Feedback on shortlists--leaning gender neutral

[name_f]My[/name_f] wife and I are expecting our first child in [name_u]January[/name_u] after a long journey with infertility and loss. We might only have this one, given our history, so there feels like a lot of pressure to get the name just right. We aren’t finding out the sex of the baby and, as queer people, aren’t super mired down in sticking to exclusively feminine or masculine names, but we also aren’t looking exclusively at gender-neutral names. We want to take a shortlist of names to the hospital and meet our baby before deciding on a name, but I feel like our shortlist is still too long!

Would love some feedback on our shortlist and combos. We aren’t tied to a specific family middle name, but my wife’s beloved late grandmother was [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] Briese and I think it would be great to use that in some way. [name_u]Baby[/name_u] will have a somewhat cumbersome hyphenated last name. Let’s say Katz-McCarthy (not our name, but close in sound). We’ve tried to stick to shorter names (or ones that can be shortened)

[name_f]Girl[/name_f] names:

[name_f]Clio[/name_f]–this has been a favorite of mine for years, I am a lover of both history and mythology. I love how spunky the name sounds. Not interested in the [name_u]Cleo[/name_u] spelling, though have thought about the original greek form Kleio.

[name_u]Echo[/name_u]–this is a favorite of my wife’s and I really like it. Also has that spunky appeal to me. Not crazy about the actual allusion, but I like the name a lot.

[name_f]Lyra[/name_f]–My wife is obsessed with the His [name_u]Dark[/name_u] Materials series. I’ve always liked the name, but I worry a bit about popularity following [name_m]Ed[/name_m] Sheeran using it. More traditionally feminine than the other two.

[name_f]Mercy[/name_f]–This is another name that my wife really loves. I love the meaning and depth. We aren’t particularly religious, but we are spiritual and have a strong sense of the concept of grace and mercy in a humanist context. I worry that people will automatically think we are [name_u]Christian[/name_u].

[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]–This is our most frilly girl name, and my wife’s favorite. I have an acquaintance (not a close friend) whose daughter is Cordelia/Cordie. I don’t love the nn [name_f]Cordie[/name_f], and prefer a softer [name_u]Corrie[/name_u] or just calling her [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]. I don’t like [name_f]Delia[/name_f] at all.

Combos we like:
[name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f]
[name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_u]Winter[/name_u]
[name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Lyra[/name_f]
[name_u]Echo[/name_u] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f]
[name_u]Echo[/name_u] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f]
[name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u]
[name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f]
[name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f]
[name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u]
[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u]


Solander–(so-LAN-der) This has been my top contender for a boy for a long time. It is a family and place name with a lot of personal significance to me. I love the NN Solan/Sol/Soli. [name_f]My[/name_f] wife is onboard and really likes Solan.

Solan– We are considering using this as a standalone name. I really like this too, and think it might be easier for people to pronounce.

[name_u]Echo[/name_u]–my wife really likes this for a boy as well as a girl. I love it in theory, but it’s hard for me to not think about the mythological [name_u]Echo[/name_u] here, though.

[name_u]Halcyon[/name_u]–I brought this up as a girl’s name (again, because of the original use), but my wife likes it as boy name. Maybe with the nn [name_m]Hal[/name_m].

[name_m]Anatole[/name_m]–I love this name, my wife likes its softer historic feel (has the feel of [name_m]Atticus[/name_m], without the popularity and the somewhat ambiguous–for us–literary allusion), but worries it is a bit too heavy.

[name_u]Pascal[/name_u]–this is our most recent addition. Would use the french pronunciation pas-CAL. We like it because it feels sophisticated and playful at the same time. Some concerns about it sounding too pretentious.

Solander Briese
Solander [name_u]Eli[/name_u]
Solan [name_m]Alexander[/name_m]
[name_u]Echo[/name_u] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m]
[name_u]Halcyon[/name_u] Briese
[name_m]Anatole[/name_m] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m]
[name_m]Anatole[/name_m] Briese
[name_u]Pascal[/name_u] Briese

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First of all, huge congratulations to you and your wife!! I’m hoping for tons of happiness and health for all of you going forward :green_heart:

[name_f]My[/name_f] first thought when saying your list was what about [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] with the nickname [name_f]Clio[/name_f]? It’s a little stretchy, but could definitely work, and give you guys more opportunities to use names you love!!

Out of your girl combos, I love [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] (I think [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] nn [name_f]Clio[/name_f] would be perfection), [name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u], and [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f] the best!!

For boys, I really like Solander!! I think it’s quite unique, and I like the nn Solan too (although maybe you’d also like the more gender-neutral Sol!!) I also like [name_u]Halcyon[/name_u], although I adore [name_m]Hal[/name_m] so I may be a bit biased haha.

From your boys, my favorite combos are Solander [name_u]Eli[/name_u], [name_u]Halcyon[/name_u] Briese, and [name_m]Anatole[/name_m] Briese!!

Best of luck to you and your wife, and congratulations again!!

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I like @winterlyricalfox 's suggestion of [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] nn [name_f]Clio[/name_f] - it would totally work.

I also think that Briese would be amazing as a middle name for a girl - [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] Briese “Katz-McCarthy” nn [name_f]Clio[/name_f]? I love this!

Of your boys options, I like [name_u]Pascal[/name_u] the best. I think it may be hard to get the [name_u]French[/name_u] pronunciation to stick (depends where you are, of course). It doesn’t sound pretentious to me because where I am, Pascall is a brand of confectionary. :slight_smile:

ETA: I would go with [name_u]Pascal[/name_u] Briese.

Solander is interesting but it remind me of colander - not a bad association, but it’s what comes to mind. Solan might be an easier choice.


Congratulations to you and your wife!! Wishing you all the best!

I agree that [name_f]Clio[/name_f] would make such a cute nickname for [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f]!
I absolutely love the combo [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_u]Winter[/name_u] and I think [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] [name_u]Winter[/name_u] (nn Clio) would be just as pretty and whimsical :heart: I also like [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f], [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f], and [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u].
In my opinion, I don’t think that people will think that you guys are [name_u]Christian[/name_u] if you use [name_f]Mercy[/name_f], feels more like a word name than a name with religious connotations.

I think Solander is a really cool name especially Solan, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it!
[name_u]Love[/name_u] the nicknames [name_u]Sol[/name_u] and Soli for those two!
Solander Briese and Solan [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] are my favorite combos!

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I love seeing someone else love [name_m]Anatole[/name_m]! I fell in love with this name years ago and have never gotten anyone else to like it (thouhj personally my favorite version is Anatoli) I also really love Solander, [name_u]Echo[/name_u] and [name_f]Lyra[/name_f]. Briese would make a pretty cool middle. And [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] has some pretty awesome nickname options you could oull from as well. Like [name_f]Birdie[/name_f], [name_f]Betsy[/name_f], [name_f]Libby[/name_f], [name_m]Zabe[/name_m], [name_f]Zibby[/name_f], [name_f]Beth[/name_f], [name_u]Eli[/name_u], [name_f]Ellie[/name_f], [name_f]Liz[/name_f], [name_f]Lizzy[/name_f], [name_f]Betty[/name_f] etc.

Congratulations! Solander seems like such a sweet choice for you, and I think it works as a gender neutral name too - Solander [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] for a girl, perhaps, as a nod to both your and your wife’s family?

I get your concerns about [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] but as you point out, it’s hardly an exclusively [name_u]Christian[/name_u] concept, and even though people who don’t know you might make wrong assumptions about why you chose the name, I believe its meaning to you as a couple is what matters most. However, with the middle name [name_u]Evensong[/name_u] the whole combo does come across as purposefully [name_u]Christian[/name_u] - maybe [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] could work? [name_u]Or[/name_u] [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] Solander? [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_u]Halcyon[/name_u]? [name_f]Mercy[/name_f] [name_f]Katherine[/name_f] is pretty but seems a little understated next to your other favourites so it doesn’t quite shine for me.

Based on nothing but my personal preference, I love [name_f]Clio[/name_f] and [name_f]Lyra[/name_f] from your list. I feel like Lyra’s mythological and historical ties override the [name_m]Ed[/name_m] Sheeran connection but I understand the worries about it becoming more popular - it could happen. Out of your combos, [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f], [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_u]Winter[/name_u], and [name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u] sound especially magical. I also really like the idea of [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Lyra[/name_f] since it’s combining both of your favourites together. I think even two middle names, like [name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f], could work great to really pack the name with meaningful connections.

Other than Solander and Solan (such a cool stand alone name too), I particularly like [name_u]Halcyon[/name_u] nn [name_m]Hal[/name_m] and [name_m]Anatole[/name_m] from your boys’ list. The mythological background makes me like [name_u]Echo[/name_u] more on a boy than a girl actually - the pretty tragic fate of the female nymph makes [name_u]Echo[/name_u] feel heavier on a girl, whereas on a boy it sounds more like a fun word name to me (although I do think it’s still usable for either). I love [name_u]Echo[/name_u] [name_m]Alexander[/name_m] especially!

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Congratulations :heart:

Thoughts on your list:

[name_f]Clio[/name_f] → beautiful with a hint of magic!

[name_u]Echo[/name_u] → pretty cool and intriguing - bold and strong - I do wonder if they’d get ‘ECHO ECho [name_u]Echo[/name_u] co co co oo’ kind of jokes

[name_f]Lyra[/name_f] → bright and distinctive and while it is more traditionally feminine, there’s something about the sound that feels more neutral? I have encountered a few little Lyras, though not lots of them

[name_f]Mercy[/name_f] → great meaning, but if you want to avoid religious assumptions, I’d consider it for a middle

[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] → I love [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] - beautiful sound and meaning - but it doesn’t feel like you’re sold on it.
Maybe a better nickname:
[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] ‘Corey’
Cordelia ‘Clio’
[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] ‘Coco’
[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] ‘Cora’
[name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] ‘Chord’

Of your combos, I’m liking:

[name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] - simple and stylish
[name_f]Clio[/name_f] [name_u]Winter[/name_u] - magical and interesting
[name_u]Echo[/name_u] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] - well balanced and charming
[name_f]Lyra[/name_f] [name_u]Evensong[/name_u] - love the bold middle!

Solander → never heard of this but it’s so cool. [name_u]Powerful[/name_u] and distinctive but feels wearable too (since it’s similar in sound in some way to [name_m]Alexander[/name_m], [name_u]Leander[/name_u], [name_m]Solomon[/name_m], Sully)

Solan → I prefer Solander

[name_u]Echo[/name_u] → it doesn’t seem right for you here

[name_u]Halcyon[/name_u] → magical, earthy and interesting - I like it a lot. [name_m]Hal[/name_m] is cool,

[name_m]Anatole[/name_m] → it does feel a tad clunky to me, but it’s okay and I think it could grow on me.

[name_u]Pascal[/name_u] → adore this, and I think the ‘sophisticated but playful’ vibes stop it from sounding pretentious. It’s charming and fun and cool! nn [name_u]Pax[/name_u], [name_u]Cal[/name_u] or [name_u]Pasha[/name_u] might help too

Of your combos, I’m liking:

Solander [name_u]Eli[/name_u] - balanced and charming
[name_m]Anatole[/name_m] Briese - quite distinctive and regal
[name_u]Pascal[/name_u] Briese - sweet and cool


I really love Solander for you! I like the combos Solander Briese or Solander [name_u]Echo[/name_u].

[name_u]Echo[/name_u] and [name_f]Clio[/name_f] are really quite similar sound wise. I really like the idea of [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] ‘Clio’, but my worry with [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] is that even if you reinforce [name_f]Clio[/name_f] when she’s little, there is a decent chance that she’ll like [name_f]Delia[/name_f] or that her friends might shorten [name_f]Cordelia[/name_f] in that way. So the question is how would you feel about the potential of say picking her up from school and hearing a classmate saying “bye Delia”? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you like the name enough overall to be okay with that possibility, or it is too much of a risk?

The mythological [name_u]Echo[/name_u] isn’t the best allusion (but honestly so few from myths are not weighed down in some way or another), but I think there might be a different way to interpret her myth. [name_u]Echo[/name_u] was cursed by [name_f]Hera[/name_f] to repeat whatever she heard. The reason [name_u]Echo[/name_u] was in a position to be cursed in the first place was because she was protecting her fellow nymphs, talking to and distracting [name_f]Hera[/name_f] until the others could get away to safety. Then in the isolation forced by this curse, unable to form meaningful connections with anyone, she was driven to the madness of unrequited lust.