Sunday Summary: 6.23.19Sometimes pop culture suggests an outlandish name, and I quietly root for it to catch on.

Stranger ThingsEleven, for one. Yes, it’s bananas. But it’s also an intriguing word name, sharing sounds with the traditional Evelyn. And something about Eleven seems symbolically appealing, too – though maybe best left for the middle spot. If at all. Eight girls were given the name in 2018, plus seven in 2017, up from pretty much none previously. So it’s no Khaleesi. (That one took me by surprise.)

Then there are moments where I think, ohpleaseNOdon’tcatchon.

Good Omens’ Warlock falls into that category. The Amazon Prime adaptation of the Terry Pratchett-Neil Gaiman bestseller gave us a kiddo with the impossible name. It’s a punchline, of course.

Teensy, tinsy spoiler warning!

The story begins with a demon delivering a baby to be raised by a powerful American family in Europe. The unsuspecting parents have to name the baby, but they reject the (evil) nurse’s first suggestion: Damien. Instead, the nurse suggests Warlock, “a good English name.” The mom’s having a rough night, and had already decided against naming the baby for dad, so … Warlock it is.

Bear in mind that Good Omens is comedy. Satire. We’re not supposed to imagine Warlock, or any of the character names, might be an appropriate choice for a child. But it seems possible – just maybe – that we’ll see a baby with the name. Or five.

Though I’m hoping not.

Elsewhere online:

  • Despite dire predictions that these ten boys’ names will vanish by 2020, I’m confident predicting their ongoing use. I mean … one of them still ranks in the US Top 100! And one just entered the US Top 1000. I’ll grant you that Gary and Roger feel a little dated, but both continue to appear in the US Top 1000. In fairness, the piece is written by a British author for a UK audience, and the story that Gary is going extinct? That’s quite popular throughout the English-speaking world. But even looking at the UK data, I see some odd choices. One of these is still in the current Top 200. Yes, names do disappear – but it takes ages and ages. And most names that make the history books or were really popular at one point? Those names tend to cycle back into favor rather than fade away.
  • While we’re in the UK, I’m really liking Cyrus. It took me a while to warm to it, but British Baby Names makes a great case for the name.
  • Nancy has the rundown on truly unusual baby names from Paraguay. Though I feel like I’ve heard about more than one Optimosprayn over the years. Is that possible? That’s a pop culture name that I would never have imagined …
  • I love the way Duana describes Rosalind in this column! I feel like I’m hearing this name more and more lately. Could it be on the upswing? It’s been out of the US Top 1000 since the 1970s.
  • But while I was reading that, I came across this response, and it is one of Duana’s best: “You’re allowed to choose what you like! Your kid will fit in, or not, regardless of name – not because names don’t matter, because you know I think they do – but because a kid whose name is chosen with love and delight and almost squeamish excitement that you actually get to use it is going to have a great sense of that name, and love it as a result.” A world of yes! How did I miss this last month?
  • Robin Williams’s son Zak just welcomed son McLaurin Clement. McLaurin was Robin’s middle name. Love!
  • Speaking of celebrity kids, Kobe Bryant is now a dad of four girls. He and wife Vanessa named their daughter Capri. Years ago, a friend joked about naming his daughter after his first car, which was – you guessed it – a beat-up Mercury Capri. But it’s been ages since the cars have been manufactured, and now this name makes me think of the stunning island in the Gulf of Naples. Sisters are Natalia Diamante, Gianna Maria-Onore, and Bianka Bella. Capri’s middle name is Kobe, after dad, and they’ve announced that she’s nicknamed Koko. Kind of love it.

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

Boy Names 6.23.19 Girl Names 6.23.19










Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

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. Good Omens is one of my all-time favorite books, and, just like many of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, has fabulous and appropriate character names, most of which are not terribly usable on non-fictional babies.

    My favorite is Anathema Device, which I am sorely tempted to name a daughter (but will probably bestow on a hapless cat one day instead). It’s basically Anastasia, right? (And it’s Greek root actually meant something revered/an offering, before it got twisted a bit by those quirky Judeo-Christian folk.)

    And what about Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer? A classic which may appeal to the millions of people (including me) who think they had an ancestor on the Mayflower.

  2. Well as a British person literally due any day with a baby boy, that article on dying names seemed utterly odd to me! One of the names on there we’ve seriously considered as a nickname, and one of the others is almost 100% set to feature in our son’s name, in first or middle spot. Not only that but one of my good friends casually told me a few weeks ago not to call the baby that name because every other baby boy he’s been given this year has been given it!

    It feels to me like some of the names on that list were based on stats but others were just choices the author of it wasn’t a fan of ‍♀️.

  3. Both Cyrus and Roger were top contenders for our little one. We were team green and ended up having a girl. if we had gone with Cyrus, we liked the nickname Ciro (which is the Italian form of Cyrus). The name came on my radar when Claire Danes had a Cyrus. As for Roger, I just find it so dapper and handsome.

    Rosalind is one of my favourites also and would be in contention if we have a second girl down the line.

  4. Don’t know if you’ll see this but I have to you refer to NPR’s website. There was a story today (Sunday) about a 42 yr old black woman who just obtained her PhD. Her name is Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck. Really. And her dissertation was about names. (What else?) While there is not satisfactory explanation as to why her mother gifted her with that name, it’s obvious from the article and from her beaming face, that she is ok with her unusual name.

  5. There’s a Cyrus in our Kindergarten Sunday school class. He makes me really like the name. 🙂 He’s the only one I’ve ever met. He has younger siblings: Esther and Isaiah, which make a lovely Biblical sibset. I see someone commented on the British post that Miley Cyrus has ruined the name in the USA, but I’ve never even made the connection between the name and her before.

    The disappearing British names is a strange read. I did know a bunch of Ians growing up in the UK in the 80s. My (American) son has a friend named Ian, who will now be 6th grade and I also know of a local British American family who have an Ian.

    Clive is one I never hear in the US. I’m surprised they didn’t put Trevor on the UK list, as I remember that one being the stereotypical unpopular British name. I was talking to my 8 year old about Roald Dahl this week. he thought I was saying “rolled doll” so I can understand why that name is a hard one to deal with.

    1. Oh and I know a Capri locally too. I can’t get my head around this one. I didn’t know it was a car, but it makes me think of the short pants and Capri Sun drink pouches. It seems too “brand name” for my own personal tastes.