Sunday Summary 1.28.24Have you ever been watching something and thought, “Nope. That character’s name is ALL WRONG.”

You’re reading this, so pretty sure that’s a yes.

At other times, names just work.

We recently saw the Mean Girls reboot. I have lots of thoughts, but here are the name-related ones:

  • Regina George is The Perfect Character name, then and now. It’s timeless. This might be reading a little too much into the choice, but I particularly appreciate Regina’s dual nature. It literally means queen, but it often applies to the religious figure, Mary. One reigns; the other is worshiped. Both apply in the Mean Girls ‘verse.
  • Cady Heron also wears well – maybe even better in the reboot, where her now single mom reads even more like the kind of highly educated woman who would intentionally choose a hero name to inspire her child. (In fact, Tina Fey apparently had a roommate named Cady in college.)
  • Gretchen sort of works now … just like it sort of worked then. I’m assuming the 2004 movie indicated late 1990s birth dates for the characters; the 2004 update moves that forward into the 2005 to 2007 range. Gretchen appears in the 700s in the US in both eras.
  • Karen feels like it should be a wild outlier … but it isn’t. Karen – as a meme and a stereotype – didn’t take hold until 2018.
  • The boys’ names – Aaron, Shane, and Damian – fare pretty well, but then, boys’ names don’t trend as quickly, so the leap of around a decade isn’t as big a factor.
  • The name that fares the worst? Probably Janis. Even spelled the more common Janice, it would’ve been very, very unusual in 1998 or so, and even more unlikely by 2006ish. She’s both my favorite character and the character I’d most like to rename. My first thought? Jamie or Jordan.


Dutch names are among my favorites. I need to look at the data in-depth, but Nancy’s round-up is a great place to start. Or just take a gander at my random list: Maud! Fenna! Bo! Elin! Sem! Mats! And my all-time favorite, Bram.

There’s a big difference between loving names and choosing them for our own children. It’s surprising how hard it can be! So what Swistle says here should hit home for any name-obsessed parent.

I’m so interested in this name: Marie-Philip. As in hockey player Marie-Philip Poulin. She’s captained the Canadian women’s ice hockey team, leading them to three Olympic gold medals, and now she plays for Montreal. Double names are common, but I hadn’t realized that names like Marie-Jacques and Marie-Philip have history, too. It strikes me as the opposite of what Americans do. We name our daughters Arlo Rose and Liam Grace, but the French put the more conventionally gendered name first. Have you run into any names like this?

There are three other Arrow Finnicks in his class! Died when I saw this @babynamesdotcom. It’s SO frustrating to choose a name that we believe is one of one … only to hear it repeating EVERYWHERE.

This list of New Hipster Names is so, so good. I’m definitely hearing names like Agnes, Harriet, Ida, Ambrose, Canyon, Bernadette, Homer, and Flannery chosen by cool moms in my neighborhood.

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

Girl Names 1.28.24 Boy Names 1.28.24

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. “It strikes me as the opposite of what Americans do. We name our daughters Arlo Rose and Liam Grace, but the French put the more conventionally gendered name first. Have you run into any names like this?”

    While I haven’t seen this in my life, my mom’s stories of school- and the nuns she had as teachers- feel exactly this way. 🙂 Mary-Bernadette on the more feminine side, but Margret-Henry on the less feminine.

  2. Saskia and Femke are my long time Dutch favourites! I also loved Janis in Mean Girls and probably thought it was quite an odd choice at the time. I might re-name her Jaya or Jewel!