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!


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!


“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!!

The Virtue of Random Names

Betsy asked:

Not pregnant right now but I’ve been trying to think up a first name for our future son. We have Meghan Kathleen, Sakura Ashley, Daniel William, and our next daughter will be Zeriah Francine. I want our next son’s middle name to be Edmund. We’ve been naming our kids by doing 1 “random” name that we like and 1 name after a family member; Edmund would be after my Grandpa.

“Sakura” is Japanese for “cherry blossom”. Photo by Midori.

I also don’t want to re-use ANY letters of the alphabet so A, D, E, F, K, M, S, W, and Z aren’t options for beginning letters…also the name “Royce” is a no as it’s my brother’s pick for a name and is therefore not allowed to be used by me per his requests. I love “different” and unique names (this can include unique spellings). Usually I don’t have a problem with names I just can’t think of any that I like coupled with Edmund and his middle name will be Edmund (I lost my Grandpa recently so it’s important to me as my oldest is named after my Grandma) Thanks for any help you can offer!

What a neat mix of names you have. And I love Edmund– it’s on my list, too. And I really dig your appreciation for the random combined with honoring family. That is right up my alley. AND, I’m thrilled that you are so specific about what you want, right down to the letters.

I grew up loving names and loving how my name is a “living history book” for my family but also a twist of my own personal name and wanted to give that to my kids…my daughter, Meghan, would be the only 1 that’d be different as Kathleen came from my Grandma’s middle name and Meghan was her all-time favorite name (and would’ve been her 2nd daughter’s name had she been able to have more) but the others are a totally “random” name that we like coupled with a family name

Some thoughts:

Cole Edmund
Rock Edmund
Javon Edmund
Raleigh Edmund
Nathan Edmund
Tony Edmund
Jayden Edmund
Yeray Edmund
Jahaziel Edmund
Jelani Edmund
Lex Edmund
Hayden Edmund
Louis Edmund
Tinley Edmund
Joplin Edmund

[We typically don’t recommend the rhymes with “ayden” names, but in this case we were testing the waters with Betsy, in case she actually took to them. We considered not recommending them at all, but wanted to be fair for any occasions in which it may not be a terrible choice. If you like these names, we recommend you do some soul searching and choose them only if they mean a lot to you. If you are selecting just because it looks cool to you, please keep searching, as these names are very trendy right now and there are other, “cooler” options out there for you that would be more original.]

Keep us updated!

thanks for the list! lots of good names there going to think on them before I decide

*Betsy assured us that she would let us know what she decides. We’ll update this post when she does!*

UPDATE JULY 1, 2014: I ask you about a year ago for “J” names…we ended up naming our boy Josiah Edmund. He is now 8months old.

How we decided on his name: my great great grandpa Joseph built the house that we are now living in (finally) we want to “honor” him in some way so “joe” became “joe-siah” Josiah… Edmund comes from my grandpa.”


Now I would like to talk a minute about the virtue of random names. Betsy is an example of a very interesting namer. She had a sort of rule set (not repeating letters in the alphabet for initials; honoring family with one name), and at the same time, she was open to anything. I think when you explore random names, you can challenge yourself to branch out beyond what, for you, are your predictable tastes and typical choices.

Have you ever noticed that you get a little bored of your name list? Feeling uninspired? It would be a little like having a favorite shirt in 10 colors, and wearing only those. After awhile, we no longer surprise ourselves. Sometimes naming loses its spark that way. One way to reawaken that fire is to “try on” random names.

James Cheng / msnbc.com

You can do this by imagining you have a child with a name you normally would never have known or thought twice about. Add the surname, and a first/middle name to pair with it. If you have at least one guaranteed name that means something to you (such as, a middle name that honors family), you’d be surprised what you realize you actually love and find usable.

Example: Deborah is going to name a son. She knows she wants to use her great-grandfather’s name, Walter, as either the first or middle name. The last name will be Crook. She has no idea what to pair Walter with and feels uninspired. She doesn’t want to settle for something she is lukewarm about and doesn’t want to be too boring, and doesn’t necessarily need the name to feel completely traditional.

By trying on random names, Deborah experiments with choices like:

Walter Mario Crook
Pierce Walter Crook
Leonidas Walter Crook
Bradford Walter Crook
Walter Shane Crook

With previous choices on her list that she felt blah about (Michael, James, John, & Robert… with an Aidan thrown in there for kicks), she had never considered Mario, Pierce, Leonidas, Bradford, or Shane. They just were not on her radar. To her, these choices seemed totally random. Without that inspiration and her trying on these unexpected names to see if she like them, she might never have finalized Leonidas as the name.

I think we can push the boundaries even further, though. In making your name lists and looking for fresh baby name combinations, I encourage you to test out random names, from the traditional to the ancient to the bizarre, and see how it feels. See if you can just picture your baby with that name. It’s how hippies wind up with Johnny’s and how traditionalists have Kai’s. It’s very cute and great at making sure our classrooms don’t have 5 children of the same name.

In an effort to keep this concept flowing and to challenge people to branch out, we will occasionally (on our page or blog) be asking people to consider random names and see how they could “fit” with their surnames and other name choices from their list. Let us know what you end up loving or using, or how it inspired you in other ways! Feel free to participate with us.