I don't want my kid to hate me because of her handle...
September 18, 2008 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Twin-Naming...We're expecting twin girls in January. We've decided that one will be named Sophie Gabrielle (4 syllable German last name starting with B.) The other is not so easy...

Gabrielle is a family member on my husband's side. We have chosen Abby (not Abigail) as the first name for our second daughter. I would like to give her a middle name of someone on my father's side of the family. However, the female names are few and far between, and the most obvious female name happens to have eight occurrences in my extended family, so that's out. My father's first name is Sydney, which would be perfect. Except that her name would be Abby Sydney. Our second option would be to 'female-ize' one of the male names (eg, Bruce to Brice) as a middle name, which would be a less obvious tribute.

So the question: would you think it is stupid to have the name Abby Sydney, or should we wait and figure out something with a better sound?
posted by ms.v. to Human Relations (59 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure I understand why Abby Sydney would be a bad name.
posted by Jairus at 7:47 PM on September 18, 2008

I think that names like Sophie and Abby, as opposed to Sophia or Abigail, are the female equivalent of naming a boy Jimmy or Bob. I also think that, since you're going to have to wait until January anyway, you might as well wait and see if you think of a name you like better.
posted by box at 7:48 PM on September 18, 2008 [11 favorites]

I am not a fan of rhyming names. Can you modify the female names instead? You didn't mention what they are, but for example if it is Rachael, you could do Rae, or if it is Mary you could do May or Marie or Madeleine (for Mary Magdalene). Or choose a flower, color, place, idea, etc. that is especially important to that side of the family. For example, if they are historically from Louisville, KY you could do Louise or Louisa. Or if your Aunt Rachael loved to garden, you could call her Abby Eden. Or if your favorite uncle is a preacher, ask him to choose a favorite biblical name. There are a thousand possibilities.

Hard to tell if these would work without knowing more specifics, but maybe you could start brainstorming? It would be nice to have a name with meaning for both girls, but it doesn't have to actually be someone else's name.
posted by ohio at 7:50 PM on September 18, 2008

Jairus: maybe because both names end in 'ee' sounds? Maybe because Abby and Gabby is a little cutesy-poo? Or, my guess: because it sounds like Abyssinia, and, y'know, kids can be so cruel, with their Ethiopia jokes and whatnot.
posted by box at 7:50 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm with box. Why shorten their names? Give them full names like Abigail Sydney (which sounds wonderful). If you really want to, you can call her Abby even if her name is Abigail. People shorten names all the time, but you rarely hear someone officially named Abby be called Abigail.
posted by thebabelfish at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2008 [13 favorites]

As an identical twin, can I please ask that you refrain from naming your twins (if identical) with very similar names. It bugs me to no end to hear of twins named Joe/John, Tracy/Stacey, Sophie/Stephanie.

And I agree with box. Sophie and Abby are this generation's Heathers, Jennifers, Amys, or Michelles. Use this awesome Baby Name Voyager to help you pick some great names.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 7:55 PM on September 18, 2008

My opinion is that you name her Abigail Sydney and call her Abby. I agree with other poster who said shortening a name like Abigail to Abby is like naming a kid Jimmy or Bob or Fred rather than the full James, RObert or Frederick. But, I would also never ask random people on the internet to help name my baby.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:57 PM on September 18, 2008

Response by poster: Perhaps a clarification: let's say for now that Sophie and Abby are names that aren't going anywhere. The question is whether a child would feel that a less phonetically beautiful name would be worth being named for someone special.
posted by ms.v. at 8:20 PM on September 18, 2008

>I'm not sure I understand why Abby Sydney would be a bad name.

Because it is not euphonic. Two two-syllable names following one after another, both accented on the first syllable. It sounds like someone stumbling on a path.

The OP has chosen Abby. We are asked to suggest a middle name. I suggest a three-syllable name or one with two syllables with the accent on the second.

Abby Cecelia. Abby Maureen. . . (thinking)
perhaps. . . Abby Christine. Or, if you like, Abby Christianne.
posted by yclipse at 8:25 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

In order for the name to be meaningful to the child, I would think she'd have to a) actually know and like the person she's being named after, or b) have that person be far enough removed from recent memory (i.e., a great grandmother who passed away awhile ago) so that she has a sense of history. Is this Gabrielle going to be in the child's life?
posted by desjardins at 8:26 PM on September 18, 2008

Do you know that there is a new Sesame Street character who is named Abby Cadabby?

If you insist on giving your child a nickname as her legal name, be prepared for innumerable references to that character.

Why not flip the names and use Sydney Abigail?
posted by mogget at 8:28 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Abby Sydney sounds a bit like she was named after the Sydney Opera House.
posted by dydecker at 8:28 PM on September 18, 2008

As someone who, for a while, had a rhyming name, I'll give you my opinion: it's not cool. I didn't like it. Every time I said my name, it sounded like some cutesy little joke (just say any few rhyming words together -- it sounds cutesy and jokey).

It's not the worst fate in the world, of course. It doesn't even mean that, all other things considered, the name should be thrown out. But when I had reason to change my name so that it no longer rhymed? I was pretty happy about it.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:31 PM on September 18, 2008

Best answer: I think in keeping Abby Sydney vs. Sophie Gabrielle you might risk dealing with sibling jealousy: "Mommy, why did you give HER the pretty name?" that would be gotten over probably by high school. Sooner, if she's more of a tomboy type who doesn't care about that sort of thing.

At the risk of revealing what a princess I really am, I would have cared a lot more about whether I had a nice name, than whether it was important to my family history in some way.

Perhaps the funny sound is less of a rhyming issue than a rhythmic issue. Are there any 3-syllable names that could be feminized, so the two names are of different lengths/cadences?

And I know you don't care, but I agree with a previous few posters that "Abigail Sydney" is beautiful. Something just works that doesn't quite with "Abby".
posted by GardenGal at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could try porting one of the names to another language. For example, Bruce means woods and Sydney means wide meadow. Hailey means meadow woods. Brentwood means woods by the steep hill. Dallas, Lee, Leigh, Meadow, Hampton, Oakley, Akena also mean meadow.

Bruce is a family name and could be a middle name for a girl, if you wanted. Abby Bruce. You could also use two middle names. So Abby Bruce Sydney.

Place names are all the rage. You could go with the name of a Sydney suburb. Perhaps a stretch, but it might at least have some meaning. Or perhaps you could use the name of a family town.
posted by acoutu at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2008

I think most people don't use their middle names that often so I would go with the name that was truly meaningful to you and tell her as often as you can how special it is that she shares a name with her grandfather.

Another option in my husband's family to share middle names so you might give Abby your middle name so it connects to both you and the person you were named for.
posted by metahawk at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2008

I have a nickname as a first name. I WISH that my full name was the "real" name. I hate being perpetually Katy... and having to explain that no, my name isn't Katherine or Kathryn or whatever. I'd really prefer to use Kathryn professionally.
posted by k8t at 8:37 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

It is very likely that your daughter will be called Abigail more than occasionally even if her name is Abby. I am named Katie, not Katherine or Katelyn and I perpetually have to correct people calling me by the wrong name. Many documents are prepared with the wrong name. I had to have every award I received in high school, as well as my diploma redone because they were all prepared with what they assumed was the proper form of my first name. And Abigail Sydney does sound nice. (On preview, I see that Abby is not under debate, but I still think that this is a decent point).
posted by miscbuff at 8:38 PM on September 18, 2008

Nymbler is a great baby name generator.
posted by k8t at 8:39 PM on September 18, 2008

If you want an Abby, name her Abigail. Nicknames are great - but Nicknames in lieu of proper names are trashy.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:43 PM on September 18, 2008

The question is whether a child would feel that a less phonetically beautiful name would be worth being named for someone special.

My opinion is no. Especially if the other twin has a super lovely name that doesn't lack in assonance.
posted by jessamyn at 8:50 PM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

So the question: would you think it is stupid to have the name Abby Sydney

Honestly, yes. An acquaintance named their child something with that same sort of odd rhythm, and my first thought when they announced it was, man, that's a really stupid name.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:54 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

If you were proposing giving Abby a middle name that was very very very unusual (i.e. weird), or a traditionally very male-identified name, or you otherwise feared mockery, I'd be all like pffft! whatever! Do what you like! Every name can be mocked!

I have to admit that Abby Sydney is a somewhat unfortunate, though.

Ergo, nthing Abigail, which gives you your Abby and is much prettier followed by Sydney.

Unless you could be convinced to go with Abby Syndnygail. That'd be okay too. Srsly.
posted by desuetude at 8:57 PM on September 18, 2008

Love Sydney Abigail or vice versa. Just my 2 cents. Congrats!!
posted by pearlybob at 8:59 PM on September 18, 2008

The question is whether a child would feel that a less phonetically beautiful name would be worth being named for someone special.

Probably not. As a former child, I recall names were pretty important during those early years. I never did appreciate the phonetically un-beautiful name I was given, despite it being a family name - and as soon as I was old enough, I changed mine to something more appealing to the ear.

So the question: would you think it is stupid to have the name Abby Sydney

Honestly - yeah. But nthing the beauty of Abigail Sydney or vice-versa - she can still be Abby either way!
posted by chez shoes at 9:17 PM on September 18, 2008

Why not call one Sophie and one Gabrielle?
posted by w0mbat at 9:17 PM on September 18, 2008

Why not Sydney Abigail?
posted by konolia at 9:21 PM on September 18, 2008

I like Sydney Paris XXXXXXXXX
posted by dawdle at 9:23 PM on September 18, 2008

Bruce might be an okay girls name in some countries, but if she ever came down to New Zealand / Australia it would be *really* weird. Like calling a girl Derek or Roger or Norman. I think Brice is no good either, as it seems to me it would be pronounced the same as another boy name Bryce. Sydney is also a boy name.

I know you've been clear about wanting a middle name, but I think it would solve a lot of problems to call one Gabrielle (I'm assuming your pronunciation has an 'ella' sound on the end?) and the other Sophia or Sophie.

Gabriella and Sophia are really stunningly beautiful names, share the love around.

Also consider this, if one of them wants to be known by her middle name, the common shortening of that would be Gabby, Gabby & Abby? No.
posted by The Monkey at 9:43 PM on September 18, 2008

They're not going to be little girls forever. If Abby Sidney decides to pursue a very conservative career path, she might prefer to have the option to be known professionally as "Abigail Lastname" and be "Abby" among friends and family. (Same with Sophie/Sophia.) Which one sounds better - "The Supreme Court of the United States is now in session, Justice Abigail/Abby Lastname presiding. All rise." - ?
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:19 PM on September 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

FYI, I have a name that is kind of nick name-y and I wouldn't encourage parents to name their kids nicknames. If Abby wants to be a high-powered professional... or an academic it's a nice name, but it doesn't sound very serious. It's nice to have the option of a nickname and a more formal name that you can choose between, rather than having your parents choose for you. I understand that you like the name, but you clearly also care about how your children are perceived keeping in mind that they will carry these names their entire life.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:30 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Abigail Sydney. I know you said Abby is set, but I agree with those who said you should consider that she won't be a little girl forever, and may want to use a more formal, serious name later in life. I know I would.

But if you're definitely going with just Abby, then no, don't use Sydney as the middle name. It doesn't sound right.
posted by thejanna at 5:52 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I have an aunt named Sally Bruce Lastname, named after my grandmother Sally Bruce Hermaiden name. We always call her Bruce and it's never seemed weird to me-- she's Sally outside the family. I actually think Bruce is a pretty middle name for a girl.

Also agree with other posters that you (and your daughter) will be happier with the full "Abigail" in the future, if you're at all flexible on that.
posted by weezetr at 5:52 AM on September 19, 2008

If you are set on Abby and not Abigail (I would recommend Abigail instead, although I go by a nickname and hate my longer name and I am an adult professional), definitely use a middle name with the stress on the SECOND syllable or a one syllable name. I wouldn't use Sydney, both because of the stress and the -y end sound symmetry.

In fact, given the long name, one syllable might be better. But I also agree that if you go with Abby Bruce (or even something plain like Abby Jane, Abby Ann), she'll feel that her sister got the pretty name.
posted by Pax at 6:22 AM on September 19, 2008

This echoes some earlier comments, but have you considered how popular both names are? In 2007 Sophia was the 6th most popular girls' name in the US and Abigail was #8. As someone born with the #2 most popular baby name the year I was born, I would definitely have preferred something less common.
posted by jrichards at 6:29 AM on September 19, 2008

Perhaps a clarification: let's say for now that Sophie and Abby are names that aren't going anywhere.

I'm probably going to Hell for admitting this, but when I was a kid the name "Abby" was almost immediately followed by "Normal" for the purposes of teasing. Given that Young Frankenstein isn't getting any less popular over the years, it may be something to think about.

The question is whether a child would feel that a less phonetically beautiful name would be worth being named for someone special.

To be candid, Abby Sydney isn't phonetically beautiful. Like yclipse said, it sounds awkward. Being stuck with an an awkward-sounding name the rest of your life just because your parents (not you) have a special relationship with someone in the family doesn't sound like a good trade-off.

posted by magstheaxe at 6:58 AM on September 19, 2008

Best answer: Ms JonahBlack here: Just to be a voice of desent on that Abby vs Abigail thing, my family all have longer names but are called by their nicknames (ie. Thomas is Tom, Katherine is Katie, that sort of thing) and I told my husband that we are NOT doing that. We are naming our child the name we want to call them. So if you want to call your child Abby, you should name them Abby, not Abigail. I have the opposite problem of all the people above, I never know when to use my nickname vs full name and it irks me because sometimes I'll use my full name and then have to explain later that I go by something else and I find it embarrassing. I don't know why people do it, and I certainly strongly disagree that it's trashy, unless you are trying to say all names like that are trashy to begin with (which given the people named that I'd be careful with). I mean it's not like later, after being Abby from birth, they are suddenly going to switch over to using Abigail. And in fact, they won't be able to. My husband works with a Nicholas, and he wants to be Nicholas, and no matter how many times he tells people, they keep calling him Nick.

Plus, who cares how popular they were, if you like them, go with them. Honestly, having a very common name is going to be less difficult for them then choosing so bizarre name, just so they can be different.
posted by JonahBlack at 7:02 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't think there's anything wrong with giving a daughter a middle name that was formerly a last name. Both my sister (Abigail but ALWAYS known as Abby, even professionally) and I share my mother's maiden name, which is short and WASPy whereas our last names are more ethnic.

I don't think there's anything wrong with naming a child a nickname. I know a Teddy, not Theodore, a Meg, not Megan or Margaret. Very few Abigails go by Abigail. And the name Abbey is common; in fact, people are probably more likely to spell her name wrong than assume she's Abigail.

Both names are really popular, so it's likely these girls will be known as Abby B. and Sophie B. in elementary school, which can be a bummer for kids.
posted by LiveToEat at 7:04 AM on September 19, 2008

One of My great-aunts' middle name was Brucie. (her father's was Bruce). Please don't do this...(or something like this) to a child.

(And for my two cents agrees with Abigail over Abby. I mean, assuming you want her to have a job where she keeps her clothes on, she's going to have to put that at the top of a resume some day. Just something to think about.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:08 AM on September 19, 2008

I mean it's not like later, after being Abby from birth, they are suddenly going to switch over to using Abigail.

I'm aware you and your husband have made your decision about this, I just wanted to point out that my sister and I both had longer names, have nicknames that our family call us, in fact always have called us, and both went from our short "family" names to our longer names as adults [me in college, her in her professional life after college]. So now, people who I grew up with and my family call me Jess and most other people call me Jessamyn. Katy went from Katy to Kate to Katherine. My Mom's name is Elizabeth and she's been Liz, Lizzie, Elizabeth, Mom and Muffet. My Dad was J. Thomas West III, was Joe in college and Tom to his family but the salesmen call asking for Joseph.

In short, you and your husband can decide what you want to both name and call your daughters, but names are sort of out of our control as far as what other people call us but we can, to a certain extend control how complicated our naming seems to outsiders. I'd be more concerned with both twins having equally "nice" sounding names personally.
posted by jessamyn at 7:25 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'll give a differing perspective from Green Eyed Monster. I think the name "Brucie" is somewhat ridiculous, but the name "Bruce" would work great as a middle name, even for a girl. I know several people with the last name Bruce, and I even know a female Bruce (first name) who was named after HER aunt Bruce. I also know several women with male middle names, like "Anna James", either because that's the name they would have had as a boy or that's the way of honoring someone special.

As a middle name, you can get away with a lot more. But remember, so many names have changed over the centuries: from last names to first names, from male names to female names and vice versa. Marion, Lindsay, Ashley, Taylor, even Jamie.

The only thing I'd say is that, yes, if Sophie has a lovely melodious name and Abby has... Bruce, then that's probably something you might want to avoid. Don't rhyme, but at least go for symmetry.
posted by Madamina at 7:39 AM on September 19, 2008

Abby Sidney is definitely an awkward-sounding name.

I agree with the others that prefer Abigail, however, since that is set, I think you should strive to give both girls equally phoenetically-pleasing names.
posted by Ostara at 7:41 AM on September 19, 2008

If you want your kids to be called their actual name, it would make more sense to give them a name that doesn't shorten into a natural-sounding nickname easily. My name is Phoebe, and I'm always called Phoebe, except when people get really creative (my mother sometimes called me "Phi-Phi Mon Amore", my sister "Phobi-Wan Kenobi" and my boyfriend calls me "Fleebie") because "Pheebs" just doesn't sound all that natural; my boyfriend's name is Jordan and he, likewise, doesn't get nicknamed, except when I call him "Pookie." Something like, say, "Eliza" would fit the bill, because "Liz" sounds different enough that they'd have to ask to be called it. Or names like: Sarah, Sasha (ironically, once a nickname, but holds its own as a name), Eva/Eve. What you want is the female equivalent of "George."

Because I promise you that "Abby" is going to confuse people. She's going to have to explain herself as "Abby-not-Abigail" for most of her life.

I don't know why people do it, and I certainly strongly disagree that it's trashy, unless you are trying to say all names like that are trashy to begin with (which given the people named that I'd be careful with).

It sounds a bit trashy because of the diminutive "ee" sound and because it reminds people of legally naming your kid something like "Nikki." I'm not saying that it is trashy, but there is that connotation.

I mean it's not like later, after being Abby from birth, they are suddenly going to switch over to using Abigail. And in fact, they won't be able to.

Also, literally not true. I've known many people who have shifted when moving from different situations/spheres (and I bet, if you tried, you can remember some little "Bobby" who was suddenly insistent on being "Robert" come middle school). I've also known people who suddenly changed their names to more normal/more unusual spellings come adulthood ("Elaine" became "Elayne"). And then there are people who change their names, legally or not, all together.

If you're still sold on "Abby," fine, but I would just be aware that you're not really doing the kid a ton of favors with the name, especially given the fact that she is, undoubtedly, going to have to explain that her name is not Abigail well into adulthood.

As for actual name suggestions: my Jewish family names people "in honor of" family members (deceased family members, actually) but not "after them." There's some superstition around it, but I'm not well informed enough to tell you what it is. Anyway, this means giving the person a name that has the same initial sound/first letter, but not a necessarily identical name. So, for Bruce, you could give her a middle name like "Beatrice." This would let you pick a three syllable name that goes better with "Abby."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 AM on September 19, 2008

Also, mazel tov! :)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:36 AM on September 19, 2008

Children need full names, so you have something to call them when they're really in deep trouble. Naming your child a nickname deprives them of this easy-to-detect audio cue, unless you plan to further shorten the given [nick]name, so you can use the full [nick]name when they're in trouble, and I doubt that you plan to call your daughter "Ab" most of the time. "Soph", on the other hand, is actually passable.

Nicknames: for casual, good times
Full name: serious business
posted by owtytrof at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is tough. I had triplet boys so coming up with three names (actually six, since we didnt' know if we were having boys or girls) that go together as a set, but aren't matchy, but that sound good with our last name and their middle names (which were always going to be family last names) wasn't easy. One of my biggest "things" was finding names that didn't end in an "ee" sound, since our last name does. (Especially not two-syllable names that end in an "ee" sound, since our last name is two syllables as well.) Nevertheless, had we had girls, one of them likely would have been Zoe. Good thing we had boys. Heh.

Anyway, not that I have much more to add than other posters, just want to commisserate - it is hard. And also, let me second using "Abigail" instead of "Abby". Even though we picked names that couldn't easily be shortened to "ee" nicknames (like Daniel to Danny, for example) (okay, except for Oliver, but we don't call him Ollie), it would have been okay with me if we had.
posted by pyjammy at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2008

Also...I have to agree a bit with what a previous poster said. Middle names really don't matter, if you ask me. Like I said, we used family last names as our boys' middle names. They even sound somewhat awkward with their first names (esp Miles, since his middle name also ends with an "s" sound, but it also kind of sounds like Miles Davis, so we're okay with that) but having the family connection was more important to us than having their first and middle names sound right together. How often do you really use your middle name?
posted by pyjammy at 10:01 AM on September 19, 2008

Jrichards had a good point about how common the names are. My mother wanted to name me Jennifer but my dad and my brother didn't like it. Since they picked the name through a democratic process she lost. There were always 5 or 6 Jennifer's in my class in school, and I have always been extremely thankful (even at a young age) that my name was different.

plus it's kinda funny to be able to say I was named after a girl my brother had a crush on in the second grade.
posted by thejanna at 10:59 AM on September 19, 2008

Abby Sydney is too singsongy-- with a 4-syllable last name she could very well fill out the first line of "Georgie Porgie pudding and pie." Also, it looks bad. Too many ys. Finally, it sounds like something you'd find on a placard next to a photo of a church in Australia. "Abbey, Sydney."
posted by coppermoss at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2008

@PhoBWanKenobi: Are your people Ashkenazi Jews? The Askenazi used to have superstition that if a living relative and an infant have the same name, the angel of death might make a mistake, and take the baby instead of the adult.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:37 AM on September 19, 2008

I know you're not asking, but... Chiming in on the "nickname as a first name sucks!" band-wagon. I was saddled with something similar to being named "Sam" instead of Samantha (with added "what gender is this person whose resume I'm viewing??" goodness!)

When I got married, I took the name-changing opportunity to change my FIRST name as well, to the more formal version, so on paperwork and professionally, I am now "Samantha Brown", but still "Sam" or "Sammie" to those close to me - just with added dignity in formal situations. Also, no longer get post addressed to Mr. instead of Ms.

Just saying - if you call her Abigail, she has choices. If you call her Abby, she's stuck if she resents it.
posted by InfinateJane at 1:10 PM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Where are the stresses in your surname?

I think if you're wedded to Abby over Abigail you need a three syllable middle name with the stress on the first syllable that doesn't end in an 'ee' sound.

Abby Jennifer Brandenberger
Abby Nicola Brandenberger

But depending on your surname those suggestions may suck.

I also think that since Abby is so plain, you'll probably need something fancy to match her sister.

posted by the latin mouse at 2:04 PM on September 19, 2008

A lot of times, kids will choose their nickname for your kid anyway. My aunt was INSISTENT that her youngest be called "Samuel" everywhere. In kindergarten, he finally got exasperated enough to ask his mom to please start calling him Sam.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:20 PM on September 19, 2008

We are, in fact, Ashkenazi! :)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:27 PM on September 19, 2008

I'm a Jennifer who goes by Jenny, even professionally--it's on my business cards and everything. I hate being called Jennifer, but I'm glad Jenny isn't my real name. I always think it's nice to have options.
(Also, I totally agree about having a very common name--I was always having to be Jenny B. or Jenny 2 or something and I hated it.)

Is it just that you don't like the name Abigail? Maybe you could use something else that could shorten to Abby. Abilene? Abyssinia?
OR, if you spelled it Abbey, it would seem less like a nickname. There would be the problem of having to spell it all the time, but anymore everyone has such weird names that you pretty much have to do that no matter what your name is.

To specifically answer your question, I don't think Abby Sydney sounds bad, but I think there's a possiblity she would be jealous of her sister having a fancier, princessy name. (Depending on what kind of person she is, I suppose.)
posted by exceptinsects at 6:10 PM on September 19, 2008

A point of reference: recent Nobel laureate Robert Grubbs says he was officially named Bobby, and did feel the need to change it to Robert for professional reasons.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:26 PM on September 19, 2008

Have you considered all of the surnames in your family tree, not just first and middle? Perhaps one of them has a good sound when paired with Abby.

And to answer your question, yes I would really hate to have a phonetically unfortunate name, esp when my sibling's was so beautiful. And I probably wouldn't give a hoot that I was named after someone in the family until I was in my 20's. And yes, Abby Sydey is phonetically unfortunate.

But for some reason I care about that stuff--some don't.
posted by agentwills at 3:10 PM on September 20, 2008

ms.v.: "The question is whether a child would feel that a less phonetically beautiful name would be worth being named for someone special."

I am named for my dad's former favorite niece. When I was about 8 something happened and now we almost never see her, and she is widely known as the family ditz, and I really don't like her, nor do I like my name. Recently at a family gathering, her sister introduced me to her new husband as "the girl who is named after my sister." Swell, forget about me as a person, the only reason you want to introduce me is because I am named after your sister. Oh, and the cousin (to me) I am named after barely says hi to me when I do see her, let alone cares about me. Do your kid a favor and give her her own name.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2008

Another vote for Sydney Abigail.

But I suppose it wouldn't work if you don't want both their first names to begin with S, would it?

I've heard that with names, it's best to vary the number of syllables (one, three, two or something like that). Abby Sydney (two syllables each) just doesn't roll off the tongue well. My full name goes three, one, two and it's so much easier to say than my sister's that is two, two, and another boring TWO.

Congratulations by the way!
posted by hydrate at 7:04 AM on September 21, 2008

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