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!

Hannah writes:

Our daughter’s name came to us immediately. She’s Lyla Juniper. We went back and forth on the spelling, but we’re happy with the one we chose.

Now we’re expecting our second and final child. It’s a boy, and we’re finding that boy names are harder for us.

Names we’ve discussed:

  • CREW – We like this one, but our last name is one syllable. (Sounds like Vine with an F.)
  • MALAKAI/MALACHI – My husband only likes the first spelling and I only like the second. But we both really like it for the nickname Kai, which is just the same problem as Crew.
  • BENNETT – I really don’t like the nickname Ben, for personal reasons.
  • EVERETT – But my sister has an Evan, and I feel like this is too match-y.
  • LANDON – My favorite boy’s name with Lyla, but now I’m less sure. Also, is two kids with L names too much?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

Let’s start with the questions you’ve raised:

  • Can you use a one-syllable first name with a one-syllable last name? Absolutely! Brad Pitt, Mae West, and Frank Lloyd Wright are all here to assure us that a short-short name can be unforgettable. But you might not want to! After all, it’s not a lot of sound.
  • Can you use a longer name if you always plan to shorten it? Of course! But it can be deeply unsatisfying to choose a name you aren’t wild about just for the nickname.
  • Does the nickname’s spelling have to follow logically from the formal name? No. Malachi called Kai works every bit as well as William called Bill. Everybody will get used to it. (Okay, it might take more repetition and explanation with the Malachi/Kai connection. But it’s very possible.) Of course, lots of people strongly prefer that the nickname/formal name line up as closely as possible.
  • Are Everett and Evan too close? I don’t think so, but that’s always a judgement call.
  • Are two L names too many? On the contrary, I think two siblings sharing the same first initial can be kind of great. The issue, of course, is if you do eventually have a third child. Will you feel like L names are now necessary, and you’re stuck?

All of that said, I do think we should dream up some fresh new ideas.



If Bennett is close, but you’d like to avoid the nickname Ben, then Beckett is an obvious substitute.


Quietly trending for a decade, Callum is a cousin to Malcolm, but with a light, current feel. It fits right in with names like Crew, but has that appealing extra syllable.


An Old Testament staple long in favor, Ethan’s strong sound just feels like a fit here.


Hugo shares Crew’s vowel sound, but will likely never be shortened.


I do think another L name has potential, and Lawson would top my list.


An Old Testament name like Malachi, but one that doesn’t need to be shortened.


The -ett ending of Everett and Bennet with the OO of Crew.


This name just makes sense on a list with names like Crew and Landon.

Overall, I’m drawn to something like Lawson Truett or Hugo Walker. Callum Walker appeals, too. I also really like Malachi as a potential middle, but I’m not sure about a first. Maybe Ethan Malachi or Lawson Malachi?

Readers, over to you: what would you name a brother for Lyla Juniper?

Would you like your very own #namehelp post, but don’t want to share your question with the world? Find out more about my private consulting services here.

Name Help: A Brother for Lyla Juniper
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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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What do you think?


  1. So far “Beckett” with “Beck” as a nickname feels well-suited and I’d have to agree it’s a great option! “Landon” is a nice name but I would personally have a tough time saying “Lyla and Landon” at times. Having “L” names for both kids is not “too much” but the repeated “and” then “Lan-“ would stick out for me. Otherwise, I’d say keep it if you have an attachment to it.

  2. My first thought was Cairo, nn Kai.

    Or something longer, like Zachariah, that could also lead to Kai as a nickname.

    And then that makes me want to suggest Ezekiel, nn Zeke.

    I’ll also add Marcus or Marco, Cillian or Killian, Gideon, and Prescott.

  3. Everett called Rett/Rhett would take Everett further away from Evan.

    I like the suggestion of Hugo – gets you a vowel-forward name you like without the vowels running into your last name. Hugo Vine vs. Kai or Crew Vine. Hugo Malachi/Malakai Vine (or even Hugo Kai Vine) might be my favorite.

  4. My first thought was a different -tt ending name. Beckett, Emmett, and Truett are great! Other suggestions:

  5. Echoing A here with the suggestion of Emmett, it fits a lot of sounds you like and Emmett and Lyla go really well together.

    Caius nicknamed Cai is another option, Zakkai nicknamed Kai or Zak could work, too!

    A more bold suggestion is Garnet, again some of the sounds you like but a lovely gemstone not used much. Might make a better middle name option so that they’ll both have nature middle names.

  6. Hi! What about Silas, Owen, Garrett, Titus, Francis, Frederick, Davis, or Franklin. Best wishes for a smooth rest of the pregnancy!

  7. Lyla Juniper is a lovely name! I think any of the names from your list could work as a brother to Lyla. I would go with the spelling of Malakai if you want the nickname Kai but I do think Crew sounds better with the last name since it doesn’t repeat the same long -I sound.

    I really like Abby’s suggestions of Beckett because it’s similar to Bennet and Everett but gives you the nickname option of Beck which feels fun and punchy like Kai or Crew.

    Wyatt shares similar sounds to Kai but is also similar to Bennet and Everett

    Emmett solves the problem of sounding too similar to cousin Evan but still similar to Bennett and Everett

    Crew and Kai make me want to suggest other short, high energy names like Zane, Whit, Jude, Quinn, Vance, Cade, Wes, Cruz, Jace, Max, Mack, Jay

    Malakai “Kai” shares a lot of similarities and sounds to Isaac “Ike” or even “Zac”. Tyson feels similar to Landon while nickname “Ty” shares similarities to Kai.

    If you’re hesitant to use Landon because you want to avoid another L name then I wonder if you would like Nolan. It still has a strong L sound like Landon but gives you a new initial. Lyla and Nolan sound darling together.