Blaise: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on December 22, 2014

English: Statue of Saint Blaise on the Holy Tr...

This post was originally published on January 3, 2009.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on December 22, 2014.

Despite a bold, modern sound, this name has history galore.

Thanks to Mariuccia for suggesting the Name of the Day: Blaise.

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Reign: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on December 21, 2014

The newest member of the Kardashian clan answers to this royal appellation.

Our bonus Baby Name of the Day is Reign.

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Sunday Summary: 51st of 2014

by appellationmountain on December 21, 2014

I’ve been having a terribly irreverent name-related thought in church lately.

Poor Mary.  She didn’t get to name her kid!

In all of the accounts I’ve ever heard, the angel tells Mary that she’s having a boy, and that she’s going to name him Jesus.

It’s a fitting name, of course – a cousin to Joshua, it means “God is salvation.”  And this is no ordinary story of choosing a name.

But was it a common name in his time?  Actually, yes. All of the accounts I’ve found indicate that Jesus was as ordinary as Mason or Jackson today.

It’s a nice reminder that your child’s name doesn’t have to be unique or extraordinary for his life to unfold in dramatic, world-changing ways.

And yet, it also makes me wonder – did you face any pressure to give your child a specific name?  I’m not talking angels-we-have-heard-on-high, just regular pressure?


  • Along those lines, I always wonder if parents are happier when they cave to family pressure, or resist?  Here’s a question to the NameLady about renaming a toddler to fit with family tradition.
  • In last week’s poll, Rose – just Rose – stood out as the favorite version of the name, with nearly 1/4 of the vote!  But Rosalie, Rosemary, and Rosalind weren’t far behind.  Add them up, and Rose-plus names were more popular.  Just those three choices accounted for about 49% of the vote.  And there’s no shortage of amazing Rose names.
  • Do you know anything about Greenlandic names?  If not for this great summary from Vernoeming, I would have had to answer no.  Now I’m kind of in love with Ivalu.
  • Mia is massive.  Baby Name Pondering tells us why Sia could be next.
  • The Hemingway family tree is packed with great names.  My long-time favorite is Mariel, but there’s something for everyone at Tulip By Any Name.
  • Interesting place names spotted by For Real – Scotland and Holland, both on girls.  I do like an exotic place name.
  • A great new-to-me smoosh name: Anastella, via Ren.
  • Speaking of smooshes, look what I found on this list of seasonally-appropriate names that aren’t specifically Christian? Wintergrace.  Could be an amazing middle.
  • I find this list just plain weird.  Though I appreciate the idea, and can certainly imagine many reasons a family might want a military-inspired baby name. Yes to Liberty and Honor.  But wouldn’t it be sort of weird to name your child Navy while you’re serving in the Navy?  Still, it’s a great color name possibility.
  • NATO phonetic alphabetLots of the NATO phonetic alphabet in that post – and in general discussion, since the arrival of Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s daughter Delta.  There are more real possibilities than you might imagine!  We had a great Facebook discussion about which ones we’d actually consider for a child.
  • This is a really interesting point from Duana – we tend to dismiss names because of associations we make from pop culture.  But so often our children won’t grow up with those associations.
  • Are you going to give him a white name?  A powerful essay on names and identity at the Motherlode.
  • If I lived near Parkview Noble Hospital, I’d be parked in front of this sign.  Lots.
  • Christmas-inspired baby names en français.

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading – and have a fabulous week – including Christmas and Kwanzaa if you’re celebrating!


Name Help: Vintage Boy Names

by appellationmountain on December 20, 2014

Name HelpBaby Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

S and her partner are parents to Ge0rge S!nger and Zeld@ Marig0ld.  They’re expecting a third child soon.

Their girls’ list has been narrowed down to Djuna, Alberta, Bernadette, and Mabel/Maybell, but they’re struggling to find ideas if baby #3 is a boy.

She writes:

We feel a bit like we’ve painted ourselves into a corner with the two names we’ve already used, and all the leftovers on our lists seem to go well enough with one of the kids’ names, but not both. I’m not overly concerned with matching, but I’m talking major outliers.

Of the new boy names we’ve considered, my partner likes NONE of them well enough to use. I have ultimate deciding power, but it’d be nice to find a name we both love. 

Names that S likes, but her partner does not like:

  • Harvey
  • Barnaby
  • Orson
  • Ambrose
  • Lawrence/Laurence

Names that both mostly like:

  • Leo/Leopold (though I prefer Napoleon to get to Leo)
  • Arlo (but we know a couple already)
  • Francis
  • Otto
  • Theodore (though its popularity gives me pause)

S describes her both-mostly-like list as “sad, short, and meh,” so they’re not really finalists – at least it doesn’t sound that way.

She adds:

My last name is long, French, and starts with an L, so most L-ending names are out. The middle will probably be a two syllable S name (like S!nger) followed by Tom.

S describes names that they love:

  • Subtle nature and virtue names
  • Nothing religious
  • Names you’d hear on really old folks and hippie communes
  • Names to honor the writers and artists and characters we dig

And finally: I hate to ask for help because our other kids’ names are full of meaning to us, but we need help!

Read on for my answer – and please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Favorite Baby Name Posts of 2014

by appellationmountain on December 19, 2014

Favorite Post 2014It’s the end of the year!

As I’ve slowly transitioned from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a job, I’ve found myself looking more and more at data.  In our age of instant, abundant data, it is easy to get lost in the numbers.

Page views, searches, blahblahblah. And that’s after I’ve spent hours diving into baby name use statistics, so … yeah.

I’ve been looking at the most popular names on the site for years, as fuel for March Madness, our annual, basketball-free showdown between the names getting the most love here on AppMtn.

But until recently, I haven’t looked at the most popular posts or search terms.  And as I pulled them together, I thought it might be fun to share the results with you.

Ever wondered what the most popular searches are here?  Or which articles are most-read?  Read on, and all of your questions shall be answered …

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Elgin: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on December 18, 2014

Section of a frieze from the Elgin Marbles.

Today’s name is part-surname, part-vintage, part-gentleman.

Thanks to Anna for suggesting Elgin as our Baby Name of the Day.


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Wilbur: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on December 17, 2014

Wilbur Wright, child photo portrait

Today is the 111th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ trailblazing flight at Kitty Hawk – a date I always remember because it’s my son’s birthday!  

Today’s post goes out with a Happy Birthday to my dearest Alex – and a wish that you take risks and fly and sometimes crash.  And then soar.

A pioneer in flight.  A famous literary pig.

Our Baby Name of the Day is Wilbur.

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Hippolyta: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on December 16, 2014

Mrs. Jordan in the Character of Hippolyta, mez...Today’s choice belongs to a Greek goddess and a character from Shakespeare, and yet the name remains obscure.

Thanks to Anonymous for suggesting Hippolyta as our Baby Name of the Day.

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Sunday Summary: 50th of 2014

by appellationmountain on December 14, 2014

English: Rosamund Pike at the 2010 Toronto Int...

I don’t see a lot of non-kid movies in the movie theater.  Big Hero 6?  Penguins of Madagascar?  Check and check.  But Gone Girl?  Sadly, no.

And so I have yet to see the lovely Rosamund Pike play the scheming Amy.  But when the Golden Globes nominations came out, I found myself mulling over the potential of her unusual name.

Rose names are on the verge.  Rosalie got a boost thanks to Twilight, we all fell for The Hunger Games’ Primrose, and Rose is the go-to middle that’s finally on the upswing as a given name.  (Thanks, Scarlett and Romain!)

My personal favorite is Rosemary, but I’m also fond of Rosalind, and, yes, Rosamund.

What’s your favorite Rose name?

Speaking of polls, I was interested to see the results from last week’s post. Well over half of you – 61% plus at last count – didn’t share your children’s names until they were written on the birth certificate!

That’s not us at all – but I’ve definitely seen a lot of families wait until the last minute to make the final decision, and others who just prefer to announce after it’s too late to change.  Good reasons abound to go this route!

Elsewhere online – and screen:

  • Elsa comes to Once Upon a Time on ABC.  If this name doesn’t zoom up the popularity charts, I will be stunned!  Then again, Frozen didn’t debut until the end of 2013 – will we have to wait to see an Elsa effect?
  • Speaking of ABC and fairytales, there’s a quirky, musical extravaganza coming to ABC.  It’s called Galavant, and two character names stood out to me – Madalena and Valencia. Valencia is one of the names I wrote about back when this blog was brand new, and Maddalena is the Italian form of Madeleine.  I think both could catch on … assuming Galavant is a success.
  • From British Baby Names’ recent birth announcements: a pair of girls named Eleanor, another two called Isabelle … and two named Isadora!  Could this name be catching on at last?
  • Yes to this quote from Duana: “Don’t be afraid of all the names we don’t use.”  So often we cross names off our lists too quickly, because we’re not used to hearing them on children.  Except if our goal is to find a name that stands out, well … almost by definition, it’s going to be a surprise.  At first.  If you can avoid an automatic rejection, you might fall in love.
  • Whoa – a baby Gladys in Texas!  That’s not a name I expected to hear.  I’m picturing her parents as tattooed Austinites who also shortlisted Baxter and Dinah, but worried that those were too mainstream …
  • Speaking of names that aren’t coming back, this 1916 list found by Nancy is an interesting split – from the currently stylish (Evangeline and Hazel) to the impossibly obscure (Calpurnia and Bertha).
  • Meanwhile, in Australia, parents are naming their babies Tex.
  • Here’s a totally different approach to naming a baby: in South Korea, families consult a sort of fortune teller.  In Los Angeles, there’s a Korean-American expert in something called saju - the four pillars of destiny – continues the tradition.
  • Winter botanicals – I have a soft spot for Ivy, and Garland intrigues me.  I cannot imagine Poinsettia as a given name, but many a middle?  And Evergreen … I like that idea as a middle, too.
  • Buttoned-up girls’ names – how excited am I to hear Ruth and Esther back in fashion?
  • I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so I’m binge-watching my way through this season of Elementary.  Sherlock has a new sidekick called Kitty Winter, and I just looked up the name of the actress – Ophelia Lovibond!  And yes, it appears to be her real name.
  • Swistle gives great advice over family names.
  • Royal twins in Monaco, and 13 other sets of twins born to kings and princes.

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

Spotted any great names lately?


Name Help: A Brother for Magnolia

by appellationmountain on December 13, 2014

Name Help

Name Help is a series at Appellation Mountain. Every Saturday, one reader’s name questions will be discussed.

We’re relying on thoughtful comments from the community to help expectant parents narrow down their name decisions. Thank you in advance for sharing your insight!

T writes:

Could I offer up a name challenge for the Saturday series?

We are having a boy.

We already have a girl named Magnolia, nickname Nola.

For a boy, our top two names are:

  • Sebastian, nickname Bash or Baz
  • Augustus, nickname Gus

The middle names will be James.  Our last name is one-syllable, and a color.

We dislike how popular Sebastian is, but love the name so it remains a frontrunner. My husband loves Augustus. I would prefer just August but August seems cheesy with our last name.

Other names we have considered include Hugo, Everett, Evander, Desmond, Caspian, and Jasper. We like longer, more formal names have have an off-beat nickname.

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