Sound became everything.

That’s a quote from Laura Wattenberg. She nails it again in this interview with the Washington Post. (Gift link.) Laura calls it “lockstep individualism.” We’re so hungry for something distinctive that we end up choosing names that, ironically, sound like the same names everyone else finds.

The good news: we can still find names that we love. And there are positives to having a name that fits in with our generation. That’s why we don’t name our sons Durward or our daughters Bernita. It’s why Cassian follows Sebastian and Goldie rises when Sadie is near peak.

We can explain it, but we can’t stop it – and maybe we shouldn’t want to.

Other names in the news for the week of June 23, 2024:

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The top names in Warsaw, Poland last year were Zofia and Jan – Sophia and John, in English. Polish is such an interesting language. It’s often just a little bit different even compared to other Slavic languages, and I feel lucky to have heard it spoken so often, by Poles and Polish-Americans.


Years ago, I rounded up names from Design Mom’s Living with Kids series. Lately I’ve been noticing them again. Seriously, how gorgeous is this house? And how perfectly do their kids’ names fit? The house is colorful and happy and filled with love, and those are the names I’d imagine in such a wonderful space.


I’m not even a little bit into basketball, but I keep seeing Jrue Holiday everywhere, especially since he won back-to-back NBA Championships. In 2023, during his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks, the team brought home the trophy. And he just did the same thing with the Boston Celtics earlier this month.

Holiday is a point guard. He was a first-round draft pick in 2009. That same year, 12 boys were named Jrue – Drew with J and a UE. As Holiday’s career has flourished, Jrue has arrived in the US Top 1000 and is gaining in use for girls, too. And rather than looking a little off, it’s starting to look perfectly normal to me.


For some years now, Americans have been embracing Hawaiian names. But as Namerology points out, Hawaiian names are really having a moment. Kai debuted in the US Top 1000 for boys way back in 1979, entering the Top 100 in 2019.

Singer Kehlani’s career took off around the same time. Leilani, Alani, Kailani, Milani, Kaylani, Kalani, Nalani, Malani, Ailani, and yes, Kehlani, all rose in 2019, too.

The trend hasn’t slowed down, either. It sounds wild to call Hawaiian names the hottest foreign imports of the moment … but that’s how this feels, right?


If you haven’t seen Inside Out 2 yet, it’s a worthy sequel to the original. While patiently waiting for the production babies list to scroll, I spotted a fascinating name in the credits: Magdiela.

Magdiela Hermida Duhamel was born in Mexico, grew up in California, and now works as a producer and heads an industry group called Latinx in Animation. I assumed Magdiela was a rare form of Margaret, via Magdalena. Except there’s a masculine name mentioned briefly in the Old Testament, Magdiel. More recently, it’s been used as a place name in Israel.

That’s all for today. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great 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 Comment

  1. Reading the names in the credits is the best part of any movie!
    Zolt, Tree, and many others have brought about a lot of interest and research over the years.