Hi Duana -
I am a loyal reader of your column, and a serious fellow name nerd. My husband and I are expecting a boy - our first child - this September, and are at an impasse on names. Of course, we had JUST settled on a girl name immediately prior to finding out the gender.

I have an uncommon (but not "made up" or "out of left field") name. I was always the only one with my name in a sea of Emilys, Jessicas, Jennifers, etc., growing up. I love that my name is unique, and have only ever met a handful of people who share it. My husband has a common name and classic name, which suits him perfectly. However, for the incoming addition, I would like to avoid anything in the top 100. The baby's surname is an Anglosaxon name, not uncommon, with two syllables ending in a "y".

Other back story: in 2013 we adopted a male dog. While tossing around potential names, we shelved a few because we wanted to save them in case we had a boy in the future. One of those names was Leroy, which my husband is now obsessed with. For me, it just isn't feeling right for me for our little fellow, in part because I hate the name "Lee" for a man, which he would inevitably be called.

Other names that I love include Reginald (Reggie, nixed by the husband due to his serious dislike of Reggie Miller); Elijah (Eli, nixed by the husband due to his hatred for the Manning brothers); Silas (too popular, with the Timberlake baby); Theo (nixed due to Theo Epstein, formerly GM of the Red Sox, who decamped to the Cubs); Otis; Cassius; Arlo and Quincy (the latter two are both still contenders).  I also love Neville, a family name, but it has already been "taken" by a cousin, and I don't want to duplicate it. A friend joked to me that all the names I like sound like they belong to players from the 1976 Pittsburgh Pirates. Right now, it seems that Quincy and Arlo are the two leads, although my husband isn't madly in love with either.

In addition to Leroy, my husband has suggested Louis, Morris, and George, all of which seem much too plain to me.



I tweeted this weekend that everyone should name all their babies Edwin. And I am not really joking. Because I was there on Saturday when Edwin Encarnacion had his hat trick and all those caps started flying onto the field… and it’s a great name. (Lainey: best name in baseball and also, the fact that Duana is making sports references is BANANAs). And no, I’m not a bandwagon jumper, just someone whose love for baseball writing had no practical visual application since, oh, 1993.

But I actually think it works with your specifications. Edwin. It is, to borrow an outdated term, literally made of win. Other awesome Blue Jay names include Troy (Troy!), Marcus, and Ezequiel (or Ezekiel)…I’m not sure whether or not your Red Sox reference means that you root in the A.L. East, though, in which case sorry, and also…

I love Arlo and Quincy, and while it’s not specified in your email whether or not Otis was vetoed by your husband, it is coming up more and more in my name-related conversations. Like a lot more. Otis is returning. Am I the only one who thinks of Cabbage Patch Kid Otis Lee? How about Amos instead of Otis? Or Ambrose?

Speaking of those kids and their nicknames, you’re probably right that they’d call Leroy Lee – or Roy. That’s frustrating, of course – what about Leland? Come ON. It’s not as likely to be shortened because people won’t quite know what they’re hearing the first time. Linus? I know that’s close to Louis, and I don’t think it’s plain, but there are some alternatives – Ludo?

I don’t agree with you that Morris is plain either, but would the ‘Maurice’ spelling spruce it up? I used to think it was the ‘Maur-REESE’ pronunciation, which I don’t hate either, but the (sing it with me) Irish use the ‘i-c-e’ spelling for ‘Morris’. 

Other names in this strain are Harvey, of course, and Irwin, and Orson, or Leonard.  How about Calvin, which feels very baseball-y to me, or even Hubert? Dare I suggest Horace?

Finally, I feel like a Mason-type name would be useful here, and yet I could not possibly suggest that name in good conscience – so how about Sawyer or Wyatt? Or Ned? Man, I really love Ned—we need a new pop culture reference that isn’t Nickerson or Flanders.

Ned – Ed – Edwin! See? All roads lead back to Edwin. Let me know what you choose!

Note: Please send your name emails, once only, to [email protected] - duplicates or those sent to Lainey ‘just in case’ will be deleted.