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Olivia and Dale are from New Zealand, and they are expecting their third child towards the end of the year. Their son is named Innes, and their daughter is Abigail, and they have a fairly common surname beginning with C and ending with N eg Charlton.

Olivia likes male names which are generally softer in sound, such as Henry, Abel, Arlo, Eli, Miller and Soren, but Dale has vetoed all these ideas.

Dale, who is of Swedish heritage, would prefer a Scandinavian-style name, and only likes three names for a boy: Lachlan, Stellan, and August. Although Olivia likes Lachlan, she feels that it is too popular for their common surname, and Stellan is the cat’s name.

By elimination, that leaves August as their front-runner, but they have had mixed reactions when they have asked for people’s opinions. Some love it, while to others, August is a month, not a boy’s name. The Charltons live in an area where boys tend to have unspectacular names, and Olivia wonders whether August is too far out.

The middle names they are thinking of using are Leander and James. Leander has special significance for them, because Olivia and Dale were both in the navy, and met on a Leander class frigate. Olivia suggested Leander as the first name, but Dale vetoed it. James is a family name, but it was mostly chosen because it flows well with Leander.

Olivia wants to know whether August Leander James C_____n works as a name, and if there are any other soft-sounding Scandinavian-style boy’s names they might like.

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You’ve already discovered that some people love the name August, and I guess you can add one more, because I adore August. I think it’s handsome and stylish, and it seems perfect for you. It honours Dale’s Swedish heritage, it’s a softer boy’s name, and you get fashionable nicknames from it like Gus and Augie. It sounds fantastic with the middle names you’ve chosen, and I would count August Leander James as one of the nicest boy’s names I’ve heard recently.

It may not sound like the boy’s names in your area, but our childrens’ names don’t have to fit in with the neighbours. It would be foolish to make them so when you could relocate later, new people could move to your area, and your son is unlikely to live in the same place for his entire life – and even if he did, the demographics of the area would change over time.

I suspect this isn’t really a huge concern for you, since Innes isn’t exactly a run of the mill name either, and I’m sure everyone around you has coped with it. I think Innes and August are really well-suited as brothers, by the way.

You’ve had some mixed reactions to the name August, but it doesn’t sound as if the mixture is people who love it and people who hate it – it seems more as if people either love it, or it confuses them. They hear August, and think, But August is a month … I know you can call girls April or May, but can you call boys after a month? And why is his name going to be August when he’s due late in the year?

If people seem a bit taken aback or confused when you tell them your son is named August, I would just briefly explain that it is the Scandinavian form of Augustus, and that Dale has Swedish heritage. And if they still seem a bit hesitant, maybe you could mention a famous August, so they have something concrete to attach to the name.

I would pick whatever August you think people you know would most readily connect to. So – August, like the Swedish playwright August Strindberg, or August, like Nicolas Cage’s dad, or August, like in that film “August Rush”, or August, like August Booth from “Once Upon a Time”. Or you could mention some celebrities who have sons named August, like Mariska Hargitay and Jeanne Tripplehorn.

I think that explanation would satisfy 95% of people, and the other 5% either need more time to get used to it, or they are just stuck on August being a month, and can’t, or won’t, get past it.

Other Softish-Sounding Boys Names

  • Ari
  • Bo
  • Elias
  • Hugo
  • Lars
  • Magnus
  • Matthias
  • Oscar
  • Theo
  • Tobias

These names either have a Scandinavian origin, or are currently popular in Sweden (like August), or have a history of use there. However, I honestly prefer August to any of these names.

Olivia and Dale, you’ve plenty of time to change your minds if you come up with a name you like better, but I’m kind of hoping you don’t, because I think August is a brilliant choice. Please let us know what you decided on once your little boy arrives!

NAME UPDATE: The baby’s name is August Leander James!

POLL RESULTS: Most people (69%) said they wouldn’t assume the name August was after the month, with 22% assuming August was derived from the name Augustus, and 47% refusing to make any assumptions at all. 16% of people said they would assume August was after the month, but nearly all of them thought that would be cool. Only one person (less than 1%) thought August was an odd name because of the month.

The name August Leander James received an overwhelmingly positive response, with 81% of people giving it a thumbs up. 55% thought it was a fantastic choice, while 26% said it was nicely put together. Not one person thought there was something seriously wrong with it.