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!
My husband and I both have C names (Cara and Chris/Christopher). Our favorite boy name was always Charlie David (not Charles!) and we named our daughter Colette Mary, even though I sort of wanted to break away from the C names.
Our third (and last) baby is due this summer and we need help coming up with another C name. We don’t know the sex, so we’re looking for boy and girl names.
- No nicknames.
- Can’t be too close to Charlie/Colette. (So we like Cole, but it’s out, because COLEtte.)
- We’d like it to have a different ending sound.
- Probably no word names, because our last name is a word: H-nt-r.
- Because my name is always misspelled Krista, I want the name to be clearly spelled with a C. (Part of why we agreed on Colette is because Kolette isn’t a thing.)
PS – We really thought about it and we WANT another C name.
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Congrats on your new baby!
I promise I won’t try to change your mind about C names.
But … I do want to dig a little into your criteria. Your first one is no nicknames. Except your son is Charlie – not Charles! – so I wonder if that’s a general feeling that might not apply to every name? And, of course, if Charlie is the exception that proves the rule, that’s fine, too. But it’s worth pondering.
Or do you mean that any name can’t possibly be shortened further? That’s a challenge, too – if only because it tends to leave you with only the shortest of the short names. Cal, maybe? And I’m not sure that sounds substantial enough, either – though it could certainly work.
I mention this because the pool of names you’re working with is pretty small – particularly assuming you can’t duplicate sounds in Charlie or Colette, and you probably don’t want anything too close to Cara or Chris. (Though my suggestions include some names that play off your own, which could work beautifully.)
Another factor: Charlie and Colette both hit the sweet spot. They’re familiar without being Top Ten choices. I wonder if you’re willing to veer a little more into uncommon names? Or consider something slightly more popular?
Let’s dig into the names!
A BROTHER FOR CHARLIE DAVID AND COLETTE MARY
A surname name that sound distinct from Charlie and Colette, but still fits your family’s overall style.
It’s just inside the current US Top 100, and it plays off of mom’s name – Cara. That might be exactly right for your third child!
If Carson was inspired by Cara, then Christian comes from Chris/Christopher.
Clayton almost-kinda-not quite caught on in the 1980s and 90s, which makes it feel a little dated. Except it never came close to making the Top 100. And it fits in beautifully with so many names right now, from surnames like Carson to modern favorites like Cayden.
My best suggestion for an alternative to Cole. It reads slightly more modern, but I think it works with Charlie and Colette. I can’t decide if it’s an issue with your surname, though.
Is this just too different? The sound is upbeat and energetic, and very different, too. Which is why it works!
A SISTER FOR CHARLIE DAVID AND COLETTE MARY
CASSIE, CASSIDY, CASSANDRA (unranked, #406, #650)
Just like Clayton feels slightly 80s, so do the Cass names. Plus, Cassandra strikes me as maybe a little too frilly next to Colette. And Cassie might be a nickname issue – plus the ending repeats Charlie’s sound. Still, I like Cassie with Charlie and Colette, so it’s on the list.
CECILE, CECILIA, CECILY, CELIA (unranked, #147, unranked, #784)
As with Cassandra, I’m not sure if Cecilia is a style match for Colette – though maybe it comes a little closer? My favorite is Cecile. Rare, but familiar – and the soft C makes for a different sound while still keeping the C theme.
Another soft C sound, though perhaps the ‘t’ ending is too close to Colette?
Soundwise, Chloe falls sort of midway between Colette and Charlie, and yet I think it’s distinctive enough to consider. Of course, there are more Khloes-with-a-K than you might expect.
A very classic name, simple and spare but still rich with style.
My first thought was Cora, except that’s awfully close to Cara. The same goes for Caroline. But maybe Coraline hits the mark?
Overall, my pick is Carson for a boy. Yes, it’s relatively popular. But it checks every box on your list and it has a sweet nod to mom’s name.
As for a girl? I’m torn, but I’m going with Claire. It’s classic like Charlie, vaguely French like Colette, and nicely spare and tailored, too.
Oh, I’ve always liked the name Curtis. Charlie and Curtis sound like brothers. For a girl, I could imagine a Catherine or Caroline with sister Colette. And, there really is no reason to nickname Catherine. The name is only two syllables.
I like Cecily for a girl! I don’t think it’s too similar to Charlie. Camilla would also be cute. For a boy I like Calvin or Caleb mentioned by pps.
Congratulations! I’m expecting #3 (and last) too, and naming the finale definitely feels like the biggest challenge.
My first thoughts for a girl were Corinne/Corinna.
And for a boy, Calvin and Cedric came to mind. I also liked Abbie’s suggestions of Carson and Claire. Congrats again!
I like Cerys and Cecilia for you (I love Cecily the most but that repeats the ie sound of Charlie).
Calvin, Camden, Corbin, Colby, Caspian, Cain
Calista, Corinna, Chantal, Capri, Carmen, Carys
Cleo for a girl! Different ending, no nickname, different enough from all your names.
Callum for a boy? Or Coen.
For boys you could consider: Chester, Cavan, Campbell, Caio, Caius, Cassius, Calvin, Colton, Ceylon, Conway, Cassio, Colston, Crofton Caliber, Corentin
And for girls: Candida, Chiara, Coco, Cinnamon, Cresida, Celeste, Cordelia, Clementina, Clementine, Cora, Clotilde
I have a Primrose and Montgomery, if we have another girl in the future she is likely to be named Cordelia. Good luck with your new baby!
C in DC says
Cara, Chris, Colette (C/K sound); Charlie (CH sound); Charlene/Charlotte, Chelle, Cinda, Cintra, Cheri, Cedric, Cyrus (all not C/K sound)
Clara is too similar to Cara…
With such an obvious name theme, I don’t think the name styles have to match: there is something else already tying them together. So here are some names that feel different enough from the sound and style of Colette and Charlie:
I would suggest Clara instead of Claire. It keeps the two syllables of Charlie and Collette. But I guess with Claire all the kids names start and end the same way so no one is left out.
As for boys, I adore Cormac. Yes you could shorten to Mac, much like Collette could be Etta, but no requirement to. Cormac H-nt-r. Charlie, Collette and Cormac.
Lots of great suggestions already. I like the idea of a soft C sounding name like Cecilia or Cedric or Cyrus just for variety since Colette is a hard C sound and Charlie is the Ch- sound. It makes the C naming pattern feel less obvious
Oops that was meant to be in reply to Alison
We posted Camille, Clark, Conrad and Cyrus at the same time – on the same wavelength!
Caleb, Calvin, Cason, Cedric, Colby, Corban, Corbett
Cambrie, Camille, Clara, Constance, Corrine
Conrad, Cyrus, Casey, Caspian, Callum, Cedric, Cedar, Clark
Camille, Cerys, Clemence, Carey, Calla, Cadence
Mandie L says
Oh, Cedric! I like that one.
Alison Doherty says
Abby’s suggestions are wonderful (as per usual). My favorites off her list were Clayton or Carson for a boy or Cecile or Claire for a girl.
I also love Clio, Camille, or Calliope for a girl and Calvin, Clark, Conrad, or Cyrus for a boy. Happy naming!!
Colin (same roots) or Cody (same sound) could be an alternative to Cole. I like Caleb as a nickname-proof C name for your sib set. I also think Celine or Corinne could work well for a girl, though Abby’s suggestion of Claire is hard to beat!
One last thought: if you want the C/K issue to be clear, one strategy could be to pick a place name that is well known. That way, even if its not common as a given name, people will spell it correctly. Best wishes!
Some ideas for girls: