Sunday Summary 1.14.18Happy Sunday!

Over on the Facebook page, we were talking about Almost Names – the names we were almost named by our parents, all those years ago.

Here’s the thing about this conversation: my middle name was almost Elizabeth. I like Elizabeth. My name obsession stems from my deep dissatisfaction with my given name: Amy Beth. It was too, too short. Impossible to reinvent! It became AB, and I legally became Amy Abigail – Abby – in my 20s. If I’d been Amy Elizabeth, I’d have reinvented myself to Ellie or Liza or Betsy or Libby. (Libby, of course, is terribly close to Abby.)

And so I wonder: would the entire course of my life have been different? If I’d liked my full name, and found options galore waiting for re-naming myself, would I have never ventured down this path?

That’s the tantalizing thing about Almost Names (and the colleges we almost attended, the jobs we didn’t take, the dates we turned down, the parties we missed to stay home and read, or the nights we went out when we hadn’t originally planned.) They give us a glimpse of another life, a life that looks a lot like our own, and yet it’s radically different, too.

Do you think you would have had a different life to go with a different name?

It seems unlikely – and at the same time, entirely plausible.

On to the name news:

  • Congrats to Anastasia Ruby on her baby-to-be. They’ve revealed her gorgeous name – and nickname! – in this video. In love with Gem, and the whole name, too.
  • I’m so intrigued by Tanvi, though I wanted to say the ‘a’ like swan, and that’s not quite right. Lately I’m fascinated by names ending with -i. For a long time, I thought it was just Heidi and Naomi, but there are dozens upon dozens of options.
  • Baby Name Wizard digs into the problem of what to name the new Gaines baby. I think her notion of “core values” is a helpful one for anybody who has struggled to break – or keep – a pattern.
  • My daughter and I just binge-watched our way through Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Now I find myself thinking: is Sunny a wearable formal name? I’d rather use it as a nickname for Susannah, but maybe it works as a stand-alone with a traditional middle, too.
  • This conversation about naming styles from Duana is fun.
  • Are Brielle and Elleanna too close for sisters? I tend to think yes. But Swistle makes a good point – depending on how you see it, the similarity could be “a feature, not a bug.”
  • Cerise, Jacinthe, Amarante … some gorgeous French names on this list.
  • Do you love the Nameberry birth announcement round-ups? Be sure to read this annual summary, with tallies and trends from 2017.

That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great 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. Yes, I think a name can truly define a person, either inside that person or by others, usually both. For good and ill. Sometimes it takes a long time for a person to grown into a name. It can take a lifetime. I think a Great name Should take a lifetime to grow into, actually.

  2. I know a college age young woman called Sonnie (that’s her official name). It’s an honor name (maybe a grandpa?) and she wears it well.

  3. I was almost named Sunshine nn Sunny, but my father shot it down. I really like it. I have a soft spot for word names. I have always found Gem quite appealing as well.

  4. I actually rather like Sunny. It’s used as a standalone in India, as in Sunny Pawar, the child star of “Lion”. I certainly think it works here in the UK (where Sonny, Buddy, Teddy, Kitty, Dolly, etc. are all fairly popular), but it does feel a bit informal and insubstantial for US tastes. I do love Lemony Snicket names!

    1. Yes – always surprised how popular Sonny is in the UK! But it completely fits the casual, nickname-name style.

  5. I remember fixating on Sunny as a given name way back when the first movie adaptation came out. I love it. It’s light and sweet. I always thought of it as a potential nn for Soleil, but I have also known an adult Sunny (given name) who wore it beautifully.