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 have a five year old son named Noah Andrew, and I’m pregnant with a daughter due the first week of December.
Deciding on Noah’s name was easy. But this time, it feels like the girls’ names we liked are too popular. Emma was my favorite if Noah was a girl, but we know three little Emmas, including our neighbor’s new baby.
Also, even if Emma was still on the table, Noah and Emma sound maybe a little too cute together. We like Biblical names, but does Noah and Leah seem a little too much?
Our last name is long and complicated, so we like easy first names.
We’d love some ideas!
Please read on for my reply and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congratulations on your daughter!
For so many reasons, naming is one of the few things that gets harder as we become more experienced parents. The choices we make for one child do tend to rule out possibilities for future siblings – or at least make us hear them in different ways.
Let’s start with the big picture: I don’t think Noah and Leah is too much Old Testament. They’re both well-established names with a long history of use. If you were thinking of, say, Nehemiah and Miriam, maybe, that would feel a little more obvious.
As for the sing-songy part? I think it’s a hazard, but I wouldn’t say it rules out every two-syllable, ends-with-a name for a daughter. Noah and Emma sound a little close because the n/m sounds are similar. But I don’t find Noah and Leah too close at all. Or … Noah and Sarah, Noah and Ava, Noah and Ella …
But let’s move on to the names.
A SISTER FOR NOAH
We need a girl’s name that is short, easy to spell and pronounce, reasonably familiar – and perhaps relatively popular, too.
I’m going to skip -a enders – though there are so many gorgeous options! Because really, if you don’t mind the shared -a ending, I think Noah and Leah are perfection together.
That’s a big pool of names, but here are a few that I think work really well:
Visually, Audrey is a little long. But it’s really quite straightforward – two syllables, easily spelled and pronounced, familiar to all thanks to the legendary Audrey Hepburn.
Spare and classic Claire seems like an obvious choice to match with a longer surname.
Completely unknown in the US until later in the twentieth century, Eden feels modern – and yet deeply rooted in tradition.
Maybe it’s too obvious of a substitute for Emma, but that’s also why it’s worth a mention.
As slim as Claire, as meaning-rich as many a longer name.
Sweetly vintage, but with history galore, Lucy is completely different from Noah – but nicely compatible, too.
Molly started out as a nickname for Mary, but it’s long worked as an independent name with plenty of spirit.
Musical surname name Piper isn’t traditional, but somehow it feels like a match for brother Noah, especially with a more traditional middle.
A big favorite in the 1980s and 90s, it’s easy to forget that Rachel really is a classic choice for a daughter. It’s Biblical, but the sound is distinct from Noah – which makes them nicely compatible.
A frills-free name for a daughter that feels feminine and sleek, traditional and modern. Vivian is a little on the long side, but it might be exactly what you’re after.
I’m all about Lucy and Noah together – it was one of my first thoughts. Lucy Claire, maybe, or Lucy Katherine?
Emma and Noah are lovely together! Here are my other suggestions:
Theresa- Ties to Mother Theresa- Nun and now a saint. Common nicknames are Tess, or Thea. Means Harvester, Summer
Naomi- Ties to the old testament, means Pleasantness
Kayla- Means beloved, and Who is like god?
Noelle- Ties to the bible and Christmas, literally meaning Christmas, and birthday
Sarah- In the old testament Sarah is the wife of Abraham, and the name’s exact translation is joy and delight, with a second meaning of lady of high rank, princess, and noblewoman. Sarah is the feminine version of the word minister.
Emily- another classic name meaning rival, industrious, and hardworking
Abby- means Father’s love
Lydia- another old testament name with many generations of use. Lydia means kind, and kindred spirit. Ties to the bible through Saint Lydia, a first century ministry.
Leah- while this lovely name doesn’t have the most sweet meaning, wild cow, it fits right in place beside Noah
Jessica- means god beholds. Nicknames are Jess, Jessi, and Sesi/ Ceci would all adorable. Jessica is a minor biblical character
Paige- means young helper
Mia- Means mine, dear, and darling
Ava- means like a bird, and comes from the root of avis, meaning bird. Yet another less charming meaning for a darling name
Estella- Ties to the name Ester, as well as Saint Estelle. Means Star. Common nicknames include Stella, Ella, And Esty.
I just found a book called Noah and Emma Learn how to Keep Calm. That could be a cute gift for the littles if you go with Emma.
Love the suggestions of Lydia and Phoebe
I like the suggestion of Eden. What about these Bible-related names:
Jane (a variant of John meaning God is gracious)
Samantha (a variant of Samuel meaning God hears)
Ella or Eliza or Beth (variants of Elizabeth meaning God is my oath)
I keep coming back to this one 🙂 Ruth??
What about Lydia? Similar to Leah, but the middle ‘d’ makes it less similar to Noah. And it’s biblical, but new testament. It is 3 syllables, but is visually short and there are no issues with spelling or pronunciation. And I think they look and sound great together :
Noah and Lydia
GREAT thought, FE!
Zena Eve says
Noah and Leah is a cute sibling combination! Julie and Abigail immediately popped into my head, but that may be a little longer in sound than your tastes.
….I will also say that we have people ask multiple times how “Lila” is spelled, and I’ve also seen Leah spelled many different ways, or people ask if “Leah” is Lay-uh or Lee-uh (I’m Jewish and grew up with a few Leahs!) Before birth I thought this wouldn’t bug me but now it reallllly does so….just putting that out there 🙂
I like Noah and Iris together as they can both be connected to the rainbow. We have a Lila and a Noah and if I’m honest at times I wonder if it’s a bit matchy. That said, I think it sounds really nice with Leah!
I know siblings Noah and Leah 🙂
Lucy was my first thought as well, and I think it is perfection! I also love Grace and Audrey.