Reader Q & A: What Are Some Good “Smoosh” Names For Boys?

mismatched-shoes“Smoosh” names or double first names have gone through fashion cycles in the U.S. They have come and gone, but each time they come back, the names change.

For example:

  • The Victorian age had Lou-Ella (or Louella).
  • The 20’s & 30’s had Betty-Jane and Mary-Jane.
  • The mid-century or “Mad Men” era had: Ann-Marie, Mary-Ann, and Mary-Beth

These names are now fashionable again in the U.K., and I think they are finding their way back to the U.S. Double first names such as Emma-Lynn (or Emmalyn) and Grace-Lynn (or Gracelyn) have recently hit the U.S. top 1000 and are gradually going up in popularity.


These names have never been huge (at least in the U.S.) on boys.

I feel they have potential on boys, though, which is why I was psyched when a reader asked about boy combo names in the comments of one of UBN’s pioneer posts, Compound (or Double) First Names.

cycy writes:

I am really torn apart now, I am 6 months pregnant and having a boy. I wanted to give him a compound name that is rather cute but not too common. I wanted the name to be “Kevin-Gio” but my husband thinks it’s kinda weird as a name can I get some feedbacks about that name.

Thank you all

My response:

Combo names can be cute, but finding two names that mesh well together can be a challenge. I consider myself a name person and still struggle sometimes to create my own combinations.

Kevin and Gio are both great names on their own, but in my opinion, don’t quite complement each other. (I’m pronouncing Gio as GEE-oh.)

It could be the rhythm that isn’t right or the fact that both names have very contrasting styles. Kevin is a traditional mid-to-late 20th century name and Gio is a rare-exotic name, a short form of the Italian Giovanni. With similar short names like Kai (#195 on boys and #919 on girls) becoming more popular, Gio has modern appeal.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, a combo like Kevin-Gio comes across like a combo such as Brian-Kai.

Both combos (Kevin-Gio & Brian-Kai) have names that might be fine when used as first and middle names but, when always said and written together, they seem to compete.

I just thought of another similar combo, Eric-Kai which might work with the K sound tying the names together. I might try the Erikai spelling, but that could come across as feminine in Western cultures. Darn this is a challenge!

I suggest deciding between Kevin and Gio and finding a different partner.

I tried switching the name too: Gio-Kevin. I didn’t see (or hear) an improvement.

For Kevin, my first thought was Kevin-Lee. However, if you want something more original, I looked up Gio on Nameberry, and Nameberry readers who liked Gio also liked Levi. Levi is a more current name than Lee, and (in my opinion) also goes well with Kevin.

So for Kevin:


For Gio, as I mentioned, I had some great luck on Nameberry where I found some interesting names under the “people who liked Gio also liked…” heading. The two biggest names (at time of writing) were Quint and Rishi. Both would work with Gio, but I feel Gio (at least they way I am saying it) flows better as the first name.

So for Gio:


I keep using what I call my “playground call-out” test. And the names I feel most comfortable calling on the playground are the Kevin combos: Kevin-Lee and Kevin-Levi. I think.

I can get used to saying Gio-Rishi. I did some research on Rishi. It is an Indian name, and I am using the pronunciation that can be heard here on Pronounce Names.

Gio-Quint looks good to me on paper, but when I try to call that name, I’m not sure I feel comfortable, but that could just be me. I would love to hear from other readers on this.

Readers: What combo names would you suggest for reader cycy’s son?

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  1. My very good friend named her son Kevinross over 20 years ago. It works and we called him Rossi for short. He didn’t think so however and changed it as soon as he was legal to just Kevin, lol.
    Good luck, no matter which way we go, the children themselves may always dislike what we thought was a great idea.

    • I like how Kevinross sounds, but I found it confusing to look at. I couldn’t make out the two “parent” names at first. For the longest time, I was anti-hyphen, but in this case I feel Kevin-Ross would have been easier.

      FYI: For the sake of decorum, I don’t normally comment on actual people’s names (as opposed to hypothetical names considered for unborn children), but this time I felt it was OK since the bearer changed his name.

      EDITED TO ADD: I agree that Rossi is cute.

  2. I have known a handful of men and boys with double names and all of them have started with John (with the exception of my dad’s cousin Eddie Tom), and all have been two names, with a space between, no hyphen. And all have dropped the second name as they get older. I think that ultimately cycy’s son will drop the second name too, so I would choose the two separate names with no hyphen format as well to make that transition easier down the road. Have you considered using Kevin Gio (or Giovanni) and calling him Kevin Gio? This may be the compromise that gets your partner on board and lets you call him what you’d like while giving him options for the future. I also think that people will wrap their heads around a double name more easily if you use John as the first element. Have you considered John Kevin or John Gio(vanni)? I think John Giovanni has a nice ring to it, despite being a bit repetitive (basically John in two different forms).

  3. Are Kevin and Gio significant in some way? I think I would avoid that particular combination if they are just names you like, but you would have more of an excuse to use them if they were family names, or particularly meaningful. I like the suggestion of Giovanni, and Giancarlo strikes me as a similar but more widely accepted smoosh name, though it definitely suggests a heritage the question-asker may not be a part of.
    My favourite compound name may be a bit much nowadays, it’s Franz-Xavier. It’s a family name for me and while it comes across as quite elaborate, I somehow think it works due to its long history of use. He can always go by Franz or Xan.
    Kevin is sort of a tough name to work with, but I would keep the second name single-syllabic. Kevin-James seems plausible. I think that if you are set on Kevin and Gio, the best solution may well be to make Gio his middle name as Katybug suggested.

  4. I think that sometimes double names can appear to be in the “trying too hard” category, even with girl names, which I think have a higher threshold for sounding pretentious than boy names. I think the reason that Kevin-Gio doesn’t flow is partly because of the contrasting styles and also because it’s 2 double syllables. Note that all of the girl examples that Angela mentioned had one double syllable and one single syllable.

  5. We are going to name our boy Wes Noble and I can’t decide if I want to smoosh the two names as a first name, or have Wes as first and Noble as middle. I will also give him my maiden name (a super clunky 3 syllable Russian name) as a middle name. My married last name is a very common American one. My hubby came up w Wes, which I love, but know that it’s not super unique. If his name was peppered with Noble, I feel it’d be different. My daughters name is Beatrix so we like classic yet edgy names…

    • I like both names: Wes & Noble. I would suggest calling the names together to see if you feel comfortable.

      FYI: Wes as a given name isn’t that popular. It isn’t even in the top 1000.

      Wes can be short for Wesley, which most recently ranked at #155 and has slowly climbed the popularity charts the past 10 years. If you live in an area where there are lots of Wesley’s who all go by Wes, I can see how Wes might feel common to you. But for what it’s worth, I can’t think of a single child named Wesley. I can only think of one adult named Wes and I can’t remember if he is just Wes or Wesley.

  6. I know a John Wesley and a John Preston and the two names are almost always said together and I really think they flow well. Kevin-Levi sounds the best to me out of all of the suggestions. Maybe Kevin-Joseph or Joseph-Kevin? Kevin-Tate? Kevin-Troy? Kevin-Luke? Gio is harder. Jack-Gio? Jay-Gio? I guess maybe I think it just sounds odd in a combo because it’s more unheard of. I feel a simple introduction could turn into a long explanation, maybe even having to spell the name out for the acquaintance.

    Some other combos I think sound good together:
    William Tate
    My dad was named after his father, so growing up he went by both his first and middle and was called Glenn Stephen. I’ve always liked that combo.

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