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Choosing a Middle Name

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Mining for Middles

The sources for middle names are virtually identical to the ones for first names, so you should have a good name pool already targeted to work with. Keep in mind, however, that middle names can be more creative or inspired than given names, so you might be able to broaden your pool a bit and consider some names that you wouldn't have put in the running before. For example, if you really want to commemorate the city in which your child was conceived, it might be a better idea to use it as a middle name, especially if it's a place like Des Moines or Taos.

Other potential sources for inspired middle names include:

  • Circumstances and occasions. Maybe you want to honor the first time you and your partner met by using the day of the week or the month of the year in some form or another.
  • Friends and mentors. Since there's more latitude in choosing middle names, this is a great spot to honor someone who's been important to you, especially if you can't do it with the first name for some reason.
  • Fates and outcomes. Middle names, since they're generally not used as widely as first names, lend themselves well to names with symbolism or hidden meanings, especially from other countries and cultures. Comedienne and actress Sandra Bernhard used this name fashion when she selected Cicely Yasin for her daughter, who was born in 1998. Yasin is a Moroccan name that means “bearer of good news.”


Be sure you test-drive your first/middle/last name combination thoroughly before making your final decision. Don't skip a step in this process, or your little girl may never forgive you for naming her Mary Ursula Davis, resulting in the unlovely acronym MUD.

Creating a Middle

There's nothing that says you can't take a creative approach to fashioning a middle name just as you would in creating a first name. For example, you can craft a middle name from elements of several names if you're having a hard time settling on just one. Or honor a male relative by creating a feminine form of his name for your little girl (just flip these genders around to fit your particular needs).

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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