Sixteen by Abby Sandel

We went out of town this weekend, to catch up with old friends and take the kids to see dinosaurs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Our old neighborhood is flourishing – had we stayed, we would now live within a mile of an Anthropologie, and a really cool independent toy store. Perhaps it is best that we’re gone!

The name-spotting was plentiful, but the highlight was sibs called Rita and Otto, plus a little girl called Dia.


  • I’m (finally) reading The Radleys, about a fictional family of vampires. There’s Rowan and his sister Clara, plus unrepentant Uncle Will. But the name that has me curious is that last name – Radley. Update to Bradley and Riley or just plain trying too hard?
  • Congratulations to Laura Vanderkam of 168 Hours on the birth of Ruth, a little sister for Jasper and Sam;
  • I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy discovering new celebrities through Waltzing More than Matilda. Her round-up of recent AFL players’ kids is no exception – one of them named his daughter Halo Ava. Great sound, but an awful lot to live up to;
  • I love the letter z, too, but Betzie feels unnecessary. Even if her siblings are Jazmin, Maizie, and Frazer;
  • Did you see Kate’s post about names? “I am incredibly judgemental about names … will admit that If I don’t like what you name your children then I quietly think less of you.” I understand the feeling she’s describing perfectly, though I do think it works the other way, too – when people we love choose names we don’t care for, eventually the names grow on us;
  • Though I did recently pick up a book, only to put it down when I saw the author’s dedication, to her children Randsley and Bryceton. No, it wasn’t a baby name book. But I just couldn’t get past those names;
  • Like the nickname Aggie but can’t embrace Agatha or Agnes? Nook of Names reminded me of a great alternative: Aglae or Aglaia;
  • What do you think of Justinian? Maybe in the middle spot …
  • How about England? As Dorcas points out, London is hot;
  • Are you reading Eponymia? Love her list of Olympic athletes with double names – especially Prince-Octopus. That’s one you don’t hear every day;
  • I think this person got bad advice from a message board – okay, that’s predictable. But I don’t think we should dismiss names just because we first hear them on television shows. And the name in question – Thayer – has history that pre-dates ABC. Ditto Rory and Lux, two other names mentioned in the thread;
  • I was not remotely interested in Hillary Duff’s baby name, until I realized that her young adult novel stars a girl called Clea;
  • Axis, Cutter, Legend, Sladyn, Trig, and Weston Rowdy. Yup, that’s a name round-up at For Real Baby Names from the Great State of Texas;
  • Ending on a strange note: Nancy was rightSiri is growing on me.

Celebrity name discussions are wrapped up in my Nameberry post for tomorrow, but I am curious – if you had Hattie or Harriet on your list, are you reconsidering after Tori and Dean gave the name to their little girl?

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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What do you think?


  1. I do like Thayer, but my first experience with the name was as a main character in a movie called Teenage Dirtbag. I loved the movie but it was a little dark.

    Siri is really pretty.

    1. Thayer reminds me of that movie too. Though I have to admit that I like the name a bit. Brings to mind Thatcher or Sawyer without sounding too occupational.

  2. Wow, I actually love Thayer. I just love ‘th’ and ‘-eth’ names though 🙂 I also had a huge crush in college on a guy named Thane…

    Ruth is wonderful and Ruth with Jasper and Sam is amazing!

    Radley makes me think of Radney and musician Radney Foster, so not bad.
    Aglae and Aglaia are all algae to me too.

  3. Like Justinian, Thayer, and Radley. I thought for a moment that there was a Radley U. somewhere, but it appears I was smooshing Bradley and Radford. Radley doesn’t feel made up to me.

    Siri is a traditional Scandinavian girl’s name, or at least nickname (short for Sigrid). I’ve known two girls with this nickname. I think it’s lovely.

    1. The name is so rare, that I suspect LOTS of people would see algae or algebra … definitely a downside!

  4. When Jessica Alba named her daughter Honor, I struck it from my list. Hattie isn’t quite as singular as Honor, so it will probably stay on my list… But if it takes off in popularity, I’ll reconsider.

    Radley = Boo.

    Siri makes mean think of the author Siri Hustvedt (she’s married to Paul Auster.) My ex-husband is from her hometown and her father was a big deal at the College there.

    There was a Thayer in today’s newspaper birth announcements, and when I read it aloud, my husband thought I was saying failure. 🙁

    Today’s paper was a doozy: an Aviarie, a Catcher, a female Austyn and twins with the middle names Pride & Joy.

    1. WOW! Pride and Joy …

      Thayer = failure? I don’t hear it, but vowels are tricky. Still, I do like the idea of Thayer.

      I think you’re right about Hattie.

  5. I’ve mentioned before that my top girl names all come from children’s books, so I think Harriet will stay on my shortlist forever.

  6. Funny you mentioned Bradley – I’ve just checked out that Brantley is a new entry in the boys ranking. Radley could definitely catch on.

    Cutter – probably one of the most horrible names I’ve seen around.

    England could work out, Ireland did. Well, not too much, but it is charting.

    Lol I think you were too harsh with that book, names after all are just that, names. Doesn’t mean the book will suck 😉

    Thayer? Don’t really care for it, but it has all the ingredients to become a popular boys name. It has the ay sound in there spelled with a “y”, and it ends in the newest trend: “er” names.

    Rita and Ruth need a comeback.

    1. I might still give the book a chance – I actually pulled it up on Amazon to make sure I had the names right, and dropped it into my cart for future consideration …

  7. When I was eighteen, Harriet was my absolute favorite name (I was a big fan of Dorothy L. Sayer’s at the time — still am — and Harriet Vane was top of my fictional heroine list 🙂 ). I still think it’s a good name, and Hattie has lots of old world charm.

  8. Radley *would* be a nice placename, except that since 1960, Radley = Boo.

    Seeing Siri, all I can think of is a mashup of Suri Cruise and Shiri Appleby…Siri Cruiseby??

    1. Siri is an iPhone app, which puts me off, but I think people who like techno-names will go for it. Siri and Apple – perfect sibset! 😉