choosing baby names, classic names, honouring, middle names, nickname-proof names, nicknames, popular names, rare names, retro names, sibsets, vintage names
Jodie and Drew are expecting their second child next month, and don’t know what the sex will be. They have a daughter named Audrey, and would like a name which sounds good with that. Jodie really likes vintage style names, and prefers ones that can’t be shortened into a nickname. They have lists of names for both boys and girls, but each possible name seems to have its own issues to think about.
Jodie and Drew’s Boy List
- Archer (not sure about nickname Archie, or whether it goes with Audrey)
- Emerson (maybe too out there?)
- Hugo (too common?)
- Spencer (too preppy?)
- Louis (people might pronounce it like Lewis, instead of LOO-ee)
- Edmund (don’t want it shortened to Ed)
Jodie and Drew’s Girl List
- Florence (Drew isn’t keen, and it might get shortened to Flo)
- Gwendoline (a family name – will get shortened to Gwen)
- Sadie (Drew loves it, but it almost seems too nicknamey already)
- Mabel (too common-sounding and undignified next to Audrey?)
- Madeline (it will be shortened to Maddie)
- Hilary (it might get shortened to Hil)
- Clementine (Jodie likes it, Drew doesn’t; it could get shortened to Clem)
Names Jodie and Drew Have Rejected
- Boys – Arthur, Ashton, Byron, Clarence, Clement, Darcy, Elliot, Ernest, Erroll, Fletcher, Floyd, Flynn, Harvey, Hector, Henry, Hugh, Jarvis, Lenny, Miles, Miller, Morgan, Noah, Rupert, Willis
- Girls – Abigail, Agatha, Agnes, Amber, Amelie, Avery, Beatrice, Charlotte, Iris, Grace, Harriet, Hazel, Juliet, Louisa, Marion, Miranda, Miriam, Olive, Paige, Piper, Rosalind, Ruby, Scarlett, Sybil, Vera, Vivienne
- Boys – they are thinking of using Alistair, which is a family name, but it’s not decided yet.
- Girl – Jodie would like to use Ann, which is a very important family name, but Drew isn’t keen on the idea.
- In either case, the second middle name would be Jodie’s surname, which is a one syllable name.
Jodie is hoping to find a classic, old-fashioned name which doesn’t seem strange, but isn’t in the Top 50, and if possible, not in the Top 100. She doesn’t mind if the name becomes more popular later, but doesn’t like the idea of a name which is falling in popularity, in case it quickly dates.
The surname begins with B and ends with T, for example, Barrett, and they don’t want a name which starts with B. Ideally, the name would be one that can’t be turned into a nickname, and doesn’t sound too nicknamey either. They especially need help with boy’s names.
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I can understand wanting to limit what nicknames others can use from your child’s name, but I don’t think it’s possible to completely control it, or even predict what nicknames will be bestowed. There are Elizabeths who are never called anything but their full name, and there are boys named Max who are called Maxy, Max Kersplatz, Mini-Max, and Sir Maxalot.
People can be quite creative in bestowing nicknames, and your baby will soon become a little person with their own ideas. They could be happy to accept a nickname from their family and friends, and may even feel sad and left out if they don’t have one.
Rather than worrying about whether Louis will be Lou or Spencer called Spence, you can at least never use a nickname for your child yourself, and, up to a certain age, you can politely correct people who try to give them one. However, at some point you will have to let go and allow them to decide for themself.
With the middle names, I love Alistair as the middle name for a boy, and it would sound okay with all the names you are considering.
I understand that Ann is a special family name, and it’s also your daughter’s middle name (as well as other family members). I get the appeal of that – it’s like they’re all in this secret family Ann club. I am wondering though why Drew isn’t keen on the idea? Is there a family name from his side that he’d like to use? Or does he think that two sisters should have their own individual names and identities?
The children will be sharing a second middle name anyway, so perhaps sharing both middle names isn’t really necessary. If it’s extremely important to that Ann is used as the middle name, perhaps you could allow Drew to pick his favourite name for a girl, as a concession. And maybe if he convinces you to not use Ann, you could use a middle name from his side of the family instead.
YOUR NAME LISTS
- Archer: I think it sounds nice with Audrey, but a nickname of Arch or Archie does seem likely.
- Emerson: It doesn’t seem too out there, although it is more common for girls.
- Hugo: I think Hugo is dashing, sounds really good with your surname and chosen middle name, and Audrey and Hugo is an adorable sibset.
- Spencer: I guess Spencer might be a little preppy. I think only you can decide if it’s too preppy. I do like Audrey and Spencer.
- Louis: I think this would be a fantastic choice, if you can cope with people sometimes saying his name LOO-is, which I agree could easily happen.
- Edmund: I absolutely love this name, and I think it is utterly perfect as a match for Audrey. I feel as if people would only call him Ed if that was a nickname he liked himself.
- Florence: I don’t think it would be shortened to Flo, which seems pretty old-fashioned. However, as Drew doesn’t care for it, I think it’s off the list anyway.
- Gwendoline: Gwen does seem a fairly likely nickname for Gwendoline. If you decided not to go with Ann in the middle, I think Gwendoline would make a wonderful and meaningful middle name.
- Sadie: If you insist on Ann in the middle, then it would be nice to let Drew choose this one. Sadie Ann is cute.
- Mabel: I don’t think Mabel sounds undignified at all, and I like Audrey and Mabel a lot. To me they are rather similar, in that they can both sound cute for a little girl, but suitable for an adult too.
- Madeline: I agree – this will get shortened to Maddie. And it’s also falling in popularity, which is one of the things you didn’t want.
- Hilary: I don’t think it would automatically become Hil, but I’m not sure how much I love this name with Audrey.
- Clementine: I think this is a very pretty name, and unlikely to be shortened to Clem, but as Drew doesn’t like it, I don’t think it’s a possibility.
These are boys names I thought of that don’t have an obvious nickname. Some of them are on the Top 100, but lower than Archer.
These are girls names that didn’t seem straightforward to turn into nicknames. None of them are on the Top 100, and they are all vintage or retro style.
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Out of the names you’ve chosen I like Mabel best for a girl, and Mabel Ann sounds sweet, if you convince Drew that Ann in the middle really is a good idea. For a boy, Edmund makes me swoon, but if you can’t get over the thought of someone calling him Ed one day, then Hugo Alistair is gorgeous.
Out of the names I came up with, I think Winston is the best match with Audrey, and Rex is the only name on the list which is old-fashioned, uncommon, gaining in popularity, and can’t be shortened into a nickname. It’s not a classic, but it’s not far off. For girls I love Clara as a sister to Audrey, and Celia Gwendoline is lovely. Several of the girls names are classics, and a couple are so rare they don’t chart at all.
Good luck Jodie and Drew – you picked an absolute winner with Audrey, and I’m sure you’ll do just as well second-time around. Let us know whether you have a boy or a girl, and what name you decide upon for him or her!
NAME UPDATE: The baby was a boy, and his name is Archer!
The public’s choice for the baby’s name was Mabel for a girl and Hugo for a boy.
(Photo of vintage-style nursery from Spearmint Baby)