Torin Michael

Editor’s Note: I don’t think there’s any bigger thrill than running the story of a younger sibling after the older sib’s tale has appeared here! My thanks to Kristin for a little Christmas gift: her second son’s name story. Read big brother’s here.

You featured my son Cashel Joseph’s name as a name story a while back… well, he now has a little brother and I thought I’d send you his name story, too!

When your first child’s name is Cashel, your second child’s name can’t really be Joe, or Sam. When we found out we were expecting another little boy, we started talking names again and found it to be much more of a challenge than the first time! For us, the perfect name is unusual, but easy to spell and pronounce, with some history and a good meaning. This time around, it also had to fit well with Cashel’s name. We didn’t want to repeat initials, so names starting with C, K (my husband and me) and D (last name) were out. We also knew that if we were to have a girl, her name would start with an A, so those names were off the table, too. In keeping with the tradition we’d started with Cashel, the middle name would be Michael, in honor of my father. Now, just to find the right first name!

With Cashel, once I saw his name it just seemed so right that I didn’t need to look any further. With this little boy, I spent hours and hours looking through websites and books to find inspiration, and it didn’t seem to come. We’d previously talked about Graham, which I liked but which wasn’t “it” for this baby. Ramsay was briefly discussed, especially since we live overseas right now and the Arabic Ramzi is a common boy’s name here… but not it. Rainer was a longtime favorite of mine, but also didn’t quite seem right, although it stayed on the list for a while.

My husband was happy to let me pitch names to him, giving me a “good” or “eh” or “NO” response, but rarely loving a name. Part of this is due to the fact that he is not a “name person” as he says, and would be happy with most names I found. But that wasn’t enough for me – I wanted him to love a name as much as I did, and to feel like it was absolutely the one we wanted to use for our son. One night as I was reading off a few possibilities, I came to Torin. “Yes!” he said, “That’s a great name.” This was by far the most enthusiastic he’d been about any of the names we’d talked about. “There was an old computer game years ago called ‘Torin’s Passage.’ Very cool.” So, this name had his vote, although I wasn’t completely sold yet. But whenever I’d throw out another name or two, he would just say, “Okay. But let’s go with Torin.”

I needed to have more than a ’90’s computer game behind it, so I did a bit more research. I loved that it’s derived from the Gaelic word for Chieftan (or thunder, depending on which source you look at) – that tied in with Cashel’s Irish roots and my own heritage. I also liked that when you google Torin you can get an Olympic skier, a swashbuckling British actor from the ’50’s, and an autobody parts company. Definitely some manly associations there! But what really pushed me over was the nickname Tor, which I love. Especially with Cash as a nickname for Cashel – Cash and Tor, Cashel and Torin. They sounded like brothers, and I could imagine them as athletes, or actors, or musicians, or just about anything else. It’s pronounced like it looks, and spelled like it sounds. And it worked beautifully with Michael – Torin Michael. That was it – we had the name! Both of us loved it, and Cashel even started referring to the baby as “Baby Torn, in Mommy’s tummy.” Now that he’s here and we’ve had a few months to see how the name wears, I’d say we love it even more. And it definitely fits our little boy!
Kristin, thank you so much for sharing! They really do make a great pair – in a funny way, they’re both softer names for boys, but with a masculine edge. And they’re both very modern and grounded in history at once. Quite dashing! I am now trying to figure out what your girl name could possibly be …

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. Congratulations Kristin! I love Torin, especially paired with Cashel. Like Sebastiane, I like the association of Torin with Thor.

  2. Awesome combo! I know a preteen boy named Thorin, big brother to Arwen. Do you think their mom likes Tolkien a lot, or what?

    Also, merry Christmas, if it’s a holiday you choose to celebrate!

  3. Great story. I love both Cashel and Torin. Cashel because that is where my father is from (In Ireland) and Torin because of its associations with the god Thor. They make a great sibling set. Congratulations!