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

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Pronunciation of 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

Dear Georgie,

Maille is a French surname. It came from the name of a small coin, and subsequently a tax of the same amount. Most likely the surname came from a nickname for someone who collected this tax.

In its original language it would be pronounced similar to “My” or possibly “MY-ah.” However, since the name is so rare and nobody in the U.S. really knows the proper pronunciation, you can pronounce it any way that you want.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Cool Vermont Name

Hi Jennifer,

My huband loves going to Vermont, and his parents own a house in Stowe, Vermont. I was looking up names that we could use as a middle name when we have children that had something to do with Vermont, and I found a name that isn’t in your database. The town of Stowe, Vermont was chartered by a man named Benning Wentworth. When I heard the name Benning, I thought it would be good as a first name too. Do you know anything about this name? Thanks!

Sarah K.

Hi Sarah,

Very often early Americans from prominent families were given surnames as first names. This was to show their glowing lineage! As in, “Oh, you’re a BENNING! I know that family.” This naming practice has now become trendy again, but not for those reasons. Names like Mason, Harrison, Taylor and Harper are all top names that were originally surnames.

Interesting fact: Benning is one of the earliest surnames recorded in history. It is derived from the Latin “Benedictus” which means “blessed.” Other related surnames are Bennett, Benedict, and the French Benoit.

Thank you for the new name! I will make sure it is added to the BabyNames.com database.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Kreatyve Name Spellings

Hi Jennifer,

I was wondering your opinion on using names with non-traditional spellings. My name is spelled in a non-traditional way: Karlee instead of Carly. I am almost always called Kaylee or Callie when first meeting people; not to mention I have to spell out my first name or have it spelled wrong every time. Even after I have told people how to spell my name they still spell it wrong (even family members)! Honestly, it can be a bit frustrating at times. I know my case isn’t as drastic as some such as Emmalie for Emily or Cidnee for Sydney. Just to clarify I’m not against changing a letter or two, and I’m not saying everybody has to be the same either. I just think sometimes people go too far with it. I would love to hear your insight on this. Thanks so much!

Sincerely,

Carly with a K and two EE’s

Dear Karlee,

Personally, I hate them. Professionally, I hate them. For the reasons that you stated, above. When I approach a name professionally, I approach it from the perspective of the child–the person who will bear the name for the rest of his or her life. Can the name be a burden on the child? And how much of a burden? Will he/she have to spell it for people their entire lives?

Some people with (what I call) “Kreatyve Names” say that they like their different spelling. That it makes them unique. But most of them say they only learned to accept it as an adult. As a child, it was a burden.

If you want a unique name, choose a unique name. Don’t choose a popular name and misspell it. Life is hard enough for kids. Any comments from Kreatyve namers or namees?

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Cohesive Sibling Names – yes or no?

Hi Jennifer!

First, I have to thank you for this amazing site! I’m always on here looking for inspiring baby names. I have read nearly every Q&A so I am familiar with your “rules for baby naming”. One thing I have always wondered about, and have never really seen you talk about (forgive me if you have and I missed it!) is if you have an opinion on the cohesiveness of sibling names. Does it matter to anyone out there that all their children have names that mesh well? Or would you have a “Fifi”, a “Zion”, a “Shantel” and a “Keoni” all in the same family?

Thanks!
Casey

Dear Casey,

Thank you for being a loyal reader!

My opinion is that every child in a household should have his/her own identity. I therefore advise against naming children after parents, “matching” twins names or even creating sibling patterns, such as all names starting with the same letter. I understand that parents like to show the cohesiveness of the family unit through naming patterns. It’s sort of like doling out uniforms for a team. However I believe sharing a surname is cohesive enough. Don’t box your children (or you) in with unnecessary name rules! I would love it if I met a family with a Fifi, Zion, Shantel and Keoni! Those are fascinating name choices.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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