Rhymes with this is hard
September 13, 2016 9:04 AM   Subscribe

I need your help naming our (most likely female) baby. We are stuck and looking for a strong, classic name.

The middle name we are very settled on rhymes with Ben. Its a little quirky and very endearing to me. It will be what we call her. However, in the event it is too quirky for later in life, we wanted a nice formal/classical/normal whatever name that she can choose to go by in school or at the office or whatever.

Her last name will be a weird long hyphenated Italian mess, so we aren't even going to try and make it match with that.

We are leaning toward Amelia Ben. I really like it, but Amelia keeps showing up in popular media as a regrettable name, a popular name whatever. (Who knew I was somehow tapped into baby naming zeitgeist?) Sophia Ben and Abigail Ben are close contenders but aren't quite right.

What are some good names that fit here?
posted by stormygrey to Grab Bag (75 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anna Ben
posted by AugustWest at 9:06 AM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


You are apparently super tapped into baby naming zeitgeist - in 2015, Amelia was #12, Abigail was #7, and Sophia was #3 (with Sofia at #14), so if you're trying to avoid ultra-popular, you're missing.

You can see baby name popularity here. If you go to "popular names by birth year" and get like the top 500, you might read through starting at 75 or so and see if anything strikes your fancy.
posted by brainmouse at 9:07 AM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Eleanor Ben Cacciatore-Romano is the name of an artist, a CEO, a professor, or a POTUS.

She can be a Ben, an Ella, a Nora, a Lea, a Lenore, even a Leann, if she wants.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:12 AM on September 13, 2016 [26 favorites]


A little girl on my block is named Aurelia, which I love.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:14 AM on September 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


I have an Amelia (age 12). No regrets on that name at all. :)
posted by heathrowga at 9:14 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Lindesfarne. She can go by "Linda" for everyday.

But, when the footman is announcing her entrance at the ball, it can be "Lindesfarne Ben Hyphenated-StormyGrey and Neville Smith-Smythe-Smith".
posted by sourcequench at 9:15 AM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


My daughter is Ophelia. I've never yet met any other little Ophelias in the playground. It makes for a long name with the hyphenated last name, though.

Plus, you have an excuse when she acts like a dramatic toddler--she's just fulfilling her destiny.
posted by Liesl at 9:16 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Elizabeth.
posted by delight at 9:17 AM on September 13, 2016 [18 favorites]


My daughter's first two names are Madeleine and Eleanor. I think you couldn't go wrong with either of those.
posted by gaspode at 9:18 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Definitely peruse the popularity rolls and look for something lower down, just to spark your imagination if nothing else.

I guess NameVoyager got bought by a commercial site, but is still pretty interesting to rabbit-hole around in.

I know several young Amelias who are all called something else - Mila, Lia, and Ame (pron Amy), so it certainly comes loaded with options. If you really love the name, use it.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on September 13, 2016


If you like the sound of Amelia but not the prevalence, consider Cordelia (or Cecelia or Ophelia)
posted by aimedwander at 9:20 AM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Keep in mind that local name trends matter much more than national ones, and that the same information you're looking at will help shift any trend downward. I/we also recently took a chance on an uncommon-but-rising baby name we both loved, and although its background level is still spiking upward (relatively speaking), we have no regrets. Anecdotally, over a year into meeting new baby-friends, I've yet to encounter any duplicates, which makes me think the pool of names has gotten a lot wider and trends mean less outside the top ten or so.
posted by teremala at 9:20 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Avery
Aurora
Elisa
Madeline
Eleanor
Olivia
Victoria
Catherine
Julia
Evelyn
Gwendolyn
Lillian
Josephine
posted by erst at 9:22 AM on September 13, 2016


I think the strongest and most classic of names is Athena, as an option. It's pretty huge these days though.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:23 AM on September 13, 2016


I always liked Elena, my great grandmother's name. She was upper-crusty New York at the turn of the century. You could spell it Alaina alternatively.
posted by cecic at 9:23 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Alexandra? Very strong classic name with good nicknames: Alex, Lexi, Ally/Ali. Flows nicely with the middle name: Alexandra Ben.

It does look like it was quite popular about 10 years ago, so there's a risk it might seem slightly dated?
posted by lunasol at 9:24 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am very partial to my daughters names: Marika and Ataleigh. The receive many compliments on their names, neither are super popular, unique but not weird and I like the combo with Ben
posted by bluesky43 at 9:25 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Olympia
posted by tippy at 9:28 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Antonia Ben sounds really good to me. Like Amelia Ben, it scans nicely -- but "Antonia" feels like a very strong and solid name, a good old Roman name that might meld well with your Italian hyphenation. It's also got lots of good nickname potential -- Ann, Anna, Annie, Toni, and so on -- and it's not over-popular at the moment, which I think is a good thing.
posted by ourobouros at 9:28 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Elena
posted by vunder at 9:33 AM on September 13, 2016


Since you mentioned Sophia, I will tell you a story about my friend who named her (5yo) daughter Sophia. There is not a store, mall, public space that she goes into where when she calls "Sophia, come here please!" that three or four little girls won't turn around to see if she is calling them.

So I highly recommend picking a name not from the top 50 most popular names, but somewhere a little farther down the list, like between top 50 - top 100. So it won't be super uncommon, but you won't have a Sophia C, Sophia L, and Sophia T in every class from Pre-K to high school. (We also had multiple Isabella's and Ava's in our preschool, population 100 students).

If it helps, here's a list of Italian baby girl names, maybe you will find some inspiration there.
posted by vignettist at 9:36 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eleanor.
posted by kimberussell at 9:37 AM on September 13, 2016


Misha, Nadia, Lydia?
Italian means you could use Lucia!!!
I'm going to highly recommend Lois again because it hits all the popular notes, is lovely and classic, but super individual right now.
I like Amelia best of your top 3 choices. It is, at least in my circles, a bit popular but not exceedingly so. I love that Amy could be a nickname. Actually, what about just Amy as a name? In my opinion, Sophia is super trendy and I just wouldn't pick it because where I live, it runs the risk of there being multiples in classrooms. Same with Ellie or variations of, Olivia and Emma, Isabelle. Abigail might've a bit safer because I think we hit "peak Abigail" a few years back. All great, lovely names, and many parents agree!
I second the suggestion to look at local name rankings. Your local hospitals may even publish that data. If I had looked at my toddler son's name rankings a bit more closely, I may have noticed its in the top 50 in my hometown, although in the 400s nationally. Not a big deal, but I was surprised when I started meeting preschoolers with his name, considering I've never met anyone with his name before!
posted by areaperson at 9:38 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think names of stones or flowers are always gorgeous and timeless.

Ruby, Opal, Sapphire, Pearl

Daisy, Rose, Lily, Heather, Iris
posted by Dressed to Kill at 9:40 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have an Eleanor who we call Nora Middlename (double name, like MaryJane or whatever). I haven't yet met another Eleanor in our age group, but we do know one Nora.

I met a little girl this weekend named Leora, which I liked quite a bit.
posted by SeedStitch at 9:44 AM on September 13, 2016


Octavia
posted by Chrischris at 9:48 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Miranda
Elizabeth
Gretta
Heidi
Hannah
posted by Burn.Don't.Freeze at 9:52 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sara Ben
Sally Ben (Sally is a nickname for Sara so you could go with the first and call her Sally if you like)
Margaret Ben (I feel like Margaret isn't getting enough play these days)
Shirley Ben (same with Shirley)
Leslie Ben (and the good thing about both Shirley and Leslie is that they are traditionally male names, so (imo) they're kind of automatically strong)
My first name is Jane and I have found it to be very serviceable over the years. Never has it worn out, never has it trended, and the only painful taunt is Plain Jane, so whatevs. But you would have to determine whether you think Jane Ben sounds right. It doesn't, to my ear, but it's worth checking against the actual entire name.
posted by janey47 at 9:53 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Friends of mine named their daughter Adara which has a sort of similar sound to Amelia. We were going to go with Beatrice - Bea, Bee, Betty, Beatty, Trixie...
posted by jrobin276 at 9:55 AM on September 13, 2016


Delia, Josephine, Caroline, Lucinda.

(I'm not biased about the last one at all, really)
posted by Lucinda at 9:59 AM on September 13, 2016


Adelia, Arabella, Cressida, Ivy, Luella, Mabel, Maisie (short for Margaret), Matilda. Good luck!
posted by Hildegarde at 10:01 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Amelia is a great name, and the place in the media where you are seeing it mentioned as regrettable is wrong.

It was in the top 15 names for baby girls in 2015, though, so if you want something that will be incredibly unique, maybe it's not the best choice.

Rather than offering a specific other suggestion (Amelia is great!), I'd suggest that if you're really worried about all this name stuff -- especially popularity and whether there's some secret you don't know about why Amelia is clearly an awful name -- you should check out the Baby Name Wizard Blog. It's great for both name ideas and also some perspective on the madness of "but somebody else on the planet already named their kid this, so we're RUINED."
posted by Sara C. at 10:13 AM on September 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Margaret? Has the advantage of about 50 nicknames, so if she doesn't like her given name then there's almost certain to be a variant that will work for her.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel I'm obligated to put in another plug for Margaret, but I actually think Margaret Ben sounds great. Plus it is perhaps the most nicknameable female name outside of Elizabeth, so your future senator/CEO/famous amazing lady will have many options to choose from
posted by MadamM at 10:27 AM on September 13, 2016


I like the name Rebecca. Strong and feminine, both. And classic.
posted by jdroth at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


My daughter's name is Veronica. We very rarely meet another.
posted by candyland at 10:38 AM on September 13, 2016


Thanks everyone! You all are great at this. I see a name listed her as happening if we veer from Amelia.

My mother is Margaret Ann (I LOVE Margaret), my her mother is Annabelle (which I also kinda love ), paternal gm is Mary Virginia (which is also nice) and I am Rebecca. However, MIL is a little competitive in odd ways and I think it would hurt her feelings if we picked a name from my side and not hers.
posted by stormygrey at 10:41 AM on September 13, 2016


My sister in law just gave birth to Olivia Wren, and she's going by Wren. I like the combo.
posted by pintapicasso at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Names with similar sounds to Amelia that occur no more than twice in my sample (~450 girls, K-12):

Adelia
Amanda
Amina
Anisa
Eliza (but, Hamilton)
Eloise
Genevieve (I think this one is trending up though)
Jocelyn
Kavita
Leona
Linnea
Lucia
Melina
Millicent
Miranda
Miriam
Nadia
Rebecca (really!)
Sevona
Vivian
posted by Flannery Culp at 10:50 AM on September 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Are you super settled on rhymes-with-Ben being her middle name? Just know that she's going to get called her first name A LOT. My kid dislikes his full first name and strongly prefers one of several common nicknames, and that's complicated enough.

Maria, Judith, Claudia, and Violet are four names that seem to go the direction you want.
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2016


My Lydia Grace is very happy with her name. The three syllables - one syllable sound great together.
posted by readery at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mrs. DirtyOldTown's name is Matilda, which delights and charms pretty much everyone who hears it.

Had we had a daughter, we were going to name her Magnolia, which, oddly enough, is a family name.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2016


Aphra
posted by HandfulOfDust at 10:56 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with readery that (three syllables) (one syllable) has a pleasing rhythm.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:57 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ramona has a nice Italianate sound to it and it goes well with Ben. She could use Mona for short.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:57 AM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Joanna
posted by curtains at 11:01 AM on September 13, 2016


Athalia/Ataliah/Atalia
Augusta
Philippa
Simona
Penelope
Natalie

and as mentioned above, Cecelia/Cecily; Ramona; Antonia. Cecily is what I was going to name my next girl if I had one.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:12 AM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Louisa ben
posted by Gusaroo at 11:27 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Silvia Ben. Silvia is Shakespearean, you can't get more classic that than.
posted by Ostara at 11:32 AM on September 13, 2016


Anthea
posted by aiglet at 11:37 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


My utterly wonderful elderly Italian neighbor is named Elvira, pronounced Elveera, and she goes by Elvi.
posted by mareli at 11:58 AM on September 13, 2016


I would personally pick something outside of the "ends in A sort of old-fashionedy" trend just because, yeah, Sophia is going to be the Jessica of a few years.

Daphne?
Valerie?
Haley?
Heidi?

Autumn or Summer would be cute. Don't know if that sounds too hippie (for you) with the middle name.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:02 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Juliet!
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:09 PM on September 13, 2016


Also consider Bianca, Katherina, and Larisa.

Yes, I did just watch 10 Things I Hate About You.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 12:11 PM on September 13, 2016


I find French names very strong and lovely - Sabine, Delphine, Marion, Elodie, love them all.
posted by lafemma at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Caroline, Marion, Eleanor , Odelia, Rosemary, Harriet, Rosalind, Marjory, Georgia, Aurora, Magnolia, Magdalena, Corin, Adelaide, Florence, Margaret
posted by azalea_chant at 12:36 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Marian, Maribel... you can get both sides in, diplomatically leading with MIL's name.
posted by Ruki at 12:40 PM on September 13, 2016


Formal, normal, not excessively popular names that haven't been mentioned yet? Katherine, although people will inevitably spell it wrong. Vanessa. Jessica.

When looking at name popularity, also look at what your friends and friends-of-friends are naming their kids, not just the stats in Baby Name Voyager. My name barely cracked the top 100 in the year I was born, but among my racial and socioeconomic demographic, it is top 3 (I learned this from Freakonomics and suddenly the world made sense to me). Also think about nicknames and variants -- it also has a lot of variants for the formal name that all resolve down to the same common nickname -- the way that Christian, Christina, Christopher, and Christiana will all be called "Chris". As a result, it has consistently been one of the most 2-3 common names I encounter.
posted by phoenixy at 12:53 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maria.
posted by vunder at 1:11 PM on September 13, 2016


Sarah (which is my name and notice the 'h') is a great classic name that has fallen out of fashion enough for kids that you should be fine. I also like Helen, Lena, and Anna. I am a big fan of finding names that work in most Western languages, and Sarah and Anna are high on that list.
posted by dame at 1:58 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mary Jane de Niro
posted by Kwadeng at 2:03 PM on September 13, 2016


I think if you like Amelia, you should name her Amelia. Popular names are popular because a lot of people like them.

Other options:
Catherine
Elizabeth
Cora
Lara
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:25 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ottavia Ben Minnelli-Scarpino
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 2:43 PM on September 13, 2016


I love all the Classical Roman names being suggested here!

Claudia Ben
Julia Ben
Antonia Ben
Virginia Ben

All of these sound great to my ears.
posted by bluejayway at 2:54 PM on September 13, 2016


I like Aggie (for Agnes or on its own). Aggie Ben.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:11 PM on September 13, 2016


Charlotte
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:46 PM on September 13, 2016




Audrey
posted by InkaLomax at 7:05 PM on September 13, 2016


Katarina
Callista
Persephone
Pasiphae
Delphinia
Octavia
Flavia
posted by bile and syntax at 8:07 PM on September 13, 2016


Another one similar to Amelia but much rarer is Aletheia/Alethea. Just don't tell my daughter if you use it. She likes to think she's the only one.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:14 PM on September 13, 2016


Fiona
Mallory
Gillian
Angela
Evelyn
Nora
Leanne
Erin
posted by crazycanuck at 9:20 PM on September 13, 2016


Elizabeth, Charlotte, Grace, Cordelia, Celeste, Lily
posted by Jubey at 9:28 PM on September 13, 2016


Geneva ; Amberli
posted by Fig at 3:35 AM on September 14, 2016


Caroline
Elizabeth
Katherine
Josephine

These are classics and the middle two have a bazillion nicknames. Be aware with Caroline, though, that she'd be called Carolyn. (Apparently you'd have to name her Carolyn if you want her to be called Caroline!)

Admittedly, I'm biased towards these. They are me, my sisters and my niece. I also LOVE Jane, but Jane Ben doesn't scan well.
posted by Wet Hen at 5:37 AM on September 14, 2016


So what did you name your baby?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:21 AM on January 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


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