The countdown is on! Sometime around 9 AM, New York time, the updated popularity data should be released by the US Social Security Administration on their website.

I go back and forth about how much it matters. There’s plenty of excitement, of course! Pretty much all of the mainstream media – at least the human interest-variety – will turn to baby names for a few days.

But the numbers don’t change that much about how we actually choose names for our individual children. And the interest fades fast.

Who am I kidding? It’s my Super Bowl-meets-Christmas morning all wrapped into one! I’m giddy with excitement and trembling as I hit the refresh button.

For all of my reactions to the news, check back here on Friday, May 10th. Consider following along on Patreon.

Also make sure you’re subscribed to the Tuesday newsletter! (There will be a special edition this Friday.) Sign up here:


If you’re getting excited for the new data, too, here’s a question to occupy you while we wait. What’s Next for the Girls’ Top 1000? I’m betting on Betty, plus Ida, Wednesday, Tallulah, Rue, and the rest of the names on this list. For the boys, I’m watching Oak and Shai, Scout (for boys), Rowdy, and Beck, plus a few more possibilities.


If your name is Jeremy, you’ve just missed your chance to attend a Kentucky Derby party dedicated to your name, in honor of racehorse Lucky Jeremy. But if your name is Kyle, you’re in luck! Gather in Kyle, Texas on May 18th for an attempt to set a World Record gathering of people named Kyle. (There are rules to be part of the official count. Details here.)


My son’s name and nickname(s) are on this list, which made me realize that he has not one, but two, feminine nicknames for his conventionally masculine name. When it comes to “girl” nicknames for “boy” names, I’m a fan – though no, we didn’t plan it in advance. And yes, there was definitely a period where he was sensitive about having a “girl” name. But all of these things are in quotes because, well, a) nicknames are meant to be flexible and change as the bearer changes; and b) our ideas about what is masculine and feminine in names often shifts, too, based on all sorts of things outside of our control.


Oof! I weigh in on Reddit-style AITA questions on my Patreon page, but I’m not sure I can bring myself to answer this one. In brief, mom and dad both have C names and have decided to name their baby a C name, too. If it’s a boy, he’ll be Charles. If it’s a girl, she’ll be Ceelee or Cheelee “with a hard C.”

The aunt-to-be objects, saying they should name a girl Catherine instead. It’s a good example of how the sister can be wrong and right at the same time.

The aunt is wrong to attempt to veto her brother’s name choice. (I mean, seriously?!)

But she’s right that Ceelee/Cheelee presents a challenge. I see it and want to say Seeley. Or Shelley, or Chell-ee. But I would not get to Keeley. The name fails on some basic phonetic tests. And that’s something that maybe the parents should know in advance.


I had the house all to myself for a few hours this weekend, so I queued up the new Anne Hathaway movie on Prime, The Idea of You. It’s based on a best-selling novel by Robinne Lee, and while it’s meant to be mostly escapism, it’s not just fluff. What caught my eye, in the novel and the movie, was the name Solène. I’ve written about it before, a fascinating French import with a powerful meaning. While I doubt we’ll hear more of this rarity post-movie, it’s an interesting find.

That’s all for this week. As always, thanks for reading and have a great week!

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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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