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I’m not sure exactly what’s going on upstairs as I write – I can hear both children laughing, and the Dora Halloween special is definitely on television. My husband must be in the room with them, but I kind of think the toddler is in charge.

Beyond describing my background noise, I say that because I’ve often wondered if the name Dora will catch on years from now. I doubt that many parents named their daughters in honor of Olivia Newton-John, but having spent their formative years singing along to Grease, is it really a surprise that they later embraced the name? Sometimes a public figure just raises awareness of a name, subtly adding it to the menu of possible options.

Then again, I’ve yet to meet a little Ernie, and we all grew up with Sesame Street. So I’m not certain we’ll all have granddaughters named Dora.

On to the name news:

  • For Real spotted some thought-provoking birth announcements. Is Addy Malyn a deconstructed version of Madalyn? Will Mac Lee someday wonder why his parents didn’t invest in another syllable or two? But there are some really neat choices on this list, too: Gideon, Ember, Finnegan, Grier, and Coraline;
  • Is this really an epidemic? Or is the Daily Mail just so starved for content that tales of two friends squabbling over the name Ava is now considered news?
  • Okay, this one is a difficult case of name-napping – an email to Swistle about a brother planning to use the name his sister chose for a son;
  • I thoroughly enjoy Lovely Design for lots of reasons, but scroll down and you’ll see that she’s making a gift for a baby named Maceo. That’s the second time I’ve heard Maceo recently – inspired by the jazz musician, I assume. It’s an intriguing choice;
  • I’ve written about Boris, Regan, Jason, and more Halloween-tinted appellations. Parenting goes even farther, throwing in all of the Twilight and Harry Potter choices, too;
  • Sebastiane featured Faustina, a name I absolutely loved when I first found it in a baby name book when I was about twelve. I’m not so sure about it now, but I enjoyed seeing her;
  • I loved this list from Utah’s 1905 birth certificate index. Apparently they can make a pretty good estimate of the state’s most popular names from that year, including Mary, Ruth, and Thelma for girls, and John, Clarence, and Arthur for boys;
  • Speaking of lists, here’s Nancy’s tally of How Many Babies Were Named MacGyver. The most famous television character to wear a mullet answered to the first name Angus – though I don’t believe it was ever mentioned in the series.

In celeb news:

That’s all for this week, but if you’re starved for Sunday Summary-esque commentary the other six days of the week, you can find me on Facebook: It’s a great place to post names that you’ve spotted elsewhere – I’m starting to keep an informal list in the discussions area.

As always, thanks for reading!

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. My husband has a Faustina on his family tree. It’s his great-grandmother’s sister, I think. She came from a family of nine or so, and the only other girls’ names I can remember were Monta and Gwendolyn. Monta is interesting — I can’t seem to figure out where it comes from. And I love Gwendolyn. But Faustina? Though I’ve read and enjoyed both Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus” and Goethe’s “Faust: der Trag

  2. I went to H.S. with a Dora. It’s a very wearable name. I really like Isadore or Isadora, too.

    My BIL and his cousin both have the nn Chris with different full names. They were born within months of each other and have the same last names. My MIL is still irked all these years later that her SIL chose a similar name.

    1. Now that’s interesting – there’s always this sense that the other parent will get over it, but I can see how that would fester.

  3. Ali Larter’s husband’s last name is MacArthur, so I think that’s where Mac comes from. I look forward to seeing what she picks, I really Iike her. And I guess she’s good friends with Busy Phillips who has a Birdie, so maybe she has similar tastes, can’t wait to find out!

    Oh and I like the name Dora. And I’ve thought about that a lot, how names we hear as kids on television or something probably does influence what names we love as adults. And even names we hear as adults. Like, I didn’t name my kid AFTER Dash Parr in the Incredibles, but I know that hearing it there is what put it into our minds, ya know? Oh! And I’m convinced that one of the factors that helped Isabella’s rise is that there was a character on Thomas the Tank Engine named Isabelle in 1990 (which is the year she entered the top 1000). Again, not because people were naming after her, but I think it just put it into people’s minds. That, and Nicole Kidman’s daughter of course, lol.

    1. So that’s the source of Mac! Kind of a relief … and yes, I’m curious to hear the name she chooses, too.

      I didn’t realize there was an Isabelle on Thomas! That tracks with the name’s rise, unlike some certain vampire romances that get all the press. 🙂

  4. I am surprised that Dora never caught on. She is a two-syllable antique like Emma, Ava, Stella and Ruby.

    Malyn reminds me of a tryndified version of the Swedish, Malin (MAW-lin). Kinda hard how to describe its pronunciation, but it is something like that. Then I also want to say MAY-lin, which just reminds me of the verb, mailing.

  5. My son Tony loves Dora- and Diego, for that matter! About Addie Malyn, in Polish raspberry is Malina… which sometimes is used as a name, so that’s what first came to mind when I saw this. I wonder how they say it: MAH-lyn or mah-LYN?
    On Finnegan: A girl named Finnegan goes to Tony’s school, and they call her Finny- but they say it FINE-igan not FINN-igan, and so her nickname is FINE-knee…