What’s In a Name? Ideas for Naming Twins, Triplets and More

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Everyone has an opinion about how multiples should or shouldn’t be named. Whether to match or not to match. Whether matching should be limited to identical multiples, same-gender multiples, or available to all. How to choose first names, middle names, initials, nicknames. Whether to use traditional or modern spellings.

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks everyone else’s opinion is wrong.

Naming one child is hard enough, but add in another baby or more, and it can feel impossible. Sadia spells out 8 ways to approach naming sets of twins, triplets, and more.The fact is that how you wish to name your children is a matter of family preference. As with all things parenting, someone will tell you you’ve made the wrong choice. Someone will snicker behind your back. As long as your kids eventually figure out which name belongs to which, it’ll be okay. Just, please, steer clear of naming twins Orangejello and Lemonjello (pronounced Uh-RON-juh-lo and Luh-MON-juh-lo). Because if you choose those, I’ll be the one snickering.

Similar-Sounding Names

My ex has twins in the family named Janet and Janice. I have a coworker named Jenn with a twin named Jan. I have distant cousins, twins named Maria and Malia. LauraC wrote about twins Alexandro and Alexandra. Their parents are celebrating the unique bond twins have. They’re representing the closeness they see in and hope for their children in that most personal of things, their names. They’re giving them a label they can carry through their lives that is a pointer back to their shared birth, no matter how far apart their lives take them.

You could be all over the map with this sort of thing:

  • Oliver and Olivia
  • Bernard and Bernadette
  • Jude and Julie
  • Anne and Anna
  • Emma and Emily
  • Carl and Charles
  • Caleb and Kaylyn
  • Stephen and Stephanie
  • Ayesha and Aliya

That last pair were our initial picks for our daughters’ names, a nod to my Bangladeshi heritage. They were too hard for Americans to pronounce and remember so we went with English names that would be hard for my family to remember. You can’t please everyone.

In American culture, it’s unusual for siblings to have similar-sounding names, so it stands out when people do. In other cultures, it’s a norm. In Bangladesh, where I’m from, different aged siblings regularly have coordinated names. My dear friend Shahirah has a lovely sister named Samirah. Their brothers are Mahbub and Mahfuz. I actually have a cousin named Nadia, although I’m pretty sure the coordination there was unintentional.

People in Bangladesh were frequently confused by my sister Farah’s name in comparison to mine. They really wanted us to be Sadia and Faria or Farah and Sara.

Rhyming Names

I’ve heard a lot of rhyming names in my time. I see this a lot with multiples of different genders.

  • Haley and Bailey
  • Casey, Stacey, Tracy and Macy
  • Jason and Mason
  • Kristen and Tristan

Some parents choose coordinated spelling. Others purposefully choose different letters for the rhyming parts, such as Mya and Leah.

A variation on this is to give the kids unmatched primary names with matching nicknames. They’ll be able to choose whether to match or not as they get older. Examples include:

  • Elliana and Isabella: Ella and Bella
  • Jaden, Clayton and Grayson: Jay, Clay and Gray
  • Mary and Carolyn: Mary and Carrie (works with some regional accents only)
  • Grace and Anastasia: Gracie and Stacey

Both Wiley and I have ended up in this boat without planning to. Despite our best efforts give our twin girls distinct first names, they’ve ended up with matching nicknames. Her Aletheia and Ariadne have become Allie and Ari. My Melody and Jessica are frequently Melly and Jessie.

Themed Names

Photo Credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton
Photo Credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

In this type of name grouping, siblings’ names have similar meanings.

  • Flowers: Rose, Lily, Daisy, Violet, Poppy
  • Jewels: Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby
  • Other precious substances: Coral, Amber, Pearl, Jade
  • Music: Melody, Harmony, Aria, Lyric
  • Royalty: Earl, Duke
  • Biblical: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
  • Seasons: Summer, Autumn
  • Months: May, June, perhaps even Julie

I believe that my step-great-grandmother was part of such a set of sisters: Rupa (Silver), Shona (Gold), Mukta (Pearl).

Another variation on this is to pick groups of names that have the same meaning, but from different languages:

  • Paz and Shanti (meaning “peace”)
  • Leticia, Farah, and Joy (meaning “joy” or “happiness”)
  • Amnon and Fidel (meaning “faithful”)
  • Amy, Cara and Priya (meaning “beloved”)
  • Dieter and Gunnar (meaning “warrior”)

Shared Initials

One cute option for coordination that isn’t overwhelming is to have siblings with shared initials. My grandmother’s brothers were all M.R. Khan. Rachelle over at The Wilkinson Quints + 2 picked K names for all the girls and R names for all the boys.

Alphabetical Names

Some of The Moms have elected to give their multiples name that reflect their placement in the womb. Baby A becomes Aaron, Alex or Alicia, while Baby B is Bronwyn, Bethany or Brian.

Family Names

Multiples make it easy to acknowledge several members of your family. Perhaps your boy/boy twins can each be named after one grandfather.

Purposefully Different Names

This is the camp into which I fall. Once Aliya and Ayesha proved to be flops, we decided to actively pursue names that would emphasize our daughters’ individuality. I don’t usually use my girls’ names here on HDYDI. I don’t want their friends to Google them and come across embarrassing anecdotes. You only need to click over to Double the Fun to learn their names, so I’m going to go ahead and share.

Their names are Jessica and Melody. Jessica is named after her grandfather Jesus (Hey Zeus!), who goes by Jesse. Melody is a nod to our family’s music geekiness. We figured that they’d be labeled as a set plenty and we didn’t need to add to that pain. By happenstance, I find my tongue tripping over the names and producing “Jemelody.” It makes me smile every time. “Gemelli” is Italian for “twins.” And twins they would be, regardless of what we’d named them.

What was your method for naming your kids?

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