Welcome Max WallaceKate writes: Thanks for all the feedback about using Max with Mae. We looked at all of the suggestions, and really liked many of them. But when he was born, I knew immediately that his name was Max. We’re all so in love with our sweet little guy, and thanks again for the encouragement to stick with our favorite name.

Kate writes:

We love our daughter’s name, Mae Elinor. I like the way it’s strong but sweet. And I love that everyone knows the name, but she’s the only Mae we’ve ever met.

Now we are expecting our second and last baby. It’s a boy! My husband loves the name Max. And I do, too!

But I’m not convinced that Mae and Max go together.

It it helps, our last name sounds like Tennessee-with-an-H. We both have short names, and we’d like to stick with one-syllable names for our kids, too. If this baby was a girl, we were thinking about Rose. The only middle name we’re seriously considering is Wallace, a family name on my husband’s side.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

A name can break lots of rules and still be the perfect choice.

I’d re-frame the question.

Imagine you couldn’t use the name Max for some very specific and insurmountable reason.

If that were true, what names would you consider instead?

Because Max is your clear frontrunner, right?

It’s perfect with your surname, and fits the style of names you clearly prefer – brief, traditional-ish, maybe a tiny bit vintage but perfectly familiar today.

What other names check the same boxes?

Let’s come up with a list. It’s possible that some name will make you pause and say “ooh … I like that a lot … maybe more than Max.”

If that happens, then you have a decision to make.

And if not?

Then you can move forward with naming your new son Max.

Because – this is the question I think you’re really asking – while they’re visually close, they’re not that close when spoken.

And they’re similar in a way that might be kind of fun: Mae and Max.

Is it a bit of a matched set? Sure.

Would naming be a challenge if you welcomed surprise twins in two years? Maybe.

But Mae and Max seem to be on the right side of problematic, even if their kindergarten signatures on artwork could be tough to decipher years later.

Moving on to names that might substitute for Max!



The names share the same long A sound, but Mae and Chase still sound nicely distinct.


Finn reads daring and a little bit carefree. It matches Mae in an unexpected way.


Just as Mae is a gentle nature name, bringing to mind all things Spring, Heath also nods to the natural world.


A high-energy mini name, with a vintage vibe.


A strong sound that pairs nicely with Mae.


Luke shares many of the same qualities with Jude, though it’s a much more popular choice.


Okay, Theo is two syllables – but maybe that’s just fine? The bright O ending is a plus.


An edgy, cool sound with deep roots.


Overall, I like Theo Wallace or Finn Wallace with Mae Elinor. But I’m not sure I’d rule out Max!

Readers, I can’t wait to hear what you think: is Max too close to Mae? What names would you suggest for Mae Elinor’s brother?

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. Our youngest is Max! We have two older boys named Ezra and Finn.

    We also considered Jude for our second but it was already used in our family before our third came along.

    How about…

    Rhodes (since you like Rose)

  2. Max is perfect and adorable; if it’s the name you love you should use it. Ross and Royce do make sense based on Rose, so would Russ. I like Reese in that vain. I think Jules may have been my favorite suggestion.

  3. I love the previous suggestions, Dex, Luke and Rhett.

    I also like Beau, Earl, Joe, and Royce, but I don’t think they sound quite as good with Wallace.

    Rhett Wallace _ennessy is really nice.
    Mae & Rhett are so cute together!

  4. Perhaps you would consider Mae and Myles (or Miles.)
    I’ve always liked the name and I think it pairs well with sister, Mae. To me it is a vintage classic. Very distinguished sounding with the last name.

  5. What about Leo? I probably wouldn’t use max and Mae, it has a Jack and Jill storybook sibling feel but that’s just personal preference.

  6. I love the name Max, but I will say it’s becoming very popular in my area. I’m a teacher and often have more than one Max in my class now.

    I think Heath would be perfect! I also love the suggestion of Gus, and wanted to throw out Clyde, Frank, Sam, or Paul for other one syllable names that sound adorable with Mae.

  7. I agree with the other commenter that both names are GREAT but Max kind of takes some specialness from Mae. How about:

    I know you like one-syllable no-nickname names but Wallace is so great that I’d love to see it as a first with the nickname Walt.

  8. Mae Elinor is delightful! I personally wouldn’t use Max for Mae’s brother because it kind of feels like using Max takes away something from Mae.

    I don’t really know how to explain it, but Mae is so perfect and Max is so close to it that I think it would be better to use a more distinctive name for your son.

    You also like Mae because it’s relatively uncommon, but Max is much more common and you will be more likely to meet other Maxes, so that’s something else to consider too.

    Some one-syllable names that might be a good fit:

    Rhys, Seth, Hank, Drew, Joel, Beau, Reid, Grant, Quinn, Neil, Lance