My neighborhood is filled with expectant parents. A few know about my baby name obsession; others, not so much. I know that politeness dictates that I greet all joyful news of babies-on-the-way with the following: Congratulations! How are you feeling?

Instead, I really want to say: Do you have names picked out?

So I wonder, readers, do you also struggle with the urge to ask?

In other news:

  • There’s a new baby in my ‘hood who answers to Santiago. (Or will. He’s just a few weeks old.) Ignatius names seems to be big everywhere except the English-speaking world. Here was the big a-ha – Santiago’s mom said this: It’s a very popular name in Peru (her home country). If we lived there, I probably wouldn’t want to use it. Here, of course, it sounds just-exotic-enough, at #171 last year;
  • Ever notice how some families give girls wildly creative appellations,while sticking to the absolute classics for their sons? Bewildertrix spotted a birth announcement for the saintly, nicely paired Joseph Rocco – with big sisters Dior Rose and Caprice. She also spotted a Reece Warlock;
  • The Toronto Star column this week features a rather pretty name – Melita Jolie. I’ll admit that Melita sounds a little bit like an appliance to my ear. But Melitta is a legitimate variant of Melissa, and with just the one t, Melita is the Latin name for the island of Malta. Better still, Melita is a family name on dad’s side – I always enjoy the use of obscure family names;
  • I’m sure you’ve already read all about it, but yes, a mom-to-be really is (was?) selling naming rights for her son on eBay, in hopes of raising enough cash to put food on the table. Or is she? When I checked eBay, the auction link didn’t work, despite the fact that eBay officials earlier said her item was valid – and bids were received;
  • Sebastiane brings us another interesting Latvian/Lithuanian choice – Daina, pronounced just like Dinah. Of course, in the US you’d probably hear her rhymed with Dana. But then, that’s the risk with any unusual name;
  • Weirdest name spotted on a message board this week? Azhya. Pronounced like Asia. Let’s hope the baby is a boy – David is the top contender;
  • Finley is the new Riley. Daniel Baldwin’s new daughter is Finley Rae. Sibs are Alexandra, Atticus, Kahlea and Avis. Wonder if we’ll see Finleigh or Fynlee in the US Top 1000 this year?
  • Speaking of names that just might pop – Marley Shelton plays a character called Cleo in A Perfect Getaway, a thriller that just opened this weekend. Other characters include Cliff, Cydney and Kale;
  • Celeb chef Tom Colicchio welcomed son Luka Bodhi, a brother for Dante;
  • Tommy Hilfiger welcomed a son named Sebastian Thomas. Sebastian is already one of those names that new parents are surprised – and disappointed – to learn ranks in the US Top 100. Odds are he’ll keep on climbing;
  • Reality TV alumni Rob and Amber Mariano welcomed a daughter, Lucia Rose;
  • Nancy published an excerpt from Emily Post’s 1967 etiquette guide, counseling against names that are “too long or difficult to pronounce …” One imagines the 60s were a trying time for etiquette experts;
  • For pure fun, check out Elisabeth’s post on Anagram names. I agree – Claudine and Dulcinea are quite the pair!

A year ago today, I wrote about Zuleika. Cool name! I remain impressed by the suggestions that find their way to me.

Lastly, if you haven’t read Confessions of a Secret Name Nerd by Nameberry’s Pam, then you simply must.

Have a fabulous 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.

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What do you think?


  1. I will never tire of Sebastian. For some odd reason, if a favorite male name shoots up the charts, it makes the name more usable, because in my experience, it seems that boys or men don’t like having to out there names. When I was little and when I told my aunt I was going to name my boy Sebastian she said it sounded too foo-foo, now, people don’t even flinch when I mention it.

  2. I’m thinking Polly might be inspired by Nirvana. I can’t remember the name of the song, but it has the line ‘Polly wanna cracker’ in it. I can’t say I love Strummer, but it is kind of cool in a punk rock sort of way.

    1. Nice catch – there *is* a Nirvana song called Polly! I can’t see it inspiring a parent, but then again, I think the Smashing Pumpkins probably helped put Ava over the edge. Even though it isn’t exactly a lullaby, either …

      1. Hm…as the world’s biggest Smashing Pumpkins fan, I have to disagree. That album did pretty terribly, sales-wise (although it’s in my top 3 SP albums.)

        They also have a Lilly song, a Ruby song, a Luna song, a Dahlia song, a Martha song, a June song, a Sheila song, a Glynis song, and an Annie song, too… I’ve been influenced by the song Bye June, and like June because of the SP connection, but I’m not going with Martha or Sheila any time soon, no matter how much I like the band. And though I have a tattoo that says Starla, there’s no way in hell that name will be in my family.

        Also, William is out because my husband is convinced I’d be naming a boy after Billy Corgan.

  3. Interesting about Cydney & Kidney. I always tend to see Cydney and read Cindy. Though there is a tween-ish girl in my neighborhood called Cydney, in honor of someone – a grandfather Cyril, maybe? I can’t remember, but there was a story.

  4. I just quickly re-read through the summary and noticed Cydney. I have one statement to make and that is, “Ugh!”.

    1. I always want to pronounce it like kidney. I know that C’s can sometimes sound like S’s, but I still instinctively say kidney in my head.
      I guess I just figure Sydney –> Cydney –> Kydney.

      I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Sebastian, it’s a beautiful name!

  5. I think with Lydia you may just have to go for the whole thing, although “Lida” might be an option.

    1. I like Lida as a nn for Lydia/Lidia. (I’m Italian. To me, Lidia looks right.) There’s also Linnea – similar in sound, but maybe with more nn options, or Linden, a big favorite of mine for the nn Lindy.

      And I think you could call Lydia Libby or Lily. It’s a stretch, but hey, Clio is far from what’s on my daughter’s birth certificate, and so far, it hasn’t been a hassle.

  6. Random question, the name Lydia is really leaping up my list, but it seems to have a lack of good nicknames, besides frou-frou like Lyddie. Do you think Lily, Lizzie, or Libby could work as nicknames for Lydia? If not, what nicknames would work?

      1. It would be a possibility, but I’ll have to nix it, because I have a niece named Mia, and cousins called Mia and Dia sound too cutesy for me! But if Mia wasn’t Mia, Dia would be a good choice.

    1. AH! Elisabeth Hasselbeck had #3 and I missed it! You ROCK Photoquilty.

      But yeah, her style? Not exciting.

    2. What a kind way to say the Hasselbecks’ style is lackluster. I would’ve said it’s as uninspired as it is inconsistent. Also unfortunate, if you consider that Taylor girls outnumber boys 10 to 1, and have for some time. After Taylor, you’d expect Ashley and Braden, not Grace and Isiah. Way to isolate one child with a throwaway name while the other two are obviously steeped in Christianity. Whatever. With what those kids will be indoctrinated into, their names are pretty much the least of their worries.

      1. On the subject of equalling the style of children’s names, I’ve always fantasized about a family of boys with names like Harper, Leslie, Ashley, Taylor, Addison or Madison, Alexis, Cassidy, Aubrey, Avery, Bailey, Brook(e), Reilly… Well, even those I’d have to section a bit more. Like… boy names that were boy names until the past ten years or so. So that’d be Bailey, Taylor, Avery, Riley/Reilly, Cameron… Ah. My OCD has me making lists and organizing things constantly. I try to hold back, but sometimes it’s fun!

      2. Would that be me or Allison or someone else you’re referring to? (The people I’m around would usually say they don’t like my political style, so I’m a bit confuzzled.

      3. I was talking to Allison. She said something political the other day about our former pres, and I meant to mention it then, but forgot.

      4. Ah, okay. I was confused because the only political thing I remember saying on a baby name blog was how I didn’t like Donncha because it reminded me of Sarah Palin!

      5. 😀

        So then I can assume that what Allison said about our former “president” (for lack of a better term) wasn’t the most complimentary thing in the world? 😉

  7. Although I haven’t really been in a situation where I might ask “do you have a name picked out yet?”, I’m positive I would have to restrain myself to some extent ^^ We had a couple of relatives from the States visit us today, so we looked at the family tree to try and find who we had in common. My interest was perhaps rudely focused on the names rather than the relations ^^ (I don’t care to much about genealogy, I know I’m as Norwegian as you can be!) I found Jeronymus, Baltsar, Engel (male name, meaning Angel), and Svale (means swallow, the bird) that are rare… I guess Engel is the only one still in use today, actually ^^
    And Elizabeth’s anagram names were neat, although I’m the kind of person who doesn’t see anything wrong with Thelma and Hamlet XD Dulcinea is a bit too much for me, but I really liked April & Pilar, Jonas & Sonja (& Jason & J