Name Help: Sibling for Briggs + ZoraName 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!

Brianna writes:

You helped us name our first, Briggs Matthew, back in 2017. We love his name!

I wish we’d reached out to you when we were naming our daughter. We were down to Navy or Zora until we had to choose, and we finally chose Zora Avery. It fits her, and we love it now, but I spent the first few weeks convinced we’d made a mistake.

This new baby will complete our family. We plan to find out what we’re having in a few more weeks, but want to start thinking about names now.

My big worry has always been that our last name is very common as a last name and a first name: T@yl0r.

You gave us good advice to skip Brayden. (Just like you predicted, we hear Aiden/Jayden a lot, and while we still love Brayden, it probably would have ruined it for me.)

People do call Zora lots of other names. Zara, sometimes, and Nora. But mostly we think it’s the kind of name that people “get,” even if it takes a few tries.

So that’s what we want again: a name that people “get,” that isn’t super common, and we want to have it settled way before we’re in the hospital!

Here are the questions for this baby:

  • It’s a coincidence that Briggs’ name starts with Br like mine. My husband is Zach/Zachary. Again, that’s not why we chose Zora. But we’re wondering whether it’s a pattern we should stick with?
  • There can’t be a famous person with the same first/last combination. My husband shares his full name with a former US president. No, it’s not exactly Washington or Lincoln, and it doesn’t come up that often, but we’d still like to avoid it.
  • The boy names from our first list that are still maybes are Declan, Everett, and Hudson, but I think they’re all too common. (When I looked through the school directory for our son, I found at least one kid with every one of those names, but ours is the only Briggs.) I like Sebastian, but my husband is a hard no on that one, and we know two already. (Not good friends or anything, but just in the neighborhood, in a way that makes it feel very common.)
  • It might seem obvious to just the name the baby Navy if it’s a girl, but that’s not really clicking for me this time.
  • Remy is a new favorite, but I’m not sure if it’s better for a boy or a girl?
  • I’m due on the first day of winter! Maybe we would name a daughter Winter, but I think Winter isn’t great with our last name.

And that’s what we’ve got. Can you help us with some new ideas?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on baby three!

You’ve done a good job of finding first names that feel distinctive, but not too out-there. No guarantees that your kids will be the only Briggs or Zora T@yl0r, but they (probably) won’t be one of three.

The first question, I think, is whether you want to stick with the B/Z theme for future children?

I’m going to assume the answer is no, because a) your maybe list isn’t focused on those letters; b) you didn’t plan it to begin with; and c) it’s fun, but it’s a pretty invisible pattern.

Since there aren’t any middle names under consideration, maybe you could hand down Brianna/Bree/Brynn or Zachary/Zachariah/Zakai or something similar? Or even Brian/Bryce for a son?

I tend to agree with you about Declan, Everett, and Hudson – great names, all. But yes, they’re all ranked in or near the current US Top 100. Could you use them? Of course! But they’re not quite what you’re looking for, right?



If you do want to stick with another B name, would Boden appeal? Yes, it’s a colorful British clothing brand, but it comes from the founder’s surname. And with that bright Bo sound, it’s a name with plenty of energy to match brother Briggs.


Maybe this is more of a match for Zora than Briggs, but Cassian is one of those ancient names that feels modern. It’s pronounced Cash-ehn, rhymes with passion and fashion. It’s the name of a character in the extended Star Wars universe – one who is about to get a television series – so we could hear more of it in the future. But it feels like a solid Sebastian alternative.


A surname with Irish roots and an appealing meaning: proud.


Gatlin means kinsman. It’s a surname with a long history of use; Gatlinburg, Tennessee got its name from the family who owned the local general store. Full disclosure: Gatling is a related surname, and inventor Richard Gatling gave his name to a gun.


A nature name that would be big today … except it had a good run in the late 1960s through the 1970s, thanks to television western The Big Valley. Still, it barely cracked the US Top 200, so it’s not exactly Jason or Scott.


Just slightly different than Everett, Everest takes the name in an outdoorsy, bold direction.


I suppose an obvious surname name might be too much with your last name? Except that Jones is so many things that you like with Briggs – familiar, but not common. Upbeat and energetic. Then again, maybe it’s too much like Briggs?


A straight-up nature name, not currently in the US Top 1000, but accessible and strong.


A surname with Welsh roots, there’s something smooth and polished about Vaughn.



An obscure name with Hebrew roots, Amaris might be a lot like Zora – it takes a minute to get it, but the effort is worthwhile.


Like Zora, Cleo is a vintage name with a modern sensibility.


We love Emma and Ella, so why not Etta? Originally short for longer names like Henrietta, today it stands on its own.


You might choose Gwendolyn or even Guinevere, but I think just Gwen is a great match with Zora and Briggs.


An invented name with a great meaningful – cheerful, from the same root as our word jovial.


As vintage as Zora, but with an extra syllable. Luella has a lot of spirit.


A smooth surname name that also brings to mind midcentury nickname-name Marlo, this sounds just right with Briggs and Zora to me.


A little more traditional than most of the names on this list, but with plenty of style, too.


I’m a little bit stumped! While I can argue why lots of these names make sense, it’s really tough to narrow down the boys’ list, isn’t it? Sound-wise, I keep going back to Gatlin, but I worry about the associations. I think my favorite is Dempsey, particularly because it gives every sibling their own ending sound.

Which reminds me: Remy works for a son or a daughter. As of 2021, it ranked #357 for boys and #550 for girls.

For girls, it feels easier. Cleo, Marlowe, Jovie, Gwen, Etta … pretty much every name I’ve suggested has felt like The One at some point while I’ve been writing this reply.

Of course, I’ve skipped over your thought about Winter. I agree, it’s not great with your surname. But maybe another, more subtle nod to the season, like Sylvie or Neve?

Okay, over to you! Readers, what would you suggest for Briggs Matthew and Zora Avery’s new sibling?

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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What do you think?


  1. Briggs, Zora and…





  2. Boy : Pryce * Egan * Creed * Ford * Dempsey * Coe *

    Girl : Nipha or Nivia (meaning ‘snow’) * Eira (Welsh meaning ‘snow’) * Skadi (Norse godess of winter) * Cauley * Silva * Iva *

  3. Also…since you went from one to two syllables…maybe the third name could have 3 syllables and still share the “z” sound. I like Ezekiel (cute nickname Zeke) and Azalea for a girl…I guess Lea would be the nickname, if you wanted one.

  4. I love Topaz … for a baby girl who comes early … it is November’s birthstone and has the “z” sound. Also … maybe Blaze for a boy? There would be two b names though.

  5. Statler comes to mind…but maybe not with your surname.
    Briggs, Zora, and Statler

    What about Troy? He’s familiar, has been around for ages, but is remarkably underused.
    Briggs, Zora, and Troy

    Do you like Glen? He’s a nature name but is uncommon.
    Briggs, Zora, and Glen

    For a little lady, there is Abby’s suggestion of Simone (which is GENIUS) or Thessaly or Antonia or Gemma or Greta.

    Zora’s meaning is gorgeous, so I’m wondering if another nature name would appeal. Olive, Hazel, and Ruby feel common right now, but how about Estelle or Marina?

    I can see the appeal of Winter, but with your last name, it might be clunky.

    Best wishes on your new little joy!