A lot of expectant parents decide they would like to honor a family member by using their name in the first or middle spot because their baby's name takes on a special new meaning. But what do you do when the family names are not to your liking? They might be dated or ugly to you, despite that special connection. Or maybe you just want to elaborate on the name.
I suggest thinking outside the box.
1. Elaborate on the name: Have a Rhoda or Rhonda in your family you’d like to honor, but don’t like the name? Try Rhodanthe, from the Greek words for “rose” and “flower,” which is a word that can be used to refer to the color of flowers. Or try Rhodora (with the cute nickname Dora) which is a flowering shrub. The name comes from the Greek word for rose. Even simpler, you could change Emma to Emmeline or Rose to Roseline.
2. Try international variants: Anthony, for example, is very popular, so you might want to go with the less-popular Antony or Antonio. Or Katherine, for example, might be the name of your grandmother that another relative has already honored, so you might choose Katarina.
3. Use a surname: This idea isn't new, and in fact it is how the name Dashiell came to be used as a given name. I can think of a handful of surnames that have been used as first or middle names, such as Black, Wolf, and Sullivan. Your family's surname might work as a first or middle name as well.
4. Get creative with meaning: Paloma, for example, means "dove." So does Callum, Culver, Jemima, Columba and Dove itself.
5. Go with the nickname: Maybe you want to honor your mother, whose name was Cassandra, but she was always called Cassie. There are plenty of other names you can get the nickname Cassie from, such as Cassara, Cassidy, Cassiopeia, Cassia, Cascada, Casilda and Castalia.
6. Use the same letters: Say you have a Lena in your family, but that name doesn't work with the first name you've picked out. Use the letters in Lena to get a different name, such as Magdalena, Orlena, Carolena, Galena, Marlena, Elena or Alena.
7. Switch genders: Your dad's name might be Frank, but that doesn't mean you like the name. Francesca might be better for you. Ernest can become Ernestina, William can become Wilhelmina, Maria can become Mario, Martin can become Martina, Raphael can become Raphaela, and Phyllis can become Phillip or Phillip can become Phillipa. The options are virtually endless.
8. Take the name from the place your family comes from: Seville, Carolina, Milana, Cali, Ireland, or whatever it may be.
9. Smush two names together: This one is much tricker, because you don't want to end up with a name that sounds made-up or ridiculous, and you can't be too picky about the "new" name's meaning, because it may not be at all related to the two you started with. Let's say the two names you like are Caroline and Charlotte. You could get Carlotta out of those two. Maybe you want to mix Eve and Linda, you could come up with Evelyn. Maybe George and Sergio - Georgio.
10. Use an anagram. Dylan/Lynda, Adeline/Daniela, Adrien/Darien, Melanie/Emelina, Teresa/Easter, Aidan/Diana/Nadia, Angela/Galena, Claire/Carlie, Alice/Celia/Lacie.
Any suggestions? I'd love to hear them.