Sunday Summary: 7.23.17Maybe you do this, too. You hear a name. It’s not the kind of name that you’d hear on a person, at least not a real live person you’d be likely to meet today. Certainly not a child. At first, it’s unwearable. A jaw-dropping surprise. Nope, nope, nope.

But then you talk yourself into it. After all, it sounds an awful lot like x, y, and z popular names. And that reference that you’re thinking of? It’s pretty darn obscure. Plus, parents are always looking for the new. Why not this name?

Emily had me in onomastic contortions over Vitus the other day. It’s on her list of 14 Boys’ Names from Ancient Rome. I think it works. How ’bout you?

Elsewhere online:

  • Oh, this story of what happens when a dad names the daughter! Perfection.
  • And this story of a couple who went wild with the middle names – including one that’s not quite a name. I don’t think I would dare – well, wait. If it were up to me, then yes. More middle names than Uma’s Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson would be on the table. But my husband raises an eyebrow after two.
  • Speaking of middles: Kara paired ancient girls names with vintage middles, and the result is stunning. I’m swooning over Sybil Josephine. There’s a boys’ version, too!
  • Ever wonder how nuns get their names? Kate dives in to the question here.
  • Um, Nancy has turned her five-name Fridays into YouTube videos! This week’s is below. (If you’re reading via email, click here to go directly to YouTube.)

Before we go, a reminder: if you haven’t voted in the New Names Showdowns Final Round, now’s your chance! The girls’ contest is here, and you can vote for the boys’ winner here.

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 would really strongly caution against anyone going with Vitus. St. Vitus’ Dance was the name given to some ‘dancing epidemics’ in the Middle Ages, and is also the colloquial name for Sydenham’s chorea, “a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet”.
    So yeah, maybe not Vitus.

  2. So my husband is Czech (I’m American, but we live in the Czech Rep.) and we’re expecting girl #3 – just this weekend he was genuinely trying to sell me on Libuše (he loves the legend). It’s not a common name here at all either. I’m pretty sure I can’t go quite THAT Czech. I’m going to need my midwestern US family to be able to handle the name too, lol.

    And St. Vitus Cathedral is the beautiful church in the middle of Prague Castle!

    1. CarolAnn, that’s such a fun coincidence! I find myself wondering if Libuše could be Libby in English? My mother-in-law has a very Polish name without an English form, and she dislikes it when people try to find one. But if you start out with the intention of using a cross-cultural version of the name, maybe it would work?

      How did I not know that about Prague!? My husband spent time there in college, and took tons of pictures, a few of which are hanging in our house 20+ years later. I wonder if any of them are from St. Vitus?!