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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby Boy Right-with-a-W

Megan writes:
We're expecting our first child, a baby boy on March 6. That leaves me plenty of time, I know- but I am so torn on names. Our last name sounds like Right with a W. My husband's name is Alexander (Alex) and my name is Megan. My all time favorite name for a boy was hands down Elliot. I wanted to use Jackson for a middle name since this is the grandfather's name. However, our very close friends are naming their son Elliot and we see them on a weekly basis. So my question is, can you help with finding a name that is like Elliot? I also love Everett, Ezra, Elias (I know, all E names) and Oliver. With our last name, I'm finding the R sound a little strong. Oliver Wright doesn't bother me too much- I just love that name. I do hope to someday have a daughter down the road, which I'd love to name Evelyn (Grandmother name). I also like the name Claire for a girl. Not sure if this helps to give a feel for my naming style- but if you could HELP, that would be great!! I read your blog daily looking for new possibilities. Thanks!

I know I've already emailed you already- but as I've thought more and more about the names, my husband and I have come to a new favorite: Ellis. We love this name, and it was actually used in my family a lot in the 1800's. I loved that the name had a little history to it. My main concern is, does Ellis sound too similar to Alex? Will it be too confusing to have an Ellis and Alex in the same household? I have started calling him Ellis in my head- but I don't want to commit to the name unless I know for sure. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

Elliot on my own list of names that got away. I recently encountered the name in Henry's class, where it passed the good-impressions test with flying colors. Sigh. Perhaps we will one day have grandsons with the name! Or is there any hope your good friends would find it sweet and funny to both have sons named Elliot? It helps if this has been your first choice all along and you can say "Oh!!! What a coincidence!! That's the same name WE'VE picked out for a boy!!"

Ellis is a good alternative, especially since you have it in your family tree. I said both Ellis and Alex out loud several times, and while I see what you mean about the similar sounds, I still think they're not too confusing to use together.

Ellis is rising in popularity for girls as well as for boys, but boys are still significantly ahead: in 2010, there were 149 new baby girls and 311 new baby boys named Ellis. I am a little worried that it will gain momentum for girls and then be used less for boys, but it is so hard to predict such things. Here's how it's been going so far:

2002: 39F, 177M
2003: 54F, 210M
2004: 47F, 212M
2005: 85F, 246M
2006: 100F, 267M
2007: 111F, 262M
2008: 110F, 274M
2009: 124F, 327M
2010: 149F, 311M

Inconclusive at this stage of the game, I'd say, but it's risen from 1 female Ellis per 4.5 males to 1 female Ellis per 2 males. In some cases, names do remain used for both boys and girls; in other cases, once the girls move in, the boys move out. The popularity of the girl's name Ella may sway this one toward the girls---or, as with Kyle and Kylie, Ellis and Ella might coexist: one used mostly but not exclusively for boys, and the other used only for girls.

A similar sounding name (though unfortunately without the family connection) is Louis.

A name that has the rhythm of Elliot and the style of Ezra is Gideon.

A name I think of as being in a group with Elliot and Everett is Emmett.

Names I think of as hanging around with Elliot and Oliver: Simon, Julian, Sebastian, Frederick.

Or I wonder if you'd like Malcolm Right.

Another possible E name is Edmund. Edmund Right.

Name update! Megan writes:
We went with Elliot Jackson! Thanks again for posting my question & giving great feedback! Attaching a photo as well!


StephLove said...

I think if you're calling him that in your head it's a good sign it's a strong replacement for Elliot. And I think it's an uncommon enough name that it will stay unisex rather than going girl. I think parents get gun-shy about using unisex names for boys when they've met a certain threshold number of girls with it and that's unlikely to happen with Ellis. I do have a fondness for Louis, though. It's my son's middle name. Louis Jackson is very handsome.

Anonymous said...

I really like the name Ellis, both on it's own and with your surname. I think it sounds great with Evelyn and/or Claire as a sibset. I see what Swistle names about the name rising for girls, but Ellis is, for me, an unequivocally masculine name. I would use it!!

Abby@AppMtn said...

I love the name Ellis! My son has a friend name Ellis, and here's the thing - my kid is Alex. (Or Aly. Or Alexander. Or ... you get the idea.)

It isn't uncommon for me to call Ellis/Alex and have the other one turn his head. So, yes, they're similar.

BUT not deal-breakingly similar, I think. And Ellis Jackson Wright is great!

Anonymous said...

If Elliott has been the name you have loved for years, then why not use it? What if you or your friends move away from one another and lose touch eventually, then you will have missed out on the name you love. I never understand why some people (not all) feel that friends are not allowed to use the same names for their children. I think its silly. I know of a pastor and his wife that named their child a name 20 years ago and two years later their very best friends named their daughter the very same name, and he said it never was an issue or even was thought of in a negative way. They just never really gave it much thought. The two couples are still best friends to this day! I see alot of stories / questions abotu name stealing and I always think to myself that its so petty, more then one person can have the same name. So my vote goes to Elliott or Ellis if your too uncomfortable with it. I dont like the others as much as Ellis, but with that said, Ellis does have a feminine quality to it. What about Bennett?

Bunnyslippers said...

I vote for Ellis, but also support another Elliott. Another 'E' option is Ephraim.

Beth≥ said...

Ellis could certainly work but my first thought was that it sounds a little feminine.

It might be worth brining up Elliot as a possibility with your friends to guage their reaction. Or, use the line Swistle suggested (happy, enthusiastic tone) -"what a coincidence! Our name for a boy...." As Swistle said, they might find it sweet rather be miffed.

I like Swistle's suggestion of Simon a lot.

Michelle said...

I would go with Elliot. I would understand if one of your siblings or a close relative used the name, but friends, eh...I would still use it. Honestly, I think of girls when I think the name Ellis, but I think that is because Meredith's mother on Grey's Anatomy was named Ellis, so that's the first thing I think.

Emma said...

I like the name Emmett - as you gave mentioned that you are concerned with the hardness of the R in your surname the 'mm' in Emmett works to soften this. Emmett Wright. Emmett, Evelyn and Claire is a gorgeous sibset.

Anonymous said...

I think of Alaric as an alternative to Elliot.

I find that as I say "Ellis (W)right" that it sounds more like "Elle is right." That sort of bothers me. I like Oliver (W)right better than Ellis (W)right.

Kate (one of two) said...

Growing up, my best friend and I shared a name (we were born 3 months apart). Our parents were close friends during pregnancy, but both loved the name so it ended up the same for both daughters. I always felt pretty special to be the "Kates" and felt a close connection to my best friend by sharing her name. So if you love the name, I don't think it should stop you if both your sons are named Elliot, even if they will be seeing each other on a weekly basis (I saw their family that often, we went on vacations together etc).

My friend's dad always called my by my full first and middle name, which ended up as his pet name for me and he still calls me this when he sees me (25 years later). He is the only person who has ever called me that and it has always made me feel close to their family by having that special nick name of sorts.

The Mrs. said...

Our family knew the greatest elderly guy with the name 'Ellis'. He fought in WWII, was married over fifty years, and had a razor wit. And yet... the name seems slightly feminine to me. I don't know what it is.

Since you seem to lean toward vowel names, do you like Edgar? Hmmm... the ending 'r' blends with 'Right'. What about Ernest? How about Edison? Ellison is just like Ellis but with a 'son' at the end. Here's a name that reminds me of Ezra... Enoch. And an idea that is much like Everett... Everest.

Along the lines of Oliver is Oscar. Ivan and Ian are fairly underused and begin with a vowel. Irving is classic but practically never snatched up. Irving Jackson 'Right' sounds pretty awesome.

All the best to you and your happy little family! It makes total sense that you would want his name decided ASAP to give yourself some peace of mind. I'm sure you'll find the perfect one!

Anonymous said...

What about Eli? Eli Wright

The Mrs. said...

Thought of another one: Abbot.

Sarah A said...

I would strongly encourage you to use Elliot, especially if it's your favorite name. I have never understood this idea that if one person uses a name then his/her friends can't use that name for their children - no one owns a name.
I have cousins on both sides of my family who are also Sarahs as well as various friends throughout the years; it's really no big deal :)

Patricia said...

"My all time favorite name for a boy was hands down Elliot."

Then why not use it? It sounds like you've loved the name Elliot for quite a while, perhaps even longer than your friends have, but they 'called it' first. If these are really close friends, I think they'd understand if you told them that you had planned for a long time to name your baby Elliot but were keeping it a surprise and that when you heard that's the name they love too, you were so startled that you didn't say anything immediately. But after trying to find another name you love like you do Elliot, you keep coming back to Elliot and so are going ahead with that name. And that you don't mind that their baby will also be called Elliot and hope they don't mind that your soon will be Elliot too -- and won't it be fun to have 2 little Elliots! You could suggest that when the two boys are together they can be called by their middle names too: maybe Elliot Jack for your son?

Ellis is nice too, but its not Elliot. As mentioned above, some people think "girl" when they hear Ellis (I do), and of even greater concern, Ellis (w)right doesn't flow well together. (I think of "all is right" when I hear it.) Plus if your friends are the kind of people who don't want anyone they know using a name even close to their child's name, Ellis is far too close to Elliot to be acceptable. I'm hoping, though, that they think "great minds think alike" and have no problem with you using the name you love best, just as they are.

Elliot Jackson (w)right is a grand name, with special appeal and meaning for you. I'd stick with it.

Joanne said...

I really like Ellis and I am from NJ so I say "EHlis" and AHHHHlex" in my mind and they don't sound anything alike! I've even practiced yelling them! I also think Oliver Right sounds just fine.

Leslie said...

I think Ellis is an incredibly handsome name, and it sounds great with your surname. It doesn't ring feminine to me, and, personally, with such small usage numbers to begin with, it's not something I see as a problem. I also don't think it's too close to Alex.

If you love the name (and the historical family connection makes it even more special), I absolutely think you should go for it! Best of luck, and let us know what you decide!

Anonymous said...

Swistle you have a total of 1032 posts on this blog alone! Im guessing that at least every post has averaged an hour or maybe some 1/2 hour and some 1 1/2 hours with research and thought. I cant imagaine anyone taking that much time to devote to a blog and not spending that time with her own kids, 5 kids!!! When you become a mother, you put your kids needs first, and I would like to know how your time consuming blog, benefits your kids? And where is your husband in all of this? I feel REALLY sorry for your kids and dont think your fooling anyone who knows you in real life, everyone can see that your an absent mother who is obsessed to a very unhealthy degree with names, who isnt even an authority on baby names. Your no different then any other mom who could put up a blog and write about names, the only difference is that other moms dont do that, they have kids, name them and then raise their kids! Your obsessed with the "idea" of naming kids. Please seek professional help for your OCD with names, for the sake of your kids,because normal people dont do what your doing! 1032 posts?!!!!

Swistle said...

Anonymous, dear heart, my children are in school every day.

Megan said...

Thanks to Swistle for posting my question & for the great response! I was so thrilled to find this on your blog yesterday morning. Yours and everyone's comments are getting my thoughts churning. I love hearing everyone's opinions- and especially enjoy that they are all from people that don't have a direct connection to me (family, close friends). I have loved a lot of the names suggested to me as well. While I do still really love Ellis- I am also still considering Elliot thanks to everyone who says it's ok if it's not directly family. Thanks guys and I will continue to check back for updated comments :)

Anonymous said...

Your kids may be in school, still most moms either work at real job and make money if they're kids are in school. What a lazy ass to sit on the computer all day writing about names! At least the moms who are stay at home moms actually do things that are productive for their family. How is sitting on the computer all day writing about names and other crap (twitter, etc.) productive? Get a part time job, everyone should work! 1032 posts about names is completely out of control! And what makes you the authority to giving name advice? I would love to hear that one. Your no more authority then the garbage man who empties my trash can every week.

Anonymous said...

The above response was directed at swistle, not to the poster. My apologies to the poster for the interuption.

Frazzled Mom said...

I agree that Ellis is so close to Elliott, that if you use Ellis, you might as well use Elliott. I like the family connections with Ellis, but get a feminine vibe (I imagine a hybrid of Hollis and Ellen, Elle, Ella, Ellie), and more bothersome is the "Elle is right" or "All is right" similarity.

In your position, I would imagine the baby has been born and named and ask myself this: If I chose any other name, and then these friends moved away, would I mourn the loss of Elliott?

If the answer is yes, then I would use Elliott. But I agree you should mention your decision to your friends before your baby is born. I like Patricia's suggestion, that you say you had wanted to use Elliott before you got pregnant and due to shock hadn't mentioned it when their son was tried to find another name but so far hadn't had much luck... and unless you can find another name before your son is hope they understand...etc.

While I realize names don't have copyrights, I can understand not wanting to use the same name as your friends. I compare it to your friend picking the same wedding dress as you or decorating their kitchen with the same paint, backsplash and countertop you chose. I know kids are more than just fashion accessories, and maybe I'm a tad shallow - but I totally get it.

While Elliott is a great name, I think any of these other suggestions are just as great and some are even better: Simon, Ian, Ivan, and Irving.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- Thank you so much for your input. You must be very busy, and I appreciate you taking time out of that schedule to personally advise me.

Megan said...

Oh and I know I didn't mention it in my post- so not sure if it would change any opinions or not...however the couple also naming their baby Elliot also goes to our church. So we have the same 300+ people associated with us- and our boys will be born 4 months apart (mine after hers). So that has been my main concern- otherwise I wouldn't have been as worried about it. Just the fact that many people know both of us. Just thought i'd throw that one in there!

Emily S. said...

While some people spend their down time watching tv or reading a blog (like you) or reading a book, others spend their time writing for a blog. Please don't act like you are better than Swistle or anyone else just because you choose different activities and don't get me started on how stay-at-home mothering/being a housewife is not a real job. Clearly your m.o. is to comment on blogs and try to piss people off for no particular reason--because your comments don't even make sense. So you can move on to your next target now. Are you a mother? Because I'd much rather have a mom like Swistle who has a hobby that she participates in for an hour every couple of days than someone like you who just tries to make people feel bad about themselves for the pleasure of it. Call me crazy.

Sarah A said...

I think Frazzled Mom has the best suggestion - ask yourself if your friends moved away, would you mourn and regret not using Elliot? If the answer is yes, then you should really use Elliot.

I personally don't think it will matter too much that you go to the same church. Just talk to your friends first :)

Oh, and take heart to what Kate said about growing up with a best friend also named Kate - it could be great fun for the two Elliots!

Anonymous said...

I know it's hard to be objective at this point but can you tell if you love Ellis as much as Elliott? If so, and especially since you're already calling him Ellis in your mind, use it! It's a fantastic name and I like that it has some family history.

As others have suggested, if you imagine that your friends unexpected move in the next couple of years, do you imagine yourself mourning not using Elliott? If so, I'd keep it in the running!

I think of my parents' generation and how they each have siblings who named their kids (my cousins) the same thing (two Michaels and two Sylvias on one side, two Marks on the other side) and how no one seemed to object!

I might be more way, personally, if the name were more unusual (e.g. Ignatius or Indio) but Elliott is neither common nor very unusual.

Brittany said...

I would also feel some reservations about using Elliot if close friends were also doing so, but I think that previous posters make a good point that you were planning to use the name before you learned that your friends were, so I think that Elliot still deserves some consideration. As for Ellis, I like the name, and don't think of it as feminine. It seems to me that if you love it and are already thinking of him as Ellis that it's an excellent choice! I imagine that for almost anyone who thinks of it as feminine, meeting your son with the name would to a lot to reshape their image of Ellis. Best of luck in your choice and with your coming son!

Anonymous said...

What about doing Elias? I dont think that you need to get approval from anyone as to if its okay to name your child a certain name, they arent your keepers and you dont answer to them. I hate this notion that friends have some kind of say in the matter. I dont think your church friends will think anything, they will just think oh Elliott must be a cool name. Honestly if anyone were to complain to others and be mad, I think most people would look at them and view them as immature and narcissitc.

Gail said...

Why? Why? Why is anyone ragging on the Swis'? Delete that nonsense.
That said,OP use Elliot if you love it but Ellis is my fave.

Swistle said...

Gail- I know, right? I deleted her at first, but that just eggs her on. So now we can ALL share the wisdom of her advice for me!

Mrs S said...

To anonymous, please stop using your incorrectly. This only shows your level of intelligence. There is your and you're. I found this more irritating then your posts.

Mrs S said...

I love Eli Wright! Eli is my favorite boys name.

Anonymous said...

Well, OBVIOUSLY, women are not allowed to have hobbies, Swistle, gosh!

Incidentally, one can only assume that her children were left to pine away in the corner, her home in disarray, her poor husband left to pay the bills, during that hour she concerned herself so much with what you were doing with your free time. Someone, quick, alert CPS: we've a woman doing non-child-rear-y things!!!!

Megan said...

Yes I agree with Gail. I read Swistle over reading any baby name book. Excellent advice, suggestions & ideas

Trudee said...

I love the name Ellis, but I think of the mom from Grey's Anatomy when I hear it. If you don't care about stuff like that then I think Ellis is great. Otherwise, I'm a huge fan of Elias and think it has a similar feel to Elliot.

Would you ever consider Elliot for the middle name? I think Ethan Elliot is such a great combo (and two Es!).

Abbe said...

My daughter was one of those 39 girls named "Ellis" in 2002, so I'm not even a little bit objective on the subject. I've never known anyone else, male or female, with that name, so my opinion was based mainly on the sounds themselves, which all have a kind of softness to them. Also, it's very much like Alice but I think the short E is softer than the short A, making it sound even more feminine than Alice.

On the other hand, I'd say Elliot is still a viable option (not that Ellis isn't, of course). We had some neighbors a few years back in a similar situation: they liked the name Brinley but another girl at church was given the same name a few months earlier, so they switched to something else. Less than six months later, the other family moved. I always wondered if they regretted giving up their first choice name.

The Mrs. said...

Swistle, THANK YOU for the sacrifice of time and effort you have made on the behalf of many, many others (um, at least 1,032). Obviously, your naming expertise is sought out by so many because you keep up with current trends, do your research thoroughly, and are willing to help those that do not have the same tastes in names as yourself. Also, you are diplomatic to even the most irate lunatic. Thanks for being awesome.

Patricia said...

Interesting to hear from a mom of a little girl called Ellis. I think the similarity to Alice may be what makes me think "girl" when I see Ellis. Thus I was surprised to see that Ellis has been an "ever-present" Top 1000 name for boys, from 1880 to the present. Could it be that Ellis is starting to cross over -- like Ashley, Leslie and others -- and eventually will end up in the girls' column? Although Ellis did rank 732 for boys in 2010, I'd be a little unsure about naming a boy Ellis: it's always safer to name a girl a boyish name, than a boy, a name that might be too associated with girls:
Ellis -- Alice
Ellis -- Ellie

I prefer Elliot/Elliott, which seems more strongly masculine to me. Elliott, with 2-t's, is also an ever-present boys'name, in the Top 1000 from 1880 to the present.

Patricia said...

Megan, if you find yourselves keep coming back to Elliot, you may want to tell your friends about your naming dilemma right way and that you have decided to keep the name you've had picked out for a long time -- Elliot Jackson. That way if it bothers THEM to have another new baby in your small church congregation with the same name, they'd have the option of choosing a different name for their son. It may be that there is another name they love too, perhaps saving it for a second son. If you wait to tell them until after their son is born and named, you might hear, 'we wish you had told us sooner...' On the other hand, they may be fine with you calling your son Elliot too, and if so, you wouldn't need to agonize over your son's name any longer.

Patricia said...

Maybe this is a good reason TO tell what a baby will be named before he's born. There's so much advice to the contrary, but at least with announcing the name as soon as you've decide on it, you ward off expecting friends 'calling' your name before your baby is born or others thinking you're copying someone else by using the name of a baby born just ahead of yours. Sure you may get some criticism of the name (no matter what it is), but at least it's YOUR name to confer on your child!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to use the name Elliott, but my husband thought it was too feminine, so we went with Ellis. I have been surprised that I have now met girls with the same name as it is decidedly male in my mind. As to the similarities with Alex, however, I'm always telling people, "no, its Ellis -- E-l-l-i-s, not Alex." I think that is just because it isn't common. I love the name. But I also love Elliott. You need to go with what you love. I think it is polite to tell your friends, however, that you want to use the name. If you mention it, then they won't think you are stealing the name. If you just use the name without "asking", then they could be upset.