Hi Duana,

We need your help. I am being induced October 21st at 7:15 AM and my husband and I cannot agree on a name that we love. This is my third boy. Owen and Nolan are his siblings’ names. We would love for his name to go well with Owen and Nolan. We would like to stick with an Irish/Gaelic names for him as well. Both boys have 2 hyphenated middle names and we intend to do the same for this boy. Patrick-David will most likely be his middle name.

We are very big on nicknames. Owen goes by “O” and “Owie”; Nolan goes by “No” and “Nolie”. The few names we have on the list are Flynn, Rhys, Maddox, Killian, and Tiernan. My husband loves Killian and Rhys, but I am concerned about the nicknames that would be used for Killian specifically.

Also, Tiernan isn’t my favorite because I’m not a fan of the different Irish names that end in “nan”. 

Our last name is O’****r, if that helps. I hope that is enough information and you could help us! Thank you so much!

Whoa. I’m kind of charmed at the intimacy of you telling us the day and time baby’s arriving! Am I hormonal? Just feels so intimate, in the best way possible, so thanks for that. I feel hugged. 

Meanwhile, let’s get down to business! I have some blanket advice for you, and that is to not choose a name that ends in ‘en’ or ‘an’, period. I mean, there are many reasons to choose or not choose those names (and I hear you on Killian, though some people may find that going with Cillian lessens that… a little), but where two names with that ending are a commonality, three are a set, in a way that I don’t think you want, right? So yes, I’d endorse eliminating Tiernan, Killian, and any others in that vein – Ronan, Eamonn, etc, and I’d mayyybe extend that to Flynn as well, it feels different, and I think it works with your style – but if you’re on the fence about it, you could eliminate it. 

I started reading your letter and immediately thought of Rhys as a suggestion; the fact that it’s on your list and you mention your husband loves it tells me that you don’t, though, and we want you to be able to. Is it just that it feels different? Because it’s charming, it’s unusual, you can call him Reesie when you’re feeling playful – I like it, but of course I feel like if it was the one, you wouldn’t be writing this letter. I hope I’m mistaken, but if I’m not…

Maddox is obviously one of those names that has a one-name association, not that it’s a bad thing, but I didn’t realize it had its roots in Madoc, which is also very cool; it also reminds me of the similar Welsh name Caradoc, which I’ve seen sort of meshed into Craddoc, and kind of like (probably thanks to Barthe DeClements). Or, if you wanted to go with Lennox, you could get the sound of Maddox plus the ‘n’ sound with nods to your other two boys without being overly matchy.

Or maybe you’d like Merrick? Nameberry says it’s ‘Anglo-Welsh’, so we’re straying a bit from the Gaelic, but could be a really nice option? I’m not trying to push you torwards a ‘-ck’ sounding ending, but while we’re up… 

I wonder if you have any flexibility on your middle names, because I immediately thought that you should choose Padraig. Like your first two choices, it’s both Gaelic-Irish but well-known outside those areas, and it’s easy to say and pretty charming – obviously if you’re using the middle names to honour, say, both your brothers, or the third-oldest uncle on each side, or something, you might not want to elevate it to that position – but if you like it, you could always put another name into the middle instead? “Padraig Flynn-David” has a pretty nice ring to it. 

I also keep coming back to Rory. That Damn Gilmore Girl has sent it into a really female-centric place, pop-culturally, but I’d love to get it back. It’s so exactly right with your other two boys – short, easy, fun, and just that little bit unusual (plus no ‘n’ at the end). Owen, Nolan, and Rory! It really works, and I think you know it, right? 

You might also like Griffith, or Callum, or Seamus (yes, even though it’s slightly more ‘out there’, it’s super-fun to say and I’ve never known anyone who had trouble with it – thank Harry Potter, I guess) or Darcy, or … I’m fluctuating about writing this one down, but who knows, maybe it’ll twig something for you … maybe something like Quincy? 

So, this is the part where I say that you’ve got this and the right name will come and to let us know, but since you’ve told us when the baby is being born, and I frequently get apology letters from people telling me they’re sending their updates ‘late’, I want to be clear – I don’t mean right away! No pressure, but can’t wait to find out what you choose!