Happy Labor Day everyone! I read the U.S Bishops’ “Labor Day Statement 2021” this morning and really loved the way Pope Francis has called for “all those places where the Church is present, especially our parishes and our communities, [to become] islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” — how beautiful! I’m also happy to post today’s consultation from Theresa Zoe Williams — please leave your ideas in the comments!
Also, I know I’m behind on replying to emails — I’m hoping to sit down and get through them all very soon! Thank you for your patience!
Today’s couple, Chris and Nina, gave me a wealth of information on themselves and what they’d like in a baby name. This is their first child, a little boy due in September, so they’re establishing their style for the first time! Among things they wanted to consider in a baby name was the following:
- Somewhat important that a name isn’t too popular
- Neutral for me about having a name connected with a particular ethnic/racial/religious background, somewhat important for Nina that it’s an American name or a Jewish name
- Prefer a name that is male-specific
- Somewhat important that the name is easy to spell and pronounce
- Neutral about it having a particular linguistic meaning
- Somewhat important that it’s unique in our social circle
- Bonus if the name feels like a grounded masculine name
First, I thought I’d give a few thoughts on the names on their shortlist.
Emmet– It means “whole” or “universal”, though I know meanings don’t necessarily factor in for them. It has an up-and-coming yet grounded vibe.
Everett– This gives off the same kind of vibe as Emmet.
Emerson– This has a real cool vibe and it’s starting to climb in popularity. It seems they like names that begin Es and that have a warm, grounded feeling. I love this name for them, actually, and would have suggested it if it wasn’t already on their list.
James– A very grounded, everyman type name. I know this is probably on their list due to it being passed down on Chris’s side (many men in his family, including him, bear this name!) but, other than that, it didn’t strike me as “them”. It would be great in the middle spot, though!
Lincoln– This has the surname vibe that they seem to like and also reminds me of Emerson.
Leo– It means “lion” which, while not one of Chris’s favorite animals, is an animal name like some of his interests! (I told you they gave me a ton of information!) I like that it’s short and snappy but with a really friendly vibe. This name feels very much in their wheelhouse.
Eli– This name has some great Hebrew roots, which is important to Nina, and is short and snappy like Leo but less common. I love this for them!
Malakai (Kai)– Another name with great Hebrew roots and is not very common but isn’t weird. An unofficial suggestion, perhaps they’d also like Macaiah/Micaiah. This is the full name of the prophet Micah and the name of several other Old Testament players. They can still get to the super cool nickname Kai with this and it’s more unusual (while still not being weird!).
Samson– Another cool name with a surname vibe. This name actually means “sun” which brings in their love of nature.
Wilder– Another surname name! It means exactly what it says, too, and that’s a great name for a little boy. I love this. I’m seeing it ever so slightly more often these days (my new nephew was just named Wylder). I think this is a great name for them except that it might be too many -er’s with their last name (which ends in -er).
Theodore– I love that they love this longer form and not just Theo. It’s a great name climbing in popularity but still relatively uncommon. Great name.
Jay– You can’t get anymore short, sweet, and to the point than Jay!
Rafael– I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see this on their list! It’s such a great underused name and I’d love to see it get more love.
Wesley– This name reminds me of the 80s and 90s even though it’s seeing an uptick in popularity again. The feel of this name is very cool, calm, and grounded but it doesn’t feel quite like them.
Okay, on to new suggestions!
This has the cool, grounded vibe they seem to like a lot. It’s outside the top 100 names in the US, meaning it’s uncommon but not unfamiliar. Paxton has the surname vibe they tend towards and nickname Pax keeps it short and powerful. I really love this name for them, it feels like them.
That surname vibe rises again! This one is even outside the top 500 names in the US meaning they probably won’t run into another one but it’s still familiar. The only drawback I see here is that it ends in -er like their last name.
I thought they’d prefer this short form over the full Sebastian and it has fun nickname Bash to go with it. Sebastian is in the top 20 names but Bastian moves away from that popularity. It’s very masculine and strong without being over the top, too common, or in your face.
I thought this was a great marriage of Hebrew roots, their affinity for names that begin with “E”, and the cool but grounded vibes they tend to like. It is in the top 100 but a nickname like cool Zeke might help with that, too. It also means, “God will strengthen”, and a sort of strength is what they want for their child. This might be a really great way to bring most of their personalities and affinities together in a name. This might be a home run.
This name feels so much like them to me. It’s at 100 in the US and is rising in popularity. It’s short, snappy, and grounded, and actually has the nature meaning of “wood, forest”. For a family that prefers the outdoors and would like to show it but subtly, this name might just be a hit.
This has the cool, grounded vibes I get from them, has Hebrew roots, and means “dove” which technically makes it a nature name. It also begins with “J” which I saw plays a large part in their family life.
Finally, another surname name. David was a shepherd and so were several other Old Testament characters, which made me think they might like this name. It has a soft feel but is definitely masculine and grounded. It sits at number 602 in the US and is slowly rising in popularity. This name says to me a person who will be the master of his own peace and strength, someone who is independent, and someone who is a gentle leader.
Those are my suggestions! What do you think?
During my hiatus, please don’t forget about my book! Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!