Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every week, 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!
Long-time reader, first-time writer!
Our third child is due in a few weeks. It’s a boy!
We have a daughter named Daphne Claire and a son named Heath Benjamin. My husband suggested Heath, and I immediately loved it because it (sort of) is for my sister Heather. The other names are ones we liked. But I realized (afterwards, LOL!) that both are kind of nature names, since Daphne means laurel.
This won’t be our last child, so don’t want to start a theme we can’t finish. But I do like the idea that their names are connected in this way that only me and my husband know.
But maybe it gets more obvious if we keep going?
My husband won’t go for anything like River or Cedar. But he won’t suggest names, either.
I’d like to find something that sounds great with Daphne and Heath, has the same kind of meaning, and goes with our last name, which is Anderson-with-an-S. (Our last name makes S names tricky.) And, if possible, it would be good to hear names for girls, too, because I don’t want to choose a name for this baby without knowing that we could find another one in the future.
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on baby three!
I know what you mean about subtle themes, and I think few people would notice it. But would be charmed if they did!
Until I realized your surname starts with S, I had the perfect names all picked: Silas for a boy, Sylvie for a girl. They both come from the Latin silvus, forest. But …
They’re just not great with your surname!
So back to the drawing board. Even though we’re looking specifically for a boy’s name, let’s look at a bigger pool of subtle nature names – even if you don’t need them for a few more years!
I’m going to mix boy and girl names in a single list, because a handful of these are considered unisex. That said, because Daphne and Heath are clearly gendered, I’m not sure that fits your style. I’d expect Rowan to be Heath’s brother, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use it for a daughter.
SUBTLE NATURE NAME CHOICES
LEO, ARTHUR, CALLUM, JONAH
All names that nod to the animal kingdom.
IVY, ROSE, VIOLET
Flower names have been around for so long that we sometimes forget that they’re borrowed from the natural world at all. I mean … Chrysanthemum is a plant, but Rose is Heath and Daphne’s sister.
JASPER, PEARL, RUBY
Gemstone names come from the natural world, but can feel a little glitzier. I’m not sure Daphne’s sister should be Diamond, but Pearl works.
And Jasper has the same vintage cool as Heath, so it’s just perfection – and quite under-the-radar, I think.
Night sky names that have become popular for this generation.
JUNE, MAE, AUGUST
Again, they’re not exactly nature names, but they’re definitely nouns. And the tie to the natural world seems evident. August seems like a great match for Heath and Daphne.
JUNIPER, LINDEN, ROWAN
They’re tree names, but perhaps a little more name-like than Cedar.
FERRIS, FORREST, REED
Surname names with meanings borrowed from the natural world.
A BROTHER (OR POSSIBLY SISTER) FOR DAPHNE and HEATH
For boys, I think the clear favorites are Jasper, August, and Reed. They’re all mainstream, but outside the current Top 100.
In fact, I love them in combination: Jasper Reed or August Reed, maybe?
Leo ranks in the current Top 100, but it’s still great – and again, would work nicely in combination with lots of these names.
For a possible future daughter, I think the options are just as good: Pearl as a first, maybe? I love Juniper Pearl as a combination, too, and I think Juniper is great with Daphne and Heath. Though maybe it’s a little more obviously a nature name than you’d like?
I’d say that there are plenty of choices to name this baby – and maybe another future sibling or three, too!
Readers, can you suggest more subtle nature names? Names that don’t really sound like nouns, but feel like they’re connected to the natural world?
Love the suggestion of Brooks! Reed, August, and Wesley are also nice. For girls I wanted to add Blair (plain/field) and Flora (flower).
Daphne, Heath, Brooks, and Ivy
Daphne, Heath, August, and Blair
Daphne, Heath, Wesley, and Flora
I could see Adam, man of the red earth! And for a future girl Margot, meaning pearl~
Basil and Jasper are both beautiful choices. I would also suggest Laurent/Laurie/Lorenzo or Steven/Stephen/Steaphan which also mean Laurel. Valerian is another herbal name, but Basil and Jasper definitely go better. I love Laurie for a boy, and if feels old-fashioned and stately like Daphne and Heath.
All the ones I immediately thought of have already been suggested! (Ronan, Linnea, Rowan, Dylan, and Leo) Hilariously, I didn’t think to suggest Callum, even though it’s my son’s name. I do think it’d work well though! My other son is Lachlan, which means “from the land of lakes”, so that could work too! And I love the Shakespearean Viola over Violet.
Like the ideas of Callum, Leo and Jasper. Also Perry, Glen, George and Oliver. Phoebe for a girl.
Lennox – elm grove
Ivo – yew wood
Bryn – hill
Vernon – alder tree
Adair – oak tree ford
Marin or Dylan – sea
Ronan – little seal
Clayton or Ashton
For girls: Isla, Briar, Bryony, Marlowe – driftwood or lake, Fearne, Brooke, Cassia
Is Laurel itself too close?
I quite like Glen. Or Oliver could work too, if popularity doesn’t bother you.
D@phne, He@th and……
Wesley. Western meadow
Brooks. Of the brook
Foster. Keeper of the forest
Linnea. Twin flower, lime tree
Phoebe. Type of bird
Rosemary. Type of herb
Marigold. Type of flower
Primrose. Type of flower
So fun! For boys, Lowell (wolf), Adler (eagle) or Wilder? Muir could be a nod to John Muir, known for founding the Sierra Club, while at the same time matching brother’s name; it’s from moor, a synonym for heath. Jay (or a name that nicknames to it) could be a subtle bird reference. Likewise Phoebe for a girl. Girl names in this vein seem to come a little easier. I just met a little girl named Acadia, which brought the forest to mind for me. Arden would be another forest name that might work for you.
Any of the George names reference the earth – Georgia, Georgeanne, Georgianna and of course, George.
Peregrine, means traveller but there is also the bird. Perry and Pippin can be nicknames.
Basil, herbs are always wonderful.
Pierce, from Peter which means rock.
Drake, can mean duck or dragon.
Yves, from the yew tree.
Todd, means fox.
Love Jasper for you.
Would your husband go for surnamey names that also have nature ties? Like Wolfe? Or Miller? Sawyer? Thatcher? Lol Do you like -er names? I think they would flow nicely with AndERson-with-S.
Arthur or Bernard – both mean “bear”
Philip – “horse”
Samson – “sun”
Peter – “rock”
For a future daughter: Marigold, Wren, Lynn (“lake”), Ruby