A Sibling for North WestThe other afternoon I was flipping between draft name consultations and the news that Kim and Kanye were expecting their second child. I found myself wondering what I’d say if the famous couple wrote in for #namehelp. I mean really thinking about it. Because while it’s easy to be flip and dismissive of the name they chose for their daughter, I do think every family’s name choices deserve respect. And … well … once you’re named your first child North West, it’s tough to come up with a name for another kiddo!

Do I need to add the disclaimer that Kim and Kanye haven’t asked me for help? They haven’t! But if they did, this is what I’d say.

Congratulations on baby #2! I know this has been a long road for you, and it’s lovely to hear that you’re expecting.

Naming a baby is always a project, but your daughter’s name is such a standout that it presents some specific challenges. You need to find a name every bit as distinctive for North’s little sister or brother.

Here’s what I think you’re looking for in a name:

  • Your names both start with the letter K, and, of course, the Kardashians virtually own the letter. I was pulling for Kashmir back when North was born, especially after there was talk that Kim wanted to continue the K tradition. But I’m not sure if just choosing a cool, edgy K name would be enough this time.
  • The most obvious thing about North is how it plays with your surname. But beyond that, North is a great, gender-neutral nature name.
  • There’s a subtle virtue vibe to North. True North. North Star. It suggests a journey, and achievement, too.
  • What North is not is feminine. It’s a strong name. While it’s rare, when it is used, it’s used almost exclusively for boys. Especially if your second child is a girl, I think it’s important to a similarly substantial name.
  • North is so singular and different, I don’t think you can possibly choose a Top 1000 name for her sibling. (And I’m not sure you would want to!)
  • Because North has no middle name, there’s not a lot of wiggle room. You need a short, simple, big statement name as your child’s first name!

Style matters for your family, and your children will grow up in a creative home. Families of artists and musicians often feel like the sky’s the limit when it comes to naming a child, and I imagine that’s how you’ll approach choosing a name.

Let’s take a look at two types of names: ones that play on your surname, and those that don’t – but still pair well with big sister North.

Names that form a phrase with West:

  • Key – Key West is, of course, the southernmost part of Florida and an escape for artists and creatives, most famously Ernest Hemingway. Key means island, but it also refers to the piece of metal that opens a lock. Together, Key West is a place name, but also mirrors the subtle positive meanings associated with North. It feels like an auspicious name, one that works for a boy or a girl. And I like the idea of North and Key as siblings. One drawback? Key is a K name, so North is the only member of your family without one. Still, I think it’s such a great fit that it might be worth it.
  • Wild, Wilde – The Wild West is a part of Americana that we still embrace today. Especially today, when kids called Colt and Wyatt can be found on every playground. But Wild also means can’t be tamed, of the natural world. I think those can be read as positives. Another plus – just as North is a logical extension of our interest in direction names like Easton and Weston, Wild picks up on our growing affection for W surname names, including Wilder. Wild – or the slightly more surnamey Wilde – is a more dramatic form.
  • South – This is the instant, go-to suggestion for North’s sibling. In some ways, that makes it the least interesting option. And yet, it is a perfect pair, and the name South West is every bit as interesting as North West.
  • Valley, Canyon – I considered options like Park, Mountain, and Summit – all of which sometimes appear in combination with West. But Valley and are the ones that strikes me as most interesting. I think Valley feels a little more feminine; Canyon, slightly more masculine. And yet, they’re not the strongest plays on your surname. In order to choose them, I think you’d really need to love the names.

Names that don’t play on West, but still feel very possible:

  • True – Virtue name True doesn’t form a phrase with West – but it does form a phrase with your daughter’s name! It’s virtuous, gender-neutral, strong.
  • Brave – Again, there’s no phrase here, but Brave makes for a fierce name. I’ve seen it used in the middle spot, and occasionally as a given name. I think your kiddo could pull it off as a first name.
  • Silver – Silver is slightly more name-like than Key or South, and it’s more common, too. 35 girls and 16 boys were given the name in 2014. But Silver shines, and together, Silver and North evoke a winter landscape.
  • Bright – Speaking of shining, I understand that Kim’s paternal grandmother was named Helen. Helen could come from a Greek word meaning moon, or more likely, torch – and so the name has long been associated with light. Bright seems like the boldest of the name possibilities with this meaning.
  • Lux, Luxe – Lux is the Latin word for light, and luxe, of course, refers to luxury. I think Luxe might be a bit too much for such a privileged child. But Lux? Edgy, interesting sound and a great meaning. Lux West – I do kind of love it.
  • Christmas – Word is that Kim is due in December. If her due date is Christmas, I wonder how you’d feel about this name? It’s more traditional than it seems – children born on holidays often received the names of those days. But today, Christmas is a dramatic name. It also refers to Kim’s middle, Noel, as well as grandma Kris.
  • Omari – I hadn’t planned to look too far for a family name, since you didn’t use one for North. And yet, Kanye’s middle name ultimately comes from the Arabic word for life. The downside? Omari does rank in the US Top 1000, and while I think it’s stylish and appealing, it isn’t a one-of-one name. Still, if your second child is a boy, Omari is a more interesting path to honoring dad than Kanye Jr.
  • Ciel – One of my first thoughts was Ciel – the French word for sky, and also heaven. Cielo is the Spanish. It’s different, stylish, interesting. The only drawback? I also think Ciel is far more feminine than North. Though Nori and Ciel sound like sisters.
  • Rock – A last minute addition to the list! I keep thinking about Red Rock West, the Nicolas Cage sleeper indie flick smash from 1993. It’s dark. And yet, I’m intrigued by the sound. Rock isn’t nearly as singular as North – there’s Dwayne Johnson, and Madonna has a Rocco. But it could be a cool, edgy choice despite not being completely novel.

I’m curious to hear if readers think you should stick with a play on West for your second child’s name, or if it’s best to move on, so let’s have a poll.

Key WestFor me, I kind of love the idea of Key. Yes, it’s another play on the surname West. But hey, as I often say about celebrity kids with very different names, it’s not as if this will be the strangest part of their childhoods. (I’d say that having the paparazzi and gossip websites put your parents on “bump watch” might be stranger. And then having baby name bloggers discuss your choices, well … that’s not really normal either, is it?)

But if you prefer to go another direction, I love the sound of True or Lux for a daughter, and Brave or Rock for a boy.

If you were offering kind, constructive advice to Kim and Kanye, what would you say?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. I’m so excited to see what they name her! True is definitely my number 1 guess. i think they’ll go with a 1 syllable word name. Here are some more of my guesses: Truth, Fate, Sage, Moon, Dove, Gem, Eve, Day, Wren

    1. Oh, I think you have some great guesses there! Gem seems very right for their daughter, doesn’t it? Though I suspect they’ll go more the Truth/Fate direction.