Sunday SummaryThat’s it.  Pottery Barn Kids has clearly been invaded by baby name enthusiasts.  Gone are the days when they used the more conservative of the Top Ten plus a few staples.  There’s a personalized item on the cover of a recent edition of the look book.  For a girl – and the name is Cambria Elliot.

Other finds as I flipped through the pages included:

  • Reuben Marshall
  • Tobin Thompson
  • Alice, Kylie, Camila, Chelsie, Dahlia
  • Peter, Clayton, Tristan

I can’t say I’ve been cataloging PBK names for decades – I’d love to go back and look at an edition from, say, 2002.  But it does seem like the retailer reflects the national trend for less common names.

Elsewhere online:

  • This book review makes me love the idea of naming a child Flora.  (And possibly issuing her a pet flamingo.  But that’s a different conversation.)  I met someone my age with this name back in the early 1990s and thought it was awful – too fusty and old-fashioned.  Amazing what a difference twenty years makes.
  • Swistle’s Crib Sheet of baby naming tips is worth a read.
  • Now this is fascinating: the popularity of baby names from the Bible is at an all-time low.  Laura’s point that Biblical is a marker of style rather than origin is a good one.
  • I love the name Mireille.  Any one else remember French in Action with Pierre Capretz?  Those videos are still my first thought when I hear this name.
  • There are some really fabulous names in Enid Blyton books: Carlotta, Millicent, Barney, Podge.
  • From the wayback machine: in 2008, the featured name was SterlingFlorence headlined in 2009.  2010 was the year for Cian, and Darwin was spotlighted in 2011.  Last year was all about Django.
  • Good advice from The Name Lady.
  • I so appreciate Clare’s tactful re-naming of this baby name site in her site.  No one should set out to “berate” baby names …
  • Ace: is there a good formal name that leads to this zippy nickname?  I’d be tempted to use the initials A.C. before I’d consider Eustace, but Ace from Jason is interesting.
  • Super clunky names at Babynamelovers.  Theodora is on my shortlist, and I love the idea of Gilberte called Gigi – just like in the 1958 film from the 1944 story by Colette And how about Freda or Freida?  Ready for a comeback, or still stuck in style limbo?
  • I agree with Angela – Clover is a name to watch.
  • Anna shares her recent name discoveries – I’d love to hear yours, too!

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.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I think biblical names are a style and an origin. I don’t think they can be corralled into one category.
    Last year, 590,256 children were named biblical baby names, and that’s only what I counted from within the Top 1,000. Perhaps biblical names are at an all time low, but I also think more names are actually biblical than people realize.

  2. I think of Ace as being one of those name-less nicknames, like Buddy or Sonny. It’s just something that pops up and gets used, regardless of one’s formal name. Alasdair/Alistair, maybe, otherwise the initials A.C., would be how I would get there otherwise.

  3. I love Mireille in the abstract but it is considered very dated where I am, plus I had an awful supervisor by that name. I actually wonder how much the latter factor affects choice – we want to have positive, attractive associations with the names we choose for our children, and when it comes to names that were popular several decades ago, the chances are higher that you’ve probably met more than one person with that name who is now middle-aged, and you may not have necessarily loved that person or found her pleasant. It’s charming to meet a bright-eyed, four-year-old Mireille, but if you know a few Mireilles and they happen to be stern or dull or drab adult women, well, that definitely kills the charm a bit.

    I met a Gilberte a few years ago and have to admit I did find her name irredeemably clunky. I think there are better ways to get to Gigi.

    The news about Biblical baby names is definitely surprising, although it makes sense. I grew up in a generation filled with Marks, Matthews, Michaels and Davids, but the names were so common that one didn’t tend to think of them as Biblical.

  4. I love Freda, but spelled Frida, as this means “peace”. I guess might look like Friday with the Y missing to some people …

  5. I like Horace and Alistair as formal options for Ace, or perhaps Aloysius or Adonis.

    And I kinda love Freida.

  6. The only Ace I know IRL gets the nickname from his last name, Asmundson. This made me think how there are a lot of Scandinavian names that start with the element As-. If you had one on your family tree — Ace might work to Americanize an “out-there” name (Asbjorn, Asle, Asmund, Asgeir.)
    For names that are more mainstream, I think Alexander, Alistair, Ansel or Axel would lend themselves to Ace.

  7. Vicki, thanks for the pronunciation clarification for Mireille.

    I found this French pronunciation of the name, as you described it:

    SSA 2012 baby name stats show that Mireille was the name given to 13 baby girls last year.

    (Also, Mirai – 10 and Miray – 5, but the name loses its lovely French appeal with phonetic spellings.)

  8. I think the easiest way to get Ace is from Asa or Acer… I rather like Acer (which was the name of a successful British rowing cox who sadly died of cancer) but it is a shame it’s a make of computer!

    Mireille is beautiful – Patricia is nearly right on pronunciation but I think the ‘i’ is shorter in the French than ‘ee’ implies – it would be somewhere between the first i in ‘Millie’ and that in ‘mee’. So ‘Mi-ray’. My French teacher was in fact called Mireille.

    I love Clover so much and really want to use it, but in the UK it’s a brand of margarine… And our surname starts with Spread…

  9. Mireille is a name I’ve noticed — for the first time — recently and more than once. There’s a child actress by that name, and it seems I’ve seen it somewhere else too. I’ve been wondering how to pronounce this French name and according to, it’s like this:


    I’m thinking Americans might pronounce it another way. Abby, have you heard the name said? If it catches on in the U.S., how do you think it will be pronounced?