Sunday SummaryI’m not quite certain who Marvin Humes may be, but a) he’s famous enough to earn a mention on a UK website, and b) he’s trying to name a baby-on-the-way.  And he, like many an expectant parent, is just a little under-informed about what constitutes a mainstream name.  Humes declared:  I wanted to go for some crazy names like London.

Does London count as crazy anymore?

Not in the US.  It’s in the girls’ Top 100, and ranked #560 for boys in 2011.  While this one definitely trends girl, the writer Jack London lends it a certain rugged, literary quality that still works for a son.  (Which reminds me, London’s daughters were named Bess and Joan – lovely!)

Then again, it might be seen as more outrageous in the UK.  Or not.  I think Humes is articulating #8 or #9 on this list.  He wants a name that is nothing like the names that he grew up with, or that his friends and family haven’t used.  But that’s very different than wanting a truly unique name.

Now, on to the baby name news:

  • Interesting to hear how this issue was resolved at Swistle.
  • A theory via Clare: the names we’re willing to use for pets might eventually become names that we’re willing to use for children.  Looking at the names in the original New York Times article, I’d say yes.
  • I’ve always thought Nivea had a gorgeous sound, but I agree with Blue Juniper’s post.  The widespread success of the skincare company gives me pause, but it is still staggeringly pretty.
  • Last Friday’s list of Surname Names for Girls was not a fan favorite, but check out this consult at Swistle.  Carrington Sofia would be my pick, too.
  • How is Cielo any tamer than Sistine?  Isn’t Deuce daffier than Seven?  Pepper is nearly as out-there as Apple.  Parents who are thinking of names like Banjo are not likely to consider an switching to Steve.  And that’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s a mistake to listen to advice talking you out of your craziest baby names.
  • Which reminds me … Olga is the kind of name I love, but I think the real issue here is that the mom is losing her ability to choose her daughter’s name.
  • Love, love, love the name Abel.  Less certain about the spelling Able, though in our word name-obsessed moment, I suppose Able has a virtue vibe that works.
  • A Dutch DJ named his kiddo Chase, and his comments in his Twitter announcement make it clear that parents were inspired by Chase’s meaning – betcha that resonates for lots of parents.
  • Fascinating reflections on name stats at Baby Name Wizard.
  • And enter the Baby Name Pool!  Entries close April 15.  I’ve never done all that well in the pool, but I always feel optimistic about my guesses.
  • We might dismiss Devony as nouveau, but check out this find in Eponymia’s post: Dévonie.
  • Oh, I do like Matilda, for all the reasons Elea suggests.

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

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. I was going to mention A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson a revered Australian poet, but Waltzing Matilda covered it above. Anyone my age can recite his Clancy Of The Overflow poem, and you will all know The Man From Snowy River.
    Matilda is my daughters loathed middle name. 12thC Matilda, the rightful Queen of England, escaped a siege by feigning death and being carried out in a coffin
    To name a child, boy or girl, London (Lonnie or Donnie) is no crazier than Paris Hilton (and her sister should have been Beverly), or Ireland Baldwin, or Brooklyn Beckham, and Dallas is a normal girl name here, even for older women. India is a very normal English upper-class name. I know a young child named Africa by her missionary parents (Affie by now of course), and Ron Howard named his daughter after The Carlyle Hotel in NYC.

  2. We recently named our three month old puppy Margaret (I originally wanted to call her Meg with a more formal option and then fell for the charms of Margaret) and the most common reaction we get is ‘that’s my aunt/mother/sister’s name’. I’ve always been a fan of people names on dogs though; my previous dog was called Gordon.

  3. Marvin Humes is a member of a band called JLS. Baby’s Mum is Rochelle from The Saturdays, a British girl group (although she used to be in S-Club Juniors, if S-Club 7 ever made it across the Atlantic?)

    London is definitely still a rarity over here in the UK. My most up-to-date list is currently 2011, at which point it was ranked 1903 and given to 14 girls.

  4. I can see Bruce Lansky is rapidly joining Gawker on Abby’s Hate List – love it! His suggestions are ludicrous and ignorant – Rachel Taylor named her son Banjo after the poet Banjo Paterson, and would not be tempted to use the name of some random banjo-player named Steve instead! There’s just no connection at all! It would have taken 1 second of Googling to find that out, and suggest another poet, such as Lawson.

    But I think that’s a silly way to suggest names – if someone loves Banjo Paterson, they don’t WANT to call their son after another poet. If they fell in love with the name Apple, you can’t just substitute another “food” name like Pepper. It wasn’t being food-related that attracted them to the name! There’s a whole different bunch of cultural associations that Apple has and Pepper doesn’t.

    Imagine if someone said, “Now don’t call your daughter Charlotte – what about the name of a different queen, such as Ermengarde or Yolande? Or another pudding, such as Plum or Summer?”

    1. It’s so funny to me that people like Bruce Lansky are now appearing on the Internet and saying things like this. I’m a college student, so a fairly young name enthusiast, but I started reading my mom’s old baby name books at about eight, and I remember seeing all these names — Bruce Lansky! Pamela Redmond Satran! Laura Wattenberg! — with vague images of who they were and what they did… and now with things like Nameberry and Bruce Lansky’s little blog thing that he has, there they are and now I know. It’s so cool — even if I don’t agree with some of (most of) the things Lansky is saying nowadays.

  5. While I do think the mother should consider alternatives if she finds the name Olga so repellent, I was getting a little frustrated with some of the comments on that post about Olga’s teasing potential. I get soo annoyed with people who discourage someone’s name choice because it might get teased, I have so many friends who caved on their favorites because “people” thought Madeline was safer. Odd name=teasing potential has pretty much died out. There are too many different names in the classroom, kids won’t find Olga any more surprising than Edith or Dax. And for what it’s worth, I like Olga. A name being “out of style” doesn’t really have the same taboo as it did 20 years ago (point in case baby name wizard’s popularity article!) I’ll get off my soapbox now.

    1. Hettie, I agree completely – and honestly, I’m not sure if name teasing was ever that much of a thing. We’d never tell someone to change their long, complicated, foreign surname for fear of teasing.

      1. I remember when you profiled the name Pia, I thought of a case of pretty name-specific teasing in my past, but the girl name Pia was a bully, not a sweet, unassuming girl who’s name was somehow hilarious. I get the feeling that if Pia hadn’t been the type to knock other girls over on the playground her name would not have become the target that it did. Then again, in the case of Pia, I am a bit of a hypocrite because I avoid an otherwise lovely name because of specific memories of the teasing potential. Oops! At the end of the day, I love the fact that names are becoming more diverse. I think it’s a parents job to encourage their children to see a name they’ve never heard before as fascinating, not taunt-worthy.

  6. I remember that post at Swistle! I think someone in the comments guessed that she was talking about using Verne – I’d forgotten it was for the middle spot, though. That update combined with the article you linked about alternatives to “weird” baby names made me realize that I get kind of disappointed when people don’t go with their more “out-there” choices. I agree with your comments, Abby – how in the world is Deuce more mainstream than Seven?