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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baby Girl Math-E, Sister to Isla Juliet

Jacquelyn writes:
We need your help! Our second daughter, and most-likely last child, is set to arrive this March, and we are going in circles trying to name her. Our first daughter is Isla Juliet, last name sounds like Math-E. Although we didn't foresee Isla becoming as popular as it has, we continue to adore it. It falls in the short and sweet category that we prefer, and feels feminine and spunky at the same time. We would like to give this baby a moniker with similar qualities, yet not projected to skyrocket the charts as her sister's did. We are confident that the perfect name is waiting to be unearthed...and you can help us do that!

There are several names that have been on and off of our list, including Lucia, Eva, Cora, and my husband's all time favorite, Alba. We may be willing to reconsider these, but for some reason or another, they just aren't feeling "right."

As it stands, two names - and two names only - continue to be in the running:


We like both names well enough, but have found problems with each. With Thea, we worry that that the repeating "thee" sound in our first and last names is too much. And while Eleanor is our top contender at this point, we only like the name as a whole. Is the ever-popular Ellie inevitable? Is Eleanor destined to be uber-popular? When it comes down to it, we feel that there could be a better choice out there that we just haven't come across.

I should also mention that we have yet to choose a middle name, but will be keeping with family tradition and giving our daughter a "J" name like my husband and his brothers', mine and my sisters', and our daughter's middle. So any suggestions there, while certainly not expected, would be of great help.

Thank you for taking the time to read our naming dilemma. We are grateful for your insight, and your opinions are highly valued and so very appreciated.

I do think Thea Math-ee is too much ee and th.

Eleanor is rising steadily. In the 1980s, it was in the 600s. In the 1990s, it was in the 500s and 400s. In the first decade, it was in the 300s and 200s. And in 2010, it was #165. It's not racing up the charts, but it's going at a nice brisk walk.

But I wouldn't necessarily let popularity rule out the name. For one thing, it's hard to know how many little Eleanors will be called Eleanor. Many parents are choosing it as a way to get the nickname Ellie, and others are choosing it as a way to get the nickname Nora (which I'd be recommending to you because of its similarity to Thea/Isla/Cora, except it's rising even faster than Eleanor). I do think it's easier now to prevent people from using nicknames you don't want them to use---but of course she might get older and choose a nickname for herself.

I wonder if a name like Linnea would appeal? Linnea and Eleanor share similar sounds, but Linnea ends up with a lighter touch---more like Isla. Isla and Linnea.

Linnea makes me think of Fiona. Isla and Fiona.

Fiona reminds me of Bianca, a name that's approximately the same popularity but falling instead of rising.

I see that one of my mom's favorite names is in The Baby Name Wizard as a sister name for Isla: Esme.

I think Audra has some of the rich sounds of Thea and Eleanor. Isla and Audra.

Instead of Thea, would you like Bria or Cleo or Delia or Freya or Gia or Mira or Opal?

You've probably spent a good deal of time in the J names already, but a few of my favorites are:



alexis said...

I have a friend with two daughters: Linnea and Eleanor, which are both amazing names that go very nicely with your last name.

Also, if Thea is out, what do you think about Téa (Tay-a), like Téa Leoni?

Another Erin from the 80s said...

I love Eleanor but agree it is becoming popular again. I vote Jane or Jean as a middle name. What about Arden or Vera? I like Isla and Vera together. I like alba but seems too matchy with Isla. Can't wait to hear what you choose!

Kate said...

I love Eleanor with the nickname Nora and I think it sounds great with Isla!

vanessa said...

I love Nora with Isla, but I love Esme even more. Esme Juniper! USE THAT.
I like Eleanor too.
Or, erm...
Cara Jane
Thora June (this is my second choice!)
Amelia Jude (maybe too close to Isla)
Ingrid Joy
Eliza Jude (this is my third favorite! actually, it might be my second favorite!)
Ella Josephine
Edith Jane (ooo I like this too!)
OK well clearly I could go on ALL DAY. let us know!

Mammal said...

Some thoughts: Fiona, Audra, Adriana, Celia, Camille

And for the J name: Jacinda, June, Jocelyn, Jade

Natalia said...

The name Isla immediately makes me think of Maeve, although Isla is Scottish and Maeve is Irish. But I love Isla and Maeve. Maeve Joy or Maeve Jean.

Eleanor is a beautiful name, I really like Isla and Eleanor. Eleanor Jean sounds lovely!

If you really love the name and the only problem is the nn Ellie, other options are: Nell, Nellie, Nora, Lana, Lena, Nore, Nory, Elle, Ellen, Ella, Leanne, Lea, Nora, Lennie, Elora, Belle, Nori.

I really like Leanne, even as a name. Isla and Leanne. Leanne Juniper or Leanne Joy.

And Lea sounds like Thea, maybe you like it. Isla and Lea (too many 'L' sounds?).

Thea also makes me think of Tessa. Isla and Tessa. Tessa Jane. Tessa Josephine.

Cora reminds me of Carina and Carola.

Emilia is like a mix between Eleanor and Lucia (in my crazy mind at least!). I like Emilia June, sounds so feminine!

I could go on and on! Hope you let us know your final decision!

Lucy B said...

Your first daughter has a beautiful name!

Thea fits into your "short and sweet, feminine and spunky" style and goes very well with Isla. I might be concerned about the similarity to your last name Math-ee, but that could also be kind of cool. I wonder if naming her Anthea could alleviate the matchiness with your last name. Anthea Jane, Anthea June, Anthea Jude, Anthea Jocelyn, Anthea Joss...

I adore the name Eleanor, though it doesn't seem to fit your aforementioned "short and sweet, feminine and spunky" style, unless shortened to Ellie, which I gather you don't want. Also, it seems a bit too similar in sound to Isla (because of the beginning "Ella" sound).

I really like Swistle's suggestion of Esme! It seems to go perfectly with your style and with the sib name Isla. Esme Jocelyn, Esme Josephine, Esme Julianna...

Eleanor and Linnea remind me of the name Leona. I've a friend with a daughter Leona who they've nicknamed Leelo and, my gosh, that's cute! Leona June, Leona Joy, Leona Josephine.

Finally, the name Isla reminds me of the name Saoirse, for some reason. I know, one's Scottish, one's Irish and that may be a big faux pas! Also, Saoirse is obviously a complete challenge to pronounce properly in N America (not sure where you are!) I've read the pronunciation as Seer-sha, Sare-sha, or Sheer-sa. I like the pronunciation Seer-sha. Saoirse Jolie, Saoirse Julianne.

Like Vanessa, clearly I could go on all day!

The Mrs. said...

Thea Math-e sounds musical to me! Like the crescendo in a verse, it has movement and a poetic quality. It's a name you don't forget and is truly my favorite.
Thea Jonquil Math-e

Other short and sweet feminine names:

And, I agree with Swistle (and her mom) that Esme would be a nice sister name for Isla... both have four letters, two syllables, different vowel sounds, and same hip factor.

Other middle name ideas:

January (although your daughter is due in March, perhaps your anniversary is in January?)

Best wishes to you and your growing family. Please let us know what you and your husband decide!

Anonymous said...

Love Isla!

Suggestions: Elva, Iona, Dorothea, Ada, Aurelia, Mila, Lila, Lena, Lina, Alta, Vita, Sadie, Piper, Luna, Adela, Eden, Willa, Olive, Adele, Josie

Good luck!

KWILY said...

I think Esme is so fabulous with Isla. Other suggestions for you would be Violet or Nina. Nina is so great I can't believe it isn't more popular!

the hills said...

I was so excited to see Thea! It's a favorite of mine but I've never seen it on anyone. So rare & lovely. If the last name rythmyness bothers you there are some great other options. Esme, Aria, or Neve would all go beautifully with Isla! Happy naming!

Anonymous said...

I really like the suggestions of Olive & Luna. We are considering Isla for our next little one, but our first one is Chloe, which I guess is way too popular for you! I also like Nomi, Senna, Romy & Lilou. Good luck!

Amber said...

Isla is top of my list, so I'll tell you what else is on there :)

Stella (too rhymey with Isla?)
And my favorite with Isla... Bronte (bron-tee) Bronte Juniper Math-e. Bronte Jean Math-E.

Good luck and can't wait to hear what you choose :)

Anonymous said...

I think the name Eleanor is beautiful and elegant. My sister-in-law (who's 30) is named Eleanor, and she's always "Eleanor," never something shorter. So I think you don't need to be worried about Eleanor morphing into "Ellie."

I think Eleanor June is beautiful. I also like Eleanor Jane.

Good luck and congratulations!

Angie said...

Isla Juliet is lovely!

I love unearthing unusual names, and if you want unusual, I thought of these short unusual names:

Anais - a-na-EES

* Would you believe Ida was a top 10 name for the 1880's? I don't see it coming back like other names from that decade though.

I also thought of Ione / Iona / Aida, but they all sound too similar to Isla to me.

I love the suggestions of Vera, Nola, Pearl, and Celia. What I really like about Celia is that it's different without trying too hard to be different.

Angie said...

Oh - and Isis (IE-sis), but that may also be too similar to Isla. I really like it though. Good luck!

gail said...

I love Isla Juliet. It manages to be elegant, literary, and spunky in one fell swoop!

In the past six months, two of my young friends who don't know one another have named daughters Cora, which tells me Cora might become the new Nora. Aside from its popularity, Nora balances Isla really well.

Of Swistle's suggestions, I like Esme, Audra, and Freya the best.

Along with your preferences for short, sweet, feminine, spunky, and not over-popular, I've add the constraints of not using names that start with "I", "J", or "M" or that end in the "E" sound of your last name. Some are used more in Europe, but that's where Isla originated, so I thought them fair game.

Annet (AHN-it)
Anika (AHN-i-ka)
Liv or Olive
Renate (Re-NAH-ta)
Sancha (SAHN-cha)
Sonya (SONE-ya)
Valo (Val as in Valentine)
Zaya (ZA-ya)

Annet Josefa
Zaya Jonquil
Tanya Juniper
Raquel Johanna

Good luck!

StephLove said...

When I read, short, sweet, feminine and spunky I wanted to suggest my daughter's name-- June. If you'd like the double J sound of June with another J-middle (some people like that kind of thing and others don't), June Josephine could be cute.

I'm not sure about Thea with your last name. Stretching it out to Theodora would move the first set of th and ee sounds to a more pleasing distance from the second set, but then you lose the short and sweet bit. I like it, though. Theodora Math-E. Isla and Theodora.

StephLove said...

Another possibility: Athena.

Emily said...

My daughters is Isla and as we're trying to get pregnant again we're spending each of the "2week wait" times day dreaming about possible sibling names.

One of my main criteria is that I don't like the repeated soft a sound at the end of a sibling name when paired with Isla. ie Cora, Thea, Fiona. Which rules out some lovely thematic pairings such as Iona and Alba.

Your husband's preference suggests you might (or he might) want to stick with the Scottish theme. How about

Airdrie- it looks longer than Isla but is still only 2 syllables. I've also seen it as Airdryth to make it more feminine, but the repeating th with your last name may not work.
Skye- another Scottish island

Looking forward to your update to see what y decided!

Amy said...

I love the nicknames Nora and Nell for Eleanor and think Eleanor Jane is lovely. Other names that I love and think work well with Isla are

Nina - Nina Jane
Maeve - Maeve Juniper
Violet - Violet Jane
Lena - Lena Jane
Clara - Clara June
Greta - Greta Jane

Amy said...

I love the nicknames Nora and Nell for Eleanor and think Eleanor Jane is lovely. Other names that I love and think work well with Isla are

Nina (Jane)
Maeve (Juniper)
Violet (Jane)
Lena (Jane)
Clara (June)
Greta (Jane)
Eliza (Jane)

Nicole said...

Oh what a lovely name your daughter has. I would suggest Alba... It it beautiful and somehow Isla and Alba just seem to belong together! Repeating the 4 letters and the L sounds. WONDERFUL.

Alba Jaquelyn, Alba Juniper, Alba Jessamine, Alba Julianna (maybe a bit too close to Juliet)... Alba Josephine, Alba Joy...

I also suggest:
Lana, Lyra, Selah, Prue/Pru, Vada, Vida, Esme, Roma, Rose, or Mira.

Isla and Mira
Isla and Rose
Isla and Pru

Good Luck and go with your gut! Keep looking for your name!

beyond said...

Oh, I like Thea a lot! A friend of mine is Dorothea, and she goes by Doro and Thea, both of which are lovely. (I find Thea with your last name appealing, although I see how some might find the sounds problematic...)
If you go with Eleanor, Nora would be sweet. Isla and Nora. Swoon.
I immediately thought of Freya, but Swistle beat me to it, and I also like the suggestion of Esme.
Alma (instead of Alba)? Although Isla and Alma is a bit of a tongue twister for me.
Clara? Sadie? Hazel?
(I'm liking Isla and Hazel!)
Good luck!

KWILY said...

Rose! I'm certain I'd call her Rosie, but Isla and Rose!!! Amazing.

Mary said...

Isla Juliet and Eden Jacinda?

Jacquelyn Math-E said...

Wow! There have been so many fantastic name suggestions thus far. I have added several to our short list and cannot wait for Husband to get home so we can discuss!

Thank you for the thought you have put into naming our daughter. I'll keep checking back for more suggestions...and update you once we choose!

Anonymous said...

What about...

Elise. Isla and Elise. Beautiful.
Isadora (Izzy)

Anonymous said...

I think Aurelia Mathee sounds beautiful. Aurelia Jane? Aurelia Joy ?

Another one I like is is Blair. It has that feminine but spunky sound to it. Blair Joelle? Blair Juniper?

Lastly, I'd like to suggest the name Grae. It's sweet and simple and not very common. Grace Jocelyn Mathee? Grae Jordan Mathee? I especially like this one with Isla. Isla and Grae. So cute!

JCF said...

I have a 3 year old named Eleanor, and she never goes by a nickname. We did have to stand firm for a few months after she was born, when many people wanted to call her Ellie, Ella, or Nora, but we just said, "No, she's just Eleanor" and most people dropped it. Two people had to be asked not to call her Ellie (nothing against the name Ellie, but it sounds AWFUL with our last name). We've met a couple of other Eleanors, and they are always called Ellie or Ella. I think if you stick with Eleanor, you won't find it to be very popular at all.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is Eleanor Jane so I vote for that! She is always Eleanor, not Ellie, although at home we'll sometimes call her Nell or Ella Bella. Isla and Eleanor are lovely together!

Anonymous said...

As alternatives to Eleanor/Thea I suggest: Leora, Rhea and Thora. Also like Celeste, Tamsin, Rona, Tessa and Poppy!

Emily S. said...

I also LOVE the name Isla and would have named my baby that if he was a girl. Juliet was also on our list of first names, so I think our styles might be similar. The third girl's name we really liked was Quinn. It doesn't have the repeating a sound at the end and it is spunky too! Quinn Jessa? I also LOVE Carys and probably would have had that on my list if it went with my last name. Carys Jane? Carys Joy?
Other short and sweet names: Eden, Pippa, Grace, Keely, Hope
Good luck! Can't wait to hear what you choose!

Heidi J said...

We seem to have somewhat similar taste in names as I'm also expecting a girl and both Eva and Cora are on our short list. I'll list the other girl names we've been considering and maybe you'll like some of those too!


emily said...

What do you think of Athena ?

Helena said...

I read "Thea" as "TAY-ah" (like Tea Leoni, as another poster mentioned) and I think that TAY-ah Math-ee sounds great! Isla and TAY-ah are great siblings.

monicabenson said...

I'm throwing my hat in the ring for June - Isla and June is adorable. June stands on its own. And I think June Eleanor is lovely.

brooke said...

i'm voting for ivy jane or esme june. or ivy june or esme jane. love!

changelivlife said...

I'm going to vote with the minority and say that I LOVE Thea Math-e.

I think it suggests alliteration but is not at all rhymey.

Thea Juniper Math-e, FTW!

And for the above commentor who suggested Olive. I'd steer clear, as actress Isla Fisher's daughter is Olive.

Lastly, if you want another suggestion, my fave short and sweet name is Blythe.

Isla and Blythe.

Blythe Math-e.

Good luck to you!

Ira sass said...

Theadora seems to split the difference, and Theadora Math-e sounds a lot better than Thea Math-e, IMO.

Or what about Leanore? With Lea as a nickname, which could be pronounced lee-ah or lay-ah.

I also like:
Nora/h -- though maybe more popular than you'd like

With J nicknames:
Mira Josephine
Mira Joanne
Mira June
Mira Juniper
Mira Jennifer
Mira Jane
Mira Joelle
Vera Josephine
Vera Juniper
Vera Jennifer
Vera Jean
Vera Jo
Vera Joelle
Theadora Jo
Theadora Jade
Theadora Joy
Theadora Jean
Theadora Jane
Leanore Jane
Leanore Jada
Leanore June
Leanore Juna
Nora June
Nora Jane
Nora Jade
Nora Joanne
Nora Joelle
Hazel June
Hazel Joanna
Hazel Josephine
Hazel Juniper
Fiona Jade
Fiona Joanne
Fiona June