Baby name needed: Names that go with “Phelan”

A reader named Kelley is looking for a female name to go with the surname Phelan (FEE-lan). So far, she likes Eleanor, and her boyfriend likes Megan.

This is a very open-ended question, but here’s my take:

I find it interesting that Kelley’s boyfriend likes Megan, because I actually have the opposite view. I think a first name that has both the same rhythm and the same n-ending as Phelan would sound a bit odd, so I’d cross Megan and similar names (e.g. Erin, Helen, Lauren, Susan, Jordan) off my list.

I do like Eleanor with Phelan, on the other hand. They share some consonant and vowel sounds, but each has a distinct rhythm, so (to me) they are similar without being “matchy.” A nice balance, I think.

Other names I might throw out there? Let’s see…


Sticking with the “Eleanor” pattern, most of the above are have sounds in common with Phelan, but rhythms all their own.

What other names would you suggest to Kelley?

Update – The baby has arrived! Scroll down to the last comment to see what names they chose…

9 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Names that go with “Phelan”

  1. I suggest something with a hard constanant sound (c, d, g, k, t) , just to break up the softer sounds of the last name.

    Victoria, Charlotte, Birgit, Greta, Abigail, Anita, Adelaide, Jacqueline, Rebecca, Michaela

  2. My first impulse was to use the same “ee” sound that’s in the last name for some reason. (Probably because “fee-lan” was not the way I imagined Phelan was pronounced, and some part of my subconscious brain wants to emphasize it now.)

    I agree with avoiding names that end in “n”.

    The first name that popped into my head:

    Daphne Phelan

    (Seriously, how good does that look on paper? Makes me want to use it as a character name in a novel.)

    And other ideas:
    Adria Phelan
    Alicia Phelan
    Cecilia Phelan
    Holly Phelan
    Julie Phelan
    Kiera Phelan
    Sabrina Phelan

  3. @C in DC — Oh, that’s a good idea — would be a nice contrast. Thanks!

    @Angela — I’ve heard Phelan pronounced other ways, so I think it’s one of those surnames that can vary, depending upon where you live. I’m very glad Kelley mentioned how she pronounces it in her e-mail — makes things a lot easier for us. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. @Luke – I’ve heard a version with a long A sound (FAY-lan). And I’m sure some people also pronounce it with a short E (FEH-lan).

  5. We named our little girl who is now 6 Phelin Olivia. We Love her name and the middle name works well with her first name…Hope this helps..

  6. Just heard from Kelley!

    They ended up naming their baby girl Eileanór Rachel Medb. Rachel is in honor of Eileanór’s great Nanna, who passed away a year before the baby was born.

    Kelley says “we actually call her Elly or Elle, but if she is being a bit cheeky we call her Elly Rae (shortened versions of her first and middle name)!”


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