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!
We’re expecting our second daughter at the end of August and don’t feel certain about her name.
Big sister is Lowen Leone. We loved the meaning – it’s Cornish for joyful and German for lion. She is a kind and fierce girl. The middle name Leone is after her maternal great-grandmother.
Our top choice for this baby girl is Margot Quinn, but we have some concerns that Margot may be too popular. Using Quinn as part of the name is important.
We would like the name to have a meaning of sunshine/light and/or eagle/hawk to tie to family connections. We love surnames and gender neutral names.
Her last name will sound like Shell, but with a long ‘e’ sound.
Please read on for my response and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Lindsay –
Margot Quinn is a great name!
But compared to Lowen Leone?
It’s very different.
Margot Quinn feels far more traditional, and mainstream. While it’s not frilly, it is gendered. We all recognize Margot as feminine. Quinn, too, is used predominantly for girls.
So I’ll suggest that we put Margot Quinn aside for a minute. Not because it’s not a great name, but because I wonder whether it’s the best name for your family.
Let’s look at some possibilities that feel rare and unexpected, and also have the meanings you seek.
Speaking of meanings, how amazing is it that Lowen and Leone both relate to lions? It’s a double dip – a significant family middle, and a powerful meaning, too.
NAMES RELATED TO LIGHT
Dozens and dozens of names mean light, or suggest light. It’s a big category! I’m going to focus on ones that seem like a style match for Lowen.
Clytie – It means noble. But in Greek myth, Clytie loved the sun so much that she was turned into a heliotrope – a flower that tracks the sun across the sky.
Eirian – Welsh like Lowen, Eirian means bright or beautiful.
Lumi – The Finnish word for snow, Lumi also resembles the Latin lumen, for light.
Lux – Another name derived from the Latin for light.
Soleil – The French word for sun, pronounced soh-lay.
Zahara – From a Hebrew name meaning shining or brilliant.
NAMES RELATED TO HAWKS AND EAGLES
Aquila – It means eagle, from a Latin name. Is the qui enough of a nod to Quinn?
Circe – A sorceress who waylaid Odysseys on his journeys in Homer’s ancient tale, the name comes from kirkos – hawk.
Keaton, Keats – Possibly a stretch, or maybe a surname related to the kite – a bird of prey. Let’s call it hawk-adjacent.
Vega – Let’s end with a double-dip not unlike Lowen. Vega is a very bright star in the constellation Lyra. The Arabic name means – roughly – the falling or swooping eagle.
Is keeping Quinn in your daughter’s name non-negotiable? It seems hard to accommodate both meanings without adding an additional name.
But Vega would touch on both of your meanings – the brightness of the star, the image with which it is associated. Lowen Leone and Vega Quinn.
My favorite, I think, is Clytie Quinn. It only picks up on half of the imagery and meaning. But it repeats the alliteration (sort of) in Lowen Leone. And I think that makes the names sound just like sisters.
I suggest Suvi, which is Finnish for summer. Lowen Leone and Suvi Quinn sound lovely to me ! ( My mother’s middle name was Leone – beautiful!)
LOVE – what a great suggestion!
Other light suggestions: Lucia and Noor.
I really like the suggestions of Arden and Lumi! I’ll add Peregrine, which has the falcon connection – might be close enough to hawk/eagle? Lowen Leone and Peregrine Quinn sound great to my ears! And Perry as a nickname could soften it up.
I think Clytie has too much teasing potential. I love Lumi (or even Lumen), but only if you’re not planning on having more kids, do you won’t have to worry about repeating initials. Also love the suggestion of Orla and Sunniva.
I like that Vega touches on both meanings, and I think it’s an incredible name. However, I would go with Clytie, Aquila, or Keaton to match the alliteration.
Jaime is close on the pronunciation of Eirian; it’s air-ee-on, but I do think people would say it like Aryan.
Arden! It’s a gender neutral surname with eagle in the meaning!
Some other eagle and light names: Arne, Aine, Neri
OH! Good thought!
I think Lumi Quinn is very pretty, and really fits well with Lowen without being too feminine! And I adore Keaton, love it on a girl or boy! I’d also consider Quilla (in place of Aquila and Quinn). Has a few meanings, but including quill as in feather, I think it’s a good match, rare enough that it doesn’t read as too feminine next to Lowen. Wouldn’t use it as a middle name with Quinn though, would sound a bit like chinchilla! Another thing to consider, if they appeal to you, is the Aegle/Aigle variations. Definitely rare, from Greek myth, I see one reference saying it means “light, radiance and glory” online, but also sounds like eagle! I’d also think about expanding the search from sunlight and eagle to qualities and attributes of them respectively. Like names like Orla or Aurelia (maybe too feminine), that mean golden, as in golden light, or Alba meaning sunrise. Expand eagle to flying, feathers, colors, even places you associate with them. One more suggestion- I think Farren would be a pretty sister name with Lowen. Doesn’t have any of the meanings you are looking for though!
Oh, and Astor means hawk. And Arden means valley of the eagle.
Even though I normally don’t advocate for repeating initials in a sibset, I love Lumi Quinn for you. Eirian is intriguing but could be problematic as I *think* it’s supposed to be pronounced Aryan vs Eye-rian.
Wanted to suggest Sunniva (Norwegian name meaning Sun Gift) or Aili (bright, shining light). Phaedra is another option meaning bright. And Phoebe meaning radiant, shining one.
Clytie is also a good option. And I like the suggestion of Orla or Orli.
Love Margot Quinn, too.
Lumi Quinn! Lowen and Lumi sound GREAT together, and although I think Lumi leans feminine, it’s not a particularly girly name.
Alternatively, what about the name Orli? It’s a Hebrew name that also means light, and I think Lowen and Orli sound solid together.