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!


Michelle writes:

We have two girls, Maya Elizabeth and Justine Rose. Both names just sort of came to us and it didn’t take too much discussion. Neither name has any specific meaning/reason we chose it, but we do really love their names.

This is our third and final child, and it’s not coming together for us this time. Maybe it’s because we’re having another girl, and we like our girls’ names so much, it’s hard to come up with something that fits that we both agree on.

His favorite is Marigold. My favorites are Sylvie and Danae/Danai. We both like Dinah, but probably not enough to use it.

Can you help us think of some more names? We don’t get too excited about popularity, but probably we don’t want names that we’re hearing a lot, either.

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

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Abby replies:

Congratulations on your new daughter!

Let’s begin by thinking through what your older daughters’ names have in common. If we can put some criteria in place, it will be easier to work through your current short list and maybe find some new possibilities, too.

Maya and Justine are both:

  • Straightforward, nickname-proof names
  • Easily pronounced
  • Broadly familiar
  • Feminine without being too frilly

The differences between the two names are obvious, too. Maya remains in the US Top 100, while Justine left the US Top 1000 after 2008. But since popularity isn’t a major consideration for you, I think that can safely be disregarded. Also worth noting: “not currently in the US Top 1000” would probably surprise people, as Justine remains broadly familiar as a given name.



I love Danae – always have, ever since I stumbled on it in Greek myth. But I think pronunciation is potential hassle. It’s often spelled Danaë, indicating that it’s a three-syllable name: dah NAH eh. The only Danae I’ve ever met in real life pronounced it dah NAY, which is closer to actress Danai Gurira’s pronuncation. So … as much as I love this name, it’s not quite as straightforward as Maya and Justine.


Dinah, on the other hand, feels like more of a Justine – familiar, but rare. It’s pretty easy to pronounce, too. And yet, I think I know what you mean about it not quite pairing with Maya and Justine. Dinah is a sparky vintage revival, but it’s not quite as sleek and current as Maya and Justine.


Marigold is really having a moment, I think – and it’s a marvelous name. Like Maya and Justine, I think it would be easily spelled and pronounced. And it’s familiar without being too popular. But I’m not sure I hear it as a sister name for Maya and Justine.


Sylvie is my favorite of the list. I’m not sure I can top it! It’s brief and complete, feminine but no frills, easily spelled and pronounced. It’s familiar, too, making it easy to wear. I’d give it 13 out of 10 stars.

And yet .. if you haven’t yet agreed on Sylvie as the ideal name for a sister for Maya and Justine? Maybe it’s worth taking some fresh ideas, too!



Slightly French, like Justine, but maybe a little closer to Maya in terms of popularity. Perfectly tailored, still quite feminine.


Because you seem to love D names, I wonder if Delia is a good split between Danae/Danai and Dinah?


I probably suggest this name lots, but I think it’s a great example of a very current name with roots.


Because Marigold is your husband’s top pick, I wonder if another floral is worth considering? I’d nominate Iris, a name that’s vibrant and sophisticated at the same time.


Another name that feels timeless and current, like Maya and Justine.


There’s something very pretty about the vowel sounds in Sylvie and Danae/Danai. Mariel has a little bit of that, too, but it’s a smidge closer to Marigold.


An older form of Sarah, pronounced sah-rye, this name feels like a substitute for the potentially confusing Danae, with a nod towards Sylvie, too.


One of those great names that isn’t quite a classic, but is nicely timeless, too.

Overall, I’m still not sure I’ve topped Sylvie. Would Sylvie Marigold work? But from my list I love the idea of Delia or Sarai. If Marigold isn’t a middle option, I wonder if something like Evelyn might appeal?

Readers, over to you! What would you name a sister for Maya Elizabeth and Justine Rose?

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 do think Sylvie is the name to beat! It goes so well with Maya and Justine.

    From Abby’s suggestions, I like Esme and Iris.

    And some standouts from the comments include:


    The first name I thought of was Diane, and I see a few other commenters had the same thought.

    Here are some other options that might suit your taste:


  2. I think of Maya and Justine as honor or virtue names. This makes me think of Cadence or Cady in honor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Ida for Wells; Alice for Paul or Dunbar-Nelson; Emmeline, Sylvia, or Christabel for the Pankhursts; Frances/Fannie for a number of people; Rosa for Parks; Araminta or Ara for Harriet Tubman (it was her birth name).

  3. Your style seems 90s to me..? (Which I happen to love.) Since you like Danae and Dinah, maybe you’d also like Dina (dee-na) and Deanna? But I think Danae is PERFECT for your family.