First Day 2012 Aly et Clio
First Day of School 2012 Aly & Clio

Happy Labor Day weekend to all of our American readers.  This marks the end of the summer season in the US, and the official return to school.  Aly and Clio actually went back last week.  Their classes are packed with fantastically named kids, but hey – this is metro DC.  Internationally eclectic is our normal.  It’s interesting, because I find that names from cultures completely foreign to me take a while to really stick in my brain, but the kids seem unfazed by it.

My favorite name-spotting comes courtesy of Clio’s lunchbox.  She has it behind her back in this pic, but it is Delancey Doggie from the Big Apple Buddies line at Built NY.  The other lunchboxes are Cornelia, MacDougal, and Astor.  I’d be charmed to hear any of those names on a real life kid.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the longer I write about names, the more tolerant I become.  Four and half years in, I’m less convinced that there are any rules at all, and more convinced that many attempts to define rules can easily become snobbish, even cruel.  (Insert any variation on your child will be teased with the name Deklin/Ranger/Celestia/Ryanne/Loveday here.)

But then I hesitate, because if you’re really stuck for a name, it would be nice to have some guidance.  I’ve been kicking around starting a series on this topic, but I fear it will too easily become rather negative.  Maybe over the winter … which will be here before we know it!
Other baby name news from this week:

  • Fielding and Linneagreat sibset!
  • Did you see this story about how Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard settled on Gloria for baby #2?
  • Briar, Wilder – lots of great finds at Eponymia from her trip to Sonoma.
  • I have a real weakness for day names.
  • Anberlin is completely new to me.  Anyone recognize it from a book or television show?  Google tells me it is the name of a rock band – could that be the origin?
  • Best quote of the week goes to Isadora’s post on the musical Bluesette: Technically it is made up, but some people equate “made up” with “thoughtless and meaningless” when it comes to naming children.  Well said!
  • I really like the combination Olive Avalina at Names For Real – and isn’t Slade Horace just the wackiest pairing?  Must be a story there …
  • The Alfibert – HA!  D is my favorite letter.  How can you go wrong with Dexter and Dulcie?
  • Hurricanes – destructive, terrifying, and nicely named.
  • Amethyst, yes.  Fandango, please no!  But I could easily name triplets with this list of names related to the color purple up at Baby Name Pondering.
  • Ending on another funny note – loved this post from Anna on Odd Google Searches that have led to her site.  There are no hiking maps of Appellation Mountain … and Sally is a good name for a pet turtle.

That’s all for this week!  There’s nothing in the pipeline for tomorrow, as in true Washingtonian fashion, I am closing for the federal holiday.  I’ll still be over at Facebook, though, so you can head there for your name fix.  Thanks, as ever, 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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What do you think?


  1. I do try to see the positives in most names too. The “your child will be teased” argument immediately turns me off and somewhat invalidates whatever else that person has to say. C’est la vie.

    I like Gloria a lot, but find Gloriana way more intriguing.

    And I love the mystery and magic associated with purple. The softer shades (Lavender) also make me think of gentleness and healing. As potential names my favorites from that list are Amethyst (Amie), Tyrian, Violet (Lettie), and Wisteria (Wisty). Cerise, Han (great for Star Wars nerds), Indigo, Lavender, Rose, Veronica also seem highly usable. And though these would probably serve best as middle names, I am slightly attracted to Phlox (boy), and I find Plum to be just the epitome of cute.

  2. I’m familiar with the band Anberlin via some friends who are fans. I’ve also thought the band’s name sounded like it would work as a given name for a more adventurous namer.

    1. It does, doesn’t it? The band doesn’t seem to confirm any of these on their website, but the rumors out there are as follows: 1. Lead singer Stephen Christian wanted to use the name for his first daughter. 2. Christian was listing cities in Europe he wanted to visit, ending his list with “and Berlin.” 3. Christian heard (or thought he heard) “anberlin” in the refrain of another song on the radio. Anyone out there enough of a fan to know for sure?

      1. According to Wiki, the “heard it in another song” story is meant to be the real one, with the other stories made up by the band to seem a bit more exciting. I would never have picked that as the origin, and I’ve listened to the Radiohead song and it doesn’t sound like “anberlin” to me, more like “ambient” (but really it’s just random noise), but that’s subjectivity for you.

        I can definitely see this as a usable name, and Anberlin are a Christian(ish) rock band, which gives it another association.

  3. a friend and i were just discussing Anberlin after seeing it on that list! after googling we found the band, which we’d never heard of. but Anberlin still seemed familiar…finally we decided it was become Anberlin sounds like Anne Berlin which reminded of us of Anne Boleyn!

  4. Julie, the formal Spanish name for Dulcie is Dulcinea. Dulcinea is Don Quixote’s lady who he serves even though she is a peasant. Also, dulcie means “sweet” in Spanish and Dulcinea roughly means “she who is sweetness.”

  5. Your kids are so cute!!

    Ha! I googled Anberlin and found out about the band too. 🙂 I always try to be tolerant of baby names although sometimes that is easier said than done with some choices, but I just remind myself, At least they aren’t using my favorite names and making them too popular! 🙂

  6. Abby I’d love to see a class list from Alexander and Clio’s classes! Cornelia, Loveday and Wilder are my favorites from today’s summary!

  7. I won’t lie, I was giddy for school to start just because Jamey’s in a new classroom, and that’s a whole new crop of names! We’re in a lower middle to solidly middle class Denver suburban neighborhood with a strong Hispanic influence. Let’s say our newletters are always sent home in English and Spanish.

    He’s in the AM class with:

    Jessie -b
    Aiden -g
    Zander -g

    and the PM class of his room has:

    Meklet -NotD nominee?
    Karyme -g -said like Kareem
    Daren -I really want to know if it’s more like Darren or Daring.

  8. You’ve got a couple of seriously adorable kids! So sweet.

    I’m totally with you on becoming more tolerant of all types of names. Even though I’m definitely a name snob with lots of strong opinions, I like hearing ANY interesting name, not just ones I like personally. It would be so boring if everyone had “good” names!

  9. Just last week there was an birth announcement for a Briar Easton, who I was surprised to see is a boy.

    Dulcie is guilty pleasure of mine, I just wish there was an obvious “formal” name to put on the birth certificate. Dominica, Dorothy, Dolores, Drusilla?

    Anberlin looks like an “eggcorn” of Anne Boleyn.

    1. Anberlin immediately made me think of Anne Boleyn too. She was beheaded, so that association would put me off the sound-alike name.

    2. Dulcinea is a formal option. I also know a set of Dulces: mom, daughter, granddaughter. Just Dulce.

      Anberlin looks like a respelling of Amberlyn to me.

      1. Wow, I never realized that Dulcinea was actually used a formal name. I had put it in with Pollyanna and Galadriel, an awesome name for a character…