Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, 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 named our daughter Lucy Rose six years ago with almost no discussion. We took my favorite name and his grandmother’s name – done and done! Four years ago, we used my maiden name – Ross – for our son, combined with my husband’s name, William, for his middle.
Now we’re expecting a surprise third baby, and we agree on nothing. Nothing! Our last name starts with an H, and is long and complicated – sounds like Hildebrand, but with a few more letters.
After many emotional talks, we finally settled on Leo for a boy. Not perfect because I don’t like repeating with Lucy’s L, but we agreed.
And … it’s a girl.
My list is Anna, Julia, Clara, Alice, Mae. Simple, traditional, maybe a little boring even. My husband keeps suggesting names like River, Meadow, Clover, Lark. You get the idea. We’re not especially outdoorsy, and the names just seem weird with Lucy and Ross, don’t they? Don’t they? Or am I being unreasonable?
Anyway, is there a name that feels as traditional as Anna, but maybe would make my husband happy, too?
Hi Andrea –
I think you’re running into a very common problem. When you agree on your first child – or in your case, first and second children’s – names quickly, conflict can come as a huge surprise! But it’s also true that there were reasons to choose both of your older children’s names. In this case, there’s really no persuasive reason behind either of your lists. I think that probably makes it hard to say yes.
In your case, though, I think there are two logical ways to compromise:
- Choose a more traditional given name, with a nature-word name for the middle. You both get one of your favorites, and Anna River or Alice Meadow is just great.
- Choose a nature name that feels more like a conventional name.
If you’re comfortable with the first approach, I think your list is made, and it’s just a question of mixing and matching.
But if you’d rather look at name that strikes that middle of the road note? I think we can help there.
Laurel – I just wrote about all of the Laura names, and Laurel has been much on my mind. It fell out of favor, along with Laura and Lauren. Today, however, it’s back in the US Top 1000, probably thanks to our love of all things nature names. The downside? It will inevitably be misunderstood as Laura/Lauren. But it’s a great nature name that feels more like traditional Laura.
Daphne – Daphne makes a great sister name for Lucy, and strikes me as a nice mid-way point between popular Lucy and the rarer Ross. Daphne might not seem like a nature name, but it is – in fact, Daphne means laurel in Greek.
Sylvie, Sylvia, Silvia – My heart belongs to Sylvie, but Sylvia is much more common – and brings to mind your Julia. All three come from silva, the Latin word for woods.
Stella – Stella reminds me of Anna and Clara, and sounds like a sister for Lucy. But it also comes with a a great nature name meaning – star.
Daisy – Okay, there’s nothing subtle about Daisy. It’s as obvious a nature name as Rose. And yet, names like Daisy have filtered into general use, making it is easy to overlook their (literal!) roots in the garden. Unless, of course, you appreciate that quality, which is why Daisy makes my list. Other names that hit the same mark? Lily, Violet, and possibly Ivy, too.
Flora – Flora made my recent list of vintage names ready for a comeback. It might strike you as slightly out-there, and I wonder if your husband will find it too old-fashioned? But in the spirit of suggesting nature names that aren’t straight-up nature names, Flora fits.
June – Is June too close to Lucy? They share the same vowel sound, but I still think they work well together. June isn’t quite a nature name, and while it’s gently old-fashioned, I think it feels very current today – moreso than Flora, maybe.
Juniper – That brings me to Juniper. Juniper might be a little long with your last name, but I think it works together nicely. I think it’s exactly the kind of name your husband will appreciate, but it also feels like the kind of name that you might like – in part, because of built-in nicknames Junie and June.
Overall, my favorite suggestion is the first: a conventional first name with a bold middle. You’re both picking one name, and coming up with a combination that’s traditional, but with an unexpected element. It seems like the right direction.
But if your husband isn’t on board, I love the sound of Daphne or Juniper for your daughter – in which case, of course, you might choose a more conventional middle name closer to your list.
Readers, how would you handle this kind of conflict? Do you have any name suggestions for Andrea and her family?
I think Willow Robin would be perfect with Lucy Ross and Ross William
Other traditional “boring” nature ideas I have are
As for Leo
Why not get a away from two l’s by picking a name with Leo in it. Such as Elliott its hidden in the middle (lio) but it wouldn’t be to much of a stretch to call him Leo for short.
So maybe Elliott Wilder would work with Lucy Rose and Ross William
Another Idea is place Leo as the middle name so its not another L name. Maybe Garland Leo world work being traditional and nature
English word nature names [excluding jewels] on the 1900-1915 [peak popularity for the names on Andrea’s list] SSA top 1000 list which haven’t been mentioned:
Andrea N. Young says
There were many great suggestions here. I would choose Clover, because I have a daughter named Clover and she is darling. We call her Clover most of the time because I don’t really do nicknames, but sometimes her older siblings call her Clovey and it is the cutest thing.
But . . . not your style. So. From the the suggestions I LOVED Marigold nn Mae. So feminine and sweet, but with some Mae West sass thrown in. I also liked Iris. It is beautiful and more traditional without being super popular. Ivy was another pretty suggestion. I love, love, love Daphne with Lucy. It just works. Sylvie sounds like it might be more your style. Juniper nn June is also lovely.
Love, love, love Daphne or June! Stella is also lovely. A few additional suggestions:
Iris! First name to come to mind after reading your other children’s, even before reading your list versus your husband’s list. It seems even more perfect after.
April, Autumn, May, Beryl, Marguerite, called Daisy, Violet, Willa.
Lark and Clara make me think of Lara
Meadow , Mae and Anna … Melanie
I’m also wondering about Emma.
I might be misreading things but it feels like you had the majority say in both of the other children’s names (your favourite and your maiden name). I think it is problematic to each choose one name – first/middle, as the first name is used all of the time and the middle tends to be forgotten after childhood. There is a world of difference between Anna Lark (called Anna) and Lark Anna (called Lark). If it was me I would keep looking for a compromise name that might suit both of you or at least take a serious look at why your husband likes the names he does and how you can work with it.
Do you like Paige, Naomi or Mia? Is Phoebe too Friends? What about a Josephine called Posey? Is there an honour name from your side that you would like to combine with his favourite name?
The Mrs. says
Daphne is also a luscious-smelling flower!
Abby’s suggestion of Stella is fantastic. Esther also ‘star’.
If you think about it, Margot is almost the same as Meadow… Lucy, Ross, and Margot.
Summer is a lovely classic that doesn’t feel too “nature-y”. Lucy, Ross, and Summer.
Isla means island… Lucy, Ross, and Isla.
Faye is a simple, traditional name with a tie-in to nature. Lucy, Ross, and Faye.
Maren might just feel right for you both. Lucy, Ross, and Maren.
Middle name suggestions: Prairie, Breeze, and Pearl.
For nature names that feel more traditional…
For names that are similar to Rose and Ross…
Rosemary (can go with a nickname that gives you both the nature name and the more traditional feel–Rosie, Mary, Rory, Romy…or with a stretch you could get Sara out of it, but that’s really a stretch)
For nature names that give a more traditional nickname…
Magnolia (nn Maggie or Nola)
Marigold (nn Mari/Mary or Marie or Ari or Maggie)
I love the suggestion of Marigold, which is a nature name with a very vintage feel and it could easily shorten to Mae as well as all of the lovely suggestions above!
Love the idea of having a pattern–Rose to Ross and William to Willa. Also, I like Anna Lark or Mae Meadow (with the nickname of Mamie).
I am loving Mae-I know a Mae with a three-syllable last name and it works beautifully. Maybe Mae Rowan or Mae Azalea or May Aurora? I also like the suggestions for the splitting the difference: Hazel, Ivy, and I would add Gemma or Olivia nn Olive or Evelyn or Genevieve nn Eve. For combinations I like Anna Lark, Anna Brooke, Julia Dawn, Alice Fern, and Clara Wren.
Kelsey D says
Oooh I also love Mae. And the combinations you choose for first and middle name are great too!
Your kids’ names are perfect, in multiple ways. I’d like to hear you complete the set in a way that continues the good story “Lucy was my favourite name, Ross is my maiden name, _______, and the middles are family names.” To me, the completion of the sentence is to use your husband’s favourite name (that you can also love) and a family name from your side. You mention names that he throws out but does he have a name he’s always loved? And do you have a family name to use as a middle? Maybe it’s that simple.
For what it’s worth, I feel like it’s not uncommon for last kids to have names that stray from the general style. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, if you love it, it fits. Abby has a great idea in something like Juniper, that is more daring, but shortens to more traditional June.
Lastly, love that suggestion of going full circle with a Willa or Willow or even Winnie? With a middle like Louise? That makes the name nerd in me very happy – Lucy Rose, Ross William, Winnie Louise….
Kelsey D says
Hey. Louise is sort of a combination of Lucy and Ross. That’s super neat!!
So maybe it is just me and how my brain works, but I noticed your first child is Lucy Rose and your second is Ross William, which made me immediately think Willow for your new daughter. Ross repeats the beginning sound of Lucy’s middle name and Willow would repeat the beginning sound of Ross’ middle name. However it is not a very classic name that fits well with Lucy and Ross, so maybe Willa is a better choice. Lucy, Ross and Willa work well together. Willa June seems like a good name, classic but also a bit different.
Jennie Barclay says
I clicked over from Facebook where the post said: “Lucy Rose, Ross William, and …”
Which made me notice the similarity of Rose and Ross, which made me look to William and think Willa.
Lucy, Ross and Willa.
Lucy Rose, Ross William, Willa *Nature Middle Name*
First thought is Iris. It sounds classic and maybe a little boring, but along with being a flower she’s the Goddess of the rainbow. Plus Lucy, Ross and Iris go perfectly together.
If you can’t reach an agreement on a traditional first name followed by a bolder middle (as suggested), here are a few more options that might split the difference for you and hubby…
Summer/April/May/June (if applicable to Baby’s arrival)
Maisie (means “pearl”)
My favorite pick for you was already suggested: Violet (or Viola). I think
Ross William &
Violet/Viola with Claire/Anne in the middle
would make a perfect trio!
Zena Eve says
Robin! Well used and nature inspired!
What about Iris or Ivy? It sounds like your husband wants a nature name. So maybe you can give him one while also staying classic.
Or May…as in the month of, with all of its connotations of springtime…instead of Mae?
Or would you like Bay? Like River, but a more classic sound.
Or Bea? (Short for Beatrice, or not). Might appeal to the same part of your husband’s brain that likes Clover and Meadow.
Kelsey D says
First off, I’m with you. I think your more traditional type names fit better with you other two kids names… but I guess that isn’t overly helpful. So I’d suggest the same, going with a more traditional outdoorsy name so it can swing both ways.
Dang! Abby took all my suggestions!! Hahaha.
I LOVE FLORA.
Lucy, Ross, and Flora.
What about using Rose as a first name? I know it’s Lucy’s middle name but it sort of ties the girls together in a neat way. Or use a spin off such as Rosa (keeping the name short like your other two).
My first thought was June, I think it’d be a good fit.
If you both settled on Leo, what about Lily? I know it’s similar to Lucy but it has enough different sounds in there that I actually feel it’s less similar than a Lucy and Leo.
What about Vera? would this be “different” enough to fit in with your husbands naming style of Lark, etc.?? Vera is a traditional name but is uncommon enough that it might be quarky enough for hubby. I happen to love Vera!!
What about Pearl? Sigh. Another one of my loved names!
Other shorter names:
Viola – spin off of violet
“What Katy did” anyone? That book was my introduction to the name Clover, and so in my mind it belongs with the names Alice, Rose, Anna, and late 1800s era. Seems just right to satisfy both of your tastes.
And +1 for June/Juniper
I think Daphne fits in with the other names well. It’s a nature name; like Ross it’s unusual but people will recognize it.