How Close is Too Close? Ten Factors to Consider

When we decided to call our daughter Clio, we forever closed the door on another favorite name – Theodore, nickname Theo.

Or did we?

For every family that decides Maya and Milo are too similar, another embraces the sound-alike names. Or insists that Alicia and Alina are totally different names. Perhaps it never even occurs to them that Joanna and Jackson are both related to John. Or maybe the first time you think of the famous actress is when you introduce your daughter Grace, little sister to Kelly and others ask if you’re a fan.

Siblings’ names will be said together countless times. The names we like often have much in common. So how can you tell if your choices make for a compatible sibset, or if they’re much too close? Here are ten factors to consider.

10. The names share the same meaning. This can be a subtle way to link siblings’ names. Think Lucy and Claire. One means light; the other, clear. Felix and Asher both mean happy.

Trouble comes when your family of two ends up a family of four or five or more. Your first two are the nicely paired Hazel and Ivy, but after using Olive and Jade, your choices for #5 narrow to Loden, Fern and Moss.

9. The names share the same origins. Name aficionados know that Jacob and James are related. I’ve groused that naming your twin daughters Isabella and Elizabeth is like naming them Mary Anne and Marianne. Except that it’s not really so.

Origins aside, Jack and Sean make for a compatible pair of brothers’ names. And Charles and Caroline seem different enough to be worn without incident. Daniel and Danielle, however, don’t work.

8. You’ve neglected 25 letters of the alphabet. Sometimes this is unintentional. You’re naming your sons after their grandfathers – Michael and Matthew. Or you just happen to like the names Julia and Jason.

But let’s say you choose a letter with fewer options. I remember hearing about a family with four sons – Henry, Heath, Hugo and Hatrick. Are they hockey fans, or was Harvey not their style? And if you’re on the second generation sharing the same syllable, your options might be very limited.

7. The names are linked in history or pop culture. If the movie was a bust, or we’re talking minor comic book characters, this matters not at all. (You can safely ignore “But Sami named her twins John and Alice on Days of Our Lives.”) Some combinations might appeal – think of daughters named for two Jane Austen heroines, as in Emma and Elinor.

But then there’s Gillian Anderson’s threesomePiper, Oscar and Felix. Her kids might not know The Odd Couple, but it is hard to imagine that it didn’t occur to mom. Or the truly unthinkable – siblings named Romeo and Juliet, or even, in our Twilight era, Edward and Bella. (Though it can happen after the fact – in which case, all you can do is laugh.)

6. Your choices can lead to same nickname. Sure, you never intend to call Kathryn or Katelyn by the nickname Katie. But it could easily happen. And how will their sister Annie feel about having an unrelated name?

This usually occurs because of #9 or #3. But not always – Amelia and Marianna could both shorten to Mia. Alexander and Natasha could both go by Sasha. The harder you have to think about it, the less it becomes a concern.

5. Your favorites share the same ending. If you like Isabel, you might also like Annabel. Ditto names like Parker, Carter and Harper. But sharing the same ending is another sign that your favorites might be too close for comfort.

4. They nest like a Russian matryoshka. Does one name fit neatly inside the other? Annika and Julian share an “an” but it isn’t glaringly obvious.

But Ella and Kellen seem like too much of a set. And, in cases like Anna and Susanna, it feels as if one sibling’s name is just an elaboration, rather than an original choice.

3. They share the same first syllable. With #10 through #4, it is easy enough to come up with examples that work, despite being close in some ways.

But #3 takes us deep into the danger zone – can you imagine sisters called Madeline and Madison or Allison and Alexis? (Photoquilty knows of a Madeline/Madison set – plus the dog answers to Maddie!) How ’bout Jordan and Georgia? A Supernanny episode featured twin girls Maile and Maila – pronounced Miley and Myla.

2. The names rhyme. Yes, there have surely been twin sisters called Cara and Tara. But most parents – and siblings – would find it a bit too matched.

And yet, this is trickier than it sounds. Timothy and James, Jeffrey and Stephanie and, of course, Benjamin and Jennifer all end up rhyming if you use the most common diminutives.

1. A combination of the above. Jackson and Jonathan are close, but probably on the right side of the line, while Jack and John don’t pass the test.

Jeffrey and Stephanie seem less troubling than the Hollywood power couple Benjamin and Jennifer.

Sarah and Laura are pretty close, but Laura and Maura would work only on fictional characters.

And so I’d love to know: what choices have you had to reject because they’re just too close to your an older child’s name?

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I’m super interested in this topic as we look at naming our 3rd! Realizing how much I’m drawn to similar sounds in names, but ideally avoiding too much matching and rhyming and, even, alliteration.

I have Magnolia nn Magno and Lazarus nn Laz, Lad, or Laddy.

We’re currently loving the girl’s name Gloria. I’m hesitant that the ending is similar and many letters same as Magnolia. Trying to envision how it might work in daily life: would we call her “Glory”? Can you use Ree or Ria without sounding like diarrhea? 😉 Can we avoid “Glo” as a nn as we’ve strictly avoided Maggie thus far (DH dislikes Maggie)?

Also, crossed Thaddeus/Tad off the boy list for rhyming and wondering if Jed (Jedidiah) is too close to Lad.

I’m worried about the Russian matryoshka phenomenon in naming our fourth! We already have an Evangeline (though she is “Evie” 99% of the time). Would Anna sound derivative (or just not as exciting next to her sister’s long name – though we took a turn for the simpler with our boys, Luke and John)? (It’s ok if the answer is yes – our other equally-beloved contender is “Felicity”, which doesn’t run into the same issues!) Thanks for any input! 🙂

It was me, I’d feel left out to be Anna when my sister was Evangeline. I would far, far rather be Felicity.

But … that’s me. Not everyone! And I don’t think they’re particularly mismatched, especially when your boys’ names are more streamlined. And Anna and Evie DO sound perfect together, while Evie and Felicity less so.

If you really do default to Evie – and imagine that’s the way it will be for the foreseeable future – then I’m leaning towards Anna.

Maybe some of it comes down to middles. Evangeline Rose and Anna Felicity feel more balanced than, say, Evangeline Rose and Anna Mae.

Thank you for your comment! That’s quite helpful. If we did go with Anna, we would either go for Anna Felicity or Anna Galilee to her sister’s “long form” Evangeline Grace. Our Evie really is pretty exclusively Evie and is fiercely opinionated whenever referred to as “Evangeline”, so I doubt there’s much chance of her wanting to go by her longer name until middle or high school at least… and I suppose that an Anna Felicity could always transition to her middle name if she wanted a similar style. As an oldest child with three sisters myself, though, I’m sensitive to igniting competition if I can avoid it – so we’ll still have to ponder a bit!

I’m naming our fourth baby and third girl. Doe you think Saskia (our first daughter) and Astrid (current front-runner) are too similar? we fall Saskia “Sass” and “Sassy” so no doubt we’ll do “Asti” or “Azz/Azz”. Too close???? Our second option is Maeve. Too short? Our other children are Imogen (Immy) and Leo (just Leo!)


Hmmm … I think Astrid + Saskia are fine, but Sass + Asti? That’s sort of close. And Sassy and Asti sounds VERY close. I don’t think it’s odd to have Maeve with Saskia, Imogen + Leo – they’re great together! But I do like Astrid a lot, so I guess I’m wondering if you’d consider a different nickname. Tridi, maybe? I’m going to ask the FB community if they think Astrid + Saskia are too close, too. Curious to see what others think …

I’m curious what people think about brothers Zane & Ames? We have an Arlo in between so we hadn’t thought of how close Zane & Ames are until today! And I’m due in a few days!

Helpful post. We have a daughter Iris and love the name Silas for a boy. Are the endings too similar to work together?

Oh, I love both names. I think I would trip over Iris + Silas. But let me ask the community, because it’s always good to get more than one perspective …

Thanks for this! I am having a hard time naming my soon to arrive baby boy and I am thinking of the name Levi. Do you think thats too close to his sister Isla?

No … though I wonder if you would feel stuck with a tree theme if you eventually named a third child? I do love both names, though. Let me ask the community, too …

Both names are great, but they do rhyme. Not quite Kate-and-Nate rhyming, but pretty close. I might use them together if I was confident that they were my only two children. (Otherwise, would have to name their future brother … Matthias? Titus?) OR if you were fairly confident you’d have multiple future children. Because Cyrus, Elias, Felix, Keturah, and Ramona feels different, too. But a dozen+ years of introducing my boys as Cyrus and Elias? That might feel like too much.

I’ll ask this Q on social later this morning, though – curious to hear if others agree, or think I’m being too rules-y.

I have a son named Dorian. My husband and I really love the name Isadora, but I’m concerned the names sound too close. What do you think?

We always call my son Dorian and don’t use a nickname. Isadora is a lot to say however, so I’m sure we’d use a nickname for her.

We have an Amelia (always called Millie), and are strongly considering an Emmeline (nn Emme, most likely). Apparently, they’re from the same root, hence the same meaning as well, but I don’t see them as being anywhere near the league of an “Alicia and Alina” kind of set. Maybe I like the name Emmeline too much to think about it clearly, but whether I use their full names or nicknames as a pair, I feel like it’s just pretty and sweet. Also, I think most people would never know they were from the same root unless they’re a name junkie like me.

That’s a VERY fair point! I can’t see anything wrong with sisters named Isabella and Elizabeth. Does it bother me? A little. I’m thinking inside my head, “But, but, but, they’re THE SAME NAME!”

As you say, though, only the name obsessed will think such things. And Amelia and Emmeline really don’t sound much alike at all … and Millie and Emme make great sister names … so I’d go for it.

Name junkies really ought to have a secret handshake or something. Maybe a pin!

Thank you for the reply! Sometimes, I worry so much about this baby’s name, and then my husband, who definitely does not read up on them like I do, will help calm me down.

I’m all for a handshake! 🙂

I’d hesitate mostly because they could both shorten to Nat. Do you ever shorten your older child’s name? I know lots of people who don’t, in which case the sounds would be different enough to avoid confusion. But in my house? I’d be calling “Nat” and they’d both be saying, “Which one?” LOL! So it probably comes down to your tendency to nickname …

Ooh … that is VERY, VERY close. I’m not sure I would dare.

On the other hand, if you’re certain that you’ll never have another child, then it’s possible that you might appreciate how very well-matched they are.

But if you ever found yourself naming a third daughter, I think you might feel stuck.

Thank you so much! The only other name I’m really connecting with is Ivy. So I will still be considering it! I appreciate your follow up!!! Great article and very helpful

Thanks, Sarah. You know … if you LIKE the way they sound together, then it’s a feature, not a bug. I’ve thought about that a million times since writing this, and really should revise it to make that point. 🙂

We have Penelope (Penny), Jack, and Hugo. Is Henry too close to Hugo? We have a really hard time picking boys names we like.

My husband and I love the name Vivian but a close cousin has a daughter named Olivia. She is mostly called Olivia but sometimes called Viva by her father. We do see these family members at least once a month. Are these names going to be too close? Thank you!

Olivia and Vivian seem too close for sisters. But for cousins? I think they’d be fine, even if they end up, say, Viva and Vivi some of the time. When family members share similar names, the trick is having a way to easily distinguish them. (That’s how we end up with Big Dave and Little Dave, and then Little Dave is 30 with a son called Davey.) But this one is a no-brainer – you just go back to their similar, but not the same, given names.

We have a daughter, Brynlee and are due with baby #2. We have always loved Bryce for a boy, but our last name also starts with a B, so I’m feeling like it’s a no-go. My husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but I don’t know if I can get over how similar they are. Especially if we have a third. I like a few other boy names with B too (Beckett, Brayden…), but almost feel like I should just pick another letter all together. I’d say our next choice is Dawson. If it’s a girl, I’m pretty set on Addison. I’d love to hear your thoughts/ideas/suggestions! Thank you!

Super helpful post! What do you think of sibling pair Will and Lily? Our son is Will (full name William although we mostly call him Will). We love the name Lily for a girl. Thoughts? Are these too close?

Well – if he’s William, it’s less of an issue. And I hear Will and Lily as familiar, well-established names, so I don’t notice the rhyme as much. BUT will it bother you? Especially if people call them Will + Lil? I think that’s kind of darling, and would be fine with it. If even the idea grates on your nerves, though, I’d keep looking – because somehow will surely pick up on it and use the name for your kiddos …

What do you think about Claire and Maren? Too close? Our daughter’s name is Claire, but I’ve recently fallen in love with Maren. Then my mom told me it’s a family name that they considered for me, making me love it even more. But I think it might be too close…

They’re very, very close, but I don’t say the ‘a’ sounds quite the same way. Claire sounds like air, while Maren is more like Erin. So when I hear them, they work … but I’m wondering how others hear them? I’ll ask on Facebook and Twitter + we’ll see what others say!

I know sisters named Claire and Maren! I have never thought they sounded alike, maybe accents would change this (I’m in Canada)

Such an interesting article! I’ve never given much thought to this topic, but now I’ve found myself in need of a 3rd girl name, and I’m struggling! I already have an Isabella (Bella) and a Giada. Would a Mariella (Mila) be way too close, even though I think the nicknames provide enough separation?

Thanks for your input!

Our son is James, would Jade be too similar? They both have the “jay” sound and are only one syllable.

We’re not sure if there will be more kids in the future…

That would be too close for me. It’s not just that they start with the same sound, but they’re both so short. Joanna and Josiah both start with a strong Jo- sound, but the extra syllables make them seem more distinctive.

If you like the closeness, then it’s a feature, not a bug – but I think that James + Jade as siblings could be a tongue-twister.

This post is so helpful! My 2.5 year old son is Everett and I’m expecting our second son in February. The only name my husband and I both love is Emerson, but we’re concerned they’re too similar. What do you think?

Everett and Emerson ARE close, but I think they work.

Here’s my question: if you found yourself expecting a third son, would it be impossible to name him? I think you could choose another E name, or maybe a surname name that doesn’t start with an E. So something like Everett, Emerson, and Miles works, or Everett, Emerson, and Ellis … but your name pool is MUCH smaller if you match your first two sons’ names so well.

I’d say they are fine. Though it might be harder to name a third daughter without a -lyn/-line name … Not because there’s a pattern that you dare not break, but because other names might sound a little too different. I think you could, though _ Evelyn, Madeline, and Annalise; Evelyn, Madeline, and Charlotte …

We have an Aurora and it’s surprising how many names we’ve had to skip that have the same long OR sound.
One of our current considerations is Amber. But I wonder if Alissa (me) Aurora and Amber will all be a bit similar. With our accent we don’t really announciate the -ER in Amber so it essentially sounds like another A ending.

Our 2.5 year old son’s name is Isaac Scott. Currently expecting and just found out it’s another little boy! We love the name Isaiah Michael… Isaac and Isaiah too close? Thoughts?

Ooh … I think those are really close! Do you think this is likely to be your last child? Brothers named Isaac and Isaiah seem okay, but it might feel downright impossible to ever find a third name for another boy that doesn’t feel like the odd-one-out …

My first two are Benton and Arwen. When I was expecting my third, my husband loved Gwendolen, but I said no because it shares -wen with Arwen and Gwen rhymes with Ben which our son does occasionally go by with his friends.
Our accidental N ending theme made things even harder. We felt we couldn’t leave #3 out since my husband and I also have N ending names. Elowen, Imogen, and Evren were all nixed. We ended up with Raven Azalea Ann and it fits her perfectly (even though she’s as blonde as they come).

I need help! I have a daughter named Finley. I am due pretty soon with #2 and have tons of girl names that I love. The problem is I LOVE the name Fisher for a boy. Not popular, not too odd, love it. Too close? A third is not totally out of the question, but probably wouldn’t want to have 3 F’s. Also last name starts with F. That’s a lot of Fs. The only other boy name that I could imagine naming a son is Elliot. I just can’t find any I like! Help!

I think that would be okay … besides sharing the same initial, they’re also both surname names. So a third surname name that doesn’t start with F would work nicely, too. I can imagine siblings called Finley, Fisher, and Yates Ferris. Or Finley, Fisher, and Sullivan. Or Finley, Fisher, and Sloane. Lots of options … (Oh, wait, you can’t have a Sloane with the last name Ferris! That’s way too Day-Off! But you get the idea. I’ll ask this on social in a bit, too – curious to hear what others think.)

I have an Alina Sofia. IMO using Alina has made Elena, Anna, and Elisa too similar. I was considering all of these at the time of naming my little.

If hubby and I have another girl we have decided on Emilia Bianca to go with Alina Sofia.

Now we’re going to have 3 or 4 kids and it’s unlikely we would have 3 girls, but I feel like I would need an I name. I think Iliana would be too similar to Alina and It couldn’t be Isabella or Isla though since we have cousins with those. Maybe Ilona, but I don’t think hubby would like it best. My sis wants to use Aria so Ilaria is out also.

We would probably choose Alessia but then I would want the Amelia so they could all be As… oh my goodness. Just wish I knew how many girls we will have.

We have a Jillian and Genevieve. We are expecting our third girl and I’ve always loved Juliet. It may be way to close for comfort but I just don’t care! At some point they’ll be adults and won’t be tied to their siblings names!

If you love it, then it’s a feature – not a bug! And FWIW, I don’t think those are too close at all.

Will you ever have a third, even possibly? If it’s an absolute no, then I wouldn’t worry about it. They’re close, but not TOO close. Yes, they share the same first letter and ending sound – but they’re still quite distinct, I think.

But if more children are a maybe, I’d consider how you might handle it. I think you have options – Ruby, Romy, and Rhea; Ruby, Romy, and Lucy … I could go on. But if you’ll feel like you’ve created a must-follow pattern, then it might be worth looking for another name.

That would be tough, though … I do love the name Romy!

Is Grace too close to Gabriel (sometimes Gabe)? Gabriel is our 7th and this will be our 8th. They will be 26 months months apart. No other G names in fact no other kids share first initials.

We already have an Ivy, and while I currently lean toward Violet, I worry it’s too matchy. These will likely be our only 2 children, so I don’t have to worry about future names, but I’m just not sure if we sound like we’re planting a garden . . . if we name our second Violet it would be DESPITE the similarity to Ivy, not because of it. I think Violet sounds particularly lovely with our last name. The other name on the table is Clara + (nature middle name). I’m so torn!

We have a Nathanael (the -iel ending doesn’t work where we live) and a Raphael, and honestly, the matchy ending is still a sore point for me… Their nicknames are different, at least, but I’m sort of waiting it out until they are grown and not under the same roof, haha. I secretly hope it won’t bother me until then, though. How long does Name Regret last???

We have an Eliana, nn Ellie, and we really like the name Emily for our second (due soon!). Is Emily too similar to Ellie? I’m getting mixed feed back from family and friends. Our other option is Olivia, but I’m not sure if that feels like her name either.

I say it’s not too close. They’re different in style, which may be why you’re getting such mixed reactions. I’d expect Emily’s sister to be Sophia, and Eliana’s to be Sienna. But mixing styles is perfectly fine! And let’s face it – we always get mixed reactions on baby names, because, well … everyone has their own opinions. It’s a good thing, except it doesn’t necessarily help YOU when you’re the one asking. 🙂

One Q: if you give both girls E names and have a future child, would you feel pressure to pick a third E name? (There’s no rule that says you’d have to, but it’s more about how your brain works! It would feel like a pattern to me – personally – for my children.) If the idea of Eliana, Emily, and Victoria feels off, and you can easily imagine more children in your future, then you might want to forgo an E name this time around.

One other thought: Eliana and Emilia or Eliana and Amelia are similar alternatives that split the difference between Emily and Olivia.

Thoughts on Isla and Willa. I have an Isla and Willa is my all time favorite! I don’t like any other names. Are they different enough???? Please say yes haha.

I think they work. They are both two-syllable names ending with -la, but the vowel sounds are very different. If I say “Isla and Willa,” I don’t trip at all. If I say, Willa and Isla, I end up saying Willow and Isla … but that’s not a dealbreaker, I don’t think.

My only question is whether you’d find it hard to name a third daughter. Nothing says you’d have to stick with another two-syllable, ends-in-la name … but would YOU feel that way? And, of course, is a third child even a theoretical maybe? It was for us when we had our second, so we named accordingly with both of our children. But I will say that I later regretted not using some of my favorites with my firstborn.

And, of course, they’re both great names. I’d go for it!

Plenty of siblings have names that are MUCH closer! Can I promise that you won’t trip over them? No. Most parents (and grandparents and caregivers) eventually confuse names, even those that are completely different. These two names share the ‘la’ sound, so I’d expect you might get tongue-twisted once in a while.

But that doesn’t seem like a deal-breaker. Willa and Isla will never share the same nickname, have distinct and separate sounds – the ‘W’ and the strong ‘I’ – and don’t nest into each other – Isla and Kyla wouldn’t work, but Isla and Willa do.

If sisters can be Ava + Emma, Ella + Cora, Lucy + Mary, Jane + Nell, then Isla and Willa work just fine.

I stumbled across Alice as we’re thinking of names for our 4th child and was totally excited about it until I remembered we already have an Alex. Much too close!

I love the name Norah for a girl but I feel like it’s so close phonetically to my name, Laura, does it matter or would you shy away

I have a Nora, and am expecting a girl any day now. We love the name Mira, but am now second guessing it as being too similar to Nora. What do you think?

We have a Mira and I’ve always loved the name Vera. What about changing Vera to Vierra (like Sierra)?
Is that still too similar for siblings?
I love your advice on this site! I read the name page on Mira a hundred times before naming our daughter. I feel that my husband and I are at a stand still on names….
we have several on our list but I’m not 100% on either the name or how it sounds with sibling names. Still looking for an international-crossover short name.

We have an Edward, nn Eddie and one of our top choices for our daughter is Evelyn. Whilst I think Edward and Evelyn is ok despite the shared E, I’m concerned that we’re likely to shorten Evelyn to Evie and perhaps Eddie and Evie are too close…?

I happened to stumble on your site and love your advice and names I’m seeing! Our first daughter is Emmerson and we are now expecting our second daughter and having such a hard time…. We lean towards slightly feminine unisex names… Our short list has Charlotte (or Charlie/Charleigh), Savannah, Dawson, and Arizona…. I love Charlie but prefer more formal names that can be shortened to an adorable nickname.

Would you like Charleston, nn Charlie? It reminds me of Savannah and Arizona, but also picks up that great nickname.

I like the uniqueness… I don’t know of any other Charleston girls…. But it feels just a bit too masculine for me…though I like how it would shorten

My daughter is named Scarlett. I am pregnant with another girl and when I mentioned the name Violet to my husband, he commented that we couldn’t have two color names or else he would sound like a crazed artist on the playground calling out, “Scarlett, Violet!”

Honestly, I had only thought of Violet as the flower and not the color at all. Upon further thought, they rhyme too – it really made me start to think about how a name would sound with Scarlett, though I don’t really care if they mismatch horribly. There is a lot to consider that really hadn’t occurred to me before.

I’m expecting a baby and don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. For a boy, my husband and I both love the name Aldric. We already have a son named Emeric. Too matchy?

I find this really interesting. We’re expecting our second child, a boy, who will be the younger brother to Millie. We have basically decided on Harry. What do you think? Are Millie and Harry too close?

We’re expecting our second son. Our two older children are Louisa and Henning. My husband and I were just discussing our top choices and one that we both like is Harrison. Although I’m pretty sure it has the same meaning as Henning. Is it too close in your opinion? We like that all three names aren’t common, but have a classic sound to them.

What do you think of Lydia and Louisa? Too close? Does the emphasis on different syllables in each name make them different enough, or are they too similar because they start and end with the same sounds and letters?

I think they’re close, but not too close. After all, they don’t lead to the same nickname. While I do think it would be tough to name a third daughter after Lydia and Louisa, I don’t think it would be impossible. So … yes, close, but not TOO close.

Love Lydia and Louisa together, but not if they’re twins. I think on separate siblings, it would be fine. Linnea (li-NAY-a) or Lorelai would also work.

We have a Phoebe and Zoe and I worry we’ve unintentionally established a pattern (our second daughter was VERY hard to name). I want cohesion between all our children’s names also don’t want to have matchy sounding names either..

It just happened by coincidence that they both ended up with Greek ‘oe’ names but I really don’t want to restrict us to these sort of names in future (we’d like a couple more children).

Our current favourites are Ada for a girl and Arthur for a boy (whichever we end up having would eliminate the other for any future children as I don’t want them to share a first letter). I’ve always loved Felix for a boy but don’t want that name paired with Phoebe. Have thought about Cleo for another girl but that will really be establishing a theme!

Are Arthur and Ada names that will sound out of place with Phoebe and Zoe?

I think for boys’ names, the field is wide open. Arthur is lovely and has the same “weight” as the other names without being the same at all.

For girls, I think you’ll have more of a challenge, but Ada works well. Again, say the names together, and they all have the same “weight”: Phoebe, Zoe, Ada. Joanna, Lydia, Grace, Quinn. Lots of options.

Thanks C in DC! That was really helpful. I hadn’t really thought about it in the sense of the weight of the names but that makes total sense and gives me more options. I agree that for boys names I don’t feel as limited. I’m fairly sure we’d go with Arthur as it has been top of my list for both our girls!

Although I feel that Ada has the same weight to it, I worry about going for another 3 letter name – although when I see them written it doesn’t jump out as me as awkward. I feel that the ‘d’ in Ada connects with the strong Z of Zoe and B in Phoebe, so it kinda works… Really love your other suggestions though, and I hadn’t actually considered them before, especially Lydia and Quinn.
Thanks so much for your reply!

I suppose themes are what you make of them. I’ve been preoccupied with the ‘oe’ of their names, but others might see that the theme is both having an ‘e’ ending, or a consonant initial, or that they’re both of Greek origin, or that they both have special meanings (radiant/life), or that they are both equally weighted! This has helped give me perspective – thanks!

I’ve found myself crossing a lot of names off the list because of similar sounds to Archer. 🙁 Names with a prominent “ar” sound, “ch” sound, or ending in an r sound.

Boys: Charlie, Harvey, Arlo, Cooper, Theodore, Parker, Mercer, Asher, Fletcher, Thatcher, etc

Girls: Scarlett, Aria, Charlize, Marlowe, Arabella, Harper, etc

They are very close in sound, but I think they do go together nicely. The ‘d’ sound is distinctive, and makes the names feel just different enough. And, as it happens, I know brothers named Adam and Aaron. Because neither name can be shortened, they were always just Adam and Aaron – and I think it works just fine.

We named our daughter Carys. I love the names Seren and Maren. But either or with Carys might be too similar with the ‘air’ sound. I just can’t seem to find another name that I like as much tho. :/

My daughters name is Arianna “Ar-we-on a” and I’ve always loved the name Rhiannon but I’m afraid those names are too similar. What do you guys think?

I actually think Arianna and Rhiannon compliment each other quite well. I think because the beginnings and ends are so different, it gives a distinct feel to each name although they clearly connect with the iann part.

Oooh, I was just thinking about this! We have William (Will) and Andrew (Drew). If our new baby is a boy, my first choice is Miles. Is this too close to Will/William?

Finally made it back here to see if you replied! Thank you! I will have to wait and see what this little baby is…I’m hoping we get our girl and then she will be Gemma.

Just came across this website and loving the articles! I actually have the same issue that I like names that sound similar to my daughter’s name. I don’t really take issue with it, but if I run my list of names (for our second daughter due in Dec) by close friends or my husband, they all make the “too similar” comment. My daughter’s name is Livia (and we often call her Livi or sometimes Liv) and the names currently on my list for #2 are:

1. Laelia (which we would pronounce Lay-LEE-ah): I like this name bc (like Livia) it’s an old roman name that has a Dutch word in it (I’m Dutch) (in Livia it’s Liev–dear, sweet; and in Laelia it’s Lelie-phonetic word for lily).

2. Lumi; a Finnish name for snow (perfect for a winter baby and a reference to my best friend who is Finnish)

We were also thinking of Avielle, but not sure on this….

What do you all think? 🙂

This would make a great Saturday “name help” question. Of the 2, I like Laelia/Lia/Lily better with Livia/Livi/Liv.

We are having trouble naming our twin girls due in November. All the names we like seem too much alike. Are Madeleine and Alina too similar? Would Madeleine and Clara or Alina and Adelle sound better together.

I don’t love Madeleine and Aline because of the repeating lina/leine sounds. But I do like Madeleine and Clara or Alina and Adelle.

Thanks for your help! My two favorite names of all time (Madeleine and Alina) are competing with each other!! I must decide which one I like the best. How do you feel about the name combination Alina & Vivien? (Do the lee and vee sounds make them too similar or does it work?) Thanks for being my sounding board. I appreciate any and all advice.

We have an Asher, and we both like the name Shepherd for boy #2 (due in 3 weeks!) but can’t tell if they’re too close! They do have many of the same letters and of course the sh sound…

I have a son named Rafael. He gets called Rafi for short.

I am now pregnant with my second and if it is a boy I would really nlike to name him Rudy.

That would mean having a Rafi and a Rudy. It’s a bit matchy matchy which worries me but I can’t escape that Rudy is still my favourite choice for a boys name at the moment

With 6 kids so many of my favorite names are eliminated should we have another baby. My top choice for a girl would be Mary, but my son Mark might run away from home. Hubby and I would also love to use Annie as a nickname for Anne or Anna but our youngest is Andrew. Caroline would be our next favorite but our 2 girls are Clare and Katharine and Caroline just seems too close.

So you have Mark, Andrew, Clare, and Katherine (plus 2 others). You like Mary, Annie, and Caroline. So many good options still! Margaret, Magdalena, Carolee, Carly, Suzanne, Susannah, Rosemary, … I knew sisters Madeline, Caroline, and Katherine.

Our son is Elias and we’ve had to reject Alice, Elin, and even Eleanor (I think… though if it’s the only one we agree on…) for his impending baby sister.

Sadly, I can’t use Roscoe (love it so much!) because I already have an Oskar. I think that would definitely cross the line into too matchy.

Also, my hubby wants to name our last baby Everett, but I said no because I think it is too close to our daughter Harriet’s name. Harriet (the name) has a special place in my heart and I don’t want any other name to compete with it.

Also, I really, really wanted a Clementine but my hubby said no. We named that one Emeline instead, but that meant I couldn’t have a Clementine with any of the later children despite my hubby having loosened up in the naming arena because I think it is too similar.

Oh, I love Harriet! But yes, I do think it would be confusing with Everett.

Congrats on your baby-on-the-way! You’ve got such great style – and you really can’t go wrong with names like Harriet, Oskar, and Emeline …

A family at my church has parents Rebekah and Robert, and kids Robert Jr., Ryan, Ruby, and Reuben. Ruby and Reuben always sounded too matchy to me :/

I agree – Ruby and Reuben are VERY close – I’d definitely call them too close. Ryan, Robert Jr. and one of the Ru- names would be fine. Maybe Ryan, Robert, Reuben, and Rosie?

My cousin just named his third child Colson (boy). Their other two are Mason (boy) & Emerson (girl). Sensing a theme here. Hubby’s cousin has 3 children, Brecken, Brooklyn, & Brennen. Talk about a mouthful! I always get them mixed up. I also have cousins Brianna & Gabriella, sisters, they go by Bri and Ellie, but could have easily both had the same nickname.

I think Colson, Mason, and Emerson are okay … though if they add another kid or two, it could get confusing.

Brecken, Brooklyn & Brennen feels more confusing.

Baby is Willow 🙂
We just decided it suited he so much, especially the floaty, ethereal meaning “slender, graceful”. Middle name will be Ivy or Honey.
I know name nerds will be horrified by the double noun but we are happy 🙂

Congrats! Lovely name, Nic. And I have a soft spot for choices like Ivy and Honey in the middle spot. 🙂

I’m going to run some options past DH. Please excuse all my typos ahead of time…baby brain and typing in a hospital bed!
I am so stuck on Mila it’s going to be hard to budge but Marlo / Mahli / Ivy / Milena nn Leni or Mila) are all options at the moment.

Hi again, well if your new baby looks like a Mila, go for it. But wow, Marlo is really really nice. Mahli is adorable and unique. Keep us posted. Even if it is next month when you discover her name ; p


I’m afraid the spelling makes Mila too close to Lila. Eva seems like a perfect solution! It seems like it’s short enough it shouldn’t need to be nicknamed Evie.

Or what about:
Sela or Selah

If you pronounce Sela to rhyme with Mila, perhaps that’s an easy compromise!

Here are other names that don’t end in a:

Please do update us. I’m dying to know what you go with!

We have a 3 day old daughter with no name!!!! Luckily in Australia you have 60 days to register, but really we’d like to choose as soon as possible.
Our problem is that the name we are in love with, Mila, is just so similar to our 3rd daughter’s name, Lila. They are pronounced completely differently but the spelling is so close! Our eldest daughters are Halle and Edie so I guess we’re not adverse to a similar ending sound as we feel as though we should now have a 2 syllable ‘a’ ending name to complement Lila and complete our sib set. The question is, is Mila too close? Should we compromise with Willa? Is it too close too? Wow, we are stuck!!

Hi, Just my opinion … and I do like the names a lot. BUT, I will say I think for me anyway one reason why I liked Serena (potential sister name to Sabine) was because I was so familiar with it as a name of someone I adore.

I didn’t really come to see that until after a few months, but now I do think it is the case. I was so accustomed to having a kid with the name Sabine … I think it just reverberated into the naming of number 2.

I wouldn’t do it – I would go for something much more different. I see now, hindsight being 20/20 I am so glad I named my second girl something radically different because they are so different from each other. I think there would have been some weirdness implied somehow with such similar names.

Of course you have more experience than I since you have already 2x more kids than I:) A BIG congrats on your new little baby girl. I do like the name Willa incidentally quite a bit.

I know just what you mean by familiar names, I am honestly calling my my little one Lila 10 times a day! Great advice x

Gosh – that’s tough. Mila and Lila do sound different, but I think the spellings make them too close. And some do pronounce them so they rhyme, so that’s a challenge. I’m not sure Lila and Willa completely fix that, either, though I think it is a better fit. Let’s see …

Other short ends-with-a names slightly farther from Lila:

Mika (pronounced mee KAH)

With a -y ending

With neither an -a or a -y

Congrats on baby #4 … this is a tough one!

Another idea (as I also love Mila) is a name like Mila. My faves are Milana (mee-laa-nuh) or Milena (mee-lay-nuh). They are used often in Eastern Europe and we almost used Milana for dd.

Thank you for the great suggestions.
We have also courted the idea of Marlo, I love Giolet but it is terrible with our surname and Kira is actually our dogs name!!! She is named after a famous surf beach here in Australia as my husband is a surfer…
Other names I have liked along the way are Eva (but I’m sure she’d get Evie which is almost Edie!), Willow, Ivy, Ella & Mia (too popular), Zara (DH said no) and Vanna which is my husbands grandmother’s name and we don’t have the wheel of fortune last here in Australia ;).

Thank you for putting my mind at ease! What a great resource! My husband and sibs are Michael, Matthew and Marcus…and one of them used all B names for his three boys…so I was avoiding this but after the struggle to find a name, I’m ok with it!

Question! I am due in 5 days…have had a rough and not very fun time at finding a name (mostly bc hubby’s taste and mine don’t match). Our daughter is Finley, we’re having a boy, and out of the many options I love, Felix is the only one we both like. Are Finley and Felix too close? No plans for mor kids and didnt intend on same initial…just love the name!
My other faves are:
Mateo (hubby’s bother is Matthew, says they’re too close)
Theodore (Teddy)
Soren…my most favorite

I think Finley and Felix are fine together. Both names are great, and both are current. Some parents are opposed to sharing a first initial, but my observation is that two kids can happily share a first initial. It is when you get to 3, 4 … or 19 that it can be a bit much. (And that the names inevitably start to sound too close.) I wouldn’t hesitate to use Felix!

I LOVE all the names in your list. No matter which one you choose, it will be great! I live in France and Enzo is quite the trendy name right now. I particularly love Soren. How completely elegant and charming.

My girl’s names are Sabine and Leonora and I for one am glad that I didn’t end up naming Leo Serena. I already have a bit of a hard time not calling one the other.

Anyway, happy happy birthing!

We have many who have fallen to this trap in our area.Sisters Ella & Yael. Ie Ellie & Ellie. The Isaiah & Ayla. Ay much!? I think so. I also went high school with sister:brother Hahna & Hahn.

We have an Eli and an Ivy, which would be too matchy for some. But I LOVED Ivy and we thought she may be our last child, so we went with it.

However, now that she’s here, I’m feeling like I would like another one or two in the future if finances allow (and DH has always wanted a bunch of kids).

So have we named ourselves into a corner? Do we need to stick to vowel-bookended names? Is something like Ezra or Anna our only option or is it enough to only start or end in a vowel sound, like Oscar, Judah or Penny? Or can we just do away with it altogether and use Jasper or Hazel?

It’s not a pressing issue since another baby would be at least a few years off, if we have one at all, but I’d love some opinions!

Personally I could see Ivy and Eli with most two syllable names.

Aaron, August, Aidan, Emmett, Ezra, Owen, Orin / Anwen, Erin, Esther, Opal, Uma have the vowels at the front – I would not sweat the vowels at the back one way or the other.

Fox, Leo, Rex, Zev / Liv, Mae, Noa, Rue, Zoe make it about the 3 letter thing and not the vowel thing and I think they still work cohesively with Ivy and Eli, too. But I worry that being more noticeably cutesy-thematic than the vowel thing.

I love both Ivy and Eli btw.

I don’t think you’re in a corner. Eli, Ivy, and Jasper strike me as well matched. Ditto Eli, Ivy, and Hazel. I think it changes how I’d perceive your style. I know a family with kids named Zoe and Max. If their next child was, say, Vera or Viva, I’d think – okay, they’re about the stand-out letters, not the three-letter names. In your case, I’d think “oh, what great vintage names” and the fact that two of them are three letters and vowel intensive would fade away for me …

Swistle always says that it is the third child that sets the pattern. So Eli, Ivy, and Ana would be a pattern that would be tough to break with baby #4.

I am the frist of four daughters.. we are Nadia, Lydia, Melea and Talia.. all ee-ah. I don’t think the same ending ever really mattered to any of us, except that no one ever remembers which of us belongs to what name.. 🙂 I married a Timothy, who has two older brothers, one Thomas, named after their father, and the other Matthew. Grandpa goes by Tom, brother goes by Tommy (even in his late 30s) and hubby goes by Timmy. Poor Matt is the odd ball. But I think he likes it that way. We named our daughter Teagan, and as it turns out, the ending must be our favorite part, because every name we like for #2 has the same ending. Fine for my mom, but I don’t care for the matchiness..

There were twins in my high school named Tim and Tom.
My mother named all of her kids with multiple a’s in them, and me and my older sister with an ‘na’ ending. Aarika, Shayna, and Breanna.
Fraternal twins I grew up with were named after major cities, Cheyenne and Austin, but they spelled Cheyenne as Shyanne.
Matthew and Michael were twins and a sibling set during high school.

We did the matchy thing kind of by accident. I’m Kate, my husband is Aiden. We have
2 daughters. One starting with K and the other with A. Both with the “Ee” sound at the end. Their middle names are both named after characters in our favourite movies. And K’s name is the the name of a character that A’s middle name is the name of actor that played the part (did that make sense at all?!). My husband is IMPOSSIBLE!
If it was me naming alone, my kids would have completely different names.

I know of a family with the cutest kids that all start with vowels. They have Ethan, Isla and Oliver. I thought that was a bit matchy – but I think that is just because I’m a bit of a name nerd.
Went to uni with one of a family with 2 girls – Joanna and Jacinta (forget the big brother’s name). Dad’s name is John.
A sibset Tyson and Jackson.
Katie, Karley, Karmen, Kayden. (UGGH!)
John and Jack
B/G Twins Ronald and Reagan
Addison and Maddison
Little boy with the middle name Oliver. His sister’s name is Olivia.
Daisy, Rose and Violet.
Eva and Ava
(as a teacher, I came across a lot of interesting ones)

I’ve been trying to figure out what your daughter’s names must be, but WOW, that is a puzzle! Addison and Maddison? That’s not fair. I love Jacinta! If I were Joana, I think I’d feel a little bit left out.

Oh my! Lots of baby naming don’ts! The 4 K’s (Kardashian Klan wannabes, much?), Addison/Maddison and Ava/Eva (they must really REALLY love those particular sounds or have very little imagination)…But the one that just horrified me was Ronald and Reagan for TWINS. The kids must love that now! Say it isn’t so!!!!

Hi there,
My baby girl is about to make her appearance. I have been pouring over websites – especially this one for ideas and advice. While we have many names that are options, it is particularly difficult since we live in France and I am American. The name are limited in how the French (mis) pronounce many otherwise incredible names. I know that you love French names – and I love some, but in contrast to naming a kid a unique French name in the USA is that that same name is abundantly cliche here.

ANYWAY, on this topic I am wondering:

Is Sabine (existing daughter) and Serena (potential sister name) too similar????

Thanks for your advice in advance!

Congrats on baby #2! I think my question would be this: do you think you’ll have more children? Sabine and Serena strike me as very matchy, but not impossible. But if you’re planning on a big family, and are likely to face the same constraints when naming a third child, then two similar names might put you in a really tight place. If you’re fairly confident that #2 is your last, then I think I’d use Serena without hesitation. If you’re planning on a big family, I think it is best to keep looking. Have you ever picked out a boys’ name? Or are there other names on your shortlist?

Well, I never did get around to responding as the NEXT day my little girl arrived on the scene! We did not name her Serena… for many reasons, one of which was that she simply didn’t look like a Serena. Still LOVE the name though 🙂

They only allow THREE short days in which to name a baby in France. Most French parents have already decided the baby name before the birth. If you do not name your baby in that time, it is a huge cost/time expense and your child will not be registered under the medical care.

Anyway, we totally freaked out after seeing her because it was obvious, aside from the matchy matchy that this girl was no Serena. ANyway, the French absolutely sabotage the name by pronouncing it “Ser-enna”.

Okay so we decided the LAST hour, spontaneously almost to go with Leonora. We call her Leo and even though I am still not convinced that I even really LIKE the name, it suits her to a T. I feel the same way about Sabine. Not crazy about the name, but she IS a Sabine. It helps me to remember that they are their own and not mine. If that makes sense.

Little Leo is an absolute doll and is napping, and so should I be. G’night and thanks again. I love this website and would love to see an entry on Leonora and Sabine if you ever have the inclination.

Wow – that’s some pressure to name your child in France. We sort of have the same rule in the US … you’re supposed to name your child before you leave the hospital. But some of it varies by state, and I’m not sure how it works for homebirths. (Anyone know?)

Congrats on your daughter! Leonora is lovely, and the nn Leo is great for a girl. (But as the mother of a Clio, I’m biased.)

I know this is old, but I’ve done several homebirths. It does vary by state, but where we are you have 10 days to file the birth certificate paperwork with the department of vital statistics. That’s true regardless of where the birth takes place BUT the mother’s paperwork and the doctor or midwife’s paperwork have to be turned in together, so that’s why hospitals want it before you check out.

I don’t know if it’s just my computer, but the list doesn’t show up. If it is just my computer, then sorry to bother you with it, but maybe there’s a problem with your server or something.

It’s not you, it’s me – when I moved web hosts, some of the posts were splinched. Thanks for noting this one – it is now repaired!

So I know I’m late to this party… but I have a big problem with -au, -or, and -lie sounds.
I love Charlie and Coralie and Annelie. I love August and Aurla. Aurla and Lorelei. Cora, Nora and Honora.

I’m working around this, though it is hard. I just have specific sounds my ears are drawn to!

Charlie is my number one name of all time, so Coralie is definitely out. But are Annelie and Lorelei possible? What about Carolina, nn Cora, even though she comes from the same origin as Charlie?

What about Lorelei and Aurla or Aura? Is that too obvious that I that I still hold onto some childhood enchantment from my mother’s name: Laura?

Fun article and thread! :). I just have to add that my grandfather (Howard) had twin brothers named Homer and Omer. I’ve played around on ancestry’s website, and it’s funny to me that all the other people researching this family presume Omer is a typo, since they find both names on the same birthdate, and Omer gets left out of their family trees! They must all look at the info in front of them and think, “THAT has to be a mistake!”

Really, I think matchy names (Madeline/Maddie & Matthew/Mattie, Jim/Tim/Tom, etc.) are kind of dull and lack creativity, if not confusing at best. I have neighbors whose daughters names are Shelby and Kelly, and did I mention mom’s name was Shelly? I can never remember who’s who. Though, I guess sometimes we just like certain types of names and don’t realize the damage until the deed’s done.

In my family,my father’s middle name is his mother’s maiden name William stowell diver and my parents continued this pattern with my brother William Shepherd diver. When my nephew came along the considered continuing the pattern but his mom’s maiden name was oeh so instead they stuck with the william s. diver pattern, using sterling as the middle name. some friends are teri and jay and they named the kids jill, tate,and jordan

My son is Jonathan and gies by Johnny right now. We have a girl on the way and really liked Jocelyn, but it is just too similar, as is Josie which we might have used.

My husband and his twin brother are Shane an Shawn and the have the same middle initial. Too close! I recenly filled a prescription for my husband and the pharmacist pulled up his brothers records instead. Similar name, same date of birth, middle initial. Didn’t catch the error until later.

I feel pretty late on this one, but I had to add my family. I was first, and my mom picked names she loved and would give me one of each parent’s initials- Jennifer Mariska (Jennifer of course being number one at the time, but I never minded sharing). The following year they had Jonathan Michael, same pattern for the same reason.

The real Problem? Jan (mom), Jen, and Jon all under the same roof. Mostly confusing if being yelled at from a long distance or if the speaker is mumbling.

I grew up next door to a Jennifer, younger brothers James and Jonathan – Jen, Jim, Jon – same problem! 🙂

Okay, are Owen and Caelin too close? We’re expecting baby no. 4. If he’s a boy, the only name we like so far is Caelin. (Owen is baby no. 3.) We’re pretty decided on a name that begins with C – in memory of someone we love who died.

Thanks for this great website!

You’re welcome, Jeannine. Thanks for reading!

I don’t think Owen and Caelin are too close. Owen and Cohen, yes. Owen and Caelin are similar in style, but don’t seem at all close in pronunciation.

Congratulations on baby #4!

So funny that I am here again. Baby 4 was a girl (Cecilia).

Baby 5 is Lucien, which is also close to Owen! He was adopted, and the name given by his orphanage was pronounced “Lu-shin”. We liked Lucien, and decided to overlook the potential matchy-matchy sound. (O likes to tell me that Lucien + Owen = lotion. Owen + Lucien = ocean …. !)

We’re traveling to adopt baby 6 in a few weeks. She is older, so it seems unfair to change her name. We will keep her existing name in the middle spot, and we will use it (at least at the beginning). Adopted kids often grow up and want “western” sounding names, though. We struggled until the day the paperwork was due, and finally settled on Gwenn. (The G is in memory of my father.) Owen loves that his new sister will have a similar looking name. I actually think that Owen and Gwenn sound different enough, at least the way I pronounce them. Ha!

Which leads me to wonder: Have you written a piece on naming adopted kids? Don’t know if there would be interest in that, but it’s obviously something near to my heart. I’d be happy to write one or collaborate on one

Hi Jeannine – Congratulations on your new daughter! I would love, love, love your help writing about the complexities of naming adopted children! I’ve spoken to parents about it, but since I’ve never gone through it personally, I hesitate to dive in. (The only family I’ve ever helped was adopting an infant at birth, so the questions seemed less difficult.) I’ll send a message to your gmail. Best, Abby

My favourite girls name was Ashlyn, gone forever now because my first-born was a boy and we decided at the last minute to call him Asher. Way too close. The knowledge that we might never have a girl anyway allowed us to use the “Ash” sound for our beautiful son.

I grew up with my mum, dad & two brothers all sharing the same initials. Only my sister & I were unique. The others all used to open each others’ mail. To make it worse, my dad & one of my brothers shared exactly the same name (first, middle, surname), forcing the use of “junior” & “senior”. I think it’s rather archaic to name sons after dad. I actually wouldn’t mind using that name myself, or a variant of it (William – I like Billy), but I feel that my brother Bill has dibs on it if he ever has any kids.

After naming my first two daughters Aeryn and Gillian, I SWORE I would pick a name with a different ending sound for the third.

Somehow, my husband and I settled on Selene.

I know a sibset that is Madison, Morgan (girl), and Matthew. The two girls look a lot a like and I call them by the wrong names all the time! I feel bad because I used to baby-sit them!

At my church we have twins Isabelle and Elizabeth, Evan and Eden, Kylie and Katie! Eeekk.

I agree with Corinne. I call myself an NGU – Name Geeks Unite. So, I do take naming very seriously. As long as the names aren’t specifically the same in sound or overly similar, like Keira and Kara or Kristin and Christine, then go for it. Ella and Elizabeth or Janice and Jeanette are different

Here is the thing , a lot of people don’t get into names and they just names that they like.So, a lot of people don’t have rules. They simple for what they like.Also, using a same letter could be a way to honour family. I think it depends on the family. My sibling , mom and I all have the same initial and it was not intentional at all. Our names truly were just names that she loved. They also have completely different sounds. It has yet to affect me negatively. In a way, it actually feels like we have our own little club together. In saying that, I don’t plan on using the same letter for future children

As long as the names have different sounds, I think the names can be used.

Similar names for siblings are Heaven and Nevaeh. John and Jonathan ( I kid you not)

Names where I might have a problem:Maya and Isla, Dylan and Nolan, Eden and Dylan, Eden, Evangeline and Ember, Amber and Ember (that WOULD be a problem lol), Zane and Thane (prblem).

We’re running into a name problem right now and I hoping the fine readers will share their insights.

Love the name Esme but is it too close to her older sister, Ella?

Do you plan to have more kids? That’s the first question that pops into my head.

I think Ella and Esme are just on the right side of close but not-too-close. And if you later had a son, there are plenty of compatible boy names.

But a third daughter could be tough. Ella, Esme and Anya, maybe. Or Ella, Esme and Eden. But the list is (somewhat) limited. Because Ella, Esme and Molly or Ella, Esme and Sara feels like one of your girls is left out.

No, this is our last child. We have a boy named Owen, then Ella and baby#3 coming any day now. We’ve poured over names but seem to come back to Esme everytime other than questioning if it’s too close to Ella.

Owen, Ella and Esme – they’re close, but not too close – at least IMHO. Would you like me to open it up? I’ve never done it before, but I could certainly post a question – this far after an article is published, I don’t think many readers are checking back.

I come back to mention I know a sibset Harry (Harrison), Maddie (Maddison) & Charlie.

Also my cousin Hannah was born 18months after me and my name is Anna- its not a sibset but its kind of interesting.

My Mum’s sibset is John, Sandra & Jillian.- Two initials the same but John & Jill are quite different sounding.

My siblings and I thought ended in different sounds but my sisters end the same I just realised! We all have our own initial though.

Anna, Katherine, Matthew, Connor & Erin.

Haha, Anna, your family fared far better than mine, lucky thing.

Kellie, Matthew, Kimberley, Jason, Jeannie. Matthew is the odd consonant out and really the best name there.

I have a big soft spot for Jeannie (JEE nee) though. It was my Scottish Great Nan’s name.

Oh I love this topic.

I know two sibsets: Daniel and Danielle, Kyle and Kylene. I could never understand it.

#5 always trips me up. My daughters are Josephine and Genevieve. Evangeline, Clementine, Vivienne are all on the long list for another girl but I doubt I could actually use any of them because of the similarities (-ine endings) and potential overlap of nns (Vivi, Evie). Josiah is another name that I love, but won’t use because of the similarity to Josephine.

I’ve got Isla, Iris, Ivy, and Ian on my shortlist. It doesn’t bother me, I love the names. If people have problems with the fact that I’ve got all these ‘I’ names, they need some help. And this is coming from a name nerd 😉

As much as I cringe at the trenderrfic and contrived Kyson and Karson, Kayleigh and Kyleigh, Jayden and Jayda sibsets, I’d seriously consider Isla and Ivy or Isla and Isemay (although I don’t like the similarity to Esme). I’m a hypocrite.

I’d also like to throw Blithe in as a middle and as we regularly call our daughter by her first middle, Bonnie, Blithe and Bonnie is as twee and pea-podded as it gets, folks. *slaps own face*

Yes … but I do think that there are plenty of sibs out there named Elisabeth and Isobel, so James and Hamish in the middle? Not a big deal. And I love Blithe!

I know a family with a little boy and a little girl. Boy is (FIRSTNAME) Oliver. Girl is Olivia (MIDDLE NAME). I don’t really see a problem with it

With James almost a year old (eek!) we’re talking about, talking about number two in the next year or so. We were talking family names we both like, and realized we both love my MIL’s middle name, Jane. I immediately was bummed we’d used James. I liked the name, but I love Jane, and she’s a family name over James not being one, and James also nixes Adam and Dean to me. Kevin, of course, doesn’t see the problem with having James and Jane. *eyeroll*. Oh well, if we had a girl, we have it narrowed down to Caroline or Daphne. Don’t even ask me about boy names. I guess we just can’t have a boy, because Kevin wouldn’t sign a birth certificate with any name I like!

Definitely can’t go with Jane! However, Caroline Jane is simply classic. Go for it. You need to have a girl because that name is gorgeous. 😉 Also, your kids will match a little: J-ames K-enneth and C-arolineJ-ane (reversed sounds, right?)

Ah, but I really really want the middle name of a girl to be Margaret, after my sister, mom, and grandmother (Amelia Margaret, Margo Lee, and Margaret Isobella, respectively). Kenneth is a huge family name for Kevin, so I want to do the same for our side of the family. We didn’t hyphenate last names or anything, so I want the middle name of the next baby to be more reflective of our side of the family. It’s a bummer, because I love love love the sound of Daphne Jane. I never even considered the slightly matchy aspect of James Kenneth and Caroline Jane, but I really like that!

My Dad’s name is James and his sisters name is Jane (goes by Janey as well). They never had a problem with it. But then again, my Dad went my Jim/Jimmy, so they sound less similar like that.

Our guy is almost exclusively James, sometimes Jamey. I just don’t like Jim/Jimmy, sorry to your dad. It just wouldn’t work for us, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there it worked out for!

LOL, Kayt – I know EXACTLY how you feel about a second boys’ name. I love Daphne and (obviously) Caroline, too. Jane and James does seem awfully matchy, though. Too bad!

My name is Eva (pronounced EE-vuh). My younger brother is named Eric. It has never bothered me that our names start with the same letter. My parents didn’t name my brother Eric because it started with an E to match my name, they named him Eric because they loved the name.

Eva, I think that’s very often the case – and Eva and Eric are quite different. The first initial thing isn’t a dealbreaker – especially not with two kids. It’s just one of those sticky issues. If your parents had a third child, would they have felt obligated to use Ezra or Elliot or Elena?

Charlotte Vera, I know just what you mean about two names not having the same ending! I am going to be a nightmare to my future partner; no repetition of initials, no repetition of ‘sounds’, all names must have different amounts of syllables, etc! However, I’ve always though I might just have one child, so maybe it won’t matter anyway!

Since someone mentioned the Duggars upthread, thought I’d share my thoughts. I’m disappointed, I’d hoped for a Josephine, Julia or Julie. They now have a Joseph, Josiah and a Josie. (I know that it would have been worse to have a Josephine but it’s such a nice name I was willing to overlook it! Besides, they obviously don’t care about repetition *COUGH Jeremiah and Jedidiah COUGH*)

I forgot to say something that I’d thought off while initially reading this (marvelous) post. That is that I know a family with parents named Adam and Anita and children Gia, Grace, and Reuben. I think their names match quite well meaning-wise.

A couple I know have boys named Brasen and Barron. If that wasn’t confusing enough, the two little boys are only 11 months apart in age, so they look almost like twins! Apparently the parents chose those names in an endeavour to match their children’s name meanings with the meanings of their own names.

My husband and I were strongly considering Celeste before we decided it was really too similar to our favourite boys’ name, Cedric. Should we end up with another girl in the future we may go with Celeste and forever wave goodbye to Cedric. If I could get Mark to join my fascination with the similar-ending Alaric, that would be fine, but so far I haven’t had any luck getting him to realise what a wonderful name it is.

Now that I have a Roseanna, I can never have another daughter whose name ends with an “a” sound, which narrows my options down considerably. Yes, I have an arbitrary rule that none of my kids’ names can end with the same sound!

(I do think that Cedric and Celeste are acceptable for twins, as would be Verity/Clemence or Felicity/Clemence, but not Verity/Felicity.)

Well, there’s mismatchees galore in my family: Primrose, Annabeth & Thomas come to mind instantly. My mother and her only full brother, too: Stanislaw & Francesca. Yep.

I think I did pretty good with mine: Leo, Simon & Josephine/Josie. But then, I dislike repeating intials (nevermind I share one with Leo) but other than that, I just seem to be drawn to names that feel similar (ignore my undying love for Jemima, please).

My biggest peeve is #8. I hate the narrow mindedness of it. There are 26 letters, use the spread, folks! It’s the reason I keep waffling on Jemima. I gave up Ottoline for Ottilie, I don’t want to give up Jemima/Mimi! 🙂

I know brothers Zachary and Isaac. I always thought was a bit close. Though I guess Zachary goes by his full name, so it’s not Zach and Isaac.

Our daughter is Rose. When I was thinking about boy names for our second child, I liked Ezra. Then I realized it was very similar – 4 letters, the same sounds, just backwards.

I didn’t realize until after we’d picked “Henry”, that we now are Ben, Jen(nie) and Hen(ry) (plus Rose.) I guess part of me liking “Henry” was that it shares part of my name and I’ve always liked my husband’s name Benjamin (way before we ever met.) So I must have a thing for the -en sound.

Pamela Redmond Satran – one of the Namberry duo – has written that her three kids are Rory, Joseph and Owen – Ro, Joe and O! I do think we tend to favor the same sounds over and over again and not even know it.

Actually, I know a pair of twins that are Zach and Isaac, and it never occurred to me that they may be too close. That’s probably because here in Minnesota “Isaac” doesn’t sound like “Zach”. It’s more of an EYE-zik than an EYE-zak. I don’t know if the pronunciations sound closer in other places, but here they just seem matched but not rhyme-y.

My mothers siblings are named Michelle and Michael, strangely her name is Amanda.
Mine and my siblings names: Natalie, Michaela, Nicole and Connor.
Mine and Nicole’s names are really too similar, plus my mum made the mistake of giving us both a J middle name. Now when a letter comes to N.J.M, we have no idea whose it is.

The names I like for future children are not similar apart from the floral/nature theme running through my girls names list. Daphne, Ivy and Olive being a sample of such.

Interesting post 🙂

Ummm… I’m guilty. Not only did it never, ever not once occur to me that “Scarlett” and “Skylar” (my stepdaughter who we have every other weekend) are extremely similar in sound, now we are naming our second daughter another “S” name. When we first started discussing names, I was adamant that we would not use an “S” name… and then I fell in love with one and couldn’t like anything else. Then the middle name hubby came up with starts with the same letter as Scarlett’s first middle name, so they almost have the same initials. But the middle honors family members on both sides, and it was so sweet of him to think of it that I felt I could hardly argue. **sigh** Maybe I should get my tubes tied after this one. Just to prevent a Duggar-like disaster.

Then again, Scarlett, we often think that Clio should’ve been Anya – we’re Abby, Arthur, Alex/Alexei/Aly and … Clio.

It’s just as weird to be left out.

At the time, we wanted to honor my mom, and we thought we might have another child – and we REALLY didn’t want to be locked into all As …

Some days, I think we missed out on family unity, even though it can be a bit much.

How odd, my parents are called Andrew and Anya, they called my brother Alex and me Caroline!

There’s a whole question here though about planning- of course when you have a baby boy you have no idea whether you will in future have a girl, another boy, twins or nothing at all! So even the most name-obsessed of us must have our grand schemes scuppered…
Has anyone else regretted holding out on a name, and not giving it as a middle to their first child in case they had another of the same gender- and then they never did?

Now that is the kind of coincidence that makes me hear the theme from the Twilight Zone, Sugar! 🙂

And I love your phrase “our grand schemes scuppered” – so true.

Wow, I have thoughts on just about all of these. What a fun post for us name nerds 🙂

First of all, re: #2, I know a family with a James and a Timothy *and* a Jennifer and a Benjamin! Jim, Tim, Jen, Ben.,.. and Josie 🙂 Fortunately at least James goes by his full name. Somebody just didn’t do the math there!

Re: #4, I know sibs Caleb and Michaela, but Michaela went by Mia, so the repeating “Cale” wasn’t obvious. Likewise, my own first two girls share an “il”. Nice, right? But since our Philippa is almost exclusively Pippa, it’s not a biggie 🙂

Re:#7, we have friends who have a little Oscar (and big sister Tabitha) and say they will use Felix if they ever have another boy. Now they’d not only be referencing the Odd Couple, but they’d be stealing Gillian Anderson’s combo, too! They live in the UK, where both are less likely to be noticed, I guess.

Now, to what we’ve had to rule out: it’s a long, sad list! Felicity: too close to Philippa. Felix: same ending as Beatrix. Cecily: same ending as Romilly. Barnaby ( the *only* boys’ name we both love!): shares initial with Beatrix. There were serious negotiations during my last pregnancy as to how important that rule is. We would love to have more children, and the no-sharing-initials rule is becoming very prohibitive, but we’ve decided for the time being that, yes, we really are that anal. The rule stands. Sigh…

Also, we have toyed with Quincy if #5 is a boy. Are Quincy and June (Juniper) in the same family too Little Einsteins or will no one notice?

I like Quincy quite a bit, and I think he fits right in with your other kids’ names. As for Quincy and June, I don’t know … if her birth certificate read June, I might hesitate. (Shade of JLo’s Emme and Max from DragonTales.) But since her full name is Juniper, I think a) it is different; b) it remains a fairly obscure reference that no one is likely to remember into adulthood.

I love that you used Philippa with nn Pippa. I’ve been in love with it for a while, but no one else seems to understand what I love about it. It’s a beautiful name.

The closest we have come is deciding that, along with some other reasons, Isaac was not doable with Imogen based on the two being “I” names. To be honest, having two I names was not the biggest factor (since we’re not going for lots of kids – two will do), but paired with some other things that weren’t quite right (an Immy and an Izzy? and the other Isaac nn we considered is Zac, and my brother is a Zachary – and it just felt ‘off’), Isaac was eliminated. Had Imogen been an Isla or Iona, with a long “eye” sound similar to Isaac, the two Is would have been more off-putting.

Just have to mention this – yesterday I saw on Dr Oz a trio of 30-something sisters: big sis Poppy, and twin little sisters Lovey and Dovey. #2, #5, and #7.

My daughter is Phoebe, which rules out my newly-adored Daphne, and also Penelope, which my husband likes. Also, my husband recently suggested the nn Effie after his grandmother. I DETEST than name, and wriggled out of it by saying that the FEE-be and Ef-FEE sound too close to me. We are, however, considering Helena, which shares both Greek origin and the meaning “bright” with Phoebe.

Note to Sara: I worked with a Genevieve…the Americans pronounced it Jen-eh-veev, but the Canadians called her Jen-vee-ev. I do love Vivienne…beautiful name for a baby or adult.

Haha! Kelleita we posted at the same time! I’m not copying you I promise! We do love the name Juliet with any spelling. It’s on the very short list of girl names along with Genevieve and Vivienne (or Vivian).

I am so frustrated. My son’s name is Titus. My absolute favorite name for another boy is Jude. However, I CANNOT have a Titus and a Jude. Then we are just the offbeat book-of-the-Bible name family. But what about Titus and Juliet for a girl? Yes, I know Juliet is a sad sad character, but it is a lovely name. However is that too much of a Roman emperor reference for one family?

My daughter is Joanna, which eliminates Susannah; otherwise I’d’ve liked to use that to honor my sister, Susan.

We call my daughter Josie, and my son’s name ends with -en. Mash the two together and you sort of get Justin, which is another name I like that’s now out of the question.

I haven’t had to reject any based on your list, but aside from Madeline and Madison (plus dog Maddie, and did I mention Madeline is pronounced MAD-a-lyn, so the sisters’ names basically rhyme, too?) I grew up with Timmy and Tommy. I also have a friend who named her first son Parker and her second son Charlie, and when I asked if she was a jazz fan, she had no idea what I was talking about. 😉 I know a group of sisters, Amanda, Miranda, and Samantha – and meet mom, Sandra. (Okay, I’ll let this out of the bag: one of those girls is mommy to Madeline and Madison.) I know someone who named her sons Bryson and Brady (maybe Brody, can’t ever recall) and I never remember which one is which. They’re about a year apart in age. But those are close names. There’s also the set of names that are just too distinct: sisters Sarah and Morgan, for example. Sarah, a classic princessy name, and Morgan, a boy’s name. Hm. One could argue Morgan Le Fay was a woman, but still…

Interesting post, as usual!