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  • 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! :-)

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Hey @yellowwatts!

    You know how much I love the name Benjamin. And you probably also know how much DH doesn’t like it. He says it’s too “Jewish” and that he just doesn’t like the name very much. He doesn’t like the nicknames for it especially (and neither do I really. I just love plain Benjamin). I’m still holding out hope that if that time ever does come to name a little boy, that he’ll consider it, at least for a middle name.

    In the meantime……give me all the reasons why he SHOULD love the name!!!

    I think that Benjamin is one of the most universal names in existence. Not to mention that it has been around since the virtual beginning of given names.

    The thing I love most about the name is the meaning: “son of the right hand”. The right hand side has traditionally been a reference to strength and virtue. Which is why we refer to a best friend or valued compatriot as your or my “right hand man”. The importance of the right hand is eloquently stated in the Bible’s Psalm 139:

    Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
    If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

    …and essentially, that is what Benjamin means. The name is sort of a summation of that idea. The name Benjamin became widely used throughout the world during the Protestant Reformation…and so many of the leaders and revolutionaries that formed the United States had the name. I just think it has so much of a historical pedigree that it is an amazing name.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Congratulations, @Utahgal!

    I love the name Ashlynn and as soon as we found out we were having a girl I was excited to name her Ashlynn. Now we have decided to have her middle name be Susan after my mother. Our last name starts with an S and her initials will spell A.S.S so now I have to find a new first name.. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    Unfortunately, those initials really are pretty bad. In general, I think initials are important but don’t worry to much if they spell something, like INK or MAT, but A.S.S. isn’t something that I would mess with.

    That being said, the first thing that I would consider is putting Ashlynn in the middle spot and calling her that. It is very common, and…depending on where you live, even a more popular practice. Consider using Susan (or..if you want to be slightly different to avoid confusion) or one of it’s variants Suzanne, Susannah, Suzette, Sanne in the first name spot, followed up by Ashlynn in the middle. Susan is a wonderful name with tons of nickname potential (Suzy, Sanne,and my fave Zuzu) and if you and your husband call her Ashlynn from the very beginning, everyone else will, too. That’s pretty much a rule of thumb. This way, you can still use the name that you love, honor your mom AND avoid the initial dilemma!

    There is one more solution, too. Susan means “lily” so you could use the name lily and still honor your mom. Ashlynn Lily is very sweet name. The initials would be A.L.S., which is still a minor concern, but not so much so as the initials A.S.S.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner


    what do you think of the name Dante. My best guy friend and I made a pact in fourth grade that we would name our son in my case after each other?

    I think the name Dante is rad. It’s a medieval short form of the name Durante, so…if you weren’t sure about Dante, but still want to keep up your pact, you could use Durante, Durant or Duran, too and still be naming after him! Dante Alighieri is a famous bearer of the name.

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    This might sound stupid but, are you replacing the batteries? Or regardless if there is a new battery the phone won’t hold charge?

    Anabel Conner
    Anabel Conner

    Bretta is nice and it’s not a product of any kind! :-)

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