Name Help: A Brother for ChloeName 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!

Selena writes:

I’m expecting a boy next month, my first. It sounds a little crazy, but I’m having nightmares about not being allowed to bring him home because we can’t decide on a name.

My husband has a daughter from an earlier marriage, Chloe Katherine. She’s eleven. Because she’s older and doesn’t live with us except for a few weeks in the summer, I don’t think we need to match her name in any specific way, but it would be nice if the names sounded good when we say them together.

So far, my husband’s only idea has been more C names: Caleb, Christopher, Corbin, Curtis. But I don’t think he’s really serious. He says that Chloe’s mom chose her name, and he will be happy with whatever I choose.

I know that probably sounds great, but it doesn’t help, because I like about a hundred names and I don’t find any of them special enough to be my son’s name.

Here’s my list after I cut it down to the ones that I like the most.

The only thing I know for sure is that I want a name that’s not too popular/too different and sounds good with his last name, which sounds like Haf-ner.

Here’s my list – please help!

  1. Alden
  2. Andrew
  3. Archie
  4. Arlo
  5. Asa
  6. Beau
  7. Bennett
  8. Cooper
  9. Crew
  10. Dean
  11. Dylan
  12. Emerson
  13. Everett
  14. Felix
  15. Finn
  16. Grady
  17. Graham
  18. Grayson
  19. Hayes
  20. Hudson
  21. Isaac
  22. Jace
  23. Jasper
  24. Kai
  25. Knox
  26. Leo
  27. Levi
  28. Micah
  29. Milo
  30. Oscar
  31. Owen
  32. Parker
  33. Rory
  34. Rowan
  35. Scott
  36. Silas
  37. Simon
  38. Theo (don’t like Theodore)
  39. Wells
  40. Wesley
  41. Wilder
  42. Zachary

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your son!

It can be tough to comb through a long list. It’s great that you’ve already cut it in half – more than half! Now it’s time to do another cut.

We’re looking for names that work with a sister called Chloe and a surname that sounds like Haf-ner. It seems like you’re looking for a mainstream name that’s familiar and current, but not too, too popular.

On that basis, I think we should cut:

Cooper, Jasper, Oscar, Parker, Wilder – because the -R ending conflicts with the -R ending of your surname

Alden, Andrew, Scott, Simon, Zachary – I think these are all great names, but maybe a little outside the mainstream.

Leo, Theo, Hudson, Isaac, Levi, Kai, Owen – And these are, again, fabulous names – but maybe slightly more popular than you’d like.

From this list, I’m going to pick eight favorites and share why – though it’s tough, because many of the others feel like equally good choices!


Like Chloe, Arlo is one of those names of the moment. It’s rising in use, shares lots of sounds with current favorites, and has a sort of cool energy without feeling like a name that’s too different.


I think Bennett strikes a perfect balance between traditional Benjamin and more novel names, like Jett.


The advantage of another C name: it shortens your list. A lot! In this case, if you decide that another C name works best, Crew is the only name left (after Cooper was dropped because of the repeating ending sound with your surname.) Chloe and Crew are great together, and I think Crew Haf-ner is perfect, too.


On paper, maybe Dylan is a little too common? It’s been a Top 100 name for a while. But I like the way Dylan feels midway between the most classic of boy names – the Williams and Jameses of the world – and the more trending picks, the Masons and the Jacksons.


No question that Knox is a rising name. And yet, somehow, I think it’s more like Dylan than Jayden. It has the history and roots of a more traditional choice.


An Old Testament name, Micah feels like an update to Michael, an alternative to popular Biblical choices like Elijah.


A high-energy name and a twenty-first century staple, Rowan is an accessible, versatile name.


A surname name with a long history as a first, Wesley is a little bit like Dylan. It’s popular, but not wildly overused. And it falls somewhere between James and Jackson.

Overall, I’m sort of rooting for Crew. If you decide that choosing another C name is worth considering, then your list gets instantly shorter. Plus, you have a good reason for your choice! Chloe and Crew are great together, and I really do like the way Crew Haf-ner sounds. Maybe Crew Wesley or Crew Everett?

Though I wonder if a C middle name would satisfy? Because I’m equally tempted to suggest Knox Christopher … and I just realized that makes his initials the reverse of his sister’s initials!

Readers, over to you. What would you name a half-brother for Chloe?

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. I’ve been in that spot where your pregnant and starting to freak out a bit trying to find the one name that matches your baby.
    I think rather than pick one instead aim to reduce it to 5 solid combinations. Stick with those for a few weeks and see how you like them then reduce it to 3 if possible.
    Take 3 solid combinations to the hospital and wait until you meet him.

    I think a good place to start is say the name with your last name Haf-ner.
    Consider how it sounds, is it easy or slightly awkward?
    Think about where you want a Nickname and what the possible nicknames might be for each.

    To my ear these are the winners with your last name:
    Andrew nn Drew
    Bennett nn Ben
    Kai I’m really liking the sound of this with your last name

  2. Wow that’s a long list!
    I would start by cutting the one syllable names, as I prefer longer names with this last name.
    Also, Leo and Theo are, in my opinion, top close to Chloe.
    So my favorites from you list are:

  3. I hate to put this out there, but Crew Haf-ner makes me think of Hugh Hefner. I’m sure that will be an outdated reference by the time this kid is old enough to care, but the similarity would be enough for me to eliminate Crew as an option.

    The names I love most on this list are the ones with soft L sounds to echo Chloe: Alden, Arlo, Dylan, and Levi.

    Like Abby, I would avoid something that ends with R, because of the last name. But otherwise, I think most of the names on the list are great fits!

  4. I think Zachary is a great choice if you want something known but not too popular. Chloe and Zachary. Chloe and Zac. They sound so bright and snappy together! Zachary Haf-ner sounds really nice. I also like Wesley too. Wes Haf-ner exudes coolness. Maybe your husband can choose the middle name. Zachary Curtis. Wesley Caleb.

    You have so many names on your list already so I’d hate to add more but I also do really like Nolan for you. Modern but not too popular and I like how him and Chloe both share the long O sound. Chloe and Nolan. Nolan Haf-ner

  5. The last thing you need is more suggestions so I will say that my favorites off your list is Isaac, Jasper, Alden, Scott, Asa, Theo, Wesley, and Levi.

    Maybe you should take a day where you will say one name a lot, out loud, to see which ones you like hearing and saying without getting fatigued.

  6. I quite like your list! I love the suggestion of Knox Christopher and I think Arlo and Dylan are also especially great.

  7. Grady jumped out at me as a keeper. I’m surprised to hear Simon, Scott, Andrew and Zachary characterized as not mainstream. Those sound extremely common to me.

    1. That was a weird way to say that, wasn’t it?! I meant to say “common, but not especially popular for children on their own merits right now.” Which is very wordsy and still not clear. Boys’ names often spend more than a generation near the top, because just as they’re fading in popularity, we start naming our sons after their dads (or other loved ones from the same generation). For example, the Scotts I know are all in their 40s or 50s, which tracks with the name peaking in the 1960s/early 70s. But … it’s still a common, easily recognized name.

  8. Wesley from Abby’s list. Everyone knows it but it’s still not super popular.

    One thing I’ve found as a mother of an Andrew; the name isn’t as common as it seems. Ours is 5 and we’ve met 1 that wasn’t a teenager. Most Andrew’s we’ve met are adults (from teen to very old). No issues with spelling and he loves meeting people with his name.

    Not to say you have to use it, but the ranking can be deceiving.