Today we turn the spotlight on two truly phabulous names: Phoebe and Daphne.

They’ve never gotten their day in the sun. Arguably, the most phamous (okay, I’ll stop) famous Phoebe is the quirky Friend Phoebe Buffay; the best known Daphne may be the pretty Daphne Blake from Scooby Doo. More sidekicks or comic relief than heroines in their own right, these two are poised to step into the spotlight on their own merits.

Phoebe is about as ancient as a name can be. One Phoebe was a Greek Titan; another was a daughter of the sun god. She’s lent her name to a plant and a bird. Shakespeare used Phoebe for a character in As You Like It. There’s a Phoebe in the Bible and a moon called Phoebe orbiting Saturn. And, of course, the actor Phoebe Cates starred in Gremlins.

Better still, the name has never been white hot. In fact, it dropped out of the Top 1000 for most of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The result is a name that is familiar, but not at all common.

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. Actually, it’s Eleanor. I love the historical connections to Eleanor Roosevelt and Eleanor of Aquitaine. I think the nicknames Nora and Nellie are sweet. If my Eleanor was a trendy girl, she could use Ellie if she wanted to. Unfortunately, the fiance hates Eleanor because ‘it’s too old’, but thankfully likes Daphne!

  2. Funny how TV makes names hot – or taboo. My husband tells me that Gareth is out for boys, forever, because of a nerdy character on the British office. Of course, I neglected to mention a more heroic Phoebe, one of the witches on Charmed. So perhaps Phoebe Buffay has been eclipsed by Phoebe Halliwell in some circles.

    I’d love to know your favorite name for a girl!

  3. Phoebe from Friends ruined Phoebe for me. I think my sister’s generation might be more able to use Phoebe without thinking of Friends (she’s 16 right now). That’s just me.

    Now, Daphne is my second favorite girl’s name, and the name for my first hypothetical daughter. It’s the only girl’s name my fiance and I agree on right now that we both love. I love all the connections of Daphne, and how unusual but known the name is. We like the nickname Dav said like Daf, but with a V instead. We’re just debating which family name to use for a middle name, Jane or Margaret!