Number 19 by Moe via Flickr

I’ve mentioned a few times that I live just outside of Washington DC, but it strikes me that I probably take the staggering diversity in my community for granted. I was reading the honor roll at a local middle school and while there were a few kids called Jacob or Emily, they were definitely in the minority. From the list: Zierra, Christmene, Tu, Blissful, Elvis, Vitelio, Joseline, Edith, Abner, Lilibeth, Davino, Octavia, Paola, Favour, Judith, Elida, Galilea, and Giselle, plus a few first-middle combos: Sofia Sabrina, William Lisandro, Oscar Alexi, Michael Courtney, Celestin Georgia, Norma Elisabat, and Maya Antoinette. If you live in a large urban area, I’m inclined to say that anything goes.

  • Forget Washington DC, every time I read one of For Real’s London posts, I have the urge to trade one city for another, if only so I could stalk expectant mums and ask if they which extra middle names they were considering for their little Horatio or Faris.
  • I kind of like Ryu, one I’d never considered until I read this profile from Isadora.
  • J’adore Jette and Jetta, Volkswagon reference aside …
  • What’s your favorite from Nook’s Artistic Names of Artists list? I’m partial to Cassatt, but there are some really wearable options here.
  • I’m endlessly fascinated by how we classify names. This comment at Swistle is a great example: “For first names we tend to like longer, three syllable names, kind of old fashioned or elegant but not REALLY out-there old fashioned (i.e. I like Meredith but would probably not consider anything like Gertrude or Winifred).” On the one hand, the comment reflects Meredith’s slight edge in the popularity contest. She ranked #603 in 2010, while the other names were unranked in recent years. And yet Meredith is falling, while the other names might be closer to making a comeback. Just like Beatrice or Eleanor felt hopelessly fusty a few years back and are now rather stylish, popularity rankings aren’t fixed conditions – but we treat them as if they are.
  • Did you see this study? I agree. Riley re-spelled Rhylea is more of a problem than Pilot, and plenty of names have multiple valid spellings.
  • Design Mom’s series Living With Kids continues to inspire – not only are the houses always gorgeous and often DIY’d, the kids have such great names. This week’s entry includes brothers named Henry and Conrad. I am irrationally happy to see a Conrad!
  • Did you see Waltzing More than Matilda’s list of Girls Names of Australian Aboriginal Origin? Fascinating list.
  • Let’s end with a name Swistle mentioned: Patton. She’s right – he should be going gangbusters. He’s a modern spin on classic Patrick, and Patton Oswalt – named after General Patton – keeps the name in 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. I’m happy to see a little Conrad too! Henry and Conrad make a great set of brothers. I didn’t know that Patton Oswalt was named for the general; my brother Doug is named for Douglas MacArthur, my dad’s boyhood hero. He always wished he’d been named Mac instead.

  2. “probably not consider anything like Gertrude or Winifred”

    WOW my hubby brought up Winifred in the car just an hour ago! We’re totally digging it (and Harriet). Winnie is too cute, too.

  3. Christmene, Maya Antoinette, Abner. . .be still my beating heart! You do have some fabulous namers in your vicinity.

    Waltzing More than Matilda’s list is great. An insightful introduction to a topic I know next to nothing about. I had always casually wondered why Steve Irwin’s daughter’s name was Bindi without ever bothering to look into it. In Inda “bindi” is the word for the traditionally hindu dot worn on women’s foreheads.

  4. “Using mock ballots, researchers from the University of Melbourne and New York University’s Stern School of Business also found politicians with simple names are more likely to get elected.”

    I guess Barack Obama and Condoleeza Rice are the exceptions that proves the rule?

    I tend to take this kind of survey with a very big pinch of salt. If they are really suggesting that someone called Jane is going to get promoted over someone called Condoleeza because of their name, I can see an awful lot of litigation looming!

    1. Maybe mock ballots get you mock results?

      Also, I have a very simple name – why am I not more successful, hmm!!! :laugh:

  5. I’ve actually been thinking lately of either Rossetti or Magritte in the middle name slot for a girl.