Truett: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 21, 2015

TruettIt’s a surname name associated with a chicken sandwich.

Thanks to Britt for suggesting Truett as our Baby Name of the Day.

[click to continue…]


Cynewulf: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 20, 2015

A.D. 500-1000, Anglo-Saxons

Parents revive ancient names all the time.  With choices like Penelope and Levi in the US Top 100, it’s clear we’re not afraid to reach into the distant past.  But how ’bout those overlooked Anglo-Saxons?  When is it their chance for a comeback?

Thanks to Anonymous for suggesting one they’ve considered for a son.  Our Baby Name of the Day is Cynewulf.

[click to continue…]


Jett: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 19, 2015

This post was originally published on June 12, 2009.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on January 19, 2015.

All about the wild blue yonder?  This name could be for you.

Thanks to Photoquilty and Jill for suggesting Jett as our Baby Name of the Day.

[click to continue…]


Sunday Summary: Third of 2015

by appellationmountain on January 18, 2015

Sunday SummaryPeople should be called what they want to be called.

Sometimes there’s a disconnect between the name you’re given at birth and how you wish to be known later in life. Your wishes – whether you’re a child or an adult – should rule the day.  It’s a question of basic human dignity.

Maybe that’s a heavy thought, but it came from three semi-fluffy places:

  • In Rio 2, Blu – a rare blue macaw – meets his father-in-law, Eduardo. Eduardo doesn’t like Blu, and one of the ways he shows it is by calling him Stu, Sue, Lou – anything but his actual name.
  • Then there’s this video: DO BETTER: Pronounce my name right! Vlogger Ngozi wants people to pronounce her name right. en GAH zee.  She jokes that people stumble over it. “Nosy? Nazzy? I’m just gonna call you Cheryl.” A twist? Someone from West Africa tells her that she’s not saying Ngozi right, either. Ngozi isn’t phased by this – she replies, correctly I think, that she wants you to say her name the way she says her name – end of story.
  • Then a trailer for new ABC series Fresh Off the Boat caught my eye. It’s based on chef Eddie Huang’s coming-of-age memoir, about his Taiwanese family moving from Washington DC to Orlando in the 1990s. Eddie has a Taiwanese name. On his first day in his new school, his new teacher stumbles.  “Just call me Eddie,” he says, and the teacher sighs, “Oh, thank God.”

Credit goes to my uncle Steve for the statement People should be called what they want to be called.  He said exactly that back when I changed my name, and he was among the first to adopt it without hesitation.

If we care about people, and want to be polite and respectful of others, doing our very best to use their names as they prefer is a good start.

Have you ever had your name mangled?  How do you feel about it?

Now, on to the name news:

  • This Mommy Shorts post is brilliant for just the headline alone: Every Group of Sophias Needs an Esmeralda … Agreed!
  • My daughter is loving science-centric Amazon original series Annedroids, about the adventures of a young inventor named Anne and her friends. Lately, I’m really appreciating the simplicity of Anne.  At #519, Anne is terribly obscure in the US.  But I think she could be the new Jane – a classic with history galore, and a slim, trim name for a girl.
  • Speaking of Amazon, Amazon Studios is in the middle of pilot season. I watched Salem Rogers, the story of a former supermodel attempting a comeback. Salem is a total trainwreck, but she’s funny – and I loved Rachel Dratch as her former assistant-turned-life coach, Agatha.  And, of course, I had to go look at usage numbers for Salem as a given name.  It’s been slowly, steadily rising for boys and girls over the years.  As of 2013, 91 girls and 93 boys were given the name. Should Salem Rogers get the greenlight, could Salem be the next Piper?
  • Names with multiple accepted spellings fascinate me, and few masculine names have as many as Alistair.  The Art of Naming is running a poll to choose your favorite.  My heart belongs to Alasdair.
  • Baby Name Pondering has a great name quote from the movie When in Rome. The best part? It’s about the name Gale, for a boy.  As in The Hunger Games.  As in this post I wrote for Nameberry on reclaiming great names for boys.
  • Philippe Starck named his four children using a baby name generator program he wrote four decades ago.  The names it generated? Ara, Oa, K, and Lago. Seriously. Read all about it at Daddy Types. How I would love to try out that program!
  • I’m intrigued by Calissa. For Real spotted a Calissa Vale in Kansas, and I saw the name mentioned elsewhere not too long ago. It’s apparently a form of Calisto - a name I truly adore.  But just like Ariana is a more accessible form of Ariadne, could Calissa also catch on? I’ll always prefer Ariadne and Calisto, but Calissa could have broad appeal.
  • Or maybe I’m just super-into C names at the moment, because I’m loving Constance - as in Constance Wu, the actress who plays the mom in new ABC series Fresh Off the Boat.  The name is also the winner of a Matilda award. Rui pointed out that Constança is big in Portugal.  And then I saw Ceony, from The Paper Magician series.  Yes, I might just be having a C moment.

That’s all for this week – as always, thank you for reading!  And I’d love to know: what names are you loving lately?


Name Help: Baby Boy Adams

by appellationmountain on January 17, 2015

Name HelpName 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!

April and her husband are expecting their first child in May.  It’s a boy!

She writes:

We are having a hard time finding a name we truly love. We have a list of names we like but none of them seem to be it.

I have several hang ups when it comes to settling in on a name: one is the pairing with our last name. Adams. It is so common.  (April adds that she doesn’t love the way surname names sound with Adams, either – and I get it.  Parker Adams could be the kid next door, could be a law firm.)

Another hang-up is I can’t decide if it’s okay to name the baby something beginning in a vowel.  My initials are A.A. and I just can’t decide how I feel about having a child with two vowel initials.

Ultimately I would like to land on something that is uncommon without being weird and flows nicely with our surname. I would love it if the name were literary or historical but that isn’t a necessity.

April’s favorites are: Felix, Judah, Julian, Roman

Her husband’s favorites are: Julian, Harrison, Asher, Linus

Those are in no particular order. I think I lean towards Felix because it means happy, isn’t less popular than Asher, and doesn’t start with a vowel, but that’s the one my husband likes the least!

His favorite is Linus, which I think is adorable for a baby/child but have a hard time picturing on a teenager/man.  Also, everyone we have mentioned Linus to has had a negative reaction. I don’t feel like I have to make everyone happy, but I also don’t want to justify our name choice to a lot of opinionated people.

Such good questions, April!  Read on for my answer – and please add your comments and thoughtful suggestions in the comments!

[click to continue…]


Odette, Ottilie, and Otis: The Ottos

by appellationmountain on January 16, 2015

Otto NamesOnce upon a time, there was a tiny Germanic name element: Aud.  It meant wealth, and appeared mostly in compound names like Audoin and Audogar.  I’m not sure if all of those names were directly related to Aud, but the sound was a fairly common one.

Eventually, Aud became Audo, Odo, and the familiar Otto.

Now Otto and his cousins are early days into a what could be a serious comeback, bringing with them forms of the name that have never been popular in the US.

From celebrity choices to hipster baby name lists to television characters, a growing number link back to Otto and company.

Also on the upswing: Otto’s quiet cousins, names linked in the deepest recesses of onomastic history, but completely under the radar today.

[click to continue…]


Icarus: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 15, 2015

The Sun or the Fall of Icarus, 1819 (dated and...

It’s one of my favorite stories from Greek myth.  But is this name even a little bit wearable?

Out-There Baby Name Week continues with Icarus as our Baby Name of the Day.

[click to continue…]


Grover: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 14, 2015


How did this name go from presidential stalwart to furry and blue?

Our Out-There Baby Name of the Day is Grover.

[click to continue…]


Faraday: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 13, 2015

FaradayFiction raises some surprising possibilities, doesn’t it?

Out-There Baby Name week continues with Faraday as our Baby Name of the Day.

[click to continue…]


Out-There Alphabet Week

by appellationmountain on January 12, 2015

Out There Alphabet


Over the last few months, I’ve been asking for your favorite Out-There Baby Names – names that are just a little too offbeat for you to consider giving to a child.  Or at least your child.  Offbeat and out-there is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

Some might call these guilty pleasure names – GPs.

Your responses were glorious – from the just slightly unusual to the really, truly out-there.  I’ve summarized some of them in these posts:

The best news?  We’ve only made it halfway through the alphabet!  Watch Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the next installment of the series, starting soon.

This week’s names are all drawn from your suggestions.  And while they would definitely qualify as highly unusual, I think each one of them is wearable – at least in the middle spot.