Common Middle Names That Deserve To Be First Names

There's no question that one of the first big challenges new parents face is naming their little bundle of joy. Not only do new parents have to choose the perfect first name for their little one, they're also tasked with choosing a fitting middle name that will perfectly compliment both the first and last name of their child. Can you say pressure

If you're a soon-to-be-parent who is searching for the perfect first name for their child, might we suggest switching things up from the norm and using a popular middle name as your wee one's first name? As beautiful as they may be, middle names often stay hidden as a placeholder on birth certificates and official identity cards — which is a tragedy, because there are some seriously awesome popular middle names to be had! Even the best middle name is easily lost when it's sandwiched between a first and last name. Check out these popular middle names that are totally deserving of some first name fame!


If you're in the market for a super cute baby name that is both short and sweet, then we have just the name for you — with two spellings, to boot! With just one syllable, May (or Mae) makes for a perfect, go-to middle name because it so easily complements any first name of your choosing. However, according to Baby Center, the name has dipped 66 points in popularity since 2017. While this may be a turnoff to some new parents, this could actually make the name more enticing for others — such a classic, sweet name will also be a relatively unique first name for a baby girl!

According to Nameberry, the name May was born as a shortened version of longer names Mary and Margaret. It's also one of the most popular calendar names for children, along with fellow springtime months June and April. And if you're into naming your kids after notable folks from history, consider reading up on American actress (and total badass) Mae West. There's no doubt your daughter will be proud to be named after a total lady legend. 


If you fancy yourself a connoisseur of puffed sleeves like Anne of Green Gables, then you should totally consider this next common middle name as the perfect first name for your baby daughter. Just make sure it's Anne with an 'E'!

Much like Mae and many other middle names, Anne's one-syllable makeup makes it the perfect contender for a middle name. However, it's also a name that has been solidified in history as the moniker of many a legendary woman. Anne Frank, Anne Hathaway, and Anne Boleyn are just a few of the famous names that come to mind when prompted to think of favorite Annes throughout both history and literature.  

According to Baby Center, Anne is a name with Hebrew origins and means "full of grace." And on the long list of qualities you hope to instill in your child, isn't gracefulness amongst the top of the list? 


What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Louise? If you answered Thelma & Louise, you're not alone. The female-driven drama and road flick premiered in theaters in 1991, forever changing the way we view female-friendship dynamics and proving that all a gal really needs in this life is her best friend and a fast car. Starring Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, it seems Thelma & Louise also managed to breathe life into two names many had long written-off as too old fashioned — even though Louise has been a common middle name for decades. In fact, Ancestry lists Louise as number one on its top ten list of popular middle names for girls. 

According to Baby Center, Louise is a name of German descent which means "famous warrior." So, if you want your baby to have the heart of a warrior princess, giving her this name is a great starting point. 


This name is one you'll likely often see on lists for most popular middle names for girls, though Nameberry notes that its heyday as a wildly popular middle name is fading fast. Perhaps that can be attributed to its resurgence in popularity as a first name!

According to Behind the Name, Marie has risen in popularity by 67 points since 2016, though it still ranks relatively low at 650. However, that's quite a jump, and we can totally understand why more and more parents are hopping aboard the Marie name train. While the name doesn't have the most extraordinary of meanings (Marie means "bitter" according to Baby Center), the short and sweet, two-syllable moniker has a chic, feminine ring to it that will surely sustain its long reign as a classic name. Seriously — if it hasn't lost its sparkle since the days of Marie Antoinette, we have a hard time believing Marie will ever not be en vogue. And speaking of Vogue, might we suggest Claire as an appropriate middle name?


"A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets." This quote is one of our all-time favorites from one of our all-time favorite (while fictional) Titanic passengers, Rose DeWitt Bukater. And while we're on the topic of favorites — can we talk about how adorably chic of a name Rose really is? 

According to Nameberry, Rose quite literally refers to the flower we all know and love. You can't get much more straightforward than that, folks. While it might not have some incredibly deep, historically rooted meaning, Rose is definitely a pretty name with a certain feminine air about it.

Sure, you could follow in the footsteps of celebrity parents like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and make Rose your baby's middle name, but why don't you take it a step further and gift your kid with a sweet first name that will truly never go out of style? 


Joy to the world! Christmas lovers, this one is for you. According to Baby Center, as of 2018, Joy was placed at number 330 on the list of most popular baby names for girls, and can be frequently found on plenty of lists detailing popular middle names for baby girls. As the website Nameberry notes, Joy originates from the 17th century, when Puritans frequently used the name as they felt it exemplified the act of "being joyful in the Lord." It's a name that exudes, well, joy — which makes it a perfect first name for your little bundle of joy!

In recent popular culture, Joy can be seen being used as a middle name in the hit, grim Hulu show, The Handmaid's Tale. Serena Joy might deliver some serious nightmare fuel from week-to-week, but there's no arguing the woman has a pretty name. However, if you dig Joy as a first name and like the idea of using pop culture as inspiration, we suggest a viewing of the Jennifer Lawrence flick, Joy. You'll feel inspired in more ways than one.


"She is beauty. She is grace ..." If you've ever seen the Sandra Bullock hit movie Miss Congeniality, you've likely already finished those lyrics. And if you haven't seen it, then go watch it — like, now. It's a total classic, and if you do end up naming your baby girl Grace, she'll absolutely love that part of William Shatner's Miss United States jingle. 

According to She Knows, Grace is one of the most popular "old fashioned" middle names for girls. But as Baby Center notes, it's making a name for itself (no pun intended) as a popular first name, too. In fact, as of 2018, Grace is sitting firmly in the 30th spot on the list of most popular baby girl names. And deservedly so!

Grace is a sweet name with Latin origins, meaning goodness and generosity. According to Baby Center, Greek mythology ties the name to blossoming and joy (another great name). And, hey, who wouldn't want to share a name with Grace Kelly? 


According to Baby Center, the name Leigh has Hebrew origins and means "weary." But we think this sweet and simple name should be considered a strong contender for your little one's first name. 

You might recognize Leigh as the middle name of the subject of one of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous works of poetry — albeit, with a different spelling (Annabel Lee). Nonetheless, there's no arguing that Leigh (or Lee) lends itself perfectly to being a middle name (as so many one-syllable names often do). However, this simplistic middle name can totally make a wonderful first name for your little one — no matter your baby's gender!

According to Nameberry, this popular middle name has English origins and could also mean "pasture" or "meadow." So, if you're certain your little one is going to grow up to be a total outdoors type (or a farmer, even), this name would be perfectly suitable! 


According to the baby name experts over at Nameberry, the name Renée experienced peak popularity all the way back in the 1950s. It's true — Renée simply isn't a name that you hear everyday (unless, of course, you're a big Renée Zellweger fan). However, you'd be surprised at the sheer number of celebrities who share Renée as a middle name! Gwen Stefani, Ginger Zee, Dita Von Teese, and Blac Chyna all have Renée as a middle name — and, of course, we can't forget about Dream Renée Kardashian

According to Baby Center, the name Renée means "reborn." It's a beautiful meaning for a beautiful baby name, but it's not getting the attention it deserves sandwiched between a first and last name. There's no doubt Renée is a wildly popular middle name, but we think it's time for this name to have a sort-of rebirth of its own — right into the first name spotlight!