Baby name consultant: Hip Brit names for a fifth baby

You guys! Today’s name consultation is for our very own Grace-with-a-small-g (red hair)! And I’m really excited about it, because she has bold taste so I was able to suggest some really fun names for her. She’s not currently pregnant but, like all of us, loves to think about names and would love some thoughts/ideas/suggestions for a possible Baby #5.

Her amazingly named kiddos are:

Elisabeth Grace
James Julian
Fiona Catherine
John Peter

She actually recently left a comment explaining how John got his name — so moving!

Grace writes,

So, quite a few of these are family names … and of course three of them have New Testament first names but that’s not a requirement at all. No one goes by a nickname in our house … I guess I’d say we’re not nicknamers, but I might consider the right nickname if it came along.

I consider our naming style to be traditional, and I prefer names that have sort of an English flavor. As time goes by, I find that names with a more “hip” Brit feel appeal to me more and more.

I’ve had other name nerds say that because we used the “s” spelling for Elisabeth that we have a more continental style but I feel they didn’t have a good pulse on our taste, “s” spelling notwithstanding.

If we have another baby, we have middle names picked out, Xavier for a boy and the mouthful Catholicky Catholic Maria Thérèse (possibly spelled without a space, not sure) for a girl!

We have girls’ names likely narrowed down to Edith or Iris, although I still like Aurora, too. Other girls’ names that have been serious contenders for us are Rosalind and Winifred.

For boys, I love, love Jasper, but not sure about a THIRD “J” boy! And I’m pretty wed to Xavier in the #2 spot, so Jasper Xavier is probably out. Another boy choice we like a lot is George. Henry feels like the “safe” choice for us but I’m not head over heels in love with it.”

I was really intrigued by this: “I’ve had other name nerds say that because we used the “s” spelling for Elisabeth that we have a more continental style but I feel they didn’t have a good pulse on our taste, “s” spelling notwithstanding,” and I really wanted to try to make sure I took it into account.

Grace and her husband have a bunch of rules about naming as well:

-Anything that ends with a “B” because I’m against elision with our last name
-Probably also wouldn’t use a name beginning with “B” for the same reason
-Despite my girls’ names listed up above, I don’t like the more common floral names (Lily, Rose, Violet), or anything that points to another language specifically (such as French, Italian, etc.—with the obvious exception of that middle name!)
-Names with a very strong glottal stop (such as Martin)
-Hugh/Hugo or anything else reminiscent of words for size
-Names beginning with the letter “L”
-We are not super into Old Testament names though we wouldn’t 100% rule them out

And a bunch of names that are on the no-go list for various reasons:


And I know she was worried about being too picky but, please. I LOVE picky! Challenging name dilemmas are my jam. 🙂

My very first thought was about their choice of middle names — I love them! Xavier and Maria Thérèse/MariaThérèse make any first name juuuuust fine since they’re so saintly and spectacular.

Edith, Iris, Aurora, Rosalind, and Winifred are all fabulous, they totally give me a good sense of the kinds of names Grace and her hubs like, as do Jasper (!), George, and Henry. It’s funny because when I was coming up with ideas, given that “continental” is not their style but rather “a more ‘hip’ Brit feel,” though I did use my trusty Baby Name Wizard book, I really felt like my approach with this was more of a “close my eyes and jump” gut-feeling kind of thing. We’ll see how I did!


(1) Zara
I’m starting with Zara because I’m thinking Grace won’t like it, but maybe she will? It’s 100% influenced by her interest in the monarchy (as she’s told me), and also Fiona’s name. Elisabeth, James, and John on their own are your basic, amazing, handsome, traditional sibling set. But you throw Fiona in there and pow! It’s like sprinkling glitter over the whole set. So I tried to let Fiona’s name influence me quite a bit. Without her I might lean more toward Thomas, Mary, Jane-type names; with Fiona, and Jasper too, I felt like having fun. Zara totally strikes me as that kind of name. And the letter Z?? To die for. But I’m still going to guess that it’s a little too un-traditional for Grace and her hubs … (I love love love Zara Maria Thérèse.)

(2) Gwendolyn
I love Gwendolyn and Gwen—the mom of Baby Beatrice, whose birth announcement I posted in January, has a Gwendolyn, as does DMNES’ Sara, and Haley Stewart has a Gwen, and I’ve really been feeling it recently. Never mind that it’s a style match for both Rosalind and Winifred! And also Bernadette and Rosemary, which I found surprising, in a good way. Gwendolyn Maria Thérèse has a gorgeous rhythm, what a name.

(3) Clementine
Clementine is very British to me. Am I right about that? I feel like it’s used more there than here. I love it—the full thing is so fun, and I actually love the song reference and the oranges (what a fun avatar for a little Clementine!), and I love the nickname Clemmie. So cute! And it’s a Year of Mercy name! Clementine Maria Thérèse. Yum.

(4) Olive
I know Grace likes Olive, so I was surprised to not see it on her list! It’s totally on my radar because of Our Lady of Olives, what a cool Marian connection. Olive Maria Thérèse is really hip to me (though we have established that I’m neither hip nor hipster so maybe I have it all wrong 😀 ).

(5) Georgiana
This is kind of a joke! It’s cracking me up that I put this in here! 😀 When I was in the midst of doing this for Grace I read a comment she left that she doesn’t care for the feminine variants of George and so my namey mind immediately perked up and thought Ah! Georgiana! It’s SO perfect for anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice and Colin Firth, as I know Grace does, and I loooove Georgiana anyway. So I’m keeping it on the list. 😀

(6) Juliet
I feel like I talk about Juliet a lot here on the blog, and I don’t ever remember Grace chiming in one way or the other, but it seems to me like a perfect bridge of sorts between Elisabeth and Fiona. It’s one of my very favorite names. I do realize Grace and her hubs have Julian represented already, and of course all the J names, but I thought I’d add it in anyway.

(7) Sadie, Daisy, Millie
Finally, the nickname names. So British right now! These are my favorite of those kinds of names for Grace and her hubs. Sadie is sweet, and it’s Jude Law’s ex-wife’s name, which is a really twisted but fun connection (I had Jude Law on the brain working on this because of Grace’s love of Iris, which is one of his daughter’s names. He also has a Rafferty, which I was tempted to put on the boy list, but I stopped myself. But if Grace likes it, I love it!). Though Sadie’s a traditional nick for Sarah, it can stand on its own, and Sarah doesn’t seem like Grace’s style at all.

Daisy is a huge deal for me right now, I am love love loving it, it’s definitely my current favorite of the Margaret names. I also watched The Great Gatsby recently and liked seeing Daisy on a grown woman.

Millie is influenced by two things: first, Millicent was listed as a match for Winifred, which made me think of my cousin Millicent who goes by Millie … and then Millie made me think of one of my Brit-pop-culture go-tos, the Shopaholic series, where the main character Becky and her amazingly named husband Luke Brandon named their baby Minnie. Just Minnie. So British. So I thought Grace and her hubs might like Millie?


(1) Owen
Owen is all St. Nicholas Owen, and I’m not sure it really fits in with Grace’s taste, but I think it could—St. Nicholas Owen was English and Fiona is Celtic and so: Owen! I love it, and I think Owen Xavier is fun because of the XO thing.

(2) Alistair, Alasdair
I love that the BNW says, “Alistair has had an uber-genteel image in the U.S., courtesy of longtime Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke. In Scotland it’s simply an everyday classic”—I love that combo of genteel and common! When I first saw this name in my research, I thought of the Hugh Grant movie About A Boy—if I remember correctly, the girl he liked introduced him as Ali, which I assume meant Alistair or a variant, so I feel like it has that Brit cachet they’re looking for. (Though I guess it has the same problem with Xavier that Jasper does.)

(3) Arthur or Albert
So I was thinking about the whole nickname-as-given-name thing that’s popular in England, and I thought of Alfie, which made me think of Archie, which reminded me that I’d seen somewhere recently that someone named their son Arthur and decided on Archie as a nickname, and as soon as I thought of Arthur I thought of Grace. Arthur!

Arthur and Archie also made me think of Albert and Albie, and St. Albert the Great’s one of my faves, and Albie’s super cute.

(4) Elliott
Elliott was included in the list for Aurora and as soon as I saw it I thought ooh! I love that it’s a diminutive of Elias, I love the sound and spelling (all forms), I love that it can be literary (T.S. Eliot), and I love it with Xavier. Elliott! I know it’s gotten some use by girls recently, but I still really like it for a boy.

(5) Edmund
I’m surprised Grace and her hubs don’t have Edmund on their list! It’s Narnia, it’s St. Edmund Campion, it’s got a little bit of a fusty-musty feel that I think they like (Edith). (In a good way!) It’s got really cute nicknames, but the full Edmund is my favorite I think. Edmund Xavier is fab.

(6) Louis or Lewis or Linus
Louis is de Montfort and Martin; Lewis is C.S. Either and both are such great connections! I personally love the nickname Louie, but the full Louis/Lewis is quite nice too. My boys go to school with a Louis and he’s such a good kid—respectful, friendly, cheerful—he’s really made me love it even more.

Linus is kind of a dark horse but I love it’s papal connection AND it’s a style match for Iris and Casper (which I consider to be nearly as good as Jasper in terms of determining style), as well as Flora, Felix, Hugo, and Beatrix, all of which I thought were decent markers of Grace’s style.

(7) Malcolm
Finally, Malcolm. This is mostly influenced by Fiona, but also by its meaning: “follower of St. Columba.” I love that! I know a little Malcolm, brother of Liam, who has effectively severed the Malcolm-Jamal Warner association for me, and Mac is one of the greatest nicknames in my opinion. They could even do Max if they wanted with the middle name. Malcolm Xavier is gorgeous.

Alright! Moment of truth! How did I do? What would you all suggest as a brother or sister to Elisabeth, James, Fiona, and John?


55 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Hip Brit names for a fifth baby

  1. Oooh, hip British names! Between my daughter’s nursery class (so, the 3-4 year old categories) and my own students (so, 18-21 year olds), I come into contact with a lot of British names. These are the ones that in my experience are typically British:

    Amelia/Amelie/Amalia, Beatrice, Constance, Harriet, Olive, Oliver, Poppy, Toby, Thomas (SO many Thomas’s)

    Of these, probably Toby and Poppy are the most British.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay!! I’m so glad you commented Sara!! These are great names!! Poppy definitely jumped out at me — makes me think of Jamie Oliver’s daughters — but I didn’t realize the others were “typically British,” this is great!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems the family preference here might be for names without hard consonant stops (like AG-nes or REG-in-ALD). Perhaps Rosalind and Winifred (both amazing!) were passed up because the ending “d” was a bit much? One suggestion would be Roscelin – a spelling with much history but rarely used.

    Agreed on Ambrose, wonderful and very British! Also, Philip/Philippa.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting observation about the hard consonant sounds. I think that’s a coincidence though, because Edith is fairly likely to be our next girl’s name. Rosalind & Winifred were passed up because we didn’t know the gender of our baby John until he was born and we hadn’t decided on a girl’s name yet! (The boy’s name was with us before he was conceived, as Kate mentioned in the post.) Rosalind and Winifred were among the final contenders and reading them again makes me wish we were young enough and fertile enough to have lots more babies!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I thought Alfie for them, too! So sad that Felix, Jude, and Simon are no-go’s. How about Bennett, Everett, Evan, Rufus, Liam, Reuben, Anton, Aidan, or Quinn?

    For girls, Millicent and Winifred make me think of Wilhelmina. Was it you, Kate, who posted about the boy band Hansen’s taste in baby names? Anyway, one of their wives made me reconsider Wilhelmina. I think they use Willa as a nick, but I was thinking Millie, like Kate suggested.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah! I love that you did one for Grace! We have chatted baby names many times, and I just counted and if you count my own middle name (Grace) we overlap four names so far 🙂 (I also have Elisabeth, Catherine, and James among mine).

    Love the above suggestion of Willa (although I know a good friend of hers has one). Edith and Gwendolyn also go so well! My sister just had a Clementine (my mom calls her Emmy, to go with my Elsie, born at the same time), and I never thought of it as a particularly Catholic name until recently. Clemency! St. Clement! Of course!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Chiming in again (now that my phone is charged) to say that both Olive and Oliver seem perfect. And was Peter on the no list?

    Zara made me think of this: Maria-Therese as a first, with Mara or Tara as a nn. Mara is inarguably British Isles, and I know an English girl Tara. Or Tess.

    Another one I love is Cecil. As in SESS-sill, not to be confused with Cecile (sess-SEEL) the female name. It’s very Brit, and a great way to honor St Cecelia in a male name.

    Or Donal, alt spelling Donnell.

    And I’m surprised Theodore isn’t on any of the lists… it seems like a good fit, and the “d” in the middle isn’t too much of a stop.

    Maybe I’m not totally getting their style, but I DO think Jane would be good… maybe as a double name. Not sure what, but maybe Ruby Jane, Sadie Jane, Rosie Jane, or the quintessential Jane Frances. Jane Maren. Jane Adelle.

    I know she said no flowers, but what about Hyacinth-type names? Is that too fusty?

    Is Annalise too ethnic? Maybe Annabel?

    Or a Mary- name. Mary-June. Mary-Kate. Mary-Lucia (LOO-sha). Or Marian.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So many great suggestions! I loved this post 🙂

    First off, I find it funny that Grace has a James Julian because I have a cousin named Julian James 😀 Love the name both ways!

    I definitely think that the next name needs to fit more in style with Fiona (even though I love the name Fiona with this set!). I love Kate’s suggestion of Gwendolyn! For some reason Gwendolyn reminded me of Rosemary.

    Another name that weirdly came to mind was the name Marina, which I don’t know if it’s ever been talked about really on the blog. Marina and Fiona were weirdly popular in my hometown (I think I know 3 Marinas and 5 Fionas), so maybe that’s why I thought of Marina.

    This one is a little off the wall, but what about Ingrid? I feel like Ingrid is a very specific name, that you either like or you don’t, but for some reason I feel like Grace might like it (no worries if you don’t)!

    I also thought about the name Veronica. Idk why I like the name Veronica so much, it’s not actually really my style, it just seems like the name of someone who is super cool, and I feel like Grace could pull off having a kid with a super cool name. I just get the vibe from her 🙂

    Boys names were a lot harder for me to think of for some reason. Basically all of the ones that I could think of were on the no go list (I already have a super long no go list and no one I know is even having kids yet! Having a big family is fun but it crosses off a lot of names).

    I thought about the name Gregory for some reason. I like the nickname Rory that Kate has suggested a couple of times for it.

    Gregory then made me think about Leo, I think because they’re both Pope names, and Julian reminds me of Julius, also a Pope name. I feel like both Gregory Xavier and Leo Xavier work! (Also, can I just say that X is the coolest middle initial!)

    Thinking about how cool the initial X is got me thinking about other cool initials, and the two initials I think are coolest, besides X, are Z and Q. So I thought of Zachary and Quinn. I just really like the name Zachary and think it goes really well with their other names. I like the idea of Quinn, because this would be their 5th baby 😀 Quinn Xaver, QX, what cool initials!!

    So, yeah, there’s my novel of a comment.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Great comment! You are so kind and flattering to me, Grace! All very cool suggestions! I like Marina but probably not with Maria Thérèse which we are very firm on. Ingrid is a beautiful name and I’ve always loved it (along with Astrid), but at this point think it might be too Scandi to introduce into our established set. Veronica is something I’ve never considered! I will mull it over!

      Love your boy’s suggestions, especially Leo!

      And I so agree, big families make it hard, our no list is almost entirely nieces and nephews!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve thankfully already stalked my sisters name lists and we don’t have the same taste. Unfortunately, my cousins are amazing namers.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I vote for Gwyneth (or Gwendolyn) for girl and Edmund for boy! I love Gwyneth as (to use Kate’s term) a bridge between Elisabeth and Fiona. And Edmund is cool and hip but still fits nicely with James and John.

    Also although the name Malcolm and nn Mac is adorable… He would be Malcolm X. 😬 Guessing she might not love that association?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh, great point about Malcolm X.

      Gwyneth is SUCH a beloved name to me, I’ve mentioned it a lot of times in the comments here. I love all the elements—the g, the wyn, the th. I have loved the name since I first heard of it as a teenager. That said, it’s so OWNED by Gwyneth Paltrow—she’s usually the only person most people have heard of with that name, it feels unusable to me. When Fiona was born, we had a lot of people saying, “Oh, like Shrek?” which was annoying, but died off over time. I think the GP association is just much stronger. It’s too bad, but there are enough other beautiful names that I’m really ok with it.

      Funny about the sense that many people have that it would be good to look for a bridge between Elisabeth and Fiona, because for me, Fiona is not a “Celtic” type name, as it was coined by an English poet (with the intention of making something Celtic “sounding” but not of authentic provenance), and pretty much ALL the Fionas I know of, besides my own daughter and the singer Fiona Apple, are from England rather than Scotland or Ireland. So to me, it IS an “English” name! I do just LOVEVthat Kate described it as the “sparkle” to our set, though, because using it helped make it clear (at least to us) that we were doing a Brit thing and not just predictable traditional names. Hopefully that makes sense!

      Liked by 1 person

      • For me, I guess I was thinking of the “gap” between Elisabeth and Fiona more in terms of usage. I’m not the name statistics expert like Kate 😉 but I assume Elisabeth is significantly higher on the list of popular names. Or maybe it just seems more common/ traditional (to use your words). I actually agree that Fiona sounds more British than Celtic to me as well (again from a name layman if you will!).

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Whenever I think of Gwendolen I think of Cecily, thanks to ‘The importance of being Ernest’ which I hope you have all seen because it’s hilarious and British and focused on the importance of giving a baby the right name! So Cecily is my suggestion along with Cecilia and Cecile. Which also brings to mind Celeste and Celia meaning ‘heavenly’. Other British feeling names that come to mind are Margot, Josephine, Vivienne, Margaret, Harriet, Louisa, Eloise, Eleanor, Jemima, Imogen, Delyth, Alice and Clara. I would suggest Elspeth but you have an Elisabeth.
    P.S. For a boy- Algernon! 😀 okay I’m just joking with that one.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I’m glad. I thought that I’d either be really close or just on the other side of ‘too weird’. I realised after I hit reply that I included some names that were on the list of names you couldn’t use. Sorry! Have you considered Caroline?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Well, even if they’re on the “can’t use” list, I still like many of them. Unfortunately I have a much more fertile sister who sort of copies my taste on a lot of things, not just names! But I guess having a niece or nephew with a favorite name is better than nothing because I know I’ll never be able to have 5 or 6 more children, but she might! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. for a boy, I really dig anselm! it has a similar feel to edmund, and st. anselm was the archbishop of canterbury in the 12th century… yay for powerful intercessors! anselm xavier– now THAT is a catholic bb.

    my next suggestion is gilchrist. which is not everybody’s style, I know! but it’s celtic like fiona and rocks total crotchety adorable old english grandpa vibes and has a K N O C K O U T meaning, “christ’s servant.” :’) bonus: in my mind it kind of could be a teeny tiny nod to chesterton?

    for a little girl, I think rosamund (“rose of the world”) would be beautiful! quintessentially british, ties in the little flower thing with st thèrése, and it’s MARIAN!!! rosamund maria thèrése = swoon.

    Liked by 2 people

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