For those of you in the US, Happy Independence Day! There will be no Baby Name of the Day on Monday, but national-holiday/great-excuse-for-a-cookout or no, I couldn’t let a Sunday go past without the news.

I’m going to flip the starbaby info to the top. If you recognize Diego Luna, he of Milk and Y tu mamá también, you might know that his firstborn with actress Camila Sodi is a son called Jerónimo. I don’t know how that reads in Luna’s native Mexico, but if he were better known in the US, I can’t help imagine the name appearing on lists of wacky celeb baby names, sandwiched between Dweezil and Apple.

Anyhow, their new daughter is Fiona, named after his late mother, costume designer Fiona Alexander. And nope, Fiona isn’t a traditional Mexican choice; mom was English. But I’m intrigued – will we see lots of little Latina Fionas? Shrek’s ogre princess helped propel Fiona to #312 in 2009. It wouldn’t take much to push her into the Top 100.

Moving on:

  • Celebrities aren’t the only ones to bestow outlandish appellations on their young. Russell Ash has compiled a book listing names like Hysteria, Wanton, Frisby and Fizzy;
  • You may have come across this story elsewhere: The population of Northumberland is plus one with the recent arrival of Meggie Maisie Lady Gaga. Is the weirdest thing: a) the baby’s name, full stop: b) the fact that Meggie’s four year old sis Maddy chose the name; or, d) that a four year old is fan of Lady Gaga. My vote is d. Daffy names abound, but since when do kids barely out of pull-ups listen to electropop?;
  • Apparently Meggie’s middle doesn’t make her unique. This article claims that an Irish family put Lady Gaga in the first spot, while other families chose Usher, Brad Pitt and Beyonce. Most Irish newborns, happily, are still being called Jack and Sophie;
  • Would Lady Gaga make the cut in Sweden? Check out Mental Floss’ listing of countries with name restriction laws. Names that have been rejected across the globe include Monkey and Veranda. Names that have passed muster include Legolas, Nemo and Benson and Hedges, for a set of twins. Smokin’;
  • Here’s one from For Real Baby Names that would wear nicely: Mariposa. She spotted a Portia Laverne, a Zoeeve Catherine and Rece Nathaniel in Florida. Zoeeve is one of the more intriguing smooshes I’ve seen recently. It’s hard on the eyes, but the sound is pretty. I don’t get Rece. Rhys, yes. Reese and Reece, fine. But Rece looks like something is missing;
  • I loved Laura Wattenberg’s Stealth Names post. Check out the boys’ list here and girls’ list here. She also makes a nice point about certain choices, like Blaze/Blaise. While Peyton and Payton probably appeal to the same parents and the debate is about the spelling. In other cases, they’re really separate names;
  • Speaking of creative spellings, it would be forgivable if someone thought you’d twisted a word to arrive at the appellation Erlea for your new daughter. But if you read Sebastiane’s blog, you’ll know it’s a Basque name pronounced er LEH ah, and means bee. Far more interesting than Deborah. Just don’t name her brother Layte;
  • Could Maylee be the next Kaylie/Hayley? For Real spotted one in Washington.

Here are two questions to mull over while you watch the fireworks:

Lastly, this has GOT to the be the Most Fun Mash-up. You’ve been following Elisabeth’s Ohdeedoh baby name lists, right? Because where else can you find kids called Beckett, Enzo and Ruthie Sue? Ohdeedoh noticed!

That’s all for now. Have a great week, and as always, thank you for being here!

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 don’t know how I feel about four-year-olds naming their siblings. Picking from a list of pre-approved names, but Lady GaGa?

    Do wish to note, however, that I’ve worked with a lot of little kids who love her. They don’t know all the words properly, of course.

    When I was four I was obsessed with Tina Turner. :/

    1. V, I had a friend remind me that a toddler she used to babysit love Eminem’s Slim Shady because of the “Please stand up” part. And had no clue about the rest. 😉

  2. The approval of Benson and Hedges for a set of twins, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence make me weep.

  3. Maylee? Make it stop already. Going by the plethora of May/Mae/Mea/Mei mentions in the UK BAs I saw last year, that one would go over really well there.

    Nice to see Fiona. I didn’t realise it was that high up in the US. Interestingly, it’s more of a middle aged name here in NZ. Nothing wrong with that of course. I’ve met a few younger Fionas (20’s) but most I remember would be older. I don’t believe I’ve seen a child with the name yet. I think it still has a little of the frumpy/dowdy and drab feel here still.

    1. Mea makes me think of just one thing: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

      But if you’ve spotted extreme Mae uses, then I suspect we’ll be seeing more of them …

      1. “mea culpa” – agreed.

        Could be a respelling of Mia too. I saw it a few times and just assumed “may” for some reason.

        As for general usage, it seemed like 80% of the May/Mae/Mei mentions were as part of a hyphenated first name e.g Lexie-Mae or Daisy-Mei, or as a middle name. Definitely middle name du jour, at least it was up until I stopped looking at the announcements.

        Mai was common too although in most instances, I’m not sure what pronunciation the parents were using.

        1. Mai makes me think of fruity cocktails, and I definitely don’t think to pronounce it may. It’s my. Except that I’ll give you Mai as Japanese name, and a Swedish and a French one, too. So … I guess I withdraw my cocktail objections.

  4. Lady Gaga featured prominently in our soundtrack to Connecticut yesterday. 😉

    Benson and Hedges for twins? That’s an abomination.

    Thanks for the mention of the Ohdeedoh article. It came as a complete surprise! A pleasant one at that. It’s currently the “second most popular post” on their site. How exciting is that? Bringing name nerds out of the woodwork across the globe we are.

    1. This is fascinating. To me, Geronimo was a late nineteenth century Apache warrior, and his name was, I assumed purely Native American, or perhaps a mangling of a Native American name.

      I’m wrong, wrong, wrong.

      A little bit of Google searching turns up what now seems completely obvious: Jeronimo is derived from Jerome. As in Saint Jerome. (As in, the name of my parish and my kids’ school, so I was really asleep at the switch to miss that one.) It’s not miles away from his given name – Goyahkla – but apparently had more to do with prayers uttered by the Mexican villagers when G. and company attacked. I turned up at least two sixteenth century Jeronimos – a Majorca-born Jesuit and a Portuguese historian.

      So yeah. Jeronimo wouldn’t make any lists, on either side of the border.

      1. Now, should it transpire that Lady Gaga is a traditional Breton name, I’m surrendering the passwords to this blog!

  5. i must have missed the local news the day lady gaga baby was named seeing as northumberland is my neck of the woods. poor kid. not all 4 year olds are bad namers though, one of my brood produced a rather sweet middle name for her little sister when she was about 4. have a great week everyone