Hi Duana,

I am expecting my third baby boy, he is a rainbow baby as we lost our second over a year ago, at 28 weeks. Truth be told, I am not crazy about the term “rainbow baby” but appreciate it for its meaning and honouring the journey one goes through after experiencing such a loss. My oldest son’s name is Ezra and we are trying to find a name for the baby that goes well with his and illustrates the hope and excitement we are feeling.

I love the name Levi, but a friend of mine has already taken that name for her baby boy. Other names we have been throwing out are Zachary and Issac, although I think Issac may sounds too much like Ezra, “Ezzy and Izzy”. I am also a believer in the meaning of names and my husband really likes biblical names. I do as well, but am open to modern versions of them, just not too modern i.e. Jagger, Hunter and Axle… 

Hoping you can help us!


I’m so sorry for your earlier loss, K, and at the risk of seeming flippant, I think your point about finding the term that most accurately applies is interesting because, ultimately, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do when we name people? To find the label, the term, the name that most perfectly encompasses who this person is – or who we hope they might be, since we haven’t actually met them yet? 

I definitely have some ideas, and I should also point out that I love Ezra. The name came up in an unrelated conversation this week, whereupon the young person I, personally, named looked at me with dismay and said, “Why didn’t you name me Ezra?!” So your taste has a number of fans in my house, apparently. 

One of the first things I noticed is that you really love that ‘z’ sound, and I don’t blame you – I like it too. In fact, the first name I wanted to offer up is Isaiah; I think it’s criminal that this name has fallen out of common usage. I think it’s sometimes seen as too long, and I get that Isaac covers the same territory, but I really love it. Your appetite for it would depend on whether you felt you could go for a nickname that didn’t feel rhymey – I feel like Zaiah would work, but I can understand it wouldn’t be intuitive for some. There are similar pros and cons to Elijah, or Elias: they’re actually quite different from Ezra in sound, but I can see how an “E-a” name might feel like a repeat, particularly in Elijah’s case. But, while we’re on the “E” names, I don’t think Ezekiel ever gets enough respect, especially when Zeke is an extremely cute nickname that’s a lot less tired than Zach/k…

My go-to boys’ biblical name in the ‘short and relatively current’ file usually has Caleb at the top of the list. I still really like it, but it seems a little consonant-heavy for your tastes – so what about Silas? Still a lot of those sounds you like, and notably different from Ezra, while still in the same family. Or you could go with Cyrus, or maybe the (non-Biblical, but very old/classical) Caius? 

Another name that suits your purposes and style is Asher. I feel like this name would be enjoying a much bigger renaissance right now were it not for the clear and present memory of the juggernaut of Ashleys, many of whom are now naming children of their own. But if that name is far from your world, I think Asher might suit you well, and walks the line of being familiar without being ultra-modern and consequently feeling overly slick. I’d also put Ilan into this category (though most people will be inclined to go with the “Elon” spelling, per Mr. Musk) – it’s short, it’s vowel-y, it’s on trend with current names ending in N and yet nobody would call it overly popular… so maybe? 

I’m not sure how far afield you’re willing to go on this front, or how far apart you want your boys’ styles to be but since you chose Ezra which I love (and apparently fell down on deploying myself!) and because you like Levi, I’ll dive further into my personal taste file and tell you that I think Darius is fantastic and underused (and he gets a shout-out in the Book of Daniel). Okay, so it’s not as well-known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and their buddies, but you wouldn’t need my help calling up those guys in the first place, right? Malachi is another one that has the sounds you like in a less-familiar package, and there are a million adorable possibilities for short forms… 

Finally, if all else fails, it’s worth remembering that one of our (okay, my) consistent favourites around here is Felix. It has unusual sounds and lots of vowels, and I was surprised to find out that he appears in the bible as well… you learn something new every day. 

Can’t wait to find out who your little boy is, and what name encompasses all of the beautiful and complicated emotions we’re lucky you’ve shared with us. Let me know!