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!
I shared how we named our son with you a couple of years ago. We already had a girl Ellery and a boy Everett and we felt our third shouldn’t be left out of the E names (because most likely he was our last) We ended up “making up” a name, Elynn, that had meaning to us and it’s perfect for him!
Since then we’ve added another girl, Edith, and wouldn’t you know we have one more on the way!
Obviously I feel very committed to the E trend but I’m feeling I’ve got very limited options.
Boy names we’re drawn too: Ezra, Ender, Ezekiel, Elias (can you have too many El- names in one family?)
Girl names: Esme, Ester, Eve, Emerson (I love Emerson, but husband won’t get on board), I also love Eila but he says it doesn’t sound like an E name so it’s out.
I’d love to hear your opinion on both boy and girl names, but do have a few things I’d like to avoid:
- No Elle names – I love Elaine but it literally means the same thing as Elynn.
- I’d like each name to have its own sound – no repeats if I can help it. Everett/Emmett would be a no.
- Middle names will be after family members: Renee, Stephen, and Mark are likely, but have others if the first name requires it.
I’ve been a long time reader and appreciate the advice you give! I think I’ve read every E name post on your blog and always love your #namehelp posts.
Dear Amber –
Congratulations on baby #5!
It sounds like you’re on the right track. Finding a fifth E name means looking closely at the starting syllable of each child’s name, as well as the overall sound. But if we rule out El-, Ev-, and Ed- names, that means that you’re cutting out Elias and likely Eve, too, as well as Elaine.
Let’s look at girl names first.
Emerson would be a great pick! A different first syllable and a different ending sound? Perfect! Too bad your husband isn’t sold. And I take his point about Eila. While ordinarily I’d say that Eila offers multiple spellings and you should just choose your favorite, I can see that it might feel a little removed from the theme.
Happily, E names abound. With Ellery, Everett, Elynn, and Edith, how about:
Emeline, Emmeline, Emmaline – Emmalyn comes too close to Elynn, but Emeline – pick your spelling – pronounced with a long ‘i’ sound – feels distinctive. It’s worth considering whether you tend to default to the ‘lynn’ pronunciation? My sense is that -line signals a rhymes-with-pine sound to many people. Emeline sounds like a sister for Edith, but picks up on the sound of your favorite, Emerson. Of course, it also strikes me that Emma – while a #1 name in the US – might seem different in your family!
Erica, Erika – Erica peaked in the 1980s, meaning that most Ericas these days are moms, not kids. And yet, it’s a different sound. With the exception of Eila, you haven’t considered any -a ending names for girls. While some -a ending girls’ names can feel elaborate and frilly, Erica does not. (Possibly because it carries all of the Norse strength of Eric.) And I do really like it with Ellery, Everett, Elynn, and Edith.
Estella – I like Ester quite a bit, but I wonder if you’d consider Estella? It gives you an -el sound, but at the end, not the beginning!
Evangeline – Is Evangeline too much for you? It shares Everett’s Ev-, but feels different, too. If it’s not The Name, but you like the sound, it might also be worth considering Evalina or Everild. Everild is really rare, but has history and an intriguing sound.
Etta – I mentioned Emma earlier, but I’m guessing that might be too mainstream for your tastes. But how ’bout Etta? Singer Etta James – born Jamesetta Hawkins – makes the name broadly familiar, but it’s very seldom heard as a given name in the US today. Back in the nineteenth century, it ranked in the US Top 100, but today it feels like a vintage, under-the-radar option.
Moving on to boys:
Eben – Eben sounds like Evan, but with a ‘b’ sound instead of a ‘v’. It’s short for the Old Testament Ebenezer, and yet it sounds nicely modern.
Egan – Egan has a strong E sound, but Eg- stands out in your family. It comes from an Irish surname – it’s cousin to Hagan – and that’s been a popular source of names over the years. Egan sounds bright and upbeat.
Emmerich – I thought about Emery/Emory for boys and girls, but maybe it seems too close to Ellery? And then I remembered Emmerich – the source for Emery! It’s an old Germanic name, rarely heard to day, but very much consistent with popular styles. There are several possible meanings and spellings, but any of them look and sound very different from your older kids’ names. One other thought: Eric works well for a boy, so if Emmerich seems like too much name, Eric might appeal.
Espen – Yes, some parents have named their sons Espn, for the sports network. But this isn’t that! Espen is a form of an Old Norse name, also related to Osborn. Esben is yet another spelling. I think they both work well with your older children’s names.
Evander – Evander sounds nothing like your older kids’ names. Sure, there’s the Ev- of Everett. And the -er ending echoes your name’s ending. But in total, Evander sounds nicely different. It gives you a little bit of Ender’s sound, but in a longer form.
Now, what do I think works best? I love two of the names from your original shortlist: Esme and Ezra.
Why? They hit the marks that seem to matter most. Neither shares a first syllable sound with your older kids’ names. They clearly sound like E names. And even their endings are distinct and different.
From my list, I’m most drawn to Egan and Etta or Estella – something -a ending! I especially like Egan. If you’re looking for names that truly stand out, Ezra is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it hasn’t been wildly popular over the years – even though everyone recognizes it as a name. But Ezra entered the US Top 100 two years ago, which makes it more popular for boys born today than you might expect.
Overall, I think there are plenty of options remaining within the letter E. It’s proof that it’s possible for siblings to share the same initial, and still have names that seem uniquely their own!
Readers, what E names would you suggest to Amber and her family?
Our first born daughter is Emmanuelle. I’m still in love with the name four years later…
We have five Es too: Emmanuel, Eden, Evangeline, Eliana, and Ezra. We were going for a Christian name theme, but by the time we got to #4, felt committed to the E theme also! I can relate to so much of your naming dilemma!! Usually people ask about Eliana, as it is not as obvious as the others (being the feminine form of Elijah), and I was oblivious to its popularity(Ellie, that is) which I would have preferred to stay away from.
My name is Eliza. I love my name! I get a lot of compliments. I like that it is somewhat rare but still recognizable. Some people call me “uh”Liza and some “E”Liza—either way is fine! Good luck!
I love Evvy (short E, not like Evie) as a nickname for an Ev- name. Evelyn, Evelina, Evangeline, Evadne, Everly, Evanna–so many options for choosing a full for it.
Hmm, tough one!
We have an Emmerich and get a lot of compliments on his name. It’s masculine, sounds traditional, and it’s uncommon.
Robert Downey Jr has a son called Exton. I like that a lot, even for a girl, maybe Extyn. I love Echo for both a boy or a girl.
Also my godson is Emerson, would your husband like it better on a boy?
Etta is one I like for a girl.
Ennis is another I like for a boy.
Such a fun challenge!
I second, for girls, Embry, Estelle/Estella, and Esme.
For boys, I second Elias, Ezra, and Ethan.
What a fun thought regarding Epsilon (see previos post by Vanessa)! If Quint and Octavia, why not Epsilon (if it’s your taste)?
Has anyone mentioned Etienne or Elián for a boy? (Sorry if someone did and I just missed it.) Maybe Elián is too close to Elynn.
I love this post. We actually have 3 kids all with E names and are currently expecting number 4. Our kids names are Eli, Ezra and Emmeline (nicknamed Emme), so I’d definitely recommend those! I love Esme and Ezekiel for you as well. Good luck!
Laura Powell says
For a girl I thought instantly of Elodie for a Boy Eban, you could also have Eden, Evan, Eli, Erroll, Everest, Emmy, Emerald… Good luck with the name search.
Ebba, Edelweiss, Eilish, Elsie, Emerald, Eris, etc. I’ve seen Ezra for a girl, often in combination with Bella — Ezra Bella.
Jamie Addy says
I love the suggestions of Esme and Emerson for a girl and Ezra or Ezekiel for a boy.
I also wanted to suggest:
For a boy, Ever, Eamon, Ethan, Everest
For a girl, Eulalie, Eden, Elora, Evelina, Eyre
I had a wild idea this morning… probably a silly suggestion, but Epsilon is the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet, and is literally ‘E’. It sounds cool, but is probably weird to name anything Epsilon – even your 5th E-named child. 🙂
How funny! I am also from an E sibset of four: Estelle, Eloise, Ernest and Eloi.
For your sibset I like Emmeline, Estelle/Estella, Esther or Eva for a girl, and Egan or Evander for a boy.
Oooh! So many great E options here!
I adore for a girl- Ember, Esther, Emerson
Boy favorites- Evander, Easton, Ezra
Emerson is my overall favorite!.. I actually have a relative with this name, she sometimes goes by Emmy. It’s a beautiful name. 🙂
Congrats and good luck finding the next perfect E name!…
As the mom of an Ezra, I think you should use it! We get nothing but compliments on his name and have not yet met another Ezra (he is 1 1/2).
I also love Esme from your list. You could also do Ezri, Ewan or Enoch for a boy. Eowyn, Erin or Ethel for a girl
Erin Beth says
Girl: Eithne or Echo, Boy: Ezekiel
Boy: Easton, Edison
Girl: Emmeline, Ember
I would suggest Etienne and Esteban, both forms of Stephen.
I like Enid for a girl (I would have suggested Elspeth, but if you don’t want another El- that’s out). For a boy, I like Eben or Evander. I have a little cousin called Eben; it wears well. Good luck with #5!
I love the fact that you have all names that start with “e”…
Here are some additional ideas for baby number 5:
Girls: Emilia, Emme, Enid, Easter, Esther (spelled differently than I saw it), Eos (means dawn in Greek)
Boys: Earnest, Errol
I think Errol is a name that really works with your other names and it is easy to pronounce and perhaps ready for a comeback. For girls, I am partial to Eos since I think it is also easy to pronounce and a bit different, but it may not be your style. I love Easter, but that may depend upon when the baby is born and if it fits with what you are looking for style-wise. (I just came across my first “Easter” recently.) Finally, Emme (pronounced Emmie) is different from Emma, which has become so popular. It could be a nickname for Emmeline or used on its own.
Good luck & best wishes for the rest of the pregnancy!
C in DC says
What a great post. Some other contenders:
Earl / Early
Eudora (unlike Eila/Isla, this one doesn’t usually have variations on spelling)
Ember / Emberly
We have an Ephraim. It’s a great name for a little guy. Highly recommend it.
Also: re Abby’s suggestions… Emmerich would leave me assuming the family is very Catholic (Anne Catherine Emmerich is a hard-core namesake to have), just FYI.