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Ask BabyNames

Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Irish Names
Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Sib Names
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Hi Jennifer,

Let me start by saying I absolutely LOVE this site and reading the Q&A section. Though I’m not a parent yet, I love looking up possibilities for when the time comes.

I recently read a question submitted to you about cohesive sibling names. You replied that you don’t like “matching” twins names or all names beginning with the same letter…and I totally agree with you! However, my question is about siblings with names from different cultures.

I’m Irish, living in Ireland, with a completely Irish background and a future Irish surname, McCormack. I have my heart set on Tuiren for a girl (Tuiren, in Irish legend, is Fionn MacCumhaill’s aunt, famed for her beauty). My problem is Tuiren is the only Irish name I love and my favourite boys names are DLittle_Women_1933_posteraniel, Matthew and Reese. Another favourite girls names would be Lexie. So my question is, would it be weird to name one child such an Irish name and use names from different cultures for her siblings?

Thanks,
Lauren

Hi Lauren,

No, I don’t think it would be weird. Your children will have their own identities and their own lives. Like I’ve said previously, their names don’t have to match and they don’t have to form a “theme.”

My mom use to say, “If I had known I was going to have four girls I would have named you Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.” (A reference to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.) Well, I’m happy that we’re Sue, Kate, Jennifer and Mallory!

The only problem I see is that Tuiren is not easy to spell or pronounce, unless it’s different in Ireland…?

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Moonyeen
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Hi, there –

Big fan of the site! I’m wondering if you have any information on the name “Moonyeen?” It was my grandmother’s middle name but I have no idea where it comes from or what it means.

Thank you,
Karen Siddiqi

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 1.53.54 PMHi Karen,

Moonyeen was an unusual name that turned up briefly in the U.S. from 1922-1936. Most likely because of a Broadway play called “Smilin’ Through,” first produced in 1919, which had a character named Moonyeen Clare. The play was made into three movies: one in 1922 which starred Norma Talmadge, one ten years later featuring Norma Shearer, and a musical in 1941 with Jeannette McDonald in the role.

Nancy over at Nancy’s Baby Names speculates that the playwright Jane Cowl based the name on the Irish word muirnín, which means “darling” or “sweetheart.” That certainly is a possibility. That, or she just made it up, which many writers do!

Hope that helps,
Jennifer

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