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  • Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hi again! So we’re still stuck in the name game with our little girl, due in about 10 weeks. Claire and Annabelle are still in te running, but lately I’ve been drawn to the name Gwenyth.

    Now can you tell me…what do you think of Gwenyth and what kind of “image” do you think it portrays about a girl. And most importantly, how should the name be spelled?! I’ve seen that the lot widely accepted spelling is “Gwyneth,” but while I think this looks prettier, I think it would be misspelled frequently. In fact, a mom of a Gwyneth wrote on one forum that EVERYone spells her name “incorrectly” – “Gwenyth.” I like the way “Gwen”yth sounds more than “Gwyn”eth as well ((the “eh” sound as in “egg” verses the “ih” sound in “igloo”)). So anyway, can you tell me more about Gwenyth and any advice surrounding that name?? Thanks!

    To me, Gwenyth and Gwyneth are two different names, although Gwyneth came first and Gwenyth and Gweneth are variants of it. They are all Welsh and are readily used there, commonly since the 1800′s.

    The sound is different for each to the native English speaker. GWYN being the first syllable of Gwyneth and GWEN of Gwenyth. Different.

    About spelling: This is a case where you are just going to have to go with what you really like. These are going to get confused for each other by many people. I don’t know how worried you are about that, but it is going to happen. you will have to spell it a lot, and that will just be because it will be hard for people to distinguish the GWYN and GWEN parts in light conversation, like you would have when going to Starbucks or signing in to a doctors appointment. But, as an Anabel, I have to spell my name all the time…AND, you might even have to spell Claire quite a bit, since there are people who spell it Clare. So, I don’t know that Gwenyth would be any different from any of the other names on your list of current faves.

    Personally, I really like the name and I am partial to Gwenyth over Gwyneth. I think Gwen makes for a very nice nickname. It is solid, non-fussy, yet very feminine at the same time.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I don’t know if this is the appropriate forum to ask this (given that it’s baby names world) but I am curious, knowing that you are a name expert and you love dogs as well: What guidelines do you follow when it comes to naming dogs, or pets in general?

    I’ve actually done interviews about pet names! You can see one here: LINK

    Any animal that you want to train to come to you: dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, etc., Should have a short one or two syllable name with a very distinct or heavy vowel sound…providing it isn’t too similar to a training word, such as NO. This is because animals will generally hone in on the basic sound of their name, and respond to that. If you name a dog Jeremy, for instance, chances are that the dog only responds or identifies with the MEE sound of it, as it is the sharpest and most pronounced part of the name.

    If you are naming a lizard or snake or an animal that won’t really train to come to you, then you can name them almost anything you want, because they are only going to respond to your presence, not the sound of their name.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I am currently due with my baby boy in January and I’ve been thinking the name Chase. The last name will be Howard and I’m looking for a longer middle name to balance it out, can you help me?

    Hello there, @Sydney_S_H!

    I would love to help you choose a middle name. Do you think you could let me know some other names that you like, but wouldn’t be using…just so I can get a sense of your style? It will help me to get you choices that are more accurate to what you like.

    With a name like Chase, I would go to the more “classic” route for the middle name, and with a great last name like Howard…almost ANYTHING will work for you. I think looking for a 2 syllable name will give you the best “flow”.The middle name spot is also the spot where you can get more experimental or daring, or…of course…honor relatives or friends that you might want to honor. Do you have any family names that you would like to pass on?

    My immediate thoughts are:

    Chase Henry Howard
    Chase William Howard
    Chase Matthew Howard
    Chase Morgan Howard
    Chase Garrett Howard
    Chase Brandon Howard
    Chase Brennan Howard

    Please reply with some other names you like and I will come up with some others that zero in on your style!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hi Anabel-

    I am stuck between the following first names for a baby girl and I am a big fan of nicknames. I don’t want anything that is too unique, but not too common either.

    Aven (pronounced like Raven without the R). This one may be a little difficult for people to pronounce or spell. I don’t want her nickname to be Ava, but could possibly be Eva…

    Alexa – beautiful, strong name but don’t I love Lexi for a nickname.

    Vivian – gorgeous name, love the nickname Viv or just V. I am just afraid this might become too common.

    Any insight you have would be helpful.

    Thanks so much!!

    Hi there, @stags!

    To me, Vivian is a stand-out on this list. It is so classic and versatile and it will grow well from child to adult. Not only will you be happy with its versatility, but your daughter will be, too. You can take that as an expert opinion x two, because it is one of the things that I like best about my own name!

    Aven is the name that doesn’t belong with the others on this list, in my opinion. It’s sort of made-up and trendy and truly does sound like a half-finished word that someone just took the first consonant off off. If you are worried about a name becoming too popular, this is more the style that you have to worry about. Trendy made-up names like this tend to sound dated in the future.

    Alexa is a nice name, but I see it a lot. This is the most popular name on your list, currently. When I see a name like this that registers as very popular, I love to advise to be unexpected and put it in the middle spot! Overused first names suddenly become alive and fresh in the middle name spot!

    Congratulations and good luck! Please don’t hesitate to ask any follow up questions–I love to help!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I’m so glad, @jenni_lynn91. And don’t worry too much about those complaints. I think that her name is meaningful and beautiful.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hi Anabel!

    I have a pronunciation question. My daughter’s name is Noemi Xochitl. My fiance suggested the name Xochitl, but I kept it as her middle name because it is difficult for Americans to pronounce. My fiance is Aztec and speaks Nahuatl so he is able to say it “correctly”. The tl on the end makes a sort of clicking sound like cl that is hard for my family to say. Is there another accepted pronunciation of this name? Everyone I tell her middle name to gives up on trying to say it. My grandma is telling her friends that her middle name is X. How should I tell other people to pronounce her name?

    Hi there, @jenni_lynn91!

    I like the name you’ve chosen for your daughter, as it has so much meaning to you and your husband. Also, you did the right thing by putting a more challenging name in the middle. To someone who is comfortable with the nuances of Nahuatl, its probably no big deal, but to many native English speakers, the pronunciation of the name is challenging. Though, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The name is not entirely uncommon and is registered in the Top 1000 names in the US.

    The proper Nahuatl pronunciation is shoh-cheetl, but since that is difficult to most English speakers (not to mention those that speak many other languages) is is completely acceptable to pronounce the name so-chee or zo-chee. This would be easy for any English speaker to say, AND in the US, that is the most common and accepted way of saying it. So, try steering any perplexed friends and relatives in that direction.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hi there, @Smoke77.

    I have a black/white, japanese baby but can’t think of any really good girl names. So far I’ve only came up with Alisha. Input would be very much appreciated.

    Well, my first thought is that the “sky is the limit” as far as name options. Is it important to you to recognize, specifically, the Japanese heritage? There are so many beautiful Japanese names that I would encourage you to pursue that angle if you’re so inclined. I would be happy to suggest some of these names that are similar to your tastes, if you would like.

    In order to make some suggestions, I would need to know a little more information so I can get a “feel” for your style, and to suggest names that would be appealing to you. Are there any names that you love, but wouldn’t or cannot use?

    As soon as you answer, I will post back! :-)

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    OH-KAY! Anabel, thank you so much for your input. I realized after I posted that I wouldn’t get a response until the following Monday and I was planning a natural induction with my midwife on Saturday.

    In any case, I was comfortable with holding out on naming for a few days after the birth, but hubby got so nervous about her not having a name yet on Sunday that I went ahead with it.

    After a sweet and tender moment together it suddenly became very clear that her name was…

    Eliana Devi Maldonado

    I kinda fancy that Eliana and Alina are related somehow, even though I know that the former is Hebrew and the latter is French. Still, they are similar in form.


    Dharmaja, I am SOOOOO glad that you discovered her name–and that’s really what you did when you spent a little bit of time with her. You did really, really well and her name is just lovely. Welcome to the bright new world, Eliana Devi!!! Congratulations!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I do though don’t I? We ve decided to go with Eliora though. Firstly cos that’s d first I saw…and u just said the first thought is usually the best! and Secondly it just spells and reads better to us…our opinion entirely… While Eleora spells vintage to u, it reads…funny…lol…to us. a clear case of different strokes for different folks! Anyways thank u so very much. Uve been of tremendous help. I just LOVE the name and the fact that u concurred…well beautiful icing on the cake.
    And so it’s Josiah, Nathan, and Eliora
    How’s it sound??
    Thanks Anabel.
    U r d best!

    Thanks so much, and I am so glad that you’ve come to a decision! Its a beautiful name, and…it’s true! Often, your first thought is the best one!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I am now one week over my due date, no clear name choice in sight, and my husband going nuts over it. I had written to you about the name Dilpah, which I was xtremely drawn to but I got such negative feedback from family & friends that I decided to ditch it.

    Some background on me: 1/2 my family is Jewish and I do like to stick with the naming convention of taking the first letter of the deceased honoree’s name for naming a new child.

    My husband is Hispanic, last name Maldonado. I enjoy giving Sanskrit middle names which have deep spiritual meaning, but I deviated from that with my 3rd because we chose a biblical 1st name and I wanted to honor my grandfather with the middle.

    The names of my 3 kids:

    Emerie Satya Maldonado
    Annika Purnima Maldonado
    Luke Michaelis Maldonado

    We are having another girl and here are my thoughts. I really want to honor my Grammie Doris with this child’s name. Although I am very much drawn to “D” names like Devi, Dori, and Dinah, I am not opposed to using references to a much beloved Great Grandmother of my Grammie, whom she is also named after with her middle name of Aline. The full name of Doris’ Great Grandmother was Marie Alisande Aline Beçanson Von Brun.

    Ideas and alternatives?

    Many Thanks

    Ohhh! I hope I’m not too late!!!

    I think Aline is a gorgeous name, and it goes so well with your other choices! If you were drawn to Dilpah, why not consider Aline Dilpah Maldonado? I think it covers all of the bases: It honors your Grammie AND Great Grandmother and you are still using a Sanskrit middle name…and it also starts with a “D”. This was my first thought, and I think often times first thoughts are the best! Alina Dilpah Moldonado is also very nice!

    Other names to consider that start with D:


    Have you considered any of these? I really do love the idea of Aline/Alina, though!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hi @Zombehh!

    I like Arden for a girl and he says he likes it too but it sounds like a boys name to him. What do you think? It makes me think of the korean actress from one of his shows (Teen Wolf).

    Arden has been used for girls for a long, long time and, although regarded as unisex, it has always been used much more often for girls than boys. Arden is one of my very favorite girls names, ever. I wouldn’t worry at all about it sounding too masculine.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner


    To be perfectly honest Anabel, Eliora was the very first name I saw chose and loved. If it’s common I have never heard anyone bear it and like u pointed out its lovely too. But of all reasons tho i just love the meaning…God is light! which is what He is and what this baby represents…light…as she’s the first and probably will be the only girl in my family. So it just felt apt! I absolutely love the name. And uve just confirmed my choice. Eliora it is!
    Now there r two spellings – Eliora, Eleora. The first is strictly Hebrew n Jewish origin, the second, Hebrew and English origin. Both have same meanings tho. Which would u prefer? Or which would u advice?

    Today, both Eliora and Eleora are not completely obscure so most will be somewhat familiar with it, but you will not hear it commonly. Both come, essentially, from the same place and have the same root, so just choose what you like best. I tend to like Eleora just a smidge more…only because it just appears more vintage to me, and that is sort of my style. You can’t go wrong with either, though and I think it is a wonderful choice for you. Everyone ALWAYS loves to hear a story of how their name was chosen, and you have one for your little girl, for sure!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Welcome, @weavie!

    Hi first time posting. All of you seem to really love the name game so no judging my lack of togetherness here, plz! ;-) Hubs and I are expecting our second in mid-August. Dunno the gender yet so we are wide open here in the Gray family. The new baby will have an older brother, Max Alexander. Looking for a good fit with our names and your opinions are very much appreciated!

    If baby’s a girl we love the name Belle. I tend to like Isabelle better but am concerned that 1). it’s bad ju-ju since our Grandpa, Isadore, is very much alive and well (don’t we typically honor loved ones who have passed- right or wrong there?) and 2). Isabelle is overused (?). Middle names for Belle: I’m clueless but like the idea of a French multi-syllable name that flows with Gray. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    No bad juju, here! There are certain backgrounds, Hebrew primarily, which traditionally do not name after someone who is living. However, there are no “rules” at large or in general, to naming after someone. Besides…Isabelle and Isadore are not the same name at all, and actually come from different origins and have different meanings. They only have a similar beginning sound. Isabelle and Isadore (or Isadora, for that matter) are like apples and oranges…so there is nothing superstitious to worry about on any front! :-)

    You are right though, Isabelle is a popular name. Belle and Bella are as well. This is something you will want to weigh. How important is that? Is it a deal-breaker for you? Isabella was the most popular name for girls in America for 3 years, and it is still one of the most common. You will meet many other Isabelles, Belles and Bellas. That only matters, however, if the idea of popularity trumps your family’s love for the name. I do think Max and Belle really make a very good complimentary sibling pairing. Very, very nice. Other alternatives that aren’t quite as common as Isabelle, but will still get you the nickname Belle AND pair with Max are: Mirabelle, Annabel, Arabelle, Cristabel, Amabelle, Adabelle, Mabel, Maribel and Rosabel…or any of the spellings of.

    As for middle names, why not apply some of the same perimeters as you are considering for your son, below? Aunt Carol provides some beautiful choices, as does Ronald and Mathews! I will use Belle as the first name, since it would be the hardest to pair…any of the other longer names would be a cinch with these suggested middles:

    Belle Charlotte Gray
    Belle Carolina Gray
    Belle Caroline Gray
    Belle Mattea Gray
    Belle Matilda Gray
    Belle Veronica Gray
    Belle Veronique Gray

    If baby’s a boy, Hubs and I have trouble aligning. We can agree that we like (but are not in love with) Dylan or Zachary. We are again pretty open with middle names but some ideas came to mind that piqued our interests. His Aunt Carol recently passed of cancer so we were considering names similar to Charles. Again with the potential bad ju-ju here (scary bad ju-ju): my dad, Ronald Mathew is battling an aggressive cancer with a short prognosis…was considering Mathew as a middle name in honor of him. Or, probably a safer bet all around a middle name that flows well with Gray regardless of tribute. Open to your thoughts.

    Again, I don’t associate bad juju with naming. I, personally, think it is nice for someone to know that they have touch the life of a child in this way. If you are extremely superstitious about it, then you need to weigh that for yourself, however, there are no ‘rules’ about it and many, many people are named after friends and relatives who are very much alive. I like the idea of honoring your father very much.

    Dylan and Zachary are very nice names and both pair well with Max. I tend to favor a Max and Zach pairing. However, if you’re not really in LOVE with either, it is good to throw some additional options around. Here are some additional options for you to mull over:

    Xavier Mathew Gray
    Dominic Mathew Gray
    Cian Mathew Gray
    Preston Mathew Gray
    Declan Mathew Gray
    Dexter Mathew Gray
    Theodore (Theo) Mathew Gray
    Donovan Mathew Gray
    Levi Mathew Gray
    Parker Mathew Gray
    Keaton Mathew Gray
    Malcolm Charles Gray

    Additional middle name suggestions: Carson, Carlton, Charles, Matthias, Matteo, Malcolm

    By the way, just asked Max and his toddler opinion is, “Doughnuts or Car.” I can’t believe I wasted all the time posting- we have our answer ;-).

    Don’t discount your toddler too quickly! When someone says Doughnuts and Car to me, I think:

    :-) Let me know your thoughts, and please…by all means, come back so I can help further!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner


    Looking for suggestions for our Son, arriving in Aug – Keeping options open and would love any suggestions. Currently have a Daughter Izabelle and a son Tate. Last name is Henry.

    Some that I like but not love -Ty, Sawyer, Drake, Cooper.

    Any suggestions or idea’s would be appreciated ;)

    Hey there, @Bh040106!

    Congratulations on your baby boy, arriving shortly!

    It seems as though you like “modern classics”. And with a lovely surname like Henry, you have lots of options for your little guy. Do you have a middle name chosen for him? These are some suggestions for you. Let me know what you think of any of them, and then we can go from there and try to focus in on those that work for you and others that might make the grade.

    Izabelle, Tate and…


    How do you feel about these? Anything that you like? Let me know and we will continue–I would love to help you all that I can!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner


    Hi Anabel! I’ll put to you a question that I’ve posted on here and on Facebook…

    Two of the only names we have agreed upon also happen to be characters in my favourite book, ‘Dracula’ (the names being Arthur and Mina). Would this be an issue for you?

    And another question (lol)…

    We both love the name Max. I would much prefer it as a nickname and have loved the name Maximilian for years. He, however, only seems to like it on its own. Can it work on its own do you think? What other names could Max have as a full name that aren’t too common but aren’t too ‘weird’/unknown either?

    Thanks, and sorry for the amount of questions here!!

    First, you can never ask too many questions. Ask away!

    To answer your first question, no. That wouldn’t be an issue for me. Perhaps it would seem very slightly odd if you were to have TWINS and name them as such. Then I may revisit, but singletons with these names…nah. Wouldn’t bother me at all.

    Secondly, I find it slightly odd that one could like the name Max, but not like Maximilian. This might be an area where your partner needs to consider compromise.I do, however, believe that Max is a short form name that can stand on it’s own and wouldn’t think it odd if a boy were to be named just Max, and not any longer form.

    Names that could yield the nn Max:

    Maxim or Maxime

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    I like Maia and Vivian and Alice, good suggestions! but still not as much as Claire, Elaina, or Annabelle :)

    Which of the three would you choose? I want a name that’s classic/romantic/feminine, but not overly-common.

    I really, really like Elaine (without the ‘a’), simply because it is all the things you describe, but rarely found today…although names like it are popular/more common. I actually think Elaina is more the norm these days than Elaine.

    I think that Claire goes best with Ian and Nora.

    I think that Annabelle is your most versatile choice. And I know, because I am one! I love having the option of being Anne, Anna, Annie, Bel…and I have been referred to as all of those!

    I would choose either Elaine or Annabelle, if it were me. :-)

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    YAY @JoNay! :-)

    Thanks for replying. I only just found out we r actually expecting a girl even tho the radiologist says I should come back in another two weeks for a follow up scan. He says he sees a female so I’m holding onto that! Lol…
    So I need a girl name…
    I’m gonna put u on the spot on this one…
    If u were in my shoes what name would u give of all the names afore mentioned? And what else would u suggest?
    Thank u…#im laughing here…

    Congrats on your first girl!

    Of all that you mentioned previously, I would choose Eliora, and here is why. It is probably the least common of all of them, and it has the most versatility. No matter WHO your daughter turns out to be, she can find a name within this one to suit and identify with. There is Elle, Ellie, Lia, Lori, Lore, Liora, Ori, Ora, Li/Lee, Lea, Ella…gosh, I can find more and more. I think one of the ultimate gifts you can give to a child is a name that can become anything they want as they grow. So, without a doubt, that is the one I would choose. And its lovely, to boot!

    Other names I would suggest to go with your boys’names:


    Do you like any of these? Your feedback can help me make better suggestions to you! Good luck!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hey there @elotus!

    Hi Anabel! I wrote to you a couple months back about some name ideas, and it turns out we’re having a girl! So we already have Ian and Nora; now what are some names that compliment these two nicely? My top three right now are “Annabelle,” “Elaine/Elaina,” and “Claire.” But I want some ideas. I went through an entire list of girl names from A to Z and couldn’t find but 5 or 6 that I liked enough to write down — this is a tough decision for us!

    Ian, Nora and Claire
    Ian, Nora and Elaine
    Ian, Nora and Annabelle

    Of these combos, I think that the first two are the most compatible, although you really couldn’t go wrong with any of them. Naming children is hard, and…when you already have chose 2 names that you love for your other babies, it gets more and more daunting with each new arrival. That seems to always be the case!

    The only thing that I can try to do, is perhaps suggest some names that you just haven’t thought of before—which is difficult because Ian and Nora are both classic, and that is where your tastes obviously lie. Finding a Classic name that you haven’t thought of before is highly unlikely. But I am up for the challenge! Just keep reminding yourself that the names you have currently on your list are very nice and you’ve done well…even if you never do come up with any others. :-)

    Anya or Anja

    Do any of these appeal? What do you think of them? It might help me make better suggestions to hear your thoughts!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Dear Annabel,
    I have two boys Josiah and Nathan and in Dec we r expecting a third child. We don’t know what the sex of the baby is yet but we r praying fervently for a girl…go figure huh? Anyways wev been checking out girl names but we can’t seem to make up our minds on what we really want or what would be suitable for our lil Princess and at d same time match our boys’ names. Cos I like their meanings these r d names wev come up with so far… Olivia,Eliora,Elianna,Zoila,Fiona and Nicole. What would u advice?

    Oh and yeah…just in case I have a boy, what would u suggest? I have practically no idea…

    Hey there @JoNay!

    Glad to help! first of all, CONGRATULATIONS!

    Secondly, any of these lovely names would complement your boys’ names beautifully. Of all of them, the name Zoila probably the least so– only because your boys names are much more across-the-boards traditional, where Zoila’s use is fairly predominant among Those of Hispanic and Greek descent primarily. Nicole is commonly found in the middle name position, because frankly, it sounds great with everything…so keep that in mind. I also like to see it out front, simply because it isn’t as common there as it has been in the past. Olivia, Eliora and Elianna are all fairly trendy at the moment, but all are very solid names with plenty of nickname potential. Fiona has less nickname potential, but is still complimentary to your sons’ names.

    As far as boys, you have a wide open playing field! Here are some that came to my mind when considering your sons names as well as your girls picks to try to match your style.


    Do you like any of these? I hope I’ve helped. I welcome any follow up information or questions that you might have, don’t hesitate to ask!

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hey Anabel :)

    I’ve been wondering about this for ages, and I can’t find an answer anywhere. Where does the nickname “Boy” come from? I first started wondering about it when reading about Boy Capel (Arthur Edward Capel). It doesn’t seem like it has any connection to any particular name, but especially in the past, men would often go by the name “Boy”. I hope you’ll be able to help me out :)

    Hi @MiVS!

    Holy smokes…do I love this question!

    First, I have some first-hand experience with “Boy”. My first boyfriend, ever, had this nickname. His real name was Edward, and he went by Eddie as well, but he was (and still is!) mostly known as Boy. In this case, Boy is more of a term of endearment given to refer to a relationship to a father and grandfather– much like Sonny, or Junior– in it’s less formal sense. Traditionally given to a boy who may do things like or resemble his father or grandfather, even if they may not share a formal name. Consequently, Girl or Girlie is also used in the same manner, and more often so depending on heritage or ethnicity (For instance, this is often found prominently among certain Native American tribes and also among those of Filipino heritage.)

    Other instances where Boy frequently occurs as a nickname are among jockeys (wasn’t Boy Capel involved in polo?), among men who seem particularly attractive or ageless, or those who seem particularly youthful or ‘rascal-like’.

    There is a personal name that was once present among the Saxons, Boia, which is one possible origin for the word Boy, but this isn’t used much any longer. There really isn’t any formal name for which Boy is a short form.

    Thanks for that great question! Don’t hesitate to come back if you have any further questions. I love this stuff! :-)

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Anabel Conner Anabel Conner.
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