Name Help: Boy-Girl TwinsName 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!

Alison writes:

I’m expecting boy-girl twins in December – but they will probably arrive sooner – and I’d like some help finding a special connection between their names. Nothing too obvious, but something that I’ll know about.

I’m Alison, and my twin sister is Amanda. My mom also has twin brothers. My uncles both have J names. I guess the most obvious thing would be to use the same first initial for both babies, but I like the idea of something that everyone won’t notice, at least not right away, if that makes sense.

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

Dear Alison –

Congratulations on your new babies!

I love the idea of matching your children’s names without making it too obvious, for two reasons. First, twins do have a special bond, and it makes sense to celebrate it. But they’ll want to be their own people, too, so names that sound like a matched set aren’t ideal.

Sharing an initial is one option, but let’s look at some more possibilities, where the names are linked by meaning, style, and association.



Great mini names abound for boys and girls alike. In the most extreme example, you could name your children Io and Ty – a mere four letters for both first names combined! But I like a three-letter pair much better, because it’s more familiar – and thus, far more subtle. If not Ada and Max, maybe Ana and Eli? I like Zoe and Leo, too, because they share the same vowels, but the sounds are very different.


You might consider choosing a positive meaning, and then finding two names that share it. Felicity comes from the Latin felicitas – good luck, and evolved to mean happy in English. Asher means happy in Hebrew. Lots of names have separate, distinct roots but very similar meanings. Luke and Claire are both associated with bright, for example.


At first glance, these are both nature names – though not super-obvious ones. They’re also both shades of green. But I picked them because they’re both subtly tied to the winter holidays. Ivy, of course, brings to mind the carol “The Holly and the Ivy,” though I suppose Holly might be the more-Christmas-y of the two. And Jasper comes from the name of one of the Three Wisemen.


They share the same vowel sound, but Lucy and Jude also come from two famous Beatles songs – “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Hey Jude.” Beatles fans would notice, of course, but that’s not likely to include your children’s peers. And since both Lucy and Jude are fairly popular by 2020 standards, I doubt most people would think about their possible origins. (Maybe a combination like Rita and Desmond would attract more attention.)


Plenty of families stick with outdoorsy nature names for their children. Meadow and River have distinct sounds, but they’re often found side-by-side. It makes for a nicely compatible pair.


Two night sky names might be perfect together. Leo is a constellation, and Stella means star. Of course, the combinations are nearly endless. Juno and Orion, Carina and Perseus, or Callisto and Oberon, maybe?


Sylvie comes from the Latin silva – forest. But that’s not exactly common knowledge, so while the connection is meaningful, it’s quite subtle. Another option: Silas shares the same roots as Sylvie. While Silas and Sylvie might be too close – there’s that shared initial again – Silas could pair with a tree name, like Laurel, Willow, or Juniper.


I’m not sure if Wren and Jonah belong in the same style neighborhood, and yet I like them together. Wren is the name of a bird, and Jonah? It means dove in Hebrew.

It’s tough to choose a favorite – and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of possible combinations! Stella and Leo might be my favorite, assuming you don’t mind names that are a little more popular. But if you’d prefer names that are less common, I think Sylvie and Forrest make a great pair.

Readers, over to you! What are some great boy-girl twin names that connect … but not too obviously?

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Viola & Sebastian, the twins from Shakespeare’s 12th Night. Twelfth Night was part of the winter holiday season, so a great subtle link for December babies.

  2. I LOVE Abby’s suggestions!!! Ivy and Jasper are brilliant, and the idea of using names from Beatles songs (or really any band/artist you feel strongly about) is so clever.

    In general, I like these sorts of themed names much more than the alliterative/word play options, because they get to be united by something a little more substantial than a couple of letters. That said, anything you come up with will be perfect for your babies 🙂

    Best of luck!

  3. How exciting! Congratulations

    Serafina and Michelangelo
    St. Michael the archangel, archangels belong to the class Seraphim

    Drake/Draco and Dova, both mean dragon, which may be obvious to anyone who plays ESO or Skyrim

    Rosemary and Valerian are both medicinal herbs

    Artemis and Diana. Technically Artemis is a woman but in modern times the name seems to be thought of as masculine. Artemis is the Greek equivalent of the Roman Diana.

    Basil and Sadie are both vintage with royal meanings.

    Idabell and Fredrick. Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglas were both important activists for voting rights and racial justice.

    Clark and Addison are both unisex surnames. The intersection where Wrigley field is located and the red pandas at Lincoln Park Zoo.

      1. I heard Violet and Oliver once; the sounds are so distinct but reminiscent of each other, and the style matches perfectly.

        I have often thought that I would use Charis and Carys for twin middle names. Charis is Greek for grace, and Carys is Welsh for love, but in English they are pronounced the same.

        So something like Oliver Charis and Violet Carys.

  4. So many great ideas here!! A few more:

    Winter names with v as a connection and both are four letters:
    Vale & Neve

    Or still winter but not four letters:
    Bodhi & Lumi

    Two names that mean noble and are sweet together:
    Alice & Owen

  5. Edward & Adelaide

    (I have had so many ideas for how to connect twin names, but I am going to save those for another comment because as I was brainstorming I put these together and love the combination so much I don’t want to suggest anything else … but I will, because I really have no idea of your general style).

    1. So here are my other ideas for connecting twin names, with a few examples:

      Swapping the first and last sounds:

      – Isabelle & Elliott
      – Samuel & Eleanor
      – Elizabeth & Gabriel
      – Celia & Ian
      – James & Sarah

      Having the same middle sound:

      – Alexander & Susannah (an)

      Each name containing double letters:

      – William & Harriet

      Or the same double letters:

      – Matthew & Charlotte

      If you are nickname people, you could embrace the same first initial pattern that you and your uncles have, but have everyday nicknames that start with different letters:

      – Margaret & Maxwell (Greta & Wells)
      – Edward & Eleanor (Teddy & Nell)
      – Annabel & August (Bella & Gus)
      – Genevieve & Gilbert (Evie & Bertie)

      Having the same first initial but with a different sound:

      – Caspian & Celeste
      – Charles & Clara
      – Sean & Sadie

      Having the same starting sound, but with a different initial:

      – Josephine & George

      Having the same name in different forms:

      – Owen & Jane (both from John)
      – Jacqueline & Hamish (both from James)

      Coordinating middle names in any of the above ways would also be a subtle connection.

      Or you could interchange the first and middle initial for each baby:

      – Edward Alistair & Adelaide Estelle

  6. I just wanted to share how we connected my twin girls’ names, because it might help you too. Their first names both end with the same syllable (like Jessica and Rebecca) and their middle names share the same initial (like Mara and Millie). It’s a subtle connection, but one my other kids don’t have, so I like that the twins do.

  7. Oooo, what a fun game! I like Lucy/Jude and Jasper/Ivy – especially with the Holliday connection.

    Meaning is a great way to go if you’re looking for a subtle connection that would take a minute to get.

    Leo and Ariel (Lion names)

    Winifred and Callum (peace/dove)

    Oliver and Ellery (trees)

    Cullen and Juniper (also trees)

    Calix and Briar (nature/plant)

    Asher and Felicity or Felix and Beatrice (happy)

    You could consider honor names that would connect your twins. I had a disappearing twin in a pregnancy, and before the loss I considered working in two of my great grandmothers names, each of whom was very special to my parents. Luckily both names had obvious male versions too. Now I can’t bring myself to use the names outside of a pair. I also considered historical heroes like Ida and Rosa for girls or Wells and Parks as middle names for boys.

    Have fun finding your match! I hope we get an update.

  8. Oh I love those suggestions! What about tying them together by abbreviations?

    So something like Katherine (Kit) and Henry (Hal)?

    Or Alexander (Sasha) and Emmeline (Lina)

    Or Thea/Theodora (Teddy) and Arthur (Artie) – I really like Thea and Arthur

    Or a literary tie in? Josephine and Huckleberry after Little Woman and Huck Finn? Or inspiration musical figures, say Nina and Ray?

    Turns out I have a lot of thoughts on this subject, ha.