Namer's Remorse

Sep 25th 2008

I hear from a lot of parents in the grip of naming dilemmas.  Some of them are just starting their name searches, while others are feeling the pressure as they count down to their due dates.  And yet others -- a surprisingly large number -- are already home with an infant in their arms, but still uneasy about the names they've chosen.

"Namer's remorse" is a complication you really don't need at an already complicated time of life.  It piles on top of the sleeplessness, the endless to-do lists, and the general life upheaval that comes with expanding your family.  Sometimes, in fact, it's a product of those factors.  The high emotional pitch of the first days at home tends to amplify every parenting concern.

Name anxiety can also be a safe place to channel some of the difficult feelings of new parenthood.  It's a big leap from the imaginary baby in your mind to the real baby in your arms.  Sometimes it takes a while to really feel like the mysterious little creature you're holding is your child.  (That's ok, it'll come in time.)  Similarly, the name you chose in advance may not seem like a natural part of your child, or a good "fit."  If that's worrying you, rest assured that babies grow into their names in surprising ways.  By the time she's running around, that name is likely to fit her like a glove.

But for a small percentage of parents, namer's remorse has a more straightforward cause: they simply chose the wrong name.  Heck, it happens.  If both parents are set in unshakeable namer's remorse, dreaming of the name that should have been, what should they do?

I have the answer for you: they should change their baby's name.

That sounds obvious, but there's an unspoken taboo against it.  Most parents treat birth certificates as near-sacred objects, graven and immutable.  In part, that reflects the power names hold on our psyches.  We tend to see names as a core part of a person or thing, an identity not easily overwritten.  Yet when it comes to infants, names are anything but immutable.  Stop and think about it and you'll realize that you're constantly calling your baby Baby, Sweetie, Little Gumdrop, or even (insert your own random family nickname here).  So your baby should handle a gradual shift from Elizabeth to Annabelle easily enough.

Will you handle the change as smoothly? Well, there's the practical annoyance of arranging a legal name change, and maybe a monogrammed baby blanket to finesse.  When it comes right down to it, though, I think the biggest factor holding most parents back from changing infants' names is the same factor that holds us back from a thousand other unconventional behaviors.  It's good old fashioned embarrassment. 

Yep, you already sent out 100 birth announcements.  Yep, friends and relatives may laugh at your indecisiveness.  So what?  The embarrassment will last a couple of days, but a name lasts a lifetime.  If you're trying to whomp up your courage, you can take a lot of the sting out of the embarrassing situation by acknowedging it head-on, with some cheerful self-deprecation.  I recommend a new ritual: a formal birth re-announcement.  Below is my take on one.  Readers, can you offer alternative compositions?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Birth Announcement, Take 2

On August 12th we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.  Before he was born, we had expected that his name would be Jayden.  Once we met him, we discovered we were mistaken.  Who knew?  He's actually:

Cooper Michael MacDowell
7 lbs, 4 oz.

Stephanie & Mike


By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 10:56 AM

I am usually not judgmental about names, but I have to say that Surreal is a horrible name. That poor girl must be sick of all the awkward silences and quickly-stifled guffaws that greet her when she introduces herself.

By yet another Jenny (not verified)
September 29, 2008 11:30 AM


Lena is a truly lovely name, really it is! Aside from being simply pleasing to my ear I really like the fact that it a name that can grow-up very nicely. Lena sounds appropriate for a Broadway singer or a corporate lawyer, or a preschool teacher what ever she wants to be.

I like names like Daisy and Ruby but think they can be tricky if the name doesn't go with the grown woman.

On the other hand, we have always wanted to name our daughter Miriam but I worry that it is too "serious" of a name .

By Jessica (not verified)
September 29, 2008 11:34 AM

Megan W: I will forever wonder with you!!

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 11:37 AM

@Guest & Eustace - What Amy3 said.

@Riot Delilah - "Don't mess with Texas."

By Coll (not verified)
September 29, 2008 11:41 AM

I like Lena very much, too. It's both old-fashioned and very fresh. I suppose they amount of resistance and upset feelings you'd face from your husband would determine whether to consider changing. If it's going to cause a lot of strife, I wouldn't bother.

Guest who's considering Lorenzo--one of my sisters also has a name that starts with C, like my name. My other two sisters have names that start with S and M, respectively. The birth order is C (me), S, C, M.

No one has ever commented on the fact that two of us are C and two aren't. It's not an issue.

My captcha: Moore investors. Ominous or optimistic?

By Sutton (not verified)
September 29, 2008 12:20 PM

We knew we were having a girl and named her Eowyn at about 22 weeks. We were both a little shy of the name because it is so unusual. We loved it though and told people what we intended to call her. I found it completely off-putting when people would call her by her name in my belly--I could never really figure out why. Maybe I just felt it was too intimate or something.

We had our dd at home. Getting the birth certificate was a huge hassle and don't even get me started on the social security card! We toyed with renaming her for about two weeks but in the end stuck with Eowyn. If we had decided to rename her though, we had about a month before there would have been any paperwork issues.

Next time though, I think we'll wait to tell people what we plan to call the baby so 1) we can be free to change our minds and 2) so that I won't have the icky feeling I had before.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 29, 2008 12:31 PM

"On the other hand, we have always wanted to name our daughter Miriam but I worry that it is too "serious" of a name ."

Just another Jenny--

Miriam is indeed a serious, dignified name, fit for a Supreme Court Justice--or a professor. I should know :-). Indeed I had to grow into it and mature before I could appreciate it.

However, from the day of my birth until the present, I was called Mimi on all but the most formal occasions, and Mimi is about as unserious as you can get.

So I have it both ways. When I am being casual with friends, I am Mimi still. When I am being professional and business-like, then I am Miriam. When I lived in New Orleans there were plenty of adult Mimis, so there the name didn't even seem particularly odd or out of place. And when I lived in the Netherlands, there were tons of Mirjams (same name, different spelling), and I was asked how I came to have a Dutch name (um, no, it isn't). I once had an eye exam done by an Egyptian technician who complimented me on my Egyptian name (which it is). Which is to say, that Miriam is a name that travels well.

I have noticed that the currently common nickname for Miriam is Miri, which if I read the signs right, has a bit of hipness about it.
A name is for a lifespan, not just for a cute little baby/kindergartner. Miriam (and the other traditional names with long histories) have built in ways to adapt for all the stages and circumstances of life. I find it hard to imagine how, say, Riot Delilah would look on the president of Harvard, but I could see Miriam as the president of anything, even the US.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
September 29, 2008 12:57 PM

I'm quite positive Laklyn is a girl's name, and that it's being pronounced Lake-Lyn rather than Lock-lin (Lachlan).

Am I the only one with this take on it, or did I miss something that told us it was a little boy?

I have a friend who always wanted to name her daughter Lakin, and I've also seen it discussed on other baby name sites. I may be wrong, but I think there was a soap opera character with a similar name.

My friend ended up having boys named Maddox and Lachlan Lennox.
Lakin isn't really my taste, but I've confessed to my secret affection for the similar sounding Larkin, so I can't be too negative about it.

Guest-Big thumbs up for Lorenzo/Enzo. Love it!

Valerie-Have we ruled out Fletcher, Dermott, Roderick, Everett, Duncan, Russell, Douglas, Emmett, Ridley, and Phinneas/Finnegan?

By christinepearl (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:22 PM


I had not read your post before I posted the Erin/Aaron thing - I only think that using the name for a boy was weird.

By Overly Precious (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:36 PM

Riot Delilah would be a spectacular band name. Not so sure about a kid, though... hm. Maybe Texas really is that different.

Guest asked, "If we choose "L" names for our first two, will we be locked into "L" names for any subsequent children we may have? I feel like there will be pressure!"

My advice is that you ignore whatever pressure you may feel about getting "locked in" to any limits. Give each child any wonderful name that you love, and don't worry about matching anything but your own heart and ear. Other people are absolutely free to name their own kids (or pets, or whatever) according to their own rules, but your kids' names should be bound only by your own idea about what's best.

By Boleyn (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:36 PM

We are having namers remorse of another kind. My husband and I are ttc. His sister and her husband recently picked out a puppy from a breeder. I asked her what they were thinking of naming the dog and was a little surprised to hear that it was the same name we are planning to name our child. I didn't say anything at the time because we haven't openly announced that we are trying to start a family.

My hubby spoke with his sister a few days later and brought up the puppy. He told her that we were trying to have kids and were considering the name that she was planning on calling her dog. Although, he never blatantly asked her not to use the name. A few days later she brought up another name that she was considering for the puppy so I thought that was the end of it.

My sil and her husband picked up the puppy this weekend and went forward with naming their dog our potential future baby's name. We are both so hurt by this. I am not pregnant yet so maybe it is unreasonable for me to feel this way?

I don't want to feel like my son was named after the sil's dog.

By christinepearl (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:42 PM

Regarding pre- birth showers:

In my family, it has always ben considered a good time to do it since soon-to-be mom gets to enjoy the shower without having to step out to nurse or hold a fussy baby or be completely exhausted from a night up with a newborn. In my own case, we were surprised with number 1 and really needed help with getting baby stuff. It put me at ease that my baby would have a car seat to ride home in and would not have to sleep in a laundry basket.

By yet another Jenny (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:47 PM

Thanks Miriam, Good to know how a grown up Miriam feels about her name.

I think Miri might be the traditional Israeli nickname for Miriam. One of my son's preschool teacher's is named Miriam and called Miri (although almost all of the two years olds call her Mary). She was born in Israel, I think. She pronounces it with a slightly rolled R. Sounds almost like Midi.

By Overly Precious (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:50 PM

"I don't want to feel like my son was named after the SIL's dog."

I'd be mad at her if she knew ahead of time that it was your special name and used it anyway; but if she didn't, it's fair game. I'm assuming it's not a completely obscure name, to come so readily to your SIL's mind. I'd have to say let it go; fifty-percent chance you'll have a girl, and then the problem dissolves, eh? It's very common for your tastes to evolve as the time for naming a baby gets closer, and you meet more young children and other expectant parents--so it might not have survived your deliberations anyway.

By Overly Precious (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:54 PM

I knew a Miriam who went by Mim as a girl--in case Mimi or Miri won't work, it's another option. (Mira would also work.) I'll join in admiring the name Miriam--it's got thousands of years of tradition behind it, a collection of beautiful sounds, suited to every age and stage, not overused or identified with one famous or infamous bearer--it's a good choice.

By yet another Jenny (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:56 PM

One more thing about Miriam and biblical names in general

I love bravery and loyalty and leadership qualities the girl/woman character in the bible and think she offers much to emulate (although not that whole leprosy thing) In fact our son is named Jonah Aaron in part because of the element of sibling bonding in the bible story and we continue to hope for a daughter named Miriam.

Sometimes I wonder how much to take into account the actions of the biblical character whose name you are choosing. Some folks think Jonah is a very negative story (although I think it's more of a seeking story). Noah is very popular and the biblical Noah had sex with his daughters! I love the name Hannah and she is very sad in the bible.

We want to use only Hebrew Bible aka Old Testament names for our children because it reflects our Jewish background and it a good place to fine timeless, not trendy names. As a Jennifer I know the downside want a super popular and date stamped name.

By Prairie Dawn (not verified)
September 29, 2008 1:58 PM

Hi. Lucia (and Lorenzo's?) mom here. Thanks for all the input. You have all confirmed what I already knew inside-- it doesn't matter as long as we love the name. And I do love Lorenzo nn Enzo (thanks for all the compliments!). There are just no other boy names that even compare to me right now. Of course, I've got several months to go in my pregnancy-- AND dh to consider. (We haven't discussed names yet-- he is really ambivalent when it comes to name discussions.) AND we won't know the sex until the birth. Could be another girl! (Nina? Sylvie? Josephine? Leia?--another L!)

What's funny is that dh and his brother are both J names. They are 1.5 years apart. His sister, ten years younger, does not have a J name. Totally fine. I always wondered if the considerable age gap made the difference less conspicuous.

By Tirzah (not verified)
September 29, 2008 2:51 PM

Regarding the dog's name, I think it depends on the popularity of the name. If the name is ranked in the top 20 or so, I'd say you just have to get used to seeing the name on others, even dogs. There are rankings of top dog names out there. As I recall, Molly was near the top. So, I think it's pretty common to have both babies and dogs with the same name.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
September 29, 2008 2:52 PM

That is just flat-out obnoxious.
Did your sil seem crazy prior to this??
All I can think is that some folks just don't have the sensitivity gene. I also discovered during the years we were ttc Jack that there are some people who just assume that if you were serious about having a baby, you'd be pregnant. That it isn't like falling off a log for everyone just doesn't occur to them.

Anyway, I think you're back to the drawing board for names, and I'd keep them close to the vest lest sil announce the arrival of a cat or gerbil!
You know we're all hoping to help!

Somewhat on topic, I thought I'd mention a friend's daughter who is named Lazra.
She's named after a relative, but I assume there must be a connection to the Biblical Lazarus story-or maybe not?
Anyone heard this one before?
I've really come to like it; partly because she's such a lovely young woman.

By Tricia (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:17 PM

- Someone mentioned having a sister who married the same initial that she did and having 2 brothers who each married the same initial. I have a friend who married a guy whose surname was, for example, Maceli. Her sister also married someone with the surname Maceli. And the Macelis they married were not blood related!

- Aaron/Erin - completely different names with completely different origins and they're pronounced differently too.

- J&H's Mom - when I read "Laklyn" I thought girl, and Lakelyn too. Like you, I indirectly know a little girl named Lakin as well (lay-kin). I would never have pronounced that like Lachlan (lock-lin). Before that, I would have assumed it was lack-lin (lack to rhyme with back; never lock - not in America, at least).

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:36 PM

@Miriam - There was a "Stark Trek" episode in the late 1960s episode called "Miri" - something about a planet ruled by children, where people die after going through puberty. Anyway, Miriam is a classic name, and I love all of the NN possibilities that have been mentioned. I also love the name Maryam, which I associate with Muslim cultures.

@J&H's Mom - You may be right about Laklyn being pronounced "LAKE-lynn" instead of like Lachlan "LOCK-len." Who knows, right? That's the trouble with those kre8tive spellings.

Similarly, a friend's sister named her daughter "Isley" (long "I" as in The Isley Brothers), and apparently a friend of a friend who heard about Isley "stole" the name from her, but spelled it "Izzlee." Which looks like it should be pronounced in an entirely different way. Wow, NMS...

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:38 PM

Apologies for the typos - toddler has 1st cold, so not getting much sleep in my house!

By Jenny (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:40 PM

Love the re-announcements these are great!

Didn't get a chance to get totally caught up but I did want to say that I live in the US and I saw Laklyn as Lachlin because I've never heard of a name Lake-lynn. That said now that I've thought about it Lake-lynn seems more likely for a girl. Definitely nms, but I do like Lachlin!

As for naming with the same letter, my sister and I actually have the same initials Jennifer L3igh LN and Jul!a L!ndsey LN. I always thought it was pretty convenient being able to share initialed merchandise! I don't think my parents did it for that reason, I think they just liked the sounds.

As an aside, I asked them recently about using Jennifer in the 1980s and they had no idea it was popular, they just loved it. (As do I, despite it's popularity!!) I had a wonderful book as a child connecting me to all the wonderful Jennifers/Guenevere etc of history and it made me feel like my name came with some weight and much beauty attached to it. So don't discount something entirely just because it's popular! (I'm also lucky I've only ever known one other Jenny.)

Sorry just feel I have to pop in and put in a good word for my name every once in awhile!

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:40 PM

@Prairie Dawn - oohhh! I love Sylvie. If we ever have a girl, DH insists upon calling her Sophie, but I do believe Sylvie is an even better alternative.

By Boleyn (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:55 PM

The name we are considering is Oliver nn Ollie. I realize that there have been several animated movies featuring animals with that name. I know the name is getting more popular. It is the one name we both agree on.

My husband told his sister that were we trying to start a family and were considering using that name after she told him they were planning on using it for their dog. He didn't directly say please don't use the name, but it was certainly implied.

We have been trying to start a family for a while and it hasn't happened yet. Maybe that makes us more sensitive to the issue? It seemed inconsiderate for them to go ahead and use the name. But, perhaps we are overreacting?

By AK (not verified)
September 29, 2008 3:59 PM

I have kind of the opposite problem from Boleyn.

My SIL has a dog named Ellie whom she has had for around 12 years. I love the name Elinor Wren LN. Do you think it would be horrible to name our hypothetical daughter Elinor, knowing that it's quite possible that her name might be shortened to Ellie?

By Nicole S. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 4:04 PM

@Boleyn - No, you're not overreacting. I hope it doesn't stop you from using the name Oliver.

@AK - Yes, Elinor would be a fine name to use even though you know of Ellie the dog, though I prefer the spelling Eleanor.

@Jenny - I know of a couple who named their daughter Jennifer in 2003. They wanted a name that everyone would know how to pronounce & spell, and they didn't want any others with the same name in her class. They've succeeded on all counts with Jennifer.

By Boleyn (not verified)
September 29, 2008 4:09 PM

Being in this position, if you really like the name talk to your SIL about it. She may not mind in the least. Although if she cannot have her own children, the nn Ellie could be painful for her (the dog was a substitute child).

You could use other nicknames for Elinor besides Ellie to avoid the issue all together: Elle, Nora, Norie

It also seems less of an issue since her dog has already passed away. You would not have both Ellie and Elinor in the same room together.

By KRC (not verified)
September 29, 2008 4:21 PM

Jenny, I would love to get the information on the book you have about all the Jennifers/Guineveres in history. My sister's name is Jennifer and I want to name a daughter after her, but I am going to use Guinevere instead of Jennifer. I would love to have that book for my hypothetical daughter. Please send the information if you still have it. Thanks.

I really hate when people give pets names that are potential children names. In my group of friends from college, one woman named her dog Josie when another friend was pregnant and wanted to use Josephine nn Josie if she had a girl (she had a boy). Granted, she didn't know the pregnant friend was considering the name, but still. Another friend in the same group named her dog Isabella nn Izzy. I just don't like it. I would be truly horrified if someone named a pet either of the names I have picked out for my future babies, even though they are secret and no one knows what they are. They are people names though, not for dogs!!

By Boleyn (not verified)
September 29, 2008 4:37 PM


It seems that I have misread your post. Somehow I thought the dog had already passed away. 12 years sounds like a good long life for a dog. It is a little trickier since the dog is still among the living.

My personal feeling is that the name of humans takes precedence over a pet. If that is "THE" special name for your daughter I think you should go ahead with it.

If you think your SIL would be sensitive to the nn Ellie (unable to have her own child, etc) avoid using it. Either go by the full name of Elinor or use a different nickname.

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 29, 2008 4:48 PM

Re: the name Laklyn
I saw it as a girls name but chose to say it like "Lock-lyn" because it sounded right. I could say Lake-lyn but then I would probably spell it that way too (with the E). I also have heard of Lakin, Larkin and others before. Kreativ spellings are okay with me as long as they mostly follow phonics rules. And yes, Miriam I remember the discussion about short and long vowels but I am a phonics person as this is how I was taught in school.

By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:07 PM

I saw Laklyn and pronounced it as "Lack-lyn" which to me is quite different from Lachlan.

By Jenny (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:12 PM

I think changing names is fine up to a point. Maybe a month old? I knew a baby that went from Marissa (mom's choice) to Melissa (dad's choice) to Audrey (the comprimise). My brother was supposed to be a Devin, but came out at 10lbs 8 oz and turned into a Matthew.

By Jane (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:23 PM

Anyone have the experience of naming a pet in one's youth, then wishing you had named it something else so you could use the name for a child? We might have considered Nicholas and/or Genevieve, were it not for two cats with those names in our pasts.

By Jill C. (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:30 PM

Boleyn, I love the name and think you should use it regardless of what the dog's name is. As someone else mentioned, dogs don't live forever. Your DS may not have to share his name for too many years. (Of course, I am not wishing harm to come to their dog.)

(Bias disclosure: my DS's name is Oliver, nn Ollie.)

I was also annoyed to find out that a friend's sister had a dog named Ollie, this after both the dog and the baby had already been named. KRC, I agree with you: leave the people names to the people! (Our dog's name is Surly, something I don't expect anyone to use on their baby. However, after Riot, who knows? Perhaps some friends of ours are secretly fuming that we scooped them on such a prime name...)

By Jessica (not verified)
September 29, 2008 5:47 PM

I have visions of "Miss Surreal" being not-so-surreal and calling herself Surly. Poor baby.

By Kristi (not verified)
September 29, 2008 6:10 PM

I don't know why the pronunciation, Lake-lynn, didn't occur to me. I hope that is what the parents intend, as I believe it has a much more pleasing sound than the 2 alternatives discussed (for a girl). However, perhaps they should consider a "name change" to correct the spelling to Lakelynn, Laiklynn, or even Layklynn.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 29, 2008 6:20 PM

"Sometimes I wonder how much to take into account the actions of the biblical character whose name you are choosing. Some folks think Jonah is a very negative story (although I think it's more of a seeking story). Noah is very popular and the biblical Noah had sex with his daughters! I love the name Hannah and she is very sad in the bible."

Just another Jenny--

I don't know how much you know about traditional Jewish naming practices, but there are only about 150 male names deemed suitable for the shem kodesh (the "holy" name used for being called to the Torah, getting married, etc.). Not all biblical names qualified--the names had to belong to 'good' characters. In Israel in the generation born after independence, naming children became a political act. The traditionally acceptable names were rejected by many as being literally too ghetto, and children were deliberately named after "bad" characters (I know an Israeli in his 40s named Nimrod for example) or given pre-Abrahamic (so-called Canaanite) names like Yuval (Jubal). The current Israeli fashion is to give children "word' names that have pleasant meanings, often coming from the natural world. I am not Israeli, and I would never name a child Nimrod or Jezebal or Ahab or (heaven forfend) Riot Delilah.

BTW L'shana tovah to Just Another Jenny and everyone else to whom it applies.

Re Miri--

Next month there's a movie coming out entitled Zack and Miri Make a Porno. From what I can tell this movie will not be a classic (I don't think Miri will forever be associated with porn). However, I think it is interesting that in this pop culture context Miri is paired with Zack, since for some years Zack has been a common and popular choice of many parents of varying backgrounds. The movie is clearly aimed at the "There's Something about Mary" audience, so presumably the character names were chosen to resonate with that audience.

Miriam nicknames--over the years I was called Meem, Meems, Mimsie, Maisy, Meemsie, Mimmi, Mitzi and the Divine Ms. M.--all without my authorization.

Eleanor/Elinor--the traditional nickname is Nell, so Elle/Ellie is not inevitable.

family alliteration--My son and daughter-in-law are named Edward and Elaine, and they are delighted to think of themselves as the Es or E&E. If they manage to present me with a grandchild, I don't know if they plan to stick with E, or do something different.

Animal people/names--

We always gave our male cats people names and our female cats fanciful names. My best favorite cat was named Edgar Morris Katz, and we had him for quite a few years before our son Edward came along. This did not create a problem--Edward never confused himself with the cat, and Edgar (who did know his name and answered to it) never confused himself with the kid. Edward and Elaine's beloved and pampered little white fluff dog is named Floyd Lamb, and I hope that doesn't ruin Floyd for any who might be considering it for a child.

By rrr (not verified)
September 29, 2008 7:57 PM

Re E & E: I've once heard about a study according to which there is a higher chance that people choose a partner with the same initial than any other initial. I've tried to observe the phenomenon among friends, and in a wider circle via birth and death announcements, and I even found that there is a high chance of couple with 'neighbouring' initials - A and B, for example.

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:24 PM

On the initial for SO's thing. My dh is Ken. My family's initials end up as K;E;N;S which is dh;ds;dd;me. I thought it was neat when I realized that but when naming dd it hadn't even occurred to me that that would be how it is.

Btw, animals should not have people names IMHO. Maybe we should start "stealing" from pet names now and name our children Smoky, Goldie, Rascal and Puff. Hmm, or Giggles, Screamer, Wrinkles, or Beauty (as in Sleeping Beauty). I know people names mean characteristics in many cases, but I think the actual characteristic words should be the ones used on the animals.

By AK (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:26 PM

My husband and I both go by our middle names, and they both start with with an A. Our families call us the A-team. We toyed with the idea of continuing with the theme for our future children, but discarded it because there aren't that many A names that we can agree on.

My SIL has three kids, so I don't think that she'd be angry or hurt or upset. I'm just wondering if it would be weird if the nickname Ellie would happen to evolve from Elinor.

And there's pretty much no chance of our hypothetical Elinor being called Nell (at least by me) because all my cars have been christened Nellie!

By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:26 PM

I have a good friend whose parents are L0rne and L0rn@. She and her brother both have L names. I actually think it's kind of neat, although the parents closeness of names is a bit much, but you can't help who you fall in love with!

By Tess (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:36 PM

My 23(!) year old cat died this week(I am very sad). His name was Mandalay, as he was Burmese. Our family dog (13) died in August. Her name was Marley. My wee granddaughter is 15 months old and her name is Marin. I never made the *M* connection, until now. I think we need to buy a new letter.:)

By Miriam (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:43 PM

Um, Zoerhenne, Goldie is a people name. My great-aunt was named (not nicknamed) Goldie. She was not named for a dog or cat or gerbil.

By Guest (not verified)
September 29, 2008 8:50 PM

All of my pets have people names and I don't think it precludes them from use at all. I think what we need to remember is that it's the animal with the person name, not the child with the animal name (i.e. as people said earlier it's different having both a cat and a child called Rebecca, as opposed to a rabbit and child called Mopsy).

By Amy3 (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:15 PM

As a child, I always favored descriptive names for pets, although I was rarely allowed to bestow them. My fave here, the gerbil I named Frownie. I don't remember coming up with it, but it must have been my own creation as my mom certainly wouldn't have chosen it.

She was much more inclined to use people names so we had dogs named Claudia and Agatha. I had guinea pigs named Charles and Margaret (I was going for Marguerite, but couldn't get the pronunciation right so she became Margaret). Later in life I had cats Ben, Abner, Chloe, and Sadie. I think these are all great people names, which is partly why I chose them.

I would hope no one would ever be turned off to a name they really loved because a pet happened to share it. That said, I think now I'd actually lean more toward "pet" names for pets. There's so much fun to be had there, and I think I've been inspired in reverse by my daughter who comes up with the craziest names for things sometimes, often entirely made up or descriptive.

By Aybee (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:18 PM

Count me as another one here with a great-aunt Goldie.

On people names for animals: Most don't strike me as odd (my parents have a Maggie), but I have to say when I saw the dog Andrew on "Greatest American Dog" I was a bit confused.


By juliag (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:35 PM

I kind of wish I hadn't used the name "Mabel" for our cat. She died young from an unpleasant disease and I would feel weird giving that name to a kid. I LOVE the name "Mabel" though and would've wanted to have considered it if we were having a girl.

By Amy3 (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:37 PM

Aybee -- It's funny that you mention a dog named Andrew. Other unlikely dog names I've encountered recently are a chihuahua named Kenneth and a French bulldog named Nathan. Both of those strike me as incredibly funny names to choose for a dog.

By Amy3 (not verified)
September 29, 2008 9:40 PM

"I would hope no one would ever be turned off to a name they really loved because a pet happened to share it."

Perhaps I should clarify myself, esp in light of juliag's comment. I don't think I'd ever choose a name I'd already given to a pet as a name for a child of mine (as juliag mentions with respect to Mabel). I was speaking more generally about knowing that a name you are considering is also in use by pets (along the lines of the comment about Molly upthread).