Better words than soft and strong

I have been chatting with a friend online tonight and we got onto the topic of names. I was sharing with her some of my recent likes including virtue names, astronomical and science based names, nature names, unisex names etc and then caught myself as I explained liking strong names for girls and softer names for boys. I cringed. It sounded so cliched, yet I was grasping to find other words to describe what I meant. [name_m]Can[/name_m]’t a name like [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f] be considered both strong and soft at the same time? Or powerful and soft, gentle and feminine? Are feminine and strong exclusive? Or is “soft” for boys or “gentle” just code for feminine, i.e. not saying the unspeakable. Are soft and strong really the best words we can use when it comes to names?


I feel like I’m guilty of this. I find myself saying names are soft but strong a lot - I’ll try to find some new words i think

Me too. But honestly, when I say it it’s simply because that’s what I actually mean, it’s not a veiled euphemism for anything else. And they’re not mutually exclusive, of course not!

I wouldn’t describe [name_f]Alexandra[/name_f] as soft because it’s got that spiky X and hard dental D, but something like [name_f]Felicity[/name_f] or [name_f]Seraphine[/name_f] feels soft to me because of the many sibilant sounds. But I’d also describe them as strong and absolutely think the two qualities can happily coexist in names of any gender.

I never really understood what people mean by “strong” names and “soft” names. Those terms are just so subjective and culture-dependent, in my opinion. And yeah, some parents would probably be offended if I described their son’s name as “soft”, because that word is coded as feminine.

Perhaps not an attractive term, but I often use the words ‘smooth’ and ‘crunchy’.

Smooth names are ones that often have a strong L and lots of vowels - [name_f]Eliza[/name_f], [name_u]Elliot[/name_u], [name_m]Lucas[/name_m], [name_f]Orla[/name_f]. Names that flow through your lips.
Crunchy names are ones that have some chunky bits to them - [name_f]Magda[/name_f], [name_m]Edward[/name_m], [name_m]Simon[/name_m], [name_m]David[/name_m]. Names that take little bit more chewing.

How you categorise is obviously up for debate - is [name_f]Alice[/name_f] smooth or crunchy? Well, it’s a bit of both.
I tend towards actually wanting to use smooth names, but I have a sublist of crunchy names I really like.