Just when you think every name has been imagined, every option exhausted, pop culture surprises us.

First, Cecily von Ziegesar’s novel Cum Laude tackles the lives of privileged college students (as opposed to the privileged high school students in her Gossip Girl franchise.) One of the main characters is a girl called Shipley, and a minor character who answers to Tragedy.

On a similar note, there’s a Disney Channel original movie set to air in August called Den Brother. The characters are the predictable Alex and Emily, but they’re played by child actors Hutch Dano – born Hutchings Royal Dano – and G. Hannelius. Ten year old G. was born Genevieve. Den Brother also includes a girl character called Matisse. It’s not, say, Harry Potter, but I can imagine Hutch catching on.

Elsewhere online:

  • Swistle attempts to tell Aidan, Ava and Jasper‘s mom how to avoid choosing a trendy name for her daughter, due later this month. It’s an intriguing question, and the advice is sound, but I’m not sure there lists of names is quite there yet. If you have some spare time, you might want to stop by and make some suggestions;
  • Nameberry has published this quarter’s most-searched Baby Names list for Boys and Girls. Could Mary be making a comeback? Will we really be meeting lots of baby boys called Orion? The lists make for fascinating reads, as always;
  • Here’s a cute story from La Buena Vida about baby names suggested by siblings-to-be. Tinkerbell, Rainbow Lemonade and Sweetie Pie made the list, but unlike last week’s Lady Gaga story, I don’t believe any of them were seriously under consideration at press time;
  • Crazy suggestions from dads, however, are totally fine. I piped up with a pro-Leia comment on this post at You Can’t Call It “It” – a friend of mine actually used Leia for his daughter’s middle name. With Leah and Lily so popular and Lila rocketing up the charts, Leia seems only a tiny bit out there;
  • Here’s a wacky name that has caught on: Abcde. Nancy has the rankings from recent years to prove it. On sound alone, I get the appeal. If Abcidy or Absiddy were found in the listings of early Puritan settlers in America, it might catch on;
  • Please tell me this is a joke: Did someone really name their kid Vuvuzela?;
  • Here’s an appealing, never-heard (at least in the US) choice: the Latvian Everita, featured by Sebastiane at Legitimate Baby Names;
  • For Real Baby Names spots a Bette Mabel. How stylish! She also found a Kezlei and a Kaydea. Yawn;
  • Did you catch the guest posts on Portuguese names at You Can’t Call It “It”? Check them out there: Part I and Part II. Even the workaday John becomes the zippy João, and Madalena would fit right in in the US;
  • Emma was kind enough to send this link, about a British’s family’s set of sextuplets. Parents Vicky and Andy Lamb and firstborn daughter Grace welcomed sextuplets in May: Layla Pauline, Eric Andrew, Pippa Willow, Matthew Dennis, Ellen Diana and Rose Annabel. Sadly, Matthew died shortly after the babies’ birth.

In Hollywood news:

Let’s end with what just might be The Best Baby Naming Advice Ever. Nancy’s post on writing out the stories behind each baby name could help you choose between your top options, narrow down a lengthy list to a few finalists, or even get un-stuck and start thinking about your choices in the first place.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading!

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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  1. Oh, and the 8 week old grandson is Gabriel. He’s the second not-Gabe-Gabriel that I’ve met in recent months.

  2. Congrats, JNE, and yes, here’s hopin’ you meet her soon. I just had the chance to snuggle a colleague’s new, 8 week old grandson and WOW, do you forget how small they are!

    Margo, Edith and Agnes, Julie – that’s interesting!

    And yes, I do kind of like Wylda and I can hear her fitting in, at least some places in the US. Sebastiane, I’m intrigued by the popularity of Vilde and Vilda.

    Oh and JNE, glad you didn’t go with Heat Wave and Cold Snap. Mine would be Big Steelers Game and Financial Meltdown, I think. 🙂

  3. I suppose Wylda is a take off on the Norwegian name Vilde.

    Speaking of pop culture –
    The movie Up! had little influence on the popularity of the names Carl and Russell (both dropped,) but the new movie Despicable Me has three characters named Margo, Edith and Agnes. I’ve only read the reviews and seen the trailers, but I’m wondering how the movie will affect parent’s perceptions of the names.

    Congratulations on the new niece JNE!

  4. Wylda (although I prefer Wilda) is kind of sweet and spunky. The Scandinavian forms of Vilda and Vilde are already trendy in Norway and Sweden. They could possibly become the next retro trendy name in the States,

  5. By the way, I thought I’d mention that I have a new niece (as of last week): Avery Elizabeth. MN is after my SIL and first is similarly mainstream as her big sis’s name, Julia (especially up in the New England area). Still unsure if they’re saying AY-vuh-ree or AYV-ree. She is super-adorable with absolutely tons of thick, long, dark hair (I mean, long for a baby). Hope I get the chance to meet her while she’s still sufficiently baby-like (Julia was 7 mos before we got to see her).

  6. Actually, Vuvuzela is alright by my ear… the word more than the buzzing sound from them, as I sit here listening to their droning, watching ESPN – and Striker is kinda cool in an OTT way… but 2010? Substitute? and to a lesser degree Red-card, Off-side, and Park-n-ride (this has the wrongest connotations for a person)… well, these parents could’ve done better to find a more upbeat name to commemorate the goings-on at their child’s birth… and need I point out that, beyond being a number, 2010 is not only both unspecific and fitting for any baby born any time during the entire year, but also is repeated in the DOB! By the same token, my kids would’ve been called Heat Wave and Cold Snap. Nice.