Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed. (What’s that – it’s Sunday, you say? Why yes, it is! With March Madness in full swing, these posts have been bumped to Sunday. Just for a few weeks.)
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!
Abby Lynn and her husband are expecting a fourth child, a son. He will join:
- Ronan Thomas
- Rosalind Joy
- Elowen Jean
Aren’t you just swooning? What gorgeous names!
Their last name is two-syllables, starts with an F sound and ends in an ‘a’ sound.
Abby Lynn writes:
We have used middle names that honor our children’s grandparents, so next middle name would be Lee. The grandparent’s first name is Randall, which we would consider using as a middle name if Lee just didn’t flow.
I really like the name Munroe and my husband likes the name Rhys, but that’s about all we’ve got. Our short list is unbearably short and the clock is ticking.
I like the idea of sibset flow and would probably shy away from another R-name (even though we seem to gravitate towards those names) – but can be flexible.
Read on for my reply – and please add your thoughtful suggestions in the comments!
Hi Abby Lynn –
What gorgeous names you’ve chosen for your children. I can see why you’re stuck – Ronan, Rosalind, and Elowen are a tough act to follow!
You like Munroe and your husband likes Rhys, but I’m guessing that neither of you feels strongly about the other’s favorite. Otherwise, you’d be happily planning for the arrival of Munroe/Rhys and not writing in for name help, right? And while I love the sound of Rhys Randall, three siblings with the same first initial is a lot of R sound.
So there are two possibilities: first is that Munroe or Rhys is The Name, but one of you just hasn’t warmed to it yet. The other is that The Name is still out there.
Either way, I’d say the easiest way to figure things is out is to see if we can expand your shortlist. If you dislike every name suggested here, you’ll have learned something valuable – and one of the names on your short shortlist might start to feel more right.
So let’s see what we can brainstorm to go with Ronan, Rosalind, and Elowen, avoiding all starts-with-R names:
- Dashiell – Literary, rare, but up-and-coming, Dashiell immediately comes to mind. One hesitation: I’m not sure how this one sounds with your surname. But with your older kids’ names, it’s perfection: Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Dashiell. Eclectic, stylish, smart.
- Alec – Somewhat more common than your kids’ names, and likely to misheard as Alex. (But I’m guessing Ronan gets Rowan and Roman, too, right?) And yet, I think it has a very sophisticated and unexpected appeal. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Alec.
- Kieran – I feel like you must have thought of Kieran – or Ciaran – with a Ronan. And yet, I’ll mention it here, along with the similar-sounding Keir.
- Dorian – While I’m on ends-in-an names, what do you think of Dorian? Oscar Wilde invented the name for his famous tale of the never-aging Dorian Gray. It’s used in the US, but is far from common. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Dorian.
- Garner – I was going to skip all surname names, except, well Munroe is a surname name, and it’s your favorite. So here’s an obscure one that I think could wear well: Garner. It’s an occupational surname for a gardener or one who works in a storehouse for grain. But it makes me think of phrases like “garner applause,” making it a sort of modern virtue name.
- Harvey – This might be completely out there. But Rosalind is such a sweetly vintage name that I wonder if an equally antique name for a son might appeal. Harvey is much less common than Henry, but seems to be following Henry into wider use.
- Hugo – Harvey makes me think of Hugo. Ronan and Hugo sound like brothers to me, both with that lively ‘o’ sound in their names. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Hugo – huh, would you look at that? All four names share the letter o! I find that appealing, but since you’re keen to break the R pattern, that might be an argument against starting another.
- Denham – I want this name to be perfect, because it’s so handsome. Also spelled Denholm, as in Denholm Elliott, the British actor best known as Dr. Marcus Brody in the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies. But is it too much like denim? Hmmm … Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Denham. I think it’s worth consideration. If Denham seems too out there, there’s also Duncan – definitely more mainstream, but still not often heard.
- Conrad – Like Harvey, a vintage name returning to favor. Like Rosalind, Conrad ends in a ‘d’ sound – pretty unusual for names. And like Ronan, Conrad is two syllables. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Conrad. I think it has great balance.
- Callum – This name is popular elsewhere in the English-speaking world, but fairly obscure in the US. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, Callum – it sounds a little bit British and antique, but still spirited and interesting.
Do any of these strike you as strong enough to join your shortlist? Do any of them bump Munroe and Rhys out of consideration?
I know readers will have more amazing suggestions – so let’s hear them! What would you name a brother for Ronan, Rosalind, and Elowen?
Names I really like with with this sibsef: Rosalind,Ronan,Elowen and:
I really like the suggestions Fergus and Emrys. I also like Desmond. But I think Lachlan is perfect, it breaks the scheme but keeps the right atmosphere.
E-nd names [to follow the sibling pattern]:
Eadmund, Eanmund, Eastmund, Edland, Edlend, Edmond, Edmund, Edvind, Egmond, Egmund, Eimund, Eivind, Ejvind, Eland, Elland, Ellend, Elrond, Emund, Enguerrand, Erland, Erlend*, Erlind, Esmond, Esmund, Evind, Ewind, Eyvind
*Erlend can be spelled using the letters of Randall + Lee. Some others:
Aaren, Aarne, Adan, Adar, Adel, Aden, Adnan, Aed, Aedan, Alan, Alar, Alden, Aled, Alen, Allan, Allen, Andel, Ander, Andre, Andrea, Ane, Ara, Aran, Arda, Ardal, Arden, Arend, Arlen, Arn, Arne, Daan, Dale, Dan, Dana, Dane, Danel, Danr, Dar, Dara, Darel, Darell, Daren, Darnel, Darnell, Dean, Dee, Del, Dell, Den, Dene, Dre, Ean, Earl, Earle, Edan, Edel, Eden, Eder, Elad, Elan, Elar, Eldar, Elder, Ellar, Enda, Ender, Endre, Ene, Eran, Eren, Erle, Ern, Lael, Lal, Lane, Lanre, Lea, Leander, Leandre, Leland, Len, Lenard, Nader, Neal, Ned, Neel, Neer, Rad, Rade, Rae, Ran, Randal, Randel, Randell, Read, Red, Reed, Ren, Rene
I really like the suggestions of Dashiell, Duncan, and Lachlan, and will add Garrett and I think I prefer Hugh to Hugo for this set. Lovely names, parents!
I love Hugo! What about other ends in o names like Arlo, Milo, Bruno?
the Mrs. says
Do you care for Morris? Morris Randall. Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen, and Morris…
It has two syllables, is a surname like Munroe, and employs the ‘OH’ sound that is reoccurring in the names of your other offspring. It’s familiar but not popular by any standard!
Best wishes as you welcome your wonderful addition!
Wonder if Alasdair would work?
Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Alasdair
That’s a great idea, Sheri!
C in DC says
Or Allistor, if the O is desirable.
Christina Fonseca says
My favorites from Abby’s suggestions are Dashiell and Hugo. Both go great with your sibset.
I like a lot of the suggestions above, including Ambrose, Callum, Conrad, Rhys, and Hugo. The new one I’ll throw in is Darragh. Darragh Randall?
Frances Rae says
My first thought was Ambrose. It fits with your other children’s names, and it has the ‘ro’ sound you seem to like (Ronan, Rosalind, Munroe), but not in an obvious/matchy way.
I like Hugo and Callum, too.
Interesting that you suggested Ambrose. When I looked up Emrys (which I suggested below) — a name that occurred to me because of its similarity to Rhys — I found that Emrys is a Welsh form of Ambrose: “Emrys – Gender: M Pronunciation: EM-riss Meaning of Emrys: “immortal one” Origin of Emrys: Welsh, variation of Ambrose” (from Nameberry).
If you’re looking for an E name, I have a great-uncle named Eiler (pronounced eye-ler). Could be a nice pairing with Randall for a middle name.
Suggestions from Twitter/Instagram: Callum, Kieran, and Donahue – I especially like the idea of Donahue. Very unexpected!
My first thought was to go with a second “E” name as well! Elliot Lee feels like a nice fit. Can’t wait to hear your choice.
I was thinking along the same lines: a name beginning with “E” seems perfect with your older children’s names. Emrys (“EM-riss”) came to mind when I read of your interest in Rhys. Like Rhys, Emrys is Welsh in origin.
Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Emrys.
I like the idea of an ‘E’ name to pair with Elowen; the two that came to my mind were Edmund and Eomer.
I’d worry that Eomer would cause confusion with Elowen, since you’d almost but not quite have Eomer & Eowyn, who are siblings in the Lord of the Rings.
The (beautiful!) names of your other children strike me as having quite a Celtic/literary/romantic vibe to them, on the basis of which I suggest:
Finbar – Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Finbar
Fergus – Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Fergus
Lachlan – Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Lachlan
Bryn – Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Bryn
Have you thought about using an ‘E’ name, so you have two R’s and two E’s? That kind of thing would please me! So how about Esmond – Ronan, Rosalind, Elowen and Esmond