Dear Bruce, My Family Wants Me to Name My Baby After Relatives. I Don’t Like Their Names.

Q: My family wants to me to name my baby after Uncle Warren or Aunt Zena. I don’t like either name. What should I do?

A: If you check the star ratings for Warren and Zena in 5-Star Baby Name Advisor, you’ll find they both rate 2 stars, which suggests you’re right to be uncomfortable about selecting either name for your baby. If you’re under serious pressure to honor a family member whose name you don’t like, perhaps the best way to do so is to select another name that starts with the same letter. There aren’t many girls’ names starting with Z that are highly rated, but you may want to consider Zoe or Zola, both of which rate 4 stars. Attractive alternatives to Warren that start with W include: William, Wilson, Will, and Wyatt—all of which rate 4 or 5 stars.

However, if you can’t find a name you like that starts with W or Z, you’ll need to take control of the situation by thanking your family members for their thoughtful suggestions and informing them that the choice is ultimately yours to make, not theirs.

7 thoughts on “Dear Bruce, My Family Wants Me to Name My Baby After Relatives. I Don’t Like Their Names.

  1. If you want to honor them, but don’t want to use the names, think outside the box. Is there anything else that reminds you of those relatives? Does your aunt have a favorite flower? Violet, Rose Tulip, etc? You could use any of those. Or say your Uncle’s favorite color was red. You could use Reed, Rory, Carmine, or Phoenix. My grandma’s name is Lois, but I will be using the name Rook to honor her. Rook is a card game that she taught me when I was young. She grew up playing, and it was one of her favorite things to do.

    If you don’t want to honor them, don’t. And don’t feel bad about it. This is your child. Choose a name that means something to you and your partner. It’s likely that you will be hearing and seeing your child’s name more than anyone else (other than your child). So, pick something you love. You don’t have to use a honor name, even if that person has played a big role in your life. If they were, they’ve probably influenced who you are, and therefore they’ll be an influence in your child’s life, even if they’ve gone on. If they haven’t, then I reiterate what I said earlier. Choose a name that means something to you. Your child may ask you one day, why you chose the name you did. Make sure its a meaningful, or at least interesting, story.

    • Ashlie, I think this is a very clever idea: naming your baby something that reminds you of a favorite relative (if you don’t want to use their name (e.g. Lois). In the end, though, the name you pick has to be more appealing and functional than other names you are considering and also remind you of your beloved relative. Unfortunately, the examples you listed, were not likely to be more appealing than other names under consideration. Although Rook may remind you of your grandma and may also be an entertaining card game, it suggests someone who might “rook” or cheat or take advantage of someone else; hardly an attractive image. And, it is not immediately identifiable as a name for either a boy or girl.

      • Rook does not take on those negative associations for me, my family, or my area. Also, I like that we could use the name for both a boy or a girl.

      • And, naming our child would mean much more to us, than simply choosing a name that shared my grandmother’s first initial.

  2. Names you can spell using the letters of Warren + Zena…

    Aaren, Anan, Anane, Ane, Aner, Anne, Anwar, Anwer, Anze, Ara, Aran, Arawn, Arn, Arnan, Arne, Arran, Arza, Awen, Azan, Azar, Azer, Ean, Eanna, Ena, Enan, Enea, Enee, Enna, Eran, Eren, Erez, Ern, Erwan, Erwann, Erwen, Ewan, Ewann, Ewen, Ewenn, Ezar, Ezer, Ezra, Nea, Naran, Nazar, Nazeer, Neen, Neer, Neeran, Neezan, Ner, Rae, Ran, Ranan, Ranen, Raz, Raza, Ren, Rene, Renen, Reza, Wanne, Waren, Warner, Wen, Werner, Wren, Zan, Zanan, Zane, Zara, Zarra, Zen, Zera, Zew, Zwee

    Aena, Anae, Ana, Anane, Ane, Anena, Anera, Ann, Anna, Anne, Anwen, Ara, Aran, Arene, Arwa, Arwen, Arza, Awena, Aza, Azar, Azera, Azra, Eena, Ena, Enana, Enara, Enea, Enna, Enza, Era, Erana, Erez, Ereza, Erna, Ewa, Ewe, Ezera, Ezra, Naa, Nan, Nana, Nanee, Nara, Nawra, Naz, Nazeera, Nea, Neena, Neeran, Neerana, Neerza, Neezana, Nena, Nera, Nere, Nerea, Neza, Nezer, Nezera, Rae, Ran, Rana, Ranee, Ranena, Raz, Raza, Rea, Reann, Reana, Reane, Reanna, Reanne, Reeana, Reeann, Reeanna, Reena, Reeza, Ren, Rena, Renana, Renae, Renena, Reza, Wen, Wera, Wren, Zan, Zana, Zanna, Zara, Zareen, Zareena, Zarna, Zarne, Zea, Zeena, Zeera, Zen, Zera, Zerane, Zeva, Zweea

    • Panya, I liked your creative suggestion: to make up new names using the letters in the names of beloved relatives you wanted to honor. Unfortunately, most of the names came across to me as “alphabet soup,” (e.g. Neerza) and many others were quite similar to Zena and Warren (e.g., Zeena and Waren), but even less appealing. So, if you don’t like Zena and Warren, there may not be many names of interest on the list. But I found a few names I thought might be worth considering. (All you need is one name you like a lot.) So I think your approach is definitely worth trying.

      Thanks for letting me know Neerza is a transliteration of a Hebrew name. Knowing that, however, doesn’t make me fonder of it (for someone in living in North America). You may have noticed that I like focus on how the name affects (helps or hinders) the a child. It’s fun to make up names, but
      it’s usually not fun to be given a seemingly nonsensical “made-up” name.

      • I love making these ‘anagram’ lists — whether I like the names, or whether I’d actually recommend the names is something else entirely — I simply put the lists out there and let the parents decide. While not all of them are frequently used in the English-speaking world, they are all real names, simply alternate spellings or transliterations (e.g. Neerza being a transliteration of nun.yud.resh.tsade.hey [נירצה], meaning “desirable” in Hebrew).

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