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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baby Boy or Girl H., Sibling to Keira

Erin writes:
Hi Swistle! My name is Erin and I wasn't expecting to be writing you as I thought my husband (Bryan) and I had our names picked out. But with baby coming via repeat c-section on July 23, we are feeling a little iffy about our choice for a girl name. This will be our second child, a surprise, as we already have a 22-month old Keira Leigh (Leigh for my mother and grandmother). With Keira we decided we didn’t want to find out the gender (something I’ve always wanted to do), so I came up with a list of names and we narrowed it down to one boy name and one girl name.

When we found out we were expecting again we decided to once again not find out the gender and knew we would be keeping Conner/Connor Timothy, Timothy after my husband’s late best friend, as our #1 boy choice. I once again made up a huge list of girl names, mostly all Irish as we love Irish names and have Irish on both sides, and we narrowed it down.

My husband picked mostly all VERY popular names off the list; such as Kennedy, Peyton, Morgan, Reagan and Riley. I like all these names but seemed to be pulled more toward names like Aislinn, Carrigan, Cassidy, Kinley, Kyla, Quinn and Sheridan. We decided on Kinley Adair, Adair for his great-grandmother, and I thought that was that. However lately he keeps commenting such things like “What’s the girls name choice again? Oh yeah, Kinley…. yeah that’s right.” and “Kinley right?” Always with hesitation and doubt! Now I’m starting to feel uneasy myself and have started up a whole new list in hopes something will pop out.

Recently my mom mentioned the name, Fiona, a name I think is beautiful! BUT we own all three Shrek films and with a fourth in theatres right now I’m worried about the repercussions of naming a girl after an Ogre princess. Swistle can you and your readers please help us choose a beautiful, not to popular Irish name for our possibly little girl (I so feel it’s a boy though)? The middle name will definitely be Adair (or Margaret if Adair doesn’t jive with the first name) and the last name… well I swear it doesn’t sound right with ANY name you put in front of it but it sounds like Hu-ray-duh. Thank you so so very much!

I always wish to be able to do little interviews in my Baby Naming Office (where I would have a double desk with my fellow name-hobbyist friend Mairzy) (and I think we should have huge soft leather office chairs) (and bowls of snackies) (and comfy leather swivel chairs for the clients), because what I'd like to do first is ask your husband if he really is feeling doubtful about the name Kinley, and what his own first choices would be if he were choosing the name on his own.

I soooooo wish the Shrek people hadn't picked the name Fiona! Oh, what a sad day that was, similar to the day the pharmaceutical company chose to call an allergy medicine Allegra, or the day Toyota called their minivan Sienna. LEAVE THE GOOD GIRL NAMES ALONE PLEASE, PEOPLE-WHO-NAME-PRODUCTS!

Well. There are still some good pretty Celtic names that have escaped marketers:


I can't tell if Mirren and Tierney sound too much like Keira: their beginning/ending sounds are completely different, but that "eer" sound in the middles is so strong.

Some of these are at risk for extreme popularity: Isla, for example, appeared for the first time on the Social Security Top 1000 in 2008 at #619, and in 2009 was #346. Those are HUGE leaps, similar to the initial appearance of the name Madison. Kinley is in similar if slightly less dramatic circumstances: Top 1000 for the first time in 2006, at #907, and up to #451 already by 2009. Teagan is moving even less rapidly but still steadily, from #816 in 1999 to #274 in 2009.

My favorites for you are Catriona (ends the same as Fiona, but no ogres), Emlyn, Madigan, Mirren (if it doesn't sound too close to Keira), and Teagan.

Name update 07-27-2010! Erin writes:
Hi Swistle! I just wanted to thank you and your readers so much for all the suggestions and comments on our baby name troubles; Baby Boy or Girl H, Sibling to Keira. On July 23 I gave birth to an absolutely handsome baby boy, Conner Timothy weighing 6lbs 11oz and 19in long. Mommy's intuition was correct! We went into the c-section with a small list of girl names, quite a few suggested by you and ones from the comments. Big sister Keira is smitten with him already and asks to hold him all the time, he's "my baby Conner" already to her.Thank you again for your help!


Amanda said...

My four year old daughter is Catriona (pronounced with four syllables so that is my vote. (And, Swistle, I was excited to see you suggest it - the name is not at all popular here in the States but is quite popular in my husband's native Scotland.

Sarah said...

I personally love the name Fiona. I don't think that the Ogre princess is at all a detraction, either. The benefit of this situation is that there can't possibly be too many more Shrek movies in the future and they may coast out of the cultural consciousness by the time your daughter hits school-age. Everyone will be on to something else.

BUT it will be enough to keep many people from using the name on their own daughters so the name will stay somewhat underused!

I think it's win-win. I don't think the association is that strong (perhaps because I've only seen the first Shrek), and I think that it will pass in a few years. I say it's a great choice.

Kelley said...

How about Marin instead of Mirren? I know it's not Irish, but to me it still has a similar lilt to it, without having the same eer sound as Keira. Marin Adair sounds pretty. Keira and Marin.

Also I looove Margaret, so have you considered Margaret Adair? Keira and Margaret.

I do immediately think Shrek when I hear Fiona. However I don't necessarily think that's a bad association. Fiona kicks butt! I also think the association will fade over time. There are tons of Belles/Bellas running around today, and no one associates them with Beauty and the Beast.

Ehllo said...

You know Catriona is pronounced exactly the same as "Katrina", right? It's not Cat-ree-oh-na. It doesn't rhyme with Fiona. Just like Aisling is pronounced Ash-lin, not "Aayz-ling". It's an Irish spelling.

It's a very beautiful way of spelling the name, but you should know how to pronounce it! I also really like Aisling (spell it however it you think would get the pronounciation most right), and Ainsley.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Kelly's suggestion of Marin. I am also pregnant and am very drawn to that name. There are several ways to spell it (Maren, Maryn, Marrin) and each way seems to origionate from a different culture. Although it does seem to show up first in Latin, meaning something along the lines of ocean or sea. I think it is so beautiful, etherial, and elegant. It sounds lightly ethnic (like Kiera) but not too ethnic. Marin Adair is a wonderful name that flows beautifully with Kiera.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I really like Fiona! It isn't ruined by the Shrek connotation for me at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm an American living in Ireland, here are favorite girl's names:
(okay, those are my daughters' names!)
Some other irish names that are popular here:
Aoife (pronounced ee-fa, or you could have Eva)
Niamh (neeve)
Eilis (i-lish, but Ellis would be close)
Mairead (ma-raid, it's margaret in Irish)
Aifric (afric)
Bridget, or Bride (bree-da)
Nuala (noo-la)

Catriona is pronounced Katrina. Aisling is Ash-ling.

Some of the names on Swistle's list are welsh, not Irish --- Bethan, Bronwyn, Brynn, and maybe Tamsin too. And I'm pretty sure Fiona is welsh or scottish.

StephLove said...

I agree that a heart to heart with your husband is in order before you switch names. If you decide Kinley is not the one, I'd give serious consideration to Fiona. I know a little Fiona, around 4 years old, and once you know a human Fiona, the ogre kinds of fades from memory.

I also like Morgan, Quinn, Bridget and Maura.

StephLove said...

Another thought: I know sisters named Riana and Ailyn. Those are Celtic but I'm not sure if they're Irish.

Swistle said...

Ehllo and Anonymous- Some names are pronounced differently in different languages. Catriona, in English, is pronounced Cat-tree-OH-nah---just as we pronounce Caitlyn "KATE-lyn" not "Kath-LEEN."

Ehllo said...

I don't think you can get away with saying that "in English" Catriona is pronounced to rhyme with Fiona. There are plenty of English speaking countries where Catriona is pronounced "Katrina". Like England, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. Not to mention, uh, Ireland. I'd go as far as to say that "in the United States" or "in American English", it's *sometimes* pronounced phonetically as Cat-ree-oh-na.

I take your point about the pronunciation of Caitlin. I'm not sure when the pronunciation became more common as Kate-lynn and not "Kathleen", but I've never heard the pronunciation of "Cat-ree-oh-na" before and I would hate to think it's becoming the common pronunciation.

Swistle said...

Okay, Ehllo, "IN UNITED STATES ENGLISH,' Catriona is generally pronounced "cat-tree-OH-nah."

Suzanne said...

I LOVE Marin, it's on our current baby name list (spelled Merin, like a friend of mine spells it).

I agree with the poster above who thinks Ogre Fiona is going to prevent people from using it but not ruin the name forever - a baby named that now isn't going to be watching the Shrek movies for at least half a dozen years.

My other two favorites are Maura and Maeve. Oh or Moira! Like Wendy Moira Angela Darling, which was my absolute idea name for myself when I was a child.

Jodi said...

I think Fiona is still completely usable. The Shrek association is not a bad one. I say let's claim this one back for the humans :)

And just to weigh in on this little Catriona discussion: I, too, was going to point out that it's pronounced Katrina in the UK, BUT a little Catriona-pronounced-Katrina would have an awful lot of explaining to do in the US, wouldn't she? On the other hand, if she did pronounce it Cat-ri-OWN-a, it would be a shame for her to grow up believing she has this authentically Celtic name just to meet an Irish/Scottish person or travel there one day, and find out she's been pronouncing it unauthetically.

I guess it is exactly like the Caitlin dilemma, but I don't know what the answer is. Having lived in Scotland, I don't think I'd want to use this name in either form in the US, which is a shame since it's so pretty.

What about Iona or Shona, both used in Scotland, though I can't really speak for Ireland?

Clarabella said...

Food for thought: my favorite Irish names (although I have no guarantee they're ACTUALLY Irish):
Brighid & Rhiannon:
Brighid Adair, Brighid & Keira
Rhiannon Adair, Rhiannon & Keira
Of the 2, I think Brighid is BEST with Adair & Keira
Good luck!

The Mrs. said...

Mirren Adair "Hu-ray-duh"... is charming.
Keira and Mirren seem like lovely Irish sisters.
I'm not a Shrek watcher, but Fiona is getting amazingly popular where we live.
Best wishes on your sweet bundle!

Frazzled Mom said...

Bridget is such a beautiful classic, and less common than I percieved anyway.

I also like Iona - it's like Fiona without the F.

Erin said...

No one suggested Siobhan yet right? Love that name. What about Clare? Keelin?

I also adore Alannah, Aisling, Carrigan, Kyla and Quinn, so we have similar tastes! As an Erin, I know my parents were going for a very Irish name, even though at the time I was named, Erin wasn't really used in Ireland at all. heh heh. You have to take it all with a grain of salt I guess, and I would just pick the sound and style of the name (ie, feminine or androgynous) you like the best. I quite like Fiona too, and immediately think of Fiona Apple, not the Ogre, which I think is a generally good association.

Erin said...

Oh, can I just also mention that I am an Erin married to a Brian also? both Irish? we don't have kids yet but this post is especially interesting to me for that reason...good luck!

brandyk said...

I think Fiona is totally fine!!! Then again, I named my daughter Allegra! :)

Magic27 said...

I know I'm coming to this late, but I am British, and more than half Scottish, so can I just say that Catriona is primarily a Scottish name (see Robert Louis Stevenson's "Catriona" for example)? It is nearly always pronounced cat-ree-oh-na (I was at university in Scotland and knew several, nearly always good west coast girls, some actual Gaelic speakers). Those who pronounce their name cat-ri-na usually seem to spell it Katrina...and aren't Scottish!
Also, Fiona is another Gaelic name, meaning "princess" and is (or at least was - for me it's a pretty old-fashioned name that I wouldn't ever choose for a daughter) most definitely Scottish, not Irish (by the way, I haven't seen any of the Shrek films so my connotation for the name is middle-aged Scottish woman!).
If you're into Gaelic names (which covers Scotland and Ireland, as well as many other places), there's also Iona (eye-oh-na) and Oona (as it looks)... Living in France has given me access to French Gaelic names (from Brittany), and Soizic is quite nice (it's the Breton version of Fran├žoise).