Hi Jennifer,

My partner and I are both creative types — he’s a musician and I’m a visual artist. We didn’t want just any baby name for our daughter, who is due to arrive after the new year! We want to create a baby name, but don’t really know how to go about it. Sometimes when we come up with some, they sound too alien.

Do you have any advice for creating a name?


Ashley C.

Dear Ashley,

This is a great question, and it kind of ties into my lessons for writers on naming fictional characters, specifically in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. First, you have to understand that all names were “created” at some point in time, so don’t let anyone tell you that it’s wrong or you “can’t do it.”

Assuming that the child will be living in the U.S., you’ll want something that is easy to pronounce and easy to spell for Americans. A great way to do this is to find a more common name and change a letter. For example, Timberly (from Kimberly) or Zaiden (from Aiden).

Another thing you could do is combine elements from two existing names. I don’t know your husband’s name but let’s take Chad, for example. If you combined elements from Chad and Ashley you could have Chaley or Shad. Notice how both would be easy for a teacher to pronounce.

A third example would be to take a noun or proper name that has rarely been used for human babies and make it a name. Apple would be a great example of that, or Avior (a star name), or Canberra (a city in Australia).

I hope this helps spark your imagination. Definitely write back and let me know what you guys come up with!



How to Create a Baby Name

Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.