Help me name my impending baby?
September 6, 2008 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for monosyllabic girl names that are more unique/interesting than things like "Ann" or "Jane" or "Sue" but still familiar enough that my as-yet-unnamed fetus won't have to go through life spelling out BOTH her first and last names for people. (She'll have my husband's last name to deal with--something like Dziewolrgjeoaezkxyzski.)

Examples of names I like: Eve, Ruth, Quinn, Claire. Examples of names I don't like: Kate, Beth, Rose. Or Ann/Jane/Sue.

Extra information that might be useful: Dziewolrgjeoaezkxyzski is pronounced like it starts with a J, so I don't want to pick a name that starts with a J sound. I also don't want a name that ends with the letter D. And randomly, my husband just doesn't like the letter C.
posted by mere to Society & Culture (83 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a site that allows you to search for baby names by number of syllables - that linked page is for girl names with one syllable.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2008

I just met a Skye not too long ago.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:38 PM on September 6, 2008

Meg, Mag, Peg, Maeve
posted by Countess Elena at 8:41 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by xo at 8:43 PM on September 6, 2008

My gf and I are partial to Ruth, too :)
Would Lane be too close to Jane?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2008

June is a personal favorite.
posted by roue at 8:44 PM on September 6, 2008

Oh and I also know a Brynn.
posted by xo at 8:46 PM on September 6, 2008

Faith, May, Blanche.

For some reason, all the names I immediately think of are also words.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:49 PM on September 6, 2008

Beth, Sue, Shae, Gwen, Brooke.
posted by karizma at 8:52 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by violetk at 8:56 PM on September 6, 2008

Eva? Lea/ Lia? Laura?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:00 PM on September 6, 2008

kit, pam, lynn, belle, mae, gail
posted by asras at 9:03 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:05 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by frobozz at 9:07 PM on September 6, 2008

Shane, Lace, Blake, May, Bree, Nic, Leigh, Britt, Luz, Kass
posted by kelseyq at 9:08 PM on September 6, 2008

Bea, Bette, Blair, Blythe, Brice, Brooke, Dale, Dawn, Dee, Elle, Hope, Lee, Lise, Pearl, Prue, Reese, Rue, Shay (or Shea).
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 9:17 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by JujuB at 9:20 PM on September 6, 2008

How about Reese, like Reese Witherspoon? Sounds really good with a multi-syllabic name.


Olive (Liv)
Melinda (Mel)
Sydney (Sid)
posted by Ostara at 9:30 PM on September 6, 2008

I second Maeve. I love that name.
posted by oflinkey at 9:30 PM on September 6, 2008

You can try using Nymbler. You enter names that you like and it will suggest others that are similar.
posted by chiababe at 9:38 PM on September 6, 2008

The problem with a name like "Maeve" is that she will have to spell it for people.
posted by Class Goat at 9:41 PM on September 6, 2008

I used to work with a lady named Brie, like the cheese...
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:58 PM on September 6, 2008

Zoe is short but not monosyllabic.

How about Faye or Kim? (Faye has two spellings, but I think the one with the E is a lot more common.)
posted by decagon at 9:58 PM on September 6, 2008

posted by salvia at 10:16 PM on September 6, 2008

Maya is unusual in that it's a name in several unrelated languages. You may know that it refers to the illusionary nature of perceived reality in Buddhism. It means 'brook', or 'spring', in Hebrew, and is a name of unclear origin in Japanese. Maia is a variant spelling from Greek mythology.
posted by topynate at 10:16 PM on September 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

[whoops, sorry, I just broke your letter rules, nevermind]
posted by salvia at 10:17 PM on September 6, 2008

I second "Grace". One syllable, everyone should know how to spell it, and it just sounds nice as hell.
posted by Dreamcast at 10:21 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Grace, Ruth, Faith, Hope, Pearl, Spring, Eve.

Claire and Brooke are good, but they have variant spellings (Clare/Clair and Brook). Same with Lee/Leigh. Same with Lynn/Lynne. And Maud/Maude. Even May/Mae has the potential for confusion.

Maeve and Niamh are beautiful names, but the vast majority of people in the US can't spell them.

I think that if you really want "ease of spelling" and "one syllable" you'll be better off picking a name that is also a common English noun (Grace, Faith, Hope, Eve, etc.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:23 PM on September 6, 2008

I came here to suggest a name, and was beat three times...guess this counts as an nth.

I can tell you from anecdotal experience that you'll have to spell Shea/Shae/Shay, and if you go with the first one? "Like the stadium" only works sometimes...and then you have the Mets jokes to deal with.
posted by gnomeloaf at 10:34 PM on September 6, 2008

I knew a Blue girl once. I like that very much. Grace is lovely, as is Joy. I have and aunt Di and an aunt Jan. I like shortened versions like that. Lil, Pip(pa), Jen, Gwen (for Gweneviere or Gwendolyn), Ro (for Rory or Aurora).
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:36 PM on September 6, 2008

And Kat and Kit.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:37 PM on September 6, 2008

Nthing Grace... classic, a bit unusual, and it was the name of my dear departed grandmother!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 10:37 PM on September 6, 2008

Bea, Nat, Lee, Kate, Kris, Shawn, Faun, Dee, Shale, Shay, Char (for Charlotte), Gwen
posted by mumstheword at 10:40 PM on September 6, 2008

Okay, keeping with your requirements, I've come up with Finn, Elle, Bea, Drew, Tate, Leigh and Paige.

There are lots of easy to spell, multi-syllabic names, though.

Seconding this. Even if you do go with a short name, some people will manage to misspell it, and still more will ask her to spell it for them, no matter how short and simple it is. For instance, "How do you spell that, Q-u-i-n?" "No, Q-u-i-n-n", etc.
posted by mewithoutyou at 10:52 PM on September 6, 2008

Tess, rose, may, mae, bee, gail, pearl, and i know you don't like "j", but june or jill. I've always liked Nyx, if you're feeling greek....
posted by anitanita at 11:16 PM on September 6, 2008

We had the same criteria and went with Cath. She's only Catherine when she's in trouble.
posted by mattoxic at 11:20 PM on September 6, 2008

whoopsie - just saw you don't like rose. So, "Io" instead. Another lovely greek name. Pronounced eye-oh.
posted by anitanita at 11:21 PM on September 6, 2008

Oh, and paige.
posted by anitanita at 11:25 PM on September 6, 2008

Love the previously mentioned Ruth.

Neve, Nell.
posted by vespertine at 11:38 PM on September 6, 2008

Faith. and I love the name Paige.
posted by gt2 at 12:13 AM on September 7, 2008

Maya means water in Hindi, I believe...

or maybe I'm completely wrong...
posted by dawdle at 12:21 AM on September 7, 2008

I like Day and Lux.
posted by arianell at 12:31 AM on September 7, 2008

I love the name Grace. Also, while not quite 1 syllable, to my ear, Ava is elegant and goes with most surnames. When I was pregnant, my Nanna (who'd be 93 today were she still here) kept telling me what a great name Abi was.

These days people come up with zany spellings for even the most common names, it's a minefield out there and even people with the simplest names have to spell them out because of all the variations. Just when you think you have a name that is unusual but not freaky, doesn't make any horrible acronyms with the other initials, can't be made to rhyme with bodily parts/functions, etc., SOMEONE will come up with something you hadn't thought of.
posted by goshling at 12:41 AM on September 7, 2008

I consider a lot of these names (Shane, Shawn, Rory) to be boys names and other (Liv, Meg, Nell) to be abbreviations of longer names.
posted by fshgrl at 12:55 AM on September 7, 2008


And another vote for Grace, Ruth.

Maya means water in Hindi, I believe...

or maybe I'm completely wrong...

I think you are. Pani is water in Hindi; Maya is a religious term for the illusory world, the world of the senses (it's originally a Hindu term, and later became part of Buddhism).
posted by bookish at 3:04 AM on September 7, 2008

Cree, Klee, Dee, Liv, Quan, Pi, Tree, Chi, Lee, Linn, Lynn, Rain, Sky
posted by watercarrier at 3:40 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by watercarrier at 3:41 AM on September 7, 2008

Not sure where you live... but if you happen to live in Australia, "Grace" is as common as muck at the moment. It's a shame as it's such a lovely name.
posted by taff at 4:12 AM on September 7, 2008

J.D. Salinger once had a dream he named a daughter Bint. I believe I read that in Joyce Maynard's account of their affair.
posted by Lucy2Times at 6:03 AM on September 7, 2008

You're joking with Bint aren't you?
posted by firstdrop at 6:43 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by heavenstobetsy at 6:43 AM on September 7, 2008

My friend named her niece Blaze (with the blessings of her sister). Blaze is now 15 and loves her name.
posted by kimdog at 6:49 AM on September 7, 2008

Go for a single syllable, common word that still makes a pretty name. That way no one will have to think twice about how to spell her name. At worst she'll have to say "[hername], like the word" to clarify for people. It works for me! Sky is a great example, but I'm definitely biased, as it's my middle name. For the love of god, do not add letters to a simple word to make it more name-like (Skye, though I do realise there is the isle thereof). The idea is to avoid confusion, right?
posted by sunshinesky at 7:11 AM on September 7, 2008

Ivy (two syllables but short)
Mila (two syllables but would go well with East European last name)
posted by metastability at 7:40 AM on September 7, 2008

I'll probably mention this to you at least six more times - I am totally, totally with whoever mentioned Zoë. It's the awesomest.

Zoë Dz! Doesn't get awesomer than that, unless you actually named her "Pretty Awesome."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2008

Lark (I love this for a girl's name but my wife hated it)
Six (if you are a Seinfeld fan)
Jade (although I think this breaks your rules)
posted by bove at 8:16 AM on September 7, 2008

My name is Claire. It went from being undetectable on name popularity lists to being somewhere in the mid-60s or something these last few years. I meet children with my name nearly every day lately. Television and movies now features shitloads of Claires. The name is officially trendy in America.

Just pointing this out in case you're worried about your daughter having to deal with that annoying same-name-as-fifteen-other-people-she-knows crap.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:23 AM on September 7, 2008

If the spelling thing is important forget the Irish names like Niamh (or "Neve") and Maeve. I'm an Irish expat who has many friends driven to distraction with having to spell/explain them on a daily basis (Aoife anyone?). Or Skye/Sky, Lee/Leigh, May/Mae, although this:

These days people come up with zany spellings for even the most common names

is so true! Go classic, not trendy. I also like Grace and Ruth and Zoe. How about Emma? Let us know if you decide! Congratulations!
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:26 AM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if you want some input from people who have put a scary amount of time into thinking about appropriate names for any situation, post a comment with your question for the other commentors over at Baby Name Wizard blog.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:30 AM on September 7, 2008

Coy (although that breaks the C rule)
posted by Sassyfras at 8:53 AM on September 7, 2008

A lot of these names are often short forms for longer names (Bess for Elizabeth, Nell for Eleanor for example) so consider whether you want your child to be constantly asked, "Is your name short for....?"

My favourites have already been named, so I'll suggest my own, real-life last name: Rae.
posted by orange swan at 9:15 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 AM on September 7, 2008

Six (if you are a Seinfeld fan)

"Blossom," actually.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2008

Joy is a great name, uncommon, extremely easy to spell, and meets all your criteria except the J Rule. Hope you'll consider it anyway.
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:05 AM on September 7, 2008

You're like my parents - they wanted unique-sounding one-syllable names for all their children too. :) (Mine's one of those you like.) How about Thea?
(My sister once said she wanted to marry a guy with the last name "Lee" and name her kid "Love"...)
posted by aielen at 10:33 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by billtron at 10:59 AM on September 7, 2008

Liv is not originally a short form of Olivia/Olive. It's a rare name in the U.S., but quite common in Scandinavia.

More short baby names here.
posted by iviken at 11:05 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:13 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by anitanita at 11:44 AM on September 7, 2008

posted by twistofrhyme at 12:13 PM on September 7, 2008

Don't use Grace. Trust me. Here are my reasons:

-Every time I introduce myself, someone makes a joke: "Grace under fire" "Amazing grace" "Oh, you're so graceful" blah blah blah. If I have a child, I will never name it a noun/adjective.
Please people, you're not funny and you're not original.

-Grace is on it's way to being a top 10 name in 2010 (I think I read this in Freakonomics). Everyone is going to be named Grace in a few years. Seriously, everyone.

Most of what I would suggest has already been named, but I wouldn't obsess over this. People have, in all seriousness, asked me how to spell my name. Just name your child whatever you want.
posted by nursegracer at 12:39 PM on September 7, 2008

posted by watercarrier at 1:20 PM on September 7, 2008

max (nice and unisex)
sam (ditto)
kat (nice and not as unisex)
mar (sea in spanish...but might get connoted as a flaw. maybe not.)
teo (not one syllable, but neat.)
gia (ditto)
posted by cachondeo45 at 2:13 PM on September 7, 2008

Nursegracer, I think Grace already -is- in the top 10. At least by my count. I now know over 6 Graces under 18 years old. And I really don't interact with very many people.

Not that it's not a lovely name, but to my ears it screams trendy name for rich-girl babies right now, when applied to anyone under 20.

My suggestions (I haven't completely read everyone's responses. Sorry.):


And words I'd consider using as names (that I haven't heard used as names before)...
Tuck (I've actually always wanted to name a girl Tucker. Not mine, mind you.)
posted by po at 5:11 PM on September 7, 2008

My first and last name are just about as simple as you can get, but I still have to spell them out.
"My name is Blank Blank. B-l-a-n-k B-l-a-n-k."
Every time.
Often with the same people.
Over and over and over.
And they still spell it wrong.

Honestly, I am used to it, and it isn't bothersome at all, just a fact of life.
If I asked my parents, "Why did you pick Blank for my name?" I would prefer them to say, "Because we liked it." Rather than, "We wanted something easy for other people to spell."
Names are funny things, there are names I used to love, and now hate because I met bad people with that name and vice versa. And from what I understand, (I am not a parent, but I have talked to parents before) sometimes you can pick out a name ahead of time and when baby comes out, it just doesn't work.
That being said, my picks are:
-Grace (does the "c" count if it is in the middle and not at the front?)
-Sam (for Samantha)
posted by silkygreenbelly at 6:14 PM on September 7, 2008

and Eve. I love Eve.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 6:15 PM on September 7, 2008

If spelling is your first concern, I'd go with something that everyone knows how to spell - a month, a day of the week, a holiday. "April, like the month" is easy as pie.
posted by crinklebat at 8:23 PM on September 7, 2008

Chiming in late to suggest Reeve or Emmi.

I also wanted to say that you have gotten good advice. Just pick a name you like, or go with a family name. Don't worry too much about burdening the baby with a difficult first and last name, because someone will always mess even the simplest name up. My husband's last name is Wood, and you would not believe how many people add an S to the end and make it Woods. My first and last names are both three syllables and are somewhat unusual, and yes, I do have to spell them out for people most of the time, but I like them and don't even use a nickname to shorten my first name.
posted by gudrun at 6:15 AM on September 8, 2008

I've worked with children/the public for over fifteen years. Don't stress about having to spell out her first name. My first name is nine letters long and I never have to spell it out but my four letter surname (that is spelled like it sounds) has to be spelt out constantly. And both names are of English origin and I am usually speaking to people with English backgrounds. All three of my children have to spell out their names (two five letters, one nine letters) because I think people are hyper-conscious of the rudeness of misspelling and are aware of the ubiquity of silent letters in English (especially "e" and double "n"). If you know that you will try for a second child and have a boy's name picked out then make sure the names are harmonious (but not rhyming or too similar).

You seem to favour soft, feminine names. Grace is number one in the UK, btw. I know several little Eva's/Ava's with Eastern European surnames, they bridge the two cultures nicely.
Minnie (diminuative of Amelia)
Blair (ugh - so 80's)
Olive (technically two sylables but isn't it a nice name?)

Do post a follow-up so we know what you named the little one!
posted by saucysault at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2008

Some good names, saucysault.

I would just add a slight caution concerning names like Lise, as Americans get confused about how to pronounce names with final e's. A name like Sage they get, but Lise, which is two syllables, they sometimes don't. My mother's name is/was Inge, but she changed the spelling to Inga because no one pronounced her name correctly. They are not exactly the same name nor is the g pronounced the same, but she got tired of being called Ing.
posted by gudrun at 9:39 AM on September 8, 2008

posted by Sassyfras at 12:35 PM on September 16, 2008

Response by poster: I ended up going with Eve. Eve Dziewolrgjeoaezkxyzski. Thanks for all your help, everyone! :)
posted by mere at 5:46 PM on January 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Eve is great. Hope y'all are doing well. Eve D.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:49 PM on January 17, 2009

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