Murano Number 8
Murano Number 8; KLMircea via Flickr

Last week my daughter came home from school with a marvelous paper chicken, feet dangling from orange ribbon, wings fashioned from red tissue paper. She announced, proudly, that her chicken’s name was Sammy, spelled C-M-I-N-O. At 3, she grasps that everything has a spelling, but doesn’t understand the rules.

In the meantime, Aly’s friends have invented a game that involves code names – Nelvis, Cookie, and Fluffy. My kid is Cookie. I don’t understand it, but I love it anyway.

I tell the stories because the more time I spend thinking about names, the more I realize that naming things is really part of the human experience – something we do throughout our lives. Paper crafts and children’s games fade, but for some of us, the fascination remains.

  • It seems like the rumors about Blue Ivy are true!
  • While we’re on color names, did you see Dantea’s list? Tyrian is daring, and Jasper is now established as a go-to choice for the stylish.
  • The Herald Sun mentioned Axl. So did Laura Wattenberg. and I spotted a microbrewery in Michigan selling brews named Axl and Brik – inspired by The Middle, maybe? More signs that we’re less conservative with our sons’ names than ever.
  • I’ve long loved Seth, a name on his way out. But could the Dutch Sem replace him? He combines the sound of Sebastian with the brevity of Max – plus he’s #1 in the Netherlands.
  • Helix for a boy – part-Felix, part-Henry, completely over-the-top.
  • Speaking of Felix, he’s one of the big climbers in New Zealand.
  • Clotilde, Ulrike, Bruno Zeffy’s post makes me want to be a Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
  • What do you think of Calixto? I love it for a girl. Rowan is right about the 1970s, I think – there’s lots there, from Ilse to Jolyon.
  • With as many times as I’ve been to Disney World, I didn’t realize that the murderous bride in The Haunted Mansion is named Constance. But Lou did! That’s it – Constance is officially in the top eight for my fictional octuplet set …

That’s all for today. As always, thank you for reading. And be sure to stop by Nameberry tomorrow for more, including lots of talk about celebrity names!

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 actually kind of love Helix. I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise; I’m a biologist, and I also love the idea of Adenine and Thymine as middles for twin girls (esp since it was suggested in an article by Crick himself!). I’m a nerd.
    Still on the Bio front, Sem is all seminal vesicles to me. And corresponding parts and fluids.
    Also, I love color names!

  2. Tyrion is one of the characters in Game of Swords, so I can see this on the rise. Viridian is nice, too.

  3. I didn’t know Tyrian was a color, what a fun post; an old high school friend has a 2 year old Tyri@n Frederick, older brother to Elsie Ann. I do love their naming style!

    Helix is cool but I prefer Helios, per my obsession with ancient Rome 😉

    I too have long loved Seth. I adore the idea of brothers named Seth and Jesse – biblical, soft, and with a cowboy edge. Thanks for another great week!

  4. I’ve always liked the name Seth and would put it on my short-list but it’s the name of my cousin that died tragically when he was 16. His parents never got over it and it’d just feel wrong to remind them by naming a son Seth. :/

    On a brighter note- I’m not too happy about Beyonce using Ivy. It’s my choice for a 2nd daughter! I really hope she doesn’t start a trend for Ivy. Blue, I think it’s ehhh. Like it in the middle spot and better for a boy. Love Elijah Blue Allman but not any of the other celeb spellings and combinations…Blu or Bleu just makes me think of dogs and moldy cheese. 🙂

  5. I love Cookie — always had a soft spot for silly “old money” nicknames, like a girl named Mary Margaret, nickname Miffie, or Elizabeth nickname Buffy. Cookie has the bonus of being a baked good, too = plus.

  6. I don’t get Axl, Axel looks much better. Brik is even worse. I checked out the link, and really didn’t like any of the names mentioned there, but then I’m not a fan of weapons as first names.

    Blue Ivy? Somehow swapping the names around, Ivy Blue, makes it look so much better. But there are worse names around. I don’t get the Blue obsession recently with celebs, and why that color?

    Helix is interesting, would make an interesting alternative to the established Felix.

    Is Calixto female? Seems masculine to me, but never heard of it before.

    Not a fan of Sem, just makes me wanna spell and say Sam. Seth is much better.

  7. From the Herald Sun article you mention: “There’s the bizarre (Corbin, Elif, Chloo)…” uh, Corbin is bizarre? It was pretty tough to read the rest of it when he lost me in the first 4 words.

    I like Helix. It makes me think your parents must have been involved in the genome mapping project or something, but I like it. But then I like Huxley and that has a similar set of sounds and a strangely similar vibe (future-y and nerdy).

    Love Clio’s spelling! All names my daughter applies to things are along the lines of “Flowerpot Rainbow Sparkle” and “Flutter Butterfly Flower.” I convinced her to call a fairy Azalea for all of 3 minutes once. But she returned, faithfully, to her previous naming style pretty much immediately after that. Today she named the teams we were on for a game: she and her dad were “Rainbow Sparkle” and she dubbed me “Brown,” just “Brown.”

  8. My problem with Calixto is that it makes me think of calyx, which is, in addition to part of the kidney and a part of a flower, a term for female genitalia. It invariably makes me think of Procopius’ description of the Byzantine empress Theodora’s sex shows, where geese peck seeds from her calyx. That may just be me, though.