Sunday Summary: 5.17.20Here’s something obvious that often goes unsaid:

A name’s image is not fixed.

It’s true, right? But we forget.

A name is impossibly fusty and dated until you meet an adorable toddler called Harold or Cedric or Alfred.

Or maybe you just never considered Hannah or Taylor or Caleb, but now it’s the name of your kid’s favorite swim teacher, and you suddenly appreciate it.

And, of course, someone who is just awful can ruin a great name, too.

Knowing this – and having experienced it dozens of dozens of times – why do we talk about names as if that isn’t so?

As if naming your child Jaylen will ruin his life, but choosing Charles instead would set him up for a spot on the US Supreme Court.

Maybe it’s because fiction relies on names as cues. Veruca Salt. Severus Snape. We start to believe that names bestow character, when really, it’s the imagination of writers that assign names accordingly.

It’s another reason I think you should use the name you love.

Which is tough, I know. But it’s just the beginning.

Because then we need to raise good people, people who will do their names credit. And that? That work continues long after we fill out the birth certificate paperwork.

Elsewhere online:

The UK birth announcements are back! I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing my weekly dose of Felix Jopson Hewitt, Oswald Sykes, Leontine Maud Catherine, and Ida Sybil Daisy until Elea too maternity leave. Real life first, of course – but I’m overjoyed to see these pop up this week!

I think this celebrity BA name could catch on. Congrats to DJ Diplo and model Jevon King on the birth of their son, Pace. Time to update this list of action verb names.

Three baby girls, all born in 24 hours to staffers from The Late Late Show with James Cordenand two of their names rhyme! Welcome to the world Sadie, Zadie, and Amelia.

Fun James Corden fact: his middle name is Kimberly. It’s a family thing.

I think this is pretty good advice about navigating extreme disagreements about baby name style. Sometimes it’s better to stop talking about names, and focus on the qualities you value in a name. SO hard to do when time is ticking. But so important, too. (Of course, I’m really dying to know what kind of “bizarre” names the couple is quarreling about.)

Baby names fit for a zombie apocalypse. Ha! (Found via Clare’s ever-wonderful Name News page.)

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

Boy Names 5.17.20 Girl Names 5.17.20









Image by Denise Husted 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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What do you think?


  1. Recently met a one year old named Clarence. Absolutely adorable and I about swooned over the name! Old names really can wear well on children if people would try…

  2. Pretty sure there’s a well known NBA player named Jaylen who is a millionaire.
    And we have Charles Manson to prove classic names mean nothing.

    There was a character named Pacey Witter on Dawson’s creek. But I think -y names are not cool anymore for boys, so Pacey is replaced by Pace, same with Case / Casey.

    1. I’ve been thinking about Pacey because the same actor is the dad on Little Fires Everywhere, which is a 1990s period show with a lot of discussion about names! Reece Witherspoon’s kids on it are Alexandra nn Lexie, Richard nn Trip, Michael nn Moody, and Isabelle nn Izzy, except her mom won’t accept that nickname.

  3. I am not sure Pace is pronounced like the English verb? Its a form of Pax or Pascal depending on what source youre using. I am guessing that anyway. Mom is from Trinidad and Tobago. I had thought pa-chay but that seems to be more Italian pronounciation. I’m sure someone else can confirm. Anyone from Trinidad and Tobago? How would you pronounce this name?