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!

THEY WERE AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Lauren writes:

We (Lauren and Josh) have a three year old named Ezra, and his sister or brother will be here in July.

As much as I love Ezra’s name, I thought it was going to be kind of different. It’s not! There was another Ezra in his swim class when he was just a few months old, the new neighbors across the street have an Ezra, my husband’s boss named her son Ezra … THEY’RE EVERYWHERE.

Our names are super common and very 90s, so we wanted something a little different for our son, more me than my husband. Neither of us wants anything outrageous, though.

Ezra has been our boy name since we were first engaged. Now I don’t trust my sense of what’s different enough/not too different, and I’ve pretty much given up my list, because all of the names are names I’m hearing a lot now.

If our son was born today, we’d probably name him Milo. Can you help us think of more names? We’re really feeling stuck for a girl.

I like names that are short and won’t get shortened more, and our children will have my last and my husband’s last name, which are kind of long, like Murr@y Henders0n, so no middle names.

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

It sounds like the world caught up to you, right? If you were thinking about names around 2016/2017, then Ezra was new to the US Top 100, and would’ve felt fresh and different. The positive slant: you’ve got great taste, and everyone agrees.

That doesn’t make it any less frustrating when someone hears your son’s name and immediately tells you about their nephew/friend’s son/former college roommate’s new baby also named Ezra.

But, but, but … I’m guessing you also don’t want to pick an offbeat name like Cedric or Maurice, either? They can be great names, but it sounds like your style is very current and contemporary – you’d just prefer that your next child’s name isn’t The Next Big Thing.

LET’S TALK ABOUT MILO

First: I think Milo makes a great brother name for Ezra. They sound modern and interesting, but have deep roots and appealing stories.

In terms of popularity, Milo sits just outside the current US Top 100 – about where Ezra was circa 2014. So even if Milo does continue to gain in popularity, it would (probably) take a decade before Milo hit peak popularity, as Ezra enjoys now.

I’d use it without reservation.

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NEW IDEAS FOR EZRA’S BROTHER

Also worth noting: few names reach the same heights as Ezra. It’s much more common for names to peak in the 40s, 50s, and 60s – typically a level of popularity where you will hear the name out in the world, but not in a way that repeats constantly.

(Check out the current list. I’m nodding along with most of the Top Ten and even Top 20, but even considering every high schooler and younger in our most extended circles? I can’t think of a single Hudson, Elias, or Caleb.)

Still, let’s look beyond the current US Top 100 for new possibilities with the same current-but-rooted appeal as Ezra.

ABEL #220

Boys’ names ending with -el have had a good run, with picks like Gabriel and Ezekiel joining classic Daniel, Samuel, and Michael in the US Top 100. But Abel feels different – bright, on-trend, but never as common.

ASA #509

Another A-ending Old Testament name, but with a sound that’s nicely different from Ezra.

BECKETT #196

Polished surname Beckett is one of several ends in-TT options to consider.

FELIX #192

Ezra has a Z and Felix has an X – both high-value Scrabble tiles. Neither is easily shortened, and both combine plenty of history while feeling just right for this generation.

HAYES #209

Another surname name, like Beckett, but with a slightly different sound. I like the way Ezra and Hayes share an S/Z without actually repeating a letter.

HUGO #414

Another O-ending name, like Milo, but farther up the popularity charts.

OTIS #652

A fun name with plenty of tradition.

TATE #197

Cheerful Tate is a memorable sound in just one syllable.

NAMES FOR EZRA’S SISTER

In general, girls’ names are more varied than boys’ names, and fewer girls receive a Top 1000 name every year. That means I’ve looked farther up the popularity charts to find names for Ezra’s sister.

ANYA #443

A European form of Anne, boosted by actress Anya Taylor-Joy, but still nicely under-the-radar.

FIA unranked

A runaway hit in Ireland, Fia rhymes with Mia. (It’s also spelled Fiadh there, but I wouldn’t recommend it here.) It literally means deer, but it suggests all things wild and evokes the forest.

LOLA #263

Once a Dolores nickname, Lola now stands on its own. It’s spirited and just plain fun to say.

MARGOT #148

A natural name for Ezra’s sister, but I do wonder if this is one of the names you’re hearing more often?

OLIVE #181

Olivia is a long-time chart-topper, but this word name feels distinct, a gentle, colorful nature name.

RORY #305

A name we’ve been borrowing from the boy’s list for generations – yes, way before Gilmore Girls – Rory has a lot of energy and style. It’s brief, complete, and not too common.

SYLVIE #425

Like Ezra, Sylvie is a rising favorite. But unlike Ezra, Sylvie remains well outside of the current US Top 100 – if it doubled in use tomorrow, it still wouldn’t crack the US Top 200.

WILLA #428

William is a Top Ten staple; Willow has become a go-to nature name. Willa feels a little more traditional, but is less common than either Wil- name. It borrows something from Ella, Bella, and Stella, but still feels distinct.

WHAT WOULD YOU NAME EZRA’S SIBLING?

Overall, I really like Abel, Felix, and Otis for a boy – and I think I’ll put Felix at the top of that list. But, but, but … I’m not really sure that Felix tops Milo. I do think you’ve nailed it with Milo!

For a daughter, Sylvie is easily my favorite. Fia is a close second, followed by Willa.

Readers, what would you name a sibling for Ezra?

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?

14 Comments

  1. I love Ezra and Milo together, so if that’s your favorite then go for it! I also really like Abby’s pick of Asa. But here are a few other suggestions for boys and girls names that I think pair nicely.

    Ezra and Arlo
    Ezra and Asher
    Ezra and Eli
    Ezra and Isaac

    Ezra and Anya
    Ezra and Avery
    Ezra and Iris
    Ezra and Nyla