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Friday, November 30, 2012

Baby Boy Hollis-with-a-W, Brother to Corin Henry

Sarah writes:
Hope you can provide some guidance here for a couple of picky parents. We have a toddler son named Corin Henry, last name sounds like Hollis-with-a-W.

We love his name and we like that most people can say and spell it with little prompting, but it's different from most other names at the local park. It also suits our backgrounds - Scottish Canadian and English/Scottish Australian. The middle name honours his grandfather and great-grandfather (by using their middle names).

Now that we felt we did rather well naming our first, we're stuck trying to find an equally wonderful name for a second boy.

We live in a large, culturally diverse urban centre, so the naming options out there are wild and almost nothing unusual is unheard of. We are not worried if the name seems slightly feminine, in fact I rather it than a macho boy name like Rock or Axel. We like names from the British/Scottish/Welsh extraction. They just suit our background. Other guiding principles, I prefer two-syllable names for boys and don't like a plethora of common nicknames.

Our first decision was Errol which I love, but I got turned off it when I found some strange people on the internet that would have our son's first and last name. ARGH GOOGLE.

All of our other choices are mostly E names:
Emery/Emory  - wondering if it skews too female these days, I prefer the 'o' spelling but I think the college is pronounced Em-OR-y
Emrys/Emry - I like Emrys but the double 's' sound of the first and last names seems a bit lispy to me. Also the pronunciation of Emry does sound awfully like our first son's middle name. We wonder if people will just think we're mispronouncing Henry, which is a common name in our neighbourhood.

other names I've liked:


My husband isn't on board with any of these especially, but does not mind Rufus. It has the same double-s sound with our last name.

I'm stuck for any other suggestions. 

Hope you can help!

The first name that came to mind was Omri: similar to Emory and Emry, but not currently used for girls. (In the United States, Emory/Emery/Emry are all used more often for girls than for boys.) Omri is the name of the little boy in the book The Indian in the Cupboard, one of my favorite books from childhood. It's almost unused (only 26 baby boys were given the name in the U.S. in 2011), but not too difficult to say or spell. I spent a little time online looking up the pronunciation: most sources say it's AWM-ree. One or two gave an alternate pronunciation of a long O sound and an emphasis on the second syllable: ohm-REE. My family said it AHM-ree: the O sound of Oliver.

The second name that came to mind was Arlo: similar to Errol, but perhaps without any shady associations.

The third name that came to mind was Ruben: similar to Rufus, but without the S-ending issue.

I wonder if you'd like Earl or Karl or Darrell or Merrill instead of Errol?

Or Claude or Alton or Alden or Odin instead of Auden?

A few more possibilities:

Russell (maybe too much L and S with the surname)

Name update! Sarah writes:
Thought I would update you on the name of our second son, born a few days ago.

We went back and forth on a few names before the birth, with Errol back in the mix along with a few of your suggestions, but THE name never emerged. When he was born, my husband felt strongly immediately he was a little Rufus (I love the nn Roo) so we set about finding a middle to break up the double-s sounding ends.

We settled on my father's name Wyndham, and together we think the name sounds lovely, as well as being a suitable companion name for his besotted brother Corin.

Thank you so much for your help and that of your readers!


Wendy said...

Ooh, I love Merrick so much!

What about Anders? said...

Desmond comes to mind as a softer sound and Scottish feel. So many great choices, I don't see how you can go wrong! :)

Ginny said...

In eight years living in Atlanta, I only ever heard the college pronounced "EM-o-ry" (assuming you're talking about the one in Atlanta!) I do think the O spelling is a little more masculine, while the E spelling skews feminine to me.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Emery/Emrys names sounds very feminine to my U.S. ears. Maybe you'd like Emerson? It's also getting a lot of girl use these days, but I think it still has a more masculine feel. Swistle (as usual) offered a lot of good suggestion. I especially like Arlo, Merrill & Alden. Instead of Rufus & Ruben, I'll also suggest Rupert and Ronan.

sarah said...


Lucy Bea said...

I love the suggestions of Edmund, Franklin, Rupert, and Ronan. I also really like Dashiell, Declan, Liam, and Alfred. They seem to go with your style and sound great with your last name.

Anonymous said...

I met a guy named Kellagh once (Kell-uh), which I always thought was a cool name and might consider using if it wasn't the memorable name of someone my cousin dated.

Manday said...

I agree the double "s" thing does not sound quite right...

Swistle gave you some GREAT suggestions. I love Errol though, if you could get over the internet thing. The other name that popped into my head was Embry, which I love as well.

Fourandcounting said...

I think Gideon and Arlo are really nice choices.

My cousin has a 6-year-old named Nigel, and it's a surprisingly nice name.

Moomoo said...

Corin and Ralph (pronounced Raif)- or spelled as Raif or Raiph
Corin and Murray
Corin and Perry
Corin and Euan (pronounced You-an)

These sound good with Holliswithaw

Anonymous said...

I'm Scottish Canadian too! I wonder if you'd like one of my Scottish great relatives names: Nicol, pronounced like nickel. Nowadays you might get the odd person mishearing "Nicole" which brings you back to the issues you're having with Emory, but I think it's a cool name. There's also just Cole. Corin and Cole have a nice sound together without being too matchy. Good luck!

liz said...

Corin and Rupert
Corin and Thornton
Corin and Gordon
Corin and Edward

StephLove said...

I was going to suggest Emmet as a similar-to-Emory name, but I see someone beat me to it. I also liked the suggestions of Cedric and Merrick. Or how about Declan?

Kelly said...

I like Aryton. It's different, unique and seems to fit your style. Similar to Errol but hopefully without any bad google search results!

Anonymous said...

Brody or Declan

Gail said...

I know you say you like 2-syllables, but what about Evander? Scottish, different ending than Corin. Or:


I also like the suggestions of Rupert, Alistair and Perry, or Declan and Euan if you don't mind the same ending as Corin. Gideon is pretty biblical. Emery is pretty girlish at the moment. I like Emrys, but not so much with your surname. Gordon would be a bold choice, too.

Gail said...

Oops. Forget Gordon. Practically rhymes with Corin!

Fourandcounting said...

Another idea...since Corin has two family names, are there any other gems on your family tree so that son #2 can also have a family name incorporated in his?

I also like the idea of Hugh.

Anonymous said...


and i like Merrick a lot!

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought Omri and Arlo. Also love Ruben! Sidney or Luther sound good with your surname.

Liz said...

I went to Emory... it's pronounced like Emery. :)

I love Omri for your son!

Lucy Bea said...

I also like Elliot, Frasier, Abram, Arthur, and Stuart.

Anonymous said...

I immediately thought of Tristan with Corin.

Corin and Tristan sound great together.

Other suggestions;

Blair(one syllable though)

Hope these help.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Rufus is nice. How about Rhys or Gaelen?

Anonymous said...

Thirding the commenters above- As an Emory alum and employee, it's pronounced EM-or-y. And is a great baby name. :)

The Emery/Emory's I've known have all been Emery for girls, Emory for boys. Emory with an O would be great for a non-macho, easily recognizable, still unique name.

Valentina said...


I work at a child care and there was an adorable, sweet little boy with this name. It is unique, easy to pronounce, two syllables and starts with an 'e'. I think it could work with Corin as well. Good luck!

Megan said...

How about Eamon (pronounced Ay-man)? It means Edmund, but without the popular Ed nickname. I think it would sound good with Corin and with your last name.

Butterflyfish said...

Second on Eamon.
Rohan / Ronan

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem i see With Rufus is Roof Wall. If I am guessing the last name correctly. But would be a cool character name. It is humorous in a pleasing way to me.

Anonymous said...

Ramsay is a great name.

Ramsay Hugh?

Good luck!

Eliza said...


I have a similar background and in my family tree there is an Estey. My grandma loves that I love it, and I hope I get a chance to use it. Just thought I would mention this name in case you like it too.


Mary said...

Corin and Elian?



Anonymous said...

I like Megan's suggestion of Eamon for you! My MIL wanted us to use Eamon, but I couldn't get past how it sounded like "Amen" (diff intonation). But I do really like it.
For what it's worth, I considered Auden for our little girl- to me it sounds very feminine in an Audrey/Autumn/Eden way- which seems different from your manly sounding Corin.

The Mrs. said...

I agree that Hamish and Barnaby are good options. What about Aidric or Lachlan?

Best wishes!

kaitlin said...

what about Ezra? fits your e liking, and a solid strong name.

Anonymous said...

Hi Swistle,
I've never commented before (but always LOVE your posts), but thought this was such a fabulous example of what a name-guru you are, that I had to compliment you! This was such an interesting set of names, and you provided a wonderful group of names that seem just perfect, given the request - and that could really, truly work for this family! I am so impressed and amazed at your talent and skill. And it's always fascinating to follow along and see what helpful suggestions you come up with! Thanks for the fun reads :)

Sarah said...

Wow, thank you Swistle and everyone. I couldn't believe that you guys would come up with so many additional names that might work. I think with naming fatigue, you do feel like you've seen or heard it all :)

some of the suggestions we can't use:
Eamon (my nephew!)
Arlo (friend’s son, I told you we know good namers)
Dashiell (as above, though it was the runner-up for Corin)
Gordon (unfortunate family member, what a shame)
Emmett (friend’s son)
Franklin (ditto)
Declan (ditto)
Malcolm (friend’s son, was runner up for Corin too)
Ralph/Rafe/Raif (husband has vetoed)
Lachlan (sadly, it’s just so common in Australia, I couldn’t)

Some that I love
Perry (I’ve thought of this as a short form of Peregrine, which is possibly too fanciful, but maybe not?)
Desmond (lovely)
Ruben/Rupert (the first sounds more American than I would normally consider, but both are lovely, I love the roo sound)

I will certainly update you all when he arrives!

Megz said...

What a shame you can't use Eamon, as that was going to be my suggestion too. How about Damon instead?

I think the name Dale evokes nice images of English and Scottish hill country (a nod to your heritage), while being a softer name, easy to spell and say, and goes well with Corin. Corin and Dale. Dale (w) ollis.

Good luck and congratulations.

Ira sass said...

I like Ruben and Lyle.

What about Amit or Amal? Or Simon?