twins means two opportunities to pick the perfect names—and double the number
of chances to get it all wrong. Just like matching outfits, matching names, by
initials or meanings, can be captivating or cloying. Think about your heart,
your heritage and what those children will hear every day of their lives when
someone calls their names. Then take the plunge. The two-fer pleasure of naming
your amazing twins should be fun.
rank in the U.S.: Ezra, #119; Ophelia, Not ranked
Meaning: Help, assistance
Love your Bible, love your Shakespeare, love the power of historic names that
are fresh all over again when combined. Both Ezra from the Hebrew and
Ophelia from the Greek mean "help" and, despite their different
origins, the names are musical and simple enough to sound connected and
contemporary. Ophelia's tragic fate in "Hamlet" underscored her
fragile beauty and her open heart. Ezra was a revered scholar and scribe who
interpreted the Torah for his people.
rank in the U.S.: Logan, #13; Lucas, #19
Meaning: Little hollow (Logan); from Lucania (Lucas)
Alliteration is a popular strategy for choosing twin names. Two boys whose
names begin with an L might be as different as night and day or as
alike as two peas. Logan is a Scottish last name that describes a "little
hollow" in Gaelic. It was the name of the hero in the sci-fi novel and
film "Logan's Run." Lucas comes from ancient Greek and Latin, a
reference to the Lucania region of Italy and the name of an early Christian saint.
Luke Skywalker was the same sort of outside-the-box hero as the protagonist of
"Logan's Run," so expect daring deeds from those two tiny boys.
rank in the U.S.: Melanie, #79; Phoebe, #298
Meaning: Pure, light (Phoebe); dark (Melanie)
You'll tell them apart by their blond and dark hair and by their melodic names
that end on the same sound but describe opposite attributes. Phoebe, from
Greek, is pure light and was a Greek goddess of the moon. Melanie, a French name
from Greek and Latin for "dark," was a steadfastly sweet character in
"Gone With the Wind." The names are so lovely, it's worth skipping
rank in the U.S.: Chloe, #18; Connor, # 52
Meaning: Green shoot, life (Chloe); dog lover, wolf lover (Connor)
Chloe comes from a Greek description of the harvest goddess Demeter, a
"green shoot," symbol of renewed life and abundance. Connor is from
the Irish mythology of the High Kings of Ireland, whose legendary exploits
often involved magical dogs or wolves. These two will make their own myths and
magic, small lively bundles of potential with short, beautiful names.
rank in the U.S.: Jacob, #4; Jonah, #138
Meaning: Supplanter (Jacob); dove (Jonah)
Jacob, originally a Hebrew Old Testament name, was the founder of the 12 Tribes
of Israel and comes from the same source as the name James. Jonah, famous for
his journey inside the whale, is the Hebrew word for "dove." The two
names summon the qualities of perseverance, faith and strong focus—and Jonah
is related to a potent symbol of peace. Two J's, two syllables, two
very distinct handles for a double helping of dynamic baby boys.
rank in the U.S.: Mackenzie, #69; Madison, #9
Meaning: Son of Kenneth, son of Coinneach (Mackenzie); son of Maude, good
Surnames for first names are still favorites for girls and "Mac" and
"Maddy" can each wear their three syllables with elan. Mackenzie
comes from a Scottish-Gaelic name that originally meant "son of
Coinneach," a name meaning "handsome" that is sometimes
anglicized as Kenneth. Madison might have been an early president, but the
girl's name owes more to the movie "Splash," in which a beached
mermaid sees a sign for Madison Avenue and decides to call herself that. The
English "son of Maude" is the historic source of the name.
rank in the U.S.: Trinity, #110; Tristan, #101
Trinity is an English word referring to the three-fold nature of the Christian
god. It's also the name of a brilliant hacker-heroine in the sci-fi epic
"The Matrix." Tristan comes from ancient Pictish, via Polish and
French. Tristan was a knight of the Round Table, and one of the tragic lovers
in the Celtic legend of "Tristan und Isolde"; the spelling of the
name is influenced by the Latin word "tristis," for "sad."
Both monikers attach to bold characters who follow their own hearts, undeterred
by challenges or consequences.
rank in the U.S.: Caleb, #35; Joshua, #25
Meaning: Bold, whole-hearted, dog (Caleb); Yahweh is salvation, bold, leader
Caleb and Joshua were the two Old Testament scouts Moses sent to bring back a
report about the Promised Land—and the only two of 12 to live to see it.
Their optimism and faith guided them to a long and fruitful life. Caleb, from
Hebrew, can mean "whole-hearted or "dog" or "bold."
Joshua also comes from Hebrew, with a close affiliation with the concept of leadership
and a similarity to the original Aramaic name for Jesus, "Yeshu'a."
Both names hark back to a time when men ventured out boldly to explore and tame
the land, so make sure you have high sides on the cribs.
rank in the U.S.: Ava, #5; Grace, #21
Meaning: Grace, poise, blessings
Ava and Grace mean exactly the same thing—blessings bestowed, elegance and
poise—grace. Ava is a variation of Eve, the biblical first woman. Grace
comes from the Latin "gratia" for thanks, alluding to the
"blessings" interpretation of the word. The names are
linked with legendary actresses Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. Soccer superstar
Mia Hamm named her twin girls Ava and Grace.
rank in the U.S.: Emma, #1; Jack, #41
Meaning: Universal, whole (Emma); Yahweh is gracious, man (Jack)
Emma was a shortened German name that meant "universal" or "
whole" and a favorite among itinerant medieval royalty. Emmas were wives
of various European kings. After the 11th-century Norman conquest, it became,
and remains, a popular girl's name in England. Jack, from the medieval
"Jackin" or Jankin," is an affectionate medieval English handle
for John and came to mean "man." Characters named Jack were stand-ins
for mankind in nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Emma Thompson and Jack Nicholson
are celebrated actors. Emma is the eponymous heroine of Jane Austen's novel,
and Jacks Kerouac and London were famous American writers.