Nevaeh vs. Mary – What Does Bruce Lansky Think?

Bruce Lansky, author of nine baby name books, had this to say about the name Nevaeh:

It’s basically this gimmick name that has been eroding the use of really nice (religious) names that have real association. Mary, for example, is a real person who, if you are religious, has tremendous significance and is tremendously positive and tremendously a good person. … It’s a positive namesake, not just some, ‘Hey, let’s pick a religious name.’ People pray to Mary; they don’t pray to Neveah.

Nevaeh (which is “Heaven,” flipped) is not exactly my cup of tea either, so I can’t disagree.

What about you — if you had to choose either Mary or Nevaeh for a baby girl, which would it be?

Source: From Ava to Neaveh


32 thoughts on “Nevaeh vs. Mary – What Does Bruce Lansky Think?

  1. how do you pronounce that? with a short e and an ah at the end? or long e and an ah-ee at the end?

    Mary …. was overused in my family in the 1940’s generation. Pretty much every female that age is a Mary. despite its religious significance I’ve never been able to go there.

  2. Mary.

    Or Sarah Hildegard. Elizabeth Marguerite. Salome Judith. Seriously. There are a hundred thousand choices before spelling something backwards sounds good to me.

    Nevaeh is way low-class. Seriously.

  3. MARY. And if I had 5, 10, or 1200 more daughters after that, I would name every last one Mary instead of naming just one Nevaeh.

  4. I’m finding the comments on this one to be funny. And I have to agree – Mary, all the way!

    A friend of mine has a theory about the name Nevaeh — it’s heaven, spelled backwards; in other words, it’s the reverse of heaven, and we all know what that is — H-E-double hockey sticks :-)

  5. A friend of mine actually has a step daughter named Heaven. Her middle name is Leigh, so yes her name is ‘Heavenly’. However, I will say that the father had no idea he had a daughter until she was 5 and the mom was and still is under the influence. But, it is quite charming and she is a beautiful little girl.

  6. I think Nevaeh is a pretty name, regardless of it being Hevean spelled backwards does not mean its a devil name or what have you and its not low class no name is low class for all of you thinkng so negative you must be more open minded. Are you going to snub a 3 year old little girl and say oh my goodness her name is Neveah ugh she is low class,

  7. I agree with Wendy about saying its a low class name. Lets understand that A name does not define the person that you are. Let’s face it, there are some Mary’s, Peter’s Paul’s, David’s and the list goes on who act as devilish as the person with a common name. Actually I have a 2 year old daughter named Nevae’h and she is a beautiful gift from the Lord above. and it is pronounced (Na-va-ya) short a, long a, short a

  8. Listen, people say that not only it is heaven spelled backwards but also that it is snow in I dont know what scandinavian language, To be honest I think is a coincidence as any spanish speaker cant tell you it actually sounds like snow or snowing in spanish, so the snow meaning fact is also something to consider wheter you believe it or not. About the low-high class, even though it was an (I dont now which adjective would describe this better) comment, it has been prove that in third world countries babies born in a high class society receive traditional names like Mary, Sara, Hector, Louis, (in their corresponding language translation) while babies born in a low-class society receive more flashy, modern names like nevaeh, foreign or very uncommon names, which then everybody else in that society start copying. Is a matter of wanting to outstand from the group, high class people dont need that, low class people look for it without knowing that people inconciently sense that as the lady from the post above did. I dont think we should critizice someone’s name as for me is a gift you give to your baby and they are the most beautiful thing you can ever have in this world, they’re angels, dont touch them (pardon my spelling). I like nevaeh, in my country we are flooded with mary’s equivalents.

  9. My daughter is named Nevaeh and yes at times she does act devilish but by far would I say it is because of her name. For one the name was given to her and not branded on her and it wasn’t a dream or sign from God nor the devil that made me name her Nevaeh. At the time I believed it was very pretty and not once did I look at the religious aspect of it. We are focused on the wrong things now days and diversity is acquired due to the world we live in. Religion is important but it has gone to far if we are worried if someone’s name is relevant, God didn’t disapprove of noones name and nor did he condemn anyone for naming their child what they chose. If everyone walked arouund with the same name or similar name what kind of world would we live in. This webpage wouldn’t even be up and we could hardly distinguish one Mary from the other Mary, it’s just not necessary to point at one and judge them based on their name, that to me is LOW CLASS.

  10. the paont isn’t having a religios name or devil name….the point is to give your child a nice name. Life in the 1st grade is easier when teachers can pronounce your name. and although people shouldn’t be classifying others by their name…people do and that’s a fact. unfortunatwly due to racism and stereotypes…Nevaeh or Shaniqua may not get a job interview as easily as Mary or Margaret. Until the old people die off and the openminded rule the world…the ‘low class’ named people are scewed. so bottom line is no matter how cutsie the name is, think about her life and how it will make it easier or harder not based on your opinion, but on facts.

  11. How does a name define your class? Are you going to banish a child because of their name? NO! My daughters name is Nevaeh and she is a wonderful child! I do not think everyone has to be named after someone in the bible. I will not let anyone put down my child because of her name. You should not base your opinion on someone because of their names but because of their actions towards others.

  12. You who say that name is low class has no class at all. a woman ask your opinion and you all have nothing positive to say, shame on you all, pick the name you want not what others want its your decision good luck! my daughters name is nevaeh all tell me its beautiful

  13. I think unusual names are more attractive to employers unlike what Anne said. As an employer that received hundreds of applications a year, the ones with unusual names are the ones you remember at first. If you can carry the interview and have the skills, all the better for you. I understand how an unusal name can make things slightly difficult for a shy child in school. Or one that was told that their elders are always correct. My kindergarten teacher mispronounced my name even as I kept trying to correct her. I went through most of my grade school answering to that name, until I was about 12 and insisted everyone pronounced my name correctly. Now, I love my name, it’s a conversaton piece. Religion aside, I think Nevaeh is a pretty sounding name.

  14. I love the name neveah! It’s a refreshing and beautiful name with a great meaning. What parent dosen’t want to think of their child as a piece of heaven. My name was so common it was miserable. I never knew if the teacher was talking to me or one of the other 6 Ashleys in my class.

  15. my daughters name is nevaeh, And I wouldn’t changed her name for anything. I love her name and i never thought her name would become such a hugh deal to others. Let the moms and dads make a choice on their childrens name and just accept it. And when it comes to having children of your own, then you can name your child whatever it is you want to name them.

  16. My granddaughter’s name is Nevaeh. My son just loved the name – he considers it a reflection of Heaven, not the reverse of Heaven. Corny, but true.

  17. I like the name Nevaeh. It means “life” in Hebrew. So it’s not just “heaven” spelled backward. And even if that was the case, I think it is better than. Everyone’s name is Mary. Everyone has my name, too. My mom swore it was original when she named me. haha.

  18. I pick Nevaeh I think its cute and unique I like how people can take a good thing and make it their own at least people are thinking about god-like terms Mary is so old and plain Nevaeh is a unique name and that’s what I plan on naming my daughter

  19. Nevaeh is the better choice. I’ve many reasons for my choice, but no worries I won’t write them all :). Quoting most of the above will go on for hours, so I’ll just say those of you that has chosen of defended Nevaeh..I agree with you all. As for the others, I find it unfair of you all to reject the name, because of the authors statement. Did any of you even think of the people who chose the name may not be religious and it was just a coincidence that tha name is heaven backwards? Should we all stop calling a dog a dog because it is god backwards? I mean come on people. The name could actually be taken from Europe and just spelled in American English so it can be pronounced easier…as of MANY American last and first names.
    Yes I’m American and I live i Denmark. The OH so terrible name was common here in Scandinavia and has nothing to do with heaven at all, it is actually a very old Scandinavian name spelled (Nevæah) pronun- NEEV-AE-uh). But that’s in Danish Island uses it very often, but I can’t help you with their pronun it is very difficult to break down in their language either you know it or don’t. I’ll leave you with this…think about how many famous people changed their names to be original. Because their producer or who ever got them there told them a common name DOES NOT SELL!!! just ask Barry Black…or..should I say White :). I love my name, here in Denmark I’m the only Bryant (first name, it is a common English last name) out of a country of 1.5million people. To everyone Nevaeh is beautiful and I to will name mt daughter Nevaeh when i’m to be given that gift. As for you others if you boycot that name then you should also boycot Diamond, Ruby, Jasmin, Porsche, and Mercedes blaa blaa blaa blaa I’ll shut up now :).

  20. I think Nevaeh is a beautiful name, as is Mary!

    They are names for goodness sake!

    For those of you who judge by something that simple, Quit! Read the Bible. Jesus loves all His children, and He calls them all, no matter what their name. Love is the key. God bless you all.

  21. How could you all want to name your daughter mary. If and when i have a daughter ill be sure to name her Nevaeh, i’ve always wanted to name my daughter Nevaeh, it has nothing to do with being religious, its a beautiful name. I’d rather my daughter not be “in” with society having a normal name. Why attack Nevaeh when you have a child name ESPN, and a child named Apple. Nevaeh is a BEAUTIFUL NAME, not like MARY which is dull and played out.

  22. my 7 year old daughter is nevaeh. she is my angle. and yes her 1st grade teacher knew how to pronounce her name before we told her. nevaeh was my first choice in a girls name and she is my first born. everyone loves her name. i know she will go far because she is a strong and wonder girl.

  23. My first grandchild is going to be a Navaeh, and I am thrilled with the name. Mary is a nice name also, but it is a bit over used and I would not want it to be my name. I have a somewhat unique name and I managed to make it through school just fine and have always been able to find and keep decent jobs. To me “Low Class” is judging someone based on silly things like names or thinking of oneself as “High Classed” enough to judge others in that way. By the way, I had never heard the name “BARACK” before either.

  24. Amusing how all of the Nevaeh defenders are barely literate, mispell everything and write in continuous run-on sentences. Kind of proves the point.

  25. I agree that naming someone Nevaeh is a low class move. It isnt that the daughter is low class – it’s that her parents are. “Oooooh, I’ma be original! I’ma name my preshus daughter sompin about heaven, cuz she is a gift! I’ll call her Gnisselb! It’s blessing backwards, plus it sounds all flashy!” And that’s what it’s really about – a flashy sounding name, with – get this – a clever hidden meaning! Oh SNAP!

    It’s a gimmick name. Spelling something backward like your name has a hidden meaning is just corny and trying to be clever.

    Nevaeh does not mean snow or life in hebrew. Check this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevaeh

    See, that’s exactly why it’s a low class name – people are naming their kids without even knowing whether the meaning of the name is true! They probably heard that’s what it means in their barber salon.

    See my name? Emosewa. It has a flashy, trendy sound (which is always classy, right?) , plus it’s Eskimo for Courageous, Iroquois for Honest, Ethiopian for Intelligent – and it’s Awesome spelled backwards!

    Ooooooh SNAP!

    I choose “Mary,” because even naming your daughter Dung Beetle would be classier than Nevaeh.

  26. Nevaeh, Definitely! I think it is ridiculous that you would not name someone Nevaeh because it is not a traditional name. The name Mary had to start somewhere too.

    Being a namesake is overrated.
    I was named after my mother and my brother was named after my father. Although they are excellent human beings, I hated having someone else name. I vowed that I would not follow this pattern. What good is being a namesake anyway. You will spend your entire life trying to differentiate yourself from someone else.

    Also… If someone does not like something or in their opinion does not find it appealing does not qualify it as being low class. Think about Oprah or Barack…two very intelligent high class people who are often referred to as “American royalty”.

    BTW…My daughter’s name is Nevaeh. It is a beautiful name. I did not know of anyone named Nevaeh when I chose it. SHE will define how great the name Nevaeh is not a previous person who had the same name.

  27. I think that , Another J Saying as below:

    “Amusing how all of the Nevaeh defenders are barely literate, mispell everything and write in continuous run-on sentences. Kind of proves the point.”

    I find this very obnoxious. I too like the name Neveah, does that mean I am less skilled than anyone else? I happen to have a master degree in english and literature. This comment is both unflattering and devaluing on your behalf. This comment also makes you seem very unintelligent just for stating this unnecessary and unrelated comment, I mean who cares if you “sound unintelligent” when saying you like the name Neveah better Mary. Which is a very boring name might I add.

    Personally I like my name Novella, Sorry for the run-on sentences, i have heard some people fond them annoying.

  28. This is for “Another J”

    You did not spell “misspell” correctly.
    That kind of messes with your credibility, wouldn’t you say?
    The ultimate irony, right there.

    For the record, I HATE the word Neveah and all the trendy names like it, but that is simply an opinion…mine.
    My kids names are Benjamin and Sean. I like them, you don’t have to. I think that the next generation of children are going to be severely embarrassed by these names a some point though. You can like Neveah and Kayden and Camden and all that other nonsense that had too many Y’s and K’s and “den’s” in it, but that is your decision as a parent. Hopefully, your kid will be smarter than you and change their name legally when they turn 18.

    “Another J”… I appreciate you trying to fly the flag for non trendy names, but you made yourself look really stupid in the process.

    You have to look at all sides of an argument.

  29. My daughter is called Nevaeh and I do not see how names that are different are low class not that I care what other people think. Nevaeh is a beautiful name as is my daughter and I am yet to have someone say that they do not like it. The comment I receive are always how beautiful her name is and how sick peopel are getting of the old style names I am not saying that names like mary are boring Im saying that if pronounced properly Nevaeh has a lovely sound to it.

  30. The spelling and grammar in 90% of the pro-Nevaeh posts speaks for itself. I do hope, as well, that posters realize that what they hear does not necessarily equal what people really think.

    Of course God loves everyone, and of course no one should judge a child’s worth as a human being by its parents’ choice of name. That doesn’t make all choices equally informed or tasteful. I’m particularly fascinated by the comments about “old” and “tired.” Why do so many Americans so value the new? If something is good to begin with, age and use only burnish its beauty and value, and enhance them. I’ve never understood why one would choose a cheap, badly-made new piece of furniture or crockery over something old and solid and well-crafted, but so many do. I suspect it comes from a misguided belief that buying new demonstrates prosperity and status. Oh, well, more antiques for me…

    (And yes, my daughter’s name is Mary. She usually goes by her middle- also a classic, though more currently fashionable- for family reasons, but I am proud of her name.)

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