It's harder than it seems.
March 9, 2009 10:39 PM   Subscribe

The baby is coming! We haven't chosen a name yet!

It's possible I'm in labor right now, so we've got our bags packed and by the door, ready to go to the hospital. We've thought of everything, except we don't have a name picked out for our baby! We've tried really hard, dogearing every baby-name book out there and exhausting Google, but we just can't seem to agree on anything. Seriously, we have nearly had to mudwrestle over this. Please help us by suggesting great names for our little boy who will (hopefully) join us very soon!

The limitations:
--Must be a male name
--Must begin with the letter A
--Must have origin in the the following, or similar, cultures: Maori, Polynesian, Fijian, Arabic/Middle Eastern, Czech, Ojibwa/Chippewa.

We need both first and middle names, so bonus points for two names that sound good together.
posted by oceanmorning to Grab Bag (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Clarification: We have selected the middle name. We barely even had to argue. So strike that last bit about two names that match. We just want one good name!
posted by oceanmorning at 10:42 PM on March 9, 2009

Not sure what 'or similar' means- it might be good to know why you chose those cultures?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:50 PM on March 9, 2009

Perhaps it's dull, but Adam is apparently both Czech and Arabic.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:53 PM on March 9, 2009

Knowing the middle name would help.
posted by phunniemee at 11:04 PM on March 9, 2009

What's the middle name? (To help people think of first names that would go well with it.)
posted by scody at 11:05 PM on March 9, 2009

posted by parmanparman at 11:07 PM on March 9, 2009

Ataturk. (My husband wouldn't let me use this one. I say the man had great mana).
posted by Catch at 11:13 PM on March 9, 2009

If I was going to give a boy a maori name beginning with A, I'd name him for Sir Apirana Ngata
posted by Catch at 11:17 PM on March 9, 2009

Maori names: Anaru or Arama?

(A friend was going to name her daughter Ata Marie -- pronounced Ah-ta Mah-ree-ay -- which means "peaceful morning". Wishful thinking.)
posted by tracicle at 11:38 PM on March 9, 2009

Altair - Arabic; "flying eagle". Also refers to a first magnitude star in the constellation Lyra.

Andrej - Czech (pronounced like the French name André) - Czech version of "Andrew", which means "man or warrior".

Alday - Tagalog (Filipino) - don't know what it means.

Many Filipinos I know have custom-created first names- the parents take letters from each parent's name and create a new name. Example: Elaine + Ron = Rolain; the names of the Phillippines' main island groups, Luzon + Visayas + Mindanao = the fairly popular Pinoy baby name Luzvimina­da. So you could try combining your own names or parents' names or whatever, use an A as the first letter and the basic grammatical sounds of Tagalog or Cebu or whatever, and call it a Filipino name.

Good luck and congratulations with your baby! When the dust settles, I'd be happy if you'd come back and let us know what name you chose, how the little guy's doing, and why you had such an interestingly broad list of origins- the curiosity is killing me.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:42 PM on March 9, 2009

posted by tinatiga at 11:47 PM on March 9, 2009

posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:00 AM on March 10, 2009

Some Arabic favorites:

Anwar (Luminous, Shining) - if my best friend hadn't beaten me to it, I would have given my son this name.

Adlan (Just), Ashraf (Noble), Aslan (not sure) - all possibilities for the second son I haven't had.
posted by BinGregory at 12:14 AM on March 10, 2009

Seconding Altair. Astronomical names are badass. :)
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:22 AM on March 10, 2009

Probably this won't meet your cultural requirements, but may I suggest the following fine name:

posted by sesquipedalian at 1:34 AM on March 10, 2009

I say, if you don't know your son's name yet, wait until you get to meet him.
I'm sure you've both had some opinions.
Look in his eyes and see what you think then.

He's going to be listed as Baby Boy Lastname until you decide, anyway. It isn't an uncommon thing.

Best of luck with everything!
posted by lilywing13 at 1:47 AM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by watercarrier at 2:47 AM on March 10, 2009

I was going to suggest Altair too!
Arsalan - Arabic - Lion
Asad - Arabic - Lion (again)
Aamir - Arabic - Full/prosperous
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:33 AM on March 10, 2009

Sorry I had to come back back and add

Ardeshir - Persian - one who reigns through truth
posted by Ziggy500 at 3:45 AM on March 10, 2009

There are many pleasing Samoan names that begin with the letter A:

Apelu, Ata, Aleki, Asiau, Auau, Akerei, Aki, Ano, Asueru, Asora, Ailao, Anesone, Ati, Aifai, Alualu, Amato, Aialii, Aitu, Amana, Anui, Arava, Areiti, Arenui, Ari, Amura, Atea, Alika, Akamu

Of this list, I like Aki, Ano, and Arava the best.
posted by at 3:45 AM on March 10, 2009

I like the name Arama. It's a Maori form of the name Adam.

But please, only call your kid this if you have Maori cultural connections. Don't just do it to be exotic. Otherwise you're just dooming him to a life of mispronunciation and a lot of awkward explaining if he ever visits NZ.

And congratulations!
posted by embrangled at 3:51 AM on March 10, 2009


You're welcome.
posted by nineRED at 4:42 AM on March 10, 2009

posted by thirteenkiller at 5:23 AM on March 10, 2009

Suggestions from's NameFinder (my favorites are in italics):
  • Abdullah
  • Adan—simple and strong
  • Adrian
  • Adrien
  • Agustin
  • Ahmad
  • Aidan
  • Aksel—the name of one of my favorite artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela
  • Alastair
  • Alberto
  • Alejandro
  • Alessandro
  • Alessio
  • Alexandre
  • Alexi
  • Ali
  • Alonso
  • Alvaro
  • Amit
  • Anders
  • Andre—there are many variations on this one
  • Andrea
  • Andreas
  • Andrei
  • Andres
  • Angel
  • Angelo
  • Angus
  • Antoine
  • Anton
  • Antonin
  • Antonio
  • Ariel
  • Arjun
  • Arnaud
  • Arne
  • Arno
  • Artem—these three Ar– names just sound really pleasant to me, and are all rather unusual
  • Artur
  • Arvid
  • Aryan
  • Axel
(Search criteria changed from defaults: Boy, Must START with A, Require International [under style preferences], Require "Currently popular in some locales outside the U.S. [under popularity preferences].)

Laura Wattenberg at the Baby Name Wizard is my go to source for name information—she looks at these things statistically, so you can figure out whether the name you choose is about to become the next big thing, or if you've found that elusive "original" name. Her website has all sorts of cool things: the NameVoyager (flash display of U.S. popularity through the years), NameMapper (watch names pop up in Utah and then spread through the country!), and of course her incredibly interesting blog on names and naming trends.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:29 AM on March 10, 2009

You don't have to have a name picked out before you go to the hospital. We didn't and it didn't matter. We did have a bit more time in the end, though, because I ended up having a c-section (so we were in the hospital for 5 days instead of 2). It didn't matter, however, because we picked a name as soon as we were able to hold him.

Now, when my daughter was born, we had a name all picked out but when we looked at her, she just didn't look like a *insert name here.* So we changed it.

No big deal. Meet him first, snuggle with him. Maybe then you'll have some inspiration.
posted by cooker girl at 6:39 AM on March 10, 2009

posted by MsMolly at 6:51 AM on March 10, 2009

Aram (Ah-rom) is a very handsome name and is Arabic/Middle Eastern.

But yes, you do not need a name right now. My nice was named Sophia when she was born, and re-named Eleanor two days later because she didn't look like a Sophie at all. My childhood friend Marya didn't have a name until she was 3 months old. The baby will not care in the least, and you will likely just call your child "the baby" for a goodly amount of time anyway.

(In my sister's case, that was very nearly five years. It wasn't until someone said "who is picking the baby up from kindergarten?" that we realised this was getting a bit silly.)
posted by DarlingBri at 6:55 AM on March 10, 2009

posted by electroboy at 7:17 AM on March 10, 2009

FWIW, not having a name yet when the baby is born is not unusual nor a problem. Taking a few days after the birth to decide on the name is preferable to rushing to meet an unnecessary deadline. We gave ourselves two days when we were in this situation and even then I find myself wondering now why we had to rush it like that.

For first + middle names that flow nicely together, having a different number of syllables between the two names gets you most of the way there.
posted by winston at 7:35 AM on March 10, 2009

If you don't name your baby soon after birth, the baby could have trouble later. My legal first name until I was 17, when we finally bothered to change it, was "Male." If you do decide to delay naming, make sure you get down to the Social Security bureau and change it before your child has to apply to colleges.
posted by Electrius at 7:47 AM on March 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also like Altair, although I hope y'all find something you're happy with rather than leaving it entirely to the whims of Internet strangers.

Good luck with the birth! Come back and update us!
posted by streetdreams at 8:19 AM on March 10, 2009

It's nearly impossible to do this helpfully without knowing the last name.
posted by Zambrano at 8:21 AM on March 10, 2009

I agree with Winston. My wife and I had a little baby girl in January, and for the first few days of her life, she was known to the hospital and the world as Baby Girl Mattybonez. We finally picked a name that was just perfect, and it was totally different than any of the names that were on our list.

We named her, not an abstract idea of her.

Good luck with your search, and congratulations!

And, one for the pool... Aaron. Elvis' middle name, and biblical to boot.
posted by mattybonez at 8:27 AM on March 10, 2009

I have a weird unspellable name and I really don't mind, so I hate to be one of those people who rains all over a baby name parade with THEY'RE ALL GOING TO LAUGH AT HIM AND HE'LL HATE YOU IF YOU DON'T JUST NAME HIM MATTHEW OR JOHN LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, but I know an Aram, and a good 40% of the people who meet him are convinced his name is Aaron or Adam. When I say "Do you mean Aram?" they're all confused because in their head they've never met an Aram in their life. it's quite handsome, though, and people are idiots.

I'm seconding Alejandro, though. Who doesn't want to be named after this guy?
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:40 AM on March 10, 2009

As an update, this particular incident was a false alarm and we had to wait until late March for Baby Arram to arrive. We're both happy and healthy! Thanks for the great suggestions.
posted by oceanmorning at 7:57 PM on April 11, 2009

Arram is a wonderful name! Congratulations!
posted by ocherdraco at 11:48 PM on April 11, 2009

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