Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

I realized last night that I’d never announced the winners of the most recent round of polls! The featured names on January 17 and 18 will be Cecilia and Nico. Thanks to everyone for voting, and for submitting names. I’m still working through a backlog of requests, mostly because it takes me a few minutes to remind myself that if I say yes to every request, I will be replying with ridiculous statements like, “Sure, I’d be delighted to feature Geraldine on January 17, 2013.”

Elsewhere online:

  • When I published a list of ends-in-r names for boys, I mentioned in the comments that a girls’ list would (eventually) follow. Here’s one name that won’t appear on either: Vader;
  • On a note that is both sad and joyful at once, a report from Mumbai tells us that Indian girls given names with negative meanings are taking part in state-sponsored ceremonies to rename themselves. The gender politics behind this story are pretty intense and not fixable with a name change – but it is a reminder that names’ meanings have power. Imagine going from Nakusa – unwanted – to Ashmita – tough, rock hard;
  • Eponymia turned up some gems in 1920s birth announcements. Among them: Svea, Ismay, and Vesper for girls, and Crosby, Crispin, and Ames for boys;
  • Nymbler released their top names for September. No surprises in their Top Ten, and no wonder that Reverie was a new debut name. Other debuts? Decker and Gatsby. On the AppMtn Facebook page, most of you felt that Gatsby smacked of an over-obvious attempt to choose a literary name. Then again, I’m guessing Atticus might’ve gotten the same reaction ten years ago;
  • Here’s one from Nook of Names that I quite like: Keen. It feels like an update on Dean and Gene for boys, but still reasonably wearable for girls. One of the word’s meanings is negative – lament – but I think the positive associations are greater. The only hitch? My children live in the shoes;
  • Here’s a category that feels easy to love: British Baby Names’ Cosy Celtic collection. Angus and Cai, Maisie and Fiona;
  • Parents’ search for something just a little bit different is often apparent in For Real Baby Names’ birth announcement posts. Estella, Lexton, Linley, Cates, Tilley – all so close to popular picks, but a few letters off. I’m never sure if this satisfies or frustrates. I know Clio is often mistaken for Chloe, something that I’d never anticipated. I wonder if Estella’s parents will tire of saying, “No, not Stella. Ehstella, with an E, like in Dickens.”

Starbaby news for the week appears in tomorrow’s Nameberry round-up. Don’t forget to enter the give-away here, and if you already have, you have TWO more chances to win in tomorrow’s Nameberry post.

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. Gatsby does sound rather like it’s trying too hard, perhaps in part because, unlike in the case of Atticus (which was the name of quite a few famous people in history prior to Lee’s use), to argue that Gatsby is solely tied to Fitzgerald’s creation would not be unreasonable. Besides, Atticus Finch is extremely admirable. Jay Gatsby? Tragic and even slightly pathetic.

    Keen sounds reasonable on a girl to me for two reasons: Carolyn Keene, the “author” of the Nancy Drew mysteries, and Keena, a female character from a kids’ puppet TV show I used to watch as as child. I do think it’s best reserved for the middle spot personally, although it would make a charming nickname for a Kenneth or, more obviously, Cianan/Keenan.

    I shared the article about girls in Mumbai changing their names on my facebook page. The plight of girls in India is something rather close to my heart, particularly as my parents were very influential in helping to start a home for unwanted girl children in the city in which I grew up. I agree that making a name change is only a small victory in the battle against negative gender politics in the nation of India, but it at least makes a statement and helps the girls assert their own identities and worth.

    1. I agree that Gatsby is more tied to the book than Atticus. Also, Atticus is simply a character, not the title of the book. You actually have to proceed past the cover to find the name, you know?

  2. Thanks so much for the link to the story about the Indian renaming ceremony; I’m always on the lookout for intersection between names and culture. I agree that it’s at once sad and joyful.

    Decker makes me think of Brooklyn Decker.

  3. I love Gatsby! I wonder if Decker could have anything to do with the cute young actor Thomas Dekker on the CW’s “The Secret Circle”? Although it’s spelled differently of course.

  4. What you said about Gatsby & Atticus is so true. It’s amazing how our perceptions of names can change over the years.

    1. Totally agree! I met an Atticus when I was in college (10+ years ago) and I thought the name was over the top and trying to hard to be Southern and/or literary.

  5. I like Gatsby, but I’ve never spotted it as a first name, but I have seen it used as a middle name a couple of times. If Atticus and Romeo are being used regularly, I don’t see what is wrong with Gatsby. 🙂

    I’ve always loved the name Keen for a boy, but sadly it doesn’t go well with my last name.

    @SkyeRhyly There was a Lexton Blake on the post Abby referred to, but there was also a Lexxtin Monroe.

    Have a good week.


  6. Forget Decker and Gatsby, Ataya also debuted for boys. Now that was an interesting pick, and I have no clue where it comes from. Its also the highest new name for boys, pretty crazy!

    4 Real is great for seeing all kinds of names, although alternative spellings are used frequently. For example, it was Lexxtin not Lexton that was used.