Baby name needed: Boy name for Sadie & Cleo’s brother

A reader named Genevieve is due with her third child (first son) in two days, and she and her husband need some baby name ideas. She sent me tons of helpful information, so I’m simply going to paste the bulk of what she wrote below. [For all the skimmers out there, I’ve boldfaced both the current faves and the gist of the request.]

I’m Genevieve, he’s Will. We have two daughters, Isadora Ruby (5) and Clementine Luna (2 1/2), and call them Sadie and Cleo EXCLUSIVELY. Last name is McGuire*.

We chose our daughters’ names for the nicknames they gave us (we felt that Sadie and Cleo were much too insubstantial for full names), not because we loved Isadora and Clementine. In fact, we really don’t love or even like Isadora; we just adored Sadie too much and Isadora was the most realistic way to get to it. Clementine we do like, though. Middle names were just names we liked that sounded nice with the full names, and the middle name for this bub will be the same.

I actually still feel really guilty about giving our oldest daughter a full name neither of us like and isn’t really that appealing at all–Sadie doesn’t much like it either. My name’s Genevieve and growing up I would get so many lovely comments about it, which gave me a much-needed confidence and self-esteem boost in adolescence and beyond. I’m worried (sometimes I fret about it to the point of being sick) that no one will ever tell Sadie she has a gorgeous name, and I feel kind of awful about hoisting upon her Isadora, though I’m still ridiculously in love with her nickname.

So we’d like not to have a lingering sense of naming remorse with this bub.

Anyway. Enough back story.

With Bub, we’ve had an awful time with the naming process. Unlike Sadie and Cleo, we haven’t even found a nickname that we totally adore yet, much less a full name.

The name we’re thinking we love is Rex, but there are numerous problems with it.

–We have no idea how to get to Rex through a more substantial name, and if we can’t find one, Rex is off the list. Any ideas?
–Rex is seen as a dog name. Sadie is seen as a dog name. Cleo is seen as a cat name. There’s a accidental theme going on here, and my husband doesn’t like it. I’m actually pretty okay with it, though.
–When we’ve told a few select people that we’re thinking of naming the baby Rex, we’ve gotten cringing and obvious distaste, even though they tried to hide it. Now, I’m not going to let other people dictate what we name our baby, BUT I don’t want people (like our parents and close friends) really hating his name, because there’s a good chance he won’t like it either.

What do YOU think, Nancy? Is Rex just too odd? As an objective third party who just so happens to be a fabulous namer, your opinion is definitely needed on this one.

Other names on our list that we’re strongly considering:

Ned–Edmund, Edward–Not a huge fan at all of either full name, with those nasally

Max–Maxwell, Maximilian–I kind of really love the alliteration, but hubby isn’t sure. Also the pet name theme thing again. Also popularity issues that are really, REALLY throwing me off here; I really didn’t like how popular Sadie was when we named her, though thankfully we’ve never even come across another Sadie yet, and Max is set to skyrocket up the charts.

Ned is Will’s favorite, Max is mine. But neither of them feel like The One.

I guess we’re looking for a spunky, fresh, fun nickname that goes with a respectable full name. Also, if there’s a name out there that’s spunky, fresh, and fun AND suitable for an adult professional, we’d love to hear it; the nickname thing isn’t mandatory at all. We’d rather not repeat first initials or have similar beginning or ending sounds.

If Bub had been a girl, we would have named her Penelope Isis and called her Piper; somewhat ironically, we’ve had this name in our back pockets since before we even started trying for a third baby. Sigh. Though we’re over the moon that Bub is a boy, a girl would have been so much easier to name. We’re tentatively set on having at least one more baby as well, so any name beginning with a P is also out.

*The real name is not McGuire, but it’s close.

Here are some of my thoughts. Apologies ahead of time for any rambling.

On Isadora…

This is off-topic, and also a moot point, but…I love the name Isadora. I can understand the remorse, but I’ve always thought of it as such an elegant, regal-sounding name. Right on par with Genevieve, in fact.

On Rex…

Dog name?
I’m sure many people do associate Rex with dogs. (Personally, I think of dinosaurs — far more awesome than dogs.) But I also think an association like this will matter less and less as time goes on, as more and more people use human names (e.g. Max, Jake, Sam, Bella, Daisy, Lucy, etc.) for their dogs/cats.

Family/friend dislike?
I think it’s nice to take other peoples’ opinions into consideration, but, as you said, he’s your baby, so pick the name you love. Doesn’t matter if you go with Rex, or Max, or Ned, or Enrique-Iglesias. They’ll love your son regardless. (In fact, they might like him more if his name were Enrique-Iglesias.)

Formal name?
My very first thought was Reginald. There’s no etymological connection between Reginald and Rex, but they look like they could be related, don’t they? Reginald comes from the Germanic name Reynold, not from Latin, but one source states that it was indeed “influenced by Latin regina ‘queen’.” And regina, of course, is based on rex, Latin for “king.”

My next thought was any Germanic name with the element ric, “ruler,” which is a lot like rex both in terms of sound and meaning. Some possibilities: Alaric, Emmerich, Eric, Frederick, Heinrich (even Henry?), Richard, Roderick.

Both Alexander and Xavier have the letters X and R. These are more of a stretch, though.

There’s also the possibility of making Rex out of the initials R and X — Robert Xavier, for example. Or even just an R-name (Raymond, Russell, etc.)

My take?
I like the name Rex–it’s a very strong, spunky name. Lots of personality. I especially like it as a nickname for something more traditional.

More importantly, though, it seems as though you guys both love it. And if that’s the case, don’t talk yourselves out of it! No need to make things more complicated. :) Just go with it and work on the full/formal name.

On Ned…

It sounds like Edmund or Edward would be like Isadora for you — something you’d end up regretting. Doesn’t seem worth it.

On Max…

You’re right about Max being popular — it made the top 100 for the first time ever in 2010, and could continue to climb. But, as you alluded to with Sadie, a lot depends upon your locality. There could be a ton of boys named Max in one town, none at all in another.

Also, keep in mind that today’s “popular” names aren’t as popular as they used to be, so the rankings are becoming less and less important/informative over time. For example, Max, ranked 98th right now, was given to 3,819 babies. Vincent, 98th in 1960 (50 years ago), was given to 4,384 babies. (And roughly the same number of baby boys were born in 1960 as in 2010.)

The effect is gets more pronounced the higher up the list you go. Today’s 20th most popular boy name, Joseph, was given to 13,657 babies. Fifty years ago, the 20th most popular name, Brian, went to 21,994 (!) babies. Huge difference there.

Ok, now it’s time for some name suggestions. Here are the guidelines again:

  • “Spunky, fresh, fun nickname that goes with a respectable full name,” or
  • “A name out there that’s spunky, fresh, and fun AND suitable for an adult professional.”

No repeated first initials (S, C) or similar beginning or ending sounds, and no P-names (saving that for Penelope/Piper).

Here are some ideas to start us off:

Abe (Abraham)
Ash (Asher)
Ben (Bennett, Benjamin)
Dex (Dexter)
Fritz (Frederick/Friedrich)
Gabe (Gabriel)
Gus (Augustine)
Gray (Grayson)
Jack (John)
Jim (James)
Lex (Alexander)
Lou (Louis)
Raph, Rafe (Raphael)
Tad (Thaddeus)
Van (Donovan, Evander)
Vin (Vince, Vincent)
Xan (Alexander)
Zack (Zachary)
Zeke (Ezekiel)

Now it’s your turn. What thoughts/advice do you have for Genevieve? Which of the above names do you like best with Sadie and Cleo? What other names would you suggest?

18 thoughts on “Baby name needed: Boy name for Sadie & Cleo’s brother

  1. also…

    Rand – Randolph
    Sol – Solomon
    Dax -not sure what it was short for
    Chaz – Charles (yes a C, but a different sound)
    Guy – Guyton
    Joss – Joseph (of Josiah?)
    Jed (Jedidiah) Jeb/Jebidiah or Zeb/Zebidiah?

  2. I’ve seen Daxton as the long form of Dax, but it’s not super common. You could also have Jax (Jackson). Maybe not super similar, but I also like Jem (James).

    If you like Ned but don’t like Edward or Edmond, I feel like there are other Ed- names– Edgar? Edison?

    But I don’t see why you can get Rex out of Richard or Alexander. It’s not the first nickname you’d think of for those names, but so what? “Polly” started out as a nickname for “Mary.” I kind of like non-obvious nicknames.

  3. Before reading the other posts these were my thoughts:

    Jax- Jaxson/Jackson
    Hank- Henry
    Dax- Daxson
    Knox- Knoxious (kidding, didn’t know a full name)
    Will or Liam- William
    Chet- Chester (tho, it starts with a ‘C’)
    Zander or Xander- Alexander

    Good luck! Keep us posted.

  4. I’m usually in the the Rex is a dog name camp, but Frederick nicknamed Rex is fabulous!

    Normally I approach this in the reverse… falling in love with the long form and then struggling to find the perfect nickname; so this was an interesting way to look at names.

    Other spunky names:
    Hans – Johannes, Johan, Jonathan
    Hart/Hal – Henry, Harris, Harold, Everhart, Hartley
    Walt –Walter, Walden, Walker
    Wes – Weston, Wesley
    Roan – Orlando, Roland, Rowan
    Bram – Abraham, Abram, Brigham
    Cort – Conrad, Cortney, Cortland, Curtis
    Cal – Calvin, Callum
    Nat – Nathan, Nathaniel
    Tam – Thomas, Bertram, Martin
    Kai/Ky – Michael, Zedekiah, Hezekiah
    Jett- Jarrett, Jethro
    Roy – Roland, Conroy, Rowan, Royston

  5. I love your daughters’ names! I have Claire Caroline Wren called Clio – but then, her given names are family names and her nickname came second, so we worked in reverse.

    There’s also Gus for August, Augustin, Augusten … but like Max, he’s catching on.

    And I know a Robert called Bo – professionally, as it happens, though Bo isn’t necessarily the most district attorney/heart surgeon name out there.

    I like Huck for Henry, though Huck’s rhyming possibilities are vulgar in the extreme. Hasn’t hurt Tucker, though …

    Julie’s suggestion of Bram for Abraham was another one that came to mind. Van for Evander/Donovan is great. I also love Xan/Zan for Alexander.

    But here’s my hesitation: our firstborn is Alexander, after his grandfather, and no unusual nickname ever stuck. We probably weren’t as insistent as we should have been, but I also think that when someone sees a longer, formal name and thinks they KNOW the short form, well … it is a little tougher to sell your unconventional nickname. We have friends who had the exact same thing happen with Alexander – up until then, I’d thought it was our error.

    Ned and Max are fine, but Ned doesn’t feel quite as spunky, and Max seems more popular thanks to all of the various Max- names: Maximus, Maxwell, Maxton even.

    To me, it sounds like Rex is the right choice. Sadie, Cleo, and Rex – I don’t get dog, cat, dog. (Though I knew a Sadie. She was a cat. Well, and a Sadie who was a Sarah.)

    So back to the formal name. I LOVE the idea of Frederic, nn Rex. It feels like it is right there, just not being used. Freddie is adorable, but Fred is still Flinstone. Which makes me think that others would embrace Rex, too. And there’s no shortage of regal Frederics to cite, making the king connection even stronger.

    If not Frederic/k, I do think Reginald is obvious, if not a name that I adore. And I also like the idea of something like Robert Xavier. We have a friend with the initials J.E.B., who goes by Jeb – I think my husband knew him for years before he realized his full name wasn’t Jebediah.

    Can’t wait to hear what you choose!

  6. I too love Isadora and think of the lovely dancer when I hear the name, if that helps. I have nieces named Sadie & Chloe. So very close. They couldn’t agree on a boy’s name during either pregnancy. (He wanted Hamish.)

    I think Rex is fine. Any regal name might work as a long form: Arthur, Leroy, Royce. To be somewhat silly, you could even go Napoleon, Caeser, etc. Horatio was the other name that popped into my head.

  7. Sadie and Cleo are wonderful names! Love them. What about Auggie, short for August or Augustine?

  8. Des – short for Desmond
    Ozzie – (not sure what it would be short for, but I thought Ozzie sounded nice with Sadie and Cleo)

  9. I have to say, Isadora is a beautiful name! I think you’ve given both daughters lovely first names and nicknames! I’m sure you’ll find a name for your son that you will love :)

    sorry for repeats–

    Elijah/Elias < Eli
    Abram < Abe, Bram
    Curtis < Curt
    Alaric < Ric
    Dashiell < Dash
    Mattias < Mats

    less obvious:
    Laurence < Lars
    Malachi < Kai/Cai
    Zachariah < Rye
    Theodore < Teddy/Theo

  10. She’s a faker, you know that right? She’s all over name boards with different “families” with similar names and is usually about to have her first boy.

  11. @Whistle – Is she? Huh. That’s a big disappointment. Thanks for letting me know.

    I delete emails from obvious offenders, but I don’t have time to look at baby name message boards, so I’m sure some slip through, unfortunately.

    I should devise some sort of system/check to ensure that none of the fakers get personalized posts. Hm…

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