Hi there Duana,

I'm due with a boy in about a month and for the last, pretty much 8 months, my husband and I were dead set on a name and, while I read your column religiously, I thought that I would never need your help.

But of course now I do! Here's the sitch: we were dead set on having the name Fitz as a first name (our last name also starts with F, but we liked the alliteration). We had gotten this name from one of his co-workers who has a little boy also named FItz. We live in a completely different part of the country so we never thought having the same name would be a problem. However now this coworker is up for a big promotion and my husband is worried that it will be misconstrued at work as trying to 'curry favor' with the new VP.

My pregnancy hormones aren't letting me see clearly here - is this crazy? Do we carry on with Fitz (maybe dropping the coworker a note beforehand) to see if it's okay? Should work be dictating our child's name?

I also like the name Cormac because I'm trying for an Irish/Scottish theme. If Fitz is a no-go, is Cormac an acceptable alternative? Or are there other Irish names that are overlooked (that don't start with seventeen vowels!)?

PS. Yes, I do realize Fitz is also the character in Scandal. Is it a good thing that Fitz could maybe be the president's name? Is it a bad thing that he's such a wuss when it comes to women?

Thank you!!


This is one of my favourites in a while, and since it involves names, possible namejacking, and navigating corporate culture, I considered saving it for a Friday.  But it’s too delicious not to get at right now.

What are the chances, right? If you had told me you both had sons named (or about to be named) Ethan or Liam or even Augustus, I’d be like ‘yeah, no, for sure’.  But Fitz, huh?

I’m not going to lie to you. Choosing such an unusual name that is also the name of someone you work with…it’s reaaaally dicey. First off, whatever you do, do not email him asking permission. That is right away saying ‘we’re taking something that belongs to you and that we really don’t feel entitled to.’ You wouldn’t be doing it if you were naming your son Miles and so was his.  

So we have two ways to go here. One is you want to keep the name, and the other is you realize you no longer want the name. Let’s go with ‘keep the name’ first…

Okay so first of all, Fitzwhat? That is, Fitz is a nickname for Fitzwilliam, Fitzhenry, FitzHugh, Fitzgibbon. Chances are decent the coworker had one of those in his family tree and is updating the name by going with Fitz. So you can choose one what you like – Fitzroy?  Fitzgerald? – and even be coy at work about what you’re going to call him “Oh, I don’t know.  We’re thinking about Will, but Fitz is cute, but maybe we’ll call him Wilkie…” This takes the curse off the fact that you’re taking the VP’s name.

I should pause here to point out that it’s not weird to take the name because he might be VP, but because it’s so unusual that it’s noticeable. This would be the case even if the guy were an intern.

Okay so let’s talk about the other option – you don’t go with Fitz. The easiest and best alternative, to me, is Fritz! How could you not? Frederick, Freddie, Fred and Fritz, all great names and all super lend themselves to what you’re looking for – an unusual name that gives you alliteration, and that still kind of sounds the way you think.

If this isn’t landing for you, I can suggest some other ‘F’ names I love (Fergus, Farley, Fyodor, Florian) or some other names that have some ‘Fitz’ appeal like Ezra, Darcy (I had to), Ezekiel, and yeah, Silasand – and you let me know where you land.

The third alternative is just to get a new job at a different company where there are no existing Fitzes. Is that feasible?

LOLOL. Let me know.

A note to name-nerd letter writers,

I love getting your letters. In order to give them the best chance of being answered in a timely fashion, could I please trouble you to include the due date in the subject line of your email? Also, please send only one email – duplicates are deleted and may result in your email not being answered. Thanks!