Sunday SummaryI stumbled on this quote in The Mermaid of Brooklyn, a novel by Amy Shearn:

Mothers and nannies called to their children – “Cassiopeia!”  “Scorcese!” – a chorus of unfortunate displays of creativity.  The other day I’d met a toddler named Curly.  “Curly what,” I’d said, feeling like my mother.  “Just Curly,” the mom had explained placidly.  I couldn’t stop myself.  “Like the Stooge?”  There were days when my neighborhood made me want to slam my head against a historically accurately restored brick wall.

The main character has daughters named Betty and Rose.  Other kids are Emma and Maude, Aidan and Isabelle.  It’s an intriguing story, and I do love it when a writer gets the name exactly, pitch perfect right.

Elsewhere in baby name news:

  • Alejandro and Lucia are the top names in Spain.
  • Butterfly names are in the spotlight over at Bewitching.  (Confession: I am completely creeped out by butterfly gardens.  It’s not the insect part – I’m reasonably zen about bugs.  Something about how they get an exception to being considered bugs, maybe?  It feels dangerously duplicitous.)  Anyhow, her list of name is gorgeous.  Gossamer seems like one of those wacky middles that would punch up an expected first: Ava Gossamer, Elizabeth Gossamer.
  • I’m quite fond of Fletcher, and how nice that he has ties to Australian history.
  • A case for family names.
  • An interesting conversation from Lisa.  My first instinct is to say “no, don’t make your baby’s name.”  But that’s too easy an answer.  There’s lots to think about – and certainly lots of parents who are taking this approach.
  • Amazing how much the fierce and floral Tigerlily is growing on me.
  • Isn’t English Anne a surprising name?  First there was Moroccan, now English?  Are there other ethnonyms or demonyms that could be used as given names?
  • Do you watch AnastasiaRuby’s YouTube channel?  By the way, I think Everly to honor a Beverly is very clever.
  • I’m not at all interested in the music the Hanson brothers make, but I’m charmed by their children’s names.  I might not buy their music, but I would pay to eavesdrop on their baby naming deliberations.  And now there’s yet another next generation Hanson on the way …
  • From the wayback machine: Odessa in 2008 and Maurice in 2009.  Amedeo took center stage in 2010, followed by Hendrik in 2011 and back in 2012, I wrote about June.  I think Odessa is easily my favorite from that group.
  • What wild choices from 1912 at Kelli’s blog!  Loving Noble, Walker, Foster, Dock, Easter, Daisy … and check out the unexpected gender neutral choice, Ivy!
  • Thoughts on regional spelling and pronunciation challenges at Spastic Onomastic.  I get it – I come from a part of the world where A and O can be confusing.  (I grew up drinking Flahrida ahrange juice.)  But does it make a difference?  Most people aren’t aware of their accents, and they’re not likely to overcome them because you’ve changed the spelling of your child’s name.  I think.  Do you live in a part of the world where parents have tried changing the spelling to influence the pronunciation of a child’s name?  Is it successful?

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading, commenting and sharing AppMtn posts!

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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What do you think?


  1. I actually met a Tigerlily recently! I’m a name nerd and extremely tolerant and generally appreciative of unusual and underused names, but I could barely hide my shock at hearing this girl’s name! She was a beautiful, Hawaiian, elementary-school-aged girl.

    I really don’t like the name though. I think it’s the tiger part I can’t get past?

  2. I know a girl named Briarna, but since the rn looks so similar to nn she ended up being called bri-ann-uh anyway. Another girl I know is called Briahne, people usually pronounce her name right.
    I live in Australia.

  3. It’s pretty common in Australia for people to change the spelling of (especially girls) names to reflect an Australian accent – for example, because we say -er and -a in much the same way, someone might change the spelling of Lavender to Lavanda. It gives me a “Well duh, I know how to pronounce Lavender!” feeling.

    Another one is because sometimes people say names with a short A sound, and other times with a long AH sound eg na-TA-sha, or na-TAH-sha. So people might change the spelling to Natarsha to make it obvious. I have no idea if it works or not – I always end up saying people’s names in some idiotic manner if they’re not spelled in a standard way.

    If someone is called Natasha, and they say, “Please say it na-TAH-sha”, then that’s easy enough, but if their name’s Natarsha, somehow I end up calling them nuh-TAAARRR-sha in this (to my ears) really exaggerated way. And eventually I just avoid calling them anything.

  4. I was surprised by English too. She’s a first. Other names I’ve seen in that category are Irish, Dutch and one Aussie.

    Ha about the dangerously duplicitous butterfly! I love the name Mazarine from the list.

    Tigerlily is fun, although I would just go name her Lily and call her Tigerlily as a fun nickname.

    Have a good week!

  5. I wonder if the Alivia phenomenon started out as regional pronunciations or if it’s just the general popularity of A names, plus the option of Ali as a nickname?

    Ethnonym & Demonyms used as names: Gypsy, Georgian, Gael, Scott, Sami, Breton, Norman, German, Dutch, Desi, Roman, Swede, Nica, Karen, Thai, Cheyenne, Zulu, Finn, Dane. Viking is used in Sweden and I’ve always found Creole to be a pretty word… (Not saying these are all “good” names.)

  6. RE: pronunciations

    All those names and words are said the same to me, no matter the spelling. That post is over my head. I’m from Texas 🙂

    1. Yes, what browser do you use? I use Firefox, but I have no idea if that has anything to do with it. I always search for posts here.

    2. The links are containing and then the site Abby linked to so if you erase the from the address, it will take you to the article she linked.

      1. Huh. You’re right. They’re not like that when I create them, and I can’t figure out where it is picking up that snippet of information … thanks for seeing it! Off to figure it out …

      2. I thought M was not exclusively referring to the links to other websites but also links to pages on this website. For example, if I am looking at a name of the day post and it links to the page of another related name of the day, I will get the 404 page. If I search for it though, there is no problem. Does anyone else experience this phenomenon?

    3. No, you’re not the only one! I’ve been having that problem for weeks (months?). I’ve worked around it by erasing the part from the address, but I’m glad someone brought it up!

  7. I have such a soft spot for Tigerlily. Not sure about it in the first spot (I’d love to meet one, but I just don’t think I’d be brave enough to use it), but I think it’d be a fantastic middle name.