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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Feliz Navi – What does Navi mean?

Dear Jennifer,

Navi (NAH-vee) is a name I wanted to add to my list but you do not have it in your database. Looking up other databases I found different results.

I found Navi (nay-vee) as a boys name, based off of “navy”. I found a girls Hebrew origin meaning “to name” and a Hindi, Sanskrit origin meaning “new” but also with varying pronunciations of (nah-vee), (na-vee) and (nay-vee). I also read it is a popular shortened version of names beginning with “navi” in Hindi and Sanskrit.

I have met two females with the name “Navi” but both were nicknames to longer name both of different middle eastern origins.

Any thoughts or different info? Would it be possible to get this name added to the database? Thanks!!

Holly F.

Dear Holly,

Navi_ArtworkNavi is most often used as a female name, originally a diminutive form of the Hindi names Anavi or–like you mentioned–any female name that begins with Nav like Navya, Navita or Navistha. In pop culture, Navi has become more popular due to the fairy character of the same name from the game The Legend of Zelda.

I do not believe it is used as a variation of the word “Navy” and the most likely pronunciation would be “NAH-vee.”

Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

Name Suggestions

Dear Jennifer,

My husband and I adopted a Maine Coon kitten last night…and of course went through the sweet agony of finding a name for her. We finally picked the name “Maya”. I checked your website AFTER we named her and found that yall had suggested that the following names would also please us: Ava, Mia, Olivia, Ella, Isabella, Emma and Chloe!

Believe it or not, the other names we had considered…in chronological order were: Chloe, Emma, Eva, Mia, Mila, Mimi, and Ella…In short, your website ROCKS!!!!!

Sincerely,

Iman L.

kittenDear Iman,
It’s so great to hear that our collaborative filter works and thanks so much for the kind words! A collaborative filter is just a long name for the section on each name page that says “People who like the name —- also like…” The data comes from our members’ name lists, of which we have over half a million! I like to vote on them.

Have fun with your new kitty cat. Maya is a beautiful name!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Olivia’s True Meaning

Hello Babynames!

My name is Olivia Marie and I love your website. I do not have children but I have a very lengthy baby name list saved for when the time comes. I think there is so much in a name; I was that girl picking names out when I was 8 years old! That list has changed since then but one name I have always loved is my own name, Olivia. As much as I love your website, I am a bit troubled by the meaning you have for the name Olivia. I must tell you that you are the only website out of many that has it listed as ‘Elf Army’. I am curious where that came from? Every book that I have looked in and every other website has the correct meaning which is ‘Olive’ or ‘Olive tree’. Before I sent this email I did some digging to find out it’s origin and to refresh myself on what the Olive tree symbolizes. The Olive tree symbolizes dignity, peace, purity, and strength among other things.

I am aware that your meaning is not deterring people from naming their child Olivia since it is among the most popular. However, I do think that you should have the correct meaning since you are such a popular site. When I type in ‘baby names’ in Google yours comes up first. There are pretty names that have unattractive meanings but Olivia is not one of them. A name is more than just what we sign on paperwork or how others identify us. It is a identity in itself. It is what we are wrapped in, what we grow into. It is multiple parts of someone; their culture, personality, respectability, and so much more.

For this reason would you please consider correcting the meaning of the name Olivia on your website? Thanks so much! Now back to my list… 😉
-Olivia

Hi Olivia,elves

We get at least one message about Oliver/Olivia each month. :) We’ve done extensive research on this name and found that most sources credit this name incorrectly because it has the same sound and letters as “olive.” But the truth is that Olivia is the feminine form of OLIVER/OLIVIER, which most likely originated from the German name “Alfher” rather than the word “olive.” The name Alfher is  composed of the Germanic elements ALF (elf) and HARI (army/warrior).

Yes, now these names are widely associated with “Olive Tree” but that was not its original meaning. Unfortunately many of the baby name books and sites just propagate bad information instead of doing their research! We have two international name experts that research all our names and meanings.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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

Name Roots
,

Hi Jennifer,

I love your site & have been searching for the meaning of 2 names I am interested in. The first one is Liviana or I may spell it Livianna & the second is Kindley. I really love both of these names but haven’t been able to find the meaning or either. Perhaps you can help me & add them to your site?

Thanks,
Mrs. B

vikingDear Mrs. B.

Sometimes you have to break down names into roots just like we do words. Livianna is a constructed name made from the names Olivia and Anna. Similarly, Kindley could be an alternate of the word “kindly” or a variation of the name Kinley, which means “Fair Haired Viking.”

Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

I want to use a Tolkein Name

Hello Jennifer,

I adore your site and have been using it to add and or change up my “future” baby name list since I was 18, and I love being able to check the meanings/origins of names and also how they rank in popularity.

Now that I am married (all of 6 months) my husband and I have officially decided to start trying to start our family and the Great Baby Name Game has begun. You see, I absolutely love Tolkien. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are such wonderful books and I hold them dear to my heart. Most of the names of the characters are a little eccentric for our liking but I am am in LOVE with “Shire”, for a girl.

I feel it’s unique enough so she’ll have her own identity in a sea of Emilys, Scarletts and Olivias, but it’s familiar enough that fellow parents (and peers when she grows up) will recognize what she’s named for. I’ve looked and looked for a meaning for it, and as my husband likes to point out…the only thing we can find reference to is a rather large and stubborn draft horse. He isn’t quite sold on the name for that reason alone.

Could you possibly find the meaning and origin for it so I can reassure him that she won’t be teased for being named after a horse breed? Although, Morgan is very popular and also a horse breed and he isn’t opposed to that name. (I’m from Vermont and know all about them)

Thank you so very much!!!

-Leanne

Dear Leanne,

Shire is an old English word that refers to a specific piece of land. It would be equivalent to a county in the United States. The word was used specifically in the rural Midlands of England.

So no, you don’t have to worry about the equestrian meaning. We will add the name Shire to our database!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Shire

An English “Shire”

 

Pronunciation of Madeline
,

Hi Jennifer,

I have always wondered what the appropriate pronunciation of the name Madeline. I have heard it pronounced Made-line and Made-lynn. Me and my husband really like the name Maddie and are thinking of using the name Madeline (Made-line). Do you think that this name is too outdated or confusing?

Thanks!
Layla

madDear Layla,
The reason we don’t put pronunciations on our site is because there is no “one correct way” to pronounce a name. It depends on geography, culture and personal preference. I have met women named Dana that pronounce it “Day-na” and some that pronounce it “Dan-na.”

I believe in the cartoon of the children’s book they pronounced it Mad-eh-LINE, if that has any influence. But my answer would be: you can pronounce it any way you want.

Sincerely,
Jennifer