Baby name consultant: Biblical boy name with one-syllable nickname preferred

Stephanie and her husband are expecting their fifth born baby, a little green bean 🌱(=gender unknown)! He or she will join big sibs:

Bethany Grace
Luke Michael
Jackson Paul
Caeli Rose

I looooove these names!! They’re all amazing, and I really love seeing Caeli used in real life!

About naming her older kiddos Stephanie writes,

We have many girl’s names that we love but we are stuck on boy’s names! Bethany Grace was a name my husband and I just loved — we consider her patron Our Lady of Grace. Bethany is obviously a biblical region. She goes by Beth.

Luke Michael is named after St. Luke and St. Michael the archangel. Michael is also my husband’s and both of our dad’s middle names.

Jackson Paul is named after two of our grandfathers — Jack and Paul. Paul is also a strong biblical name. He goes by Jack.

We lost two babies through early miscarriage between Jack and Caeli — Samuel and Veronica. I just knew that first baby was a boy and that his name was Samuel, and my husband chose Veronica because we lost her during lent and Veronica was on his mind a lot as we prayed the stations of the cross frequently.

Caeli Rose was a name given to me by God — I can’t explain it. We didn’t find out her gender before birth but I think somewhere deep in my soul I knew she would be Caeli Rose. Everyone calls her Caeli (Chay-lee) and I frequently call her Rosie as a nickname.”

Such gorgeous names, and such significance behind each one! I love them all!

About the naming of this baby Stephanie writes,

The girl names we’re considering are Stella or Stella Maris, Kateri, or Philomena. I love them all and would be happy with any of them, by my husband is leaning towards Stella!

The boy names give us grief! I feel like there should be a biblical connection, and should probably have a decent one-syllable nickname. Sam was a perfect fit but he is our saint in heaven and I can’t use that again. We also love Matthew but it’s my brother and nephew’s name (so we don’t want to use any derivatives either). John and Jacob are out (too close to Jack). And I’m just not feeling Mark or any of the other obvious new testament names. I considered Judah but I don’t think my husband loves it!

We’ve also tossed around Augustine (Gus or Auggie), Benedict, William, Ambrose or Fulton. What are nicknames for Ambrose and Fulton? I get so hung up on nickname options! We also like Joseph and would probably consider it as a middle name. My husband has a devotion to St. Gerard but I’m not sure I’d name my baby Gerard, and Majella sounds more feminine to me.”

First off, how lucky is Stephanie to have a list of girls’ names that she’s totally fine with, and her husband likes one of them—that’s sort of rare in the emails I get! Most of the time I hear how Mom likes certain names and Dad doesn’t like any of them or vice versa. They’re all beautiful.

And the boy names! I love their criteria of biblical connection + “decent one-syllable nickname”—I have lots of ideas! But first—regarding Judah—I wonder if they’ve considered just Jude?

I love Augustine, Benedict, William, Ambrose, and Fulton—heavy hitters, all! And I totally understand getting hung up on nickname options—I’m the same way, nicknames are so important and half the fun of choosing a name in my opinion! I’ve often thought about nicknames for Ambrose because it’s on our list as well—I’ve seen Brose as a fairly traditional nickname for it, but maybe too close to Caeli’s sometimes nickname Rosie? I’ve also seen Amby, but my faves are the ones I’ve come up with on my own: Sam (which wouldn’t work for this family), Bram (a traditional nick for/variant of Abraham but I think totally works as a nick for Ambrose!), Abe (so cute!), Bo, Brady or Brody (perhaps especially with a D middle name), and I think even something like Ace could work, especially if paired with a C middle name, like Ambrose Christopher or Ambrose Charles/Carl. And I recently discovered thanks to one of you wonderful readers that NBC’s Olympic swimming analyst and former swimming champion Rowdy Gaines’ first name is actually Ambrose. I’m dying over Ambrose nicked Rowdy! (I’ve included all these on my Nickname ideas page.)

Fulton’s hard! I’m not really coming up with anything but Ful! Or maybe Finn? (I have more thoughts on Finn — see Philip/Phineas below.)

A thought about Gus—I’ve come up with some other ways to get to Gus that might be helpful here — one of my favorites is something like Gregory Stephen with the nickname Gus (from the G of Gregory and the S of Stephen). St. Gregory’s awesome! Or a super biblical name is Gideon—something like Gideon Stephen or Gideon Solanus (for Ven. Solanus Casey) could lead to Gus as well.

Okay! So on to my ideas for Stephanie and her hubs—I basically just tried to think of all the biblical names that I thought would fit their style and have “decent one-syllable nicknames,” and I also looked up all the names they’ve used and those they like in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity—I found some new ideas in there and confirmed the others that I’d already had on my list for them. Here they are:

(1) Benjamin or Benedict/Bennett
As far as Ben- names go, Benedict is more saintly/Catholic-sounding than Benjamin, but Benjamin’s a bit easier for the non-Catholicky Catholic part of the world to handle, if that makes any sense, and it seems like a better fit for Stephanie and her hubs because they’d really like a biblical name.

Benedict’s great though, and having the nickname Ben kind of makes it feel a little biblical, even though it’s not — does that make sense? Bennett is also a possibility — it’s a medieval form of Benedict.

(2) Caleb
Caleb’s one of my top suggestions for them—it totally seems their  style to me, and it can take the great nickname Cal! I love that!

(3) Dominic
I know, Dominic’s not biblical, but it fits with the feel of Benedict, Augustine, and Ambrose, and comes with the great nickname options Dom and Nic(k), so I thought I’d suggest it anyway!

(4) Gabriel
When Stephanie said she’s “not feeling Mark or any of the other obvious new testament names,” my sense was that she meant the “normal” names like Andrew, Peter, etc., and that some of the less popular NT names might be okay. I would put Gabriel in the “less popular” category because traditionally it hasn’t been used as much as the others (though it’s fairly popular today), and I like it for this family a lot. The nickname Gabe is a great one too—it has a similar feel to me as Jack, Sam, and Ben. I’ve also seen Gil as a nickname for Gabriel, so that’s another option too.

(5) Joshua
I wonder if they’ve considered Joshua? I love that it can be considered a name for Jesus, since Jesus comes from a Greek translation of Joshua, and Josh is a great nickname.

(6) Nathaniel/Nathan
Like Gabriel, I would put Nathaniel especially in the “less obvious” NT category, and the nickname Nate is a great one. But perhaps Nathan is more their speed?

(7) Nicholas
Nicholas is actually a New Testament name, and the nickname options Nick and Cole are both fab.

(8) Philip or Phineas
I’m guessing Philip is one of those obvious NT names Stephanie doesn’t care for, but I wonder if the right nickname could jazz it up enough for her? We considered Philip as a first name with Neri as a middle (St. Philip Neri!) and the nickname Finn, but I think Finn could work as a nickname for Philip even without an N middle name. Or maybe a different middle name? Philip Nicholas? Phineas is another possibility—it’s an OT name, and Julia Roberts named one of her sons Phinnaeus (I like that spelling too) and calls him Finn. Finn is really on-trend right now, in a good way imo, I love it! There’s also the new Star Wars character Finn, who’s awesome.

(9) Raphael
I love the name Raphael and the nickname Rafe—so cool and fairly uncommon! And it’s an OT name, which is a nice biblical connection.

(10) Seth
I think Seth could really work for this family! It’s a great one-syllable name like Luke, and of course fits in with their one-syllable nicknames.

(11) Thaddeus or Theodore
I’m not sure they’ll like the full Thaddeus (though it’s a style match for Veronica and Benedict), but it’s a NT name that has the super cute nickname option of Tad—I know two little Tads (nicks for Thaddeus), and I just love hearing it/saying it. I suspect Theodore might be more their speed, though it loses the biblical connection, but its nickname Ted is one syllable and really similar to Tad. (Theo’s also a great nickname option.)

(12) Timothy
I’m guessing they’ve already ruled out Timothy, but hear me out! I’m really feeling it recently—I never hear Timothy on new little boys, but it’s a great biblical name, and Timmy and Tim are solid, handsome nicknames. I’ve also recently been thinking that Ty’s a great nickname option for Timothy, cute!

(13) Zechariah or Isaac
I feel like Phineas, Thaddeus, and Zechariah kind of go in the same category—names that might just be a little more than what Stephanie and her hubs like. But Zachary seemed like a great fit for them until I remembered that they can’t have brothers Jack and Zach, so I wondered about Zechariah, which can be Zeke instead. Zeke’s so fun! And I love the connection of Zechariah to St. Elizabeth/St. John the Baptist/Our Lady/the Mystery of the Visitation.

Isaac is awesome too, one of my faves, and even though the undoable Zac is a common enough nickname for it, I also think Zeke could work, and Ike is very traditional and adorable. And I saw somewhere online that today used to be the feast of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions (and still is in Canada?) (one of his companions was St. Gabriel Lalemant — see Gabriel above)!

And those are all my ideas for Stephanie and her husband! What do you all think? What names would you suggest for a little brother for Bethany, Luke, Jackson, and Caeli?


31 thoughts on “Baby name consultant: Biblical boy name with one-syllable nickname preferred

  1. I agree, their girls’ names are all fabulous (…Although, I have to admit I’m partial to Philomena!). And your suggestions, Kate, are really good! Timothy, Phineas, Thaddeus, Nathaniel, Caleb… as well as your nicknames options!
    My only ideas are Sean, Ian, Sy and Cy for Sylvester-Silas-Cyrus, Frederick nn Fred or Rick, and Al for Alistair-Alasdair-Alfred-Albert.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have an Ambrose and a Benedict. Ambrose is the name that out of all of kids names that the husband and I both loved. Ambrose goes by Ambrose. Some family have called him Bro. With Benedict we called him Benedict since he was a baby. As he came into himself and his personality came out, we started to call him Ned. It really fits. His little sister calls him Neddy and it is so cute. I was not interested in Ben as a nickname for Benedict. It seemed too plain for my taste.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fulton fits with Caeli style-wise, I think, and since she mostly goes by her full name, I think Fulton could/should too, if so named. He could have a nickname from his middle name like she does (Rosie).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this family’s consistency: Luke, Jack and Sam make excellent sibling names! I suggest Maximilian (Max) to keep the pattern.
    And about Bethany, at first I thought her name was for St. Mary of Bethany, a. k. a. St. Martha’s sister, which would be a great patron for her, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband and I are expecting our third baby. We have Benedict (Benny), Josephine (Josie) and I think we’re having another boy (too soon to know). Girls names is a REAL struggle for me. NOTHING sounds good to me expect maybe these 3 saints names: Maria (in honor of our blessed Mother) Louise (de Marillac) and Georgia (St. Georgia).

    I LOVE nicknames because I feel like they’re warm and full of love. Our kids don’t have middle names and I only use their full names (though I love them) when it’s serious stuff. Ambrose is my absolute favorite boy name but the nicknames don’t convince me 😦
    Here are other saint boy names I am considering:

    Jerome (in Spanish it’s Jeronimo and they go by Jero (heh-roh))
    Benjamin (though too similar to Benedict)
    Constantine (love this one but nicknames? In Spanish Constantino can go by ‘Tino’)
    Theodore (love Teddy)
    Oliver (Ollie)
    Emil (after Fr. Kapaun)

    My other conflict is that I am a bilingual mother raising bilingual kids – the names have to be easy enough to be pronounced in SP and EN 🙂
    This thread has been a true blessing! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve chosen beautiful names for your kiddos Jime! And I love the ones on your list! I had a couple quick thoughts: have you seen the nickname ideas for Ambrose here ( Also, I know that Greek Constantines are sometimes nicknamed Costa or Gus. (Speaking of Gus, I feel like Augustine/Agustin is your style! There’s St. Augustine of course, and Bl. Miguel Agustin Pro …) I love your girl ideas too!


      • Thanks for your very sweet words. You lady have a true gift for names. Augustine was part of my favorite names. Also a problem to me with nicknames as I don’t really like Gus. In Spanish, Agustin is usually called Agus or Tin. Something kind of funny (I realized upon discussing it with my husband who’s from here) is that Ignacio (Ignatius) in South America are usually called Nacho. That wouldn’t fly in the US 🙂 anyway! You’ve given me confidence in my Ambrose name. I truly feel God puts in our hearts of mothers the name of our little ones. So it was with Benedict and Josephine. Thank you much! You were a highlight of my day. God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love this: “I truly feel God puts in our hearts of mothers the name of our little ones” — beautiful! I love the name Ambrose, wonderful choice! God bless you too! ❤


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