Our first baby, a girl is due mid-May and we still don't have a name which is stressing me so much that I might go into labor early. I am French and studied French literature at university. I have a long time obsession with Victor Hugo and I always though of the name Esmeralda if I ever had a daughter. When I first told my husband he sarcastically said why not Cosette or Fantine!? I see his point. Also, when recently the name was picked up by a celebrity couple for their daughter, it made me lose interest in the name. My husband is insisting on a nature inspired name. I like Stella but two of my friends have daughters named Stella. The only two other options we have discussed are Apolline and Gaïa. We each like one of the two names and can't get on board with the other. Can you be the third vote or even better, suggest some nature inspired names (French/latin would be a bonus)?
Merci beaucoup!


I support you in your endeavours. I support you in liking Esmeralda (Esme?) and it’s not the same thing at all as Fantine or Cosette. I would even say that The Gos having chosen the name doesn’t besmirch it at all. 

But while I think a nature-inspired name is great, I think Gaia is too much and too far. It asks a lot of her and even J.K. Rowling thought that in The Casual Vacancy and implied that the world comes tumbling down on the woman who wears it.

So from that perspective I choose Apolline, but I think we can do better. You know I love Delphine, and delphiniums are gorgeous. Or, on the flower tip, there’s always Willow, which I know that people love. Do you? I know of a little girl called River, and I love this name in a way that I think of, relative to say, Rose or Fern. What about Calliope? It’s not the same thing at all, it’s a musical thing more than a nature thing – but I like how it feels. Also Magnolia, despite being not French at all, has that slightly unusual feel.

What about other parts of nature? Like, less Lake and River and more January and Summer and Epoch (Okay, not Epoch)? Or Aspen or Meadow or Oceana?

I’m feeling a little whimsical, so I’m happy to take another pass if what we’re actually looking for is a little closer to, you know, April. But I think we’ve done some good work here.

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!