Duana Names: Joyful Joyful

January 30, 2015 20:57:02 Posted at January 30, 2015 20:57:02
Duana Posted by Duana

Hi Duana,

My husband and I are expecting our first child, a girl, in early February.  If we were having a boy, I would be emailing you for help with first names because that was quite the debate but thankfully, we settled on Colette as our daughter's name long ago.

Some background on why we chose Colette- we love the fact that it's a name you don't hear very often, yet it's still very classic sounding. My name is Sabrina and I always loved that I was the only person I knew with that name. That said, my husband has a very traditional and more common first name and he strongly dislikes what he calls "made up names" (for example, Jayden).  We like every potential nickname Colette may end up with and we think it passes the Supreme Court Justice test.

All of this said, we now have a middle name debate. My husband's family is very close knit and amazing. They have a long tradition of passing on familial middle names to the boys in the family so I've always known if we had a son what his 2 potential middle names are. However, the tradition isn't as clear with a girl.  I always assumed I would pass on a name from my family but now that we're here, there is truly no name that I would want to pass on, other than my own middle name which is "Joy." I love the idea of giving her my middle name but the one syllable middle name with a one syllable last name doesn't sound the way I'd like when spoken aloud.  The middle names from my husband's side are very traditional, such as Elizabeth and Cecilia, and while they are lovely names, I feel like he's already inheriting a lot of the naming honors.

The last option is to pick a middle name that doesn't have a specific meaning behind it, but rather is a pretty name that works with our philosophies and phonetically sounds right with her first and last name.  Names on this list include Gwendoline, Seraphina, Lila and Amelia but we're open to anything that fits into our naming philosophy.

Please help me!  The more we discuss it in our house, the more I reference this blog and I think my husband is starting to think I need to lay off the internet.

Thanks so much,


I mean, I love that I’m this important to your marriage and your family, and would never presume to take this responsibility less than seriously. Tell your husband this is an important part of your pregnancy.

My first thought was that if you want to use ‘Joy’ but don’t think it sounds great (and I feel you, Colette Joy Smith might end with a bit of a ...you know, a hard stop), what about names that mean Joy?  

A quick search tells me Letitia means joy and gladness. Colette Letitia? Allegra means happiness, and I love Colette Allegra so much I think I might have to bestow it on you officially. Hope you love Ls! If not that, Beatrice means “She who brings happiness”. Is it Colette Beatrice or Beatrix, with the same meaning? Ananda – not Amanda – means bliss in Hindi – but there is the potential for misspelling and mishearing.

If you want to go more unusual rather than less – after all, it is the middle name –  Xiomara means “joyful deer” and if you haven’t already fallen in love with the character on Jane the Virgin, you will as soon as you watch that show. Also, Colette Xiomara Smith follows the pattern I was told you’re supposed to have: never have the same number of syllables beside one another, and the name flows.

Then I’m going to contradict myself because I started looking at Sabrina, and thought, well, what’s a derivative of that? Serena, of course, but if that feels too close, then what about Seren? Colette Seren Smith doesn’t have a name like anyone else’s.

But to be honest, I’m pushing for Colette Allegra. I think you can trust me, don’t you?  Oh, and of course let’s not forget Felicity, which I love and means happiness – you have so many awesome choices here! Hit me back.

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