Epic, or just weird? Naming our children

In light of this thread… My wife is currently being induced with our fourth, and she suggested I bring a point of contention to mine the wisdom of Sanityville.

We have one son. If God blesses us with another, I’d like to name him Cyprian Alexander. She says that’s pretentious, as in only someone who wears cuff links would give his son that name (confession: I do wear cuff links, and I am pretentious, so there’s that).

But Cyprian…great name from a faithful pastor who loved the church right? Solidly masculine name no?


I think it’s a good name but he’s gonna have to spell it to everyone.


This is why i have stuck with basic white people names so far: Carolyn, Alice and Arthur. But Cyprian is a cool name.

Maybe flip it and make Cyprian the middle name?

1 Like

Well, my opinion is try to give your child the first name that he’s going to be called. Just for ease sake. Of course that may change later in life.

speaking from experience.

  • Lloyd Nathan Smith

As Paul Nathan Smallwood, I feel your pain.


One of my sons is Elias Ebenezer. I think it’s one of those names that sounds weird when he’s a baby, but will be epic when he’s in his 30’s or 40’s.

1 Like

Now that’s what I’m going for! If only I could convince the dear wife…

I knew a guy our age who was named “George,” a very unusual name for someone of our generation. He said that when he was born, someone told his mother, “George? That’s a man’s name!” His mother has to inform the person that George would, in fact, be a man someday.


One thing I considered when I named my kids was the Googleability of their names. Our last name is common enough that if I give them common names they would almost never wind up on the first page of Google. And my most unusual child’s name is actually shared with a famous person. (Not to mention also mistaken for a hoity-toity misspelling of a girl’s name due to rampant Biblical illiteracy.)

But maybe your last name is unusual enough that that your kids will be Googleable even if you name them David or Elizabeth.

And who knows what “Google” will look like in 40 years. It’s possible that someone typing the proposed name into a search engine could find this very page!

1 Like

Our four daughters were given names that we were fairly certain were NOT trendy or fashionable. Adding to that, we dipped into patriarch/matriarch names (on both sides of the marriage) for middle names:

Alexa Kay
Geneva Ruth
Francesca Louise
Veronica Marie

The names have served them very well. Amongst their peers, no one else has those names - not the first ones. And they afforded us and the extended family a boatload of nicknames built from them.

I just noticed they lengthened as to numbers of syllables: 4, 4, 5, 6.

My fecund baby daughter is about to deliver her fifth child, her third son. They had a protracted negotiation on the first son’s name. It went on until it was time to give the hospital a name for the birth certificate!

Son-in-law was contending for Nicholas Donatello. Daughter was almost ready for anything but that. In a private tete-a-tete while the nurse waited on them, they finally agreed on Theodore Alexander.

Son number three presented a challenge, as Son-in-law noted that the monograms for the first and second sons was TAT and TXT (second son is Thomas Xavier). He noticed that the middle name initials (so far) were A and X. If the third son’s name began with an O, then there’s be the shadow of A(lpha) X(cross) and O(Omega).

He enlisted the extended family to come up with a name beginning with “O” that everyone liked. Lots of cogitation yielded nothing. Then over dinner one night I suggested Orion. So, now he’ll be baptized Timothy Orion.


Names have meaning! Have you researched the meaning of the name Cyprian? Yes, to a Christian, a faithful pastor who loved the church. Nonetheless . . .

1 Like

Hilarious. I named my sixth child Elias Eben. Couldn’t quite do the full Ebenezer…


Consider choosing a name that has meaning in the language in which your children will speak and witness.

1 Like

That has been one of my wife’s…hang ups. The name Cyprian means ‘from Cyprus.’ Doesn’t do it for her.

I just love his memeable quote on the church: ‘You cannot have God as your father if you don’t have the church as your mother.’


I think Suzee was also politely referring to alternate meanings of Cyprian that weren’t so polite.

But, we still name kids Peter. Can’t let unbelievers ruin everything.

1 Like

Story: when our second came out a boy, there was the thing of a name. My eldest brother had died at 19, godly, and the apple of my father’s eye. He was headed for a PhD and planned to do missions, Wycliffe, if I’m not mistaken. A sophomore at Swarthmore, he had a sledding accident Christmas night and died about two weeks later. Dad (and Mud, of course) were inconsolable. Lose any son and you will be if you’re a dad, but your third and eldest son who is a righteous witness on campus?

So now I had a son and what were we to name him?

Mary Lee and I disagreed. She didn’t like either of the names I wanted. We agreed on all three of our daughters’ names, but neither of our sons. I told her I was going to name our son Joseph Tate Bayly VI, and that was that. He was born, named, and from Mary Lee’s bedside there in the delivery room at 7:30 AM I called Dad to tell him. I woke him up and said, “Guess what, Dad?”

He said, “What, Tim?”

I said, “Mary Lee gave birth.”

“What is it” he asked?

“A boy.”

Then, I listened to Dad on the phone as he woke up Mud: “Mary! Mary! Wake up! Mary Lee had a baby and it’s a boy!” It was only their second grandchild. Then he asked, “What did you name him?”

I said, “We named him Joseph Tate Bayly.”

Long silence. Then, Dad to Mud, “Maaaary.” Very softly, “they named him Joseph Tate Bayly.”

Every ounce of my being was joy that moment—joy that I could do something to heal his grief. Even almost two decades after Joe had died.

But there’s more.

Then I said, “Guess what, Dad?”

He said, “What?”

I said, “April fools.” It was, in fact, the first of April.

He said, “Oh, you got me.” Then, Dad to me: “You know what I did last night?”

I said “What?”

“I set my alarm for two in the morning and got up and called Debbie (my sister in Chicago) and told her Mary Lee had had her baby, then said ‘April fools.’”

Dad and I laughed that he’d gotten Deb and I’d gotten him. Then some small talk and it was time to hang up, except…

“Guess what, Dad?”

“What, Tim?”

“Mary Lee really did have the baby, it really is a boy, and we really did name him Joseph Tate Bayly.” Both of us laughed even more, equally enjoying all the mayhem.

Today, almost forty years later, what I will testify to is that my son Joseph is not me, but my eldest brother. In appearance. In character. I mannerisms. What joy!

Naming is deep truth. It’s epistemological. Ontological. Theological. Naming is hope which God makes into sight. Praise Him! Love,


That’s fantastic. What a small world.

Our Elias is the younger of our twins, our fifth child. His middle name was not chosen arbitrarily, though I have always liked Ebenezer.

As I’ve shared elsewhere, the time in life when we were expecting the twins was a significant time of financial uncertainty for us. The use of the name Ebenezer was a prayerful testimony that “until now the Lord has helped us,” and I trusted that he would continue to do so.


I did not know that! Very interesting indeed!

We’ll have to see how much of a factor that ends up being…

@acmcneilly and I named our eldest son Whitaker, my mom’s maiden name. And amazingly, he’s the spitting image of my grandfather, Jim Whitaker, whom I look nothing like. In character, Whit is remarkably like my brother, whose middle name is Whitaker. I don’t know how God does that, but I love it.

We named our second son Zeal Josiah, which means “zealous fire of the Lord.” Admittedly, I was nervous about that choice, especially given the likelihood of his having red hair. @acmcneilly said to me, “Names are not magic spells we cast over our children. We name them in faith.” And by God’s grace, we did so.


Very sweet. In our case, our Elias was the first born after Mary, our very handicapped child. Same idea, different kind of help.

1 Like