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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Name to Consider: Briar

Meg writes:
So, I'm very early in my pregnancy, however we're already discussing names. The name that my child's father is totally stuck on is Briar. I hated it at first (I'm a Jane, Anne, Henry, Nicholas, etc kinda person), but the more I toss it around I'm kinda coming to like it some. I'd love to get your, and your reader's, opinions. Is this a cute new name that's kind of "out there" or would we get the same reaction everyone had when Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple?

The two issues I've found so far are the connection to a briar bush, and when said over the phone people can hear "dryer" instead.

Thanks so much!

I can think of two more issues (plus I'd add that it can also sound like "prior" or "Pryor"). One is than when written, it can look like "Brian." And the second is that if your style tends to be more Jane/Henry, choosing a name outside your usual preferred style for a first child might make you feel locked into finding names outside your preferred style for subsequent children as well. Many people like a name or two in a style category they don't generally like, but then would be really stuck if they wanted to choose more names from that same category.

I don't think of it as an Apple-type name, however. I think of it as Unusual Botanical, along with Juniper and Magnolia---not Highly Unusual Botanical with Apple and Spruce. Let's have a poll over to the right to see what everyone thinks of it. [Poll closed; see results below.]


Poll results (483 votes total) for "What do you think of the name Briar?":

I love it! I'd use it! - 48 votes (10%)
I like it! I'd consider it! - 107 votes (22%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 174 votes (36%)
No particular opinion - 33 votes (7%)
Slight dislike - 83 votes (17%)
Strong dislike - 38 votes (8%)

43 comments:

Kit said...

I LOVE it! In fact, I'm trying to get my sister to use it for her baby. If I had come across it when I was naming babies, I would have a Briar right now.

Mrs S said...

I like it for both genders. I had Briar Zachary on my list when we had our son. It is a great girl name too. I group it with the trendy girl names like Quinn, Grayson, Charlie, Ryan and Briar.

Briar Eloise sounds lovely.

Marjorie said...

makes me think of Blair. be careful what you name your 1st because it makes choosing sibling names harder down the line.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone has mentioned the disney princess by the same name: Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty? I don't think that's a bad association, but you'll want to be aware of it. I knew a Briar growing up who is now in her late 20's and I always thought it a very lovely and unique name.

Suzanne said...

I was going to say EXACTLY what Anonymous said above me - I think anyone my age (30ish) would think of Briar Rose. Not that it's a bad association. I think Briar is beautiful.

Chaya said...

Two things come to mind when I hear the word briar: 1) thorns, and 2) Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). While I love the latter, the former overwhelms the latter and obviously has negative connotations. I heavily advise against using this name for your child.

plantingoaks said...

haha. I voted that I liked it, but I'm also one of the three people in the world who doesn't see what the problem is with Apple either. Does that disqualify my opinion?

liz said...

I'm on team Briar Rose.

So, I like the name.

Future siblings could have botanical names, too.

Annika said...

I'm amused by everyone thinking of Briar Rose, because my first thought was of the song "The Briar and the Rose," which is totally unrelated to Sleeping Beauty.

LiciaLee said...

I absolutely love it!

AmyRenee said...

My first thought was B'rer Rabbit, and the story B'rer Rabbit & the Tar Baby. I think it's from the movie "Song of the South" although I'm not certain. Not the most positive association for me.

Nicole Trager said...

I would agree with other readers.. I love the name and would use it,I also do not think it is out there like Apple, but if it is not your style be wary of future siblings names.

I would suggest these names as a compromise in your two different styles.

Blair
Bryn
Bree
Brooke
Claire
Clara
Lilith
Raven
Violet

Good luck!

AmyRobynne said...

When my now-kindergartner was in preschool, one of his classmates had a baby sister named Briar. So it has been done. Her older sisters were Nora and Ella.

Rosie said...

I love it. Unusual but not wacky. Go for it!

Magic27 said...

I don't think it's an "out there" kind of name, and the Briar Rose connection is quite sweet. It does make me think of another name I've always like - Briony, if that's any help. And future siblings with nature names would be very cute.

Sarah said...

I agree with Swistle regarding being "stuck" in that category when naming potential future siblings. I do tend to feel like siblings' names should "belong" which is probably so stupid since it's not like the kids are forever going to be listed on a Christmas card together and will eventually be listed on their OWN card with a spouse whose name I will unfortunately not be able to pick. But I digress...

I'm not terribly in love with the name, but I don't absolutely hate it either. However, I definitely don't think it's in the same category as Apple. To me it's more in the whimsical-yet-natural category of a "Willow" or "Rose". Apple seems like a step beyond that, at least for me.

StephLove said...

It reminds me of Briar Rose, from Sleeping Beauty. Could be a positive or a negative depending on how you feel about Disney princesses. I do agree if it's not your normal style it might box you in later. Could it work as a middle? I know you just cited Jane and Anne as hypothetical examples of your style, but how about Jane Briar? Or Anna Briar, Caroline Briar, Eleanor Briar? Grace Briar? Margaret Briar? Sarah Briar?

Anonymous said...

It's not a name I'd use for one of my own children, but I do like it a lot. I don't think it's super "out there," or even quirky; I see it as an established name that just isn't used very often. I would feel about a child named Briar sort of like I would feel about one named Portia. I've never MET a Portia, but I definitely know it's a name, so I wouldn't be confused or put off.

I do see the issue with pigeon-holing yourself in a style unlike your own for subsequent children, but again, because I don't feel that Briar is totally whacky, I think you could still find great "normal" names that sound lovely with it! Briar and Andrew. Briar and Claire. Briar and Henry, even. No, no, I don't think any of those combinations would strike me as odd!

Leslie said...

Briar is lovely! I would group it with names like Hazel, Linden, or Juniper, rather than Apple (not that Apple is bad, but I think Swistle put it well when she said it was one step further on the unusualness scale). I also have the Briar Rose association others have mentioned, and to me that's a plus; it's sweet without being too princessy. Plus, the name has a pleasant (to me) gravity to it, like Jane or Nicholas from your original list.

Claire said...

I love it! I have considered using it to honor a Brian (Briar and Bryony are the two I'm thinking of for a girl). The only association I have other than my own thoughts on using it is that it was the real name of Sleeping Beauty (I think...maybe Snow White? I'm old...) Anyways, some princess' real name was Briar Rose. I think that's a nice association. Better than thorns I suppose :)

sarah said...

My husband's cousin is named Briar and her brothers are named Will, John and Sam. So I don't think it necessarily locks you into a particular naming style. I don't know any baby/kid Briars, but I know three around my age in their 30s (one spells it Brier). I don't think of it as an unusual name.

Maureen said...

In my part of the country, annoying children are sometimes called "Briars".

Katie V. said...

I love it :) It has been on my list for a while and I would love to meet a Briar. I don't think it would be considered that unusual.

KWILY said...

I love Briar. It has a lovely sound to it. Also consider Blythe and Wren. Lovely names for girls.

The Mrs. said...

Briar is a great name.

If you feel that it is too unusual, you could give her a more common nickname for "everyday wear". Examples: Bea or Bree

Disney's Briar Rose was my immediate thought after reading the name. Good association without having to name her, say, Ariel (even though Ariel is a lovely Shakespearean name... it now irrevocably says 'MERMAID' to me).

I'm rambling; sorry. In summary, yes, Briar seems like a homerun in a series of Janes, Henrys, and Nicholases (which are indeed excellent names- just a lot more common).

Best wishes to you and your daughter!

Heidi J said...

I like Briar and I'll echo everyone else and say it brought to mind Briar Rose. I also agree with the suggestions of Briony and Wren as similar sort of nature names with the possible addition of Iris.

Melissa Haworth said...

I thought Sleeping Beauty right away followed immediately by the Briar Patch in B'rer Rabbit (sp?)

If you don't mind the associations I think it's a very pleasant name.

Anonymous said...

I thought of B'rer Rabbit too. It is from Song of the South, which is a collection of stories some find to be racist (especially the one about the Tar Baby.). B'rer is a contraction for Brother. It's a good starting point, but I would keep looking.

NellaBean said...

I like Briar! (Although I will admit I'm not sure what all the fuss is about Apple - I like that too. So if plantingoaks and I make two of the three people in the world that don't have a problem with that name, will the third person please speak up and complete the team?)

There's something about Dawn that seems similar to Briar to me.

Anonymous said...

I really like Briar, and considered it recently (though it too didn't really fit our naming style). I like the suggestion of Bryony. I know women of both names in their 30s, and I have always liked the real/unusual/botanical status of their names.

Frazzled Mom said...

My first impression of Briar was that the name is completely do-able as far as experimental names go. I sort of like it, while it's not my style either. I also really like the suggestions of Wren, Lark, and Iris as sister names.

However, I think Swistle makes a good point about the name being confused for Brian. Considering possible sibling names, if coordinating siblings is important to you, is also a good suggestion.

For you, I think Briar might make a good middle name. HOWEVER, if you think you might like the idea of names like Wren, Lark and Iris for other daughters, perhaps Briar is the name for this daughter.

In some situations, different styles for sons vs. daughters are acceptable and even appealing. After all, I have a Fiona and a Paul.

Perhaps using your style for your sons and your husband's style for you daughters is a good compromise. Iris would be a good cross-over between your style and his style, since Iris is a botanical name but more old-fashioned than Juniper or Wren. For example, I can completely see a family with a Briar, Iris, Oliver and Henry. On the other hand, I would completely discourage a Briar, Jane, Rock and Henry in the same family.

vanessa s. said...

I like it as a guilty pleasure name, like Story or Sonnet. So...I don;t think I like it on a real child. It makes me think of Disney Princesses and I HATE DIsney Princesses. Also, thorns.
I do like Bryony, which sounds similar, and I like it as a middle--Catherine Briar, Lucy Briar, Harriet Briar (LOVE that).

Slim said...

http://www.hunton.com/bryar_nettles/

I love Vanessa's concept of the "guilty pleasure name."

I also think "Bryony" is an inspired variant. Still the same sound, but tweaked enough that you won't run into the "Brian?" problem.

C C Donna said...

Would Briar be for a boy or girl? If for a boy, he will be called Brian initially, every single time and every piece of mail will by in the the name of Brian. To me, it sounds more like a girl's name and I do like it. Juniper is a prickly bush and used.

AirLand said...

I like it. And it's not going to matter if it's a Disney princess name... I'm Ariele and yes, I get comments, but it's not that big of a deal. Also, I used to get frustrated having to pronounce and spell my name, but really, no matter the name, everyone has to do that sometimes.

I'm not sure Briar would go with Anne or Jane (short, unadorned names). But there are many traditional names it would go with... I think anything feminine, but not too frilly, with 2 or 3 syllables.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved this name! On Disney's version on Sleeping Beauty, the name the fairies give her while in hiding is Briar Rose. Sometimes it helps to see where names have been used before.

Anonymous said...

I also don;t have a problem with the name apple and my husband and I have actually thought of nameing a daughter that. Probably will not since it is a well associated name and majorly not accepted or liked.

sparqle said...

We named our daughter Briar (Grace) in 2010. While her name has sometimes been read as 'Brian' in places like doctor's offices, it's a mistake easily corrected. Other people's reactions haven't been overwhelmingly positive to the name, but it seems to be growing on those we spend the most time with.

I wanted to name her Bryony, but to my husband it sounded too much like Brian with an 'y', and we both liked Briar so there we were. The name to me meant a thorny bush with beautiful roses on it. I soon found that to others it just meant a thorny bush. At first I had a hard time with people's reactions and just the general quirkiness of it, but as she gets older and sassier, I'm thinking the name fits her better than even Bryony would have.

As far as names going together, we have an Isaak (Martin) and an Ingrid (Moselle)--let me note here that we did not plan for them to have matching initials, they just sort of popped into place that way. Of course we were tempted to go for another 'I' name but none of them seemed right, and we decided it was more important that the name match her than the other two. To me it doesn't seem terribly important that names be relentlessly matchy. A little contrast can even be piquant. Besides, what matches to one ear may clash to another and I've noticed that names within a family group seem to cohere over time anyway due to the family's peculiar ambiance.

Remember that each child will have to face the world as an individual much of the time, not just as a member of a family.

Sorry for the book. You can probably tell I find the name Briar an interesting topic. Good luck with your baby and with your name choice!

Claire said...

I fall into the group that sees Briar and thinks of a thorny vine, but that said, I don't totally oppose it for a name. I've heard of Briarly as a name, which I think comes across as a little more feminine, gets rid of the worry of being called Brian in the doctor's office waiting room, yet still holds the nickname of Briar if that's what Dad really wants to call her. Good luck whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

I find it kind of funny that the general assumption is that Briar is all girl, where as the only Briar I've ever met is a 24 year old man who just graduated from Navy SEAL school. He's ALL boy. I can definitely understand the girly connotation though, especially when associated with Briar Rose.
His name took a little getting used to when I first met him but now I think it's a great name, boy or girl.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to name my daughter Briar 21 years ago, but I could see the Brian issue ahead of time so I spelled it differently to prevent that confusion. Mine is a Bryre. Which later, we found is frequently confused with Bryce. LOL. I guess you can't win. But, my daughter loves, loves, loves her name and so do many other people who comment on it all the time. I am a fond of it today as I was 21 years ago. It suits her- original and tenacious.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the name Briar, it's beutiful. If you have other children later and you called your child Briar, you could call the others Clover, Poppy, Hyacith, Ivy, Holly, Marigold etc etc..... Briar and Clover would be cute :)

Leah said...

I named my 4th son Briar...his name is Briar Adam....his dad came up with it from the movie "Next of Kin" starring Patrick Swayze...although i was unsure of it at first...it grew on me and the day after he was born...i decided that i couldn't imagine naming him anything else!!!! I love his name so much now!!! He is now 4 years old and i think it suits him so perfect!! :) I am now expecting my 5th son in just 3 and a half weeks and am on the hunt for another boy name!! Lol...this is how i ended up here...i have a Brody, Shane, Colton, and Briar......hope to find another cute wonderful tough boy name!!! I love all my boys names!! :)