Naming twins hor

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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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

13 thoughts on “What’s In a Name? Ideas for Naming Twins, Triplets and More”

  1. We thought about all of these things when naming our g/g twins, but we ended up doing something slightly different than what you have listed! The first four letters of our daughters names are the same, just in a slightly different order (and one has two extra letters after that). LISA and ALISon. It part of the reason why we spelt Alison with only one L. However, they have both ended up with rhyming nicknames – Lili (like Lee-Lee) and Ali (Al-Lee).

  2. We had our “A” name picked out for years and years…it starts with A, which is a family name.

    When we found out we were having twin girls, we pulled the middle name we were originally planning to use for our first girl. It just so happens it begins with B.

    So, our girls are truly Baby A and Baby B. No keeping birth order a secret in our house! 😉

  3. I love this post! We were also told about “famous” couples or duos names for twins: Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Sunny and Cher.

    I loved the name Quinn but couldn’t handle Quinn the Twin, so went with Molly (a name we loved) & Jack (after my grandfather)

  4. Fun names! We wanted to try and use some A and B names for our b/b twins but could not settle on an A name we both liked. Instead, we went with two B names. We like the names Brody and Brady but we unsure if we should pick such close sounding names. We made an 11th hour decision to officially name “Brady” Bradyn in case he wanted to have a name that did not sound so close to his brother’s when he is older but we knew we would exclusively call him Brady at home. My boys are almost two and I still do not know if we did the right thing!

  5. My kids’ names are totally different. Different languages even! Michael Phineas and Rainer Daly. They each have a family name and a literary name. We picked their names independently of each other, according to their personalities in-utero. And they really do fit! I think it kind of throws people to hear such a traditional name with one that is very unusual. But it feels right for us. 😮

  6. I picked totally different names for my twins, although I’ve had people say they know someone with the same name (both names can be first names & last names. eg. Edward & Thomas – Thomas Edward & Edward Thomas. *Not their real names*)

  7. We decided on very classic first names starting with different letters for our kids, so they’d have different initials. But all have J middle names: Joy for our first, and a matching Jay and Jaye for our twins (meaning joyful also!).

  8. I should add…I went to school with B/G twins, named Brannon and Shannon. I remember Brannon telling me one time, “If you ever have twins, don’t make their names match. When our mom calls us, it’s easy only to hear the -annon, and we both have to come running.” Hahaha! I referenced that sage advice from a full 20 years ago when we were thinking about our girls’ names. 😉

  9. We had a boy and girl name long before we knew we were having twins or their sexes. Our daughter is named after my grandmother and has her maiden name. Her middle name is part of my mother-in-law’s first name, Jane. Our son’s name is an unusual Irish name, and he has my dad’s name for his middle name, John. So, they both have very unusual first names, but common middle names. I thought John and Jane were too twin-ish even for middle names. We almost switched those at the last minute. So, their initials are NJ and MJ, but with very different first names.

  10. I have quadruplets.
    their names are…
    Arlo Finau (fi-now)
    Aeliana (ay-lee-ana) Laeli
    Alula Jiutitia (jew-ti-tia)
    Alia Kula
    I am fijian so me and my partner decided that I could write a list of the traditional names and family names from my culture and he would pick his favourites so we endes up with Arlo, Aeliana, Alula and Alia

  11. I like your post my favorite names from your list would be Oliver it means olive tree from the Latin origin, Olivia and I like it pronounced Alivia though, has the same meaning and origin too and Emma (German): whole or universal, as well.
    Turkish Names recently posted Popular Turkish NamesMy Profile

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