Hi Duana, 

Despite no kids of my own on the horizon, I've been inundated with babies over the last year. All three of my siblings have been on the exact same life schedule-- get married, have babies. All three families were expecting at the same time, and there's still one to go. The kicker- they're all girls! So far, there's Hazel, Louise, Zadie, & Piper. 

#5 will be sister to Hazel. Their last name is long, hard to spell, and starts with a Sh sound. So #5 has to be named something that can't be messed up. Current front runners are Naomi, Quinn, and Violet (until my sister realized she'd have 2 colours). 

What do you think?


So then if I understand this properly, it’s not just that this is your fifth niece, but all of these well-named girls are cousins, is that right? Look, there’s great precedent here so far, but I fully get that there’s a lot more pressure for #5 to fit into that excellent mould… and I think the key in this case is to eliminate certain categories of name in order to find the categories we want to play within - and then the perfect name from there. 

So yes, let’s get rid of Violet for matchy-colour reasons, though I don’t think it would occur to everyone right away – it’s not as if Hazel was named Rose (... or Hyacinth - hands up, everyone whose parents made them watch Keeping Up Appearances!).  Though I don’t think it’s necessary, of an abundance of caution in a similar arena, I would suggest #5’s parents eliminate any horticultural or tree-based names, like Juniper or Ivy. I don’t really think they’re on the docket, but just in case. 

Then, I’d be inclined to strike out Quinn – the combination of the shortness, surname-ness, and androgynous quality make it seem out of step with the others; though I recognize both Zadie and Piper have more modern influences, they feel a little more in sync with the others. 

Which leaves us, so far, with Naomi – a name I love, that sits in that sweet spot of being rare-but-familiar, and that will suit a baby and an adult equally. Plus I think Naomi works well with Hazel, and with Piper, Zadie, and Louise. I buy all of those together. As far as I’m concerned, it ticks all the boxes, so now let’s see if there are other names that do as well, just to give you some options.  

You know by now that I’m a sucker for these Greek names, so I must offer both Phoebe and Daphne as options – they both sound, as Naomi does, as though they could go with the others on adventures, like in a middle-grade novel where a bunch of dorm-mates sneak out of their boarding school to have a midnight feast. Right?  

If neither of them appeal, what about Margot or Vera? Those literary-adjacent women of almost any time? I want to suggest Nina, but somehow she seems a little bit china-doll-esque among the others, so what about the beautiful-but-neglected Nadine? 

Or maybe something like Giselle? I’m more and more aware of sound-alike siblings, but Hazel and Giselle have that amazing quality of both ending in the same sound, yet sounding completely different at the same time – something rare enough that it shouldn’t be overlooked. 

My delight with Giselle in this situation made me think of another amazing name – hear me out. What about Genevieve? I didn’t forget that the last name is long, I promise, but Genevieve is basically two syllables – totally achievable, and fits with the others – even if I acknowledge it’s not the absolute easiest to spell. If I can’t convince you there, there’s always Geneva, which appeals to me because I always feel like there’s a kinship between Z and V that would work well here – and because I think it’s a legitimately great name, not just a substitute for the longer Genevieve.

Finally, if the rare-for-girls (though not for your family!) ending in a consonant sound is important, I’d consider something like Imogen, which is one of those oft-discussed but less-commonly-used names, or something like Regan (Shakespearean pronunciation, if you please) or even the simple, beautiful Claire. 

If I’m being honest, I think Naomi is a wonderful choice, and a lot of my musings here were for my own benefit and delight – but I’m really relying on you, the proud aunt of a potential rowing team, hockey starting lineup, or family band, to keep us posted on which name wins! 

*Great name, horrible drink. Was anyone else subjected to this when it was in a vending machine because their parents didn’t think it was pop?