Name Help: Boy-Girl Twins with Classic-ish Names


Name Help: Traditional Boy-Girl Twins

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!

Clare writes:

My husband and I both come from big families, so we have lots of nieces, nephews, and cousins, creating a list of can’t-use names a mile long. We have two children, Simon Wallace and Eleanor Lacey. Wallace and Lacey both have significance to us. The first names are names we liked.

Now we’re expecting boy-girl twins, and we have a lot of rules, and it feels really hard to come up with names.

  • Our last name rhymes with Ken-first, but starts with a P, so no Isabelle, Isaac, or other I names, because the initials I.P. seem like a curse. The same for P names and probably U names, too.
  • I don’t like nicknames. Eleanor is always Eleanor, but that still worries me (a little). I prefer names like Simon, that don’t open themselves up to nicknames. (My husband is more neutral about this.)
  • We both prefer classic names, and my husband really dislikes word names, even traditional ones like Rose or Grace.
  • Neither of us really minds if a name is popular, but the more common it is, the greater the chance that it’s taken by our families. We could consider repeating a name, but I think we’d have to have a reason stronger than, “Oh, we liked it.”

I don’t think we’re fussy, it’s just that every name that we would consider is either taken already or violates a rule. (For example, I do like Isaac, Peter, and Isabelle.) We’re lucky enough to see lots of our family pretty often. (Two of my husband’s siblings have kids in the same school where Simon will start in the fall, and my brother just got married and moved a few blocks away from us.)

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

Dear Clare –

Congratulations on your twins!

Big families are great, but yes – it is easy to feel like every name is spoken for, especially if some of your siblings started their families first.

Still, I think you know what you want: traditional names that can’t be easily shortened. That’s a pretty clear direction. It’s just a question of working through the options until you find two that don’t conflict with your surname – and aren’t already taken.

I’m also going to assume that most of the more common names – William, James, Joseph, John, Katherine, Margaret, etc. – are already spoken for, and focus on names that are a little less popular.

TRADITIONAL & UNCOMMON BOY NAMES

Arthur – Like Simon, Arthur is a traditionally masculine name with tons of history. But it’s not Top 100 today, and so I wonder if that makes it just different enough? From King Arthur to Arthur Curry, there are plenty of dashing examples of this name wearing well.

Benedict – I know you’re wary of nicknames, but if your Eleanor isn’t Ellie, then there’s no reason why Benedict would have to be Ben. And I think it pairs perfectly with your old kids’ names.

Conrad – Nothing sounds quite like Conrad, I think. It’s another name that we all recognize, but few of us are using.

Gregory – Greg is still wearing bell bottoms on re-runs of The Brady Bunch, but Gregory – said in full, no nickname, seems far more handsome.

Malcolm – I suppose Malcolm could shorten to Mal, but it’s a mere two syllables. It works perfectly in full.

Vincent – From saints to world-changing artist van Gogh, Vincent has plenty of noteworthy namesakes. Like Gregory, Vincent works best when it’s not shortened.

TRADITIONAL & UNCOMMON GIRL NAMES

Dorothy – Storybook Dorothy feels vintage and adventurous. It’s cousin to Theodore – they both mean gift of God – but relatively rare.

Louise – Like Eleanor, Louise is tailored and traditional. It’s classic, and while lots of Lou- names are wildly popular these days, Louise isn’t nearly the chart-topper that Lucy or Luna has become.

Margot – Margaret almost begs to be shortened (though I do know at least one who doesn’t), but Margot? It works beautifully in full.

Miriam – I thought about Mary and Marie, but I think Miriam is the name that fits best with Eleanor and Simon.

Rosalie – You said no to word names, but maybe Rosalie is different enough?

Vera – Short and sweet, Vera fits with names like Ava, but isn’t nearly as popular.

Overall, I think my favorites are Conrad and Margot. They’re not likely to be shortened, and they feel compatible with each other, and with Eleanor and Simon, too.

What would you name boy-girl twins to go with Eleanor and Simon?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

19 Comments

It sounds like your style is very similar to mine, right down to your second child being an Eleanor-who-is-always-Eleanor! My Eleanor’s big brother is Lewis (always Lewis) and my third and fourth are also twins, though two girls, named Johanna (not Jo!) and a Catherine variant.

Some others from my list that you might like (I’m sure there are some repeats):

Julia
Caroline
Lydia
Vivienne
Alice
Josephine
Claudia
Bianca
Nina
Rowena
Harriet
Georgia or Georgina
Fiona

Ambrose
Fergus
Linus
Grady
Xavier
Jasper or Casper
Fletcher
Duncan
Archer
Magnus
Quentin
Victor

I also wanted to suggest (avoiding more S or E names):

Graham
Grant
Reid
George
Merritt
Jasper
Davis
Clark

and

Daphne
Lydia
Audrey
Ramona
Georgia
Camille
Helen
Greta
Frances
Amelia
Cora

Congratulations! I love Abby’s suggestions of Conrad, Vincent and Benedict, but I do have a hard time imagining Benedict as nickname-proof. I see Bennett was also recommended, and I think that may be the best “Ben” name for someone who doesn’t like nicknames. And Rosalie and Louise are my favorites of Abby’s for a girl. Alice, Frances, June, Eliza, Lauren, Greta, Elliott, Grant, George, Jesse, Leo and Nigel were all already recommended, and I think they are both darling and also nickname-avoidable. 🙂

I haven’t read any other responses yet. Sorry if these repeat!

Walter Paul and Rowena Estelle

Simon, Eleanor, Walter, and Rowena.

All different initials, all different endings, both boys have two syllables, and both girls have three syllables. Nothing super popular, but nothing weird!

Congrats and best wishes!

I love your style, so I am going to suggest my favorites with the sibling names. I think these are mostly repeated so please consider them seconded:

Sisters for Eleanor:
Frances
Beatrice
Charlotte
Edith
Ada
Ida
Audrey
Miriam
Cassandra
Juliana
Sybil
Genevieve
Sylvia

Brothers for Simon:
Benedict
Felix
Julian
August
Dominic
Oliver
Emmett
Elliott
Virgil
Cyril
Cyrus
Evander
Nathaniel
Augustine

Congratulations! I love Arthur, Malcolm and Louise (or Louisa) as suggestions for your twins. A few more to consider:

Collin
Donovan
Elliot
Oliver
Dexter

Violet
Eliza
Edith
Felicity
June

Simon makes me think of Nigel. Both have a contemporary British vibe, nickname-proof, and the long “i” is complementary without being matchy matchy.

My first thought was Miles and Violet, but those both violate the “noun name” category (I feel your pain– my husband has the same issue with them).

So then I thought Milo and Daphne.

But Milo has similar vote sounds to Simon.

So:
Arthur and Ramona
Felix and Lydia
Hugo and Clara
Rupert and Daphne

Anna and Henry
Elsie and Ambrose
Audrey and Eli
Ruby and Jasper

Other Boy Name
Felix
Toby
Basil

Other Girl Names
Estelle
Celeste
Celine/Selene
Cora
Corinne

Girls:
Alice, Celine, Cecily, Felicity (technically a word name), Frances, Joan, Valerie

Boys:
Alfred, Clement, Felix, Francis, Gerard, Henry, Sebastian, Wilbur

A few more classics to consider (if they aren’t already taken by the fam!)
Boys: Louis, Alton, Gerald (some people think this sounds old, but I think it’s charming!), Philip, Hugo, Franklin
Girls: Lydia, Beatrice, Vivian, Caroline, Audrey, Jeanette

Lydia and Felix
Audrey and Nolan
Alice and Zane or Audrey and Zane (A to Z!)
Anna and John
Claire and Elliott
Mary and Arthur
Fiona and Graham

Beth
Cora
Margot
Vera
Katherine
Amelia
Greta
Stella
Fiona
Emily
Natalie
Kate

Hugh
Graham
Hugo
Philip
Leo
Albert
George
Jack
James
Owen
David
Jesse
Elias
Rory
Frank

Boys:
Bennett, Calvin, Andrew, Roman, Josiah, Grant, Edgar, Marshall, Amos, Malachi

Girls:
Allison, Kate, Lauren, Annie, Annabelle, Cora, Caroline, Julia, Natalie

Simon, Eleanor…
Bennett & Julia
Calvin & Kate
Andrew & Natalie
Roman & Annabelle
Grant & Allison
Malachi & Lauren