Duana Names: Ain’t Looking For an Ava

October 3, 2016 20:01:32 Posted at October 3, 2016 20:01:32
Duana Posted by Duana
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Hi Duana,

I am expecting my second child in early October, gender to be discovered at birth. I think it is a boy (because the needle and thread said so) but am preparing for either. My first son's name is Tighe (pronounced like Tadgh - Tiger without the r) and we love it, he loves it, it is a rad name. We, the parents, like that it is unexpected without being wild. The annoying thing is, probably 30% of the people we come across think his name is Ty and we usually correct them but sometimes don't notice until it is a bit late. Ugh, I need to step up, but that is another story for another day.

Needless to say, with a Tighe we aren't looking for a Jackson or an Ava kind of name. Here is what has made the list for each gender: Boy - Remy, George, Vance, Hayes, Odin, Knox and Reeve and Girl - Nola, Jolie, Maisie, Shae, Harley and Quinn (haha Harley Quinn, I just noticed that). We aren't hurting on quantity! We are also not agreeing on our favourites but none of those names have suffered a veto (some good ones have).

A little background information, my mother-in-law is from Ireland and my heritage is Scottish and French Canadian. I find we trend toward simple French or Gaelic/Celtic names. I feel like we are soooo close but missing something. We have to be missing something...

Thank you for hopefully naming our child something other than Arya Stark!


You know that expression ‘no good deed goes unpunished’? There’s a little of that in your first paragraph – you chose an interesting and unusual name, Tadgh/Tighe, and you pay for it by having to explain it all the time, and feeling like making a big thing about the pronunciation is awkward but necessary but frustrating.

I want you to keep on keeping on with that, because it’s important for him and because one syllable really isn’t that difficult and he will do well to see you point that out to people. Don’t let him believe that his name isn’t worth getting right.  I know that’s not what you wrote in about, but it’s important—especially because your second child is not going to have this same problem.

I know this because the names you’ve chosen are just that much more straightforward – on a sliding scale from George down to, say, Hayes, and from Quinn to Nola…that effect we continue to see, where boys names are either common or not, and girls names are all vaguely familiar. Fascinating, right?

I might remove George from contention, just for that reason. Even though I understand why you like it, because they have similar sounds, it’s such a traditional name that it might seem imbalanced relative to Tighe. It’s not such a big deal, except that the rest of your choices are spot on. I love Odin and Knox especially in this context, and my affection for Reeve has been well-documented here. I might be a little less warm on Hayes only because it’s another name that has a few theoretical homonyms – you will be annoyed at birthday invitations and the like that come in addressed to “Haze” – and Remy is one of those names that seems to be creeping steadily toward the female side, so you should know that if you don’t already. But honestly, you don’t need me here except where elimination is concerned—I could suggest more names, like Zane or Cole or Enoch…but I would probably ask Tighe to break the tie (SORRY) between Odin and Knox and call it a day. (I noticed that I self-eliminated Reeve, and though I love it, I think that probably has to do with the two names together maybe seeming a little bit too much like some sort of corporate term—R&D, or etc? I don’t know. I still love the name, I promise).

Where girls are concerned, of course, there’s less of a comparison factor, but here I think you have come slightly less close to the awesome name that is Tighe. I like Nola, and don’t mind Shae, but I’ll always, always, accidentally default to ‘Shea’. However, the other names seem like they’re a little closer to a trendy world that I don’t actually believe is what you want.

Specifically, Maisie is charming but a little folksier than I think you want—the way parents a decade ago considered Sadie. Jolie and Harley and Quinn are all sort of buzzy – very on-trend, but I wouldn’t call them timeless. I think the names you’re looking for are as-yet unearthed – something like Rhiannon, for example, seems more fancy and decorative than you want, but it has that same off-the-beaten track quality. I wonder if you feel the same way about Anais? I kind of do, but I don’t feel the same way about Annick, or Anouk? They’re short but definitive, still pretty but unusual? What about something like Raisa? Saskia? I find myself looking for names ending in consonants, or ones with strong sounds in the middle if they don’t; Zelda or Petra or Saffron feel suitable and strong in a way that Jolie doesn’t, as much. I went back and forth on the next suggestion, but feel like it would be so great with Tighe – what about Gretel?

I actually have no idea which way you’re going to go here, but want to remind you to stay strong in your choices, don’t feel like you have to assimilate, and definitely let us know!

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