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!
I’m expecting baby #8 in just a few short weeks and having the hardest time finding a name.
We have 2 boys, Isaac Aiden and Levi Josiah.
We have 5 girls, Jordan Grace, Eden Elizabeth, Selah Rose, Zivah Joy, and Petra Jayne.
This will be another girl!
Thus far our trend has been two-syllable first names each beginning with a different letter, and dad prefers something at least vaguely related to the Bible or Hebrew, but none of those are hard and fast rules we must stick with.
A few names we’ve tossed around are Olive, Ruby, Esther, and Noa, and some possible middle names are Louise or Margaret, which are both family names.
Any suggestions would be happily considered!
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Jenny –
Congratulations on your new daughter!
This makes for a little bit of a name game, doesn’t it? Every time I think I’ve found The Name, I realize it repeats an initial. Or maybe the origins aren’t quite right.
Still, I did find a few that satisfy your requirements and I think that’s the trick – to find a pool of possibilities that you and your husband can consider.
I’ve avoided all names starting with E, I, J, L, P, S, and Z. But I’ve also tried to avoid other -a ending names, even though that’s not a rule of yours at all! It just adds some more options.
Two-Syllable Girl Names
Anya – It’s a form of Ann, by way of Russian. That’s a strong link to the Old Testament, as well as the New. And it offers a lovely meaning, too – grace.
Celeste – Maybe this is too much of a stretch, but Celeste comes from caelestis – heavenly. That’s Latin, of course. But the King James version of the Bible, and many other translations, use the word celestial. (Others prefer heavenly.) So it’s not a complete leap.
Chloe – Chloe’s roots are Greek, but the name does appear in the New Testament.
Dinah – A great, underused Old Testament possibility.
Marie – Okay, I know – it seems like it ought to be really common. Lots of women have Marie as their middle name. But as a given? It’s surprisingly rare. And it connects to Mary – again, far less common than you’d guess – and Miriam, so it’s Hebrew and Biblical, too.
Rachel – I know. Rachel feels a little 90s, a name forever sipping coffee at Central Perk on Friends. Except it’s really quite the classic, an Old Testament name with a long history of use.
Tamar – Another Old Testament name rare in the US today.
Vera – I’ve avoided most -a enders, but Vera is too good to resist! It means faith in Russian and truth in Latin. The latter connects it to lots of phrases, like vera cruz – true cross. So while it misses your requirements for origins, I wonder if it still has the right spirit?
From your list, I love Ruby and Olive – probably because they satisfy your requirements plus have a different ending sound, which seems ideal.
But from my suggestions, I wonder if you’d consider Celeste? It’s not specifically Biblical – and it’s not Hebrew at all – but it feels like it’s in the same general space. Plus, it balances out the rarer names (Petra, Zivah) and the more popular ones (Levi, Eden).
I know the community will have some great suggestions, so let’s turn it over to them.
What would you name a sister for Levi, Isaac, Jordan, Eden, Selah, Zivah, and Petra?
Levi, Isaac, Jordan, Eden, Selah, Zivah, and Petra and… (yikes, I break the rules a lot)
– Shiloh (another S)
– Halle from Hallelujah
– Moriah (3 syllables)
– Adina (Adi?)
I’m loving Olive for you.
Keren, as in Job’s daughter.
Since you have Ruby on the list, how about Onyx? I knew a little girl with that name and it worked well – unusual but familiar and easy to say, a little bit unisex (like Jordan), cool, modern and sassy.
I can’t think of any others that haven’t been mentioned except Huldah, Hagar, Shiprah, Sarai, Milcah and Mahlah. Not wild about any of these, to be honest ;-).
Of those suggested I love Tamar, Bethel, Carmel, Adah and Mira for you.
I love the idea of a Karis/Charis! Or maybe Chara (joy)?
-Havilah (if you’re willing to stretch into a third syllable)
-Chesed/Hesed (a rich word that is often translated lovingkindness or steadfast love or faithfulness)
I love Ruth, Miriam, or Mary, and Octavia would be fun in the middle. Not many chances to honestly use that name! Best of luck with your new little one!
I just thought of two more names.
Korah – I also know a sweet young lady with this name and there is also a band named Sons of Korah.
Bethany or Bethel would be pretty
Selah, Beulah, Esther, , Lilith, Yael
My first thought was Tirzah, however Olive completely fits your criteria as it is Biblical, two syllables, and its own initial.
Rivka (aka Rebekah)
Some of these others have mentioned, but sticking to 2-syllables, no repeated letters, what about:
Esther is almost perfect…I just wish it didn’t repeat an initial! Same for Lydia and Susannah.
I do like Rachel for you as well. And Olive or Karis.
Jubilee hands down. I have one myself ❤️
I would be tempted to avoid an -a(h) ending name, but with so much to take into consideration, I think it’s fine to be flexible with that. After all, if her name ends in -a, you’d have 2 daughters each ending in -‘n’, ‘h’ and ‘a’ (even though ‘a’ and ‘ah’ sound the same out loud).
I think Olive is a great choice, as is Esther (if you can come to terms with the repeating initial). I also like Tamar from Abby’s suggestions (if you’re happy with the biblical connection), and Judith and Shiloh from the comments (again, if you don’t mind the initial). And Martha’s a great fit too.
Whoops – Rhoda, not Rhona (not hat there’s anything wrong with Rhona but, as far as I know, it’s not Biblical )
Karis! It’s in the Bible, it means grace
The first to pop into my mind was Shiloh since it’s another Biblical place name, if you’re willing to double up on S. I also like the suggestions of Miriam and Keziah.
Congratulations on baby number 8! You are my opposite equal – I have 6 boys and 2 girls!
A lot of my thoughts have already been mentioned below.
I don’t know if it was mentioned but what about Micah. I know it’s a male prophet, but I know a very beautiful girl inside and out with the name.
Love the names you are tossing around especially Olive and Ruby
What about Ruth or Ruthie
Esther is the perfect name imo. Sounds just different enough from your other kids and is so soft and pretty.
Oops! You don’t have a Mateo! M is fair game!!
Love these names! What about
Charis (christian charity)
Love the middle name Paz, Cruz or Lux
It isn’t three syllables but I also thought of Naomi. Naomi Pax (pleasant peace).
Mandie L. says
The first thing I thought of from your list of names was Naomi. I know it’s 3 syllables, but it seemed so perfect I’m throwing it out there anyway. 🙂
For 2 syllable names:
If you are willing to consider Tamar and Dinah, perhaps Rahab? I know there are some unsavory elements to her backstory, but she showed faith, courage, and intelligence and is also such a beautiful redemption story. Whereas both Tamar and Dinah are mainly described as tragic victims.
Congratulations on number 8! Below are a few names that meet the requirements of biblical and/or Hebrew.
— Adriel means flock of God in Hebrew and is from 1 Sam. 18:19. Okay 3 syllables but still a cool name.
— Adah means assembly in Hebrew and is from Gen. 4:19.
— Abigail means a father’s joy and is from 1 Sam. 25:3. Again three syllables but the nick name Abbey is two. I know a little one called Abbey Grace and she is adorable. Made me love this double name.
— Myra is from Acts 27:5. Oh but that repeats Mateo!
Another name that I think fits is Helen. It means light so there is a vague religious reference there. Plus it is similar to the ending of Jordan and Eden to balance out the a/ah ending of Zivah, Petra and Selah.
C in DC says
Maren Louise. Then the boys share the long I, 3 girls have – a endings and 3 girls have – n endings.
Other options: Naomi, Talia, Therese, Hannah, Mary, Marta or Martha, Corinne or Cora (for Corinthians), Ruth or Ruthann.
Julie G says
Noa Octavia is so perfect!
Erin Beth says
Or perhaps Magda Louise or Esther Pearl.
Erin Beth says
I am loving Olive Margaret for you. Another idea is Carmel Margaret. I also love Phoebe Margaret, but it would repeat an initial.
Sara L. Uckelman says
I need to suggest the name of one of my nieces! Her name is “Rinnah”, which derives from a Hebrew word for a “ringing cry of joy”. I’ve never come across this name outside of my niece!
Another slightly unusual — but nicely historic — suggestion is “Osanna” (from the same root as “Hosanna”): http://dmnes.org/name/Osanna
What about Vida? I see that it can be a form of David. I like the repeating d sound from Jordan and Eden and the a sound from the other girls. It also makes two n’s, two h’s, and two a’s for endings for the girls. Vida Louise?
From the given list I love Noa. Noa Magaret.
Ohhhh, I have to suggest two names: Octavia and Valo!!!! Octavia is Latin for eighth, and it’s a such a pretty name. Always wanted to suggest that name to someone who is expecting 8th child but that’s a rarity! Valo is Malagasy word for eight. Unfortunately, being deaf, I don’t know if they fit the naming restrictions you have, but I had to share these names. May I tell you your other children’s names are so lovely? I love finding a family with well-named children.
These don’t quite follow your rules, but how about these names…
Zena Eve says
I would be very Very tempted to put Octavia in the middle.
Brooke Kennel says
Olive and Esther are both such beautiful names. I wonder if you had considered Shiloh? It starts with an “S” but it’s an entirely different sound from your other daughter’s name. Some other possibilities, although they don’t all meet your two-syllable, no-repeating-initials pattern and a few of them are “out there”:
Ariel (“Lion of God”)
If you’re willing to consider the deutero-canonicals, there’s also Judith and Susannah, who were both strong and courageous figures.
Fun fact: When I was in middle school, I was so obsessed with Biblical names that I went through the entire Bible and made a complete list of all the women’s names I found. Sadly, I didn’t keep it, but I remember my favorite name from a random genealogy: Hazalel-poni. Not very wearable today, but I loved it because it sounded like “has a little pony.” 🙂
A couple of other ideas for name-searching the Bible: In ancient Israel, it was the king’s mother and not his wife that was the real powerhouse at court. If you go through the kings of Israel and Judah mentioned in the Old Testament, they’re usually listed along with the name of the queen mother. Granted, many of the kings were wicked, but there are at least some good ones from Judah and you might look at their mothers’ names. You might also go through the Psalms and Song of Songs and look for place names with romantic or poetic associations (Ophir is my favorite). You can also take your favorite word or virtue names and look up the Hebrew translations to see if any of them are pretty and wearable.
MIRIAM!!!!!!! My second choice for you is Olive. It is a gorgeous name. If you wanted to fancy it up a little to match your more rare names, you could go with Olivet or Olivett. Then you have the nns Vett or Olive.
Miriam Margaret (I am a sucker for alliteration)
Miriam Louise (gorgeous!)
Good luck!! I also have eight kids (one is named Miriam, so I am a little biased there). It is awesome!
Gosh Zivah Joy makes me happy, what a lovely pairing.
My first thought was Tirzah. Tirzah Margaret.
Tovah (may be a little too close to Zivah)
Talitha (love the meaning of this so much)
I think Tirzah is my favourite, followed by Talitha and Adara.
Esther is lovely.