27 by Zeusandhera via Flickr

So I’ve been pondering which names to feature for the week in July when I choose all of the names … I’m considering writing about hated names, the ones that always make name nerd lists of “worst name ever” but remain wildly popular.  Think Nevaeh.  Or maybe Jayden.  Do you think it would be interesting to read, or do you think you’d just have to look away, train-wreck-like?

Elsewhere in the world of all things onomastic:

  • We all trumpet the arrival new heroines, wondering if their names will become the Next Big Thing.  Doesn’t always happen, though – when’s the last time you met a Buffy or a Katniss or a Hermione?  Could Merida be different?  I spotted a serious Merdia merch push at Target this morning, and she’s already in Disney Parks.  How do you rate Merida’s chances?
  • Speaking of chances, I so enjoyed Angela’s musings on what it means to be #1.  Thought-provoking quote of the day: If the pool of popular names continues to shrink and become increasingly volatile, will the top 1000 rankings carry any weight?  And, of course, she’s right to ponder if all this chatter about names has an impact on the names we choose in the first place.  It must, right?
  • One other vaguely-related thought: apparently in Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White’s name is … Snow White.  Is Snow the next Winter?  On the other hand, Charlize Theron‘s Evil Queen gets a killer name – Ravenna.  Love it.  Villain or no, I can hear Ravenna catching on before Merida.
  • I’m obsessed with Karmin.  Yes, I know I’m too old to be obsessed with Karmin and kind of late to the party, but it is my new grinding-through-paperwork-at-my-day-job jam.  Apparently they were inspired by the Latin carmen – song, meaning that pop music has finally converged with my favorite opera.  And yet, I’ve honestly never considered Carmen as a daughter’s name.  She’s actually been in steady use for decades but never really peaked.  Hmmm …
  • Philomena is a family name, one that my aunt narrowly avoided.  (She was the last child, and the first – and only – of her siblings to receive a straight-up American name instead of the officially designated Italian appellation.)  Given the clunkers that my grandparents freely bestowed, I’m forever astonished that the lovely, lush Philomena gave them the pause.  Perceptions really do change, don’t they?
  • Here’s one I would have loved to have found on the family tree: Poncella.  Okay, maybe not the name – but the story!  Seriously, if you give birth in a taxi while stuck in bridge traffic, I do think that an out-of-the-ordinary name is required, and Olive Marie Poncella is great.
  • Love all of these lion names at Eponymia.
  • No, respelling Jackson won’t help.  Not even a little …
  • Over at Swistle, I’d say that this expectant mom should duplicate her former BFF’s baby name without hesitation.  You?
  • Eeek!  Have you looked at the Top Twin Name combinations in the US?  Go look.  I’ll wait.  I recognize that naming twins is a double challenge, but surely there was something other than Heaven and Nevaeh.  Or Autumn and Summer.  Or Jayda and Jayden.  Or Jeremiah and Jeremy.  And my personal least favorite?  Mia and Mya.

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. Hated names – you always seem to find something positive to say, even for names that aren’t your style. I think this could be going down the wrong path for you.

    Twin names. I have 2 sets of twin cousins: Heather and Holly & Linda and Debra/Debbie. I also used to babysit twin girls named Sarah & Shelly. My neighbor has twin boys named Seth and Jonathan. I worked with Jerry, twin of Terry. And Janet, twin of Margaret. I went to school with Matthew and Mark. All of these were identicals. Back in the days before ultrasounds, rhyming or similar names were more … forgivable, since parents had to come up with a 2nd name rather quickly. Now, I find them appalling. These individuals won’t be a “matched set” forever, and they need to find their own identities.

    Now, having gone through the process of having to name identical twin girls myself, I will say that going for the matching names makes the process so much easier. I had a hard time finding 2 names that my husband also liked, that weren’t too similar, but also weren’t too different. It’s hard. One of the names is more popular than I really wanted (as a name nerd), and both are rising in popularity. I think we did well, but it would have been much easier to go with Sophia and Olivia.