Sunday Summary 2.12.23Are you watching the Super Bowl tonight? Football isn’t for me, but we’ll be tuning in for the halftime show featuring the incomparable Rihanna.

Born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados, she’s been known only as Rihanna since she released her first studio album in 2005. (Though her other endeavors, including the trend-setting beauty line, are branded as Fenty.)

Most sites list Rihanna as an alternate spelling for an Arabic name meaning basil. It could also be a play on Rhiannon. It’s worth noting that, in England & Wales, Rhiannon reached the Top 100. Names like Reanna, Rhianne, and Rianna charted, too, around the time that the future megastar was born in 1988.

Factor in that her brothers were named Rorrey and Rajad and it’s obvious that her parents – Ronald and Monica – were all on board with R names.

As a given name, Rihanna ranked in the US Top 1000 from 2006 to 2013. It’s faded since then, given to just 132 girls in 2021.

Could it make a comeback?


Rowdy, Kendrick, Troy, and more names in the latest round-up of Nancy’s Name Quotes. (And yes, I very much disagree with Katie Hopkins, the British media personality who suggested that she judges children by their names. It turns out that pretty much everyone else in the UK does, too.)

While we’re in England, how great is Boudicca in this recent birth announcements list at British Baby Names? Ruler of a tribe known as the Iceni, circa the year 60, she led an uprising against the Romans. (It failed and she lost her life, but became an enduring symbol of the nation.) Also, are Primrose and Digby trending in the UK? Do either have a chance in the US? I’d give a definite yes to Primrose and a hesitant maybe to Digby.

Netflix recommended the series Cunk on Earth, and it’s delightful. Philomena Cunk is an investigative reporter interviewing experts about the history of the world, from woolly mammoths to the World Wars. Except it’s a mockumentary, pairing not-so-sharp Philomena with real-world experts. As for why Philomena Cunk sounds like an adjunct faculty member at Hogwarts … she’s the creation of actress-comedian Diane Morgan. I doubt it will boost the name Philomena, and yet … if we love Isabella and Phoebe and Valentina, why not Philomena?

Another reason to embrace Philomena? It’s on this list of love-themed names at the Well-Informed Namer. (So is Valentina, actually …)

What’s your favorite palindrome name? I automatically answer Otto, but there are more than I might’ve guessed …

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That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading … and have a great week.

Boy Names 2.12.23 Girl Names 2.12.23

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 Comment

  1. I remember when you said your Clio first realized Hannah was a palindrome and her mind was blown! Aww. Aviva’s probably my favourite.