Name question for Duana:

I have always loved the name Zoe and would love to use it if this baby is a girl. However, I loathe popular/trendy names and I fear that Zoe is going to be the next Ava/Sophia/Isabella.

Your thoughts/suggestions?


Well, there are two things at play here. The fact that you love it, and the fact that it is going to be popular.

Greek girl names in particular have always had a pull for their slightly-offbeat but still very “wearable” qualities. Zoe and Chloe and Phoebe and Penelope are easy to say (well…as a kid I thought the last name was Pen-ah-Lowp) and impart a feeling of standing out from the crowd without being awkward or uncomfortable.

So the question is whether, if Zoe is too popular for you, which in this case is going to mean maybe not another Zoe in her class but certainly another in her dance class or swimming lessons or two grades ahead at school. You want to go with something else that’s a sound-alike, or something else that’s a zippy zingy first name. 

If it’s the lilt of the “ee” at the end that you like, how do you feel about Calliope or Eleni or Xanthe? Even Daphne? They’re not hard to pronounce and have both the sounds of familiarity and the ring of “uncommonality” about them. Somehow even though the sounds are similar, the “ee” sound ending is a world apart from names like Kinsley and Maddy and Chelsea. Honestly.

If it’s the Z you prefer, you have a harder row to hoe in terms of doing something truly different - not because the names are so popular, but just because there are fewer of them.  Zara and Zahara and Zosia have been discussed here before, so if it’s not them, how about Zinnia? I actually like it more the more I say it, and not just because it’s not a “beloved” flower like lilies or roses. Zuleika is another one I’ve been growing more and more enamoured with lately, as it’s deceptively fun and easy to say. And then of course even though Zane is technically for the guys, I think it’s one of the names that’s going to cross over fairly soon because the more I pitch for Jane the more I think there are going to be spin-offs of it soon.

Let me know what happens!