welcome Ruby JordanUpdate from Leah: “Our sweet little girl arrived early, but thankfully she is healthy and strong. After lots of discussion, we had almost compromised on Bella, but at the last minute, my husband agreed that she just looked like a Ruby. And so Ruby Jordan Boss-with-an-R is here! I love her name, and thank you to everyone who helped.”

Leah writes:

Our daughter will be here in a few more weeks, and we are so stuck. We have a list of names that all have a problem with them, or maybe we think there’s a problem with every name and we’re just being picky?

Some outside perspective would really help, especially because our families have voiced some definite opinions about names and they’re not really neutral at this point.

Our list:

ALICE – A new love, and one I’d use, except both Alice and our last name ending with the S sound is hissy.

JORDAN – Husband’s suggestion, and I’m just not on board. Maybe as a middle name?

LUNA – Not sure this is really me, and then again it’s kind of similar to my name, maybe.

MAISIE – Too little girl? I don’t like Margaret enough to use it, and I really don’t get Maisie from Margaret.

RUBY – I’ve always imagined having a daughter named Ruby, but our last name is Boss-with-an-R. My husband isn’t crazy about the initials R.R., and he’s already R.R., so I feel like that’s kind of settled.

TESSA – We both like this name, but it’s my husband’s ex-girlfriend, so maybe we shouldn’t consider it.

VERA/VERONICA – Veronica was my mom’s suggestion, before we realized we shouldn’t discuss it. I’m not sure about Veronica, but I’m warming up to the idea of Vera.

WILLA – My husband’s suggestion, and I love this so much! But my sister’s husband is William Jr. and I know they would name a son William III. (She’s not expecting now, but they have a one year old daughter, and I know they’re planning on more kids soon.)

Help, please!

Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

It sounds like you’ve got a great list. One of two things is probably true:

  • You’ve focused so much on narrowing down your list that you’ve inadvertently ruled every name out. This is easy to do, because our tendency is to seek out flaws in names. It’s a trap, though, because you end up with a list of problems and reasons why-not. What you need is the opposite – a list of positive qualities and reasons to say yes!
  • Or maybe you really do just need some fresh names. Maybe these issues are all dealbreakers, and it’s best to start with a blank slate.

Only you can know, of course, but from what you’ve shared, two names leap out:

RUBY – Okay, your husband dislikes the initials RR. But is that really a good enough reason to rule out your favorite name?

WILLA – Is this name really out? I can imagine that you might not name your daughter Willa if you had a nephew called Will. But there are so many unknowns in this situation. I think it might be worth exploring it a little more, especially because it sounds like you really do like the name.


Let’s talk about some fresh ideas, too!

Based on your current list, I think we’re looking for a name with a hint of vintage style. Probably on the shorter side, and not likely to be reduced to a nickname. We’re avoiding anything that starts with an R.


Short and sweet, but with style to spare.


I almost suggested Phoebe, but that would mean two Friends characters in a single name. Chloe is another possibility, or maybe Daphne?


This feels like a midway point between your style and your husband’s suggestion of Jordan.


While Lily has been popular for years, that’s because it’s a great name – elegant, approachable, and easy to wear.


If not Ruby, would Lucy appeal?


You mentioned Maisie, which certainly can stand on its own. But I take your point about it sounding very casual. Margot is another Margaret name, but one with a little more heft.


A logical alternative to Willa, with the bonus of a lovely meaning: star.

I’m just a little bit obsessed with the idea of Margot Boss-with-an-R, but I really like all of these alternatives.

Readers, over to you. What names would you suggest for their daughter?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. It sounds like Vera is the one for me! So cute! So instantly recognizable but still rare. I love it for you.