Hatcher: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on September 2, 2014

HatcherH surname names are big for girls, from Harper to Hadley to Harlow.  How ’bout this occupational surname pick for a son?

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

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Asher: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on September 1, 2014

Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From Givat ...

This post was originally published on August 27, 2009.  It was substantially revised and reposted on September 1, 2014.

Ashley and Ashton have been wildly popular in recent decades.  Now another Ash- name seems poised for popularity.

Thanks to Photoquilty for suggesting Asher as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Sunday Summary: Last of Summer 2014!

by appellationmountain on August 31, 2014

Sunday SummaryIf you’re in the United States, happy last weekend of summer!

Labor Day is the unofficial start of Fall here in the US – though here in Washington DC, it finally feels like summer, with our usual heat and humidity making its first real appearance, just in time for back to school.

No class lists yet, but there are definitely some new students with great names. My son has a classmate called Clark! And there’s a Jagger in their school, too – I spotted a kiddo with a personalized backpack during the first day of school opening ceremony. The whole school directory comes out later this month, and I can’t wait to see it.

Have your kids started school yet? Are there any great names in their classes?

Elsewhere online:

  • This quote from the lovely Duana: names that are popular are always fundamentally great – yes! So true. There’s nothing wrong with using a popular name.
  • Wow, this is quite an international round-up at Beliebte-Vornamen! I glanced at it and didn’t realize how extraordinary it was until Clare pointed it out on her Scoop.it – her observations are another reason I love following her page.  I think Thalis Matheo is the name that has me most curious.
  • Confetti cannons at the ready, now. Congratulations to Skye on his fourth year anniversary at Names in Trend!
  • Twin boys, and competing traditions at Swistle.
  • Nancy may have found the most eclectic sibset ever – Pleiades! Almira Melphomenia! And the youngest, Encyclopedia Britannica. I’d like to invite those parents to dinner – if only I lived in 1814 New York.
  • Speaking of unusual names, I’ve also found Quitterie appealing – and yet, thanks to starting with the word quit, I’d call it unwearable.  But oh, listen to that story from Portugal, and the names of Quiteria and her nine sisters.
  • Charlotte’s question is one that I tangled with myself.
  • Which brings me to Anna’s article – I didn’t know my chosen name, Abigail, had a whole other history in Australia! How can I conspire to spend a few weeks in Australia?
  • Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, hyphen names are such a big British phenomenon. Elea has the full report.  Spoilers: lots of Lily, and Lilly, and Lillie. Also some Ellie.
  • Agatha Summer! What a gorgeous, glorious name.
  • Okay, I’ll admit it – I can’t wait to hear what Jill Duggar Dillard names her baby.
  • Thanks to Jennie for sending this link from Scary Mommy!  It’s the funny take on my Crazy Baby Names post.  And hey, #7 isn’t really such wacky advice – the communities at AppMtn have done a great job helping parents choose names!
  • Some unusual -ine names up at Sophie’s site this week.  Oh, and if you’re on Pinterest, she finds some fabulous images for her Names board.

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

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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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