Sunday Summary: 8.13.23Did you use your favorite names from childhood? Or discover that they didn’t really fit your family when the time came?

My answer is a little bit of both. Because some of the names we chose were on my list long before my met my husband. But there was an element of compromise and letting go, too – and that’s not always easy.

And, of course, my list was LONG. When your favorites number in the dozens, there’s a decent chance that something will make the cut.

In the end, I’ve written often about how I think that compromise is a marvelous thing. A forced editing and knitting together of what matters most to you as a family. But it’s always interesting what does carry over from our imaginary, some-day, what-if families and the ones we eventually build in real life.

So did your childhood favorites make it on to your children’s birth certificates? Or had you moved on by then?


Namespotting: Teoscar. I don’t follow baseball, but I do like ESPN and sports reporting in general. If nothing else, it makes for great #namespotting. This week’s find? Teoscar, as in Teoscar Hernández, who plays for the Seattle Mariners. It’s exactly what it looks like: a Teodoro and Oscar mash-up. Hernández is from the Dominican Republic. That fact sent me down a rabbit hole: Dominican Spanish is just a little different. I’m not clear on how Hernández pronounces his first name, though – please comment if you know more about the dialect or how the athlete says his name!

The most popular names in New Zealand are mostly familiar, but then there’s Billie in girls’ Top 100, and George and Charlie in the boys’ Top Ten! I can see all of those names trending higher in the US, too, though I’m not sure if I can imagine George in the US Top Ten now.

While I was mulling over George’s prospects, I discovered that Behind the Name has a list of boys’ names that have never left the US Top 1000 without ever breaking into the US Top 100. I haven’t checked to see if it’s still current, but the names are great: Felix, Malcolm, Conrad, Simon. Traditional, underused, easy to spell and pronounce.

Honestly? I think this is a kind of elegant solution. In brief: she was adopted at birth, reconnected with her birth mother as an adult, and chose to legally change her middle name to the name her birth mother had chosen – Summer. Obviously, there’s a lot going on here that has nothing to do with names. And yet, it does! Our children get to grow into their own people. If the names we lovingly choose don’t ultimately fit, that’s okay. Maybe a little sad, but that’s okay, too!

I have really mixed feeling about cute names. As Laura points out, names like Josie and Poppy are super cute. And everywhere. Meanwhile, our boys’ names are getting rougher and tougher. Hello, Hawk and Axton. Though I’d argue that the boys’ list cited by Laura is pretty fringe, while the girls’ list is mainstream. Instead, preppy hellraiser boy names like Wilder and Crew are the brothers for Hattie and Clover. (And for the trend I really think will define naming in the next twenty years, check out the most recent Patreon letter.)

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

Girl Names 8.13.23 Boy Names 8.13.23


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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1 Comment

  1. Growing up I was name nerd who adored the names of the most accomplished women in my world, so mid-century Boomer names. My absolute favorites were Nancy, Kathleen, Eileen, and Mary Ellen. Of those, I could only imagine using Nancy now. In college (pre-internet) I adored Jessica and Emily without realizing they were top of the charts, if I even realized that was a thing. Today the name I would love to use is Dorothy, with May as a strong runner-up.