ClioList1Did you keep lists like this one when you were little?

My daughter Clio is six, and shows signs of being name-obsessed. Apple, tree and all that.

It makes me wish that I had those early lists that I compiled! Would they have been filled with storybook characters? Names of people I knew? Her lists are a mix – some classmates, some from television shows. But others are pure Clio, names that she just plain likes. And that’s fascinating.

Elsewhere online:

ClioList2While researching Uma Thurman’s extended family – very extended – I came across the late Dashiell Snow, and his daughter, Secret. Here’s an interview with Secret’s mother, Jade Berreau. Secret Berreau might be a bold and interesting name. But her name is Secret Snow. That’s a lot of name. (Dash Snow was the son of Uma’s half-sister, Taya, so Secret must be Uma’s great-niece.) Secret’s full name is even wilder: Secret Midnight Magic Nico. I’ll admit that Secret is growing on me as a first name.

Ooh, these colorful color names! Though the color name that I’m watching most closely is Grey. Yes, Fifty Shades and all that. But it’s also the name of the dinosaur-loving younger brother with the floppy hair in Jurassic World.

  • Tulip By Any Name has Quill on her list of Word Names for Writers. I like it! In fact, it’s in my post at Nameberry for tomorrow.
  • There’s all this talk of 2015 being the year of the Gender-Neutral Baby. I’d quarrel with this for a few reasons. For one, there’s no clear connection between choosing a gender-ambiguous name and making other gender-ambiguous choices. I’ve seen plenty of pink, frilly nurseries for girls with names like Kennedy and Ryan. (And some great, modern, neutral nurseries for girls named Isabella and Sophia.) Another question: is it fair to count names like Harper, Avery, Sydney, and Brooklyn as gender neutral? Sure, they might have masculine roots – but their history of use in recent decades is clearly feminine. I doubt most parents with Avery on their shortlist are choosing it because they want something masculine or gender neutral. I suspect many of those parents experience a name like Sydney or Brooklyn as a girl’s name, full stop.
  • On a lighter note: will Empire baby names catch on?
  • And back to the heavy: California’s Parental Naming Rights bill has stalled out. What does that mean? Diacritical marks still aren’t accepted on official documents, including birth certificates, in California. (And many other states.) For speakers of American English, diacritical marks can seem like so much confetti sprinkled over names. For native speakers of other languages, omitting those marks is a cavalier misspelling their names. I’m torn on this one. Pulp FictionOn the one hand, I get it – if you’re the bureaucracy, and adding a cedilla to a child’s birth certificate could cause confusion when the child applies for a passport a few years later, well – you’d want that kink worked out in advance. And I can learn how to (mostly) say foreign names correctly, regardless of the marks. (Unless I know something about the rules of the language, they’re not meaningful to me anyhow.) So … I don’t know how to think about this one, but I imagine it isn’t going away anytime soon.
  • I wrote an entire post on the baby name Uma and neglected to mention the new Fall Out Boy single called, yup, “Uma Thurman.”  My radio-loving ten year old is very into it, but doesn’t get any of the pop culture references. Which makes me feel ancient. But it also makes me wonder if a younger generation of parents will embrace Uma as a mini name with global style. It also reminds me that Ms. Thurman’s wore another mini name in her breakout role: Mia.
  • Speaking of pop music, have you heard of Fifth Harmony? Their names are Ally Brooke, Camila, Lauren, and Normani! And Dinah Jane!

AlejandroTime for the annual Gap Casting Call! The first two girls’ names I spotted? Isabella. And Isabella. But there’s also Mary, Nikhlia, and Zara, and for the boys, there’s Alvarez, Julius, and Matteo. Alvarez!

Swoon-worthy namespotting by British Baby NamesBeatrice Honeysuckle.

  • I’m still completely obsessed with the #shareacoke campaign. My husband brought a Coke Zero home for me yesterday, and proof that’s he’s the best? He sorted through the cooler at the local market until he found one with a name he knew I’d appreciate: Alejandro!
  • From the wayback machine: In 2008, the Baby Name of the Day post featured the gothic Lucretia. In 2009, we talked about retro Clyde. In 2010, we focused on the towering Everest. A year later, colorful Scarlett took center stage in 2011. In 2012 we were all about Eugene. The beautiful Bonnie headlined in 2013. And Matthias was in the spotlight in 2014.

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. I love Alejandro too! I love going through the bottles of coke and looking for names that I like! Did I read that you were able to order a bottle with Clio’s name on it?

  2. Thanks for the congrats Abby!! 🙂

    I LOVE Clio’s list!! She’s inspired me — I’ll have to see if I can find my old lists … fun!

    I also loved your whole bullet point about gender-neutral naming, well said!

  3. I definitely kept lists like that! For a long time, my crushes were Brynn, Liza, Keegan, and Donovan.

  4. I totally made name lists as a girl! They would have contained very glamourous 80s names like Samantha, Crystal, Alexa, and Simone.

  5. I bought my husband and I Cokes yesterday and got us Ruben and Louisa. LOL Oh, that news story about little Isis’s family being harrassed is AWFUL. People really need to stop and think – and ask questions! – before they lash out at someone.

  6. My daughter takes a class with an adorable 4 year old Isis. I still love the name and its goddess association. It’s such a shame the English language landed on “ISIS” and not “ISIL” as the acronym for the Islamic State.

    I went to college with a Noel (Like Noel Coward) and he was annoyed that so many female “Noëls” (No-el) did not use the umlaut. The difficulty with using marks makes me wary of a lot of Frenchnames I’d otherwise love(like Celine) and also makes me want to spell the female name Noelle. (I also knew a male Ariel who hated how the Disney princess single-handedly stole his name. Apparently the female version is supposed to be Arielle. Like Daniel/Danielle.)