Middle Names for Ruth

Hi Elizabeth, I have been reading your blog and *love* your sense about baby names. My husband and I have decided on quite a few of our kids’ names in advance… Example: Our first son will be Isaac Jeffrey. My husband’s full first name is Jeffrey, and he has always loved the name Isaac. We are considering Amariah Joseph for a second son. Let me get to the point. We both love the name Ruth for our first girl with the nickname of “Ruthie“, but for the life of us, we can’t come up with a middle name. I came up with potential middle names Jahaziel and Eliora, both of which my husband stole for future daughter’s names. So while we have a 2nd and 3rd daughter’s name as Jahaziel Ruby and Eliora Rosemary respectively, we are stuck on a middle name for Ruth. I know… Such a huge problem when our first problem is being able to conceive these children to begin with… I guess it helps pass the time. Anyway, I thought I would see if you had any thoughts or suggestions. Many thanks!

Rachel

I would add that we are deeply religious and we love some of the meanings for these names… Jahaziel, Hebrew in origin and from one of my favorite passages in the Bible in 2 Chronicles 20. From what I can tell, it means something along the lines of, “Beheld by God, or whom God watches over. Seeing God.” Eliora, also Hebrew origin from what I have read, “The Lord is my light”. Rosemary… Well, I love Rosemary Clooney. There’s no mystery there. Ruby seemed to feminize (and perhaps balance/normalize) Jahaziel a bit.

Oh yeah, we have recently added Solomon to the list for a 3rd son. Perhaps combined with Jude.

Really looking forward to your input.

Update: Just an update… After a long year of ectopic pregnancy, surgery, loss of a tube, and multiple fertility treatments, we are finally expecting! We are finally going to get to use one of these lovely names we’ve been planning and talking about. And of course, we’re no close to finding Ruth a middle name. Lol

Hi Rachel! So glad you like the blog and I’d be happy to give you my thoughts.

One of the biggest things I notice right away about your name selections is that they are nice, but that they might have some sound flow issues.

Isaac Jeffrey is a handsome combo, but I noticed your surname begins with a G. Isaac G____ runs together. I typically advise against that because the flow sounds run-on, and in some cases (as is true in yours), it creates the sense of different words being spoken. Say Isaac + your surname out loud, fast and casually, and see if you can hear it. With these types of pairings the only way out is to very clearly and distinctly enunciate each and every time. That’s just not going to happen.

Other options for the name include swapping out Isaac for Isaiah, or adding another name after Isaac as a buffer (for example, Isaac John Jeffrey, first name being Isaac John).

Amariah in our society has a high probability of being mistaken for a girl’s name. In America, 135 girls received the name last year, while no boys to speak of did (if they did, it was less than 5). This may only have to do with the popularity of the girl’s name Mariah, but still. I understand it’s a great name with a great meaning so I don’t intend for this to deter you, just to prepare you.

Now let’s explore some middle name possibilities for Ruth (Ruthie!). Just playing around here, experimenting to see what jumps out to you.

Ruth Eliora
Ruth Rosemary
Ruth Jahaziel
Ruth Rachel
Ruth Kora
Ruth Madison
Ruth Esther
Ruth Zahara
Ruth Aries
Ruth Abigail
Ruth Tatum
Ruth Shay
Ruth Arin
Ruth Karrington
Ruth Amariana
Ruth Makayla
 Ruth Aleena
Ruth Kennedi
Ruth Clara
Ruth Mya
Ruth Caroline
Ruth Mckenzie
Ruth Malia
Ruth Olivia
Ruth Petronilla
Ruth Kay

Warning: some of those combos create initials RAG.

Jahaziel is very nice but has the same problem Amariah does, but in reverse– it may be mistaken for a boy’s name. In fact, it was a male name in the Bible. Last year in the US, 52 boys were named this and no girls to speak of. The Ruby in the middle does soften it up, it’s cute and a nice touch.

Eliora Rosemary has a terrible flow (sorry!). The way the Rs bump into each other is less than fluid. Eliora and Rosemary may be used better in other pairs. (Like, with Ruth.)

Noticing you liked Ruth and Ruby. Could be good twin names, or at the very least points to some sound and letter preferences you may have (short Ru names– not that there are many of them!).

Solomon Jude is great.

Thanks for letting us look at your names and good luck choosing! Please let us in on what you select!

UPDATE:

“We found out just before Christmas that we will be having a little girl… And we have decided on
Ruth Sephora.
Thank you and all your readers for your help!!
 “

First & Middle Baby Names Fan Pics & Names

Directly from our fans on our Facebook First & Middle Baby Names page, comes real actual babies and their first and middle names.  Proof that our fans are obviously really into naming. 🙂

Blaize James

Bowie Imagine

“This is a photo of Bowie Imagine Graff… This photo was taken yesterday at 5 and a half months old… Both my partner and I love classic rock and roll… My partner also is a fan of classic rap.. The notorious B. I. G. especially… I wanted a verb as a middle name… Be careful what you wish for though… My ‘Mr. BIG’ was born at home weighing in at 11 lbs 6 oz… And at 5 months old is 21 lbs 14oz… Haha.”

-File that one under “Names We Wished We Could Take Credit For”. ~Elizabeth

Canaan Eleazar

Dhev Everett

“Our own spin on the sanskrit Dev- that begins many names. Meaning ‘God’ or ‘Divine,’

Everett, a family name back 3 generations, meaning ‘wild and brave boar'”

Finley Vail

Huckleberry Wilder

“We choose Huckleberry’s name because his older brother is named Sawyer and every Sawyer needs a “Huck”. His middle name is from Little House On The Prairie…Laura Ingles Wilder. ”

Kian Angel

Leo Michael

Nate Anthony Lukeson

“Just a quick story regarding my little boy, his name means so much to us.
My Father is Norwegian and their tradition when naming a Son is to add the Father’s name as a middle name with ‘Son’. I wanted to pass this on and keep this going in our family.
Our son’s name is Nate Anthony Lukeson Bryant. Nate was decided as I love 4 letter names and Nathaniel was too long. Nathan is also my Husband’s middle name, so it seemed to fit perfectly for all the right reasons. Anthony was my late Uncle, who passed suddenly and at a very young age. It was also a common middle name on my Mother’s side. Lukeson is the Norwegian tradition part, my Husband’s name is Luke.
I am all for family traditions and names that represent a special meaning. i can’t wait to explain his name to him when he is older!”

November Sue

“Born 11/30/12, my birthday. Sue after my mom (my middle name is Susan, too) and November because not only is it a beautiful word, but because after a loss, we decided to try again and the resulting babe would be due in November. For us November means hope, healing, and joy.”

Paloma Ixchel

“I wanted her first name to honor my mom without using her actual name, Sara. Sara is common in the US, and the pronunciation would not default to the Spanish, which I prefer. I chose Paloma, Spanish for dove, because in one of my earliest memories, my mom would play Mexican songs on 8 track tapes, and we’d sing along together. We did this many afternoons, and a favorite song was Cucurucucu Paloma. I can’t hear the word paloma and not think of mom, who passed 13 years ago.
Ixchel is a nod to the Mayan jaguar moon goddess. She is a goddess of fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth, among other things. Paloma was conceived and born after I turned 39, and with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. And so I really wanted a fertility goddess, more specifically a Mexican one. Also, I had an easy pregnancy and birth, so I do feel that we were being watched over! Ixchel just seemed like a perfect choice. Paloma is 1/2 Brazilian and 1/2 Mexican. And I really wanted a name with a story that would take her back to her Mexican ancestry, and hope to one day take her to Ixchel’s shrine on the Mexican island of Cozumel. Our family is actually from Michoacan, but I couldn’t find a name from that region that fit my criteria.”

Raya Rose

River Luca James

Saoirse Mae

Sawyer James

“Sawyer is named after the country band Sawyer Brown & James is my fathers name.”

Solomon Lloyd

Talbot Garrett Edward

“Talbot is for the county I grew up in on the Eastern Shore of MD.
Garrett is for the most Western MD county, where my husband grew up.
Edward is for my great-uncle and father in law.”

Wednesday Eliza

Zeppelin Mililani

“My bestfriend picked the name Zeppelin right before she passed away, unexpectedly. Her last text message to me said ” You should name him Zeppelin Mililani!” Mililani is her middle name. So we did, in memory of one of the greatest people I have ever come across. Kiersten Nicole-Mililani Hammer.”

Do My Z Names Mean What I Think They Do?

Colleen:  Well I believed the baby name books on my first four kids and now im worried they dont really mean what I think they mean. Thanks for that! 😛 I have a Zaynah, Zeke, Zoey, Zachary.

Elizabeth: What do you think they mean… ?

Colleen: Beautiful, god given strength, life, god remembers

Elizabeth: Yeah, that’s mostly accurate.

Zaynah is an Arabic name, ضایٔنه , and refers to beauty or beautiful. I’ve seen other sources suggest it is related to a word that simply means “good”.

Zeke is a short form of Ezekiel. Ezekiel means “strength of God” (or similar), but in shortening it to Zeke, you removed the root word for “God”. So, Zeke means only “strength“. The “God given” would be totally implied, as it is no longer in the name at all.

Ancient names with religious background are very special and beloved, but over the millennia they have undergone transformations which may, in essence, alter their meanings.

Zoey definitely means life.

Zachary can definitely be interpreted to mean God remembers.

I’d say you did pretty good, and the name books didn’t steer you too wrong this time. 😉 Name books will often lazily conclude that a shortened version of a name means the exact same thing as the original, but in many names such as Hebrew ones, where the root words can clearly be divided and meaning determined, it should be expressed how the compound is altered.

“You mean THIS is what our ancestors lived in???”

Think of compound words in our own language… take treehouse. Say your kids decided to call it “house” for short, instead of treehouse. If a dictionary 200 years in the future tells you that “house” means the same as “treehouse”, how accurate would you consider that? Not very, right? File this under Reason #3 why I’m not too fond of most baby name books.

If you have questions about the accuracy of interpretation of your kids’ names, ask Elizabeth!

UPDATE May 2013:  Colleen welcomed a son– Zander!

Silas: What Does it REALLY Mean?

File this under reason #58 to not believe anything you read on cutesy Baby Name websites.

On our page discussing names, we were recommending names to a fan. One of our fans innocently adds Silas to the list of considerations, adding that it would work well for the OP, because it means “third”, and this was to be her third child.

I was intrigued why she thought this (“where did you hear that?”, a common question I believe I will be asking often enough), and she informed me that a baby name site told her that. Figures.

Could she have been thinking of Birth Village? Here was the user contributed (!) meaning they ascribed to dear old Silas:

The baby boy or baby girl name Silas comes from the Biblical word which means, “three, or the third.” Biblical word which means, “three, or the third.”

That was taken directly from the entry for Silas without additional editing on my part. If you want something user-submitted to tell you about your name, you might be better off visiting Urban Dictionary. Tee hee.

Now, it just so happens that there is a very similar word in Hebrew to Silas, and it does mean third. From ancient-hebrew.org:

As an example the Hebrew word for “three” is “shelosh”, and the Hebrew word for “third” is “sheliyshiy”.

It would be easy to see why “sheliyshiy” could seem connected to or related to Silas. However, there is already a Hebrew baby name that seems to cover this meaning– Shilshah, which does indeed specifically refer to a third son.

Most sources out there (yes, even the fluff sources) will tell you that Silas stems from the same Latin and Greek roots that “silvan” does, which definitely gives it a meaning of “woody” or “of the forest”. But, there is still a chance that this is wrong and that Silas and Shilshah are related, right?

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. -Robert Frost

I asked my favorite Hebrew/Biblical baby name expert (and all around brilliant guy), Arie, about this. This man is a scholarly genius when it comes to understanding the complexity and poetry behind Biblical names, words, and meanings.  Here’s what he said:

You are correct. The name Silas is short for Silvanus (like Bill is short for William), and both mean forest(ed). And you’re also correct about the Hebrew word for three, which is shalosh. The word for third generation is shilesh, which comes very close to the name Silas.

Names in the New Testament are not as often descriptive of the name-bearer as in the Old Testament. I doubt very much that there is something profoundly “third” about Silas. But maybe I’m wrong.

Most sources, from the fluffy and superficial books and sites, to reliable resources such as Biblical study books, genius Hebrew language students, and reference/dictionary sources seem to agree that Silas has to do with the forest, and not birth order.

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