Sunday SummaryI’m binge-watching Revenge at the moment – and I’m enjoying it so much that I don’t want to read any spoilers, nevermind that I’m two years behind and anything I read will spoil something – and if you’re still on season one, then, well, spoiler alert.

Amanda and Jack named their baby Carl?  I completely understand that he’s named after his grandfathers, and I do love a family name.

Except – Carl?  On a baby?  On a show where other characters have great names like Nolan and Declan?

I know a 20-something named Carl, and it always feels out-of-step to me.  An old man’s name on a young guy.

Yes, I’m overthinking this one.  And yet it strikes me that we all have those names – names that in that exact form seem unwearable for anyone younger than fill-in-the-blank.  And only in that form, because Charles is classic, Charlie is adorable, and Carlo is swoon-worthy.

Elsewhere online:

  • The sibsets at Jolis Prenoms make me so happy – and sometimes suggest completely new names, too.  Castille is the stand-out from this sextet – a very wearable place name that I’d never considered.  Donatello impresses me as rich with potential, too.  And, oh Hortense!  Impossibly clunky in English, but it suddenly feels fresh and interesting in, well, French.
  • Speaking of clunky, isn’t it great that this family used Hildegard as a middle name?
  • Names for Real spotted a Caspian Wolf – a combination of two boys’  names that are going places, and a name both literary and fierce.  Proof that there are always interesting new names for boys, even when it feels like we’ve exhausted the options.
  • Also from Names for Real, a Birdie Celine.  I’d use Birdie as a nickname for Beatrice or Elizabeth.  But ever since Busy Philipps gave the name to her daughter, I’ve been warming to the idea of just Birdie.
  • More on nicknames for Elizabeth, you say?  Why, of course!  Surprising to see just how many forms of the name have been bestowed independently, via this chart at NameFreak!
  • I’m fascinated by large families, and not just because they get to choose SO many names!  But can you imagine having twelve boys?  And now you’re expecting baby #13, and not sure if it will be a girl – at last?  That’s this family’s position.
  • Speaking of big families, the Bates clan – friends of the Duggars, sometimes seen on 19 Kids and Counting, and also a family with 19 kids – have welcomed their first grandchild.  Eldest son Zach and wife Whitney are now parents to son Bradley Gilvin.
  • Will the name Pharrell catch on?  I’ve always liked the idea of Farrell, and now the anthemic “Happy” is such a defining song of our era.  Nancy has the numbers.
  • Arrow is attracting more and more notice.  Waltzing More than Matilda discussed Arrow this week, and so far, the votes suggest that most people think it is reasonably wearable.  Well, at least those of us people who read name blogs, and vote on the questions therein, which may not be representative of the general population.
  • Looking for something equally daring, but more traditional?  Elea talks about Francis.
  • Hello, Cleveland Evans! I may be your biggest fan.  He’s now writing name profiles for, the website of the Omaha World-Herald.  Evans is a true master of the form, and his name write-ups are thoroughly enjoyable reads.
  • Penn, Gemma, Tilda, Petula – what an amazing list of names from November birthdays, via Meagan.
  • We’re off to see The Book of Life later today.  I’m curious to hear Manolo – the name of Diego Luna’s character – in a context that has nothing to do with shoes.
  • Lastly, have you weighed in on the latest baby name help question?  So many great strong names for girls – here’s hoping Andrea finds one that she loves.

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading – and have a fabulous 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. In the last two weeks, I have seen two babies named Carla – which sounds like a fifty-year-old chain-smoker to me, but maybe if Carla is okay on a baby, so is Carl? Carl sounds more wearable than Carla.

    I’m okay with “out of step” names on TV shows and in books, because there are Avas in their 30s and babies named Harold in real life, so why not in fiction too?

    However, there was one show that I stopped watching at episode 3 because EVERY name was popular in another generation. Forty year olds were named Caleb, ten year olds were called Karen, eighty year olds were named Ciara. Now, all those exist in real life too, but not the entire population of one town! Maybe it was making some kind of point, but it was just too distracting.

  2. I’m a fan of Cleveland Evans too and have turned to his name book again and again as one of the very best name references. Thanks for letting us know about his column.

  3. There is a kid in The Walking Dead named Carl as well. I think he is probably a teenager now in the series. He has a baby sister named Judith. Another name that seems out of date for a child.

  4. I actually met a baby Carl a few weeks ago (also after his grandfather). I was surprised at first, but it somehow seemed to suit him and kind of grew on me.

  5. My Brother’s name is Carl and he’s 26. True, if we ever met another Carl it was guaranteed that he was a Wal-Mart greeter but my brother is such a Carl that I forget how out of place his name is generational-wise.

    1. So there are two Carls under 30! Actually, I just looked at the stats – there must be TONS. Not sure why this one surprises me so …

  6. I thought the exact same thing about baby Carl. It bothers me more than it should! haha!