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. Actually, this is the name of a boy in my neighborhood. He is half Persian. I think it’s a cute name! They pronounce it Mal-lick, but I could also see some people pronouncing it May-lick.

  2. Thanks for all that background information on Malik – I actually didn’t know that it is a name connected to the current US President, so now surprised it isn’t used more.

    I’ve met several little Maliks here, and it is always pronounced MAH-lik. Most of the Maliks are white, and the reason for that might be that it’s illegal to call your son “king” here, so this is a neat way around that. Apart from being an Arabic name, it is also seen as a name from popular culture, and I think generally a “cool” name.

  3. Wow, I had no idea that Malik had this much history or this much popularity!

    Malik is definitely way at the top of our list, if only I can get over the pronunciation issues. As a Sarah, I absolutely love that everyone can easily pronounce my name. Of course, depending on their ethnic background, some people say Saara, but it’s the same name so no matter 🙂

    I just don’t know how I feel about saddling a future son with a name that he potentially has to constantly correct people on. I feel strongly that it should be MAH-lek, NOT Mah-LEEK. I worry that with an Anglo surname, the first name Malik will be read as African-American and pronounced Mah-leek.

    And yet…I remember something, I think it was on Nameberry, about how your close group of family and friends will learn to pronounce your child’s (or your own) name properly. If the bank clerk mispronounces it, so what? As long as friends, teachers, etc. get it right then it’s fine.

    I do love that Malik is a strong name, works in Arabic, and is not unknown in the U.S. Thanks for covering him!

    1. As an non-Arab person my first thought is Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, but I think that will only help make the correct pronunciation more obvious. There’s a growing Muslim community in our city, so I wouldn’t assume Malik Anglosurname was African-American… but at the same time I might guess he was African.

      Anyways, I like Malik and would be pleased to met a little guy with the name.

    2. Sarah, I think that point about your immediate circle knowing your kids’ name is exactly right. You do hear the odd complaint that no one SPELLS the name correctly or calls your Andrew “Andy” when you’re anti-nickname, but I think generally, people who care about us try their best to get it right!

      My maiden name had a really non-intuitive pronunciation, but the vast majority of my friends got it right.

      1. Thanks so much for the comments! It’s nice to see Malik get such positive feedback 🙂

        One cultural reference I just remembered: The main character in Slumdog Millionaire is Jamal Malik. Even though it’s a surname in the movie, it definitely adds to the international flavor of Malik.

  4. I first heard the name Malik on the TV show ER. He was one of the nurses. ER first aired in 1994 and Malik jumped almost 200 spots in 1995 and in the top 100 one year later. A coincidence? Probably not. 🙂

    But I didn’t realize his background so interesting read. Thanks!

    then I started seeing his name appear on birth announcements.

    1. THAT’S IT! Thank you so much! I was racking my brain to find the missing link, but none of my searches turned up Malik on ER. There’s one other Malik that could maybe explain some of it – Omar Epps played Malik in 1995’s Higher Learning, but it seems like a really heavy source of inspiration.

      Malik on ER? That sounds EXACTLY right.

  5. I only know mah-leeks! Hehe. One spells it Maleek, the other is Malique. Both are really white too.

  6. I like Malik, in theory. I acually know one (he says MAH-lek, so I do). It’s got a nice sound for a strong, handsome name. Malik gets a solid :thumbsup: from me (although Rex is still a favorite for me)! 😀

  7. What an interesting note about pronounciation. I was reading it MAH-lick and wondering if it was supposed to be MAY-lick. mah-LEEK would have looked like Malique to me. If its the last pronounciation then it’s too associated with African-American culture to be used by me. One of the first two pronounciations sounds like a great name for a cat.

  8. Last year’s X Factor here in the UK featured a Zain Malik, part of the boyband, One Direction, and as an aside, most people pronounced his surname with the arabic pronunciation you provided.

    Personally, I’ve really gotten into simple, eastern inspired names recently, such as Mehdi. It’s almost gutting that I wouldn’t use them, as I’m not of the right culture.