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Ask BabyNames

Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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New name: Maeva

Hello Jennifer,

I love your site! I also enjoy reading your “Ask BabyNames.com” 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,
Jacqueline

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 BabyNames.com database.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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 BabyNames.com database.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

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.

Thanks,

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.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Middle names for the twins
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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.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

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!

Jenny

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.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

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.

Thanks,

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.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

About the name Theda

Hi Jennifer!

I recently saw the name Theda (pronounced thay-duh). I don’t know much about this name, and it’s not in your database. I would love to name a future daughter Theda Josephine. Can you give me any more information on the name Theda? Thanks!

Theda Bara

Theda Bara

 
~Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I couldn’t believe the name Theda was not in our database! (It is now).  Theda is traditionally a shortened version of the Greek name Theodora, which means “Divine Gift.” The most famous Theda is actress Theda Bara, whose name was actually Theodosia Burr Goodman.

Thanks for pointing out our omission!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

The name Evanlea

Dear Jennifer,

My husband and  I know were expecting a girl. We wanted something different, so we came up with Evanlea. We combined her both of her godparents name together.

Is Evanlea to different or unique of a name?

-Cat

Dear Cat,

I like the name Evanlea. It is a perfect choice for a created name because it meets two of my name criteria: it’s easy to spell and easy to pronounce.  The only possible problem I foresee is that people may confuse it with Avonlea, the fictional town from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, Anne of Green Gables.  Other than that, I’d say go for it.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Confusion on the name Darrell

Hi Jennifer,

Babynames.com says the name Darrell is from Airelle, but Airelle isn’t a name. This is confusing to me.  Is “from Airelle” the meaning, or is the one name “from” the other like Laura/Laurel. Either way, should “Airelle” be added to teh database?

Thanks,
Becky
——————–
Hi Becky,

Sorry for the confusion. Darrell originally came from the name D’Airelle, which was given to a person (or family) from Airelle, France. That would have been a town or region, however there is no current place name Airelle in France.  On a side note, Airelle is the French word for huckleberry.

We will modify our name listing to clarify.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Almonzo Wilder’s Name
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Hi Jennifer!

 Thanks so much for babynames.com. I love to daydream about names, and your site is a treasure trove.

I’m also an avid reader, and I have been re-reading some of my childhood favorites, including the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As you may know, Laura Ingalls married Almonzo Wilder. I became curious about the name Almonzo, but I don’t see it on your site. Do you know what it means?

 Thanks so much,

Chelsea Rothschild

Dear Chelsea,

Thank you for your kind words. It’s always nice to hear from a fan!  The name Almonzo is most likely a Spanish derivative of the Arabic name El-Mansur, which means “Victorious One.” We have added it to the BabyNames.com database.

Sincerely,

Jennifer