Near Misses

I say ‘Near Misses’ because I’ve loved the following  names for a long while but just can’t make myself want to use them for various reasons.  Here they are, with the reasons:



Romilly– She’s too surnamey for first name use. I love her but she just doesn’t work with the sibset.

Elspeth– this may still end up on the list, as she’d honor me and Grandma, both.  She’s a bit too Scottish to fit perfectly with the sibset, too but If I can find a way around the Ellie (the elephant) she might end up if I can’t come up with an alternative!  Hence, the ‘near miss’, for now.

Xanthe– She was on my working list for a year as Xanthe Rosalind Elinor. I still adore the combo but she is far too exotic to work with the existing sibset. Leo, Simon, Josephine & Xanthe? nah.

Imogen – I think she’s awesome. And he came up with Io as a neat nickname option should she not like Immy.  I like her clean, spare feel but think she’s lopsided with the set.  She’s a ‘very near miss’.

Allegra – Darn allergy medicine! The lightest, most lovely name in existence and a drug co. swipes it for a medicine name.  *sigh* I tried putting her in the middle, but she overshadows everything I pair her with. I’d much rather her up front, which I can’t make myself do.  *insert huge sigh here* 

Annora – Lovely medieval Annora. I love that the Ann part links her visually to the family’s Ann- population and still gives me Annie/Anna or Nora as nickname options.  But everyone I mention her to hears Honora instead of Annora. It drives me banana. I will not do that to a child.

Philippa – So lilting and charming. I’ve had Philippa on and off my lists for a few years now. The reason for the near miss? I have a dear friend in Sweden, where Pippa (he potential nickname) is a rude word. Yvonne (the Swedish GF) is a part of my extended family structure (with the seriously disfunctional childhoods we both had, we are so not traditional in defining family). So Philippa’s a no-go for me. But oh how I wish!

Agatha – I think she’s charming. Stuffy, yes. A bit stiff, even. But I love her sound. and I love the way she looks written down.  I even find Aggie suitably “witchy’ sounding for me.  But he thinks ‘mothbally English lady’ and will not even try to warm up to her. I bring up Agatha and he goes “humph’. *sigh*  She’d go right to the top if I could get him to come around.  Another “very near miss” indeed.

Penelope –  Another awesome lady. She’s horsey enough to suit and elegant enough to balance out beautifully.The near miss here? I hate Penny, don’t mind Poppy and somewhat like Nellie. I call Josephine Poppy somewhat often and don’t want to duplicate. Nellie full time bothers me.

Winifred – My Uncle Skip’s new wife (5 years now, I think). I think she’s gorgeous. Fearsome strong in looks but so light & lilting in sound.  Another one I can’t get him to warm up to, at all. Not even Winnie makes him think twice.

Scarlett – I love her color (duh) 😀 and find her spunky. Another “no way” from the other half. “Too celebrity” ” “Too cheesy” “Too, Too, Too”.  And after working in interior design for  awhile, Scarlet is too color for me.

Dorothea– Honors my Babci is a roundabout way. She was Cecylia Anna Dorota (anglicised to Cecilia at 15). Dorota is pretty but Dorothea is suitably stern enough for me. Would even honor Uncle Ted in a backwards way too (Ted’s a Theodore).   But he hates Dorothea, Dorothy and any other possible variant I could possibly come up with to offer. He won’t say why either. We each get one “no way, no how” free of charge (no explanation necessary). This is one of his.  She’d be #2 if I could get around that somehow.



Hugo– I’ve had him at the top of my list for at least a year.  But he shot him down with a “gotten too trendy” recently. Hugo Balthazar John.  *sigh*  I really liked him too, warm, fuzzy, hefty Hugo.

Arthur – a paternal Great Uncle would be honored with him. And I love his “kingly” sound. he’s a near miss because I  can tolerate Artie but loathe Art. Art is a field of study for me. And I’m too verbally lazy to enforce Arthur all the time.  It’s a shame too. I really, really love him but only in full.

Constantin/e–   Strong, handsome and familial (he was the oldest of my Babci’s 12 brothers). I even like his nickname options.  But he’s just not playing well with the siblings. 

Rupert – I love him, stuffy, warm, friendly dude he is. But this is his other “no way, no how” card.  I have to live with admiring him from afar.

Rufus– Simply awesome.  I think he’s fantastic and he fits perfectly into the sibset. But he’s got no nicknames and he think he’s old mannish. He’s on the “near misses” because  I’m still working on warming him up to him. He seems a bit more friendly than Remus. and Remus is #3. I think Rufus could replace him, easily.

Duncan – He sounds great with the surname, he’s got a smooth, easy sound. Unfortunately, he also reminds everyone I mention him to of Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Otto –  I’ve loved short, happy Otto since I was a kid.  he’s also one of the few palindromes I don’t mind on a person.  But I swear if I hear “My name is Otto, I like to get blotto” one more time, I’ll scream. Otto sounds athletic to me, too. He’s a very, very near miss.

Roland– I’ve been charmed by Roland since I was about 12. I love his rich, round sound and his knightly feel. I really like Rollo (RAHL-oh) and think between the two, he’ll age well. He’s a near miss because he sounds odd with everything I try to pair him with.

Linus – He’s sweet. Linus is what my Mom used to call my blanket toting kid brother when he was small. He;s sharp, handsome and the Peanuts link really doesn’t hurt him.  Neither does Torvalds or ‘Sabrina’. My hang up? Yet another L name! Two in a family is difficult, but three? I don’t know. He may end up on the lists yet, but for now, he stays here.

Quincy– Four words: Going to the girls.  So sad. It makes me think of Jack Klugman. (Who is also the reason I like Oscar!)

Calvin – I like him. He’s crisp, smooth and handsome. I don’t mind Cal, occasionally, even.  My reasoning is odd but effectively renders him unusable for me:  he’s a two-syllable, end in -n sound boys name. He’ll blend right into the masses. I hate that. 

Sidney– His Grandpop’s name. I find Sidney charmingly stuffy yet warm & friendly. I even like Sid. Sid is happy, open & free sounding, artistic, even.  Unfortunately Sidney’s effectively girly now. Naing a boy Sidney is making him say no, S-I-D… the Boy spelling”! just as my mom had to “No E-S, the girl spelling”! most of her life.  I can’t do that to a kid. But oh, I find Sidney charming.


 Anything on here you think I shouldn’t? Anything you’d rather see used? Let me know what you think! I’d love to know.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Corinne
    Dec 11, 2008 @ 15:42:25

    Romilly is my number five girls’ name, previously Romilly Olympia Xanthe, but she’s been shaken up as everyone I know has been very “your names are too weird!” about my list lately.
    Penelope disappoints me, I think Leo, Simon, Josephine, and Penelope is lovely! I know a little Penelope who goes by Elle and another who goes by Pen, but never Penny. There’s always the option of a completely unrelated nickname (I was Lily until I was six, and my name has nothing to do with Lily at all).
    I mourn your losses of Arthur and Linus. They’re both on my list, as middle names however, but I love them nonetheless. I hate Art too, but it’s not hard to enforce a full name at all, the little girl I baby sit for is Elizabeth, no nickname, and a girl at my old school was the full Margaret, never anything else.


  2. Lola
    Dec 11, 2008 @ 16:41:37

    It’s not that I’d have to enfore it, exactly. It’s me. I’m the verbally lazy one. 🙂 I don’t want to spend the next 20 years making myself do something I’m not prone to do. I nickname. All the time. Yes, sometimes they’re not related to the name at all, but I can’t make myself just say Arthur, all the time. I’d cut it short, I know I would. And that’s why he’s where he is. I couldn’t live with myself if I shortened Arthur any, he’s too glorious in full. I would also hate it if he came hom from school and said “Art/Artie, Mama. Not Arthur”. Nope, I just can’t do it.

    Elle is ‘she’ to me so I can’t make mself like it any more than Colleen. Eww. And Pen just isn’t me often. I like verbal frills. It’d have to be Nellie, unless Josephine grows out of Poppy occasionally. And since she refers to herself as Poppy more often than I do, it’s going to be awhile, I fear.

    As for Romilly, I think one more offbeat name with her is fine, but one of them needs to be a classic, or at least familiar. My Romilly combo was Romilly Alice Kathleen. I mourn h
    er loss most of all, I think. So for you, Romilly Olympia ___ or Romilly ___ Xanthe would work beautifully.


  3. Cat
    Dec 11, 2008 @ 18:46:37

    I really love most of the names on this list. Romilly is a little too surnamey for my taste as well, but I love Romy as a Rosemary nickname. I think Imogen really works with the sibset, actually. I love Rufus very much because of Wainwright, but I agree about the lack of nicknames. Calvin is a very real possibility for me, since I have an Uncle Calvin who is, to be frank, the shit. He’s awesome in all ways an uncle could be, and I’d definitely name a kid after him. I see the problem, though, and I hope that trend will die down before I have young’ns.


  4. Lola
    Dec 11, 2008 @ 20:29:12

    Funny you should single out Rufus & Imogen, the two on that list that may very well move OFF that list (Linus & Elspeth too). I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the two syllable, ends in -n thing dies a quick death for you. Calvin is really all kinds of awesome, just not right now. 🙂 Off to check you out!


  5. Lola
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 13:34:21

    I know a lady online who has a daughter named Quincy. It’s not to my taste either but it seems to work for her kid and I’m not one to criticise much, when I named my daughter, no one really liked it much either. To each his own.

    I know, Simon’s thinking of settling down with the latest GF and both have moved out entirely so it just the three of us now and any other would only be linked with Josephine. It’s the family that would still put them all together and I ralther like the thought of a cohesive set in my head. Which is why I’m still a stickler.

    I am toying with Imogen & Elspeth right now, brainstorming and polling. Rufus & Linus are still under consideration too. Go to BtN and search for polls with Roland in them, you know me there, you’ll find them. 🙂 Maybe you could gve me fresh outlook there!

    Thanks for stopping by Emmy Jo! Made my day!


  6. Emmy Jo
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 12:41:48

    On your girls’ list, I find Elspeth, Imogen, Annora, and Dorothea to be workable options. (I love Allegra and Xanthe, but you’re right in saying they just don’t work.) So what if Elspeth is Scottish? She’s classic enough that I think she sounds fine with the others. She could be Elsie or Elsa if you don’t like Ellie (and Elsa would give you a bit of the German vibe that Leo, Simon, and Josephine all have). I’m not quite sure why Imogen feels lopsided to you. Since your boys are grown, I’d say she really only has to fit well with Josephine — as long as she doesn’t clash with the other two, it will sound fine. Annora (nickname Nora) is lovely; I suppose if the potential for mishearing bothers you, there’s no way of getting around that, but she’s gorgeous with the sibset. Dorothea’s fabulous as well, though I suppose there’s no way of getting around the father’s veto.

    On the boys’ list, I like Arthur, Duncan, Roland, and Calvin. While I prefer Arthur in full, Art doesn’t bug me that much (much less than most boys’ nicknnames). I knew a handsome young British boy named Duncan, so I think of him whenever I hear the name, though I imagine the Dunkin’ Donuts association would lead to teasing, especially if your boy is a bit chubby. Roland is nice — what are some of the combinations you’ve tried for him? Calvin has always been a favorite of mine (though I don’t mind two-syllable N-enders, as long as they’re uncommon classics). However, it’s off our list since a man named Calvin molested one of my husband’s closest friends.

    I also like Constantine on your list, but the way I pronounce him, he rhymes with Josephine, so I wouldn’t recommend using him as a first name. Is Quincy really going over to the girls? How icky! I’d hate to be a girl named Quincy.


  7. Emmy Jo
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 15:21:04

    I found your polls. I like Roland with an S-ender, I think, and I also like him with an A-beginner. My favorites were:
    Roland Augustus Niall (though I’m not sure I like Niall here)
    Roland August Valentin
    Roland Arthur Maximilian (like the kingly/knightly combo here)
    Roland Arthur Gavriel

    The only thing I disliked about Roland Cassius Edward is that all the names were two-syllables. Find a one- or three-syllable substitute for Edward and I’ll probably like this one a lot better.


    • Lola
      Dec 13, 2008 @ 17:02:31

      Roland August Valentin was my favorite of the bunch, with Roland Arthur Maximilian being his. I love the idea of Roland Cassius but you’re right, I have to find something else for the end. I’ll work on it. Look for more polls in the next few days.


  8. Emma
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 01:07:50

    Have you considered Imy for Imogen? I don’t like Imogen, no matter how I try, but (according to my English teacher, who didn’t name his baby Imogen recently) the Shakespeare character is one of the best in the canon, and I discovered Imy on BTN’s submitted names recently and thought it was just darling. I’d love to see an Imogen called Imy. Simon, Leo, Josephine, and Imogen? I think it’s perfect.

    I think Allegra’s still okay. The “gra” sound bugs me a little, but I am liking it more and more lately – it is elegant, and as a musician I like the connection to the direction Allegro. Then again, Minerva and Rudolph make my shortlist, so.

    Agatha: Agnes gets the same reaction, maybe? Agnes is such a sweetie.

    Penelope: Umm this is probably not very relevant but there was a teacher at my high school named Penelope and called Pené. Like Renée. Because “Penelope sounded too snobby.”
    I’d like you to think more about Penny! Is it a real revulsion or an imagined one? My revulsions to Minnie and Addy turned out to be imagined, and now Minnie is my #1 combo’s permanent hypothetical nickname.

    Dorothea – Cecylia Anna Dorota is just goooorgeous.
    I know this is a totally different name altogether, but have you thought about Theodora? nn Theda? Mmmm Theda.

    Hugo: Trendy? Really?
    It does lots of honoring for me.
    What a grand trumpet blast combo you have too.

    Arthur: Exact same situation except I think I could call him Arthur.
    I often call my sister just “A” instead of any of Anna’s bazillion nicknames. Could you do that?

    ..No Rudolf? 😀

    I love Otto so. And Ottoline. I noticed you love Ottoline. How I love Ottoline and the gentle nickname Ollie. These handsome four letter men. Ivan?

    Roland. Roland and Rollo. Perfect. And perfect with the sibset. You must find a combo you adore. Roland William Hickson was posted recently on BTN and I think it’s very charming. You must find a combo!

    I know what you mean about Calvin. I have similar reservations about Simon. I like Calvin a lot and I loove Cal, it’s so smart and sharp and snappy. My Calvin problem is Calvinism.

    I’d be interested on your feelings on Giles, randomly.


  9. Emma
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 01:08:49

    I um thought I said that I advocate Rufus nn Rudy to other people whenever they bring up Rufus.


  10. Allison
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 09:09:10

    I love Romilly! If I was contemplating naming a girl, this would be my #1. But then, I’m hooked on surnames. As for Allegra? If you truly love it, don’t let the association sway you. When I see Tyson Beckford, I gotta tell ya, I’m not thinking chicken. But hey, I have a daughter named Macy, proof that as strong as a (brand) name may be, it doesn’t lose it’s appeal.


  11. Lola
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 11:59:00

    Emma, I like Giles. He’s snappy, handsome and offbeat without being weird. Not something I could get him to work with, but I do like him enough to wish I could consider him for myself!
    Maybe Rudy for Rufus but I’m actually more inclined to go the Leo route. Name him Rufus and call him sweetie, pumpkin, angel, of cjust call him Rufus. I’ll answer the rest after lunch!


  12. Lola
    Dec 14, 2008 @ 13:35:46

    Emma, I do like Otto, but prefer Ottoline/Ottilie (nickname). Funny, Rudolf’s an ex boyfriend’s name from long ago. I love Rudy but Rudolf/Rudolph is just a no go at home. He complains ‘reinderr’ whichever spelling I bring up. I’m working in Roland, Linus & Rufus right now. I’ll be posting polls tomorrow, most likely.
    Rudy for Rufus? Hmm. I’ll roll it artound a bit. I don’t mind stretches but would rather obvious. It’s easier on the kid. My Simon’s 22 now, and was definitely the stand out name in school with all those J names. Jason, Justin, Jeremy, John are the ones I recall from his second grade).

    Yeah, Hugo’s all kinds of fabulous, isn’t he? I may still use it, he never really comes off the list, just drops a lot on the list.

    Thanks for the kudos on Babci’s name. I could never use it exactly like that but even I think Great Grandma did a good job. Thanks, but Theadora is far too close to Theodore for me and I have an Uncle by that name.

    Imogen would be Io (ee-oh) most likely, Immy only occasionaly. Just like Josephine is more often just Josephine to me. Agnes is a favorite and ranks a bit higher than Agatha actually. Agnes makes him think “Agnes of God” and scares him a little, Mr. Agnostic, I think. As for Allegra, I think I’d rather Jemima, if I had to go brand name. I like Jemima’s non-foody nickname possibilities more than Allegra’s.

    Allison, Macy’s great. Not something I’d choose but crisp, friendly and strong. Doesn’t bother me at all. Romilly would be an awesome sister to Macy but really, not with Josephine. Tyson Beckford doesn’t ring a bell with me, where’s he from? I’m so late with Pop culture references, the only tv I watch anymore is SNL. And that’s only if I’m not doing anything else at the time.

    Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  13. JNE
    Dec 22, 2008 @ 13:30:15

    My absolute favorite name (and my daughter’s name) is Imogen. I love it and thought I’d just suggest a couple of more nicknames in addition to Immy, which you’ve already mentioned, that you may or may not like for it… but all are used in the UK where the name is more commonly heard: Imo (said “Imma” as if you just dropped the ‘gen’ at the end) – it could also be spelled Imma (this will become our preferred nickname for our baby as she grows a bit older – we use it occasionally now – but usually say Immy at the moment), Mo (my dad’s and my husband’s fave for her as she grows older – used occasionally now by both of them for her), Mimi, Minnie, Gen (said “Jen” or “Gin”), Genni (said “Jenny” or “Ginnie” – this depends on your accent and how your pronunciation of that final syllable comes out), and Gemma (the ‘Ge’ part comes from the end and the ‘mma’ part comes from the begining/middle of the name – the ‘mo’ which is said ‘muh’)… so there are a bunch of nicknames. I think you like names with plenty of nickname options, and I do too – that’s one of the great things about Imogen! (My daughter is Imogen Lily – I see Lily comes up in the MN spot for you on other combos). We also end up calling her “made up” and cutesy names like Imabee, Imagib, Imaboo, and Imboo… And of course, we use her full name: Imogen.

    On an entirely different topic – I see some boy names ending in “o” on your list… Otto and Hugo… I thought I’d just mention the name “Arlo” to you – it’s another one of those 2 syllable names that ends in “o”. It’s not trendy either. (Three years ago, a friend in England used the name for their son and I was an instant fan!) I thought I’d submit it for your consideration.

    And finally, I’d be curious to hear what color is Imogen, Lily, and Arlo for you? Imogen Lily together are a golden color, like sunset, for me. Arlo is a milky white.

    Happy holidays!


  14. JNE
    Dec 22, 2008 @ 13:39:16

    Oh, and also, Isadora was almost the name of my little one… it seems it might fit in with some of the girl names you mentioned (you have the “dor” part in Dorothea). So maybe “Isadora” would be a consideration for you? My FIL thought it sounded like a witch name though. I don’t see that, but everyone has a different thought on any given name!


    • Lola
      Dec 22, 2008 @ 14:03:24

      JNE, Arlo’s shimmery white to me, rather like snow in sunshine. He goes on & off my lists. Ever hear of Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody Guthrie? The Mr. & I have independently been fans for years. His “Alice’s Resturant” is on heavy rotation at Thanksgiving in this house. Even Josie knows some of the words now. “24 8X10 colour, glossy photos with circles and arrows on the front and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining how each one was to be used as evidence against us” and “you want to know if I’m moral enough to go over and kill women and children after being arrested for littering?”. Yeah, it’s a winner of a story alright. “The Motorcycle Song” is a lot of silly fun too. So while I like the name, it’s rather a “one man” name for me and I can’t quite bring myself to use it rather like I could never name a daughter Cher. Don’t know if that made sense, but there it is. 🙂
      Imogen is beautiful and I am thinking about possibly using it. Along with Elspeth off the same list. I’ll have to avoid Imogen Lily now; Lily was what my Grandmother went by. She was Lilian Elisabeth and was always Lily or Lil to everyone. It’s a gorgeous combo!
      Mo is what I call my girlfriend Maureen! But Mimi & Ginnie are definitely options I hadn’t considered before. In full, Imogen is rather Im-a-gin for us. im-o-gin if I’m being lazy. She’s golden to me. Most I’s are. Christmas gold and Lily is bubblegum pink. It’s a very American 1980’s combination for me. I like it (I was in High school for the first half of the 80’s, College, the other half).

      I will mention Arlo to the other half again, see if he’s thought about it at all since the last time we brought him up (at Thanksgiving, naturally) :). I do like him!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  15. JNE
    Dec 22, 2008 @ 14:52:02

    Lola – yep, Arlo Guthrie is the only place I’d heard the name before, but not being as familiar with his works, it’s not a “Cher” like name for me, but I totally get it… some names are just overpoweringly one-man/woman names. Lilian was our consideration for a first name (to get Lily as a nick name) early on when we were preggers, but we decided she’d end up being Lily and one of 6 in school or something, so we stuck it in the middle instead. It took us 8 years to get our daughter, so when we first fell in love with Lily, it just wasn’t that popular! I like Lilian because it gives a buttoned-up option as an adult – an alternative to the flowy, semi-hippy Lily. I love it’s frilliness – much like I love that about Lucy. One thing I’d say about the name Imogen (so far) is that in the US people don’t seem to know how to say it when they see it, spell it when they hear it, or say it when they hear it even (!) – I get a lot of people “correcting” me and saying “Oh, Imogene!?” Um, no, Imogen. And if I tell people “Immy” it’s automatically, “Oh right, Emme.” I didn’t quite grasp that it would be quite so *tough* for people before we gave her the name… hopefully she won’t hate us for it! Your Elspeth made me think Eleanor/Elinor, which I saw with Ottoline as an MN and I thought it would be good with Imogen too (my Grandma was Eleanor, so it’s a no-go name for me – just can’t get myself to name after someone, but I LOVE it!) Thanks for the colors – I agree, I think the Lily part lends my golden coloring for the combo the sunset feel – that slightly pinkish glow that goes with the gold… we’re on the same wavelength with those! Glad to find some others who spend free time pondering names!


  16. Lola
    Dec 22, 2008 @ 17:02:07

    The reason most Yanks can’t say Imogen properly is simple. Most people have some recall of Imogene Coca. (
    I grew up reading Shakespeare so am familiar enough with Imogen to know that her original form (probably transposed by Shakespeare) was Innogen. Which also shows up in a few of my combos. 🙂
    Are you in the US, too? I wouldn’t worry aboutpeople getting Imogen wrong too often. Those that matter will learn and those that don’t matter? Well, they don’t matter, right? 🙂
    I can name after family easily enough, my family rule is that the person has to be dead at least 10 years before it can be used. (it’s a matter of alcoholics and such in the family) The honoree can’t screw it up after they’re gone. Grandma Lily has been gone for 12 years now, just a bit short for using on the 4 year old but fine for now, should we have a girl. Still trying, nothing yet.
    Lucikly, I’m partenered with a man who is even more a namenerd than I am. I’ve said it before, he’d be happy with a Tiberius or a Ptolemy! Me, I’d rather mix in an Edward, George or even maybe a Vincent in there somewhere. Balance is most imortant for me, stand out is for him. I try to keep everything from going too over the top while he tries to kick it higher. We find our level, eventually but it’s a fun fight to see who gets more.

    Off to make supper!


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