Sunday Summary 8.20.23 We’ve been lamenting the decline of traditional names forever.

A recent edition of Nancy’s Name Quotes uncovered a complaint about “these modern names which mean nothing but a morbid craving for the romantic and unusual.”

The names? Vernon, Cecil, Irving.

The year? 1907.

There’s no such thing as a normal name. But it’s very, very normal to despair that no one is using them.


Wait, what’s a trochee? One fun thing about name trends is that they’re actually linguistic trends. Back in 2021, Laura Wattenberg compiled a list of names she thought might catch on. The ones that hit it big often fit a specific model: two syllables, stressed on the first, is a rhythm called a “trochee” in poetic meter. She continues: It’s the favored model for American names, one that draws parents in and can make an uncommon choice feel less risky. 70% of the fastest rising names were trochees, but just 35% of the fallers. That’s the kind of thing that’s so easy to miss, an invisible force that shapes the way we choose names. (For more on trochees, here’s a quick explainer.)

Two very blonde parents chose their daughter’s name assuming she’d inherit their hair color. Little Sunny Beeston didn’t read the brief – ha! She’s adorable, though.

I love how this name means two very different, but equally significant, things to both parents.  Read all about October’s name here.

Lately I’ve had the name Swae on my mind. Credit rapper Swae Lee. In 2022, 11 boys and 10 girls received the name – a new high. As for Sway, 13 girls and 8 boys were given the name in 2022. In fact, it’s been used longer than Swae. That’s probably thanks to Angelina Jolie’s character in 2000 movie Gone in 60 Seconds. Angelina Jolie played a character named Sara “Sway” Wayland. Either way, I think it could fit right in with names like Reign.

This song isn’t new – it was recorded maybe five years ago? But Harbour’s “Judy You Hung the Moon” has been on heavy rotation for summer car trips around here, and it got me thinking about what a fun name Judy is – and how staggeringly gorgeous Judith is in full.

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

Girl Names 8.20.23 Boy Names 8.20.23

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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