While researching the name Deneen, I happened upon a 1997 article from University of Minnesota campus newspaper The Minnesota Daily about hurdler Niles Running Deneen.
Ironically, but his middle name wasn’t inspired by sports:
“My mother had an art professor in college named Orville Running,” Deneen said. “She really admired him and was a very influential person in her experience in art. She wanted to pass that name on, and she gave it to me, not thinking I was going to be a runner or something.”
Do you think the middle name “Running” made it more likely that Niles would become a runner?
A reader named Leigh will be having a baby boy within the next few weeks. She writes:
I am a teacher and have heard so many names that I don’t want to name our child. My husband and I really like the name Miles, however, there are many new baby boys in my friend circle, named Miles. I really like Emmett, but my husband is afraid he’ll be mocked because people might only know of his name from the Twilight series. We’re interested in two or three syllable strong, unique (not necessarily unusual) names. A current front runner is Anders, possibly Anders Gray Hollyard*. We also like the name Lars. I guess I’m finding we like names that end in s!
First name and possible middle name suggestions to go with Anders would be greatly appreciated.
*Their surname isn’t Hollyard, but a like-sounding two-syllable h-name.
A few thoughts on the current favorites:
Miles: The popularity of this one has been on the rise for years, so it makes sense that you’re hearing it more often. I’m sure this has already come up, but just in case: Have you considered Milo or Niles as alternatives? They both sound a lot like Miles, but they’re not nearly as popular (i.e. only 29 babies were named Niles in 2010).
Emmett: Personally, I associate this name with Emmitt Smith, not the fictional vampire. And I’m not even a sports fan. This Twilight craze will blow over one day (thankfully!) and, when it does, these vampire/werewolf associations will fade. Possible exception: Renesmee.
Anders: I really like this one. I especially like that it shortens to the nickname Andy, allowing anyone with this name to flip back and forth between formal/unusual and informal/familiar, depending on the occasion. Versatility is always a good thing.
Lars: I have a strong association with this one as well, though I’m not sure how many others have it — Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. So this one may prompt people to ask about the possible Metallica connection. Much cooler than a Twilight question, anyway.
Here are some other names, many with s-endings:
As far as middle names for Anders go, I think Gray is great. I think a one-syllable name with a hard sound (that g) sounds good in that spot. Other names that fit this description are Brett, Craig, Drake, Frank, Grant, Jack, Kent, Mark and Paul.
Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Leigh?
Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down for the name (or just click here).
If you like the idea of anagrams but want to avoid sound-alike sets, I recommend anagrams with different numbers of syllables. Pairs like “Etta and Tate” and “Clay and Lacy” are a far more subtle than pairs like “Enzo and Zeno” and “Mary and Myra.”