Ask Liann: Baby Name Advice for a Middle Name

Liann helps a couple find a middle name for a baby girl, with some specific limitations. Which are your favorites? —


I need some name advice. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant, and we do not know if we are having a boy or a girl. We have already picked out a boy name but are struggling with girl names. (I think this is partially my fault as I am afraid to have a girl.)

We finally settled on Marissa as a first name, but we're searching for a middle name. We are Jewish and it is very important we name our kid after family members, so we are limited to the following letters: D, J, R, and V.

I know that narrows it down significantly, which is why we're having such a problem. I am not opposed to using family last names, but my maiden name is Curtis, which is not such a nice name for a girl. Our last name is Wolff so we have to be careful with words that have other meanings. (Another last name option is Dyer, which is my grandmother's maiden name, but when I suggested this to my husband he burst out laughing at the thought of a kid named Dyer Wolff, like Dire Wolf. He's a big Game of Thrones fan.)

Thanks in advance!


Hi there!

Marissa is a lovely name, as is Marissa Wolff. Let's see what we can find for the middle spot. I understand your frustration at the limited letters we have to pick from, but I actually see this as a bonus. You know where to look and just have to find the right one — instead of having an endless number of names to sift through.

The tricky part about Wolff, as you already stated, is you have to be careful about names with other meanings, and noun names in general. Violet is a beautiful name and fulfills your initial requirement, but how can it not bring to mind a purple wolf when paired with your surname? No good.

The lists I've made are pretty diverse. I chose names simply based on their flow with Marissa and Wolff. A three-syllable first and one-syllable last leaves the possibilities wide open for a middle. I think a one-, two-, or three-syllable name could work. It will just come down to your preference. I also found that names ending in "a" didn't sound right to me, so I left them off.

Here we go:

"D" Names

Daphne — Marissa Daphne Wolff

Darcy — Marissa Darcy Wolff

Delaney — Marissa Delaney Wolff

Desiree — Marissa Desiree Wolff

Delphine – Marissa Delphine Wolff

Danielle – Marissa Danielle Wolff

Dominique – Marissa Dominique Wolff


"J" Names

Jane – Marissa Jane Wolff

Janine – Marissa Janine Wolff

Josephine – Marissa Josephine Wolff

Joy – Marissa Joy Wolff (I know it’s a noun name, but I think it works here)

Juliet – Marissa Juliet Wolff

Julianne – Marissa Julianne Wolff

Juniper – Marissa Juniper Wolff (Like "Joy," this works for me)

Jasmine – Marissa Jasmine Wolff

Jillian – Marissa Jillian Wolff

Jocelyn – Marissa Jocelyn Wolff

Justine – Marissa Justine Wolff

Jacqueline – Marissa Jacqueline Wolff

Jean – Marissa Jean Wolff

Janelle – Marissa Janelle Wolff


"R" Names

Rae – Marissa Rae Wolff

Rachel – Marissa Rachel Wolff

Reagan – Marissa Reagan Wolff

Renee – Marissa Renee Wolff

Riley – Marissa Riley Wolff

Rosalind – Marissa Rosalind Wolff

Rosemary – Marissa Rosemary Wolff

Rosalie – Marissa Rosalie Wolff


"V" Names

Verity – Marissa Verity Wolff

Vivian – Marissa Vivian Wolff

Vesper – Marissa Vesper Wolff

Valerie – Marissa Valerie Wolff


My favorites for each letter are Delaney, Renee, and Verity. I like too many of the J names to have a favorite! They're all gorgeous with Marissa.

I hope this helps. Be sure to let us know your final pick!



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