Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Middle Name: A rose by any other name

I've just heard of another baby girl being given Rose as a middle name. There seems to be quite a lot of them. Hell, Sylvester Stallone gave all three of his girls Rose as a middle name. I like the name, I do. But I'm curious as to why it's quite so popular but relegated primarily to middle name status (Scarlett Johanssen and Doctor Who aside). It hardly ever makes the top 100 baby name lists but I would hazard a guess it'd take out the no. 1 slot on the middle name list (with Grace as a possible second).

I'm always curious about people's baby name choices and the insights it gives you into the parents. There's such a lot of pressure to get the first name right. But is the middle one any easier?

The middle name was where we went familial. Dear Boy's middle name is his Grandad's, who himself was given it to commemorate an event on the day he was born (and the nurses insisted it be added in). 

My middle name, Jo, was given in a similar vein, presumably for my two aunts, Joanne and Joanna, one who died as a small child and one who didn't. I like the name for more literary reasons, with Little Women's feisty writer a Jo as well - "such a little name for such a person".

For other parents, though, the middle is where they let go, let their freak flag fly (Biggest Sister and Brother-in-Law, I'm looking at you). It's the name that can stay hidden on a birth certificate and not added to forms or put on business cards or desk plates. 

What middle name route did you go for your own kids? Does your own have a story behind it?


  1. My mom's middle name was Elizabeth, she gave the middle name to me, and then I gave that middle name to my daughter as well. To be honest, it felt like an obligation since to keep passing it down but it's also really sweet and I'm happy I did. My best friend and her mother also have the middle name Elizabeth too! I think it's a popular one. Marie always seemed to be the most popular middle name for girls my age (27)

    1. Oh the weight of obligation. I always thought it was weird for the Danish princes (and their wives) because they're all either Frederick or Christian. No wiggle room at all for variation after hundreds of years of tradition.

  2. We gave my first son his Grandfathers first name as a middle name (also my hubby's middle name) the second son took my dad and my brother's middle name. Our youngest we chose a fave uncle to honour. I guess you can say we used the middle names as a way of honouring special family members xx

  3. My oldest has the middle name Rouise which was a combination of Rois (which is rose) and Louise for family. I think rose is a popular middle name as it is soft and works well with many names.

    1. It is a soft and evocative name, but it's curious that it doesn't get 1st place more often. Rouise is a lovely variation.

      After some discussion via my facebook page, I think we're also hitting a generation of mums whose grandmothers were 'Rose', that the old has become new again.


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