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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Baby Naming Issue: Is "Evie L." Too Close to "Evil"?

K. writes:
I am currently 38 weeks pregnant, so we are running out of time to settle on names. After many weeks of obsessively poring over baby name blogs/lists/books I finally thought we'd managed to settle on at least a girl's name (we don't actually know the gender of the baby yet).

However, my DH has just pointed out that with our last name beginning with L. our choice of Evie becomes Evie L. We're worried this sounds a bit too much like Evil. What do you and your readers think? An alternative, Eve, is even worse (and I find it a bit too much on the religious side), and we don't like the Evelyn/Eva options. The nickname Evie is what it would go by anyway, so the issue really is the Evie L./Evil connection.

Some further information, in case anyone wants to make additional suggestions: our last name is two syllables and ends in an 'ee' sound. (Note: The combination of first and last name both having 'ee' sounds doesn't really bother me, for the right name.) Our first child is a little boy called Felix. We think this next baby will be our last.

Some other names that have been finalists for a girl include Sylvie (currently thinking this is too similar to Sophie, the name of a close cousin; and starting to sound a bit too much on the grandma side to me), Grace (currently sounding a bit too ordinary/plain; would go by Gracie). A couple of loved, but rejected names, include Esme (love this name, but would probably want to shorten it - can't think of a nickname I like, and can think of some potential nicknames I don't like e.g. Essy/Ezzy/May), Camille (pronunciation issues, and runs into our L. last name) and Lyra (doesn't flow well with our last name).

We're not really set with a boys name either (sigh). A few potential finalists include Finn (a bit too popular? Finnan is a potential longer name that could be ok, but opens up spelling issues; also, both siblings would start with 'F'), Oscar (don't like the nickname Ossy; the Odd Couple association is slightly annoying as well - i.e. Felix and Oscar siblings), Archer (DH not real keen), August (on the list with our previous child, but gone off it lately), Sidney (DH not keen on link with the city - we live in Australia, though not in Sydney), Luca/Lucas (Luca sounding a bit feminine to me; Lucas may be a bit too ordinary, and the s sound runs into the L of our last name in a bad way; L names with our last name sound a bit super-heroish to me i.e. like Lex Luther).

As far as name styles go, we tend to like names that are slightly unusual/old-fashioned, but not unheard of. For girls we like feminine sounding names, and unisex names are out for either gender. For boys, we like masculine names, but not too tough sounding. I also seem to have a particular liking for 'ie' endings for girls, and I generally don't like names ending in 'a' e.g. Sylvia, Sophia, Eva, although there are exceptions e.g. Lyra, Greta (Greta was rejected by me as we know someone in a town we used to live in who has both a Felix and a Greta; also, DH not keen on Greta in general). We will give the child a middle name as well, but for now I just want to have a first name to work with!

Sigh, this has been a long letter, but we're really struggling here with names and I could do with all the help I can get!

Thank you!

After thinking it over for awhile, my own opinion is that Eve L. would be a deal-breaker, but that Evie L. is okay. I think we should have a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]

However, it would sit even better with me if Evie were the nickname rather than the given name. One Evie-nickname that doesn't start with Ev- is Genevieve. I love it with Felix, too: Felix and Genevieve.

Another is Geneva. Felix and Geneva.

The spelling Silvie may make the name Sylvie seem more youthful. It doesn't seem too close to Sophie to me; for sisters, yes, but not for cousins.

Without a surname to work with, it's difficult to think of brother names for Felix. I'd suggest Milo and Leo, for example, but those are likely a problem with the L in the surname. Or maybe not, since the L in Felix is okay.

Simon might work. I like Felix and Simon together, and it continues to work well if things change and you have a little Evie later on.

I see The Baby Name Wizard recommends Oliver, which might have the flavor of Oscar without the Odd Couple associations.

I also like Felix and Calvin, especially with the cute nickname Cal.

Or Felix and Wesley: Wes is one of my top favorite boy nicknames.

Clark is unusual but not unheard-of.

Or Lincoln/Linc. Felix and Lincoln.

Finian makes me think of Declan. Felix and Declan.

Poll results for "Is 'Evie L.' too close to 'evil'?" (351 votes total):

Yes, it's too close - 101 votes (29%)
No, I don't think it's a problem - 150 votes (43%)
Yes as a given name, no as a nickname - 86 votes (25%)
Can't decide - 14 votes (4%)


Mary said...

I don't think Evie L. would be a problem. Eve L. maybe but not Evie. If it does bother you, what about using the name Edie, Effie, Elvie? Edie L., Effie L., or Elvie L. have no other meanings.

Sylvie is very cute too, I don't think it's too old fashioned. It is in the same sphere of names as Livia, Vivienne to me. Felix and Vivienne, Felix and Vivi would be really great together as well.

Esme could be Emmie or Mimi.

What about Callie or Mila/Millie instead of Camille?

For boys, I think Finn is gorgeous. Felix and Finn. If you want a longer name Finnigan, Fintan, Finnian, Finneas - all would work.

Oliver makes a nice alternative to Oscar. Orson or Otis may also work?

Elias would sound good with Felix, and could go by Eli if you want a nn. Or Ezra?

Archie, Edward (Ned), or Theo?

Amy said...

I don't think Evie L. would be a problem. What about Evangeline?

Libby said...

Evangeline is sooo pretty!

There's also Vivienne, Evanna, Ginevra, Evette... so many lovely names.

EB said...

I am an Evelyn, called Evey as a child. My parents sometimes called me Evel/Evil (affectionately), but I never once had a problem with other kids using it to tease me (even my siblings). Granted, my last name doesn't start with an "L", but I personally don't think it would be an issue unless there was another Evie/Evey in her class and she had to go by Evie L. Even then, I think it wouldn't be a problem.

Marjorie said...

Our daughter is Evangeline "Evie" for short. We love it! However I love Esme too!! Would you consider Ivy?

vanessa said...

spelling it Evey helps with the Evil thing...but I think that unless you are planning to give the child a "real" full name Evie/Evey is too nicknamey. But I love the idea of a long version for the name--Evelyn, Genevieve, Genevra...
Sylvie is lovely. I know a Sylvia who is eight and it is a delightful name, really! and Felix and Sylvie both have a pleasing international sound to them. and I like that the L ties them together. Actually, please just use that name.
I like the name Felix a lot and am currently trying to think of names that work well with it...
Felix and...

JodieG said...

I actually know an Evie L. (the Evie is a nick name and she's 9) and honestly I never thought about Evil.

StephLove said...

I liked the suggestions of Genevieve and Simon. So much I don't think I'll make any of my own, in fact.

gail said...

Not sure about Evie L reminding me of evil, but it does somewhat remind me of the popular prescription drug Ellavil.

Because Felix is a name with such an established lineage, I'd like to suggest some sort of similar name for Evie--I think Evangeline or Genevieve or both great suggestions.

For stylistic matches with Felix, I'd suggest names like Calvin, as Swistle says, or George, Ralph, Samuel, Oliver, Marcel, Reuben, Edwin.....And for a sister, Sylvia, Maude, Olive, June, Daphne, Matilda, Imogen--oh--and Esme! :)

Best of luck--I love the name Felix.

Anonymous said...

I think Evie L may be a little close, especially if there is more than one Evie in her class.

To me it sounds more like the letters EVL are being spelt out. That might be kinda cute if her middle name was Victoria or Vivienne. But with txt-speak EVL definitely makes me think Evil.

Would you like Niamh or Neeve instead?

sarahpj said...

I have a lovely student named Esme, and her family (and I - I've known them for years) call her "Es", rhyming with 'says' .. it's quite darling.

Anonymous said...

As I'm a fan of long, elegant names with short, spunky nicknames (my daughter and I both have those kinds of names!) I vote for giving your daughter a longer formal name and then calling her Evie. Genevieve is such a gorgeous, under-used name so it gets my vote. Evelyn and Evangeline are also lovely. AND, I adore the name Sylvia (Sylvie) and think it might *go* with Felix the best. To recap: (1) Genevieve (nn Evie) (2) Sylvia (nn Sylvie).

Angela said...

Hmm. The evil connection doesn't bother me about Evie but the nickname-ness of it does. I prefer longer names so that kids have options.

From your list, I really love Sylvie. It has a similar sound to Evie but is much more classic. I also think it goes better with Felix. It doesn't sound grandmother at all!

Sylvie Grace L. would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

How about evany?

Grace said...

In short, no. I doubt anyone but the scrutinizing parents will notice Evie L. = Evil. If she does notice, she might notice the way I did, when an email format caused me to put my first initial (I went by my middle name at that time) and my last name together to form skinny. I was in high school and it was good for a momentary laugh. I don't think she will be writing first name, last initial that often. Her name with be on attendance like L, Evie middle initial. She will write her name like Evie L____.

But, a way to get around this is to do what my friend did and have her name be Evabelle, but she goes by Evie. That way, her name written out with first name, last initial could be Evabelle L. but her name could still be Evie. Evangeline or Evangelina is also a choice for this.

M.Amanda said...

Unless she has another Evie/Eve in her class, it probably won't come up. If it does, I don't think it's so terrible, especially if her name is Evie or Eve as opposed to Evi. Then you could point out she's more like Evel Knievel than Evil. And then you could explain just who Evel Knievel was and feel very, very old.

Anonymous said...

We have a Felix, and are considering Blythe or Penelope (nn Nella) for a girl, and Sebastian or Kemuel for a boy. Maybe that helps :) All the best!

plantingoaks said...

I agree that it's hardly likely to come up. That's an unusual form of abbrevialtion. I liken it to my own first name which becomes 'Christ' on certain forms that limit number of characters - I noticed, laughed at it, moved on and didn't really think of it any more.

If you like it, use it, don't overthink.

Anonymous said...

I think I probably would make the Evie L/Evil association even if I weren't told about it, but on the other hand I'd probably also move on from it fairly quickly. I have to admit I am not a fan of the nickname-as-first-name thing, though, because I am all about giving the kid a more formal/professional option in case they ever want it. I love Swistle's suggestion of Geneva. I also have recently discovered the name Evanthe (means "beautiful flower" in Greek) and kind of adore it.

Sylvie does not seem grandma-ish to me at all (more like French and glamorous!), although I agree that Sylvia might indeed have a bit of that vibe. I don't think it's too close to Sophie -- definitely in the same vein, but on cousins I think it would be sweet, not annoyingly matchy-matchy.

Anonymous said...

Eve and Evie have become extraordinarily popular in Australia recently. I say this because I live here too and also because it ensures you will have a classroom situation of "Eve/Evie L". When my daughter Eve was born 12 years ago I rang my best friends, also in Australia and announced her name. Their 9 year old daughter in the background said "Eve? As in Ev-il?!". I was horrified as I hadn't even considered that as a possibility and instantly regretted it but it was kind of too late. I got around it by giving her a hyphenated first name Eve-(another name) which is one way around it, but in hindsight I wish I had made it Evangeline. It is a beoooootiful name which shortens to nicknames Evie or Angie at home. That's my advice! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

In Victoria, the names Eve/Evie/Eva are the second most popular names for girls for the past two years. Combined with the other forms including Evelyn they outweigh the other most popular girls names by almost double. I am using the Registry information here. While they are lovely names, their popularity in Australia is so extreme these days that I would avoid it. By the time they go to school, statistically there will be several "Eve"s in every grade of most schools.

Anonymous said...

Ooooooh! Geneva! You get the nickname you like and it such a perfect match with Felix!