Here’s something that’s been on my mind: so often we talk about names with absolute authority. This name is weird, that name is way too popular.

But those tend to be gut reactions.

Wade is much too popular because you knew a guy with that name in high school, and then had a co-worker with the name a few years ago. That’s not based on numbers in any way – it’s your immediate reaction based on the chance that you’ve known two.

Luna is way too weird, because it sounds like looney. And the only time you’ve heard the name was your former neighbor’s cat.

One of the really valuable things checking the Social Security Administration names data can do is test our assumptions – and challenge them! Wade has never been particularly common. But Luna, on the other hand, is a Top Ten favorite.

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Okay, I’m kind of into Culver.

So no, I’ve never lived in the Midwest. And yes, I’m vaguely aware that Culver is a restaurant chain. But this list of Midwest Words That Would Make Great Baby Names … if They Weren’t Midwest Words has me sold. Also liking Lambeau. (I know, I know.

Laura’s Now or Then Quiz was tough!

i did pretty well guessing which names are contemporary favorites versus which ones are truly old school. But I really had to think about a couple.

Speaking of games, did you try April Fool?

I mean … I wrote it and some of these names surprised me.

Shopping for names at Target: WDYT of Hilton?

Hilton Carter calls himself a “plant + interior stylist” which seems incredibly appealing to me. So does his new collaboration with Target. (It’s out the same day this post goes live.) I am not a plant person, but I’m seriously contemplating acquiring a ficus now. And I’m wondering if his Hudson-meets-Weston first name could catch on.

Texas-born country singer Koe Wetzel’s first name caught my eye.

Koe rhymes with Joe. But WAIT – his birth name? Ropyr. Ropyr Madison Koe Wetzel. His dad is singer-songwriter David Allan Coe; his mom is country singer Julie Wetzel. Interesting, I think, that Koe seems more distinctive than Ropyr by 2024 standards.

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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  1. Another Midwest connection to the name Culver is Culver Academies, a senior high boarding school, in Culver, IN.

    1. Thanks! It occurs to me that Culver is a surname, so I just looked it up and it’s a cousin to Malcolm + Callum, meaning dove. So maybe I’m not crazy with this one?!

  2. My first association with Culver is Culver City, right outside of LA. It’s a cool sounding name, though.