25 by Marcin Wichary via Flickr

My daughter recently acquired a new doll, and she announced that she had to choose a name.  “Do you want a long name or a short name, like Clio?” She thought for a second.  “Long name.”  I mentally flipped to my list of four-syllable girls’ names.  “Andromeda?”  “Yeah!  Andromeda,” she agreed.  From the other side of the room my seven year old volunteered, “Or she could name the doll Alexandra, after me.”

When I first mentioned this on Facebook, I thought it was my obsession rubbing off on my kids.  But then it hit me: no.  Names can be fascinating, and even if your interest in them is more casual, naming something – a doll, a pet, a person – is a privilege.  It’s natural to take it seriously.

Elsewhere online:

  • Anna spotted a  baby boy called Vegas – not a place name I ever expected to hear, but hey, they’re in Australia, so maybe the reference feels different.  I do like the idea of Vega.
  • Swistle mentioned Adley, inspired by a contestant on this season’s “The Voice.”  Swistle rightly pointed out that Madison inspired Addison, and Adley is likely to ride that trend, too.
  • Or hey, how about Adalee, which owes something to Natalie, too … ForReal spotted a birth announcement for Adalee Braelyn in Maryland.
  • I wrote about Adler and a bunch of other surname options for boys on Friday, and I’ve written about tree-inspired names before.  Isadora profiled Alder, and I really found myself liking the name – he’s at the intersection of several trends.
  • Zeffy mentioned Alcyone, one of her picks from epic poetry.  She’s very wearable – more than you might think at first – as is Halcyon, the family name Beth Littleford just passed on to her daughter.  (More on baby Hallie tomorrow at Nameberry!)
  • I like Ren’s series on Major League Baseball-inspired names.  And hey, if you’re an Orioles fan, here’s one more reason to embrace Patton.
  • Have you heard about this bio of Almina, the Duchess of Carnarvon and the inspiration for the addictive Downton Abbey?  I’ve yet to read it, but I’ve had the name lodged in my head ever since Sebastiane wrote about it earlier this week.
  • Portuguese singer Luciana Abreu and her footballer husband Yannick
    Djaló have welcomed a second daughter, named Lyani Viiktórya.  I’m relying on a Google translation of Nomes e mais Nomes post, plus some message boards for analysis.  Apparently their older daughter is called Lyonce Viiktórya.  I know there are a few Portuguese readers – tell us, is Lyani more mainstream than Lyonce?  (That seems to be the case.)  Is that unusual spelling of Victoria common in Portugal?  I would’ve guessed Vitória or maybe just Victoria.
  • I think Laura is dead on right with her analysis of Namer’s Remorse.
  • I’m not enough of U2 fan to know if these names instantly make you break into song.  Other than Gloria, the one that came to mind was Billie Holiday, but they never actually say her name in the lyrics.  Thoughts?
  • I agree with Rowan Polly is a great name!
  • From the Wayback Machine: in 2009, I wrote about Calista.  In 2010, it was Samuel.  And 2011 was Emrys.
  • A question from the Nameberry boards: is Venus wearable?
  • We went to see the cherry blossoms, and one of our local restaurants is featuring cherry pie.  (I live just outside of Washington DC.)  Which makes me view Cerise in a more favorable light than when I was writing about it earlier this month.  I had to stop myself from recommending it to expectant women …

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. Speaking of nature names, I just ordered the book Girlchild by the new author Tupelo Hassman. I know almost nothing about the author, but I am fascinated by her first name. Although, I think I like Tupelo better on a boy… perhaps in my mind Tree names are male, because Flower names are usually female?

  2. Regarding the (unfortunate) Abreu Djaló girls, Lyonce and Lyannii are absolutely not mainstream; in fact, they aren’t allowed as given names in Portugal. The kids can have those names because their father has double citizenship (Portuguese – Guinean). Same thing about the atrocious spelling of Vitória.
    The parents use those names for publicity and they are seen as a joke (borderline child abuse) by everyone here. Kind of like “Moxie Crimefighter” or “Pilot Inspektor” – possibly worse!

      1. Lyani (or Liani) seems wearable. Lyonce less so. I suppose the first is a combo of Luciana and Yanni-ck and the 2nd Luciana and Beyonce?

      2. That’s what I meant: Lyonce was a “creation” but Lyannii is close to Liana, which is an approved name in Portugal.
        They are both weird to us, but everyone seems to think that Lyonce is horrific!!

  3. Having grown up with a friend named Venus (we’ve known each other since I was three, now we each have two children) the name feels very wearable to me. For that matter, I’d also like to see Artemis worn more often.

  4. Andromeda makes a very cool name for a doll! Vegas is actually pretty cool too, I would have never thought of it, but I have always liked Vega.

    I have seen Adler used as a given name before, but it reminds me of Adler Psychology. Also, Adalie would be cute spelled this way, spelled Adalee it just looks like another tryndee mess, but it is definitely a cute name when said out loud.

    Alcyone would make an interesting name, but I much prefer Alcestis 🙂

    I have always really thought Alder would make a nice nature name for a boy.

    If Venus Williams can wear Venus, why not another girl?

    I love Cerise. Would make a great name for a DC baby born in the Spring.