The Top Double Names for When You Can't Choose Just One

Updated: May 4, 2021
Double names, or double-barrelled names, are most popular in Southern traditions, and are a great way to give your child a completely unique name. We've rounded up the most popular double names for boys, girls, and gender-neutral options.
Ultimate List of Double Names

If you live in the south, double names, also known as double-barrelled names, are nothing new and you’re probably used to hearing names like John Taylor or Mary Margaret. But if you live in another part of the country, or world, this may be a new concept for you. A double name, or double-barreled first name, is often seen in Southern naming traditions, and is when you choose two names for your little, often joined by a hyphen. It is a great option for giving your child a name completely unique to them.

More: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Middle Name

The History of Double Names

Double-barrelled names should not be confused with hyphenated surnames. I'm not sure anyone knows exactly how double-barrelled (first) names got started, but double surnames (hyphenated last names) have a slightly different meaning depending on your country of origin. In some cultures, it's used (or once was, at least) to signal social class, while in other cultures it's simply the norm or an indicator of marriage or "alliance names." It is very common to use double names in Jamaican culture

If you choose to give your child a double-barrelled first name, a hyphen is a good practice but not a requirement. The hyphen indicates which name goes in which place as opposed to a first and middle name. However, in the history of double-barrelled first names, hyphens are not used in everyday practice.

Guidelines and Rules for Choosing Double-Barrelled Baby Names

Remember that picking a name that your child will be called for the rest of their life is no small task. It's nice to pick a name that gives your children options as their identity grows and develops with them. Be mindful of the fact that aside from the two individual names, that it can be shortened or made into a nickname. You want to give little Jenny the chance to be Jen, Jenna, or Jenny Sue.

Another thing to keep in mind is the way the two names "interact" with one another. Can James Thomas be shortened to JT and is James Thomas easy to say/pronounce?

Maternity Concierge, HeHe (Haley-Else) Stewart, explains “I am asked about baby names quite often—my help brainstorming names, inquiries about the "prettiest" names I've ever heard, right down to my opinions of if a name is a "lax bro" name or not. I always suggest that you pick two or three top names and practice using them. Practice roll call just like in elementary school, practice using the name in a scolding sentence of “Get these shoes out of the hallway!!!!", and practice introducing your baby to people. This will give you a good sense of names that "feel good." Most parents enjoy this activity and find it super helpful in making a decision.”

Top Double-Barrelled Names for Girls

Double-Barrelled names for girls are currently pretty trendy. It’s a great way to spice up short one-syllable names for little girls. You can have your little girl stand out with the perfect full name, whether you choose to hyphenate or not. If you’re having trouble deciding between two names, or want to acknowledge two important family members, you can easily create unique baby girl names by creating your own double-barrel option. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are the current top double-barrelled names for girls.

  1. Ada-Lucy: Can go by Lu, Lucy
  2. Amelia-Rose: Can go by Emili, Lia, Rosie
  3. Amy-Leigh: Can go by Amy, Lea, Leigh
  4. Anna-Blair: Can go by Annie, Anne, AB, Bee
  5. Anna-Maria: Can go by Ann, Marie
  6. Autumn-Rose: A lovely name inspired by nature, can go by Rosie.
  7. Ava-Grace: Two popular one-syllable names, can go by either name or paired together.
  8. Beth-Anne: Can go by Beth, Annie, Ann
  9. Cora-Lee: When paired together this sounds more like a pretty two-syllable name rather than two one-syllable names.
  10. Casey-Lee: Pairing two one-syllable names together help to create a full name, can easily go by either name or paired together.
  11. Daisy-Jade: Can go by DJ, Daisy, or Jade.
  12. Elizabeth-Ann: Can go by Beth, Liz, Lizzie, Annie
  13. Ella-Rose: Can go by Ellie or Rosie
  14. Ellie-Mae: Can go by Elle, Ellie, or May
  15. Gracie-Mae: Can go by Grace or May
  16. Heaven-Leigh: Pronounced like Heavenly, this is a nice play on names.
  17. Isla-Rose: Pairing two one-syllable names together makes a pretty full name.
  18. Kellie-Anne: Can go by Kelly, Ann
  19. Kirra-Belle: A unique spelling for Kirra, can go by KB or Bell
  20. Laura-Beth: Can go by Laurie, LB
  21. Lily-Ann: Two names that just flow nicely together, this sounds best when paired together as a two-syllable name
  22. Lily-Sue: Can go by Lily or Susie
  23. Lizzy-Kate: Two more casual names that provide a less formal feeling than Elizabeth or Katherine.
  24. Lola-May: Can go by either name or pair together as a two-syllable name
  25. Mary-Jane: Can go by MJ, Mary-J, Janey
  26. Mary-Lou: These two names sound as if they are meant to always be paired together for a cute little girl.
  27. Mary-Margaret: Can go by Maggie, Marge, Meg
  28. Molly-Kate: Can go by Kay, Katie, MK
  29. Olive-Ann: Pairing two one-syllable names together makes a lovely fuller name.
  30. Peggy-Sue: Can go by Peg, Susie
  31. Rose-Lily: Paying homage to two beautiful flowers, Rose-Lily is a lovely name for a little girl.
  32. Sarah-Alexander: Can go by Alex, Lex, Alexa
  33. Sarah-Jane: Can go by SJ, Sarah, Janey
  34. Sienna-Rose: Adding Rose to Sienna balances this out to a lovely four-syllable name that flows off the tongue.
  35. Sophia-Grace: Can go by Sophie, Gracie

Top Double-Barrelled Names for Boys

Double-barrelled names are less common for boys but still make unique name choices. This naming tradition is often recognized as a southern tradition, paying homage to family members. Many male double-barrelled names take inspiration from the Bible and make a great name for a new baby. As you start your naming journey, here is a list of the top double-barreled boy names to get you started.

  1. Aaron-Jay: Can go by AJ, Jay
  2. Andrew-James: Can go by AJ, Drew, Jay, Jim
  3. Beau-Alexander: Can go by B, Alex, Xander
  4. Benjamin-Grey: Pairing a larger first name with a smaller second name helps create balance.
  5. Billy-Jo: Makes you think of Souther Living, Billy-Jo is a great name for an outdoorsy little boy.
  6. Cody-Lee: Cody means helper, paired with Lee this has a nice cadence for a little boy.
  7. Corey-James: Can go by CJ, Corey, Jay, Jimmy
  8. Ethan-Lee: A simple, but perfect name for a little boy.
  9. James-Dean: Can go by Jimmy, JD, Dean
  10. Jaiden-Lee: Lee is used often as a second name because of its simplicity, which can go by JL.
  11. Jayden-Lee: Can go by Jay, JL
  12. Jean-Philippe: A lovey french name, most likely to be shortened to JP.
  13. Jesse-James: Can go by JJ, Jim, Jessie
  14. Jesse-Lee: Can go by JL, Jess, Jessie
  15. John-Paul: This has biblical undertones, a little boy named John-Paul can go easily by JP or Paulie.
  16. John-Peter: Another name with biblical undertones, nicknames can include Johnny, JP, Pete
  17. Joshua-Lee: Can go by Josh, JL
  18. Joshua-Raymond: Can go by JR, Josh, Ray
  19. Logan-James: Can go by LJ, Jim, Jimmy
  20. Michael-John: Many double-barrel names beginning with John are inspired by religious figures, John Michael can be Johnny, Mike, MJ.
  21. Michael-Kai: Can go by Kai, MK, Mike
  22. Oliver-James: Can go by OJ, Ollie, Jim
  23. Reggie-Lee: Can go by Reg or RL.
  24. Thomas-Lee: Can go by Tom, Tommy
  25. Tucker-Davis: Can go by Tuck, Dave
  26. Tyler-James: Can go by Ty, Jay, TJ
  27. William-Lee: Can go by Will, Willie, Liam

Top Unisex Double-Barrelled Names

A current trend these days is to utilize gender-neutral names that everyone will love. A family name can easily be paired together with a second name to make the perfect combination for any little one. If you’re not sure what the gender will be or want to keep in unisex, here is a list to get you started.

  1. Bailey-Ray: Great for either boy or girl, can go by Bay
  2. Billie-Jo: Can go by Bill, Billy, Jo
  3. Haley-Joel: Can go by Joe or Jo
  4. Charlie-Wren: Can go by Char, Charlie, CW
  5. Jamie-Lee: Can go by JL, Jamie or Lee
  6. Jessie-Blair: Can go by Jess or JB
  7. Jo-Cooper: Can go by JC, Coop, Cooper
  8. Kendall-Dallas: Pairing two double-syllable names can be a mouthful, but creates a beautiful full name for either a girl or a boy.
  9. Marley-Blake: Can go by MB
  10. Marley-Jay: Can go by MJ, Jay
  11. Quincey-Lee: Another two-syllable name paired with one syllable provides a nice flow.
  12. Riley-James: Can go by RJ
  13. Skyler-Reese: Two unique names paired together, can go by SK or Sky

Looking for more baby names and inspiration? Check out our Baby Name Center.

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