Duana Names: The Bar is High

Duana Posted by Duana at August 7, 2015 18:52:44 August 7, 2015 18:52:44


We're expecting our second girl in late August. My husband is Hispanic and we named our first daughter Paloma, partly because I loved the sound of it and partly to honor her Latina heritage. The problem is we have no idea what to name our second daughter. We want something that sounds good with Paloma but a lot of the Spanish names we've found either sound too similar or would be a mouthful on the playground. Paloma and Guadalupe! Come here! (Not that I like Guadalupe as a choice, but you get my point!)

There are a couple of names we like, Isabel and Bianca, but both are names of children in our extended families and Isabel/Isabella is too popular. The closest we've come is Serena. I like it but my husband thinks we need something more unique, more Spanish. I've hit a wall and can't think of anything else. A friend suggested Dahlia. What do you think? Help! I always love your suggestions.


I really, really love Paloma. In fact, I think I’ve recommended it to letter writers before – there’s something about it that really sounds unusual, and I think it’s the P and O sounds, not usual for women’s names. Maybe the same reason we’re seeing a burst of popularity for Penelope right now.

So I do think you have your work cut out for you. Usually when I love the first name people choose, I can and would totally recommend one of the options they’re thinking of, but I have to agree that I think in this context you can do better than Serena. I don’t love Guadalupe either, but I do have affection for ‘Lupe’, even though I don’t like nicknames for real names – so we move on.

My first thought was actually more of a mouthful – I immediately came to Esmeralda. Long, sure, and someone will reference Hunchback, and someone else will reference Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, but you know, it’s kind of a lovely name. I was all set to contradict myself with ‘Esme’, implying it was the shortened version of Esmeralda, but they in fact have different roots, so I am schooled.

I assume you’ve thought of Estella, and I like it a lot though it does end the same way as Paloma. If you want something less rhymey, I will never never fall out of love with Ramona, which feels so fresh and yet weighty. When someone says to you “Oh, but Ramona Quimby”, you say, “Yeah! Ramona Quimby!” That’s a good thing, not the bad.

Buuuuut…. if someone says to you “Paloma and Ramona, they kind of rhyme” then they wouldn’t be wrong. This may be my personal bugaboo, as per my name and my sister’s similar sounds, but if it’s yours too, look elsewhere.

Cordelia has Latin roots, but might be seen as Englishy due to King Lear. Flora is a favourite name but can maybe seem too basic, relative to Paloma? I do like Dahlia, but somehow it’s not got as many consonants. 

Now…how about Agatha? Technically it’s Greek, and I have found evidence that says Agata is and isn’t the Spanish variation – what do you think? I really, really love it, and I don’t know why it’s out of favour. Could you have several daughters please?
Because I also need you to use Camila (as in CaMEEla, not as in Parker-Bowles), and Estrella, and even my beloved Felicia  - don’t you say it!

Let me know what you think, and know that if it’s hard, it’s because you did so well the first time out! 

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Tags: Name Nerd
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