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  • ASK BABYNAMES
    Name advice from our founder, Jennifer Moss.

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Gender Bender Names

Jennifer,

Me and my husband are expecting our third baby and are having trouble agreeing on a name. We already have two girls Lydia Rose & Clara Lorraine. I really like the names Leo, Theo, and Greyson for boy names and if its a girl I would like to name her Myka or Hazel. My husband thinks Hazel is too old of a name and that she would get teased. I on the other hand think its a beautiful name. We were also wondering what you thought of using Leo or Greyson as girl names?

Layla

Dear Layla,86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Well first of all, Hazel has become a very popular girls’ name due to the novel and move The Fault in Our Stars. It was my grandmother’s name, so I’m partial to it. I do not believe your daughter would be teased at all.

Personally, I would not use Leo or Greyson as girls’ names. Greyson is currently at the top of the charts for boys and Leo is just such a masculine name, especially being identified with Leonardo DiCaprio. What about some Leo alternatives like Leah, Liana, Leona. There are so many!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

All about Nene

Hi,

Just wondering if you would know where the name Nene comes from. Pronounced like “knee knee.”

Jess N.

Hi Jess,TV Guide Magazine's 2012 Hot List Party - Arrivals

The name Nene can be traced back to many cultures: Aztec (Nahuatl), African and even Japanese. Most likely it is a variation of the male name John, meaning “God is Gracious.” It could also be a nickname for someone whose name begins or ends in ne or nee, like Renee.  In the case of celeb Nene Leakes, her real name is Linnethia.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Pronouncing Maille

Hi Jennifer!

First off, let me just say I love looking at your website. I’ve been coming to your website since I was young just to look at names for fun and I love all the advice you give!

I’ve always wondered how to pronounce the name ‘Maille.’ I’ve looked up how to pronounce it and some sites it says it’s pronounced like ‘Molly’ or ‘Mehl-leh’ or ‘May-lee’ or ‘My-lee.’ Is there any certain way you would pronounce this name?

Thank you!
Georgie

mailleDear Georgie,

As you may know there are many ways to pronounce names, depending on your heritage and region. According to our International Names Expert (who has a specialty in Celtic names) traditionally Maille is pronounced MY-lyeh in Ireland. In the U.S. it’s probably more like MY-lee.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Hubby’s Name Choice

Hi Jennifer,

My husband gets final say on this baby girl due in June as I named our two year old. The two-year-old is named Noelle Elizabeth and I have called her my little Noelle Bell ever since she was very little. The problem is my husband’s top name is Annabelle. I like the name but feel it is too close to Noelle and it is “stealing” her nickname.

What do you think? Should I stop calling Noelle my Noelle Bell now and just go with it? I am really hoping I can just talk him into Lorelei (his second choice.)

Sincerely,
Christy K.

annabelle-posterDear Christy,

Well, this is a tough one. You have given hubby the right to name #2, so if you like the name Annabelle I’d stay stick with it. I don’t think you need to stop calling your first daughter her nickname if she’s used to it.

THAT BEING SAID, my personal opinion is that the “belle” suffix is too diminutive for girls and may give her a disadvantage in life. Annabelle is cute for a three-year-old, but will it work in the board room? Case in point: you are already using it as a diminutive nickname for Noelle. So maybe you can use that as a case against Annabelle for #2.

Also, when searching the name Annabelle, I found that it was the name of a recent horror movie (see poster to right). That should help with your case…

Good luck and let me know how that goes!
Jennifer

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