Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, 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!
I’m having a hard time choosing a name for my fifth daughter, due this January.
She will join her sisters, Taylor Siobhan, Laurel Elizabeth, McKenna Breanne, and Kendall Claire.
Taylor was not my choice and I still don’t love the name, but I do love the names McKenna Breanne (Kenna) and Kendall Claire (Kacey/Kace). After Kendall Claire, I feel like any name would be a step down!
We know that her middle name will be Charlize, after my brother Charles who died earlier this year. It’s the only variant of Charles that I am okay with.
Her last name will start with a V and end with an ‘s’ sound.
I want a name that is versatile and could work for an artist, CEO, or anything – except a stripper!
Since our last name is hard to pronounce and spell, I’d like an easier name – no Saorise, Grainne, or Caiome.
I don’t want a popular name, but at the same time, I don’t want anything too out there. Definitely nothing in the Top Ten or 20, preferably nothing in the Top 100. I like Addison, Adeline, and Madison but they are too popular.
I also like Sophia and Aubrey, but again, they are too popular – maybe a variant like Aubriana or Aubrielle?
I like Hailey and Riley, but they are cuter on a baby than an adult. I don’t want anything that can be easily made fun of. I like Bria, but it’s so close to McKenna’s middle name.
Until my brother died, we were going to use Gabrielle as a middle name, but I don’t care for it as a first name as I hate the nicknames Gabby, Elle, and Ella and Gabrielle is too long not to have a nickname.
Names we haven’t ruled out:
- Aurelia – would Aurelia be teased because it sounds like areola?
- Morgan – this was our top pick but I’m not loving it
- Zosia – with a long “o”
Names we’ve already rejected:
- Caroline, Genevieve, Arianna, Matilda, and Violet
- Anastasia – Pretty, but not since Fifty Shades of Grey
- Kenleigh, Kennedy – no more Ken names
- Regan – Like it, but it makes me think of The Exorcist
- Shanley – A family surname we thought about but it doesn’t sound quite right
Read on for my response, and please leave your helpful suggestions in the comments!
Between mothering four daughters and mourning your brother, it seems like your life is full with emotion right now, challenges both happy and heart-breaking. And after naming four daughters, no wonder it feels like you’ve used up all of the best names!
And yet, when I look at your shortlist, it looks like you have some great possibilities already.
A few observations:
- It sounds like your style has changed over the years, and that’s perfectly natural. Families with two children close in age often coordinate perfectly. It’s much rarer for bigger families, with children born over a decade or more, to seem quite as consistent in terms of style.
- All of your daughters’ names tend towards the tailored, and it seems like you generally prefer names that we call unisex, but are more frequently used for girls. Morgan is a great example of that style – but if it doesn’t feel quite right, I wonder if that’s a good signal that your style really has evolved.
- Since Kendall Claire is your favorite name, it makes me wonder if you prefer names with harder sounds. Some of the possibilities you’ve suggested, like Aubrielle and Aurelia, are feminine – even feminissa! – and have soft, flowing sounds. Maybe that’s the mismatch?
From your shortlist, I think Aveline and Bryony are the two strongest contenders, and here’s why:
- They’re both nature-related names like Laurel.
- Aveline’s ‘v’ sound and Bryony’s ‘br’ are stronger sounds, more like Kendall Claire.
- While Aveline and Bryony are conventionally feminine names, they’re tailored choices that seem in step with your daughters’ names.
But since none of them are The Name, would you consider:
- Briar – It sounds like Bria could be the name, but you’re worried it’s too close to Breanne? Briar is a nature name that’s relatively rare, and be unisex. But it tends to be familiar and feminine thanks to Briar Rose – one of Sleeping Beauty’s names in some versions of the tale.
- Maren – Maren reminds me of Morgan, but is more traditionally feminine – a direct it seems like you’re leaning.
- Everly – Could you be leaning towards longer names lately? Aveline’s ‘v’ made me think of Everly, a surname name that feels like a good fit with sisters named Taylor and McKenna.
- Justine – Another conventionally feminine name, but not too frilly. And while it’s relatively uncommon, it’s not the kind of name that anyone would find strange.
- Sage/Saige – I’m not sure why, but I kept thinking that Saige would be a great name for your family. It’s a nature name like Laurel, and while it’s shorter than your older girls’ names, I think it still feels like a fit. A note on spelling: Sage is currently more popular for boys and girls, but Saige is gaining quickly, and used almost exclusively for girls.
- Aria – You’ve ruled out Arianna, but how about Aria? It ranked #31 in the US last year, so it might be too popular to consider.
- Quinn – Another surname name possibility.
- Tenley – I’m intrigued by the names you’ve ruled out for fear they won’t age well, like Hailey and Riley. I do think ends-in-ley names can work for adults, and a generation of Ashleys probably agrees. Still, it might help to find something a little different. Tenley Albright won an Olympic gold medal in figure skating in 1956, went on to Harvard Medical School, became a surgeon, and then a faculty member at her alma mater. Maybe that’s why I think Tenley is such a graceful choice for a girl or a grown-up! Or maybe Finley? Hadley is another one, as in Hadley Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, profiled in the fictionalized bestseller The Paris Wife.
- Willow – Another nature name with a different sound, but the right vibe.
- Isla – It’s not exactly a nature name – though Isla comes from the name of a Scottish island, and isla means island in Spanish. (But in Spanish, it’s pronounced eeslah. The name is typically pronounced eye-lah in English.) And yet I think Isla could hit the right note if you’re after a more feminine name for your new arrival. Bonus? I think Isla Charlize sounds gorgeous!
Overall, I’m still most drawn to Aveline from your list. It’s close to Adeline, but much less popular. Though Bryony Charlize sounds slightly better than Aveline Charlize.
From my suggestions, Everly leaps out as a name that shares characteristics with names you’ve considered, but isn’t on your list yet. And I do think Everly Charlize is a lovely combination.
Update: Welcome, Brownen Charlize! See the comment below for her favorites should they welcome another daughter.
but my fav is January (I know…she will be born in January but I still love it!)
And I think all go well with Charlize.
Also wanting to suggest
Lindsey Vadasz says
We named her Bronwen Charlize. As a linguist, i had to use the “e.” I love her name.
If #6 is a girl, I’m living Aveline or Bryony again.
Since the first two girls have the /lor/ sound, and the last two have the /ken/ sound, Larkin immediately came to mind. It’s traditionally a male diminutive of Laurence, but I like to think of it also as a diminutive of the female Lærke. And actually, Linken is a diminutive variant of Charles [Carolina –> Lina –> Linken].
Speaking of, there are loads of femme forms of Charles that I’m sure you haven’t considered — here’s my current list [if you’d like more info on any of them, let me know]:
Carlgustaffa, Karlgustaffa; Carlgustafa, Carlgustava, Carlgustawa, Carlsdotter, Charlemagna, Kaalannguaq, Karlgustafa, Karlgustava, Karlgustawa, Karllaeifra, Karllaibaza, Karllaugura, Karlleifura, Karlleivura, Karlleygura, Karllfferra, Karllifuera, Karllifvera, Karlsdotter; Aerinkarla, Anchersine, Anckersine, Beornkarla, Berenkarla, Berinkarla, Biarnkarla, Biornkarla, Bjernkarla, Bjonnkarla, Bjornkarla, Carljohana, Caroliinna, Charlotten, Charlottha, Charlotthe, Karlaibaza, Karlaugura, Karleifura, Karlifuera, Karlifvera, Karljohana, Karllaeifa, Karllaugra, Karlleifra, Karlleivra, Karllevina, Karllfwera, Karllifura, Karllivura, Karlsefnia, Karoliinna, Sigankarla, Sigurkarla, Siiggkarla, Sikaalutta, Sikallutta, Sikatdluta; Aernkarla, Ankersine, Arinkarla, Bernkarla, Bornkarla, Carijanne, Carljohna, Carljonna, Caroliina, Carolinne, Carollina, Carolynne, Carrolina, Carroline, Carrolinn, Chalottha, Charlaine, Charlette, harleyne, Charlotha, Charlothe, Charlotta, Charlotte, Charlotth, Charolina, Charoline, Erenkarla, Erinkarla, Karenanna, Karenlene, Karenlise, Karentine, Karijanne, Karlaeifa, Karlaeifra, Karlaugra, Karleifra, Karleivra, Karlevina, Karlfwera, Karleivura, Karleygura, Karlfferra, Karlleiva, Karlifura, Karlivura, Karljohna, Karljonna, Karllaffa, Karllafra, Karllauga, Karlleffa, Karlleiba, Karlleifa, Karlleifa, Karllejfa, Karllejva, Karlleyga, Karllifra, Karlliija, Karlliina, Karlloffa, Karllogha, Karllouga, Karllvera, Karlungra, Karoliina, Karoliina, Karolinne, Karollina, Karolynne, Karrolina, Karroline, Karrolinn, Karuliina, Korlungra, Peenkarla, Pirnkarla, Qaaraliit, Sialoorta, Siegkarla, Sighkarla, Sigikarla, Sigiskarla, Sigrkarla, Sigukarla, Sjugkarla, Vernkarla; Aenkarla, Annkarla, Arnkarla, Arrkarla, Berkarla, Carianna, Carianne, Carletta, Carlinha, Carlinna, Carljona, Carlotta, Carlotte, Carlsine, Caroleen, Carolene, Carolien, Carolina, Caroline, Carolinn, Carolyne, Carolynn, Carrolin, Chalotta, Chalotte, Charleen, Charlene, Charlina, Charline, Charlize, Charlote, Charloth, Charlott, Charolin, Ernkarla, Gearrala, Huskarla, Kaaliina, Kaaralia, Kaijukka, Kaisukka, Kaluliit, Karensia, Karentia, Karianna, Karianne, Kariinna, Karlaffa, Karlafra, Karlauga, Karleffa, Karleiba, Karleifa, Karleiva, Karlejfa, Karlejva, Karleyga, Karliefa, Karlifra, Karliija, Karliina, Karlinna, Karljona, Karllafa, Karllava, Karllefa, Karlleva, Karllaua, Karllifa, Karlliga, Karllija, Karllina, Karlliva, Karllofa, Karlloga, Karllova, Karllufa, Karlluva, Karloffa, Karlogha, Karlogna, Karlotta, Karlotte, Karlouga, Karlovna, Karlsine, Karlunga, Karlvera, Karoleen, Karolene, Karolien, Karolina, Karoline, Karolinn, Karolyne, Karolynn, Karrolin, Karulina, Leenukka, Linetthe, Linnette, Lintukka, Lynnette, Ornkarla, Penkarla, Searlait, Seekarla, Segkarla, Sharleen, Sharlene, Sharline, Sialorta, Sickarla, Siekarla, Sigkarla, Siikarla, Siokarla, Sjokarla, Sjukarla, Sogkarla, Sygkarla; Aliinna, Alleena, Alleene, Alliina, Amkarla, Anchera, Anckera, Ankarla, Arkarla, Caarina, Carelle, Cariana, Cariane, Cariann, Carlana, Carleen, Carlena, Carlene, Carlina, Carline, Carlisa, Carlita, Carlosa, Carlota, Carlyne, Carolie, Carolin, Carolla, Carolle, Carolyn, Chalott, Charley, Charlie, Charlin, Emkarla, Enkarla, Garrala, Kaarina, Kaijuli, Kaisuli, Kalulit, Karalit, Karanda, Karelia, Karella, Karenda, Karenia, Karense, Karesia, Kariana, Kariane, Kariann, Karlafa, Karlaua, Karlava, Karleen, Karlefa, Karlena, Karlene, Karleva, Karlifa, Karliga, Karlija, Karlina, Karline, Karlisa, Karlita, Karliva, Karllea, Karlley, Karllfa, Karllia, Karllie, Karlofa, Karloga, Karlosa, Karlota, Karlova, Karlufa, Karluva, Karolia, Karolin, Karolla, Karolle, Karolyn, Karrala, Karukka, Leainna, Lenette, Lenitha, Linette, Linetth, Linnett, Lolitha, Lolitta, Lollita, Lynette, Orkarla, Rinette, Sakarla, Sekarla, Sikarla, Sjarela, Sykarla; Aleena, Aleene, Aliena, Aliina, Alikka, Alinda, Alinde, Aliska, Alisko, Allena, Allene, Ankera, Caarin, Caarla, Calina, Caline, Callia, Callie, Carela, Carena, Carene, Carian, Carina, Carine, Carlee, Carley, Carlia, Carlie, Carlyn, Carnie, Carola, Carole, Carrie, Charin, Charla, Kaalat, Kaalia, Kaarat, Kaarin, Kaarla, Kaikko, Kajana, Kajsen, Kalina, Kaline, Kallia, Kallie, Karala, Karela, Karena, Karene, Karete, Karian, Karina, Karine, Karlea, Karlee, Karley, Karlfa, Karlia, Karlie, Karlla, Karlly, Karlyn, Karnie, Karola, Karole, Karren, Karria, Karrie, Karsia, Leinna, Lenita, Lennie, Lenttu, Liekko, Lieppo, Lindie, Lindis, Linett, Linken, Lohcca, Lohtta, Lolita, Lotten, Lottie, Lynett, Neetta, Nettan, Netten, Nettie, Nietta, Niitta, Rinnie, Sharla, Siarla, Tottie; Aleen, Alena, Alene, Alina, Aline, Allen, Caija, Caisa, Cajsa, Calia, Calla, Calli, Cally, Carel, Caren, Carey, Caria, Carin, Carla, Carli, Carly, Carna, Carne, Carni, Carny, Carol, Carry, Caryl, Garen, Kaari, Kaaru, Kaeja, Kaija, Kaiju, Kaisa, Kaisi, Kaisu, Kajsa, Kalat, Kalia, Kalla, Kalli, Kally, Kapia, Karat, Karen, Karia, Karin, Karla, Karli, Karly, Karna, Karne, Karni, Karny, Karol, Karry, Karyl, Leena, Leeni, Leenu, Lenia, Lenja, Lenna, Lenne, Lenni, Lennu, Lenny, Lenya, Lessu, Liana, Liane, Liena, Liina, Liini, Liinu, Liita, Linda, Linde, Lindi, Lindy, Linta, Linti, Lintu, Litha, Lolan, Lolie, Lolli, Lolly, Loola, Lotta, Lotte, Lotti, Lotty, Lovna, Lynda, Lynne, Lynni, Needo, Neeta, Neetu, Nethe, Netta, Nette, Netti, Netty, Nitha, Nitta, Ottie, Riina, Riinu, Rinia, Rinna, Sikak, Totty; Alen, Caia, Caie, Caja, Cajs, Cala, Cali, Cara, Cari, Carn, Caro, Caya, Gare, Iina, Kaia, Kaie, Kaja, Kajs, Kala, Kali, Kara, Kare, Kari, Karn, Karo, Karu, Kaya, Lena, Lene, Leni, Lien, Lili, Lina, Lind, Line, Linn, Lita, Lola, Lott, Lynn, Neta, Nete, Nett, Nita, Nite, Otta, Otti, Otty, Rina, Rine, Sika; Cai, Caj, Cay, Ina, Kai, Kaj, Kay, Len, Lin, Lyn, Rin
Two more names came to mind:
Lindsey Vadasz says
I have a cousin named Brittyn and I’ve always loved it!!
Thumbs up for Everly and Brielle.
Bryony Charize is a stunning choice!
If the only downside to Gabrielle is the nickname options, I think Bria or Bree would be reasonable nicknames! Gabrielle Charlize is lovely ❤️ the suggestion of cutting the name down to Brielle is great too!
Good luck with your newest sweet baby girl!
Congrats on baby #5. I agree with Abby, your names are unisex and tailored and I love her suggestions. Abby had did her job so well that I could only think of two names, Kimberley and Phillipa.
Kimberley/Kimberlay, masculine or feminine spelling comes from the feminine name Cyneburge And it means “royal fortress” from Old English cyne “royal” and burg “fortress”. Saint Cyneburga, a daughter of a king of Mercia, was the founder of an abbey at Gloucester in the 7th century. Along with Kinborough, Cyneburg graced the royal courts, with a few european queens bearing the name. The spellings have evolved over the years, so if you wanted to you could spell the name using the C or the Y and be accurate to its origens. Adding the C or the Y, changes the look and feel of the name, creating a feminine feel, especially if you grew up knowing a little boy named Kimberley. Since you enjoy unisex name, this may be of no concern or just give you the versitilty to make the name your own and personalize the spelling. Kimberley Charlize/ Kymberley Charlize flows nicely with your daughters names and meets the tailored look and feel that appeals to you.
Phillipa Charlize oozes beauty and feminity. Flows nicely with your daughters names but matches your current interests in names. Phillip is familiar so Phillipa Charlize will easily flow off of everyones’ tongues while maintaining its uncommon use.
Again, Abby had excellant options and you had great names on your list too! Many flow nicely with Charlize as a middle. My condolences for your loss and again, congrats and best wishes with your next child.
Lisa T. says
I like the suggestion of Everly!
Lindsey Vadasz says
Thanks! So true that my naming style has changed! If I were still in my 20s, she’d be Aubree or Brylee or something like that. Of the names you listed, Everly is the only one that I care for; it’s close to my grandma’s name, Beverly.
We don’t need to use Charlize. We could also use Charlotte as a middle name. I don’t care for it (or any other feminine form of Charles) but it’s insanely popular so it might be good to have a “normal” middle name if I go with an uncommon first name.
My daughter loves Bronwen but I get negative reactions from most people and my family said that if I name her Bronwen, she’d hate it (and me). I think Bronwen Charlotte looks good, stylistically.
I wrote this a while ago. I think that, of all of the names I listed, I like Bronwen, Bryony, and Aveline the most. Aveline seems overly feminine but I do think it’s a beautiful name.
McKenna Breanne and Kendall Claire are the only ones that really reflect ME. I didn’t let their dad name either of them.
Laurel Elizabeth was almost a Madison, but when she was born, I decided I hated the nickname Mady. She ended up without a name and my MIL suggested Laurel after the space shuttle exploded that morning and an astronaut named Laurel Clark died. I hated it at first but it grew on me. Elizabeth is my sister’s middle name. Madison is more my style (another feminine yet unisex/surname).
Taylor Siobhan doesn’t reflect me too much either. Her dad told his grandma that we liked Taylor and she made something with the name. He insisted we name her Taylor and I went with it. I don’t know if she would have ended up being a Taylor if not for that. I actually wanted to name her Brianne but her dad said “I will never have a child named Brianna.” Now I don’t like Brianna for a girl.
@Chisoni – I won’t be naming her January! One of my good friends was named April because she was born in April. She ended up legally changing her name because she always hated her name.
I actually love Bronwen and I think it’s a great fit with your daughters names. I also know of a couple adult Bronwen’s who don’t hate their name (or their mothers, lol). I believe that Bronwen is the traditional spelling, but they both spell it Bronwyn – maybe you like that more? Anyway, I agree that Bronwen Charlize or Bronwen Charlotte would be lovely! And I also like Bryony, Aveline, and Everly. You can’t go wrong!
I was going to say the same thing! That I love Bronwen with Charlize and the women I know with the name also spell it Bronwyn 🙂
Lindsey Vadasz says
I know Bronwyn is the more common spelling. I think there were 49 Bronwyns and 6 Bronwens in the US last year.
My 9 year old is adorable and has named every character she’s played the past month Bronwen so it’s really growing on me.
I think Bronwen Charlotte looks good, stylistically. Bronwyn Charlize looks more trendy. Bronwen Charlize and Bronwyn Charlotte don’t look right to me. I really think the middle name will be dependent on the spelling of the first name.
I’m leaning toward Bronwyn Charlize. It’s pretty in cursive. A dangly letter in the first, middle, and last name.
It’s hard naming a little human!!!
Morgan and Regan make me think of Megan. Megan is actually less popular than you may imagine, in the 300s. Megan Charlize.
Some other last name inspired ideas: Shelby (may have difficult flow with your chosen middle, but you rarely say them together anyway) and Darby.
Sophia and Aubrey make me think of Sylvie.
Is Cailin too close to Kacey?
I like Charlize as the first name. Charlize Rae and Charlize Neve are nice.
I was also trying to think of Rose variants for you. I think you might dislike the possible pronunciation issues with Roisen. How about Royce?
Lindsey Vadasz says
Shelby is pretty. My ex and I talked about naming our oldest (Taylor) Shelby. He’s a Mustang enthusiast and wanted to name her Shelby Carroll! It makes me think of Steel Magnolias.
I would recommend Rachel. I know a family with similar taste to yours (have a daughter with the same name as one of yours and like other names you’ve used) who just announced that their little one on the way will be Rachel. I know it’s a familiar name but has such a pleasing sound.
Of your options, I like Aveline the best. Of Abby’s suggestions, I think Maren is the best.
Lindsey Vadasz says
This is my niece’s name. No Rachels or Ashleys here.
My immediate thought was January. Although it has more of a soft sound than what you generally choose, it does have the r sound that all your girls have.
The moment I saw Bryony on your list I wanted to vote for it, for lack of a better term. However then I noticed you rejected Bria because it is too close the middle name Breanne. So that makes me think that possibly Bryony and Abby’s wonderful suggestion of Briar are also too close. In turn it make me want to say that Bronwen is a beautiful choice that I think would fit in with the rest of your daughter’s names. Bronwen Charlize is quite lovely. Since you do seem to like more tailored names with a harder sound to them maybe Berit is one to consider. Berit is a Swedish, Norwegian, Danish variant of Birgit/Bridget. Hmmm Bridget or Brigid another name to consider.
Lindsey Vadasz says
I do like Bryony! I don’t think it’s too close to Breanne. I think I like “br” sounds – Breanne, Bria, Brynn, Aubree, Brylee, Bryony, Bronwen…
Ooh! I love Brynn too…
Piping into say I don’t think that Aurelia should be eliminated because of the word areola. I don’t think they’re that similar sounding at all. Ah-rail-ya vs. air-ee-oh-la. Or even if you pronounce it Ah-rail-ee-ah, I don’t think of areola.
Obv I adore this name. 🙂
Lindsey Vadasz says
I think Aurelia is beautiful and it would only be an issue in middle school if someone was a jerk. A big if and a small window.
Christina Fonseca says
Congrats on Daughter # 5. I like a lot of Abby’s suggestions; just wanted to add when I read your misgivings about using Gabrielle as a first name, I immediately thought of Brielle instead. Brielle Charlize V–s.