Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.
We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!
We are having our fourth child in April, a girl, and feel lost in finding a name that works. Our older children are Ari Adrian, Kai Owen, and Adelaide Soleil.
We don’t have any kind of list yet. My loose requirements are that it not be a popular name or nickname. I’m not so crazy about girls’ names that end in ‘a’. I thought it might be fun to have a name that starts with Z, but there don’t seem to be too many good choices.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Please read on for my response, and add your thoughtful comments in the suggestions.
Hi Lauren –
Congratulations on baby #4!
Here’s what jumps out at me: your sons’ names are brief and bold. Ari and Kai feel modern, though they’ve both got meaning and roots. Adelaide has every bit as much spirit, but it’s a longer name, and feels more traditional.
We’re looking for a name that hits the middle ground, a fresh name for a girl that’s not so novel. That rules out a few names that work well with Ari and Kai, like Zoe or Lux. (Though I’m guessing Zoe is too popular for your tastes!)
So how about:
Esme – JD Salinger made this name literary. It was an off-the-radar choice for years, used in small numbers by stylish parents. Esme has recently entered the US Top 1000, but it’s still uncommon – fewer than 350 girls were named Esme in 2014. Ari, Kai, Adelaide, and Esme – I think Esme fits in beautifully.
Zora – I suspect you’ve already ruled out Zora, since it’s an ends-in-a name for a girl. But I’m mentioning it anyway, because it has that same literary, new-old quality as Esme. And the idea of a Z name seems so appealing.
Cleo – Full disclosure: my daughter’s name is Clio! But I do think Cleo is one of those names that feels modern and daring, but actually has history galore. It’s ends-in-o, rather than a, but wouldn’t be mistaken for a boy’s name.
Juniper – Since Adelaide’s middle name is Soleil, I’m guessing that nature names are fair game. Juniper is a longer name, just like Adelaide. It feels upbeat and lively, and I think it completes your quartet nicely.
Maren – Maren and Maris are two of my favorite rare, tailored names for girls. They have multiple possible origins, but at least one is a connection to the ocean, via the Latin mare – sea.
Iris – Iris is currently in the US Top 300, and it’s usually ranked around that mark. It feels stylish in 2016, but it’s still not nearly as popular as Lily. Iris is nickname-proof, feminine without the traditional ‘a’ ending, and feels like a sister for Ari, Kai, and Adelaide.
Pearl – While we’re talking nature-inspired names, I wonder what you’d think of Pearl? It feels more traditional, like Adelaide, but is short – like Kai and Ari. It might be too vintage for your tastes, but it’s a great example of a not-too-common choice that still feels familiar. Pearl was out of the US Top 1000 for years, and only recently returned.
Thisbe – Or maybe you’d like something completely different? Thisbe is a Greek name, just like the oh-so-popular Zoe, Chloe, and Penelope. It’s from a romance in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It’s never cracked the US Top 1000 – and I doubt it will anytime soon. Another name along these lines: Xanthe, which gets you the Z sound, if not the letter.
Now it’s your turn! Readers, can you suggest some names to go with Ari, Kai, and Adelaide? Do any of my suggestions seem like good fits to you?
Our baby girl has arrived… Marrabel Ivy! Our final kiddos names- Ari, Kai, Adelaide and Marrabel. Thanks everyone for all your help and suggestions 🙂
Lauren, thank you for the update – and congratulations on your new baby! What a gorgeous name – welcome to the world, Marrabel Ivy! 🙂
Such a great naming style! I can’t wait to find out what you choose =)
I don’t think I have any additional suggestions, but the ones you have are so fun to combine…
Adelaide Soleil and
Marguerite or Genevive Zephyrine
I love the idea of a longer, exotic name and something nature-related to connect the girls names, since your son’s names seem to pair so nicely! My goodness Zephyrine is so lovely – unique, but easily pronounced. Good luck and congratulations!
I like Marigold for you, or Scarlett. Or Annabel.
I like Naomi. Then all the kids would have an A and an I in their names. This adds a long O sound to your sib set, too. Long A in AdeLAYde, long E in ArEE, and long I in Kai.
I also like Romilly.
Celeste came to mind. This may sound odd, but consider goggling NPR names. Your names seem to have an international flair, and the boys have names of reporters on npr.
For Z names, you could consider: Charlize, Beatriz, Yazmin, Zosia (pronounced Zo-shah).
I’ll throw in Zinnia (a flower name) and Zipporah (Biblical). I like the suggestion of Zuzana too.
These don’t have a z in them, but I wonder if you’d like Emmeline or Juliette or Leoni?
You said that the name of the day for the 11th of February would be Khadija. Is that not happening?
Hi Khadija – My apologies! I must have written it down wrong. It’s up on 2/18 – a week later than I told you. Please check back! Best, Abby
That’s great Abby! Thanks for replying.
the Mrs. says
How do you like Lorelei?
Oooh! How about Castille?! It’s a location like Adelaide, but it’s not Sydney or Paris.
The suggestion of Zephyrine is gorgeous… especially for a middle! Just as Soleil is the sun, Zephyrine is a warm west wind. Marisol (sea and sun) might be interesting to you as well.
The Mrs. says
Oh, yes. And there is always Zerrin. It’s off the beaten path, but it’s strong and lovely
I really think an international variation of Margaret would work well, since so many don’t end in a, are classics like Adelaide, but can be sleek like the boys’ names: Margot, Marguerite, Marit.
other ideas: Leonore, Ottilie
I love the idea of Margot. That fits in so nicely with the other kids’ names.
Christina Fonseca says
I love Thisbe and Xanthe from Abby’s list! One other suggestion: Zenaida, nickname Zen or Zeni/Zenie/Zeny
For some reason, I think Faith might suit your tastes. Weird. Not a name on my radar at all…
Ari, Kai, Adelaide and Faith.
Maybe Faith Estelle? Goes nicely with Adelaide Soleil. 🙂
I live this family naming style! Lots of nature names, modern classics, and international flair! My fave from Abby’s list is Zorah.
What about Zuzana? It’s a Eastern European version of Susannah and means Lily. It also comes with a great nickname, ZuZu.
Zelda is also a hip classic, thanks to Fitzgerald.
Tamzin or Tamsin sounds like it would fit right in with the sibs and has that international flavor.
What about Reyna or Freya. I feel like they merge the feeling between the boys names and Adelaide, especially Reyna. I know they both end in A but thought I’d through them out anyway.
What about something like Lorelei or Genevieve? Similar to Adelaide, they can have nicknames, but both sound great on their own.
What about Zellie for a Z-name? It might be too nicknamey sounding for Lauren’s taste but I love it!
Zaidee is my favourite Z name, but you’ve probably already considered it. I like it for you because it looks like Kai, but sounds different, so you have balance in the four names.
I’d like to know if you call Adelaide anything for short? You say you don’t want a nickname name but I’m not sure if that also means you don’t want a name that comes with an obvious nickname. Although Adelaide quite easily becomes Addy, Lady, Heidi.
Ari, Kai, Adelaide & Calliope
Ari, Kai, Adelaide & Hollis
Ari, Kai, Adelaide & Bronte
Ari, Kai, Adelaide & Eloise
I’ve also seen Zaidee spelled Zadie. It was my first thought when reading the letter.
This might be the first time I haven’t liked any of the suggestions from Abby! I am coming up short too! The only one I thought would be a sweet pairing to your other children’s names is Camille.
Camille occurred to me too! I think it could be a good choice for this family.
They both break your ‘not ending in -a’ preference, but two of my absolute favourite names are Zillah and Zenobia. Zenobia is classy and regal, and has an awesome namesake in the ancient Queen Zenobia of Palmyra; I also like it shortened to Zeena, or you could go for Zeno to avoid the -a ending. Zillah is Biblical, but I think very fresh and wearable sounding. Good luck choosing!
I vote juniper, or any other longer girl name. Having 2short boy names and 2 longish girl names feels more balanced. Otherwise, Adelaide might stand out.