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!
My partner and I have a two year old named Ruby Elise. We think her name is perfect. (And she’s pretty great, too!)
Our second is due in October. We’re team green again, and just like with Ruby, our boy name is Miles Jacob.
But this time, we have no girl names.
Maybe we’re being too picky, but here’s our list of requirements:
- No nicknames. We took your advice about what to talk about first, and realized that I hate correcting people who want to call me Kate/Kathy.
- One spelling. My partner is Andy. Not Andi or Andie. I’m a little worried that Miles would be Myles, but I feel like it’s not a big problem. But names like Sara/Sarah are a no.
- Nothing too new. We’re not brave enough to name our baby Pixel or Prius or even Henley or Kaia.
- Nothing too 80s soap opera villain. Andy likes to suggest names like Bianca and Miranda and Dominique. I’m sure those names are right for someone, but I just picture Bianca wearing diamonds and fur and pushing someone down the grand staircase of a mansion.
- Nothing too long. We use a hyphenated last name. It sounds sort of like Hillman-Smith, which is just long enough that I’m not naming our kid Bartholomew.
- Nothing obviously religious. Doesn’t matter if it’s Naomi or Bodhi, we don’t want our child’s name to suggest beliefs that we don’t share.
We also know a lot of children in our circle of close friends, including Ella, Esther, Stella, Hazel, Zara, Lucy, Clara, Chloe, Maia, Meadow, Monroe, and Mara.
One name that we both like is Opal, but we really don’t like that idea. To me, it would feel like Opal’s name was just an extension of her sister, and that feels wrong. That also makes me think that maybe we should rule out any word name, like Hazel, which I would like if it wasn’t already a friend’s child.
Can you help us think of some names that go with Ruby Elise?
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your second!
It’s so good to know what you want – and yet, it can sometimes feel like a long list of requirements reduces your possibilities to zero.
That said, I think your list is actually pretty workable. Lots of names are both nickname-proof (or at least nickname-resistant) and have a single dominant spelling. And we can sidestep the Pixels and the Dominiques, too.
Let’s get started!
A SISTER FOR RUBY ELISE
There’s a sweet simplicity to this name. It’s been worn by world-changing women, from Alice Paul to Alice Walker. But it’s still very Wonderland, a name as appropriate for a child as it is for an adult. Could it shorten to Ali/Allie? Sure. But it’s not very likely.
Like Ruby, Cora is a vintage name that’s popular again now. It’s easy to spell and pronounce. Sure, you’ll meet the occasional Kora/Corra, just like there’s sometimes a Rubi. But Cora would enjoy the same ease of wear.
Could Daphne represent a midway point between all those soap opera names like Dominique and the ones that you prefer? It offers just a hint of drama and frill, but it’s still very much a single-spelling kind of name.
Since you liked Elise enough to make it Ruby’s middle, would you consider the similar Eloise as a first?
Okay, Piper takes us in a slightly different direction. It’s more modern; a surname choice and possibly a word name, too. (Or at least word-adjacent.) But actor Piper Laurie’s career began in the 1960s, so it’s not a true novelty.
Sophia and Sofia are wildly popular, while the French Sophie is just a little different.
Depending on the origin, this can mean truth or faith. It’s a strong name, with a distinctive sound.
Timeless Vivian is at-home in any era.
My favorite from this list is Daphne, particularly with a brief middle. Daphne Jean, Daphne Grey, Daphne Vale. But I feel like maybe Cora and Vera fit your requirements list a little better? And that makes me wonder if something like Cora Piper or Vera Scarlett would appeal?
Meagen Kay Preston says
of course you can adjust spelling as you wish.
I love the suggestion of Alice.
Other names I like:
My favorite sib set is probably Ruby and Isla.
Alice feels so ideal! It fits every requirement, and it’s such a beautiful name for a woman of any age. If you both really like Opal, then Alice Opal Hillman-Smith seems great. Each daughter gets one gorgeous gemstone (which are also visually distinct gems, which I find pleasing as a gemstone/rock lover), and one elegant vowel name. 🙂
AOHS is a fine set of initials, or AHSO, or AHS, AOS, AOH, any of the permutations you’ll usually see pass the “word” test.
I love Miles for the boy you will have someday. For a girl I like Claire, Jane, Sophie, Sadie, Tessa and Laura.
The parents of ever little Ruby I know had Ida as their alternate pick. Ruby and Ida.
Erin Beth says
I love your style. There are so many great suggestions. Some of my favorite combinations:
I like Vera a lot but I like Vita even more. Is that too soap opera? Vita Jane is nice. Like someone else mentioned, Iris might fit. Iris Anne?
My number one pick… Mia
Mia sweet and simple Ruby and Mia no nicknames, not a noun, very easy to spell
Lana I think this has a similar vibe to Ruby
Ivy sassy and sweet but it’s still a noun name
Grace : I know two besties Ruby and Grace , the only possibility is Gracie as a nickname but it’s not likely to be one she would write down.
Nina can’t go wrong here!
Phoebe my Phoebe sometimes gets Pheebs but it’s not a name she’s going to introduce herself as
Sophie mostly get Soph
Kyla only possible. Nickname might be Ky
Paige single syllable no nicknames
Quinn can’t change that much, but it’s a little gender neutral compared to Ruby
Fleur … So pretty, no nickname
Regarding Nicknames, I think most names will be shortened or sometimes lengthened into verbal Nicknames, but hopefully these suggestions wouldn’t have what I consider a true nickname only fun verbal options.
Eg if I had a Ruby she’d be called Ru at home when I called out to her for sure.
I have to respectfully disagree on Alice as I know an adult Alice who now is almost exclusively Ally.
Mia Opal and Ruby Elise
Mia Hazel and Ruby Elise
Lana Hazel and Ruby Elise
Personally, I lean away from “eee” endings when you already have one.
I also liked the suggestion of Mabel.
Opal or Hazel could be middle names …
Mostly seconding previous suggestions, but offering a few new options:
Ada — it has the same vintage feel as Ruby — Ruby and Ada.
Brynn — Ruby and Brynn
Claire — Ruby and Claire
Cleo — Ruby and Cleo
Gia — Ruby and Gia
Iris — Ruby and Iris
Jane — Ruby and Jane
June — Ruby and June
Lora — my grandma (born over 100 years ago) was named Lora Opal — Ruby and Lora
Mabel — this has a similar look, sound, and feel as Hazel — Ruby and Mabel.
Nina — Ruby and Nina
Olive — Ruby and Olive
Robin — likely too repetitive with the r – vowel – b pattern — Ruby and Robin
Tess/Tessa — Ruby and Tess or Ruby and Tessa
Vera — Ruby and Vera
Zina — Zina Garrison was a professional tennis player and Fed Cup captain from the US — Ruby and Zina.
I really do love Ruby and Hazel and wish that were an option for you.
I am 100% in agreement with Abby about Daphne! I was yelling Daphne as I saw your list of likes but not using. One spelling, no nicknames, not new, not long, not religious, not ‘grand’, not too wordy (but still a sweet subtle nature tie.)
My only other suggestion is Sadie and Willa. And I love the suggestions of Blythe, Tessa and Jane.
Sadly, I do agree with you on Opal.
From Abby’s list I love Cora and Vera for you. I wonder if you might like Iris? Yes, it’s a word name, but distinct from Ruby and nickname-proof.
Alison Doherty says
I love almost all of Abby’s suggestions this week! Ruby with Vera, Vivian, Daphne, Alice, Eloise, and Piper all sound like perfection to my ear. A few other ideas:
Ruby and Helen
Ruby and Edith
Ruby and Tessa
Ruby and Quinn
Ruby and Mabel
Ruby and Jane
You seem to like simple yet elegant names. I like the suggestions of Alice and Daphne here. What about Mae, Olive, Greta, Frances, Blythe, Evelyn, Flora, Violet, Isla, or Sabine?
Are you planning to have future kids? Because I’d love to suggest Mavis as the substitute for Miles! Mavis Opal sounds perfect.