No 19 - blue paint
No 19 - blue paint by Kirsty Hall via Flickr

Happy Father’s Day!

Thanks to a gap between the end of the school year and the start of summer camp, we headed for Rehoboth Beach (Delaware, on the Atlantic) this past 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. I believe it’s been confirmed that Josh and Anna’s baby boy is named Michael James. Lovely name, and once again a case where the girl gets screwed in the name department. :\ Poor Mackynzie…

    1. My thoughts exactly. My husband’s brother and sister each did the same thing with their own kids: Lawrence and Breanna are one set and Kayla and Nathaniel are the other.

      Mackynzie and Michael don’t just mismatch style-wise; the girl clearly got the short end of the stick name wise. I actually think it’s almost sexist when parents give their boys strong, classic names while their daughters get kre8tiff newfangled monikers. I would bet money that Duggar grandgirl #2 is Madyson or Makayla.

  2. Dax hit the TV in the 1990s, so I’m not surprised that it’s starting to gain in popularity now. (Jadzia/Esme Dax on Deep Space Nine and, later, actor Dax Shepard)

    1. That was Ezri Dax, not Esme. 🙂

      The other hosts of the Dax symbiont were Lela, Tobin, Emony, Audrid, Torias, Joran, Curzon, Yedrin, and Verad.

      But yeah, DS9 started in ’93, before Dax Shepard became famous.

  3. I just checked your blog Waltzing…, and I found your celebrity baby news full of interesting names. Kalani Jean, Sonny, Gem and Lux for boys, and Allegra and Sailor for girls. I liked Kalani so much I had to check its meaning – heaven or sky! So nice 🙂

    1. Oh thanks so much! I think we’ve had an interesting crop of names too – still waiting for quite a number to give birth.

  4. Is the name Shia really only taking off now? I checked the boys top1000 and it hasnt charted yet, but it seems like Shia has been huge for several years now, why the delay? Plus Brooke Burke and David Charvet named their kid Shaya, which is pronounced the same way, but it didnt seem to push the name into the top1000, seems to be lingering outside.
    Lake on the other hands I’ve heard of a few of these, both girls and boys, including Laken with the uber trendy -n ending.

    1. I don’t think it’s taking off, at least not outside the New York City Jewish community. Remember, just because someone added the name to nymber and people are curious about it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re using it for their kids.

  5. Ooh actually I saw a Dax this year – apparently it’s based on an Old English name from which the meaning has long been forgotten. I asked people’s opinions on it on Behind the Name, and the most common response was, “What kind of a name is that???!” 😉

    Those 1930s names are mostly getting used more now; what surprised me was how many of the girls names had begun as unisex. I knew Iris was, but boys called Alma??? I also found there used to be a male name Elsie of a completely unrelated derivation. Having seen a boy called Olive last month, maybe it’s still not too late to reclaim some of them.

    1. I think Ivory and Ivy were too, though I’m not sure on the latter. Alma I guess fights right in with Ira

      1. I think just like with the name Kimberley, anything based on a military campaign was seen as potentially masculine. And it does sound a bit like the male name Aylmer or Elmer.

    2. According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, Dax is…
      English: patronymic from Dack.
      Possibly an Americanized spelling of German Dachs, from Middle High German dahs

  6. Completely unrelated to the topic at hand, but I’m having a naming emergency…
    For the last week or so we’ve been fostering a litter of puppies and today we’ve decided we’re keeping “The Big Black One. ” Calling a puppy by that name doesn’t seem too bad, when you also have Little White One, and Red Boy, but now he needs a proper name… He’s Springer Spaniel/Cattle-dog crossed with Lab? (or maybe Moose.) He will be a BIG dog when he’s full grown, but he’s very gentle and laid back.

    Names that have been rejected: Lenny, Morgan, Raoul and Samson.
    Names of other family pets (past and present*): Russell*, Dexter*, Renee, Torey, Maizey, Oatmeal and Porridge.
    Obviously we don’t have a particular style when it comes to pets, but I’d prefer names that aren’t commonly given to humans.

    1. What matches Oatmeal and Porridge? Waffles? Aside from that, maybe Pitch? Coal? Night?

  7. Love Allaire and Birdie.

    Echo and Maxine are quite the different styles for sister, but I think they work, especially since they are calling her Max. I saw that Maxine’s middle name is Vita, which I thought Echo and Vita would have made a stunning pair. I looked up Echo’s middle name thinking maybe she has a classic middle name like Max’s name, but in reverse, but her middle name is Love. Echo Love, I’m not a big fan of two words together.

    Looking forward to tomorrow. I’m sure you have better ideas like Liam or Levi for Leigh instead of the ones I’ve seen like Joshlynn (dad Josh) and Timielina (dad Tim).

    Have a good week!


  8. Madalena, Doroteia, Ingride, and Bertil? Delicious! Too bad I’m not Portuguese.

    I recently joined my midwives’ facebook site so now I have a steady stream of new names and sibsets greeting me when I sign on. Some of the most interesting that I noted yesterday include: Ezra (interesting because it’s becoming so popular here in Western BC for both boys AND girls), Cuyler (how do you pronounce that?), Moss, Zainab (a female name), siblings Clara, Graeme, and Margaret (swooned over that! Would LOVE to use Margaret but Mark won’t hear of it, not even to honour his name), siblings Amy, Zoe, and Charlotte (wouldn’t have put those names together personally), Danika (increasingly popular as well), and a set of brothers named Saul and Luke. Also, my midwife informed me that they recently helped birth a tiny Aldous.

    1. Madalena is quite popular in Portugal, but the other three, not at all… And I really can’t explain the final “E” in Ingrid… Dura lex, sed lex!

  9. In Jewish custom, babies are named for someone who has died, never for someone who is living. You either use the name of the loved one or you use the initial. My middle name is Marissa; I was named for an uncle Morris who had recently died when I was born. My cousin’s middle name is Sinclair and my son’s name is Samuel; both were named to honor my grandmother Sally, who died 25 year ago. So to clarify: names and initials *are* often reused, just we don’t name people after our living loved ones.

    1. Yes! I do think Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied probably gave the baby an “Alef” (A) names, but definitely not Avner, after her living father.

      I suspect they named the baby Arthur, after her deceased grandfather, whose stories she is said to have particularly loved. Maybe they’ll announce the name today, on Father’s Day! That would be a nice little gift to all of us.

      1. Although, if the baby is indeed named Alef or Aleph, it would honor both father and grandfather without specifically naming after a living relative. We shall have to wait and see.

    2. That is true of Ashkenazim, but Sephardim name after living relatives. This is so if the Angel of Death comes, he’ll be confused by the two people with the same name, and likely not take the baby. [Ashkenazic custom is for the opposite reason, so the Angel won’t mistakenly take the baby when coming for the adult.]

      Natalie Portman isn’t Sephardic though, so we’ll just have to wait to see what she uses. 🙂