How to Choose a Baby Name

Three Methods:Picking a Name from External SourcesChoosing a Name From Your Personal LifeIdentifying Names to Avoid

A rose by another name might still smell sweet, but choosing the wrong name can have far-reaching consequences. A poorly considered name for your child, for example, might result in resentment or discrimination later in life. A well-chosen name, on the other hand, can bring a sense of truth to the thing named, whatever that might be. Whether naming your car, a video game character, a pet, or a human being, there are some considerations you might want to take into account before finally choosing a name.

Method 1
Picking a Name from External Sources

  1. 1
    Use a baby name book or an online name directory. These books aren't just for expecting parents! There are plenty of digital and print collections of names that you could explore to find a fitting name for your situation. Libraries often have hard copies that you can peruse in person, but there are many online services you could also make use of in the privacy of your home. Scroll through the listed names and write down any that you find appealing.
    • Do a general online search for "baby names" or "baby name directory" to find name directories online.
  2. 2
    Search trends for a name. Hop on your computer and search for the top ten most popular names this year. While you're at it, you might also look into the top ten names for every year in the past ten years. Some of the names in these lists will be classics, but you never know when or where you'll find the right name.
  3. 3
    Choose the name of a favorite book or TV show character. Many pet owners do just this. Take a good look at the thing you are naming. Does it have any characteristics that remind you of a character you love? If so, that name might be just the one you were looking for.
    • Some literary boy's names include: Amory, Archer, Brick, Brom, Cato, Corin, Cullen, Dorian, Edmund, Fenno, Heathcliff, Holden, Jasper, Jude, Kafka, Lemuel, Magnus, Melchior, Milo, Orlando, Oskar, Praxis, Quillen, Quintus, Riley, Rufus, Sawyer, Sebastian, Silas, Tristan, Valentino, Wolf.[1]
    • Some literary girl's names to consider: Alia, Alma, Amoret, Aurora, Bella, Blue, Brett, Calliope, Charity, Clea, Cosette, Daisy, Emma, Evangeline, Fania, Fleur, Ginerva, Hana, Haydee, Isadora, Jadine, Juliet, Juno, Kiki, Kinsey, Lux, Malta, Marigold, Nenna, Peyton, Portia, Rain, Rosamond, Sai, Scarlett, Scout, Tamora, Undine, Vida, Vivi, Viviette, Zora.[2]
  4. 4
    Decide on a classic name. Classic names are strong choices that never seem to go out of style. While some might avoid these names for sounding too ordinary, you can take comfort in the fact that these dependable names won't become dated, like others might. Some classic names for your consideration:[3]
    • Female: Mary, Patricia, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Linda
    • Male: James, John, Robert, Michael, David

Method 2
Choosing a Name From Your Personal Life

  1. 1
    Find a suitable family name. You might be able to pick the name you are seeking straight from your family tree. Look through a family history that has been compiled if there is one available, and see if any of your relatives' names strike your fancy. If your genealogy is unavailable to you, you might:
    • Talk with an older relative. Mention that you're looking for a name and thought you might use one of your relatives. Don't forget to ask about middle names, too!
    • Hire a genealogist to research your family. This way you'll both learn more about your ancestry and potentially useful family names.
  2. 2
    Use the name of a friend or past acquaintance. This is an excellent idea, especially if you want to pay respect to an important friend in your life. Even acquaintances can be good sources for names. Names that have struck you as especially elegant or memorable might be just the name you were looking for.[4]
  3. 3
    Pick a name with personal significance. There may be a name that represents an important moment or turning point in your life. It may even be the name of a teacher who inspired you to pursue your career, or a supporter who helped you through a difficult time. Whatever the case, a name with meaning is more than just a name; it's a story, too.[5]
  4. 4
    Select a name that indicates your heritage. You may feel close ties with your ethnic past, in which case you might consider using a name from that culture. When doing this, you should be careful to choose an English spelling for that name that is easy to pronounce. Otherwise, you may become frustrated with always having to correct people's pronunciation. Some difficult names you might want to avoid:[6][7][8][9][10]
    • Hermione
    • Calliope
    • Sinead
    • Aloysius
    • Kousuke
    • Natsuki
    • Björn
    • Dietrich

Method 3
Identifying Names to Avoid

  1. 1
    Reject dated names. No one is exactly sure why names go into and out of style, but every generation has its own set of names that strike people as "old person names." This is a linguistic phenomenon that can have serious consequences for your child. Choosing a dated name might give your child's teachers, peers, and (eventually) bosses an inaccurate image of him, and should therefore be avoided. Over time, this list will change, but some names that you might exclude are:[11]
    • Female: Bertha, Pearl, Linda, Barbara, Constance, Doris
    • Male: Herbert, Ruben, Irving, Theodore, Murray
  2. 2
    Veto names that form a pun. Though you might think it awful clever to name your child "Paige" when your last name is "Turner," and though some children might come to appreciate the humor in that sort of name, the opposite can also be true. A hated name can result in your child feeling resentment later in life.[12]
  3. 3
    Ignore naming fads. Naming fads come and go, and by choosing a fad name, you might pigeonhole your child later in life. A fad name might indicate to strangers very specific information, like the year in which your child was born. This may lead to subconscious discrimination both personally and professionally.[13][14]
    • Some fad girl's names that have turned sour in recent years include: Nevaeh, Destiny, Madison, Mackenzie, Kaitlyn, and Makayla.
    • Boy naming fads that have fallen from grace include: Jayden, Brayden, Aiden, Kaden, Bentley, and Tristan.[15]
  4. 4
    Dismiss names that are overly uncommon, especially when naming a child. There are many factors that make it difficult to determine the effect a given name will have on someone. However, it may be the case that ultra-rare names can result in isolation or feelings of loneliness. While this has not been definitely proven, you should take this information into account before choosing an uncommon name.[16][17]


  • Make sure that all people involved in the naming are in agreement about the name before your final decision.
  • Think about the teasing potential of a name. If there are obvious rhymes or short forms of the name that are unkind or unflattering, you might want to choose a different name.
  • If you stuck deciding between two names, it may be let chance decide for you. Flip a coin to find out if you truly like both names equally. If you find yourself disappointed at the outcome of the coin toss, you probably like the other name better.
  • Remember, the child can always have a nickname, whatever is on the birth certificate. For instance, Allison could be Alice, Nicholas could be Nick, Charlotte could be Charlie, Emily could be Em, Samantha could be Sam, and so on.
  • Put your name through the "bully" test. Rhyme it with anything you can think of, look for hidden words in the name, etc. Have an elementary-aged or high school aged child help you if you can't think of anything. Kids are very quick to spot odd things about names and exploit them.
  • If you are expecting multiples, see if the names sound good with each other, because you are going to say them a lot together. But at the same time, are they too similar? It may not help them develop separate identities. Twins Alexander and Alexandra are never going to forgive you! Same as Josie and Jodie, Sara and Sarah and John and Jon.
  • If you have a family tree, try browsing it for a list of names, or try talking to family members for more ideas. Grandma just might come up with a great one.
  • Your baby name can be like the season you are born in.
  • You can change the spelling up a little bit. For example, you can change Emily to Emilie or Emaleigh.


  • Look at the initials to see if they spell something embarrassing. Andrew Samuel Sanderson won't be happy to share his middle name with anyone.
  • Don't just give your child initials for a name. He or she will constantly have to explain that "A.J." doesn't actually stand for anything.

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Categories: Married Life | Parenting