Pretentious names please apply

So here’s the thing. We’re trying to conceive. You know all those names that get wrinkled noses and “That’s quite… pretentious?” Apparently, that’s my style. And my husband’s style, as well, which is sort of happy making. But I would like to lengthen our list.


So far we have:

[name]Lysander[/name] - husband likes this a lot.
[name]Peregrine[/name] - I love this one but husband doesn’t so I don’t want to fixate to the exclusion of all else.
[name]Nathanael[/name] / [name]Nathaniel[/name] - Husband dislikes this one, I don’t know why.
[name]Alasdair[/name] - I like it a lot, but my brother is [name]Alexander[/name] would that be weird?

And if you’re naming a boy something like that, what do you name his sister(s)?
[name]Marie[/name] - Proper, vaguely out of style, but I don’t know if it even belongs here. It seems too sweet for that.
[name]Minerva[/name] - This one belongs here! But I love it. :slight_smile:
[name]Rosamund[/name] - Pretentious or just old fashioned? I would love some R names or I names for this list though.

I’m drawing a blank. Help me! Suggestions for this list gratefully received.

Ha ha, I have to say that some (but not all!) of your names do have that pretentious air about them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially if the name lends itself to an ‘everyday’ nickname for your kids to fall back on if they don’t like or can’t pull off their full name.

Some more names that can strike me as ‘pretentious’: :slight_smile:

[name]Theophilus[/name] (too far?)


Haha! Oh, I love you.

[name]Lazarus[/name] has actually been on our list, I just forgot it. Not sure I could have one AND a [name]Lysander[/name] but I love each. Not sure if I have a preference.

So has [name]Iolantha[/name] I just wasn’t sure if it counted as pretentious (or just weird). I do love it, DH doesn’t. :frowning:

[name]Sebastian[/name] is kind of nice but I know too many. It’s very popular where I’m from. [name]Atticus[/name] is also getting a good bit of use.

[name]Just[/name] out of curiousity, which of mine didn’t seem pretentious? I find that as interesting as what people find very pretentious. I tend to think of mine, [name]Nathaniel[/name] was pretty “normal” but I’ve been told it’s pretentious?

I adore [name]Rafaela[/name] but I know my sister has [name]Raphaela[/name] on her very tight, confirmed, three-name list for daughters so I’d feel like a thief. She’s much more organized than I. She wants three daughters and has three names picked out.

I hadn’t thought of [name]Thomasina[/name] which is pretty cute.

The names on your list don’t strike me as pretentious. Names that I find pretentious include those with diacritical marks, those that were chosen to ostentatiously honor a famous author or work of literature, and some Anglophile/Francophile/Italian names.


[name]Zo[/name]ë or [name]Zooey[/name] (but not [name]Zoe[/name])

As for names that might fit with your style, how about…



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Well, holey, I think you have me to a tee. So call it what you will (what WOULD you call that 2nd batch of examples you have? It might give me search terms at least) but I like [name]Percival[/name] and find [name]Sterling[/name] interesting, and I can’t use [name]Lucinda[/name] but I like it as well.

That first batch… not the style I’m looking for. I know a lot of people who like Amélie, [name]Ana[/name]ïs, etc. and I can’t very well point fingers and be “how weird” but they don’t speak to me, I’d rather [name]Amaryllis[/name] or [name]Araminta[/name]. (Examples! I can’t use [name]Araminta[/name] because as my husband so helpfully says, “I don’t like mint.”)

Pretentious…pfft. I love your list!



Of course this is totally subjective but there are some of my ideas (I like them all :slight_smile: )
Good luck!

It’s funny how people have such different ideas of ‘pretentious’… :slight_smile:

The names on your list that I don’t find pretentious are [name]Rosamund[/name] (love!), [name]Alasdair[/name] (also love!), [name]Nathaniel[/name], [name]Zacharias[/name], [name]Marie[/name] and [name]Irina[/name]. I’m not sure about [name]Alasdair[/name] being a problem with [name]Alexander[/name] – I think it depends on whether it would be a issue for you if someone thought your son was named after his uncle. If you get on with your brother then it might be a sweet little family connection.

Some more “R” and “I” names that might (or might not) be your style:


[name]Imogen[/name] (depends on where you live, as this could be insanely common or unusual and interesting)

If you like [name]Thomasina[/name], you might also like [name]Thomasin[/name]. It’s a family tree name of mine that I’d love to see someone use, but I can’t because it almost rhymes with future kids’ surname. There’s also [name]Thomasine[/name].

Ooh, I thought of a few more girls’ names…

[name]Adamina[/name] (might be an alternative to [name]Araminta[/name]?)
[name]Jemima[/name] (usability depends on where you live)

You guys are BRILLIANT. So many I like here. Okay I can’t answer them all but I am so glad I started this thread, its a goldmine.

[name]Araminta[/name]: (great name btw, ;)) [name]Ulysses[/name] is one my DH has mentioned in the past. I will add it back to the list. [name]Phineas[/name] I love. [name]Dashiell[/name] is great. [name]Rex[/name] is good especially for a short-but-interesting middle name. I had never thought of [name]Gideon[/name] as pretentious but I do love it and had it on other lists. [name]Mordecai[/name] I really like but our last name starts with M and ends with y and I think it’s all a bit much.

[name]Cordelia[/name], [name]Prudence[/name] and [name]Camellia[/name] jump out at me from the girls side. [name]Seraphina[/name] and [name]Evangeline[/name] are kind of amazing too. I’m not as keen on [name]Octavia[/name] and [name]Theodora[/name] but they remind me of [name]Ottavia[/name] and [name]Theodosia[/name], which deserve to be here.

oldsienna: Some goodies here too. And some that don’t work, you couldn’t have had any way to know that. [name]Reuben[/name] is great. [name]Ramona[/name] is sort of a tragedy. It is perfect, and I’ve loved it for decades. However, I took my husband’s name. It’s Moroney. sob

Ildelphia - [name]How[/name] were you to know I was from [name]Philadelphia[/name]? lol. I’m in Australia at the moment but I was a born and raised [name]Philadelphia[/name] baby so this may be a case of everyone I know finding it hilarious for the wrong reasons.

[name]Ileana[/name] - Related to too many, and too many Ilanas as well.

[name]Ione[/name] - See the tragedy of [name]Ramona[/name]. [name]Silly[/name] last name.

[name]Imogen[/name] - haha I thought this was one of the few non-pretentious names I liked. Oh well, either way, I like it.

[name]Jemima[/name] - Can’t ever move back to [name]Philly[/name] with that one. It is pretty though.

[name]Felicia[/name] - [name]Love[/name]. Going on the list.

[name]Tabitha[/name] - Going on the list.

[name]Letitia[/name] - Mmm. So nice. And you never hear it.

[name]Delfina[/name] - I love [name]Delphine[/name], but my husband has already vetoed it, he says he can’t stand what bogans will do to the pronunciation.

I am totally with holey here in defining “pretentious” along with a few “too cool” names like (collective nameberry gasp) [name]Leo[/name]. But I have gotten the “pretentious” description on some of my kids’ names so I think you and I must have fairly similar taste!

I went simple and sweet with my girl though --[name]Eve[/name] – with brothers [name]Caspian[/name], Zephan, and, due next week, [name]Peregrine[/name]. Other favorite girl names are [name]Irene[/name], [name]Verity[/name], [name]Gwyneth[/name], though I wouldn’t label them pretentious – I’d go with almost any of the long I -ine names for that description like [name]Evangeline[/name], [name]Clementine[/name]!

I love love love [name]Amadeus[/name] for a boy but I actually do think that one is pretentious. [name]Remington[/name] is super awesome to me but is maybe pushing the line a bit. I’m going to nominate [name]Quentin[/name] for your list!

Fun thread!

[name]Remington[/name] I just asked DH about. I was fairly sure what his reaction would be but it was worth a try. “[name]Remington[/name]?! It’s a brand of shotgun.” It got the axe.

I do love [name]Verity[/name], [name]Irene[/name] has a nostalgic appeal (my grandmother’s name) and I’m pleased as can be to hear someone is using [name]Peregrine[/name]. It’s a great name. [name]Love[/name]. It.

[name]Quentin[/name] is pretty great, it does deserve to be on my list.

I admit I like some -ine names, especially [name]Caroline[/name], [name]Delphine[/name] and some other ones too. But I try not to go TOO frilly. For every [name]Zephirine[/name] on my list there’s a [name]Lilith[/name].

No suggestions as most have been covered but i just had to come on and say I [name]LOVE[/name] your list!

I don’t necessarily think that all the names I’ve suggested are pretentious (especially not [name]Imogen[/name]), just that they might be your style! Such a shame about [name]Ramona[/name], although [name]Ramona[/name] Moroney is a really fun name to say. :smiley:

I find very few of these names to be pretentious but I like “pretentious” names so maybe I cant tell anymore. Everyone in the states tells me Bérengère and Athénaïs are pretentious but it doesnt bother me, I fully intend to use them.

I think [name]Bryony[/name] makes a good pretentious name

Oh, I love this thread! I guess I think of “pretentious” as a very fluid category, though. I’d call a name pretentious if it were obviously chosen to show off how educated or worldly or upper-class the namer/namee was, especially if the namer couldn’t actually live up to that. There are plenty of names that I could never pull off using myself, but that wouldn’t bother me on certain people at all – e.g. it would be hideously pretentious for me to name a child Athénaïs, because I would just be showing off my mad French skillz (um, sadly not so impressive in reality), but I might easily think it was imaginative and delightful on an actual French person. (In practice, though, holey’s definition is pretty close!)

The only one on your original list I actually found pretentious was [name]Ptolemy[/name], which seemed at first blush a little too self-consciously quirky. By which I mean: more designed to make a statement than to give a kid a name he could love and live with for his whole life. (In the end, it’s really all about doing your best for your child, right?) If [name]Ptolemy[/name] were more familiar/accepted here, though, even the balance on that one could conceivably shift.

(Or if I knew you had a deep heartfelt attachment to ancient astronomy, maybe, that meant so much to you that you wanted to share it with a son. [name]Even[/name] so, I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’d be less likely to roll my eyes!)

As a first stab at characterizing your naming style (or maybe I am just characterizing mine?), I’d say: offbeat, but euphonious. And allusive in a way that resonates culturally/personally with you.

Yay! Someone else who isn’t afraid to use “pretentious” names! (I wish my boyfriend were a little more daring. Although, he does love [name]Wolfgang[/name], as do I.)

If you like [name]Lysander[/name] (which I love), may I also suggest [name]Leander[/name]?

There have been so many great suggestions already, but I’ll try to do a brain dump:





I’m not sure how it’s spelled, but I know someone that named her son Tiberious. I do think that generally longer names tend to sound more pretentious, but for some shorter options, maybe, [name]Vance[/name], [name]Steele[/name], [name]Vaughn[/name], [name]Graham[/name], [name]Grant[/name] and [name]Duncan[/name] might fit the bill.

I think these have been said, but [name]Evander[/name], [name]Julius[/name], [name]Everett[/name], [name]Channing[/name] and [name]Sterling[/name] are longer names that seem to fit too.

For girls, there are so many good ones mentioned. I’m sure someone has probably already said some of these: [name]Francesca[/name], [name]Corinna[/name], [name]Natalia[/name], [name]Pearl[/name], [name]Vienna[/name], [name]Violet[/name], [name]Yvette[/name], [name]Magnolia[/name], [name]Bianca[/name], [name]Ivy[/name], [name]Ivanka[/name], [name]Regina[/name], [name]Cora[/name] and [name]Eden[/name].

Actually, I plan on naming a baby boy [name]Cassius[/name] [name]Xavier[/name] in [name]September[/name] (unless it’s a girl)! So, I never really thought of [name]Cassius[/name] as being pretentious.

A girl I know named her daughter Jenavieve, and her son (either due soon, or already came) Wittley. I find both of those names pretentious. Jenavieve just because of the spelling, and the original I already found pretty pretentious, and Wittley… Well, just because it makes me think of ridiculously rich people who own a mansion, and had kids at 40. Also, they are very old-fashioned.

Jenavieve makes me kinda puzzled, actually. What was wrong with [name]Genevieve[/name]?

Aaaanyway, I like so many of these suggestions. I’ve also scrapped one the argument against [name]Ptolemy[/name] was too much to ignore, especially considering how much my husband dislikes it.

sweet1792: hope you’re not mad about finding [name]Cassius[/name] on my list. I love it, actually.

thetxbelle: I like [name]Bryony[/name]. I don’t think it works with our last name, but I like it.

mermuse: I love your brain-dump list! Would you believe [name]Amarantha[/name] has been taken by a good friend? What were the odds of that?! lol.

Using ideas I’ve stolen blatantly from this thread, which I am so happy I started: