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Selecting Names for Multiples

Like Means Like

Name Dropping

Some parents use a variation of this name fashion to choose names that, when combined, take on a meaning all their own. It works well with names like Cara and Mia, which combine to spell the Italian phrase “cara mia” (my beloved), but it's a good idea to stay away from such combinations as Storm/Cloud, Copper/Penny, or Jett/Blaine.

Another popular approach to naming multiples is to pair names with similar meanings. This can be a more difficult fashion to work with as it takes some knowledge of the meanings of names, or the willingness to dig a little more than usual to find names with similar roots.

It also probably works best with twins, as it may be difficult to find combinations greater than two. But the results can really be worth the time and energy that go into coming up with combinations like these:

  • Laura and Daphne: Both names mean “laurel”; Laura is Latin and Daphne is Greek.
  • Elijah and Joel: These Hebrew names both combine elements that mean “God,” but in different order.
  • Zoe and Eve: These names translate as “life” in Greek (Zoe) and Hebrew (Eve).
  • Diana and Selene: Diana is the Roman goddess of the moon; Selene is her Greek counterpart.
  • Nell and Elaine: Both names derive from the same root name of Helene, the Greek goddess of beauty. Elaine is a more modern variation of the name Helen; Nell is a pet form of Eleanor, another name derived from Helene.
  • Jonathan and Matthew: Both names come from the Hebrew words yehu, “of God,” and matis, “gift.”
  • Karen and Katherine: Karen is the Danish form of Katherine, which comes from the Greek word for “pure.”
  • Kieran and Melanie: Both mean “dark-haired” or “dark” in complexion.
  • Amy and David: These two names both translate into “beloved.” Amy, however, derives from Latin and David from Hebrew.

Virtuous Combinations

Another pairing approach to try is combining virtue names. One obvious combination, and a good one for triplets, is Hope, Faith, and Charity, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

A nice aspect of this naming style is that you can give your multiples a hidden bond by selecting names that appear quite different but that share similar virtuous meanings that only you know about (obviously, you'll share them with your offspring at a later date).

Pairing Prefixes

This approach doesn't pair names that are similar in any other way besides the fact that they share prefixes, but they fall into this category because of that common bond. It works particularly well with African-American names, like Lakisha and Ladonna, Tanisha and Tamika, or Daquon and Danell.

Like other pairings, these combinations can cause confusion if the selected names sound too much alike. A way to keep some distance between them is to choose names that are sufficiently different aside from their prefixes. Laquonda and Latrell is a good combination. Talitha and Tanisha, as they both end in “a” could be a little too close for comfort.

Just Good Names

Coming up with names that relate to one another is a popular approach to naming multiples, but it is by no means the only way to go. There are just as many parents who choose names that have little in common at all. They're just good names, as least as far as the parents who select them are concerned.

This seems to be a far stronger trend in naming multiples these days, at least when it comes to the multiples who have gained some notoriety for one reason or another, such as:

  • Stephen and Amanda Mays, the first test-tube twins.
  • John and William Reiff, who have won a record 22 titles in “most identical” contests.
  • The four little Dursts—Calli Kristine, Kendra Nicole, Megan Marie, and Sarah Elizabeth—of Buffalo, Minnesota, a delightful quartet who earned more than their 15 minutes of fame as they were conceived without fertility drugs. I spent an afternoon with these girls as toddlers when I worked as a reporter in Minnesota, which convinced me that all parents of multiples are saints!
  • Leanna, Joy, and Monica Creel, the identical triplets who starred in The Parent Trap III and Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon.
  • Gwyneth, Barbara, and Pilar Thomas, the daughters of actor Richard Thomas.
  • Eliza and Katya, the twin daughters of Charles, Viscount Althorp (Princess Diana's brother).
  • Henry and Angus, the twin sons of actors Corbin Bernsen and Amanda Pays.
  • Dane Luke and Trey Kully, the twin sons of actor Lee Majors.
  • Malcom and Olivia, the boy/girl combo born to actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta.
  • And, of course, Kenneth Robert, Alexis May, Natalie Sue, Kelsey Ann, Brandon James, Nathan Roy, and Joel Steven, the “seven from heaven” septuplets born to Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey in 1997.

There's not much commonality between any of the names these parents chose for their multiples besides the fact that they were carefully selected and bestowed with lots of love. And this, quite frankly, should be the bottom line when it comes to naming any baby, whether he or she is a singular sensation or part of a new chorus line!

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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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