Double middle name with hyphen or space?

I’ve been reading up NB topics on double middle names. Some of them are quite a few years old, so I’m curious to hear some updates! I’m particularly interested on thoughts on hyphen vs space.

My name intention is: The first name is for me, something I really love. The middle name is for an honor name or family name.

Life can be very unexpected, but I really only want one kid right now. I’ve felt that I should have 2 middle names to “expand the honoring.”

So here are my general thoughts, questions, concerns that I’d love to hear responses from people who have double middle names or people with children who are a bit older with double middle names, in the US!

• There shouldn’t be an issue with the Social Security [name_m]Card[/name_m] and birth certificate. They can accommodate a hyphen or space between a double middle name.

• A computer system may not allow the clerk to enter a space or hyphen, so the 2 names to be squished together. I think the ideal situation here would be dropping the second middle name, for this particular company’s system. I’m not sure if they would tell me or ask me before entering the name :thinking:

• Some things, like a student ID card, may only allow a certain number of characters. If the double middle name is too long, part of the second middle name will be dropped.

• Question for a space between the double middle name - Has anyone ever thought the second middle name was actually part of your surname? Especially for boy names, I feel like this could be possible. One of my potential middle names is [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u], I can see someone thinking this is the father’s surname and assume my kid has a double surname rather than a double middle name. Would a hyphen between the middle names eliminate this problem? (if it is a problem at all?)

• Overall, for practical purposes, would you suggest a hyphen or a space?

I have 2 middle names with a space, no Hyphen so I can lend you my personal experience. [name_f]My[/name_f] second middle name is my moms last name, so I’ve always been proud to have that as part of my name, that being said, I never get to use it on anything. Basically, all systems are set up to only accommodate one middle name so I can never get them to put two initials, and in places where the whole middle name is written out, it usually only includes my first middle name (like on my driver’s license). So overall I like having two middle names, but I’m sad that I basically never get to use the second one.

A hyphen might help this problem a little bit, but I think most systems will just be confused by a hyphen, so maybe just sticking with a space would make life easier in terms of paperwork. I’ve just resigned myself keeping my second middle name as a nice personal thing that won’t really be featured on many documents.

My second middle name is a last name but it never gets mistaken for that, so I wouldn’t worry about that part

I know this doesn’t totally answer your question, but hopefully it gives you some insight.


I have a close relative with two middle names, not hyphenated. She’s still a little kid but as far as I’m aware this has never been a problem for her.

I know this doesn’t fully answer your question either, but I’m a fan of hyphenating when the names truly go together, such as, say, [name_f]Mary[/name_f]-[name_f]Kate[/name_f]. If it was something like [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u], I wouldn’t.

I don’t think there’s a correct way to go about this, so if you want to avoid the second middle name being mistaken for a second last name, I might suggest, should flow permit, to put the name that sounds less like a surname second.

So for example, say you wanted to name your kid [name_u]Milo[/name_u] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] and the middle names were [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u] and [name_u]Oliver[/name_u]. [name_u]Milo[/name_u] [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u] [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_m]Smith[/name_m] might work better than [name_u]Milo[/name_u] [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u] [name_m]Smith[/name_m], which to me sounds like a double last name.

Really though YMMV on this— do you!

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@Quentin99 - Thank you for sharing! I think a lot of systems depend on the state and organization. I work at a hospital and I’ve been super observant of double middle names lately! I see a lot of folks with a double middle name on their [name_m]Driver[/name_m]’s License and in our hospital account. So far, they all have a space between them, rather than a hyphen. I’ve also been looking out for names with an apostrophe, just to see how it is handled. In theory, if a system can accommodate an apostrophe, they ought to accommodate a hyphen! But I have also resigned to the fact that my kid’s second middle name will likely be dropped often. I’m ok with this, as long as it is included on the most important documents (birth certificate, SSC, passport, etc).

@itsjustjack - Thank you! I agree with your example of [name_u]Oliver[/name_u] [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u] vs [name_u]Lincoln[/name_u] [name_u]Oliver[/name_u].