Not so sure about Veina, though, as it conjures up a vision of someone with a lot of veins!  Since a vein is  a part of the body, I don’t think it would work so well as a name.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

From Grandma
Dear Jennifer,
I am a 66 year old grandma.  I have two grandchildren right now, however, my youngest son just got married. Your website provides not only information and fun facts to the expectant parents, but a wonderful resource for me.  I can have a conversation with my daughter-in-laws and feel comfortable that they find the info as rewarding as I do.   My two grandsons: Noah Christian and Jackson Cooper. Really great names, aren’t they??
Grandma Sally
Dear Grandma Sally,
What a nice email to wake up to!  It’s rewarding to hear that the site I started 18 years ago is still informative and helpful to so many people. Noah Christian and Jackson Cooper are fine names.
Congratulations and thanks for visiting!
Sincerely,
Jennifer
Kreatyve Name Feedback
,

I wanted to add some input to Jennifer’s request for information on people’s experience with common names that required spelling out.

I am an unfortunate victim of just such a name, KATHRYN. I have never liked my name and never felt like it fit me – however the worst part about my name is constantly having to spell it out for people. Even when I spell it out for people, it is still often written wrong! I have to spell my name out EVERYWHERE I go for EVERYONE – it is the biggest pain!

There are so many variations on how to spell it: Kathryn, Catherine, Katherine, Katharyn, Katharen, Cathryn, Catharin, etc etc. it’s usually hard to ever find anything personalized with my spelling, also. I can appreciate that I don’t have a very weird or unusual name that might cause ridicule, but having this type of name has caused me to want to change it entirely when I get married.

 Sincerely,

 a VERY frustrated K-A-T-H-R-Y-N.

Dear Kathryn,

Thank you for your input! I can imagine your frustration.

Jennifer

Honoring Hispanic Heritage
,

Dear Jennifer,

My husband is first generation American and his last name is Guerrero. We are expecting (unsure of the sex) and we simply can’t agree on a name. Every name he suggests is Hispanic and quite frankly, hard for me to say or spell. I would like the first name to be American but he says that won’t flow well with his last name.

 Am I be inconsiderate of his heritage? Is there any compromise here? ☹

~ Shayna

Dear Shayna,

I, myself, have a half-Hispanic child. I also wanted to honor my husband’s heritage and had the same concerns as you (his mother’s name is Guillermina!)  When he told me his mother’s maiden name was Miranda, I said “That’s it!”  Miranda was one of those names that works in both Spanish and English.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

There are many other names like Miranda–take Christina Aguilera, for example. Maybe you, too, could look into your husband’s family tree to see if you can find such names. The fact that you use a name from his side will show that you do want to honor your child’s ethnic heritage.

If you still can’t find what you like, do the Advanced Search on our site and see if any of these names strike your fancy.  I’m sure you’ll find something acceptable to the both of you.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

A Natural Name
,

Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I have been talking about names ever since we first found out we were expecting our second child. We had decided on Maggie for a girl, and now that we know for certain that we are expecting a daughter, Maggie it is. However, I recently read a celebrity baby name article where someone named their daughter Magnolia and called her Maggie for short. I LOVE the idea!-but, my husband isn’t sure because our last name is Cobb. He fears she might be teased for being a Magnolia Cobb.

Does this name sound too “nature inspired”?

Sincerely, Tia

Dear Tia,

I absolutely love the name Magnolia and LOVE LOVE LOVE it combined with your last name. Magnolia Cobb is easy to spell and pronounce but put together is so distinctly unique it sounds like a very important person.

My opinion: Magnolia Cobb is an A+++ baby name. Run with it! And if you don’t, let me know. I’ll  use it for a character in one of my books :)

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Be True to Your Name!

Good Afternoon,

I have a 14 year old Emma, and a 3 year old Matthew with a possible new one on the way. My daughter loves the name True and we considered it for my son had he been a girl. The name of course has popped into my mind again with the surprise blessing. My question is True sounds like a sweetest nickname to me, does Truen (true-in) work for a girl? or am i missing an obvious name to use True as a nickname. I am looking for a name that will not be in the top ten the year after i use it this time?

Thank you.

Frances

Dear Frances,

I do like the name True, and at face value Truen does follow my basic naming rules: easy to spell, easy to pronounce.  However it does sound very similar to the word “truant” which means a child who is ditching school.

Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

If you don’t mind that association, I’d say go for it.  But bounce it off some friends and do our Coffee Shop Test: when they ask you your name, say Truen. See what kind of reaction you get.

Other suggestions would be Trudy or Truly with nickname True.

Good luck!

Jennifer