Sunday Summary 6.11.23I’m a big fan of owls.

Normally, that doesn’t have much to do with names. (Though there are various plush owls in our house with names like Owlex and Owlivia.)

But the New York Times recently ran a piece (paywall) on these fascinating birds, and it got me thinking that, properly considered, owls do illustrate an important consideration in naming.

Here’s the lead-in to the Times story:

Owls are hard to observe for some of the same reasons we love them. With their inconspicuous presence and almost soundless flight, they point to the value of not standing out in the world but fitting into it.

It’s easy to become fixated on names that stand out. There are good reasons to go your own way, to choose that wild, unexpected name that no one has ever considered a possibility.

But there’s plenty of value, too, in choosing names that feel a little more neutral. Classics like Elizabeth. Current favorites like Hudson.

Too often, parents tell me their kids’ names are boring, assuming – wrongly – that I’ll only see the value in dramatic, style-forward picks.

But truly, I’m most impressed by families who can tell compelling stories about why they love a name. Sometimes it’s obvious – that perfect culture-spanning choice that combines both parents’ heritages. More often, though, it’s subtle – a meaning that resonates, a name that strikes both parents as The One.

Don’t be afraid to choose stealthy, powerful Owl Names. Sometimes fitting in can be the quality that makes a name succeed.


Nobody unpacks the origins of big picture trends like Laura. Did you see her analysis of Charlie’s Angels, Jaclyn Smith, and the rise of names ending with -lyn? The original Charlie’s Angels debuted in 1976, running five seasons. If you’re like me, you’re more familiar with the Drew Barrymore-Lucy Liu-Cameron Diaz reboot from 2000. (Though there’s been a 2019 installment since then, too.) But it might just be that we’ve all been living in the Angels world all this time, especially if your name is Kaitlyn, Madelyn, or Brooklynn.

More intriguing analysis: Elea dissects Princess Eugenie’s new son’s name. Welcome to the world, Ernest George Ronnie! I agree here: Eugenie wins the title of Ultimate Sibling Name Matcher. (And now I really want to know what they would’ve named a daughter!) Also, added Ernest to this list of royal boy names. It probably should’ve been there all along.

Hannah Bronfman chose a really interesting name for her daughter. Claude Peaches Anne joins Preston Miles Thomas. The entrepreneur explained that all three names come from her extended family. Peaches was her grandmother’s nickname. And while, yes, we tend to think of Claude as masculine, it’s solidly unisex in French. It’s a far more daring name than Preston, but nicely parallel, too. Maybe she and Eugenie have met?

Kate digs into the question of how multiple middle names work. It’s confusing! In the US, at least, states register births. My personal experience is that any two given states will always do things slightly differently. In brief: there’s no standard answer. Which is bananas! But there are character limits and other practical challenges. My takeaway? Choose the name you love, but be consistent about how it’s officially recorded, to the greatest extent possible.

I knew that actress Charisma Carpenter was named after the Avon fragrance, but I hadn’t heard this gem Nancy unearthed in her latest installment of name quotes. “I don’t know if you’ve smelled it, it’s awful.” From Charisma herself – ha! Gorgeous name, though!

Can’t get enough name talk? Check out the newly launched Appellation Mountain Patreon community.

Or subscribe to Baby Names Hopscotch, sent every Tuesday, with plenty of fresh name inspiration.


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That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

boy names 6.11.23 girl names 6.11.23


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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