Duana Names: The Good Name Grief

July 19, 2016 19:57:57 Posted at July 19, 2016 19:57:57
Duana Posted by Duana
Getty Images

Hi Duana,

I am due in July and need major help! My husband and I are having twins after some struggles getting pregnant and are so happy to learn that they are a boy and a girl!

Our daughter's name is giving us the most grief: the front runner name is Mireille, but we are not sure if we should go ahead with the name because our last name is Miller. I had known about and liked the name Mireille for a while (I have become a lover of french names, especially for girls), and when we were first considering names I thought of Mireille in a somewhat joking way, pointing out that all the letters are the same as our last name, so she could be a kind of "Robert Robertson". But, Mireille has kind of stuck and we are really loving the name--beautiful and sophisticated, a name she could take wherever she chooses in life! While all the letters repeat, the sounds are different between the first and last name (we are okay with having to correct pronunciation, because we think the trouble is worth it, and that it won't be too hard to grasp for people after they hear it). We also like that the last syllable is pronounced "Ray", like the awesome kick-ass new female Star Wars lead--big points with my husband, who grew up loving Star Wars, and who will love to share the series with our kiddos. We would probably refer to her (occasionally) as "Rey" for short (but only in pet terms).

Is Mireille Miller kitschy, or does it transcend the repetitive letters (and repetition of two-syllable names)? Also, what are your thoughts on the name Mireille? The other three we are considering for our daughter are Marguerite, Odile and Ottilie, although I preferred Ottilie when I wrongly thought it was pronounced with a long O (like the letter) and not like Otto.

For our son, we are either going to call him Claude or Brahm, and it seems a toss up--we change our mind each day! Help! Any other names you think we should consider for our son or daughter? We are wanting something less common as we have a very common last name.

Thanks for your help!


You know, these questions seem to get better and better. Now, we’re really getting into the juice of what makes a name. Now we’re starting to discuss the feel of a name, the way it sounds in your head and mind, the images a name can draw up.  Now we’re starting to get to the point where we assign a value to things like being the kind of person who is always referred to by both names—in my experience, that’s only ever good. If your two names always sound better together, to the point where they’re almost a one-name name themselves? That’s a pretty amazing name.

Mireille Miller is a spectacular name.

I don’t want to oversell it, but this is great. It’s the kind of name that kids in junior high school are going to say reverently. “Why can’t I be like Mireille Miller?” The alliteration works, the accents on different syllables work. The French first name coupled-with-American-as-apple-pie works. You have hit it out of the park here.

It’s so good. Yes, it’s a little visually intimidating written, but most people will hear it long before they see it written. In fact, you know I advocate for secret-keeping on your baby names until birth, but in this case a little leak might not do you too much harm. Let people get accustomed to the sounds, and the spelling will be an amusing post-script.

No, your actual problem is going to be finding a name for your son that’s as awesome as Mireille. Claude comes very close, but I might suggest going with Abram or even Abraham, just to give another syllable with which to counter the swagger of Mireille. Or, to lean into the French vibe, Laurent or Raoul?

What I really think you should do is lean right in and go for Claudius. You can still call him Claude and you have the most spectacular twins ever born? Mireille and Claudius. Please.

But seriously, there are no problems here. There are only wins. Is it condescending to say I’m proud of you? If it is, cut it with this: I’m also kind of jealous. This is a master move. Cannot wait to hear about what you choose (please say Mireille) and how many high fives you get the first time everyone hears her name.

Previous Article Next Article