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Best Middle Names


Updated June 17, 2014

Parents cradling newborn baby
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As hard as it can be to choose a first name for your baby, it can be even more difficult to land on a middle name. Sometimes all that is needed to find the best middle names is a little bit of inspiration.

Family Names:

Many parents turn to the branches of the family tree to select a middle name. I've heard more than a few people say something to the effect of, "I know the full name may not flow nicely, but the sentiment behind the middle name makes up for it."

Another possibility would be to use the mother's maiden name as a middle name. Using the mother's maiden name used to be a very common middle name only a few generations ago, and using last names as first names has become a hot naming trend of this generation.

Alliterative Names:

I've found that people generally love or hate alliterative names (names that have the same beginning sound). Me, I am sort of partial to alliterative names, even if it does sound a little comic-booky. So go ahead and let names like Mary Margaret, Jayden Joshua, Evelyn Elizabeth, and William Walker roll around in your mind for a bit. See what you think.

Consider the Number of Syllables:

If you have the first name picked out, you might want to consider how many syllables are going to be in your baby's first and last name. If he's going to be carrying the name Maximilian Fenstermacher, then you might want to give him a short and sweet middle name like John, Dean, or Grant. A short middle name helps balance out the full name, making it much less a mouthful.

See also: One Syllable Boy Names | One Syllable Girl Names

Conversely, if you have chosen a short first name and have a short last name, perhaps a longer middle name will have the name flow without choppiness. For example, a name such as Kate Smith might sound better paired with a name like Elizabeth, Anneliese, or Johanna.

See also: Most Popular Girl Names With Two Syllables | Alphabetical Listing of Two Syllable Girl Names

Think About Baby's Initials:

When choosing a full name, you might want to keep your baby's initials in mind. I graduated high school with a girl named Abigail Sue Smith who could not wait to get married someday to change her initials. (Unfortunately, she would go on to marry a man with the last name Scott.) You may want to choose a name that doesn't spell out any unpleasant words.

By The Way, I married a BTW myself, so you might also want to consider if the initials are also an abbreviation or text-talk too.

Using Second Favorite Name:

If you have two favorite names, think long and hard about whether you use your #2 favorite as a middle name, especially if you are hoping to have another child someday. I have heard some parents say after the fact that they had wished they had chosen a different middle name then their second favorite. They would have liked to have used that middle name as the first name of a subsequent child.

Compromising With Your Partner:

If you are having trouble agreeing about your baby's name with your partner, you might want to do a middle name compromise. If one parent has chosen the first name, then perhaps the other parent can choose the middle name.

Think About the Name Flow:

For some parents, this last point isn't much a concern, for others it can be a deal breaker on a middle name choice. Something to think about is the ending sound of the first name and the beginning sound of the middle name. If those sounds are the same, a name can become a little jumbled. For example:

  • Riley Elise can sound like Riley Leese.
  • John Nathan might be confused as Jonathan.
  • Travis Caleb Browning might sound like Travis Caleb Rowning.

Related Reading: What Are Some Good Middle Names for Jacob?

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