Lorelei: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on September 2, 2013

Deutsch: Heinrich-Heine-Denkmal in der Bronx, ...Editor’s note: This post was originally published on July 30, 2008.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on September 2, 2013.

She’s a fanciful German choice boosted by a popular dramedy.

Thanks to Dirty Hippy for suggesting Lorelei as our Baby Name of the Day.

A mix of mermaid, shape-shifter, and siren, the Rhine Maidens were water-dwelling creatures who lured sailors to their death on treacherous rocks.  In Germany, the chief water sprite lent her name to the Loreley, an especially deadly boulder in the Rhine River en route to the North Sea.

Some say she’s the ghost of a lovesick maiden, drowned in despair. Poets, composers and painters have been inspired by her tale for generations:

  • In 1801, Clemens Brentano wrote a poem about Lore Lay – nudging the name towards its current form.
  • Heinrich Heine’s poem Die Lorelei was written in 1838.  The fountain pictured to the right is the Heine Memorial in the Bronx.
  • At least a dozen songs share the title, and there’s an Italian opera called Lorelei, too, as well as another one based on the legend called Lurline.

The name comes from the murmuring sound of the water – lurlei or lureln - or maybe from the same root that gives us our word to lure, plus the word ley, from a Celtic word meaning rock.

A handful of women were named after the poetry and operas, but it took a comic novel by Anita Loos to boost the name.  Her 1925 bestseller was the story of a stenographer from Little Rock who shot a would-be suitor for his unwanted advances.  The judge’s sentence?  He re-named her Lorelei and packed her off to Hollywood to use her beauty for good.  She ends up in Europe, on madcap adventures with her BFF, Dorothy, and all ends well.

It became a comic strip, a 1928 movie, and then a 1949 Broadway musical.  But it was 1953’s big screen extravaganza that has locked Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in our memories.  Marilyn Monroe played Lorelei.  The diamonds and pink dress are iconic – years later, Madonna borrowed her character for her “Material Girl” video.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, an example of Techni...Lorelei saw greater use as the various adaptation of Loos’ novel succeeded, and she charted on the edges of the Top 1000 as late as 1965.

But it took the small screen to make Lorelei a hit.

The Gilmore Girls debuted in 2000. The show used the variant spelling Lorelai for three characters – a mother-daughter duo and a grandmother. The daughter was known as Rory, while the matriarch – Rory’s late great-grandmother – answered to Trix.  The show was a major success, and the name caught on – maybe because the mom and daughter both showed how wearable the name could be.

Lorelei re-entered the Top 1000 in 2004.  As of 2012, the original spelling charted at #533.  Lorelai stood at #736.

Some names fizzle; others catch fire.  Lorelei jumped nearly 300 spaces in four years, the kind of pattern seen in chart-toppers like Isabella, Madison, and Ashley.  She’s plateaued in the last year or two, but both spellings remain quite stylish.

She shares sounds with the classic Laura, plus boasts nickname possibilities like Lola and Rory.

If you’re after something just a little bit different, something with ties to German folklore and twentieth century Hollywood, there’s something quite appealing about Lorelei.  It’s tough to say if she’ll continue to climb the charts, or if Lorelei will remain a relatively underused name.  Either way, she’s a glittering, tempting appellation with much to recommend her use.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

waltzingmorethanmatilda September 8, 2013 at 4:52 AM

Wow, I never expected to find so much bickering and snarking on a thread about Lorelei! What the dealio???

Anyway, I think Lorelei is terribly pretty, and it certainly doesn’t have any of the images attached to it here that it seems to in the US. It seems like a natural follow-up to Lauren to me.

The only thing I’ve never got is how Rory is a nickname for Lorelei (there’s no ROAR sound in it, and they both start and end with different sounds, and they don’t have the same letters so it’s seeming quite a stretch as a diminutive), and I wonder whether it was ever used that way before “Gilmore Girls” – is it purely a pop culture creation?

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appellationmountain September 8, 2013 at 8:03 AM

I’m pretty sure the Lorelei/Rory connection is thanks to GG.

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Katybug September 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Wow, what a contentious thread to reopen! My great-grandmother’s name was Lurline, and while I knew the name was related to Lorelei, I didn’t know about the murmuring water sound part. That’s a lovely nature reference, but it doesn’t make Lurline sing to my ears.

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appellationmountain September 3, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Yes – I hesitated to repost it, but the name is really very popular, the post is often read – and it was VERY out-of-date.

I had the same reaction when I added that bit about Lurline. I’d come across one recently, and was surprised to realize how closely the names were related. It makes me love the idea of Lurline, but I don’t think the sounds works in 2013. Too bad … it is a really cool name to find on your family tree!

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Angela September 2, 2013 at 2:04 PM

When I was young, I wrote a story with sisters named Lorelei and Leilani. Completely different origins (and different pronunciations of “lei”), but somehow they made a good pair in my head.

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appellationmountain September 2, 2013 at 6:22 PM

I think they do fit – even though they don’t share origins. Lorelei and Eleni, maybe, too – even though one is German and the other Greek.

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Hettie September 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

I loved Lorelei for years, ever since I was a kid and I read a book with a heroine of the same name. My husband and I were set on using it ever since we started dating, so I was absolutely heartbroken when a family member used it first. But we’ve since moved on. I had no idea it was this disputed, and now that I see firsthand the problems they’ve had with it (no one knowing how to spell or pronounce it, people thinking it’s a creative smoosh of Lora and Lee) it does make me realize that “no name is perfect in everyone’s eyes”. I still love the name, and my little relative who wears it!

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appellationmountain September 2, 2013 at 6:20 PM

A *very* nice point, Hettie, and well said – no name is perfect!

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Lorelei's sister October 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

My sister’s name is Lorelei and she was born in 1983. King Henry the VIII lopped off all his wive’s heads, and no one seems to have a problem with others who name their kids Henry…

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Laura June 23, 2012 at 4:23 AM

My name is Laura. I think that Lorelei is the most beautiful name in the world. Growing up, I always wished that my name was Lorelei. I named my daughter Lorelei Elizabeth. I had her when I was 28 years old. I have two degrees: a teaching degree and a nursing degree.

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Kelly September 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM

I think Lorelei is a great name with lots of nickname options! My husband and I were just in Germany and saw the actual “Loreley” on the Rhine. In Germany it was spelled LORELEY. Not sure what is more original Lorelei or Loreley, but another spelling option for anyone who loves the name. :)

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Someone that likes to know the history May 23, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Wanted to post this link for everyone. Just found it interesting because of all the negativity portrayed behind the name. Sometimes it pays off to do some research before actually condemning a name. Legends are only stories and there is always room to add your own twist! P.S. Someone mentioned that the father uses it as sort of a warning and I thought that was a very clever twist to the “meaning” and legend behind the name :)

http://erica-lange.suite101.com/the-legend-of-the-lorelei-in-germany-a180837

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Regina May 3, 2012 at 6:50 PM

My daughter is called Lorelai (born in early 2007) and I did know that the traditional spelling does not have an “a.” I went back and forth over how to spell it and decided the Gilmore Girls way was more phonetic – to avoid her being called “Laura-lay” or “Laura-lee.”

Also, Lolly’s Mom- mine is an outgoing firecracker as well! I hope the men in her future will be intimidated by the legend that goes with her name. We do have a family tie to Germany, but that wasn’t the reason I picked the name. Although, I very much look forward to taking my daughter to see the Loreley rock one day. What a great excuse for a trip to Europe.

Lastly, I was 29 when I had her and also have Master’s degree, so “Another” has been proven wrong again.

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simone November 23, 2011 at 6:34 PM

i have called my daughter Lorelai with an a so that if she doesn’t like that it comes from a mermaid when she is older then it isn’t spelt the same. i picked her name because the myth of the mermaid i very much like. and i don’t care if people don’t like it. They don’t have to call their children it, i think they should have a bit of respect for people who have called their daughters it or have it as their name.

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bugandzoe November 5, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Lorelei is the name of my three year old daughter. I love it; although the (infrequent) mispronunciation of it as “loralee” annoys me. For most of my pregnancy, our favourite name was Ruby. My mother hated it and campaigned against it. A week before she was born, I was overdue and fed up with my husband’s family calling her Ruby before she was born (especially because we’d never said it was officially the name but just that we liked it). We also strongly suspected she would be redheaded (which she is), and Ruby seemed to be a bit much in that case. So, a week before she was born Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was on TV, and I remembered it. I’d always really liked it because of the Ella Fitzgerald song. I thought it was very pretty. I also liked that it’s always the name of scandalous and strong women. My daughter is bright and wild, and it fits her perfectly.

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Sabrina August 8, 2011 at 11:26 PM

I so want to like this name because my husband loves it and really wants to use it for our second daughter. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t particularly like it either. Something about it seems made up to me — maybe it’s the Laura-lee pronunciation and the dozens of variant spellings. I do think it is a pretty name, and I absolutely love the nickname Lola, so this may end up being the name of my little bundle, who is due in eight days!

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Rachel May 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Lorelei is my absolute favorite name. It’s the only name my fiance and I can agree on. I love different names Though names like Sarah and Mary are pretty, I wouldn’t want my daughter named that. I want her to be unique but not so far out there that she always has her name pronounced wrong and all. Lorelei is gorgeous to me! it’s different and lovely, but not too out there. Very gorgeous! my daughters full name would be Lorelei Michelle Eischens (eye shins) A little long but very pretty!

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Laura April 12, 2011 at 6:14 AM

I grew up in a German family where everyone was an immigrant except for me and my father. I listened lovingly to stories about Lorelei in the Rhine and always wished that my name was Lorelei instead of plain old Laura. (not to mention i know about 500 other Laura’s)
AND if Laura wasn’t my name, I’d name my daughter Lorelei in a heartbeat. Especially if you are German and have strong German roots, this name is extremely meaningful and even sounds like the hills and mountains looks in rural Germany.
Very poetic name, full of mystery yet down to earth.

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Carla February 12, 2011 at 3:30 AM

I am a 34 year old mother of four, 2 boys and 2 girls. I feel a bit offended by the rude comment about the name “Lorelei”.
My elder daughter’s name is “Laurelie”, a variant of “Lorelei”. My husband and I chose this name because of our heritage (family roots) and also because our family and friends feel that it is a pretty name.
Please do not stereotype, it is extremely rude.

FYI, I own a masters degree and so does my husband. Our other children are named Jayden, Jeran and Loraine. Does anyone have a problem with that?

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appellationmountain February 12, 2011 at 6:06 AM

Yes, Carla, I guarantee that someone has a problem with your kids’ names. And my kids’ names. Someone has a problem with every name every parent has ever given to a child since we began exercising any degree of choice over what we named our children! Our family and friends don’t always tell us because a) they love us; b) they love our kids; c) especially with our friends, the things we have in common often extends to similar taste in names.

For the most part, the comments here are rather gentle. Yahoo! Answers would rip some of my favorites – like Hester – to SHREDS. TheBump would NOT be a good place to suggest naming your kids Madasynne and Kaidhen. But really, if you open up your favorite names to the big ol’ interwebs, you’ll find that lots of people don’t like the names you’ve given your kids, and they don’t like the names I’ve given my kids either.

Happily, we’re not required to get the blessing of everyone in the world to choose a name, but if we go looking for feedback, it is at our own peril. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – if not for the wide variety of given names, I’d have nothing to write about! :)

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Sarah A March 24, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Abby, where’s the ‘Like’ button on here? J/K :) Terrific reply and I couldn’t agree more! :)

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appellationmountain March 24, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Thanks, Sarah. :)

This post has officially generated more hurt feelings than any … I’m beginning to think that Lorelei is the feminine equivalent of Cohen. Only while I understand why Cohen generates concern, Lorelei is a mystery …

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Sarah A March 25, 2011 at 12:55 AM

I would venture a guess that most people’s feelings get hurt if their name/child’s name is characterized as a name used by “pregnant 15 year old Wal-Mart shoppers” :)

I think Lorelei might generate that connotation because she sounds like Laura-Lee which sounds like a made-up smoosh name and we name enthusiasts tend to REALLY dislike made-up names! I also agree with an earlier comment you made that names which rapidly gain in popularity tend to generate love it or hate it feelings.

But Lorelei really seems different from names like Nevaeh because she has some history behind her. I just checked the SSA and in 2009 her ranking (601) is really similar to the year she debuted (#619 in 1938). That would seem to put her in line with more of the popular old-style revival names like Evelyn as opposed to nouveau picks like Madison or Nevaeh.

Best friends of mine named their daughter Lorelei last year so the controversy in this thread is particularly interesting. Oh well, as you said, someone has a problem with every name ever given :)

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Lolly's Mom October 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM

I grew up with a name so common that I always had my last initial tacked on so that we could be differentiated. My husband has that kind of name too. So we went with Lorelei Hope for our daughter 6 years ago and so far she’s the only one we know. We totally got the name from the Gilmore Girls and decided to start calling her by that name while she was still in utero. My family and my husband’s family hated it and we were subjected to all sorts of opinions on the topic. When she was born, we could see clearly that the name fit and now she wears the name-it doesn’t wear her. She is a Lorelei through and through. What does that mean exactly? Well you would have to meet the kid. The tones, syllables and lilting quality of the name fit my outgoing little firecracker. Our families have come around too. I don’t care if people don’t like it (although they almost always do) because I picked the right name for my girl. I think the name Ella is overused and Mackenzie is the new “Sarah” but who cares? I bet the Mackenzies and the Ellas of the world are rockin’ their names too! I do see your point about how the name makes you feel. I cringe when they call her “Lora-leeee” at the Dr’s office because that, to me, is reminiscent of a character on Hee Haw. I am also willing to bet if you met my little L, you would change your mind ;)

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ClassyMom September 13, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I’m not sure where you get the pregnant teen shopping at Walmart reference??? Going with your strange logic, I suppose everyone who is named Anne should be compared to Anne Boleyn or other Annes in history? I sure hope your husband’s name isn’t Henry.

My daughter is named Lorelei, and she is a beautiful baby! I am a highly educated mother who named her for sentimental reasons relating to my family heritage. I am in my thirties, so there goes your pregnant teen idea.

I don’t care if you like the name or not (and your dislike of it may be a compliment, after reading your rude post), but let’s not label children or their parents with ridiculous stereotypes. Perhaps the pregnant teen in Wal-mart has more class than some adults in the world, or at least more than people who make a generalization about everyone who names their child Lorelei.

I have never watched the Gilmore Girls, although people have asked me if my daughter is named after one of the characters in the show. While she isn’t, I wouldn’t make fun of someone who found a lovely name that way and used it.

I know there are critics of everything everywhere…such is the world. I work with children, and I can tell you that they will find something to rhyme with every name or something to tease every child about. If they say, “Lora-lies” in reference to my child’s name that is a lot better than some other things that they say with more common names. I expect that from children…not so much from adults. I wonder what “Another” named her children… hmmmm….

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appellationmountain September 14, 2010 at 5:39 PM

Hi Classy,

I’m never sure what to say when a post – or a comment – touches a nerve. I’m tempted to fall back on the old “we’re talking about names, not people” except that isn’t how it feels, right? I absolutely agree that every child’s name will eventually be twisted into something unimaginable. It’s the way of the world. And even kids saddled with the most eye-poppingly strange names often turn out perfectly fine.

Names do catch on because of television series all the time – it is actually surprising how often that’s the case. I’m certain Lorelei (and the Gilmore spelling of choice Lorelai) has risen in the rankings because of the show’s appealing characters.

But there’s something to be said for not hiding our irrational dislike of a name. I can’t stand the name Savannah. That’s something I usually don’t admit, because an old colleague of mine has a lovely, very smart wife (she’s actually Dr. So-and-so) who plans to use this name should they ever have a daughter – she has since before they met.

Dislike can be voiced gently, but I have never deleted a post for being harshly critical of a name. I’m sometimes surprised to see that reaction leans that way – Huxley, one of my favorites, was pretty much bashed. It’s happened a few other times, too – Hester, I think, was compared to child abuse. Maybe so … unusual names do spark a lot of conversation.

I appreciate that you took the time to read, and comment, and I’m sorry that you didn’t find more to enjoy.

Best,
Abby

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Flmomtothree July 21, 2010 at 8:55 PM

This is an old thread, but I just had to chime in. I named my daughter Lorelei and I am not quite the 15, 16, or 17-year-old referenced by “Another.” However, I do have to laugh because I definitely shop at Wal-Mart to save a buck or two – not quite sure the logic there of equating retail choice with the liklihood of choosing a “lowbrow” name, but I digress.. Love it or hate it, there isn’t a name out there without critics. And let’s not forget how much negative interactions with others color our opinions. I dislike every name owned by every person who has ever been nasty to me in my life: Jeff, Sally, Troy and, yes, there’s even a Heidi in there, “Another.” I could go on, but what’s the point? My biggest complaint about the names I’m seeing nowadays – Wal-Mart mamas and Saks shoppers, alike – are the ridiculous spellings that have found their way onto birth certificates everywhere. Seriously? Mackenzee, Izabell, Breanha – I have seen ‘em and it’s a little scary. I’m not sure whether to be concerned about the parents’ inability to spell, or the fact that these children will likely spend the rest of their lives trying to correct legal documents and maintaining a long list of aliases. Choose whatever name you want, just spell it like it was intended and spare your kids the hassle of having to explain their “unique” names to everyone they meet.

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kissmestreet May 31, 2010 at 8:01 AM

this is an echanting name and has a very interesting legend. but she is a temtress:)

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ShanthiTruth November 10, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Hello! I am 22 weeks pregnant and my bf and I have been searching for names that we agree one. Well, this morning I woke up and was looking at a poster that I plan to hang in the babys room. The poster is a print of an old oil painting of a mermaid combing her hair near a cove. That was when it came to me that perhaps I should look up mermaid names on the internet. I did so and fell in LOVE with Lorelei! It is such a poetic name and is now one of the names that we plan to say to our daughter when she is born to see if it ‘fits’ her!
Oh, and in response to the post by Another…the name Heidi reminds me of a prostitute (Heidi Fleiss) and I am not a 15 year old girl. I am a 31 year old woman who has her Masters degree. Please do not judge names.
Yea Lorelei!

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appellationmountain November 10, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I’m so glad you found a name for your daughter, ShanthiTruth! Congratulations on your baby-to-be.

But be forewarned – every one judges names! My own (beloved) sister called my kids’ names “Eurotrash.” Still love her to pieces, still love my kids’ names … still realize that there are plenty of people out there who hear my choices and think “Really?” Otherwise, we’d all be issued serial numbers at birth and spend our lives answering to handles like XJ1829-JR.

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kiira kirsijóna September 2, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Abby, you are the greatest! <3

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Lorelei Schweickert April 23, 2009 at 6:01 PM

My name is also Lorelei and I was born in 1975. I am constantly being asked if I am named after the Styx song about Lorelei, but I beleve that song was released around ’78.
I have a German last name and my parents were hippies so it just made sense when I was a child. I was also teased in school, kids constantly asked me if I lied. But really I appreciate the name. It helped to give me character as a kid and telling the story of the Lorelei has always been a joy for me.
When I had my daughter 4 1/2 years ago I had to find a German name to rival my own. After months of searching I was only so lucky to find the perfect name for the lead water sprite’s daughter….Nixie!
So I say LIVE ON LORELEI, LIVE ON!

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s.m.h. October 8, 2011 at 9:51 PM

well I once knew a Lorelei myself, she too had a daughter with the same name as the lead water sprite’s daughter…. Nixie! I do understand that this is probably just a small coincedense, being as the two names are linked so closely together in ancient lure. The most perplexing part about it all is that the “L-dub” I once knew was definitely a “one of a kind”. At any rate I have to say that I truly love the name for the mother and daughter both! If you are anything like the one I once knew I imagine you do indeed have the strength, character, and integrity of …. the most precious stone known to man. :-) . That being said I think that would have made a unique and one of kind “middle name” for your daughter. It seems as though she is truly the “sunshine” of her mothers life?! Oh and how have you been… haha Seems as though things are going great which truly does make my heart smile! Very very glad to hear it! -Honestly not a stalker
smh

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Loralei March 15, 2009 at 11:40 PM

My name is Loralei……pronounced Lora-Lee. I am ALWAYS having people mispronounce my name as Lorelei. It drove me crazy as a cihld because all the kids at school would tease me saying “Lora Lies”. Silly I know, but those things can drive an elementary child crazy. So I always went by my nickname, Lori. It doesn’t bother me at all anymore, especially after Gilmore Girls because I found that show hilarious. But having Lorelei the Siren be the definition of my name was a highlight in high school and college. I was such a flirt and it was awesome being able to brag that I was luring men to their doom.

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Rachael January 23, 2009 at 9:16 PM

Well, i am not 15 and my daughter’s name is Loralei. She is 14 months old and I am 26. I did watch teh wb in highschool…but heck, that was a long time ago now. Her name is Loralei Josephine and we call her Lora-Jo. :) My husband is German so we wanted German names for our kids. If we have another girl she will most likely be Adelheide or Heidelinde. I think it is a beautiful name and my little girl is just beautiful as well. Luring men to their death, my husband says, is his warning to any future boyfriends.

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appellationmountain January 23, 2009 at 10:27 PM

LOL, Rachael! I love the idea of a warning.

People have *very* strong feelings about this one – another sign that it might be destined to be a big hit. Fortunately, your little girl is ahead of the curve. :) I’m quite fond of Adelheide, too, though not being even a drop German, I tend to think of her as Adelaide – probably one of my favorites over the years.

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coolteamblt July 31, 2008 at 8:21 PM

I want to love this so much. I have a surfeit of trashy cousins, though, all named after their mother (my aunt) Laura. I have Laura, Lauran, Laural, and Lauralai for cousins, all sisters. Laural and Lauralai are twins. Did I mention my Aunt Laura did a lot of crack, seriously? This is the same women with a Jakey, Sean, Shaunnah, and Corki. Other than my nutty family, I like the name, but it is a very strong association for me.

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!!!DirtyHippy!!! July 31, 2008 at 2:33 AM

Thanks so much, AM! I find this name so pretty to say and look at. For me, it’s got a subtle nature vibe to it and I totally don’t see the downmarket factor in it at all. My biggest reservation is the one you hit on . . . I could really see this being the next “it” name. Isabella the sequel, if you will. It’s got so much going for it and is so appealing to so many that I have a hard time believing that it’s going to be uncommon for very long.

If I would use it (and I may . . . it sounds good with my tricky last name and has gotten my husband’s seal of approval) then I would definitely not use a nickname for it. I think any of the possibilities really fall short of the name as a whole.

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Katharine July 30, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Oh dear I’m, afraid I don’t like Lorelei much either. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone but the name looks so – how to put this – down market. I can imagine it being spelt multiple creative ways from Lorri-lee to lori-leigh, laurylee or even laurilai etc etc. Anyhow, I appreciate that the name is not creative and that this is merely my own interpretation, and that Lorelei infact has a strong history but even if I didn’t alrealy dislike it (reiterating what Lola has already said) the sexual overtones would still disconcert me.

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Another July 30, 2008 at 4:48 PM

To me Lorelai/Lorelei is the name that very young girls who shop at Wal-Mart, who are pregnant at 15, 16, 17, use for their daughters. While it’s not Kayla/Kaylee/Kaleigh, and it’s not Hailee, and it’s not Rylee, and it’s not Jaelynne, it’s still somehow in that group in my eyes. Probably has something to do with the WB. Maybe not. I don’t know.

I agree with Lola, though. Rory is a boy. Not only that, but Rory is difficult to pronounce. Those Rs right up next to each other. Oy.

I do like German names – my very most favorite is Heidi. Can Heidi be a NotD? Pretty please?

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surgeonmom October 2, 2009 at 3:02 PM

I understand you do not like the name Lorelai, however, please spare your stereotyping , as mentioned above “15 year olds pregnant shopping at Walmart” .
It’s a beautiful German name, and for those who speak the language as myself, it has a strong and beautiful meaning. It suits great for someone of a Nordic heritage with of course a Nordic last name.
And an FYI, I am planning on calling my daughter Lorelai, and no I am not 15, I am 28, 2nd year Surgical resident. We understand you don’t like the name, you don’t have to like it, but do not stereotype it. Thanks

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appellationmountain October 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Surgeon mom, you’ll find that many names that are quickly gaining in popularity are divisive – people either love, love, love them or have a strongly negative reaction. Madison and Nevaeh are two others that generate lots of chatter.

Whether or not this should change your mind is really up to you. But I find that it is helpful to have a sense of how a name will be received before it is written in permanent ink on the birth certificate.

I think many are also reacting to the spelling Lorelai, with an a. My understanding is that Lorelei is more traditional – but then, Kaitlyn is more popular than Caitlin and Aiden surpassed Aidan, so that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

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Millie October 30, 2011 at 10:11 AM

No German would name their child Lorelei.
And they definitely wouldn’t spell it wrong.
It’s fine to me that you like the name and want to use it – Germans understand that Americans are funny namers and don’t hold it against them in any way – but there’s no need to assign false legitimacy to it. Liking it is reason enough, as long as you fully understand that it is, originally, the name of a rock that has caused a lot of deaths.

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appellationmountain October 30, 2011 at 10:28 AM

And Lorelei continues to generate more controversy than any three syllables should! I think there are clearly plenty of Americans of German descent who find Lorelei an appropriate nod to their heritage. It’s often the case that “heritage” names wouldn’t fly in the country of origin – at least not at that moment in time. That’s not necessarily false legitimacy – it is just the difference between a name that Americans perceive as having German roots and a name that actually is currently in use in Germany. As for spelling a name wrong? *Shrugs.* That’s really, really tough to call. I’ve written about it here. While there are variant spellings that are excessive and confusing, often different spellings are just variations – no better or worse than their originals, and sometimes with good reasons for families to use one or other.

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Lola July 30, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Funny, seeing Lorelei all over the place, these days. I came ‘thisclose’ to being Lorelei instead of classic Laura. But Mom insisted, if I couldn’t be Alice, I had to be Laura. And then my little brother came along and couldn’t say the letter ‘r’. Ask any little kid, Laura is ra-ra. I got la-la and the lo-la as he tried to say my name. Lola’s how it ended up sticking and I’ve been Lola since I was 3. Maye because I am one, I fail to se the sex in Lola, except by assocation. To me, Lola is warm, friendly and very earth-mama-ish. Works for me. :)

Anyhoo, back to Lorelei!
I find Lorelei a teensy bit off putting because of that siren assocation. Luring men to their deaths by drowning isn’t something I would want associated with my daughter, particularly. But I can see the appeal of the sounds and think Lorelei’s a bit prettier than Lauren, which I’ve always called my “plastic” cousin. and it’s less air heady than Laurel, who’s my hippy dippy cousin (Naming cousin, not real cousin!). Lorelei’s biggest sticking point with me, and the main reason I wouldn’t ever consider it: I see her spelled the ‘Gilmore” way more often than the proper way. And Lorelai drives me bananas! I’m not fond of Rory on a girl, either. My Grandpa raised Great Danes and gave them all “Irish” names ‘Tara, Erin, Colleen & Rory’ were the three girls and the boy I knew growing up. Gorgeous dogs. So there’s Rory in my head. Male and dog.

But Lorelei in fuill is lovely, lyrical and I’m quite fond of Lola as a nickname ;) … so Lorelei gets a big :thumbsup: from me!

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