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!
We are really struggling with the choice for our third. Our first two are Lucy and Arthur. Their middle name is a shared family name; last name is three syllables and starts with a P.
We knew so quickly with the last two but this one is different. The favorites have changed over time and we are coming down to a May due date without a final choice.
The boy name we have narrowed (currently) to Jasper or Grant. My wife likes Grant a little better and I like Jasper a little better – but we both are concerned about the huge uptick in popularity of Jasper (especially in our town/demographic) and we would rather he not be one of many in his class. A few others that we considered but have been pushed down are Jude, Julian, George, and Simon.
On the girls side, the current top two are Rosalind and Eliza. Close behind that are Ida, Meryl, and Sasha. We feel a little all over the place with the girls. My wife prefers Rosalind (Roz). I like it, but can’t quite figure out if we can pull it off. I like the idea of “Roz” but the spelling feels weird (either way) and it still feels like a mouthful. And I don’t like the potential spelling confusion or the unclear “d” at the end (pronounce or drop?). But overall, it still feels like it is close to what we want. Eliza feels like it works, but might be more boring in her mind (she likes it still).
She was also fond of Marigold/Goldie – which I think is super cute in theory, but not for us/our kid. Some of my favorites feel a bit safer – Jane being my favorite, Audrey, maybe Anna. We toyed with June, Juniper, Zadie, and Mira. Generally speaking, we have mostly similar style/tastes so we aren’t on opposite ends of the spectrum. I just don’t want to get too “creative” with already an Arthur and Lucy at home. Though we did have a fond moment several months ago where we thought that we could pull off Story for a girl – but that has passed. But our girl names seem all over!
Do you have any feedback on the names that are mentioned and/or others that we might want to consider down the stretch? Do any of these patently NOT work for reasons we aren’t noticing? Any that work particularly well?
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Beth –
Congratulations on your third! You’ve got a great shortlist, and you and your wife are clearly on the same page, style-wise. You really can’t go wrong with the choices you’re considering.
Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier.
I’ve always suspected that experienced parents are more willing to take risks with naming their kids. But … by then, we’ve got our traditionally-named older children, and, well, can you really have Lucy, Arthur, and Cricket?
But I completely understand if you wouldn’t want to, and I’m not sure I’d want to be the kid who got the odd-name-out, either. (Well, actually, I’d probably be horribly jealous of the more unusual name. You cannot win!)
Let’s talk boys first.
A Brother for Lucy and Arthur
It sounds like Jasper and Grant are the two finalists, so I won’t suggest any others. Instead, let’s talk about them both.
Grant has held steady, charting in the Top 200 – but never the Top 100 – from the early 80s until now. That’s a long run, and it makes Grant a solid citizen of name. It fits in well with Lucy and Arthur.
But so does Jasper! I’d describe it differently, though. Jasper has climbed steadily in the rankings since the year 2000; it’s now more popular than at any time since the 1890s. If Grant is solid, Jasper is sky-rocketing. It’s very possible that Jasper will reach the US Top 100 in the next few years. (Or not. My crystal ball is cloudy as ever.)
If that’s a concern – and if you’re already hearing Jasper in your circles – then I’d err on the side of Grant. Something else that might appeal: Lucy, Arthur, and Grant all have different ending sounds, which can be pleasing. They’re nicely distinct names.
So Grant gets my vote, assuming that your goal is to avoid a potentially trending name.
Now, on to the girls’ names, because there’s a lot more to work through here!
A Sister for Lucy and Arthur
As with your boys’ names, I can easily imagine Rosalind or Eliza working well for your family. Meryl sounds like a bit of an outlier, as does Sasha.
As for Ida? I think it works nicely, though it’s less expected. After Ava reached the Top Ten, and Ada started to rise, too, I fully expected Ida to follow. We know a little Ida who must be about nine now – it wears well. But so far, Ida remains under the radar. That could be a good thing!
I keep coming back to this line you used about Marigold: not for our kid. I’m happy to encourage parents to choose the names they love, and disregard the pressure to match their children like a set of china.
But there’s something deeply satisfying about finding the fit. You know when you’re assembling a piece of furniture or a toy and there’s that “click” of the pieces coming together and locking in? Sometimes that’s the feeling that you’re after, and I think that might be the case here.
I hear much more of a click with Eliza than Rosalind. Lucy, Arthur, and Eliza sound like siblings from a storybook. Perfectly matched, without feeling too similar in any way.
I’d say the same of June and Jane, too. And I think Ida falls in this category, even if it’s a little more daring than some of your other choices. But let’s take a minute and talk over some other possibilities.
Celia – I think Celia makes a solid substitute for Eliza. It’s old-fashioned, but has a modern sensibility, too. Cecilia and Cecily feel a little more vintage and frilly, but they might deserve a place on your shortlist.
Claire – It seems like spare, straightforward names appeal to you. I can’t resist adding Claire, because the meaning – clear or bright – feels so close to Lucy’s ties to the Latin lux – light. Clara might be another option.
Diana – Eliza makes me think of Diana. It’s a classic choice with all the cool of Wonder Woman to back it up.
Julia, Juliet – Julian made your boys’ list, so how about Julia or Juliet? I think they both work with Lucy and Arthur. There’s Julianne, too, which reminds me of Rosalind, but without the final ‘d’ question.
Rose, Rosalie, or Rosalind-called-Rose or Rosie – There are dozens of Rose names, so I wonder if you’ve considered others? Just Rose reminds me of Jane and June. It also sidesteps the problem of Roz. You could use it as a nickname if you were so inclined, but it’s not required. For an ends-with-d Rose name where the ‘d’ is clearly pronounced, there’s always Rosamond, Rosamonde, or Rosamund. Nickname Romy is an option with the Rose-m names, so that might also sidestep the Roz question.
Mariel – Meryl and Marigold bring to mind Mariel. It’s one of my favorite, underused names for girls at the moment. Spelling Marielle is another option, but since you’re attracted to names like Jane, maybe the sparer Mariel is the better choice. Marian and Marion could appeal, too.
Sabrina – Sabrina seems like another possible substitute for Eliza.
Willa – It seems like two-syllable, ends-in-a names aren’t your style, and yet I think Lucy, Arthur, and Willa work nicely together.
Am I right in guessing that your wife would be happiest with a more dramatic name? Something a little more unusual? If so, I can imagine siblings called Lucy, Arthur, and Juliet; or Lucy, Arthur, and Sabrina.
But I think it’s time to open this one to the readers. What do you think of Jasper versus Grant for a boy? And what’s the best sister name for Lucy and Arthur? Is it Eliza, Rosalind, or something else entirely?