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 agree that Decklan is an awful respelling. I read it as DECK-lan, rather than Declan which I recognize as day-CLON (or at least I think that’s how you say it). As for the original Gaelic Deaglan, looks like DEE-glan to me. Phonics (especially foreign) are tricky.

    1. That’s because in the original Gaelic, “Deaglan” features an accent on the final “a” (which I have no idea how to reproduce on this computer, but humour me). In Irish phonetics, the accented “a” is emphasized, and is pr. “AW”. “EA” is “AY” – i.e. the female name Eabha is pr. “AVA”, not “EEVA”. The point being, to evaluate the “logic” of a name and it’s signifier within its own language system. That said, “Decklan” just makes me want to cry.

      1. Thanks, Punkprincessphd. I actually know a Deaglan – I’m skipping the marks, too – in the US. His dad is from Ireland, though, so I’m sure they didn’t even think to spell it another way.

        I just don’t care for the message board pile-on of “don’t ruin that name” or “please don’t use a boy’s name for your daughter” or “don’t give your kid a weird name, he’ll hate you.” Odds are that you can’t change someone else’s naming style, so why not just ignore the question and move on? I’ve been guilty of it in the past, but the more I see it, the more I think it really is pointless and not very nice. It’s one thing to say it in a general forum about the name, but another to comment directly to a parent who has already named her kids Nevaeh and Koltyn.

  2. Willow Sage is lovely (and I consider Willow a tree and not a shrub anyhow). In the states, P. Allen Smith is a celebrity gardener — or maybe I’m just living in a gardening bubble since that is one of my main obsessions aside from names . . .

  3. Allegra has regularly popped up in the Aussie notices. At least it did when I started posting them regularly in 2009.

    The increase seemed to coincide with Aussie News presenter Jessica Rowe’s use in 2007. Her daughter is Allegra Penelope, which deserves much bacon flavoured kudos.

    Ottilie is “eccentric aristocrat”? I best go apologize to my daughter right now.

      1. I’m from NZ, so I wasn’t sure exactly how much ‘exposure’ Jessica Rowe had over there (I remember seeing her on “Today” when it screened here) but I distinctly remember seeing Allegras popping up soon after. Let’s say one a week for a period there (looking at 4 different papers, including the Sydney Morning Herald). If not births, they were sibs. This second celeb birth might just see it get a heck of a lot more use.

        Such fantastic name to see a small surge in though.

  4. Thanks for the link to British Baby Names. All sorts of interesting and well-researched name info there. Love the stats too.

  5. When I started reading Seventeen magazine around 1982 (when I was 13), one of the most popular models was Willow Bay, who later became a TV news correspondent and host. I’ve liked the name Willow ever since. A nature name isn’t my naming style, but it still seems very elegant to me.

  6. Thanks for the shout out on the Aussie celebs – they’ve been keeping me busy lately as they all seem very fecund. I must say, I think Allegra Eve Fotheringham is my favourite baby name of the year so far – it sounds like something out of a Regency novelette. Someone commented on the original story saying that Allegra was her niece’s name, so appears to be getting used more than I thought. All anyone can say about Lux is “But that’s a brand of soap!”

    I just added two boys: Cash Allen and Kalani Jean.

    Still laughing over the “Pink shrubbery” comment …

    PS Yes we have celebrity gardeners, none of ours have broken forth with child this year though. The British pop singer Kim Wilde is a celebrity gardener now; she has two kids called Harry Tristan and Rose Elisabeth.

    1. Saw those this morning … a boy named Kalani Jean seems downright odd to me. Kalani John, sure. Jean Kalani, maybe. Will Kalani be recognized as masculine?

      Celebrity Gardeners – who knew?

      1. Well I usually can tell how odd a name is by telling it to my husband – if he repeats the name back in an aggrieved tone, then I can tell people will think it’s a tad strange or inappropriate. When I said Kalani Jean, he just made a Hmm-mm noise back, but when I said “It’s a boy”, he jumped up and said, “A BOY??!!! Oh no!” I have noticed that big strong athletic guys often give their sons unisex names. I guess they feel totally confident their son won’t get picked on at school …

        Oddly enough, my husband didn’t say anything about Lux being either too strange or too girly.

  7. I’m excited to see the Penderwicks mentioned! The series is probably one of my all-time favorites. I read the first one as probably a 10 year old and loved the names of the sisters even then. Most of their names are mentioned in more detail throughout the books. Rosalind is called Rosy, Skye is Skye Magee, Jane is Jane Letitia, and Batty is really Elizabeth, named after her mother (who died when Batty was an infant and thought the baby had a “sense of humor” thus the nickname Batty). 🙂 And I have a suspicion that Jeanne Birdsall may be a closet name-nerd– the names in the book are great, overall.

    Though I’m not a huge fan of either name, Willow Sage quite exceeded my expectations. And I like Madelief a lot, as a guilty pleasure/middle name.

    1. Rosy, my thoughts exactly about Pink’s Willow Sage: not my style at all but exceeded expectation 🙂

      On a side note, I saw a new name on my grandma’s nursing home floor: Charlesetta. I like it!

    2. Oh, thank you so much for the full names and the history! I’m adding them to my summer reading list – they sound downright delightful. And I agree – Jane Birdsall must be one of us. 🙂

    3. Speaking of the Penderwick sisters, I noticed in browsing the SSA top 100 by state, Jane is in the top 100 in Utah (along with a number of interesting names for girls and boys beginning with the letter “B”). Wondering if it might make a resurgence? So old and plain as to be new again?

      Agree with you Rosie on a DELIGHTFUL series 🙂

      1. I read not one but two Mormon mommy blogs that feature daughters named Jane, both around eight years old. Maybe a coincidence, maybe something more; are there any Mormon heroines named Jane?

  8. I think I prefer Lux on a girl 🙂

    Willow Sage is very beautiful, on a couple of baby name forums I frequent one had a daughter named Willow Saige and the other had named her unborn daughter two months ago Willow Sage, I have a feeling Willow is going to become popular 🙂 It entered the top 100 in NZ just last year 🙂 I knew sisters Briar & Willow. Also Willa is another form that is quite beautiful 🙂 Do you prefer Willow or Willamina/Wilhelmina?

    1. I think Willa would be my favorite – it just sounds literary and homespun at the same time. But I can appreciate Willow’s o-ending and the regal qualities of Wilhelmina/Willamina, too. I used to love the idea of being named Billie.

  9. I actually do know a Cayman-about 7, conceived on the island. It’s sound strikes me as very familiar due to all the Cadens and Cadences, though the name is sort of out there.
    I can’t get myself to appreciate Lux. I think, maybe because I have done some fashion writing, I just can’t separate it from ‘luxe’ in my mind, and you might as well name a child Fancy!