Monday, March 01, 2010

Baby name castoffs

During the baby-naming process, I consider a lot of things. I check out what the Baby Name Wizard has to say about it. I take a look at NameVoyager. I run it through Nymbler. I try it out with our last name. I see how it travels, and I make sure it matches with any existing children I've named.

However, I've never given much thought to the major impact future phone conversations could have on the name of an unborn child. My friend Amanda has. Lots. And while I don't have a lot of examples of names being disqualified in very creative ways, there have been a few names that I've really wanted to use that haven't made the cut for various reasons.

Here's a list of a few baby name castoffs. I can pretty much guarantee you that we will never use these names, as evidenced by the fact that I am disclosing them to you. We don't tell anyone our babies' names before they're born (we don't necessarily know it ourselves), so if I'm telling you these names, it means they're out of commission.

Petra. Oh how I love this name. It even made it onto the short list with Sasha 2.0, who was later named Magdalena. But when it came down to it I could not, in good conscience, give a girl with last name Palmer, the first name Petra.

Palmyra. Another victim of our otherwise low-maintenance last name. It's too bad, especially since it would have been a great tribute to Syria, Upstate New York, and Mormonism, all in one name!

Vesper. Jeremy really tried to make this one work but in the end, combined with our last name, it just sounded like one big string of vocalic r.

Cora. This one was eliminated when Jeremy's brother and his wife used it on their daughter, which was kind of a freak coincidence since neither of us had told the other that we liked this name. So much for an homage to The Last of the Mohicans.

Rania. I think this one was mostly in the running with Sasha 1.0 (Miriam), and it is the name of Jordan's current queen (you may have seen her on Oprah a few years ago). At some point, I realized that most people in America would not pronounce it as prettily as they do in the Middle East. So it got scrapped.

Veronica. This was the name that made it to the final two, along with Miriam. Obviously, we chose Miriam, and by the time Sasha 2.0 came around three years later, Veronica seemed like cold leftovers.

But just because I can't use these names doesn't mean you can't! A friend of ours had a baby recently and they named her Petra. I was happy for them and also jealous. My friend's sister has a Vesper so I get to live vicariously through her a little bit. And there is a Cora running around with our last name, but I've gotten used to her not being mine.

What are your baby name castoffs that you're willing to share?

(And no, I'm not pregnant. I just like talking about names.)


B-Rad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liz Johnson said...

I LOVE the name Cora. In fact, we have briefly mentioned that one for a girl. Maybe we'll use it some day. :)

Most of our 'castoff' names are simply because Chris hates them. Like Gavin. He HATES that name. He also wants to name a kid Reuben, but I cannot name a kid after my husband's favorite sandwich. So... yeah.

Finding a baby name is such a chore. It is seriously one of the things that makes me think I only want two kids.

Liz Johnson said...

Actually, I don't know how I feel about having both a Connor & a Cora. So scratch that. We're back to the two-kid plan.

Bridget said...

B-Rad, I deleted your comment but I'll copy it here with one part redacted.

"I was going to ask if you were pregnant, but then I saw the very small disclaimer at the bottom of your post. I'm still not convinced. [the place where we live] tends to have magical powers on the women that live there."

Bridget said...


Liz, you make me laugh.

JackJen said...

I really shouldn't even comment. It's just too much for me right now. =)

I WILL say, however, that one of our more *interesting* naming rules is this:


You'd be disappointed at how many perfectly sensible names don't make our cut for that very reason.

And here I am, 37 weeks pregnant, and this poor child has yet to be named. If you could please change this post to include many BOY names, that would be quite helpful.

Sharalea said...

I have a love/hate relationship with baby naming.

I love ooh-ing and ahh-ing over my favorite names.

I hate having to discuss & decide them with SOMEONE ELSE!


Some names *that I love* ...that we'll never use (b/c my husband has vetoed them)


Britney said...

Baby name castoffs. Sigh.

Just last night my husband and I were trying to decide if Samuel should be cast off forever. It's been one of my favorite names throughout this pregnancy, but we're worried that Samuel Wells might be just a bit too much of a mouthful. Thoughts?

It's so sad to see a good one go.

Shannan said...

HI Bridget!

Okay, so I've named FOUR boys in the past ten years (we had a baby boy that passed away at birth). So when I got pregnant with this baby, I groaned inward and thought "oh no, not another boy name" because our last boy 'Chase' was actually a castoff name from our third boy list. I got too tired trying to figure out names.

Anyway, our current pregnancy is a little girl and we are using the name that was the girl name for our first pregnancy. I've checked it on name wizard and nymblar and it is extremely NOT POPULAR - which I kind of knew - and when I've told people they kind of nod in a polite way and say, "Hmmm...oh...nice name."

I don't care - I like it. Actually I love it. And I really don't think it will popular anytime soon.

Our boy castoff names (remembering that I like preppy names)

Sarah Rose Evans said...

We love the name Cordelia, and were deeply grieved when we went for that ultrasound and found out Demitri had a penis. When you only have one, you don't get to try for another gender. anyway. Cordelia. King Lear's only loyal daughter. I still love it.

Mikael said...

I LOVE cora!!!! Maybe I will use it one day. But for now I am enjoying not thinking about future little ones. :)

Scotty P said...

Congratulations on being pregnant!!! That's SO cool you're having a third baby!!! Woohoo!!!

Jeremy Palmer said...

скат, ты вообще хулиган.

christi and clifton said...

I want more boys someday, but I do not want to have to name them. It is so hard! Anyway here's some of my list:

For girls
-Nadejda and we were going to call her Dezi. I don't know if I'll ever be brave enough for that one, but I think it is pretty and it means "hope" in Bulgarian.
-Kiera (Kiera Knightly ruined that one for me)
-Rachel (Rachel Ray same story)

For boys
-Cameron, Carter (I had to break the "K" sound tradition)
-Weston. I thought it would be cute since a nephew, Easton, was born a few months ago. Clifton said no.
-Hayden. Besides the "Aiden" epidemic, I guess Clifton knew one in high school (stole his girlfriend or something) so it didn't even get on the list, but I still like it.

Julee said...

Please don't take offense Bridget's friend's sister (or Bridget). But, Vesper? Boy? Girl? Scooter?
Shannan, I am curious, what is the girl name that everyone thinks is "nice"? I promise I will only comment on Vesper:)

Amber said...

Cooper was boy name #2 but it got discarded when there were 3 or 4 other Coopers born right before Cy was due. I really like Ella and Isabella, but Jason vetoed those right away. Then the Twilight series came out and I would have vetoed Isabella myself, anyway. Those are the only names that come to mind at the moment. There are many, many others that were discarded by Jason before I even had the chance to get attached. We agreed on Cyrus right away, and we have one girl name picked out...however, any subsequent children could result in an all out battle to determine their names.

The Ensign's said...

I've come to REALLY love Kaelyn's middle name (Vegas- which I was hestitant to name her if you remember) to the point that I'd want to call her by her middle name. Maybe this is because we started calling Aeden by his, but unfortunately I don't think I can be known as the mom of Cache and Vegas. In in other words the mom with a money/gambling problem. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even pregnant, but I've already had many of my baby name dreams squashed. The names Scott likes can best be described as boring (in my humble opinion), and he has been deeply suspicious of many of my suggestions. One thing I will more or less insist on is that the name travel well. If a particular name does not exist in any form outside the English-speaking world, I am unlikely to be interested.


Lisa Lou said...

Ah, baby names. One of my pre-reqs for dating. The guy's last name has to sound good with my pre-picked baby names.
If not, nope. No way. No second date. (Well, not really, but I do get a little depressed thinking about all the baby names I can't have...William Williamson? I don't think so.)

Bridget said...

Julee, if I'm not mistaken, the scooter is a Vespa. And Vesper is a Catholic prayer. Right? Though I guess in certain accents those would sound the same.

I'm curious about Shannan's girl name, too...

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Baby naming is fun--until you compare lists with your spouse. And then you get to start over from scratch. Girls are easier to name than boys. With the internet there there is no excuse to pick an over-used name. One of our relatives picked the name Jason circa 1972 and swears they never heard of another child with that name until it exploded while he was still an infant.

Walker is not an easy name to match--you can't have too much L sound or too much R.

Crys said...

Sadie know I can remember sitting in Jordan working through list of names we didn't hate for Grace. I mentioned Sadie as a joke...but we quickly brushed it off. We thought of Jordan, Petra, and Rania...we really wanted something to mark that time. Jason wanted to name her Keliah...and I wanted to name her Evangalina...or some other awkward name. It wasn't until we came home that we just decided to settle on Grace...which of course is so popular. What were we thinking? And then when Sadie came and I thought she was a boy I was going to name her Eli (a name that is becoming so popular two other people in our ward have used it since she was born)...and then she was a girl. We had no names. Jason left the hospital and via phone we made a list. We almost named her Celia...I mean even as we were filling out the birth certificate so we paused and almost wrote it in...but with my nose I just couldn't in good conciousness give my daughter that name...and so somehow at the last second our joke name became a reality. Haha jokes on us. Everyone is always saying, "oh that is my dogs name," or, " is that short for something?" "Great" and "no", but honestly I think Sadie Jane is a cute name. Maybe not sophisticated or hippy cool but then neither am I :) And truth be told if any of them really hate it for 100 bucks they can change them when they turn 18. I wouldn't say I'd be thrilled but it wouldn't be the end of the world :)

Laura said...

this is ridiculous. miriam and cora have always been been favorite girl names. miriam i can understand why we feel the same way -- but cora?! what are the odds?

Jessie said...

Cora is my absolute favorite girls name of all time. But I had to go and date a guy named Corey before I met my husband, and he's vetoed Cora as a direct result. LAME!

I'm surprised to see how many people have commented on that name. Maybe this means it's up and coming? I've only met one or two Coras in my entire life.

Bridget said...

Yeah, I never met a Cora in my whole life until my niece was born. I've met one or two little Coras since then but apparently a lot of us like it.

Crys, did you come to the same conclusion about Rania that we did?

Susanne said...

Ah, I love talking baby names! In fact I have a group of online friends who met about 7 years ago on We still talk! Anyway, I loved reading your castoffs. Too bad I never had any children since I like names. :)

A guy I kind of grew up with has a Petra. It's kind of grown on me over the years. (His sons are Gavin and Max.) Palmyra Palmer would have been funny! Hehehe.

William Willamson made me think to share that we have a local news anchor named Neill McNeill. On the other local channel there is a weekend weather lady named Leigh Brock. Did her parents never do the last name, comma, first name test with that? Brock, Leigh -- really?

Yes, Vespa sounds like the Bostonian version of Vesper. Ha! Actually some people in the South do the same thing with their ending Rs.

My Syrian friend doesn't like Queen Raina....he reads the Angry Arab blog and apparently she is referred to as Queen YouTube. I think it's a lovely name, however.

Britney, good luck with the baby naming. I'm eager to see if you go with Samuel now. :)

Crys, I think Sadie Jane is really cute. Do you call her both names?

Great topic! I love how different some of these names are! In my online group, I'd say the most creative are Carmen's children: Ekaterina, Octavian and Zachariah. Well, Joni has Christiana, Kylun, Evangeline and Ember. The rest are fairly Biblical (Noah, Lydia, Jacob, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Caleb, Micah, Anna, Tim) now that I think of it. A few of the others are Camryn, Jilienne, Evan, Jay, Christy, Shawn, Sean, Kelly, Rhiannon, Carys and Bridget.

Sorry to ramble so much.

Liz Johnson said...

Did I ever tell you that my downstairs neighbor named her baby Maddalena, and this was like 2 months after you had Magdalena? I was like "What are the odds, man?"

Kristen said...

Love the name discussions. Many of my favorite names end in -er, and I don't want to have the rhyming last name situation.

I also like to envision the name typed on a resume or letterhead.

Liz Johnson said...

Just FYI, I was indexing this morning and saw a girl named "Petra," and I was like "OOH THAT IS SO PRETTY! I wonder if Bridget has ever thought of that one!" So then I hopped over here. Ha. It really is a shame that it doesn't work with Palmer!

(I AM NOT PREGNANT. Why do I feel the need to include that disclaimer everywhere I go?)


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