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What's in a Name? A Rose by any other name is still a Rose.

Updated on May 13, 2015

Top Girls Names in the U.S.

  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Sophia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Mia
  7. Emily
  8. Abigail
  9. Madison
  10. Charlotte

~ NYTimes 2015

Top Boys Names in the U.S.

  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Masom
  4. Jacob
  5. William
  6. Ethan
  7. Michael
  8. Alexander
  9. James
  10. Daniel

~ NYTimes 2015

Naming a child

The above title was written and immortalized by The Bard, William Shakespeare in his tragic play, Romeo and Juliette, of the star-crossed lovers fame. In the play, Romeo is saying that names are not what are important in life. The Montegues and the Capulets were two Verona families that had feuded for years and ironically, Romeo Montegue and Juliette Capulet had fallen in love. The names and the feud were not as important as their love for one another was the point Shakespeare was trying to make.

But, is Shakespeare really correct? Are names so unimportant? I think not, especially when talking about first names, as I will explain about my own name. Some people believe names define a person. I won't go so far as to say that; however, I believe time and care should be taken when naming a child.

Pixie Geldof, Suri Cruise, Apple Martin - these are just examples of children of celebrities who have given their children quite unusual names. Will these names stand the test of time? When these children turn 21 years of age, how will they feel about their unusual names then? I don't know if I would want the name Pixie at 57 years of age. It comes across as a little silly too me at that age.

Believe it or not, my own name, Suzette, a nickname given to me by my parents at birth, has been unusual enough for me throughout life. I love the name and I closely identify with my nickname. I would not want to be called anything else. But, it has been a point of consternation during my adult life and not my childhood. But, that's another story for another hub.

Because of this, I think it is very important for prospective parents to give quite a bit of thought and consideration when choosing a name for their child. I don't think naming a child should be taken lightly nor should it become a platform for a bit of comedy. The child has to live with the name for a lifetime (or until they can legally change it in court), and "setting a child up for a childhood or lifetime of laughter and ridicule" is something to take seriously. Following are some guidelines to consider when choosing names for children.

Sound and Compatibility

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a name for a child is how the child's name will sound when it is said aloud. Is it melodious? Harsh? Solid? Does it go well with the surname. Longer first names work well with shorter last names and vice a versa. Always resist pun names, for example, "Hollywood". My given name at birth follows the recommendations given here: Suzannah Marie Wolf. It is melodious and a longer first name with a shorter last name. Now, that changed when I married, but, I started out life with a beautiful, melodious given name. Only the spelling of Suzannah is unusual which brings me to my next point.


Here my parents shone when they chose a name for me. Unusual names makes one stand out from the others. Popular names like John or Joe means several by that name will be found in classrooms and offices. On the other hand, a name no one has heard and can't pronounce can draw unwanted attention. But, if Smith is the last name, then an unusual first name like Archimedes can be a good name to pair with Smith. If Aytrivbsoan is the last name, then a more common first name like Joe would be a good one. Suzannah, with its unusual spelling and Suzette as a nickname were unusual enough that I have never run into either name ever in school or work places. Even when traveling in France, I never ran across a "Suzette." Of course, the downside of all this is that I will never be able to find or buy a keychain with my name on it.

Relatives and Friends

Many parents consider naming their child after a grandparent, another relative or close friend. These names can provide the parents with a good pool of names to consider. Remember, the child will have to live with the name so it might not be good to name the child after great-aunt Hepzebiah or Hildegaarde. I was named after my aunt - that is where the name Suzannah came from - and it was my grandmother's choice of spelling. Because we already had Sues and Susies in the family, my parents didn't want me to get those nicknames, so Suzette was given to me as a nickname at birth. With my Aunt Sue and my first cousin Susie, I was definitely a Suzette. I could never be or go by those two former nicknames.

Ancestry and Heritage

The heritage of the child is important to take into consideration and is the essential part of who the child is. Religious preferences can steer parents toward certain names. Or, if you want to remember a family name, it can always be used as a middle name. I did that when I married. I legally changed my name in probate court when I married to Suzannah Wolf Walker to honor my father's name as there are no more male Wolf's in our family. My sister did the same when she named her eldest son Michael Wolf Gannon. My name now is less melodious and more solid sounding, but honoring my father was more important to me than a melodious sounding name.


The name Ingrid means "hero's daughter" but no one is likely to treat her differently or ridicule her. But, the derivation of a name is something parents may want to consider. Stockard, for example, means "from the yard of tree strumps" and a female child may not be so enamored with that particular name. Suzannah means "lily." I have always considered myself a "lily of the valley" - I know, get over it, for heavens sake - but I carried some lilies of the valley in my wedding bouquet when I was married. Names with a particular meaning can have a meaning to the child. My niece and godchild has the name Megan which is a Welsh name meaning "lily." And, she is as sweet as the flower! (and her aunt and godmother - LOL)

Initials and nicknames

Children, especially, and some adults, can be cruel when it comes to nicknames and initials For example, Zachary Ian Thomas, most likely will be teased. But, Zachary Edward Thomas most likely will not be teased.

Following these guidelines are sensible and meaningful when choosing names for a child. The child can be proud of a name, not cringing when he/she hears his/her name called out. And, interestingly, the name Rose is 67th on the list of favorite names this year in the UK. And the name Emma is first on the list of favorite names this year in the U.S.

Pixie Geldof - cute name now, but will she want it when she is 57 years old?
Pixie Geldof - cute name now, but will she want it when she is 57 years old? | Source


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  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

    Pavlo Ivanovych: Thank you for a most interesting response to my questions. Very thorough. I'm sorry but what is obvious to you and others may not be obvious to me. But, your name makes perfect sense now. I see that in Russia you do what many European countries do also - refer to the person by two names, the second name in deference to the father. I should have realized that Pavlo = Pablo, because I am a Spanish teacher - but sorry that didn't occur to me at the time I asked my questions. I do consider Russia as part of Western Europe, so I should have gone with that explanation. Thanks so much for clearing this up. I appreciated your response!

  • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

    Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

    In Russia, Ukraine people think it is polite to address an other person no just by name but by given name + fathers name. Therefore parent consider often how well given name sounds with a fathers name. Thus exotic fathers name may cause young parents problems in finding a proper name for a child. To call someone just by given name is not considered to be polite and allowed just to close friends and relatives. Just to come back with your question about my name : I thought it is obvious: Pavlo = Pablo = Paul. Badovskyy - family name with Polish origin. Father - Ivan. So in the office colleagues usually address me Pavlo Ivanovych. :-)))

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

    babynology: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. With Duchess Catherine in labor, I'm sure whatever she names her baby will shoot to the top of the most favorite baby name list. lol. Can't wait to find out if it is a boy or a girl and the name.

  • babynology profile image

    babynology 4 years ago from New York

    I love your new hub theme! It's very nice. And a lot easier to read than old one Actually.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thanks phdast7: I just had to write this hub because of all the strange names many people are giving their children, today. They are unique, that is for sure, but they are so unique they are almost laughable. This is just a pet peeve of mine. Thank you for reading and I enjoyed your comments!

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Excellent Hub with great common sense and advice for parents when naming their children. I am so glad that you mentioned that a name should be melodious And he made the point about the balance of a long first name with a short last name and vice versa. Two short names don't usually work and a first and last name with four syllables each doesn't work well either. Good work.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Vinaya: Your names is so interesting. I had no idea it was associated with Buddhism. Are you presently a Buddhist? Are you from India or the U.S or another country? What did your sister choose as a name for her baby? I think names of people and how and why they were chosen is so interesting to know. Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and commenting.

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

    when my sister had a baby, she had a difficult time naming the baby. She wanted a name that is not only sonorous but also unique and meaningful.

    I don't know if our names impact our personality. I was named Vinaya which comes from one of the books of Buddhism. Maybe my interest in Buddhism, despite being born in Hindu family, came from my name.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Oh! Your name was my next question and you beat me to it! Alastar is so unusual, but I think a beautiful and solid name. Now that I know it is Scottish and means "defender of men" it really fits you, especially with all the historical articles you write - you basically are defending men. Wow! That is so cool! I think each of us grows into our names.

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

    Thats so wrong when hoped for boys turn out to be girls and geta boys name. You helped her by calling her Anita Suzette. BTW, Alastar means "defender of men" in old Scots.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    The Three Oaks! I love it - well, I said my French was rusty and I wasn't kidding. Beautiful name for your house/estate/home. I can't tell from the tiny picture, but of course it now makes perfect sense. Enjoy!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thanks Alastar! Yes, the names some parents come up with today are dillies. "A Boy Named Sue" - yes, I remember that song now that you mention it. I guess that Dad had his reasons. I feel bad for girls, who were supposed to be boys, given boys names. My cousin Anita's birth followed a boy who died at birth, so her nickname became "Chuckie" because the boy before her was Charles alas, Chuckie for a nickname. I always felt sorry for her, especially, because she was such a girly girl - very, very feminine. Chuckie just didn't fit her at all. I always call her Anita, a name I think is beautiful, and much more fitting for her.

  • Les Trois Chenes profile image

    Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

    Suzette, Les Trois Chenes is 'The Three Oaks'. We have three wonderful, mature oak trees opposite the house. I didn't realise at the time how easy it would be to get 'chenes' muddled up with 'chiens'. The importance on naming!

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

    You call it like it is and thanks for that Suzette. If I hear some of these ubiquitous new names again I'll throw a fit lol. This is a great hub and that old Johnny Cash song now comes to mind, what was it, oh yea, A Boy Named Sue!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Les Troi Chenes: The three dogs? Am I correct? My French is really rusty at this point - it has been 30 years or more since I have traveled in France.

    I agree with you. I think naming children is an important task and not to be taken lightly. I think a lot of time and thought should go into naming children; not see how cutesy we can be. I appreciate you stopping by and reading and commenting.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Ipeoney: Hello! I see you are a peoney flower. Yes, numerology has been worked into the names of people. How many numbers in a given name, first and last, are added together in a certain way and it does tell a lot about the person. It is like astrology and your birth date. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It is greatly appreciated.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    LisaKoski: You have a beautiful name! It really goes together well with the s alliteration. I think some parents are so goofy when they pick the comedic or so unusual a name that the child is stuck with something horrible throughout life. I agree with you, a name is important to a certain extent and all children should feel proud of their names.

    I guess I'm so into Shakespeare his lines and vocabulary just sometimes naturally come to me when I think about a topic. This name topic just made me think of his lines from Romeo and Juliet. I know you have a great background in literature and like Shakespeare, too. I have to drop by and read some more of your hubs!

  • Les Trois Chenes profile image

    Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

    What a nice, thoughtful lens. Naming children is so important. I thought about all of the above when naming my son, plus, because we're English, I thought about class associations as well!

  • Ipeoney profile image

    Ipeoney 6 years ago from USA

    What's in a name, numbers are within your name. Numbers in your name is part of who you are and your purpose in life and destiny. Numbers in your name correlates with other numbers in your life - a coincidence? Not. let me see Rose is a compassionate woman and an artist at heart, very good in words. Rose also is creative, imaginative, socially active, inspirational, fun-loving I could go on and on. great self-expression and communicator be in writing or in person or both. Did I miss anything else? Wow Rose your name is great!

  • LisaKoski profile image

    Lisa 6 years ago from WA

    Great hub! I've always thought names were important and could never understand why some would choose some pretty weird things to name their child. My father once met a woman named Cookie, which was the name of our chihuahua at the time, so unfortunately, he had the most difficult time taking her seriously and keeping a straight face when she introduced herself. He also met another woman named Chandelier but that's a whole other story.

    I loved that you included the Shakespeare quote at the beginning. That play is one of my favorites and that line is a particular favorite of mine as well. Names are unimportant in some ways, like love between two mixed up in a family feud that do not participate in, but it is still essential when it comes to daily living. I also love to hear stories behind people's names and I enjoyed yours.

    Voted up and awesome :)

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    ChristinS: Well, I think your name is beautiful - it has such a lovely sound to it. Your boys' names are melodious, they just roll off the tongue and the first and middle names go together so well. You did a great job naming your boys and those are names they can be proud of. Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting.

  • ChristinS profile image

    Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

    Many people around me have given their children utterly ridiculous names and like you I have thought wow, what happens when these poor babies have to grow up with these names? I bucked the trend and I chose names that I felt were not so overused that they would be too common, but not off the wall either. I have a Sean William and a Nathan Thomas. I have always gotten compliments on my boys names. My sister and I were given very common names and we didn't care for that.

    Great hub for sure! definitely people should be considering how names affect their children. I would also add that should go for nicknames too! It took me forever to shake people calling me "Chrissy" - and I always hated it because to me it sounded like "prissy". Also I was a shy, timid child so that association didn't help matters ;)

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Gordon Hamilton: I like your name and I agree with you, you received the better name! It's a manly man name and very solid! And, I remember Gordon MacRae in the movie "Oklahoma!". I was a teacher, and I heard all kinds of names during my teaching years and I agree with you, some of them were really ridiculous! Thank you for reading and commenting and stopping by. Enjoyed your comments!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Fiddleman: I know - names have really changed! Good old Tom, Richard, and Harry no long suffice! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate you stopping by.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Nell: Melanie, really? You are such a Nell to me, I can't imagine you with any other name. Nell to me is so British and fits you so well! I think we grow into our names and we define them rather than the name defining us, but that is just my opinion. Se la vie. I have always liked my name and thank you for your compliment!

  • Gordon Hamilton profile image

    Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

    You make a lot of good points in this Hub, Suzette and afford a great deal of good advice. Some names that are given to children today are beyond ridiculous and the fact that these children will be required to live with them through their lives is a great shame.

    In my own situation, my Mum wanted her first born son (me) to be called Elvis (no explanation probably necessary), while my Dad wanted to call me Lester, after his favourite horse racing jockey, Lester Piggott. I was eventually named after my Mum's favourite actor, the late Gordon MacRae and believe I was Christened with the option I would have chosen... :)

    I hope your guide ensures some people will think more carefully in future.

  • profile image

    Fiddleman 6 years ago

    Interesting hub and my, how names have changed.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

    Hi, I love the name Suzette, its totally unique, my real name is Melanie, my mum loved the film Gone With The Wind! lol! but I have grown up being called Mel mainly, but Nell to other friends. I prefer Nell, in fact its my favorite name, or a shortened version of my favorite name which is Eleanor. The name Rose which I use is a family name, my gran and great gran. I don't have a middle name as my mum said she was going to call me Melanie Jane, but felt that kids would call me 'Smelly Drain'! lol! great hub, voted and shared!


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