Sunday Summary: 10.15.17I’m intrigued by a phenomenon. Parents often look for names that are broadly familiar, easy to spell and pronounce, but not too common. In fact, I’d say that more than half of all wish lists include these qualities in some combination.

And yet, we’re not willing to choose names that fit those criteria – but step outside of current styles and trends.

I’d argue that names like Wilbur, Edwin, Shirley, and Wanda meet every one of those criteria – familiar, easily spelled and pronounced, not too common. And yet, they’re grandparent names, aged and unfashionable.

Nancy’s Five Name Friday touched on this topic a few days ago. The comments are rich with boy name suggestions that hit this note. But will we suddenly hear more boys called Wilbur and Neville? Probably not.

Should we? I’m not sure.

Elsewhere online:

That’s all for this week. 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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  1. The Friday the 13th blogger made an error. Jesus did not have 13 apostles. (And they were actually called disciples more often) he had 12 disciples. 13 became associated with bad luck because there were thirteen at the last supper and one died shortly thereafter. (So said my high school English teacher) The thirteenth would have been Jesus, not Judas.

  2. The “class aspiration” thing is so interesting to me. We were living in France when our children our born, and I ran each name past a native French speaker before we made our final decision. (A boy named “Elie”, it turns out, would be endlessly mocked as “‘elicopter”!) One son is named Emery, but my friend thought we were planning to use the name “Amaury” (my bad accent!). She was very blunt that only certain families – very old, posh French families – could use that name! Emery, on the other hand, was deemed okay for us. Haha. On the flip side, a different friend strongly recommended against using the name “Samuel” because it was too blue collar.