Sunday Summary 9.27.15Are the names that you love the names that you would use for an actual child?

In most cases, I can confidently answer yes. Of course, I’d have to have dozens of children to use up all of my favorite names. And getting my husband to agree? No guarantees there. But if I were holding a newborn baby in my arms, would I really be willing to write Leif, Caradoc, Rosemary, or Theodora on the birth certificate? Absolutely. And bold middles, like Swan and Lark? Yes, without hesitation.

But I know that many of us have different lists – names we’d actually use, and guilty pleasure names. Or maybe three lists, because I also have names that I love for someone else, but maybe not for my kids. Some of the names that I love for someone else are about first-last mismatches – I can’t bring myself to name a child Mariel Sandel.

And some are names that I like perfectly well, but

Lithograph from Iolanthe, c. 1883

Elsewhere online:

  • This is what got me thinking about guilty pleasure names: I’ve liked Iolanthe for ages, and I was delighted to see it pop up in the extended Harry Potter family tree. Would I use it? I’d use Isabeau in a heartbeat, so why not Iolanthe?
  • What do you think of Kathelianna? It’s the name that’s got this nana-to-be scratching her head.
  • Speaking of family conflict, did you see this post at Swistle? Her advice is so spot-on. ” … you may need to again and again bring it back to this point: he is not allowed to make a decision on THIS child’s name without YOUR agreement.”
  • This seems like a good moment to express K. and J.’s thanks for your compassionate, thoughtful comments on this post. The couple hasn’t made a final decision, but promises to keep us posted.
  • On a lighter note, is Scotland the new Brooklyn?
  • While we’re on the “is the new” theme, I’m calling Thelma the new … Nora, maybe? Or Sadie?
  • Later romantic portrait of Arnulf.The Medieval Top Ten, from the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources. An intriguing list! I’m fascinated by Arnulf and Theodoric.
  • I love seeing names used for boys and girls, like Wren and Rory. In a baby name discussion group, I recently saw a mom contemplating Italy for a boy. Love!
  • Did you know that Matthew McConaughey’s brother has two kids called Miller and Margarita? And Miller’s middle name is Lyte? And, oh by golly, Matt’s big brother prefers to be addressed as Rooster? Read the rest here.
  • Love the name Maristella!
  • How much fun are these hurricane-inpsired sibsets from Nancy?
  • LOVE the idea of Walden as a boy’s name.
  • Emily digs into the names from the Stravaganza series. Now I really need to read these …
  • Sophie has a great list of girls’ names outside the US Top 1000.

That’s all for now. 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. How would you pronounce Iolanthe?

    I love all -anthe names but they’re currently out of style in Greece. Strongly considering Rodanthe as a middle for my girl due in February but my husband hates it 🙁

  2. Every time I see a country used as an individual name. I wonder what it would be like for the child to travel there. What if a London wanted to move to London? How weird would it be for an obvious foreigner to be carrying that name? What would a Scottish person think of the name Scotland?
    Eh, obviously not up to me. And apparently, it works for the Beckhams. Not my favorite trend, though.

    1. It’s a fair question, Kim. I do like place names, but I can see that as a potential drawback.

  3. There are so many names I love in the ‘beyond the top 1000’ post! Many more that suit me than I’d find in the top 100.

  4. Stravaganza is an excellent series for both boys and girls of middle-school age and above! (I can only vouch for the first three, since numbers 4-6 came out after I had graduated).

  5. ha we must be in the same group because i saw the Italy suggestion too. Someone I know mentioned “Scotlynn” instead of Scotland. I think it’s actually cute, I decided I’m ok with -lyn/lynn endings as long as the name doesn’t start with Em. Walden is a great sub for Aiden. Will my name obsession ever end? le sigh..