Pregnancy

Baby Names for Twins

by Brenna Crawford

Photograph by Twenty20

Having 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.

Ezra and Ophelia

Popularity 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.

Logan and Lucas

Popularity 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.

Melanie and Phoebe

Popularity 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 nicknames.

Chloe and Connor

Popularity 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.

Jacob and Jonah

Popularity 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.

Mackenzie and Madison

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Mackenzie, #69; Madison, #9

Meaning: Son of Kenneth, son of Coinneach (Mackenzie); son of Maude, good (Madison)

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.

Trinity and Tristan

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Trinity, #110; Tristan, #101

Meaning: Three-in-one (Trinity); outcry, sadness (Tristan)

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.

Caleb and Joshua

Popularity rank in the U.S.: Caleb, #35; Joshua, #25

Meaning: Bold, whole-hearted, dog (Caleb); Yahweh is salvation, bold, leader (Joshua)

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.

Ava and Grace

Popularity 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.

Emma and Jack

Popularity 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.

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