Sunday SummaryFor those of you in the US, I hope you’re enjoying a lovely Fourth of July holiday weekend. We had a great weekend with family in New Jersey. Nothing fancy – our kids got to go swimming and fishing at a local lake and hang out with their cousins and eat extra desserts. We’re about to pack up and head home on one of the most traffic-filled stretches of the East Coast. Fingers crossed we leave early enough to miss the worst of it!

Of course, no weekend is complete without a round-up of all things onomastic:

  • Fit Pregnancy gathered up presidential names, virtue & values names and such to create Baby Names for Fans of Americana. One that I’d add? Levi!
  • Meaghan Mikkelson, the Canadian athlete who won gold on the women’s ice hockey team notGroup ice hockey team portrait, Queen's Univer...once, but twice, is still taking #NameMyBaby suggestions through today, July 5th. She plans to choose a shortlist, and put them to a vote starting July 6th. Tweet @Mikkelson12 with #NameMyBaby to make your suggestions. Meaghan and husband Scott Reid are expecting a son in September. Do I need to add that I’ll be following along? (And no, that’s not Meaghan’s team in the picture, but I couldn’t resist a vintage ice hockey pic in the middle of summer.)
  • Names for Real spotted a Zuzu! I really do love this name. It’s a great Christmas choice, and I’d use it as a nickname for Susannah year-round.
  • While we’re talking mini names with repeating sounds, Marisa Tomei is joining the case of Empire for Season 2. Her character is called Mimi. Most of the show’s characters have over-the-top names: Cookie, Luscious, Puma. Others, like Anika and maybe Mimi, could prove influential.
  • Oh, wait – maybe Mimi is already catching on! There’s one in British Baby Names’ latest birth announcements.
  • I missed Canada Day earlier this week! Too bad, because we were actually in Toronto for the celebration last year, which was so much fun. Still, can’t resist mentioning Maple now.
  • Anna takes a look at trends and the pathway to the #1 girl’s name in New South Wales, Australia. Her conclusion? It’s apparent that the nature of the #1 name has changed – the days of one name being at the top for several years are over. It’s a similar conclusion to what I saw in the US. Far more volatility, much less chance of any single name being #1 for years at a time.
  • Teela and She-Ra caught on as baby names in the 1980s. At least a little bit. I can’t decide if I find that surprising or inevitable. (Maybe both?)
  • Even more Medieval Names from European Sources! Congrats to the DMNES team on the publication of their second edition.
  • The DMNES’ Sara gave a fascinating talk on medieval names versus those we consider medieval. Read the highlights on her blog. Here’s the part that stands out to me. She notes that it’s fair to say that an author coined a name, even if we can find evidence that the name was in use previously. She writes, “the process by which a name is coined is not one that can only occur once.” It’s an excellent point.
  • The question on my mind: does that mean parents can still claim to have “invented” names today, even if they’ve clearly been in use? I’m inclined to say yes … sometimes.
  • Nameisms makes the case for Gloria. I’m convinced!
  • Impeccably traditional, but far from conventional? That sounds exactly like the kind of names lots of parents are looking for! Do you think these 63 names could catch on? I think a few have potential – Flavia and Vesper, possibly. Maybe Bartholomew. But some of the others would still be really surprising to hear on a child today.
  • We’re all watching the rise of Elsa.Frozen-Movie-Elsa-HD-Wallpaper-21
  • Speaking of royalty, the Lewis family of Bournemouth have added another grandchild, and her name? Princess. They’re one of several families featured on the UK’s Channel 4 series about megafamilies.
  • Kate asks a good question: how do you handle it when someone is considering a name for a child that may be problematic? I thought the most fascinating answer came from a reader who had agreed to be the baby’s godmother – and the name the parents had chosen conflicted with their faith. I think that’s one of the few situations where you have to raise the issue. (Also, I love this line: Criticisms of a child’s name after he or she’s already been named? So uncool. So unkind. Yes! Except how do I reconcile that with my commentary on celeb baby names? Need to think about this one …)
  • Calum instead of Liam, Dashiell instead of Daniel, and more substitutes for the most popular boys’ names in the US at the Art of Naming.
  • From the wayback machine: Jasper was the featured name on July 5, 2008. Doyle and Dahlia were early July names in 2009. 2010 brought Kelsey. July 4, 2011 was Boston – that seems very appropriate! Ruby was up in 2012, and Cadence in 2013. Last year was all about Logan and Kate.

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. Thanks for the shout out! That is a really good question about commentary on celeb baby names after they’ve been born and named … huh … I’m going to have to think on that too! (Loved this from Kim above: “You can try and try to pick uncommon names, but life has surprises” — so true. That should be listed in the rules of baby naming!)

  2. Happy 4th of July for last weekend! And thanks for the shout out – very similar patterns, even with a slightly different selection of names that got to #1.

    I always think celebrity baby names are a different kettle of fish – they’re in the public eye, and I presume celebrities are too busy to be reading every little comment about themselves anyway. But even in that case there’s no need to be extremely insulting about it.

  3. I am forever grateful that we mentioned a name choice to my mother well before we decided. Eleanor was a perfect choice for us – classic, historical, but not frilly, and it fit perfectly with her older sister’s name. But it was greeted with dead silence. Turns out it was the name of my step-grandmother, a woman so hateful to my mother that my beloved stepfather cut off all contact with her. To be fair, it wasn’t a name I ever used, so it’s not surprising that I’d forgotten – but it was clearly off the table.
    As for Elsa – I ran into a family at the fireworks yesterday. My little not-Eleanor went to preschool with their oldest, Anna (Ah-na,) and her younger sister, Elsie, was 18 months old when the movie came out. At the time I thought, how fun! but now? Oy. You can try and try to pick uncommon names, but life has surprises.

  4. The question about how you express dislike for a name choice reminded me of when we announced our second daughter’s name… my grandmother wrote a comment somewhere, asking “Is that really her name?” which I took to mean, “I don’t like it!” But she’s never flat-out criticized it or done something passive aggressive like purposely get it wrong. I’d forgotten about it until that blog post reminded me! LOL

    Once the baby is named, saying something negative about it is just not cool. Which is why my family member will never know that I think their child has the ugliest-sounding name on the face of the planet and I cannot imagine what they were thinking when they chose it. It’s terrible. Awful! I just want to rename the child out of charity.