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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baby Girl S., Sister to Oberon Elwood

Karen writes:
I'm due at the end of August with our daughter and we just can't seem to pick a name.
We already have a son names Oberon Elwood. Elwood is a family name.
We wanted a girl's name that was strong but feminine and uncommon but not strange or difficult to pronounce. We also want a name that has a nice meaning or a literary reference would be a bonus. Our background is German, Scottish, Irish and I grew up in a French speaking area so I name from those background would be a bonus. A great nickname that is a standalone name too would be ideal. Oberon goes by Obie. Basically, we were looking for a feminine equivalent of Oberon.

I liked Aurora and Rory for short but my husband couldn't get over an association he had with someone else and we determined it was too popular. We've always liked Isla but weren't sure if it was strong enough and the meaning didn't stand out. Ultimately, this name is too popular too. My husband liked Lorelei, which I love on paper but to me it sounds like Laura-Lye and I didn't care for that.
We also loved Asher for a girl but feel it's a very popular boys name and we don't want her to feel like she was given a boy's name.
I love Veruca but it means wart and is associated with the spoiled girl from Charlie and the Chocolate factor so that one got ruled out.
I love Oleander. I love how it sounds. I like Lola as a nickname but it doesn't have any significant meaning and my husband is concerned about it actually being a highly toxic plant. I'm just having a hard time letting go of this name. My husband is fond of Adelaide and I'm luke warm on it. There isn't a nickname that I love for Adelaide. I'm trying to stay open to it.

We both love Beatrix but we worry a little about the "ks" sound in the X running into the S in our last name. We're also concerned about her having the initials B.S. but aren't sure how important that is with a middle name. Finally, it's hard to find a nickname that we like for Beatrix. It's sweet that it could be Bea or Betty, which coincidentally are the names of both mine and my husband's grandmothers. But Obie and Bea are a bit much. I also like Bebe but the same issue with Obie and Bebe, especially when we call Obie, Obiebie sometimes. I don't like Trixie. We have considered Bex or Bexie or even Pixie. We would use Viola as a middle name. It's another family name - actually Elwood's wife was Viola in my family so there would be that connection between our children. And it has the literary reference and has a great meaning plus it doesn't seem that common.

The other name we've given a lot of consideration to is Ursula. It has a similar meaning as Oberon which is thematically nice. I like Lula or Zuzu for nicknames. It seems strong and feminine and uncommon. Coincidentally it is a crater on the moon Titania which was the name of Oberon's wife in Midsummer night's Dream. Another nice connection albeit an obscure one. We would use the middle name Ellen, which is my mother's name and also has a nice pairing with Oberon Elwood - Ursula Ellen. Our hesitation over this name is whether Ursula is viewed as an ugly name in this culture in addition to its association with the witch from Disney's Little Mermaid.

I suspect it's going to come down to Beatrix Viola S. or Ursula Ellen S.

So what do you think? Any suggestions?

Thanks so much in advance for your help. We've been spinning our wheels and I've been making myself neurotic!

Because you like the name Oleander but are concerned about the toxicity of the plant, I suggest the name Magnolia. It's not in the Top 1000, it has the great nickname Maggie, or you could use Nola or Lia, or Nolly which is like Molly or Polly or Dolly but less common than any of them. It's great with her brother's name: Oberon and Magnolia. A magnolia is a beautiful tree with sturdy flowers and several medicinal uses. I like Magnolia Ellen.

Maybe this is reaching, but the place-name Arcadia got its name from the word arktos, or bear (source). I think it has the same dignified sound as Oberon: Oberon and Arcadia. Cady would be a great nickname. I like Arcadia Ellen.

To avoid the problem of Disney's Ursula, you could use Ursa. Same meaning, but no evil witch. It loses the nicknames, however. You could use the English variant of Ursula, which is Ursella---but I find this alters the pronunciation, and also you might not want to seem to be in on the -ella trend.

I'm reading a book right now in which the main character is a girl named Olympia. Oberon and Olympia---nice. But I'm stuck for a nickname. Lippy? Limmy? Olly? Pippi?

I like Cressida (a Shakespeare name, like Oberon) for you, but again there is a nickname problem. Cressie? Siddy?

Verona is similar to Veruca but without the wart/Wonka association. I love how it sounds with Oberon: Oberon and Verona.

One of my favorite German names is Wilhelmina. So pretty, not in the Top 1000, and good nicknames: Willa, Mina.

The name Bernadette is French AND has the bear connection to Oberon. A cute nickname is Benny. I knew a Bernadette who went by Bernadette (her husband called her Bernie but I don't think anyone else did), and I was surprised how the name grew on me.

My top two choices for you are Magnolia and Arcadia.

Name update! Karen writes:
This is a long overdo update on our daughter's name.
I really appreciated all your feedback and your readers' feedback.
It was nice to see how loved the name Ursula and Beatrix were as well. Our daughter didn't end up "looking" like an Ursula. She's nearly 4 months old now and the name doesn't seem to fit her.
In the end we named our daughter Aurora Ellen (although I still love Viola, I really wanted to pay tribute to my mother they same way we had to my father in giving our son the middle name Elwood).
My husband finally came around to the name Aurora and since I have loved it since I first heard it when I was six we went with it.
We call our daughter Rory for short.
Turns out that Aurora was sleeping beauty's name. I had no idea. Our daughter is definitely a good sleeper.

Thanks again!


christine said...

I thought of Magnolia immediately too! Although I would vote for using Viola as a first name. It isn't strange, but isn't as common as some other Shakespearian names, it has a great literary connotation, and it's generally very pretty.

OH and I don't know if changing Beatrix to Beatrice helps with how it sounds with your last name, but it's an option.

Other Shakespearian names you might like are Cordelia, Imogen, Nerisa, Iris and Desdemona.

Other "plant" type names: Jacaranda and Acacia.

Deniselle said...

I love Magnolia!

What about...

Onerva (it's Finnish though, but close to Minerva)
Ophelia (also from Shakespeare!)

Kirsten said...

Galadriel or Arwen? Verona was mentioned, which made me think of Juliet. One of my favorites, and never seems to be overly popular. Adele?

Peace said...

I love the suggestion of Verona, especially with middle name Viola, and then the nickname Vivi. I also really liked the suggestion of Acacia. I loved that name, but it really clashes with my surname, so I couldn't use it. I went with Camelia instead. It's a beautiful flower and nicknames include: Cami, Mel, Lia, Melia, Melsy, Cam, Amelia, Elia.
the only suggestion I didn't love was Cressida, which always makes me think of the Toyota.

Lonna said...

I love Olympia with the nickname Pia! That would be my first choice.
A suggestion for a nickname of Cressida is Ida, a name you don't hear anymore.

Abby@AppMtn said...

Call me crazy, but I like Ursula. Wait, make that LOVE Ursula.

And Obie and Lula or Obie and Zuzu have the same quirky vibe, while linking back to names with tons of history behind them.

I like Veruca, too, though I agree the character from Willy Wonka was thoroughly unappealing.

The thing about Beatrix is that, when you add in all the little girls called Beatrice, it is really quite the popular name these days. I know two - and many, many others who have it on their lists.

Ursula hits that magic spot - she's perfectly familiar, but very few people are actually named Ursula. Our neighbors recently called their newborn daughter Muriel, and it succeeds for the same reasons.

Carolyn said...

Nerissa came to mind immediately for me too.

Another idea is Imogen or Imogene


Anonymous said...

The initials B.S. would definitely be a deal breaker for me, especially with a first and last name (rather than, say, a first and middle name) because it would be obvious to anyone who thought about it, including kids at school. I envision recurrent teasing with this one that would likely take some crude turns with the connection to feces, etc. I personally would steer very clear of that one if it were me.

Anonymous said...

I like Magnolia! I know of a little girl named Magnolia, and goes by Nolia. Cute!

I have a friends who recently named their newest addition Varenna (in honor of a town in Italy). They sometimes call her Renna. Also very cute!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

My initials growing up were B. S. and it was never an issue for me. Kids teased me about my first name (Barbara- very unusual for someone of my generation) but never about my initials. I always solved the initial problem by using my middle initial, too. I always used BLS. (Now that I'm married, my initials are BLT but who cares?)

janet said...

Before I read Swistle's suggestions I was thinking:




Of the others how about Viola for a first name? I also like Ursula but I don't have kids so Disney is not really in my lexicon..

Frazzled Mom said...

Verona was the first name that came to mind for me.

And, as I was reading this, I also thought, "Why not use Viola for a first name?"

Bernadette is my mother-in-law's name. It may seem heavy, and I don't like her nickname, Bernie, which I find unfortunate. But I love Betty as a nickname for Bernadette.

Ursula is one of my favorite names. It has such a strong musical quality. I would like to see it used on a little girl.

The Mrs. said...

Beatrix Viola... brings to mind a sundrenched English garden, doesn't it? ...Someplace Shakespeare may have gained inspiration.

Oh, and all the nickname options! Bex really stands out with that snappy 'x' at the end. Very, very chic.

This name is both familiar and origianal all at once.
But the initals 'B.S.'... hmmm...

What about 'Desdemona' or 'Thisbe'?
Or the forest of 'Arden'?
'Orsa' is the same maeaning as 'Ursula' (but without the sea witch association). 'Calista' was an Arcadian nymph who changed into a bear and then ended up in the constellations.

Desdemona Viola
Thisbe Ellen
Arden Viola
Orsa Ellen
Calista Ellen

Great courage and orginality with your names! You're giving your children the gift of individuality from birth. Best wishes!

beyond said...

I LOVE that your son's name is Oberon. I think you should stay with Shakespeare. That would be absolutely darling.
Viola (as a first name perhaps?)
All of these have great nn potential.
From this list Rosalind is very Germanic and sweet.
I love Ursula (Much Ado) for you as well. I know several grown-up Ursulas and they are lovely people. (Is there really a disney witch by that name?)
Verona would fit as well, since Romeo and Juliet takes place there.
Good luck!

StephLove said...

I like Beatrix and Ursula, but I lean toward Ursula for you, more because of the initials than because of the x sound.

My sister has a fondness for less common botanical names. She considered Clementine, Hazel and Lupine.

Meredith said...

I love Ursula, and is there a cuter nickname than Zuzu?! And you know what? That's my favorite Disney witch! She has the show-stealing song and va-va-va-voom.

Magnolia has been one of my favorites recently as well. I love Nola as a nickname. Magnolia conjures up a beautiful, serene image for me.

Anonymous said...

How about Ambrosia?

Anonymous said...

Urusula is beautiful, and that's my vote. A name I've loved for years is Ulla, which means will and determination.

K said...

I like Viola.

Ursa also means bear (in Latin). Plus, you have the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor constellations. Pretty cool. Its growing on me after saying it a few times.

Anonymous said...

Rosalind Ellen is great. Rosie for short.

Jess said...

I second the suggestions of ((Bianca)) and ((Ambrosia))!

- Bianca: My fav Shakespeare name. Bibi is a great nn, tho perhaps a bit close to your son's nn. Bianca Ellen.
- Ambrosia: Ah, the drink of the gods! Think of all of the possible nn's - Rosa, Amy, Amber, etc. Ambrosia Ellen.

Perhaps you'd like to switch to the better author (giggle) George B. Shaw for inspiration.
- Eliza: Great nn potential as Liz or Ellie.
- Raina: pronounced Rain-a or Rah-EE-na.

I also love the idea of using the utopian planet in A Wrinkle in Time and calling your daughter ((Uriel)). If you think this is more of a boy's name, then perhaps spelling it as ((Ariel)) would be better. Then you have a much, much, much better Disney reference anyway. :)

Oh, and I have to chime in on this Ursula conversation. Ursula is an ugly, nasty squid with obnoxiously large ta-tas even for Disney. Gross, gross association.

I really like your name of Beatrix Viola.

Frazzled Mom said...

I must second Thisbe! I never heard of this name before, but it seems so excentric yet easy to bear.

I assume it is pronunced Thise-BEE. How adorable. Perfectly unique, suitable for a little girl and a grown woman and goes well with Oberon

Anonymous said...

Bernadette reminds me of Antoinette, which I think of as strong and sassy.
Oberon and Antoinette. Like it!

Joanne said...

I really, really like Magnolia. It seems strong and sweet and to have a lot of nickname possibilities.

Catherine said...

I really do not like Ursula because of the Disney connection - however it may hold no association for the next generation.

How about Portia or Claribel?

I love Magnolia too, how about Nella for something shorter?

I like Viola as a first name too.

Beatrix is great - but BS would be a deal breaker for me...

Hannah said...

Ursula gets my vote! Beautiful name. The Disney association doesn't bother me.

If you're looking for other suggestions:


Anonymous said...

While I LOVE LOVE LOVE Magnolia, I don't think it is the female equivelant of Oberon. I vote for Ophelia! Oberon and Ophelia.

molly said...

I love Olimpia.

Patricia said...

Aurora Ellen is a lovely name, and how special for your daughter and mother to share a name. (My middle name is Ellen and my first granddaughter has that as her middle name too and that's always been special for us.)

Too, Aurora sounds well with Oberon, and Obie and Rory are darling together!

Thanks so much for letting us know the name you chose. That's the most fun part of participating in this website.