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!

Challenge: No More E Names … But They Can’t Stop Thinking About E Names!

Kristen writes:

I’m one of four kids, all with K names, just like our dad. I’ve never wanted to do the same thing, but here I am, expecting our third, and our first two have E names … just like my husband.

My husband keeps joking this baby should be Eric Jr. or Ethan or Elroy.

The only other name we’ve discussed seriously is Michael, a family name (my dad, his uncle), but I feel like we’d just be settling for a name we don’t hate.

We named our daughter Esme Grace because it was my favorite name. And then my husband chose Eloise Rose because it was his favorite name, and we really couldn’t agree on anything else.

I love their names, but we need to break this E streak before this baby arrives in September!

Our last name sounds like Boring-with-an-L. It sometimes feels like the L sound is hard to work with, or maybe I just like names like Isabelle and Gabriel that run into the L, and wouldn’t want to use something like Lawson or Luna, either. I don’t mind Michael as much with the L, but it’s still not ideal, right?

Can you help us think up some new names?

Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Finding brother names for Esme and Eloise

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

Let’s focus in on what you’ve already decided:

  • We’re avoiding another E name
  • An L name won’t work with your surname, and names ending with the L sound are probably off the table, too
  • You’re okay with Michael – maybe, possibly – but it’s not ideal

It strikes me that Michael might be the perfect middle name for this baby. But let’s focus on names that you might like as firsts first!

Esme and Eloise are contemporary names with deep roots and flowing sounds. They’re popular now, but don’t feel invented or novel. And both names are clearly given names, as opposed to words or surnames.

Nothing says you have to stick with that description for a son’s name – in fact, lots of parents find that their preferences for naming boys is different to their girl naming style.

But I’m going to start with masculine equivalents of Esme and Eloise – names with history and roots that are in favor now.

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Smooth and short, Jude is Biblical, literary, and musical. I think it’s the last bit that shapes this name’s image most today – the enduring Beatles’ song from 1968.


A traditional name, Julian for boys has long lagged behind Julia for girls in the US. But that’s reversed in recent decades, and Julian is a mainstream favorite, polished and distinctive.


I think there’s something effortless about Finn. He’s also a hero, and usually a thoughtful one, too – from Irish legend to Huck Finn to the most recent Star Wars trilogy. It’s a name with history to spare.


Strictly speaking, Hayes is a surname – but it pops up in the US popularity data back in the late nineteenth century, so it feels a little more traditional than some choices in this category. I love the bright sound and the way it shares the S of Esme and Eloise while still being quite distinctive.


Boys’ names like Leo, Theo, and Milo are trending now. Traditional Hugo has been around for ages, but it’s still not nearly as popular as other o-enders.


From Plymouth Rock to jazz music, Miles features in American history across the years. But the name is familiar enough that it doesn’t scream Standish or Davis; instead, it’s a solid choice for a son. The only downside here: Miles Michael feels a bit repetitive.


Another surname, but again, one with a long history of use. Parker feels polished and outdoorsy at the same time, a name at home in a blue blazer with hiking boots.


This name just sounds cheerful and upbeat. While it’s another surname, it comes from an Old English given name, Tata, plus it brings to mind Nate and Kate. While Tate sounds completely different than Esme and Eloise, it still feels like a brother name for the pair.

Overall, my favorites are Tate Michael or Miles … Eric? Everett? Yes, it’s tempting to keep the initial E in the mix, and now I’m doing it, too!

Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother for Esme Grace and Eloise Rose?

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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