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. 80% of baby name books I’ve flipped through have been onomastic refuse pits. Keightlenn means “Princess battle Leprechaun” or somesuch nonsense. I hate the misinformation. It’s infuriating.

    I ? Blythe.

    I’m surprised by the Stuff news comment re: Cleo. I never expected it would be called “normal” here. It seems to get a lot of “like the magazine” comments. Or “.. Patra??? Um?”. Regardless, it’s a lovely choice.

    Despite the Tallulah does the Charleston from Masterton or whatever the hell it was (and a few other outrageous examples) I think we are fairly conservative here. Too much so. I got a “That’s different” for Bonnie a month or so ago. Bonnie? It’s so very run-of-the-mill. Perhaps they meant unusual for the 2000s, I don’t know.

    And Enola? Yikes.

  2. @dotmyiis – Did you hear Enola from the middle-grade mysteries? I love those books.

    I liked GGC’s list of names, some really stylish choices there. I can’t wait to find out the twins’ names – I’m so excited she said that they “go” together but don’t “match.” I hope she influences the masses!

  3. Oh you’ve raised one of my pet hates about baby name books – where they seem to have got all their information by using Google! I get so frustrated when I see baby name sites that say Juliet means “a name from Shakespeare”. It’s disgraceful that they are now publishing this tripe in book form.

    Re: the Cleo comment from New Zealand – New Zealand is notorious for having an exuberant approach to baby naming. I read an article on outrageous baby names, and 7 of the 10 were from NZ; not bad for a small country! Articles on “banned baby names from Australia” such as Satan and Tallulah Does the Hula in Hawaii are often actually from New Zealand (sloppy journalism). I’m sure in New Zealand, Cleo seems very restrained, although I must say it seems like a pretty normal name to me as well.

  4. It’s so hard to find good information these days…
    But your blog is my favorite. 😀

    Would you consider profiling the name Enola? It’s such a mystery to me! I find myself drawn to it!

  5. I did the exact same thing yesterday. I was in a highstreet bookshop and decided to meander past the name books. There were about 20 there – all pretty much the same format; list of names with patchy or incorrect meanings. Most of them just seem to copy the same incorrect information from each other. How hard is it to search on behindthename? My main guide for whether the book is any good or not is to flick to my name. If it simply says “French form of Helen” I put it straight back.
    My favourite ‘weird’ entry was “Dejonaise – A combination of Dijon and mayonnaise”.

    From a Brit point of view I also noticed that all the books were written by American authors. Not that that is a bad thing (they did mercifully stock The Baby Name Bible) but it wasn’t obvious when picking up the book, so most Brit parents could be mislead by the books that talk about “popular” names.

  6. Aw thanks for giving me a shout out! My favorites at the moment are Lucy and Bonnie. I could see myself with either one 🙂 Cleo is on our long list too, I love it very much, and it’s anything but Anne! Any little Cleo would be lucky to be named Cleo 🙂 It’s just vastly better than Apple and Coco lol.