Lower-case Letter a (Bethesda, MD)
Lower-case letter a by takomabibelot via Flickr

She’s a lovely smoosh of a name, boosted by a fictional heroine.

Thanks to Claire for suggesting Annabeth as our Baby Name of the Day.

There’s no mystery behind Annabeth.  Plenty of girls have answered to Anna Elizabeth or Ann Elisabeth or some other combination of those regal, saintly, evergreen names.  Annabeth has never charted in the US Top 1000, but women have worn the name over the years.

The best known is almost certainly actress Annabeth Gish, born Anne Elizabeth.  Gish’s big break was a small role in 1988’s Mystic Pizza.  She’s not quite a household name, but she’s acted steadily.  She had a recurring role on The West Wing – the political drama also included a character named Annabeth, played by Kristin Chenoweth.

Annabeth feels like she could be very current today, but in recent years, -bel has eclipsed -beth.  Isabella is slightly more popular than Elizabeth, and, at #111 in 2011, Annabelle is at her most popular ever.

All of this might consign Annabeth to obscurity, except for two things:

  • First, Ann- names are having a good run, from Anneliese to Lilliana.  If Beth is slightly dated, Anna remains quite current.
  • Then there’s this little series about a half-mortal, half-god called Percy Jackson, and his group of faithful friends.

In the Percy Jackson series, Annabeth is another resident of Camp Half-Blood.  Her mom is Athena, goddess of wisdom.  Dad is a regular ol’ university professor.  Like all of the demigods, this makes for a complicated existence.  Annabeth, Percy, and their fellow demigod classmates have many adventures.  Annabeth is something of a Hermione character, and a love interest for Percy.  She’s blonde in the books, but brunette in the movie … and speaking of movies, the first adaptation came in 2010, and a sequel is anticipated for the summer of 2013.

Of course, Harry Potter hasn’t done anything for Hermione, so there are no guarantees that a less world-dominating franchise can boost the name of its brainy heroine.

Throw in a few artists and other women, and Annabeth takes on an interesting vibe.  There’s something homespun about the name, but also something sophisticated.  It’s the kind of split personality that makes the name well-suited for demigod.  She’s not as dated as Annemarie, but neither is she as current as Annalee.  Still, Annabeth manages to be smart, down-to-earth, and unexpected all at once.  She’s free of the spelling challenges of Anneliese – or Annabelle, even – and with a heroine namesake, it is easy to imagine a little Annabeth loving her name.

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. Not a fan of Annabeth, particularly. Just… meh. I’m simpler and far more in love with classic Anne than even Annabel (which I also like because of Poe).I’m not a fan of Beth, at all & I don’t like Anna either, just Anne. Annabeth looks pretty, feels substantial but still does nothing for me, personally. 🙁

  2. I really adore Annabel, but Annabelle leaves me cool and Annabeth leaves me cold.

    I’m not keen on Beth though. I do love Elizabeth, but I much prefer Libby/Liz/Betty to Beth. (But Beth still wins over Bess/Bessie…). I’d like to find a way to Libby that isn’t Elizabeth or Liberty, though. Lilibet? Too babyish?

    Anna in general doesn’t do much for me, which is odd because I like Hannah/Chana and Susannah. Annabel is the exception, I blame Edgar Allan Poe.

    1. I love Libby, too. Lilibet does seem too precious, but there has to be another way … Isabella is an option, but I think it might feel forced. Isobel, maybe? Lisbon? Hmmm …

      My favorite spelling is definitely Annabel … though I think I’m most fond of Anneliese.

  3. I feel like Beth is so out it might just be in for the super trendy set. It’s got a bit of a mid century, 70s vibe to it. So, I can see Annabeth appealing to parents who think Annabelle is too frilly or Anneliese too hard to spell/pronounce.

  4. I definitely prefer Annabeth to Annabelle too… I fell in love with the name after reading the series and now she is also a character in his Heroes series. I think she is more unexpected than many other Anna-smoosh names, I’m guessing I like her so much because of her character, because she is not my usual forte.

  5. I like Annabeth, but not enough to use it. That’s a moot point, though, as my daughter is an Annabel.

  6. I like smoosh names and Ann- names, and really like Annabeth. I think it’s more wearable than Hermione and could reach the charts in the next 10-20 years (when today’s teens, who’ve seen the Percy movies, start having kids).

  7. I like Annabeth, but it’s not quite my style. Fun fact: I was Anna Elizabeth until my mom was nine months pregnant. Two weeks before I was born, my dad decided I simply wasn’t an Anna; I was a Katherine, and just started calling me Katherine in utero. Mom was annoyed, but eventually decided he was right.

  8. I definitely prefer Annabeth to Annabelle, a name that has always sounded awkward to my ears. It’s not something I would personally use, but it’s sweet and a bit unexpected, so bumping into a little Annabeth would be lovely.

  9. I also feel like Beth is quite dull (sorry!). I was sorely disappointed that they didn’t name the ‘GLEE’ baby a more interesting name than Beth. I think Annabeth is pretty, my first thought is Ms. Gish. I like that she’s more unexpected than Annabelle. Annemarie is also lovely and equally unexpected. I guess I’m just a bit over the Ana/Anna names 😉