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180351.1020.AMia and Lachlan are expecting their second child in about ten weeks, who will be a baby sister or brother to their son Bugsy.

Lachlan chose Bugsy’s name, in a tribute to the film Bugsy Malone, which has special significance to him. Mia wasn’t at all sure about the name, and pushed for Bugsy to be used in the middle instead. However, once their son was born, Bugsy suited him so perfectly that he couldn’t be called anything else; Mia absolutely loves his name.

It is now Mia’s turn to choose the second child’s name, and she feels utterly stumped. Nothing seems to match the name Bugsy, and everything she has come up with seems wrong. She’s made a name list for each sex, but isn’t completely happy with any of them.

Mia’s Name Lists


  • Penn
  • Hugo
  • Finley
  • Otto
  • Tristan


  • Poppy
  • Nellie
  • Scout
  • Clover
  • Marigold
  • Tilda
  • Maisie

Names Already Crossed Off the List

Harrison, Luca, Max and Ryder (boys); Emerson, Emme and Sadie (girls)

Mia’s getting increasingly stressed as her due date grows ever closer, and feels ready to contemplate almost any name.

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Mia, this is a good demonstration of one of the pitfalls of the “I’ll pick the first name and you pick the next one” baby name compromise. It sounds very fair, but in fact it’s a far more difficult task for the parent who goes second, and the parent who goes first rarely stops to think about what their choice might mean in regard to subsequent sibling names.

I feel that while it’s a nice idea to have your childrens’ names sound good together, it should be a preference (even a very strong preference) rather than a requirement when choosing names.

Look at the way Bugsy’s name was chosen. It is meaningful, both parents love it, and it fits him perfectly. I think your second child deserves to have a name that’s equally meaningful and fitting, and loved just as much. It shouldn’t just be an accessory to “match” Bugsy (although if the two names do sound great together, then that’s a bonus).

You don’t seem to have really fallen in love with any names yet, and I wonder if that’s because you are constantly judging them against Bugsy? When you start off a baby name search with an absolute in mind (must start with J, must be three syllables long, must match with Bugsy), it makes it hard to properly consider any other potential names.

And something like “must match with Bugsy” is much more complex than “must start with J” because it’s a subjective matter rather than an objective one. We all agree on what the letter J is – we may not all agree on what matches Bugsy. One person may think Bugsy and Daisy is adorable; another may think the names sound horribly twee together. The same person may swing in both these directions, unable to make up their mind one way or another.

Rather than tie yourself into knots finding a name which sounds good with Bugsy, I would start out by eliminating names which sound terrible with Bugsy. So when you are considering baby names you like, ask yourself, “Will this sound awful with Bugsy, and make both names look ridiculous?” If it fails your test, cross it off; if it doesn’t sound too dreadful, I would give it a chance.

For example, Bugsy and Elmer sound ridiculous together, because of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, and makes your children’s names seem like a joke. On the other hand, Bugsy and James may not be the most amazing sibset in history, but I don’t think that it’s absolutely terrible either.

I think it would be a mistake to think that you can’t use a mainstream or popular name as a sibling for Bugsy. I imagine you get a lot of people saying, “Bugsy? That’s different”, or “What an unusual name”, but although Bugsy is definitely a very uncommon name, it isn’t really that unusual. It’s a vintage American-style nickname with a movie reference context, so to get you started, here’s some ideas of other names similar to that which I don’t think sound too bad with Bugsy.

Names From Movies

The first one that comes to mind is Rocky, which is another name from the movies of the 1970s; however I think they are too much alike as brothers. I could see Rhett or Scarlett though, from Gone with the Wind, or Atticus or Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. You have Scout on your girl’s list, and I think Bugsy and Scout sound fantastic together.

The Cutesy Factor

Bugsy sounds quite similar to the name Buddy, and Jamie Oliver’s son Buddy has sisters named Poppy, Daisy and Petal. I’ve noticed you have some pretty cute names on your girl’s list, such as Poppy, Nellie, Tilda and Maisie, and I think any of these would make an adorable sister for Bugsy. Cute names are fun and likeable, just like Bugsy.

Tough Guy Nicknames

Another name which reminds me of Bugsy is Buster, and I’ve noticed that parents of Busters tend to give their other sons tough guy nicknames, like Jake or Dan. However, this doesn’t really seem to be your style for boys names.

Names from the 1920s and ’30s

Because of its vintage style, I can see a boy named Bugsy matching with another name from that era, such as Coco, Etta, Lulu, Mabel or Zelda for girls, or Arlo, Dashiell, Django, Lenny or Roy for boys.


Gemstone names were very fashionable in the 1920s, and besides the popular ones like Ruby and Pearl, less common ones like Emerald, Sapphire and Opal were just as cool. Gemstone names for boys such as Jasper, Garnet and Diamond were also stylish.


When you think of it, Bugsy is kind of a nature name as well. You have Clover and Marigold on your list, and I think either of those would sound great with Bugsy. I think boy’s nature names seem a bit more problematic with Bugsy, as they tend to sound quite soft, except animal ones like Fox or Bear – and these probably underline the “bug” part of Bugsy too heavily.


I admit that I have had much more success finding girls’ names to go with Bugsy than boys’ names (and really I think all the names on your girls list sound fine with Bugsy). But one of the appealing things about surname names is that they harmonise with many different styles of names. You have Penn at the top of your boys list, and I think Bugsy and Penn sound awesome together. They’re both a little off-beat in different ways, and they don’t seem to either clash or be too matchy. Other surname names that I get a similar vibe from are Arlen, Cash, Dexter, Gray, Knox, Reid, and Weston.

Mia, I hope this has given you a few ideas of how Bugsy can be matched with a sibling name. Once your baby name lists have firmed up a bit, write in again and we’ll have another look at naming a brother or sister to Bugsy.

NOTE: The baby’s name was Jem Richmond!

POLL RESULTS: One third of respondents thought that a name from the 1920s or ’30s would be the best match with a brother named Bugsy.

(Photo shows Scott Baio as Bugsy Malone)