Sunday Summary 9.13.15Do you choose names to fit in or stand out? Most parents are looking for something that hits the sweet spot in between. But it’s harder than it looks.

I stumbled on a thread on a baby name forum the other day, discussing which names were too dated to ever consider. Some of them were predictable – Bertha and Hubert, you are destined to molder a little longer. But many, many of the comments included names that were undeniably back: Alice, Beatrice, and Eva for girls; Henry and Oliver for boys.

Earlier today, a comment on the Appellation Mountain Facebook page suggested that Vivian was too unusual to consider.

I’d describe all of those names as safe, mainstream possibilities. But to others, they’re crazy, outlandish choices – too different, too old, too … something.


Names fascinate me, but I’m equally fascinated by the ways we react to names – loving some, dismissing others, considering a few guilty pleasures. It’s all about finding a name we love that feels wearable for our children – but the names that hit that spot will be different for every parent.

Elsewhere in name news:

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 pencils, I saw on a German name blog the apparent necessity of finding a name which fits easily on the child’s pencil. There was quite a thread on it. Someone noted that this must be why popular German names all tend to be short – to fit on the pencil!

  2. Thank you for the Stravaganza shout out! I’ve only come across a few readers who found the books (like me) in the early 2000’s. There are definitely some excellent names in there – and it’s a great series for any middle schoolers!

  3. Speaking of guilty pleasure names, and since you mentioned Stravaganza…I would use Falco in a heartbeat if my husband would stop responding to the suggestion with a long, drawn-out rendition of “der kommissar”.

  4. My daughter’s name is a long time classic that’s in such a downward trend that people keep mishearing it when I tell them. It was a shock the first few times it happened, but now it’s become the norm to hear them automatically substitute the sound for something more modern, or even just wacky, because they can’t imagine I’d name her that. In the doctor’s office the other day, the nurse started speaking to us in Spanish because the name is still used in Latino communities, then looked shocked when a white lady stood up.