Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated in a 1927 ...
Little Red Riding Hood illustration from 1927; Image via Wikipedia

I’m always surprised when I realize that Valerie remains so popular.  She ranked #138 in 2009, not too far from her peak of #60 in 1959.  Nothing against the name – I know some lovely women who answer to Valerie – but it makes me think of The Monkees.  (Though the song title is “Valleri” – not sure why.  Anyone know?)  She could be due for another boost in March, when the reboot of Red Riding Hood is released with Amanda Seyfriend donning the iconic red cape.  The wolf is a werewolf.  Not only does her character have a name – Valerie – but she’s more Buffy the Vampire Slayer than sweet girl en route to grandma’s house.

On to the name news:

The maternity ward at Hollywood Hospital has been relatively quiet these days, but that hasn’t stopped the star baby name stories:

  • Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey continue to generate buzz about their baby-on-the-way.  The first rumor was the baby would be a junior; then Cannon mentioned the name Cleophis in an interview;
  • If it isn’t werewolves, it’s booze.  I’ve been resisting Pink’s comment about the name Jameson.  It is pretty clear that Jameson is based on family names, and the whiskey connection is, well, a bonus;
  • Mike Dirnt of Green Day welcomed a daughter, Ryan Ruby Mae.  Based on the AppMtn Facebook page comments, the reaction is definitely mixed.  His other kids are son Brixton and daughter Estelle.  Green Day drummer Tré Cool has kids called Ramona and Frankito; Billie Joe Armstrong is dad to Joseph and Jakob.

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

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. Wow, Valerie is that popular!? Not being American I had no idea – it definitely isn’t as popular here in Asutralia, and even in film and television Val seems very much a mother name. My first association is Fran’s middle-aged best friend in the sitcom The Nanny.

  2. Luella makes me think of a favorite name of mine, Luana 🙂 I’m not sure of its origins, but its the name of a mythological Romanian princess and has been used off and on in my hubby’s family for several generations.

      1. You know, I think I would at least give her some heavy consideration. She’s definitely on my not-so-shortlist for any future daughters we might be blessed enough to have 🙂

  3. Also, Lyndsay, I was thinking that Dash’s initials are DDR – without the last name, of course – which is like Dance Dance Revolution! If and when Dash gets a sibling, maybe you can pick some equally clever initials…

    1. Haha, Chris’ best friend pointed that out almost as soon as we told him the name, but no one else has ever made the connection! We thought it was really funny when he was a baby, because he danced all the time.

      It would be fun to continue with a future sibling… Any ideas?

      1. Oh, gosh, I’ve got no clue, Lyndsay! At least, nothing quite like that…

        I was thinking about REO – like REO Speedwagon – and maybe that could be Ruby Elizabeth Olive or Rosemary Eleanor Ophelia. Then I thought of SAG, as in Screen Actor’s Guild, but SAG can also be just plain saggy, right? Anyway, SAG could be Sylvie Alice Gwendolen or Simone Aurora Giselle or something. Maybe MAP would be cool! Margo Annabel Phoebe or Margo Alice Penelope? Or, RAP? Ruby Alice Penelope? Or, in the spirit of REO, what about REM? That could also stand for REM sleep, too! Ruby Elizabeth Margo or Rosemary Elena Molly? AKA – Audrey Katherine Abigail? SEA – Sylvie Elizabeth Alice? ELF – Eliza Lillian Flora? JET – Jessamine Elizabeth Therese? PDA – Phoebe Delilah Annabel? That’s a funny one.

        Lyndsay, you just better not use SCA, or else you’ll end up with SCAB! Right? I think I remember your last name…

  4. PS Lyndsay, hi! I think Lulu or Lula would be great with Dash! But, yea, why not Louisa instead of Lulabelle?

  5. I have to admit, Valerie is actually growing on me. My neighbor, and semi-best-friend, when I was very small, was called Valerie – she wasn’t the best example. But, I’ve met a new Valerie this year, in her early twenties, and she’s just such a great Val! And, then, perhaps Glee’s rendition of “Valerie” – the song, of course – a couple weeks ago might serve to boost the name? It’s a thought.

    I was so excited to be a part of that Nameberry thread, and I think Crewe Lennox, for the wonderful Sara Crewe and Mary Lennox of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s childhood literary staples, is simply stunning. I once again congratulate Jac and Fitz Gardner on their little Crouton!

    Now, The Situation being Baby Name Wizard’s NOTY bugs me considerably. Why? Even if Laura Wattenberg says it’s a name, it’s not. It’s a nickname, people! If anything, 2010 is the year of the nickname, not the “un-name”! Obviously, Snooki and The Situation were revolting against their own tired monikers, Nicole and Michael, when they chose their new “names,” much like today’s rappers and the like choose stage names – it’s to get noticed, of course. Eminem, anyone? He’s had a comeback this year. Obviously, Marshall was never cool enough. Diddy? Well, he’s had enough nicknames to make anybody crazy, but rarely is he called by his given name, Sean. Pink? Bruno Mars? Cee Lo Green? All of ’em are stage names, simply glorified nicknames! Alecia, Peter, and Thomas just weren’t cutting it. So, what has 2010 really taught us, or what does celebrity teach us? Well, you can either pick a “boring,” mainstream name and wait for your child to jazz it up with a crazy nickname later in life, or you can go with something with a bit of pizazz – Hey there, Crewe Lennox! – from the get-go and save yourself the (likely) embarrassment of having a child known as The Situation. There, I said it.

    PS This was all said by a person who tends to like classic names – some may say boring – like Charlotte and Henry and would take the risk of a future wacky nickname just to have the pleasure of saying the names each day…

    1. Hi Lemon! I know I haven’t been on nameberry for a long time, but reading this post I was starting to think you had totally changed your name style! Until I reached the closing paragraph, that is!

      I think the vast majority of people with “normal” names just stick with them. But hey, I recently met a guy named June and it was killing me not knowing how he ended up with that name. Turns out he’s a Juan, Jr. who didn’t like his name so started using June. I’m not totally sure whether or not I like it, but it’s a heck of a lot more distinctive than Juan or Junior. And I’m surprised more Juniors don’t get shortened to June.

      I was just watching an interview with Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon about the pregnancy, and I told me husband that I bet whatever name they choose will make me vomit. Enter: Cleophis.

      1. Yea, what’s with this Cleophis thing? Is that even a name? I’m not gonna lie – it sort of sounds like an STD to me. Right? Ugh. But, I could totally see Mariah having a girl called Cleo – Cleo Carey Cannon? Hm.

        My mother texted me today, after reading a People magazine, and asked me what I thought of Pippa Dot for a future daughter’s name – she also said that she and my dad liked it. I told her it was cute but a bit cartoon-y for my taste, and said I’d rather have a Charlotte or an Alice. What did she respond, then? “Those names sound…uptight.” Obviously the whimsy of Charlotte’s Web and Alice in Wonderland has been lost on my mom…

        PS I think that the vast majority of people with “normal” names stick with them, too; I got a bit carried away in my rant there. Sorry! Your Juan/June/Junior tale is quite intriguing…

        1. Lemon, I can’t decide which I love more – that your mom texts you about names, or that she suggested Pippa Dot!

      2. Is it me, or are Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey getting more mileage out of this pregnancy than the average expectant couple? I see them everywhere.

        The Juan/Junior/June story is great!

    2. Lemon, I agree – I understand Laura’s reasoning, but I do not love the idea of The Situation as Name of the Year because it just doesn’t seem like a name. But her analysis was interesting anyway.

      I didn’t realize Glee covered Valerie! How did I miss that? There’s also an Amy Winehouse song called Valerie, I think. But both of the Vals I know are my age or older, so I guess that’s why I’m surprised to hear it going strong.

      1. Someone my mom knows used Lulabelle and my mom suggested it to me because she thought I’d use it. I said it was definitely cute, but why not just name her Louisa Belle or something. My mom was surprised. I think everyone I know thinks I have crazy taste, since they’ve never heard the name Dashiell, and we used two middle names. I kind of want to use something like Jacob next just to shock them.

        Glee’s cover of Valerie was fantastic (it was their number for sectionals!), I actually didn’t recognize the song at all, but I loved it. Two of my best friends growing up were named Valerie, and I know a 30sish Valerie, and I know of a couple middle schools Valeries as well. I don’t know any young ones, but it only surprises me a little. I think like Ashley, Valerie is one of those names that you’d have thought would be really dated, but instead is apparently turning in to a classic.

      2. Glee’s “Valerie” actually was the Amy Winehouse song, Abby, and it was amazing! Even if they did pronounce Valerie a bit like [VAL-er-ay] while singing…

        And, this might have been the first time my mom has texted me about a name! It was shocking, both that she texted me about it at all and that the name was Pippa Dot – it’s so not my mom’s style, really! Actually, I really couldn’t tell you what my mom’s style is. My two siblings have classic, Biblical names, mine is trendy for the generation, and then my mom went to Charleston, met a Carter, and said she’d totally name another girl that if she could have one. What?! Oh, and she had a thing for Ephraim a while back, but that might have fit with the Biblical thing…

  6. Valerie is certainly an interesting choice. I have suspect that her name was chosen for its connection to the word valour. There are, I believe, a number of historical and religious figures named Valerie, which could possibly be part of the reason the name is more popular than one might suspect. I was certainly surprised with her ranking, since I associate the name with my aunt, who fits in with the generation born when the name was at its peak. It’s a pretty name, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to rise, especially given the upcoming movie. Incidentally, the idea of the wolf in Red Riding Hood’s story being a werewolf isn’t a novel one; I grew up with a kids’ Red Riding Hood movie that featured a werewolf.

    Going back to the subject of aunts, I also have an aunt named Luella, so it’s rather fun to see her name being discussed on boards and blogs these days. I have very positive associations with the name, so I hope that it’s one of the L names that catches on.

    Greta is also a name that’s been brought up on my birth board recently. I really hope that the parents who are considering it don’t get swayed by the naysayers. It’s a great name, no pun intended!

    Finally, Aeon? Really? I never saw the animation, but I did watch the movie and it was probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen — full of plot holes and fairly dull. The name itself doesn’t grab me either. Oh well, to each there own, I guess.

    Oh, I thought of one final comment. Mark was reading something the other day about someone — I think it was an acquaintance of his — who’d named their daughter Kaydence. He found the name unusual. I was torn between wanting to grind my teeth and wanting to yawn.

    1. Right, what you said, Charlotte! I do think that’s where they’re getting Valerie.

      How fun that you have a Luella on your family tree! I suspect she’ll be meeting little Luellas soon.

      Arthur said the same thing to me about Emersyn the other day. I’m always excited when he takes an interest in names, though.

  7. Boy they will make a movie out of anything these days, but Valerie? They couldn’t be more creative with her name like Ruby, Scarlet, or Garnet. Ok, maybe that is too literal, but Valerie doesn’t sound very medieval to me. Maybe used something like Agatha, Agnes, Matilda, Adela, Clemence or Thora. Ok, I’m done renaming something that can not be changed. 🙂

    I’m also surprised that Valerie is so high.

    That was one of the best Nameberry thread I’ve seen. I wrote down several names for my somewhere in the future offspring. 🙂

    Have a good week!

    1. I wonder if they were thinking of valor and valiant when they chose the name? But I was surprised, too.