Maple burl, not to be confused with bird's eye...
Maple burl; Image via Wikipedia

He has a cowboy cool sound, a nature name link, and even ties to Hollywood – and Christmas!

Thanks to Kathleen for suggesting Burl as our Baby Name of the Day.

Burl always strikes me as a nickname, the kind of name a guy called

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. It doesn’t seem like all of this article is here, Abby. I’d love to be able to read it!

  2. I like it, but then I’m also a big fan of Pearl, Merle, and Fern. I love hearing about Burl Ives’ full name and siblings’ names, too–what an interesting bunch!

  3. I first thought of Burl Ives as Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof! And burly to me is roughly equivalent to brawny–more muscular than just heavy.

    Would never be on my short list, but it’s OK! Would his nickname be Burlie?

  4. Burl has been in my family for generations now, which is why I suggested it. I’ve always liked it, and honestly the youngest Burl in my family is in middle school now and he doesn’t have problems with teasing. No more than any other kids with rhyming names. All of the Burls have loved their names. My Uncle John got more teasing with his name being associated with the toilet. 🙂

  5. I actually kind of like Burl. I like it for the burl wood, as my FIL is a master woodworker and my husband’s family is all-around outdoorsy. To me it sounds more rugged cowboy than fusty old man. Also, the word Burly sounds warm and fuzzy to me, not negative. I could see its rhyming with hurl being a problem in the middle school years, but that’s it.

    1. And lots of things do have dreadful rhymes, really – Stella smella, Asher gasher, Bart fart … what happened to my Garbage Pail Kids collection … need those now.

      1. and Crabby Abby, which you might be familiar with. I know you were born an Amy, but as you go by Abby, which is also my name, perhaps you were privy to such gems, as I was. My least favourite will forever be Scabby Abby 😉

        1. Oh, well hello Abby! And nope, I became Abby after college – after the age of Scabby and Crabby. Though I think my husband has probably called me crabby Abby a few times … and I’ve probably deserved every one!

  6. Most of the previous comments point to my comment: I don’t think we’re quite ready for the return of the “ur” names. Bertha, Burl, Earl, Herbert, etc., still aren’t ready for their comeback. Burl might be the one that starts the trend, though, if it every gets going.

    1. I wish there wasn’t such a hatred for the “ur” names. Two of my favourites feature the sound: Gertrude and Hermione,

      1. Oh, I do like Gertrude! Well, I love Trudy. I’m less keen about the Ger. And Hermione is on my longer short list – the one I’d use if we decided no family names and then we had octuplets. And all eight were girls.

    2. There’s a Brit chic lit series where the main character’s nephew was named Cuthbert, called Bertie. I’ve been a little bit in love with Cuthbert ever since. And Albert – I kind of like Albert, even if he seems 40-plus to me, rather than 4. That’s a lovable, youthful 40-plus. (For reference, I am a youthful 38!)

      1. Ooooh, I’m really liking the sound of a Cuthbert called Bertie. Hmmm, I’ll have to suggest that one to Mark. I’m not going to get my hopes up though. It’s not remotely his style.