The Ashkenazi custom is not to give one's child a name shared by another living close relative. How close is too close? Can you give a child a name possessed by his/her (living) cousin? Second cousin?

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    If that were a problem, large families would have no names to give.
    – Yishai
    Jun 12, 2014 at 1:32
  • @Yishai True. But still, how close is too close?
    – Ypnypn
    Jun 12, 2014 at 1:36
  • As far as I know, only anscestors (grandparents) are a problem. I know many ashkenazi children with the same name as their aunt or uncle.
    – Yishai
    Jun 12, 2014 at 1:38
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    We have grandchildren who have the same names because they are named after the same (no longer living) relatives. Many families will have a name that is "popular" among cousins because the children name them after the same grandparent. It is only siblings who do not get the same name. In many cases, there will be a middle name added in order not to have the same exact name. however, that is not required. Jun 12, 2014 at 2:22
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1 Answer 1


Cousins can share the same names, and very often do. The relationship of a cousin, is that they share a grandparent, and in cases where the grandparent dies, future children are often named after them. I would even venture to suggest that cousins names are more likely to be the same than most other relatives. With regards to how close is too close, for Ashkenazim, they do not name after living parents, siblings, uncles/aunts (living){e.g. they do not name a son after a living brother}. The problem with naming after someone who is alive is that since it became a custom to name after those who are deceased, it may appear as though you are waiting for that person to die (Brit Avot 8:20, in name of Noheg KeTzon Yosef). Also for Ashkenazim out of respect to living parents we dont refer to them by their given names at all, so naming a child after a parent may be problematic.

Whereas some Sefardim specifically name after living parents, as a sign of honour to the parent.

IIRC some poskim rule that there are certain situations where parents can name children after living relatives - such as if the person in question has two or more names, they can choose one of those names, if it relates to a deceased person.

Also, Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim IV 66) says if a child is being named in honour of a righteous individual or a Talmid Chacham, the namesake can be alive

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    Just to add a clarification, naming a child after his/her living cousin would be a problem, but naming the same as the living cousin would be fine
    – AKayser
    Jun 12, 2014 at 7:07
  • One of my grandchildren is named after a deceased grandfather (on the "other" side) and has the same name as one of my sons. Jun 12, 2014 at 13:06

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