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Ask BabyNames

Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of
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This Keeps Me Up at Night

Dear Jennifer,

My husband and I are having our first baby soon and we were looking for a nice, but unique name to name her.  After some thought we’re torn and a bit concerned, we want to name her Cherry but I am afraid that she will be teased.  Do you think she will be teased at school?  I haven’t spoken to any other family members other than my mom and she said no.  Should I listen to my mom and pick another name or go with our guts? This keeps me up at night.


Yoto K.

Dear Yoto,cherry

Don’t do it. Aside from the fact that Cherry is a slang term for the female sex organ, it also is a diminutive name, which I don’t advise giving to baby girls. Those I have loosely surveyed about the name come back with “stripper name.”

The fact that it keeps you up at night should be a clue: DON’T DO IT. Go back to name storming; I will be happy to review the other names you come up with.



Dylan for a Girl?

Dear Jennifer,

I really like the name Dylan for a girl, but everyone tells me it is much too masculine. I thought spelling it Dilynn would make it look girlie and then adding a girlie middle name. Do you think Dylan is too masculine for a girl?

Thank you very much. I love this site

<3 Cheyanne

Dear Cheyanne,

I don’t think there is any problem in using a traditionally masculine name for a girl, as it is acceptable in today’s society. Did you know the names Leslie, Ashley, and Courtney all started as boys’ names? As did Mallory and Jordan.

What I would NOT do, though, is alter the spelling. I’m sure you understand this as you have a common name with an uncommon spelling. Haven’t you had people misspell it all your life? Haven’t you had to say “Cheyenne with an A?” It’s kind of an unnecessary burden.

So if you do decide to go with Dylan, please use the traditional spelling. You can use a girlie name like Charlotte if you are worried about femininity.


A real-life Katniss?

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

Hi Jennifer,
My husband have been trying for a baby for over 2 years and I am currently on fertility meds. In my hormonal state I have really become attached to the name Katniss. Now I know it has some horrible teasing potential but it’s all I can think about. What do you think? Other girl names we have picked out are “Avalon” and “Sakura.”

Dear Tanya,

Believe it or not, I love the name Katniss. As soon as I read the first Hunger Games book, I added the name to the website. I don’t think it has great teasing potential–the heroine it is associated with is brave and admirable.  It also meets our basic standards for a good baby name: it’s easy to pronounce and easy to spell. I say if you love the name Katniss, go for it!

That being said, Avalon is one of my favorite names, also. I think it’s a great alternative to the more popular name, Ava.

Good luck on the conception, And yes, I have to say it: may the odds be ever in your favor!

Let me know how it goes.



Grownup Name for a Baby

Dear Jennifer:

My husband and I are expecting our first child in the spring. We don’t want to find out the sex in advance, so we are trying to choose names for both genders. We both know we’d like to honor loved ones, both living and deceased, and are pretty much set on the name Douglas Matthew (after his uncle and my husband, respectively) for a boy. My husband has his mind set on Gloria Jean (after my and his maternal grandmothers, respectively) for a girl, but I’m struggling with it a bit. I actually think it’s a beautiful name for an adult, but it seems so sophisticated for a baby/child. So, I’d like to get your outside, expert opinion. Here is my two-part question: 1) What do you think of the name Gloria Jean; and 2) Can you recommend any cute nicknames that are less sophisticated for a child?

Thanks so much,

Dear Jennifer (great name!),
Thank you for your kind words. Addressing your concern about the “adult-like” name Gloria, my view is quite the opposite: I don’t like giving diminutive or nicknames to children just because it will be cute when they are young. I believe a name should grow with the child and be sophisticated enough so they can use it as an adult.

The only problem I have with Gloria Jean is that it’s the name of a coffee shop chain–at least here in the West!  If you don’t mind that, I think it’s a fine name.  As for nicknames, Glo is cute, so is Ree, Ria, or Gigi.



New name: Maeva

Hello Jennifer,

I love your site! I also enjoy reading your “Ask” section, and today I am going to ask my own question.

I really enjoy French/French Canadian names such as “Coralie”, and sometimes browse popular Quebec names to get ideas. One of the popular baby girl names in Quebec is “Maeva” which I think is beautiful. However, you don’t seem to have it on your website. Do you happen to know its meaning?

Thank you,

Dear Jacqueline,
Maeva does have French roots, however it comes from Polynesia/Tahiti. The name Maeva means “Welcome” in Tahitian. Thank you for the name addition, we have added it to the database.


About the name Derwyn

Hi Jennifer!

My father and I both have unique names – albeit ones we have to keep spelling and pronouncing for people – and neither of them are on the database. I know my name is a French respelling of “Lauren”, but I’m not too sure about my dad’s name, Derwyn. I’ve looked everywhere and don’t know what on Earth it means, but I’m pretty sure you’d know a thing or two about it.

Thanks for the help,

Laurenne (Not Lauren)

P.S. This has got to be my favourite website ever :)

Hi Laurenne (beautiful name by the way),

Derwyn is a Welsh name, a form of the name Darwin and Deorwine. It means “Dear Friend.” Hope that makes you happy! We will add it to the database.



p.s. Thanks! Mine, too. :)

A new, cool name

Hi Jennifer,

Here is a name I didn’t see in ANY of hundreds of sites was a name I thought of myself: Zandophen.  To me it means “exceptional talent.” I think it’s kinda cool to have–I mean, I’d want it. Email me back and tell me what you think. gotta go to school.


Benjamin Boyes

Dear Benjamin,

That is a cool name! I’ll make sure to add it to our website as a created name. It’s great that you are so creative, you have “exceptional talent” in the naming department. Have fun at school.



Middle names for the twins

Dear Jennifer,

After a long and painful decision-making process, I think we’ve settled on Lydia and Quentin for our g/b twins.  Since the kids will get my husband’s last name, I’d like to honor my family in middle names.  My maiden name won’t work, and my parents don’t like their own first names.  I’m thinking of using my parents’ middle names as middle names for the twins.  Those names are Kay and Wayne.

Lydia Kay I like a lot.  Quentin Wayne, I don’t like at all.  I’m thinking maybe of altering them to Lydia Kaye and Quentin Wayde.  I’m getting lots of negative feedback on Wayde, though, as everyone suggests spelling it Wade.  I feel like that is getting too far away from their actual names.
I’m torn between whether honoring my parents means I should just stick with the originals, despite not being fond of Wayne, or if I’m worrying too much about it and Wade/Wayne are close enough…any advice?
Amy B.

Dear Amy,

Historically, “honoring” someone in the naming biz does not necessarily mean using their exact name.  In the Jewish culture, for example, you may not name a child after a living person.  So to honor a loved one who is still living, we use a similar name or name that starts with the same letter.

You have more leeway with middle names, also, since the child will not readily be identified with it and it will be rarely used.

So in conclusion, do what you want, and spell it the way you want to spell it. Beware of too much input.



Leo for a girl?

Hi Jennifer! We have 3 boys and just found out we are having a baby girl.  We had picked Leo as a boy’s name and fell in love with it.  My grandmother’s middle name was Leona, so Leo was a throwback to her; however, we do not like the name Leona.  We also don’t really care for any of the other girls names that have Leo in it.  I wasn’t able to find just “Leo” for a girls name; though I did find on another site that Leo was used in the early 1900’s for a girl’s name?  Can Leo be used as a girl’s name? Is there any trend to it anywhere?

 Thanks in advance!


Dear Jenny,

I do not have any background on Leo being a girl’s name.  That being said, any name can have any gender.  Many names, recently, have crossed over from the boys’ list to the girls’ side. There are many girls named Michael, for example.

Personally, I wouldn’t use it.  I feel it sounds very masculine and my association with the name is male lions and Leonardo Di Caprio. Have you considered similar names like Leah, Layla, Leia?

My recommendation would be to keep name-storming, but if you both really love it, go for it.



Sibling names too similar?

Hi Jennifer,

We have a son Brandon. Is Brenna too similar for a little sister name? Looking for an honest opinion.


Mary Donaghey

Dear Mary,

I do think those are very similar names. You want to make sure siblings have their own identity. I know you don’t have twins, but I would especially recommend individual names for twins.