Ten Unexpected Nicknames for Charles

by appellationmountain on August 29, 2014

NicknamesforCharlesCharles is an impeccable classic – regal and creative at once.  Nicknames for Charles are plentiful.  Default nickname Charlie is an every-boy staple, while the other go-to, Chuck, feels casual and cool.

But what if you’re after something a little less popular?  Formal name Charles ranked #57 in 2013, while Charlie was #233 for boys – and #240 for girls!

Classic given names tend to have lots of potential short forms, and Charles is no exception.  If you’re considering naming your son Charles, but want something other than Chuck or Charlie for every day use, this is the list for you!

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Ciel: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 28, 2014

Photograph of blue sky

Nature names are a huge category for baby names these days.  So are all things français.  No wonder, then, that a handful of French nature names are attracting attention.

Thanks to Jen for suggesting Ciel as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Thessaly: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 27, 2014

Map of Ancient Greece, Graecia Vetus (Macedoni...

After a Greek heritage choice that’s less expected than Zoe?

Thanks to Leslie for suggesting Thessaly as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Carmen: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 26, 2014

Unrestored (but cropped) version of File:Georg...

She’s a tragic operatic heroine, and Alec Baldwin’s new baby girl, too.

Thanks to C in DC for suggesting Carmen as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Owen: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 25, 2014

English: Owen Wilson at the Cannes film festival

This post was originally published on December 18, 2009.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on August 25, 2014.

He’s a friendly, upbeat name very much in vogue today.

Thanks to Bevin for suggesting Owen as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Sunday Summary: 8/24/2014

by appellationmountain on August 24, 2014


I’ve been reading fiction like a madwoman this summer.  I’m a Reader, with a capital R, under any circumstances.  But since I’ve much more free time over the last few weeks, well … books have been read, many of which had been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for years.

One of those books was Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles.  Towles has lots of great names tucked in the novel.  There’s a Wisteria, called Wyss, and a fleeting reference to another woman named Generous, plus a few other name-related observations by the main character:

Some people called me Katey, some Kate, some Katherine.  Anne cycled between the options as if she was comfortable with all of my incarnations.

And another:

Teddy to Tinker.  Eve to Evelyn.  Katya to Kate.  In New York City, these sorts of alterations come free of charge.

The quote is about another major figure – Theodore Gray, known as Tinker.

I’ve also just started book two of The Lunar Chronicles.  Book one is a re-imagining of the Cinderella story, set far, far in the future.  The fairytale heroine is now just Cinder.  Marissa Meyer is absolutely brilliant at weaving the pieces of the traditional tale into a completely readable modern storyline.  Cinder’s still got stepsisters, too, but their names are Peony and Pearl.  Other stepsister names over the years and places have included Armelinde and Maguelonne, Anastasia and Drizella, Clorinda and Tisbe, Odette and Aloisa, Noemie and Dorothee, Georgia and Lucille, Birdina and Serafina, and many more.

Elsewhere online:

  • Yes to any list that includes Josie, Esther, and Harriet, but especially when they’re names from favorite Australian kid lit works.  And the boys’ list is here.
  • Speaking of children’s stories, the animated Daniel Tiger of PBS fame has a new little sister called Margaret!  Move over, Eleanor … I think Margaret might take the serious-yet-stylish crown for 2014.
  • Everson = masculine form of Everly?  For Real spotted an Everson James in South Carolina, and I’m surprised at how much I like the sound.
  • Top names in Switzerland.  My faves are Jonas and Alice.
  • Speaking of Jonas … a list of of avian-related names – in French!  Swoon.  And is Swanhilde even a remote possibility as a middle name?
  • Okay, maybe not so much with Swanhilde.  But how’s this for an obscure botanical?  Lisiantha, at Baby Name Pondering.  It’s a long, exotic name, but I think it could work.
  • Namespotting: a boy called Gehrig, and a girl named Murphy.  I’ve heard Murphy mentioned as a possibility more and more, for both genders, but it remains pretty unusual.  As for Gehrig, it’s been given to around two dozen boys every year since the 1990s.  I love the sound, and Lou Gehrig is definitely a hero name.  And yet, the association with the disease that claimed his life might give some pause.
  • Seth Godin asked “Who named the colors?”  It’s on point for name innovations, even though it isn’t about given names:

No one who invents a name for a color is applauded or instantly successful. It never works right away. And then, person by person, it starts to stick. The first person leaps, and leaps again, and persists, inventing something we sooner or later all decided we needed all along.

  • Which reminds me: I repeat some (much abbreviated) form of this every time someone asks me what’s wrong with baby names today, and what ever happened to normal names.  Popular names are real and measurable, but normal names?  They’re a myth.

That’s all for this week!  As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!


Amelia’s Sisters: Girl Names Ending in lia

by appellationmountain on August 22, 2014

Amelia's Sisters: girl names ending in liaThere’s something about Amelia: vintage, feminine, lady-like.  No wonder she’s quite popular, reaching the US Top 100 in 2004, and climbing to #17 in 2013.

Let’s take a look at Amelia’s sisters: longer girl names ending in lia.

Like Amelia, most of these names have significant history.  But many of them are far more obscure.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Because the names on this list share sounds with Amelia, many of them will feel instantly accessible – even if you’ve never heard them before.

Choosing a name by sound isn’t for everyone, but if you have a handful of names you like, but none seem like the one, it’s an interesting approach.

We’ve talked about boy names ending with -a, girl names ending with -o, boy and girl names ending in -r, and three-syllable names for girls ending with -y or -ie.  Sadie’s Sisters are short, retro, nickname names – two-syllables with an ‘ee’ sound at the end.  Penelope’s Sisters are names from Greek myth that end in an ‘ee’ sound.  And we’ve already looked at girls’ names ending in just ia.

The challenge with girl names ending in lia is that they don’t all sound the same.  Far from it!  Some take the leah sound, while others are alyah or even elyah.  And the same name can be said in more than one way, depending on your preferences and the pronunciation quirks of wherever you may be.

Other names have that lia sound in spades, but not the spelling.  Azalea, anyone?

So this time we’re looking at spelling alone.  I’ll let a -liah or two squeak by, but most of these girls names ending in lia are just that.

There are a handful of truly unexpected possibilities – and yet maybe not as many as you’d guess.

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Sadie: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 21, 2014

"Sadie Salome (Go Home)" sheet music...

This name was among the fastest risers in 2013, and she brings with her an entire style category.

Thanks to Elisabeth for suggesting Sadie as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Arjen: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 20, 2014

A football (or soccer ball) icon.

The 2014 World Cup is over, but the treasure trove of international names?  That’s left a lasting impression.

Thanks to Christina for suggesting Arjen as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Ravenna: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on August 19, 2014

Coat of arms of Ravenna

London, Brooklyn, Milan … are there other place names to consider for a child?

Of course!  Thanks to Josie for suggesting a lovely Italian possibility.  Our Baby Name of the Day is Ravenna.

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