Every once in a while I swear I see birth announcements for children named Isabella Elizabeth or Jacob James. First-Middle combos such as these always baffle me because Isabella and Elizabeth ultimately derive from the same Biblical Hebrew name, as do Jacob and James. They appear different from each other, but have the same meaning and origin. Don’t get me wrong…I love all these names (especially Elizabeth since it’s my own name). But I do believe some names shouldn’t be juxtaposed.
Now, the meanings of names generally don’t matter too much to most people regarding English-language naming, but it is a good idea to at least make you aren’t using two versions of the same name. Personally, if I want to look up the origin or meaning of a name, Behind the Name is the gold-standard. Often I think BtN is far more reliable than any of the physical name dictionaries (including the one published by Oxford), but that’s a story for another time…
Here are some combos besides Isabella Elizabeth and Jacob James that I consider redundant. Some of them are only theoretical, but I’m sure others have been tried.
- Allison Alice – Allison is a variation of Alison, which is a medieval form of Alice.
- Hannah Anne – Both derive from a Hebrew name meaning “Grace.” Anne is the French form of Anna, which is the Greek cognate of Hannah…
- Jacques James – Contrary to how it sounds, Jacques is related to James and Jacob, not Jack or John. This said, if honoring a Jacques, Jack James is doable.
- Jamie Jacqueline – ditto
- Lillian Elizabeth – Lillian is commonly believed to derive from Elizabeth. Ergo, Lily Elizabeth is also an iffy combination, but the flower allows Lily to stand on her own as a name.
- Liam William – Visually self-evident, plus they’re closely related. If you love both names, I recommend naming him William and using Liam as the nickname.
- Jackson John – Jackson is a surname meaning ‘son of Jack,’ and Jack is a nickname for John.
- Molly Marie – Molly is a nickname for Mary, English equivalent of French Marie.
- Megan Margaret – Megan is a Welsh pet form of Margaret.
- Rebecca Rivka – Not going to lie, this could actually make a great character name.
- Anna Grace – A stretch because the origins are different…however, they both mean “grace.” Hannah Grace is in the same boat.
- Nadia Hope – Nadia can mean “hope.”
- Rupert Robert – Even closer versions of the same name than James and Jacob.
- Eliza Beth – One name split into two nicknames.
Other potentially redundant combinations may arise in these situations:
- Regarding mythological names, using both the Greek and Roman names for the same deity. Think Hera Juno or Zeus Jupiter. I’ll admit those sound very cool, but are still a little repetitive. Vesta Hestia doesn’t sound so great though…
- Regarding Biblical names; several figures in the Bible had their names changed. Oftentimes the new names are entirely different from the old; therefore, something like Jacob Israel or Simon Peter is a fine first-and-middle combination. I will suggest, however, that Abraham and Sarah‘s old names (Abram and Sarai) are too similar to be used in a combination with their new names (Abram Abraham and Sarah Sarai?).
Thoughts? Can you think of any other repetitive or redundant combinations?