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Choosing a Name for Your Child: Name Lists, Do’s and Don’ts, and Seeing the Future

Updated on July 17, 2012

Opinions are Like...

Opinions about what you should name your child are like….well you know the rest. However, even the most competent and confident among us will suffer from “naming block” especially when you have 9 months of free time for your mind to wander. Many couples start with name lists they find online, researching statistics from recent census studies, recall names of names of favorite movie characters, as well as finding a name that has real “meaning” to them. All of these methods have their pros and cons so this article is designed to help couples or individuals with “naming block” break through those road blocks and come up with name alternatives that both can life with and hopefully love!

Just an Ass!
Just an Ass! | Source

The Alphabet Name Game

A method my wife and I often used, even before we decided to actively attempt to have children is something we liked to call the alphabet name game. We usually broke out this game during long road trips between where we live in New Hampshire and where our parents live in Pennsylvania. A seven to eleven hour trip, depending on whose parents we are going to see. This is ample time to fill with conversation about what your future bundle of joy could be named whether a boy or a girl. The way this name game works is simple. First, you choose the gender you are working on. Second, you take alternating turns thinking of names beginning with the letter A. You keep going back and forth with “A” name ideas until you are both stumped and then move on to the letter “B” and so on, and so on. I know, I know, it sounds like endless amounts of entertainment. I will tell you what though, you’d be surprised how many names you can think up that you had no idea you’d know or remember and can really challenge yourself for name ideas with letter like “I” or “Y”. Playing this game can be a fun way to really ram your way through “naming block” and discover ideas that you had never previously thought about.

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Name Research

After you have your long list of name possibilities together for boys and girls, its time to hit the books, or in these days, the internet. At websites like, you can research readily available lists of names and see whether their meanings are reason to accept or reject them from further consideration. For example, my wife and I were flirting with the idea of the name Claude or some variation. We had some family members with this name in their background and decided it was worth a look. Thankfully we did the legwork as we found the general meaning of the name Claude is “lame”. Lame, really? Phew, avoided a disaster on that one. Claudius Maximus was definitely out of contention (as if it should have been in contention at all!). There are other sites that allow you to research name meaning in the opposite way as well. has a reverse name meaning lookup tool that is very easy to use. We found the name Isaac, the eventual name for our first born son, means “laughter”. It happens to be fitting as he is a very happy boy and also makes us laugh with his crazy antics and sense of humor. These sorts of websites are also useful because they provide an origin of a particular name for those interested in naming their child based on part of their own heritage or based on another heritage that they admire! Being from Pennsylvania which is heavily populated by those with German and eastern European ancestry but living in New England which is heavy in Irish heritage added a dimension into our considerations we never thought we’d have!

Tell 'Em Large Marge Sent Ya!

Any Pee Wee's Big Adventure Fans Out There?
Any Pee Wee's Big Adventure Fans Out There? | Source

No, Not That Name, That Name Sounds...

There are a lot of cute little boy and little girl names that we would love to use but don’t really make for good adult names. For example, and I could get hate mail for this as it is a very popular name right now, Lilly is an adorable little girls name. It is playful, cute, and dainty. But, if you are a business woman, does that name make it harder for colleagues to take you more seriously? As for little boys, the name Hunter, also popular, is great! As an adult, I think it leaves a little less to be desired. Hey Hunter, did you get my memo about the title headings on the PCS report? To each there own I suppose! The final pitfall we as future parents unfortunately have to avoid is how the name could be perceived based on what type of person they grow up to be.

Unfortunately in our society, certain names either by history or due to rhyming become synonymous with undelightful characteristics the person may or may not have. Names that come to mind are Evie (a name I love) rhymes with heavy, fatsy Patsy, Gertrude, Helga, Marge, Gilbert (nerdy), Frances (boy version), and even my very own name Peter for the stinking nursery rhymes. Do you know how many times I have heard Peter, Peter Pumpkin eater or Peter pecked a pack of pickled peppers? Enough times if I do say so myself. I don’t even want to know what the famous Harry Balzac’s parents were smoking when they decided on that first name with that last name. How many Balzac’s do you know nowadays? I dare say none…

Enjoy the Experience!

The most important factor when it is all said and done is that you and your significant other have fun in the process of naming your child and don’t put too much pressure on yourselves to “get it right”. The above suggestions and tips are opinions, and you know what they are like!


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    • Peter Leeper profile image

      Peter Leeper 5 years ago from Londonderry, New Hampshire

      ahhh, i forgot the initials spelling something bad...That is a good one to a void. Do you think Nebraska could catch on as a new wave unique girls name? :) Thanks for reading!

    • Peter Leeper profile image

      Peter Leeper 5 years ago from Londonderry, New Hampshire

      Thanks! I love taking names from family members present and past. They of course can't be horrible (unless used for a middle name!) Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      I tried to choose a name that was unusual enough so she would be the only one in the class to have it, but not so unusual that people said "what, how do you spell that, what kind of name is that?" when they heard it. Plus it had to sound good with the last name, and the initials cannot spell anything bad.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Im lucky it was easy to name my daughters. My first daughter's name means the same as my name and I picked it out in junior high when girls do that crazy stuff. And my other two daughters were named after grandma's first and middle names :) I love naming things so if anyone out there needs help - just ask! Cute Hub Peter Leeper.