Sunday Summary 3.11.18I wrote the title of the post before I really thought it out, but it works doesn’t it? Clearly, unusual names feature in my thoughts this week.

Maybe it’s because my most recent weekly newsletter was all about how Lunacy is not a good baby name, but hey, I was wrong about Maverick. So now I hesitate to say that something can’t be a reasonable given name. Though I stand my ground on Lunacy. Also, Lucifer. But anymore, I feel like there are lists and lists and lists of names that seem outlandish in this moment … but might not in another three or five or fifteen years.

There are downsides to a truly unusual name. But there are positives, too. And when more and more parents prefer names that are as close to one-of-one as possible, then some of those negatives fade. When nearly every name is unusual, no name stands out too far.

Elsewhere online:

  • I don’t think Will and Kate will surprise us with their name choice, but plenty of royals have. Like Prince Andrew’s daughters, Beatrice Elizabeth Mary and especially Eugenie Victoria Helena. I’m convinced that Sarah, Duchess of York is one of us, at least as far as names go.
  • That reminds me: my guesses for a Cambridge princess are here. The boys’ edition is coming up soon.
  • Name quotes from Nancy – isn’t the story about Kikkan great? And Ailsa, too.
  • Oh, Duana says it all in this response about Cohen. “But that doesn’t negate those reasons – it just means you’re not hearing them.” Is Cohen more like Maverick or Lucifer? Or is something different entirely? My sense is that Cohen is best compared to the Native American names we’ve discussed before. And yet I wonder: the name has skyrocketed in the rankings, and now sits at #320. So what does that mean for perception of the name going forward?
  • Since we’re already talking about things likely to stir strong emotions, when is a name a political statement? I tend to agree with the Name Lady here. Melania makes a gorgeous name, but feels more political than Malia. Spouse names occupy a slightly different category than children of office holders, at least until those children are adults and politically active in their own rights. (So Ivanka and Chelsea have graduated to the same general category as Melania, though it’s not a perfect parallel. After all, thousands of girls are named Chelsea, while Ivanka brings one very specific figure to mind. So a high-ranking political official named, say, Elizabeth or Paul doesn’t have the same kind of impact as a more distinctive name.)
  • Oh, the name Neve! We’re often quick to dismiss Kylo or Khaleesi, but pop culture brings us a wide range of names, including some that seem like they should’ve been here all along.
  • This list of uncommon, but still familiar, boy names is chock full of gems!
  • Because we’ll never run out of new names. Lillemor might be my favorite.
  • The women overlooked by New York Times obituaries. How great are Ida and Nella?
  • Are these the next comeback names? I see some promising options …
  • Some intriguing rarities on this list of names inspired by the animal kingdom.
  • If you read one thing this week: how I learned to love my weird name. Yes! Also, note to all the grown-ups of the world: we need to be better about mocking other children’s names.

March Madness Baby Names

There’s still time to vote in the Quarter Finals of March Madness baby names:

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. The letter to Duana really made my teeth ache! The mother is off-key for so many reasons. I always wonder when someone tells me they chose their child’s name years before they met their spouse, sometimes it may be kismet and the spouse also LOVES the name but often I see one person who isn’t great at seeing other’s point of view.

    I do wish I could comment on Duana though because how great would the name Calypso be for that mum’s requirements?

    1. I agree. The original letter was breathtaking in its presumption and Duana’s response was spot-on. And Calypso would be a beautiful name for their girl!