Name length perception

Hubby and I were chatting about names over brunch and coffee yesterday, and one point of discussion was: what constitutes a long name?

I’m a very visual person, so my perception of “long” is all about the number of letters. Names like [name_f]Evangeline[/name_f], [name_f]Persephone[/name_f], [name_m]Alessandro[/name_m], etc - I would call these long. However, I know some people perceive length in terms of sound (number of syllables) - so a name like [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] is long to them, because despite being short in letters it contains four syllables.

So, I’m curious… which are you? What makes a name long / complex to you??

It’s definitely a combination of the two. I would say I mostly base it off of syllables, but there are some exceptions. 4+ syllables is definitely considered a long name for me.

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Same here! 4+ syllables is long to me

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I definitely base it on both number of letters and syllables, but probably more on visual length. E.g. [name_f]Charlotte[/name_f] is long to me, even though it’s only two syllables. By contrast, [name_f]Ariana[/name_f] is four syllables, but it doesn’t seem quite as long to me as, say, [name_f]Georgiana[/name_f] or [name_f]Evangeline[/name_f].

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Combo of both. [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] doesn’t look long to me, but evangeline does bc of sylables

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I think [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] and [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] feel shorter because they’re so familiar that they roll off the tongue and i think they look quite compact and tidy whereas [name_f]Cressida[/name_f] or [name_f]Persephone[/name_f] look big and are big to wear!

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I think I’m a mix of both, and that my viewing a name as ‘long’ is dependent on if I think its length corresponds to the number of syllables.

For example, I see [name_f]Florence[/name_f] as quite a long name, because I feel like it has too many letters for being only two syllables, if that makes sense? And [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] - my name - feels short because it’s only six letters but has four syllables; whereas [name_f]Yasmin[/name_f] - my middle name - feels longer to me, even though it has the same number of letters, because it only has two syllables.

Persephone is a good example of a name that I think is ‘long’ but not weirdly so - to me, it seems ‘the right’ length for being four syllables long haha.

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A lot of my favorites are 8-10 letters, and while I do think they’re longer, I don’t think they are unusable. I think what makes a name long is multiple long names in a combo, like [name_f]Cornelia[/name_f] [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] [name_f]Hallelujah[/name_f] or something.

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Well I usually think that a 4 or more syllable name is long…like most of the pps

But girls names of 4 syllables are usually ‘frilly’ to me (not that that’s bad)

with a few exceptions, such as Cassiopeia, Olivia, Agrippina, Appolonia, Penelope, etc.

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To me it’s how long it looks rather than how long it sounds, so [name_f]Charlotte[/name_f] is a long name, and [name_f]Ava[/name_f] is a short one.

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It is a combination, for sure. There is no denying that Chrysanthemum is extra long, but Minerva is also long to me despite a rather streamlined set of letters and just three syllables. My perception includes the weight and timbre of a name and its composite sounds, I think. Wilhelmina is light and springy as the Willa-mina pronunciation, and while it is a lot of letters and an extra syllable, it is in the same bucket as Minerva for me. Will-HELM-ee-na is in the Chrysanthemum bucket because of the extra weight and clunk.

I also think that bias plays a huge role, and one bias more than all others. That is your own surname (or that of your child or future child if that is how you think about names). I share a rather brief monosyllabic surname that has lengthened the average of my favorite names since being with my now husband and choosing to take his name. I grew up with a richer two syllable surname and I still loved many of the same names but not as much. My high school sweetheart I was with when I discovered Nameberry 10 years ago had a three-syllable surname and I gravitated toward shorter names at that time in my life. I think this has way more play than we think on Nameberry. We might love a wide variety of names of different length however we perceive it… but we spend the most time hanging around with the names we come to see as usable and not cumbersome.

@katinka, with her “Winterfield,” spends more time hanging out with Astrid and Flora than with Rosamund and Endellion, despite loving them all. I’m over here spending more time playing with the opposite set, despite also loving all those names, too. And I think that even though we see all those names and love them, we tend to offer advice on the forums that leans slightly toward our own “style,” which is married to the bias of the own length we perceive as wearable for our own children… And then there is added bias of an Emma and M@x growing up not a Lilian and J0nathan. The bias isn’t some horrible prejudice, but it is just light influence that winds up exuding large differences over time.

Hopefully that make some sense… :yum:

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I definitely perceive ‘long’ names as those that are visually long. Names like [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] and [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] just don’t seem all that long to me, whereas [name_f]Charlotte[/name_f] and [name_f]Mirabelle[/name_f] do.

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Too true. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband favours longer names, actually, despite our surname and the names we ended up using… but then he’s really a [name_m]Maximilian[/name_m] Double Middle Winterfield :wink:

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This is an interesting topic. I have a relatively long first and last name but my husband and our kids have a single syllable last name and I do find myself wanting to use longer first names with it. Especially for girls!
I guess I would consider 3+ syllables as longer usually and I think I go a little more by sound than by visuals when it comes to thinking about whether a name is long or not.
[name_f]My[/name_f] kids still ended up with only two syllable names anyway so I guess I wasn’t too concerned about it. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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My perception of name length seems to be based on the number of letters and the number of nicknames the name has and how accepted these nicknames are as standalone names/how common it is for the nickname to be used over the full name.

For example, Katherine only has two syllables, but with a standalone nickname like Kate or Kathy that are often used instead of the full Katherine, it makes it long. On the other hand, Emily has three syllables, but Em isn’t really a standalone nickname, so I don’t think it’s that long. Robert isn’t a long name in terms of syllables or even letters, but still long to me since it has established and common nicknames like Rob or Bobby. Amelia isn’t long, since I don’t feel any of the nicknames for it are that intuitive.

In sibsets, I want length to match, but my application of that is the nickname status. So Robert and Elizabeth are very different in terms of syllable and letter count. But both are often shortened to standalone nicknames. On the other hand, Robert and Eliza are closer in letter and syllable count, but Eliza is still a nickname to me, so they don’t match.

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Ariadne and [name_f]Chrysanthemum[/name_f] do NOT seem like the same number of syllables! So I guess it is partially the number of letters.

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This is such an interesting point, and very true I think. We love long names and realistically considering them is probably made easier by our 5 letter (albeit unique) surname. [name_f]My[/name_f] maiden name was 11 letters and hyphenated, so I can image I would probably have settle for a simpler naming style if I had to deal with that. (Exhibit A: my parents didn’t give myself or my sister middle names because they figured it was complicated enough with a double-barrelled Scottish surname!)

Our surname also begins with X, which I feel has added a kind of freedom - in the sense that not much sounds great next to an X, so I have let go of the need to make the names to flow with our surname and chose to solely focus on the [name_u]Christian[/name_u] names flowing together instead.

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Same. For me, I like the legal names to be of a similar length and style. We love both [name_f]Persephone[/name_f] and [name_f]Amelia[/name_f], but I would never use them as a sibset because [name_f]Amelia[/name_f] looks so “left out” beside [name_f]Persephone[/name_f] (even though the syllables are the same).

I’ve also found I like nicknames of a similar style. Example: [name_f]Persephone[/name_f] “[name_f]Posey[/name_f]”, [name_f]Kalliope[/name_f] “[name_f]Poppy[/name_f]”, [name_m]Ignatius[/name_m] “[name_m]Iggy[/name_m]”, etc. Order makes me happy, and I think I apply this to my naming style as well when it comes to sibsets. “[name_f]Alexandria[/name_f], [name_f]Evangeline[/name_f], and [name_f]Joy[/name_f]” kind of sibsets really make me twitch haha!