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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby Naming Issue: What If You Like the Way a Name Sounds, But Not How It Looks?

M. writes:
I have been a long time reader even before I was expecting.  I am due in six weeks (mid Feb) with our first baby which is a girl.  Our last name is Price and we live on the East Coast.  We hope to have another child after this one.  Naming a child has given me a lot of anxiety, so I didn't really start thinking about a name until 20 weeks, and I knew the gender for sure.  I do like the name Lucas for a boy.  For boys names I don't mind more common names and prefer something masculine.  For girls I would prefer if the name not be in the top 10 at least.  I lean toward more feminine names and don't usually like unisex names.  I also don't prefer when people add in a "Y" to make the name look unique or different ie. Jordyn or Emersyn.  I personally get confused with a name like Carys.  For a long time I could never figure out how to say it.  We have had very few contenders for our girl.  I would like a name on Monday and then hate it by Sunday.  Elizabeth has come up a number of times for us, but I am not sold on it. 

I have listened to what you have said many times that "there will be no perfect name."  It is interesting to me the name we seem to be landing on based on everything I just said in the above paragraph.  I like the name Bryn.  However with our last name, I didn't like the a one syllable first and last name.  So someone suggested Brynley.  The more and more I think about it, it has really grown on me.  I like that we could call her Bryn and Brynley.  I would like her to have the option to go by Bryn when she is older as well. 

Here is the problem.  I can't decide between the spelling Brynley or Brinley.  Brynley just looks so confusing to me with the "y."  Will people constantly be confused how to pronounce it?  As a teacher for 10 years I think about this a lot.  I liked that my name growing up was easy to say and spell, but with all the crazy names nowadays is everyone having to tell people how to do this?  I don't want people to look at her name and think to say it BRIAN (like the boy)-Lee.  That would be annoying to me as a kid.  I do like the shortened form Bryn and it doesn't seem hard to figure out.  With Brynley the "Y" just seems like we are trying to be different like Jordyn or Emersyn.  In the end I just don't like how it looks, seems like there are two many "y's" or something.     

Brinley seems to make all these issues go, but it just looks SO masculine to me.  I don't like looking at it.  I don't like looking at Brin either. 

I don't like Brynleigh or Brynlee. 

Should we go back to the drawing board even if I really like how a name sounds, but don't like how it looks?  Could you give me some advice that might ease my mind with this name and a spelling.  Am I crazy and over thinking this?

If you're asking my own personal opinion, I greatly prefer the spelling Brinley. It doesn't look masculine to me, and I get the same "too many Y's" and "maybe trying to be different" reactions you find you get with Brynley. Also, even though I know Brynley is pronounced the same as Brinley, my mind keeps wanting to say Bry- to rhyme with try and cry.

But if you hate the way Brinley/Brin looks, that's a significant issue---one that I'd say trumps the issues with the Brynley spelling.

It may be that these issues will mean the name isn't the right choice. I'm still unhappy that Paul and I had to scratch the name Elliot off our list because neither of us would agree to the other one's preferred spelling (he preferred Eliot). But it really did come down to that: the name didn't work for us because of the way it looked.

Or, maybe it means going back to Bryn. I think Bryn Price is a 1-1 combination that works, like Brad Pitt works, and it lets you use the spelling you prefer without running into the issues that come up when you add -ley. You could choose a middle name that would work nicely for calling her both when you wanted something longer, like Bryn Louise or Bryn Marie.

Or we could find some similar names. Finley, for example, or Quinn or Wynne, or Brenna. Hey, maybe Brynna? Brynna Price gives you a 2-1 pattern instead of 1-1, and you could still use Bryn. My mind does briefly do that rhymes-with-try thing, but I don't think it would KEEP doing that. And as with Brynley, I DO know how it's pronounced: I wouldn't actually think it might be like brine-ah, it would only be a momentary brain flicker when I looked at it.

Or there's Braelyn? Or I'm trying to remember the little girl my mom knows who has such a cute name along similar lines. I'll email her and add it in here later. It might actually BE Brinley or Braelyn. (Edited to add: It's Braelyn.)

Or Kinley is cute, or Kinsley.

Or Briony, pronounced either BREE-ah-nee or BRY-ah-nee.

Or Corinne is similar in sound to Bryn, but with two syllables. Corinne Price.

Or Karenna. Karenna Price.

Or Katherine would be so pretty. Katherine Price.

Or Marin? I'm thinking of it pronounced like MARE-rin, rather than like Marin County. Marin Price.

Mirren is similar and I love Helen Mirren. Mirren Price.

Or Linnea, with nicknames Linn and Linnie.

Elizabeth also seems great to me. Elizabeth Price is such a good name. If it's not quite right, maybe you'd like Eliza or Elsa or Eloise or Ellery. Or you could name her Elizabeth Brynn Price and still call her Brynn sometimes.

But I think Brynna is my favorite option: an extended version of Bryn, which is what you wanted from Brynley, but without the same issues.

Let's also have a poll over to the right to see how we as a group are divided on the spelling Brinley vs. Brynley. [Poll closed; see results below.]


Brenda said...

My niece is named Brynley. That's how she spells it so I a very used to it. I love the name and it just works. To me Brinley looks funny but I am sure it's because of what I am used to.

I say go for Brynley.

Carly G said...

I prefer Brinley. Brynley looks too trendy. But my favorite is definitely Brynna. I think it takes away the masculine edge you wanted to avoid.

Anonymous said...

I'm torn, because I know a Brynley, so that's the only way I've thought to spell it. I have an issue with multiple Y's as well, though, so Brinley would make sense. But to me, it looks like a last name.

I like many of Swistle's suggestions that seem to capture the style you want, without the spelling dilemma. I also think that Elizabeth Price is a great name, very classic and solid.

As a side note, I know a Briony whose name is pronounced "Bri-ny." No middle syllable. said...

I know you probably don't need any more options, but I had a thought...

What about Bronwyn, nn Bryn?

I could buy that, and I think Bronwyn Price has a nice ring to it. It's also fairly easy to spell and the pronunciation is fairly obvious, in my opinion.

Bronwyn Elizabeth Price? Bryn Price? Bronwyn Price?

All good.

Good luck!

sarah said...

I like Swistle's suggestion of Brynna. Perfect!

Other similar sounding names you might like:

Good luck!

sarah said...

PS I also knew someone who spelled it Brynne, pronounced like Bryn. I think Bryn Price sounds fine, especially with a longer middle name like Elizabeth. I like Swistle's comparison to Brad Pitt!

StephLove said...

I liked a lot of the sounds-like suggestions: Finley, Quinn, Wynne, Zinnia, Browwyn, etc. I think Bronwyn is my favorite-- with Elizabeth as a middle. Good luck!

HereWeGoAJen said...

I like Brinley. My grandmother's name was Brunhilde (poor woman) and she went by Brin, so I've seen that spelling and consider it normal.

Allyson said...

The problem with Bryn/Brin (and therefore Brynley/Brinley)is it makes me want to say Brine. I need to see a double n to tell me how to say the vowel. Not to mention, I've never seen Bryn, only Brynn. But I agree, the double Y in Brynley is odd and makes it look contrived.

Anonymous said...

I think Bryn Price is fabulous. I like the 1-1 syllable combo. I do prefer the spelling Brynn, but I'm biased because it's my daughter's middle name.

For the question at hand, I prefer Brynley. It does look a little trendy, but doesn't strike me as trying too hard to be creative.

Anonymous said...

i completely understand your 1-1 syllable issue. we have a similar issue with naming children in our family. There is a part of me that feels like the child needs at least 2 syllables for the first name or we didn't "give him/her enough name." However, i think that could be easily solved with a double name or Swistle's suggestion of Brynna. I do like Brynn with 2 n's as opposed to 1 n. I think it makes the "Y" stand out less and immediately invokes the short "i" sound instead of the long "i sound". i also have to agree that Elizabeth Price is a great name. I like Elizabeth Brynn Price. Maybe that is my favorite of all of the options.

and PS i can't agree enough about the extra Y added to names when it doesn't need to be and for that reason, I can't get on board with Brynley. it seems like it would also drive you crazy if you went with that. i think you would always feel the need to justify the spelling whenever someone asks how to spell it.

Fourandcounting said...

I really like Bryn Price. I don't think it's too choppy at all. I much prefer "Bryn" to "Brynly" or "Brinley."

I think Elizabeth Bryn Price is a great solution as well, if you prefer the look of a longer first name.

Fourandcounting said...

One more thing - I just read the suggestion of Bronwyn as an option, and I like that choice as well: it doesn't feel made-up, is classy like Elizabeth but not as common, and you can get Bryn out of it pretty easily.

Bronwyn Price. Very nice!

I know two women named Bronwyn in their 20s and another friend has it as her middle name, and has always wished it was her first name.

Here's a link on the name - published today!

Geeni said...

I agree with your issues: Brynley is overloaded with Y's, but Brinley borders on gender-neutral. I think I would deal with it by finding another name with the same FEEL, but without the visual and pronunciation baggage of your current options.

I think Briony is a great sound-alike -- similar sounds, but slides off the tongue more easily. I also think Corinne is beautiful with Price (such a tragically underused name). And the suggestion of Bronwyn is genius! Very classy and elegant for formal occasions or adulthood, with Bryn as a nickname.

Janelle said...

Bronwyn nn Bryn! That is a brilliant suggestion and I only wish I'd thought of it first. I also really like Brynna, or even Brynne.

But as another poster said, Elizabeth Bryn Price is such a lovely name, that it's hard to throw it out.

Anonymous said...

I also thought of Bronwyn right away and happen to love that name.

I also have a weird prejudice against the letter Y. I also dislike the EE sound Y often gives at the end of a name, so I'm not a huge fan of Brinley, but that's just me.

Also, I think there are a lot of names that give precedence to nicknames not needing to share spelling with names. So if you go with Brinley, Bryn is still an option in my book. Catherine can go by Kate for example.

I wonder if the letter writer might comment and give us more names that were sort of but not quite right?

Liz Botts said...

I agree that Bryn Price sounds fine. Bronwyn would definitely give you the nickname you want, but might go in a different style direction. To me Brynley/Brinley and Bronwyn are in different places style-wise. If you go with Elizabeth there are so many nicknames that you could go with. Some that start with Bs too (Beth, Betsy, Betty, etc.)
Good luck, and congratulations on your baby!

Krista said...

Coming out of the woodwork to post my first comment! I have a cousin who recently named her little girl Brynne. I think the added "-ne" makes the name feel more complete, and seems to help with pronunciation--"Brynne, like Lynne."

Brynne Elizabeth Price. Lovely!

Lashley said...

My vote is for Bryn Elizabeth Price! I like Bryn Price, but I just realized that the short I sound of the Y in Bryn does get a little confusing next to the long I sound in Price. Brynn(e) solves that for me.

I think the whole debate become less confusing by removing Brinley/Brynley from consideration, especially since it just seems like a means to an end (calling her Bryn). Personally, I like

Bryn(ne) Elizabeth
Elizabeth Bryn(ne)
Bronwyn ____

Seriously, let's give a Swistle Award (that should become a thing, btw) to the commenters who suggested Bronwyn.

Bonnie said...

I will give a plug for my daughters name...Wren. Sounds like Bryn. Along that line we almost named her Wrenly (or Renly)because of the one-syllable issue. In the end, we went with Wren and I couldn't be happier. Most of the time we call her Wrenny. So maybe all you need is a longer nickname?

Krista said...

Also, I had another thought (now that I've started I can't stop, ha!). Brinley and Brynne seem like very different styles to me. For example, Brinley/Brynley seems like it follows the masculine surname trend for girls, falling into the category of Avery, Delaney, etc, whereas Bryn/ne seems more like a short/sassy/modern girl's name like Quinn, Reese, or Sloan.

Perhaps consider which style you'd prefer for future children? You mention you like the name Lucas for a boy. Would you prefer "Brinley and Lucas" or "Brynne and Lucas"?

Sally said...

Brynlie is a possible spelling to avoid the overuse of y's.

Portia said...

I prefer the spelling Brynn (or Brynne) -- it seems more like a complete name that way.

I agree that Brinley looks masculine, and Brin doesn't have the charm of Bryn(n). I do like the suggestion of Brynna, but I think Bryn(n)(e) by itself is a perfectly lovely name -- like an updated Lynn.

Gail said...

As mom to a grown daughter named Bryn, I can attest to how many people over the years have responded favorably to her name. (Unless, of course, they're form Great Britain, where it is strictly male). I would choose this name again, though I might add an extra "n" because it looks more feminine. I opted to go with the authenticity of the Bryn spelling--it's Welsh for hill. As a result of my daughter's name, I haven't been able to get used to the name Brinley--it just sounds made-up to me. There are some good suggestions in the comments above--my favorites being Bryn Price is just fine; Brynna is a good option; Bronwyn nn'd Bryn, or Elizabeth Bryn.

The indie rock band Vampire Weekend has a great song entitled "Bryn".

Good luck!

bestofluck said...

I like Brynlee. It does not bother me the way Brynly or Brynley does. It seems to fit with today's name conventions of being different (i.e. Aubree, Ashlee,etc) but not weird.

Joanne said...

I like Briony (BRY-oh-nee) a lot and you could just call her Bryn. Briony Price. My kids have a one syllable last name and I gave them all long-ass first names for balance, so that's my bias, I guess. Best of luck!

Laura said...

Bryn Price is fabulous!

Nicki E said...

I know three women named Brynn(all with the same spelling), so that is the spelling that feels "right" to me, but it seems like this is very subjective! To me, it looks the most feminine and has the least issues with pronunciation. Whatever spelling you choose, Brynn Price sounds really great together and I think it's an awesome choice! Bronwyn and Elizabeth are also really nice too!! If you like the sound of Brynley, would you consider Brynn Lee or Leigh Price? Then you could call her "bryn-lee" without ever having to see it written :)

Anonymous said...

First name Bryn, middle name Leigh ?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

First, I would spell it Brynn not Bryn (the one N spelling is a Welsh boys name). Personally, I don't think it needs to be longer-I agree with Swiste's Brynn Price/Brad Pitt comparison. But, if you do decide to go longer, I'd probably opt for Brenna. Brinley/Brynley just aren't attractive to me. If I had to pick between the two, I'd probably do Brynley since it seems closer to the original girl's name Brynn (or maybe Brynnley)?

Anonymous said...

While I much prefer the Brinley spelling, I think Brynna is a great compromise giving you a lovely feminine name and the nickname you like too!

Manday said...

I much prefer Brynley. Or Brynnley

But I love Brynn the most. (Have you played with the double n at all? (I prefer Brynn to Bryn).

Brynn Price

It is really nice I think. I also have a single syllable last name ending with an "s" sound so I know a lot of single syllable first names don't work with them, but I think this one does. I think it would be gorgeous with a long middle name

Brynn Elizabeth Price
Brynn Alexandra Price
Brynn Viridiana Price

Brynna is nice too.

Kim said...

My 18 year old daughter's name is Brynne Elizabeth and, although some people mispronounce her name sometimes, she loves it and I have never regretted my choice.

In the early days quite a few people were confused about how to say her name but over the last few years, now that it has become more recognizable, we have noticed that this doesn't happen anywhere near as much anymore.

We actually call her Brynna most of the time but she also gets Brynda and Bryndabella. Sometimes just B.

I also don't see a problem at all with Brynn(e)Price. Price, with the long I sound, sort of makes it a "long" one syllable name. I hope that makes sense!

I, of course, absolutely love it and urge you to just go for it if you love it too.

All the best!!

Anonymous said...

I think Brynn Price works.

Given your concerns about unusual spellings, I would caution against Swistle's suggestion of "Brynna" - at a glance I read this as someone's botched attempt at "Brianna" - I know that this doesn't work phonetically, but like you, I work with kids and it is surprising what people come up with.

bff said...

I think Brynne Price works. Note the spelling -- the only Brynne I know spells it that way, she also has a one-syllable last name and (for what its worth) is an attorney (ie name works well professionally on a grownup).

bff said...

also another vote for Bronwyn

Arden Ashley said...

I am in the "name her Bronwyn and use Bryn as a nickname" camp. I think it's perfect because I like the cute sound of Bryn, but to be honest it's just a little too cutesy for me. Bronwyn gives you the best of all worlds -- an interesting, unusual, sophisticated name that has your adorable nickname as a logical option.

My second choice for you would be to just do Bryn, but spell it Brynne -- it's a more appropriate spelling and looks more complete for a girl's/woman's name.

Bonnie said...

Hi. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I'm from Wales and just wanted to make a few points. Bryn is strictly a male name in the UK. This might not bother you but you ought to know. Secondly, -wyn is only used for boys so the correct spelling of Bronwyn is in fact Bronwen. If you like Bronwen, you might like Anwen. Seren (Ser as in Sarah so seh-rin) is a very beautiful and popular Welsh girl's name. It means star.

Patricia said...

Brynn Elizabeth Price. After checking the name in a couple of reliable name dictionaries, it seems that Brynn is a feminization of the modern Welsh male name Bryn (as is Brynna), and that adding 'ley' to Bryn is an afterthought. You like the name Bryn: I'd suggest adding the extra 'n' and using the classic middle name Elizabeth. Whether you name her Bryn(n) or Brynley in one of its many creative spellings, it sounds like you still will be calling her Bryn(n) and she will be known as Bryn(n) Price. I'd leave it at that: Brynn Price sounds fine. Brynn Elizabeth Price would add a classic touch to the full name.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone! This is the poster of this question. Thank you all for your comments. It is interesting to hear that most people feel that Bryn (Brynn) isn’t too choppy with our last name. A drawback is I did like the idea of having a longer name with the nn Bryn. I also really liked the idea of giving her my mother’s middle name and my middle name which is Ann. So if we went with Bryn we would have to scratch that (because three one syllable names is too much!), and I really liked her having a name from me. Not sure if I can get my husband on board with Bronwyn or if I am a huge fan for that matter. Brynna is another idea, but throws Ann out as a middle name again. It also seems just as confusing in the pronunciation as Brynley since we live in a community with a lot of Brenna’s. I am really backing myself into a corner here!

Thank you for the help,

Kim said...

What about the name Brooklyn nn Bryn? I don't think it is too much of a stretch as all the letters are there and it gives you a longer name with Price.

Brooklyn Ann Price. Cute!

I think Elizabeth Ann sounds great too nn Libby.

Good Luck!

Hugz said...

Love the suggestion of Bronwyn, NN Bryn.
Hate Brynna. It is what we call "Breakfast for dinner" - like when you have bacon and eggs and hash browns as your evening meal. Not something I'd want my child associated with (even though i really do like bacon)

Layne Bordelon said...

I went to highschool with a 'Brynn', and I like the double n's. What about Brenley? Brenna? I think there's less chance of a pronunciation issue using an 'e' because it's just like the much more common name, 'Brenda'.

Manday said...

This just occurred to me. I have had Brindel on my list of unique girls names for quite sometime. Brindle is a color scheme. Brindel could be a first name last. There is no reason it could not be spelled Bryndel, or Bryndal.

Anonymous said...

I think Bryn(n) is fine with your last name.

If you want a longer name what about Bryony? Bryn could be a cute nickname.

If you don't mind Brin, what about Brianna, nn Brin? It gets your mother's name in there as well.

Alex said...

What about a name that ends in -brynn or -bryn or -brin? I thought of Aubrynn, Cambrynn, Tambrynn.

Then you could use the nn Brynn and still have Ann as a middle.

Anonymous said...


Bryony and Lucas.

Bryony Price, Bryony Ann Price.

I think the nickname Bryn works with Bryony.

Anonymous said...

Also, I like the "bree-AH-nee" pronunciation but the only way I've heard it pronounced here in Australia is "bree-OH-nee".

Erin S said...

i think brinley looks too much like brine. but the double y in brynley does look a little trendy. if you were to call her a nick name, it would be bryn/brin. i definitely prefer the looks of bryn to brin. just something to consider.