“Rocket” & Other Space Names

Becky wrote to us:

Back at it again! This time I’m having a boy we named Gabriel but we don’t have a middle name. My 5 year old called the baby “Rocket” for a long time and I thought it’d be cool to pay homage to that for his middle name. Other than “Rocket”, what other space related names can you think of? I haven’t been able to really find any lists on google. Thanks! 🙂

screenshot-2017-01-11-at-11-32-31-amAnd then she added that she had named her other children Annabelle Grace, Isaac Christian, and Claire Elise. She was interested in any traditional names, as well. The last name will begin with L. So here is what I have to say to Becky–

First of all, you already know that I think Rocket is a great name. It’s cool, it’s out there, and your 5 year old is a genius. (My firstborn actually gave a middle name to *her* little brother, too…. Something I didn’t even realize was a name yet at the time.) Anyway, just in case you’d like to explore your options, here are some.

Gabriel Orion
After the constellation
Gabriel Cosmo
Gabriel Comet
Gabriel Starr
Gabriel Neptune
Gabriel Apollo
Greek god of the sun, and name of the space programscreenshot-2017-01-11-at-11-38-45-am
Gabriel Ripley
After the astronaut hero from the movie “Alien”
Gabriel Moon
Gabriel Titan
The largest of Saturn’s moons
Gabriel Rider
A reference to being on a rocket?
Gabriel Odyssey
Gabriel Frontier
Gabriel Galaxy
Gabriel Kennedy
After the space center, where rockets launch from
Gabriel Skylar
Has “sky” in the name
Gabriel Houston
A reference to the space center location
Gabriel Chase
Sounds like traveling during a space voyage…
Gabriel Ferdinand
This is one of the moons of Uranus, and Ferdinand means roughly “adventurer”. Ferdinand was also the first name of Magellan, so this name has space-rocket-navigation written all over it.
Gabriel Orbit
Gabriel Gauge
Gabriel Miles
Could allude to space travel, right?

Some traditional or more common names…

Gabriel Hunter
Although this could be loosely tied to Orion, who is known as The Hunter.
Gabriel Nathan
Means “gift from God”, so, a gift from… the heavens? 🙂 
Gabriel Julian
Gabriel Cooper
Gabriel Paul
Gabriel Rocco

Close to Rocket…
Gabriel Max
Gabriel Joseph
Gabriel Colton
Gabriel Owen
Gabriel Jaden
Gabriel Houghton
Gabriel Eckhart

Watch the initials with middles that start with A or R, in case that’s a deal breaker. (GAL, GRL)

Life is an adventure and full of wild, cosmic mysteries. Our babies come to us from this source and we are all made of stardust. That is why I don’t think these names are too far out but are, in fact, very fitting to use. Honoring their journey with names that reflect how we know this about them is only right. It sounds like your older child was very insightful about something special with the new baby, perhaps. Good luck and please let us know what you choose! We’re excited for you.



Biblical Names for “Heal”ing

Sarah asked for Biblical names, either sex, which have meanings containing concepts like “join”, “heal”, or “repair”.

Right away I was about to tell her that Raphael and Raphaella referred to “healed by God” (or, “God heals”), and Raphael of course is a Biblical name, while Raphaella is a female derivative. So, for me this was the most obvious (and perhaps due to my own personal preferences!), but the Bible is full of meaningful names, so let’s explore a few other options.


Raphael is the angel who is said to talk to doctors, or anybody with the task of healing and caretaking.

Levi, male, to be joined
Jahdo, male, united
Josiah, male, Yahweh heals
Asa, male, healer
Bethesda, place name (a place of healing), house of mercy
Hadashah, feminine place name, new or repaired
Azaba, feminine, restore or repair
Rephaiah, male, healed by Yahweh

This is by no means a complete list, because there are always a variety of possibilities, especially when we play with root words (as I have, with Azaba). Additionally, many people consider using -iah names in a unisex fashion, so I suppose if that appeals to you, it’s always an option– particularly for the lesser known names.

It’s Hard to Recommend Names To Go With Cheyanne…

cheyanneI used to like the name Cheyenne* a lot. It’s a place name and a Native American tribal name… both very hip, en vogue, cutting edge, etc. The more I grew and learned and witnessed– in terms of our culture and the ways in which we represent ourselves and even appropriate– the less fond I grew for such styles. It started to seem insincere to me, and maybe even rude of me, and so I could no longer really validate my preferences by telling myself how pretty and cute they still were. I couldn’t kid myself by telling myself I was honoring something I didn’t truly understand. The truth is, there was no other reason to keep these types of names on my list, and too many reasons to cross them off. The truth is, they were trendy and had no real connection to me, period.

I now value authenticity. Authentic being-you. Authentic respect for others.

There is so much for me, and for you, to genuinely celebrate! No costumes, no disguises. Choose something with a close personal connection to you when you are naming your baby and it will mean so much more.

The exchange pictured above inspired me to create a new category in the blog– Racism (where I will talk about any cultural faux pas in names, not just limited to racial differences.) Every blog link I am about to share with you now fits the new category.

For further info on this specific topic, read here: The Bastardization of Native American Names

To find out why being honest about names matters, see: Hispanic Baby Name “News” is Ignorant BS

Some brief words on Native American words becoming tweaked names, when we helped a fan here (she had a child named CheyAnne): Cowboy Prairie Style First and Middle Baby Name Combos

Where we urged readers to not take K-K-K lightly: K, K, and Definitely Not K

If you’re one of our long time readers or just an appreciative fan, you respect the fact that we always advocate smart, thoughtful naming, minus the fluff. What I like about the community we share is that you can tell we genuinely, truly love names.  Thanks for joining with us in supporting integrity and education! I look forward to the ways we’ll keep learning together.

(I will discuss the name Cheyenne [the usual “proper” spelling*] more in the upcoming book.)

Names that go with Serenity, Thyri, and Alexander

Fan Question: Hello! smile emoticon
I’m looking for boy and girl names that go well with the last name Swisher. I’m trying to find both first and middle names. I like the names Alexander for a boy either first or middle and Serenity and Thyri (pronounced ‘Theory’) for a girl! Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated! smile emoticon
Thank you!

I really, really, really like your taste in names. However, anything that is a word name (Serenity) or sounds like a word name (Thyri) is going to be extra funny next to Swisher. It creates a concept, joke, or some sort of visual in the head.

Alexander is safe (although it also ends in “er”, if that is too repetitive for you with the last name).

So there are a bunch of “heads up” cautions here. This surname can be tricky to work with! I know the feeling. In my family we had a surname that turned everything into a sort of joke, too. I am such a fan of word names so I hate to see them crossed off of lists.

I’m going to give you some ideas with your preferences in mind and maybe see if you like any of them! Keep us posted! I’m extra interested in your selection.

Magdaleno Alic Swisher
Bossi Zing Swisher
Alexander Miguel Swisher
Alexander Tamar Swisher
Michael Alexander Swisher
Alexander Brody Swisher
Alexander Mehziyah Swisher
Alexander Psalm Swisher
Alexander Jaxson Swisher
Josiah Trey Swisher
Romelo Alexander Swisher
Vahan Alexander Swisher
Virgil Abel Swisher
Alexander Graham Swisher

Thyri is an old Scandinavian name and refers to Thor.


Theory Church Swisher
Shalon Serenity Swisher
Toña Thyri Swisher
Crista Theory Swisher
Madelyn Serenity Swisher
Theory Dylia Swisher
Cashlynn Ava Swisher
Serenity Aaliyah Swisher
Laila Thyri Swisher
Thyri Serenity Swisher
Aurii Theory Swisher
Thyri Icelyn Swisher
Dominique Andhra Swisher
Fiona Thyri Swisher

Blending Names For 3 Brothers, Celtic-Inspired

Emily asks:

Need help with a boy name! We want them to blend well with the names of our other boys which are William (Liam) Jack and Eoghan Henry. We would like to keep it within the Irish, Scottish, English realm. Any ideas? (Can’t do Killian because that is our dog’s name–smile emoticon–)

Fans offered up the following suggestions on our page:

Duncan Edward

I actually have a son named Cian-- here is a picture of him.

I actually have a son named Cian– here is a picture of him.




Emily replied:


I am loving all these names. My husband offered up Meallan and we have considered Conall for a middle name. We just haven’t found anything definite yet.

Okay… well, some of those suggestions were great!!! They gave a lot of classic, mostly Celtic names that makes a good bank you can draw from. However, I’d advise against Meallan Conall– it sounds like “melancholy”. See, sometimes we really like the sound of something and it’s because it’s familiar to us, even if it’s not conscious how or why. I think this is one of those instances. You’re familiar with the word melancholy and the combo created a flow that just makes sense, but it isn’t all that auspicious. Here are a few of my suggestions, and please keep us updated! I like your style and am curious what you select, as I’m sure the fans are as well.

Gadget Van Lewis
Pete Barge
Percival Shelby
Micah Wayland
Boyd Nevin
Matthew Mason (Theo)
Carson John
Jackson Kasey
Harlow Sebastian
Chase Richard
Beacán Eliab
Ichabod Noah (Ike, Bodhi)
Keane Michael
Adam Sean
Austin Brantley
MacEmsley Dominic
Ayden Luke
Kevin Landon
Christian Eli
Murphy Soren
Shea Alfred
Phillips Tinkering
Beckett Ayrington

K, K, and Definitely NOT K.

Michelle writes:

“Hello i need help picking a baby girl name!!! I have two boys already, kaleb and keelan, so i need a name that goes with them also. I love c, k or m names, also names that are unique and barely heard of but if u have a cute name with any letter of the alphabet please shaof those too. My princess will be here in July and im clueless!! This will be my first girl!! I found a few that i liked but none that i love. Any suggestions will be appreciated! Thanks!!”


I’m glad you’ve decided to ask for some ideas. Right away, let me say that I would avoid naming your baby with another K like the plague if I were you. You do NOT need a KKK reference in the house. Even if I weren’t sensitive to this particular offense (which I am), it’s just good common sense advice for me to tell you that sending the wrong idea about your beliefs through your kids will be a hassle you don’t need. Even if you loved the name Hitler and it was a family name, I’d still advise you to steer clear of that idea. Some things just have negative connotations which are too strong.

Even if you go with a C name, I would advise a soft C (sss sound) and not a hard (like a k sound), just so when you are audibly introducing your kids, no one makes the mistake of assuming they are K, K, and K. Ch would also be a good choice.

Now, on with some names! Since you didn’t list the middle names and don’t seem to be asking about those here, I’ll assume you have those covered. Just listen to the flow when trying to combine first, middle, and last.

Unique, Less Heard Names

Cute, Any Letter

M names

C Names

I actually love girl names and personally find those to be the easiest– I could name 100 girls if I had to! I hope through visiting our page and talking with some of the fans you found something you like. Please let us know what you select, as we’re all curious!

A Hint at the Content of the Book

Someday, someday, I promise I will release this book (and maybe some other surprises with it). For now, here is a preview of what sort of content you might expect (this time, in brief) when it actually does come out. Alternate working title of this post was, “The One in Which I Help a Couple of Friends”.

Now I do my disclaimer that some names have multiple legitimate meanings and origin possibilities, so I’ll just name one or the most obvious one, depending. It’s a lot easier to debunk what names supposedly are than to tell you what they are completely. There are also multiple levels of depth to names and words, so sometimes things are taken at face value but you can almost always probe deeper. I think a lot depends on your intention when you are naming.


Lily Eden: “Lily” + “plain” = “lily of the plain”
Zoey Lila: “life” + “night” = “nightlife”, “alive in the night”, “the breathing night”
Winter Margaret: “winter” or “the coldest season” + “pearl” = “winter pearl”
Grayson Anthony: “son of the vigilant” + arguably (very arguably… I’ll talk more about this in the book) “priceless” = “priceless son of the vigilant”

A note on Zoey Lila– in the potential meaning I showed I think it’s really funny because my daughter’s name is Eve, which is commonly credited with meaning “life”, but the way I use her name it actually refers to “night”. Just a funny little coincidence.

Denee– (see a previous post about Denee here)
*notes in parentheses following the names are Denee’s info*

Caleb Eugene (middle name is my dads middle name): “dog” + “well born” = “well born dog”
Jeremiah Scott (middle is hubs deceased brothers name): “elevation” & “Lord” + “a Scotsman” = “a Scot whose height is with the Lord”
Payton Matthew (middle is hubs first name): “Pacca” & “enclosure“ & implied “from“ + “gift of God”= “gift of God from Pacca’s fence”
Jacobi James (middle is hubs middle): “supplanter”, or “to seize by the heel”, twice. Either “doubly the trickster” or “to take back what was taken from you”, if you want to get poetic.
Marlena Suzanne (middle is combo of my.moms middle “Sue” and hubs moms middle “Ann”): “Mary Magdalene” + “lily” as in “white” & “grace” or “favor” = “the pure graciousness of Mary Magdalene”
Arabella Rochelle (middle is my middle): “prayerful” + “little rock” = “prayerful little rock”

Hopefully from this little snippet you can see what I mean when I say that names are poetry.

Avoiding Punny Names With Surname “Ball”

Fan Question– “Hi! My sister just recommended that I like this page for help. We just found out that we will be having our second boy – yay! Our first son is named Grayson Lionel (last name Ball), he’s 4 (I swear that name wasn’t trendy 4 years ago! Lol) as a nod to his father. My husband’s name is Guy Lionel Ball IV. We broke the tradition but didn’t want to ignore it entirely. We do not call him Gray.

I like semi-unique or old fashioned names, not something they’ll have to explain or spell the rest of their lives! I am not a fan of alliteration and I don’t want another name that ends in -son or -on/en/in necessarily. Our last name poses a unique challenge since it seems super easy to create a distasteful nickname (no Harrison, Chase, etc). I’m at the beginning brainstorming stages and I’m at a loss! I like the name Fletcher because of its occupational meaning (arrow maker) but feel like it needs to be ruled out immediately since the nickname Fletch could easily change to Fetch (fetch the ball!) Other names I’ve toyed w are Julian (Jules), Felix, Emile, Milo. I got nothing as far as middle names. Help!! Please. I’m open to most suggestions!”

Glad you found us, and thank your sister for me. Congratulations on your upcoming addition.

I know, isn’t it always the way that it seems, that we liked a name and used it first?! Unfortunately, thousands of babies were being named Grayson around the time your son was born. I think we just become more aware of names when our own child has it. I know it has happened with each of mine, and I’m a name nerd who prides herself in being very aware. I think they just jump out at us more, like neon signs. It’s because the name is even more special for us once our child takes ownership of it.

You’re right about the challenges your surname faces, so good looking out. I can only imagine what your husband puts up with. I’d love to help you brainstorm some ideas, should be fun.

As far as Fletcher goes, I see where you are concerned, but just insist he go by Fletcher and not Fletch. After all, you have a Grayson and you don’t let anyone call him Gray (which could have been equally problematic). “Fletcher Ball” does sound a bit like “fetch yer ball”, though. For the time being I am going to keep it in the running in case you have a change of heart. It also occurs to me that Milo Ball may sound slightly like “my little ball”. It’s still a handsome name, but you might want to know.

So, without further ado, some considerations…

Tommy Oliver Ball
Rockwell Fabian Ball
Julian Max Ball
Misael Felix Ball (“Max”, possibly)
Derek Atlas Ball
Gavin Boris Ball
Milo Rowan Ball
Efraim Johann Ball
Cyrus Emile Ball
Emile Titus Ball
Charleston Trevor Ball (do not call Charlie unless you are okay with “Charlie Brown” similarity)
Jules Pi Ball
Julian Tanner Ball
Julian Xander Ball
Milo Fletcher Ball
Emil Guyson Ball
Marin Donald Ball
Aidyn Felix Ball
Milo Sylvain Ball
Felix Fletcher Ball
Jules Dunn Ball
Orion Verne Ball
Felix Dennis Ball
Fletcher Helix Ball
Douglas Beau Ball

Pro-tip: avoid names like Luke and Lucien, to get away from a Lucille Ball reference. Emile Ball has that same ring to it.

Other classic, old fashioned names to avoid for puns: Oscar Ball. Richard Ball. (Think about it.)

Some names here are more unusual, some are more classic, and some are trendier and more common. It was fun to play around with, though, and I hope you found something you liked. My readers and I are very curious what you’ll choose, so please do keep us posted!

Classic, Less Used First Names for Middle Name Dorothy

Brea asks: Name help needed! Surprise baby four on board and is a girl. All our children’s first names end in N and middle names are family derived. Love names that are classic but unpopular and dislike names with frivolous Ys, Xs, etc. Last name is Bursch so plant/flower names don’t work (Rose Bursch, anyone?).

Reiken Calvin Bursch (m)
Quentin Raymond Bursch (m)
Gwendolyn Beverly Bursch (f)

Middle Name: Dorothy


This is a fun one, thank you for the challenge. And of course, congratulations. 🙂 Here is a list I made just for you to try on and hopefully either like something or be inspired in the direction that works for you.

Leeann Dorothy Bursch
Marion Dorothy Bursh
Marian Dorothy Bursch
Samaritan Dorothy Bursch
Rhiann Dorothy Bursch
Eden Dorothy Bursch
Helen Dorothy Bursch
Manon Dorothy Bursch
Madelain Dorothy Bursch
Madelein Dorothy Bursch
Jillian Dorothy Bursch
Elisian Dorothy Bursch
Brynn Dorothy Bursch
Joselin Dorothy Bursch
Cathleen Dorothy Bursch
Katherin Dorothy Bursch
Aven Dorothy Bursch
Christian Dorothy Bursch
Christen Dorothy Bursch
Wren Dorothy Bursch
Roselyn Dorothy Bursch
Sutton Dorothy Bursch
Audren Dorothy Bursch
Seren Dorothy Bursch
Ghislain Dorothy Bursch
Evangelin Dorothy Bursch
Caryn Dorothy Bursch
Bethan Dorothy Bursch
Rowan Dorothy Bursch
Mädchen Dorothy Bursch
Evelin Dorothy Bursch
Rhiannon Dorothy Bursch
Viridian Dorothy Bursch
Haven Dorothy Bursch
Shannon Dorothy Bursch
Suellen Dorothy Bursch
Yvonn Dorothy Bursch
Cymbelin Dorothy Bursch
Imogen Dorothy Bursch
Dawn Dorothy Bursch
Avalon Dorothy Bursch

I didn’t think Roselyn would count as a plant name… Please keep us updated!

A Sibling for Sawyer & Huck

Autumn says: Exciting news. Sawyer James and Huckleberry Wilder are going to have a sibling. We will not be finding out the sex so I am in need of name ideas for both genders. My only criteria is that the name be unique and I would love to have Dean as the middle name for both the boy & girl name in honor of my late uncle. While the boys names are obviously “themed” they were not named after the Mark Twain novels so no need to carry any tradition but I’m also not opposed to it. I am drawn to nature names (our last name makes for some fun combinations) and the late great country singing greats but am very open. I would love to see what you and your followers would suggest. Thank you so much

Congrats! I know you know how much I love Sawyer and Huck’s names, not to mention that Snow is a pretty cool surname. I know you were also torn on the popularity of a name being emphasized in the choosing, versus just going with something you love despite the trends. I’m going to give you a range of names to see what calls to you.

It does irk one to see that a loved one or sometimes a celebrity (or even, a large portion of society) snags the name you love. I know with Sawyer you felt it got a little too popular after you used it. One thing I want you to bear in mind is this: Huckleberry may be the winner of the unique names for your children, regardless of what you choose next. And that’s okay!

So, the mixed bag of ideas to try on…

Wiley Dean Snow
Marco Dean Snow
Denry Dean Snow
Bray Dean Snow
Osiah Dean Snow
Jethro Dean Snow
Tre Dean Snow
Gunner Dean Snow
Braylon Dean Snow
Guillermo Dean Snow (“Will”)
Jacobi Dean Snow
Jonael Dean Snow
Chaelan Dean Snow
Viper Dean Snow
Nichol Dean Snow
Javier Dean Snow
Lincoln Dean Snow
Major Dean Snow
Kellan Dean Snow
Armor Dean Snow
Kaleo Dean Snow
Miller Dean Snow
Ray Dean Snow
Shaun Ray Dean Snow
Ash Dean Snow
Aspen Dean Snow
Zurich Dean Snow
Amarillo Dean Snow (okay, this one’s a joke.)
Greenbriar Dean Snow
Puck Dean Snow
Brave Dean Snow
Twain Dean Snow
Silver Dean Snow
Justinian Dean Snow

Ramona Dean Snow
Mika Dean Snow
Saylor Dean Snow
Christelia Dean Snow
Gemini Dean Snow
Echo Dean Snow
Leianna Dean Snow
Ava Bell Dean Snow
Loelle Dean Snow
Scarlet Kay Dean Snow
Penelope Dean Snow
Kimboll Dean Snow
Haydry Dean Snow
Emery Dean Snow
Emelyn Dean Snow
Scarletta Dean Snow
Sloane Dean Snow
Cailin Dean Snow
Evana Dean Snow
Aaliyana Dean Snow
Cameo Dean Snow
Nyla Dean Snow
Nola Dean Snow
Noelle Dean Snow
Haddie Dean Snow
Zenobia Dean Snow
Jonquil Dean Snow
Joseline Dean Snow
Kerianna Dean Snow (“Carradine”, “Keradean”)
Rune Dean Snow
Wisteria Dean Snow

Just a note on names beginning with P– you may dislike P. Snow.