I'm pregnant with my second child and we're expecting a girl! Our first is a boy, named George. My husband is Chinese and I am Jewish so we're following the Jewish tradition of naming our children after recently deceased relatives, in this case girls names starting with an "H" or an "E". My husband loves the name "Hope" but I'm not 100% sold on it. I've always loved the name "Ellie" but worry that it's so popular now. A friend suggested Elliott for a girl, which could be shortened to Ellie, which I like.

Thanks so much for your help!


You’re right, Ellie is way popular. It’s still kicky and cute, but it’s becoming, if not the Jessica, certainly the Lindsay of this era. Everyone who hears it thinks it’s unique and different, which, by definition, makes it suddenly run of the mill.

So, what to do that’s traditional and goes with George but still makes you feel like your daughter has her own, original name? How about Eliza? You could still get Ellie, if you wanted, but think about how much cuter Eli (for a girl) or Liza are as nicknames? I’ve also noticed an uptick in Elise, which, while I am obviously biased, seems like a cheerful but not childish name for a girl who needs an E at the top. Ellie on its own, is, of course, more of a nickname (especially when compared to George) but if you absolutely have to get there, how about  Eloise?

As for H, I don’t blame you on Hope. My personal opinion is that it’s not a name so much as it is a feeling, that it’s not totally fair to name a kid something that they might not be or feel all the time (see also: Happy) and there are awesome other names, so…why?

Having said that, some of the non-Hannah or Hope H names are a little harder to take. I am so high on Harriet right now, and I have to believe it’s going to take hold, because it allows for nicknames like Hattie, and it is the name of the world’s best spy, and it’s unusual and awesome – but I understand it’s not for everyone. 

Then again, how about Henrietta? I am not a nickname type or the boy-names-for-girls type so the idea of calling a girl Henry isn't my allure for the name, but a lot of people LOVE that stuff, and even if you don't, Henrietta is an awesome name. I was also recently alerted to a name I never knew my Great-Grandmother had - Hanorah. Kind of Hannah, kind of Deborah (my Irish mother pronounces it Ha-NOR-ah, but I'm sure you'd hear a lot of "HANNO-rah" as well), and utterly unusual.

None of these are for you? Hayley is still completely 90s as far as I'm concerned, but there's always Hazel, which, now that Julia Roberts brought it back into the lexicon, doesn't sound half as Grandma as it did a couple of years ago, now does it?

Let me know!