Name Help: A Brother for Julian, Carter, GraysonName 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!

Marie writes:

I’m one of those moms who always thought naming triplet girls would be fun, but really never thought about boys’ names. But now I’m the mom of three, soon to be four, boys! I love it, but I wish I’d spent more time dreaming up good names for my future sons!

Our boys are:

  • Julian Marshall
  • Carter Matthew
  • Grayson Michael

The M middles names were a coincidence, as Marshall and Matthew are family names, but then we decided Grayson needed one, too! It’s not really after me, but I kind of like that they share my initial.

We like names that don’t feel made-up, but aren’t old-fashioned, either. Julian was kind of a stretch for my husband, and Carter was mainly his choice. We compromised on Grayson.

There’s really nothing left on our list that we both feel excited about. We’re meh on Nolan and Cameron, he can’t stand Ezra, and I’m not into Axel.

One thing we agree on is that we’d like to use the middle name Miles.

If it helps, my favorite girls’ names are Elodie and Luna. (And Juliette, but that’s how I got Julian, so it’s out now. Still love it, though!)

Can you help us find some new ideas?

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

Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new son!

Why is that girls’ names often seem easier? I have some theories, but maybe it’s most helpful to say that you’re not alone. If our second child had been a boy, I don’t know what we would have named him, much less four boys! You’ve done a great job!

So Julian, Carter, and Grayson.

It’s interesting … Nolan and Cameron seem like perfect fits, but neither really appeals. Instead, you’re both pushing for names that seem subtly different – Biblical, scissory Ezra. Edgy, tough Axel.

Maybe we need to split the difference, finding slightly different names that aren’t quite that different from your older boys’ names.



Bennett has the -ett ending of Juliette, and the rock solid boy name Ben built-in, too.


It’s another surname-style choice, again with the distinctive -ett ending. This one edges maybe a little closer to Ezra.


If Ezra is out, would Jonah work? The “Joe” part often makes this name feel more accessible and conventionally masculine than some -a enders for boys.


Take Axel’s sound, wrap it up in something a little more conventional, and you’ll arrive at Maxwell. On the downside, it might get shortened to Max, which seems less like your style. But then there’s the initial to consider, which brings us to …


You both agree on Miles, right? Could Miles be your son’s first name? It sounds great with Julian, Carter, and Grayson. And while another M middle name might be a lot, it could work. Miles Maximilian, Miles Monroe, Miles Mackenzie, Miles McCoy.


An Irish surname associated with the rowan tree, this has become a modern favorite – just like your other boys’ names.


Miles made me think of Milo, but maybe Theo is the better choice? Like Julian, it’s an old school name with a modern sensibility. And while most Theos are actually Theodores, I think the shorter version sounds better with your boys’ names.


Wesley is a shape-shifter of a name, the kind of choice that suits a librarian or a cowboy equally well. I like it with your older boys’ names, but it’s also nicely distinctive at the same time.

Overall, I’m tempted to push you to seriously consider Miles.

Not just because you agree on it, not just because it sounds great with your older boys’ names, and not just because it feels like it’s exactly your style. But because all of those things together feels impossible to overlook!

Readers, what would you suggest as a brother for Julian, Carter, and Grayson?

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. I don’t think it’s necessary to continue to use M middle names, unless you really want to. Most people will never know their middle names, let alone remember what letter they start with.

    Carter and Grayson feel like brothers, Julian feels like an outlier, so I personally would be looking for names with a similar feel to Julian, to bring them all back nicely together. I think Miles as a first name manages this perfectly. I also think
    Rowan or Wesley or Elliot would work very well.

    Luca / Luka
    Marcus / Markus

  2. I have an Elliott and a Miles, and Julian and Nolan were both on our short list! Here are some of the other names we considered: Luke, Everett, Nelson, Asher, Phillip, Campbell, Knox, and Wesley.