Sunday SummaryHappy Sunday!  Spring has finally arrived in Washington DC, and that means we’re close to Mother’s Day, and that means that we’re close to the Social Security Administration’s annual release of 2013 baby name data.  That’s not a national holiday, but it certainly comes close to one around these parts.

While I dream about data, let’s look at some of the most interesting bits from the name ‘verse:

  • Isabelly, Emanuelly, Nicolly, Kamilly, Gabrielly – one trend leapt out at me from the list of names big in Brazil.  I’m fascinated by ends-with-lly.  Some of them sound like cutesy nicknames in American English – especially Isabelle.  But the idea of changing an -a ending to a -y is old school.  In medieval English, Cecily and Margery emerged as everyday use forms of more formal Latinate names Cecilia and Margaret.  And I’ve often thought about Alexandrie and Leocadie.
  • DesignMom’s Living with Kids series goes to Holland!  Parents are Susanne and Hans, and their boys are called Ard and Joost.  I love the sound of Joost!
  • Duana’s advice is spot-on – there are nickname-resistant names, but there’s no such thing as a name that can’t be shifted and molded into an affectionate, silly form.  Trust me on this one.
  • I’ve tried this challenge before, and I find it incredibly difficult!  There’s my beloved Rosemary, but the corresponding boy name is Dayton.  Not for me, thanks.  Dante shares his rank with Sierra – not bad, but not one I’d ever consider.  I’ve narrowed it down to Josephine and Axel – except Axel clashes with my firstborn’s name, so it wouldn’t be a possibility in real life.  Still, the new Top 1000 lists page – of both the most recent SSA data and the Nameberry version, too – is super-useful!
  • Love this line from Laura Wattenberg’s latest analysis of name frequency: “... the defining characteristic of this naming era is parents’ desire to feel that their child’s name is distinctive.”
  • Is Lennon masculine or feminine?  I voted unisex in this poll at Upswing Baby Names.  As for Lachlan, I agree he’s masculine when spelled Lachlan.  But respell it Locklyn, and it is a new possibility for girls, thanks in part to Vince Vaughn’s 2010 arrival of daughter Locklyn Kyla.
  • Oh, those British birth announcements – three girls called Mia, plus a Maia and a Nia, twin boys called Kai and Loki, and a Bertie Alexander.
  • I like the idea of Ellison, nickname Elsie, though I do think the obvious formal name isn’t on Sophie’s list – it’s Elisabeth, but spelled with an ‘s’ instead of Elizabeth.
  • Names inspired by Buddhism at Baby Name Pondering – and they’re astonishingly wearable, aren’t they?
  • An interesting take on names verging on extinction in Britain.  Are Gertrude and Cecil gone for good?
  • Speaking of names out of fashion, next week will have a special theme – it is Former Favorites week!  There are so many previously popular names that have yet to be featured at AppMtn.  A few weeks ago, I threw out a question to the Facebook community, and I’ve taken your suggestions to feature four names that once commanded the spotlight.

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you 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. Taking my daughter’s name into account, I think I have to go with 988 – Kirsten and Howard.

  2. The biggest disconnect I saw in the top 101 names was Aaliyah and Carter at #36, although Lydia and Carlos at #95 wasn’t far behind. The best pairing I saw was #101 – Maria and Jesus. I think my personal favorite pair is #81 – Naomi and Xavier.

  3. The -y trend in Brazil has to be related to the way they pronounce the final “E” [sound affecting the writing]. Camille sounds like Camilly, and the same goes to Isabelle, Nicole, etc…

    1. I would agree. I have distinct Brazilian cousins, Caroline and Isabelle, and both pronounce the final e. I guess that they sound “fresher” than the traditional Carolina and Isabella.

  4. In the same vein as the Buddist name list, Viveka is an important part of the Hindu religion. Viveka is one of the four means to salvation. It means “Spiritual Discrimination”. It also happens to be a common Swedish name!

  5. We know a little girl Lennon who goes by Lennie. Never would’ve struck me as my style but on a real kid it’s a great name.