Sunday SummaryWe’re staring out this week on a sad note.  Kay of Nook of Names has passed away.  There’s a brief note up on her blog if you’d like to express your condolences.  She was such a force for exploring under-used names, and generous with her time and knowledge.  My condolences to Kay’s loved ones.

On a very different note, Nameberry let me take the wheel for their Friday slideshow, the one that ends up on the Huffington Post a few days later.  It didn’t hit me until I’d already submitted the final text that this meant I would actually have a HuffPo byline.  Which is good, because if I’d actually thought about it, I’m sure I would have obsessed over every syllable and generally made myself insane.  You can read the article here.

I posted the article to my personal Facebook account, and it sparked a debate over one of the names.  No, not Roscoe.  The enduring Peter.  One friend insisted that it would lead to teasing. Another friend is married to a (great) guy named Peter, and she replied that he can’t recall that it ever happened.  And so, tell me – have you ever been teased for your name?

Back to Nameberry for a minute – here’s everything you ever wanted to know about Pam, one of the site’s co-creators.  One of her novels has been adapted as a television show starring Sutton Foster!  Does it go without saying that I’ll be watching Younger when it debuts?  The book is definitely worth a read – both light and serious, and I think it will make a great show.

Now, on to the name news:

  • I’m captivated by this post at Baby Name Wizard.  Jacion and Arilia come out of her Frankenstein lab, based on usage stats and trending sounds.  I wouldn’t bat an eyelash if we saw a birth announcement for kids with those names, and I will quietly admit that I like the looks of Jacion.
  • Meagan of Tulip’s Names that Shine! came at the exactly right moment.  Winter can be long and dark, and I so appreciate reading posts like this one when the days are short.  And Silver seems like a name that might work.
  • Plus, Meagan’s topic reminded me that I wrote this post back in 2012 – but never wrote the second half of Girls that Glow!  Must work that into the schedule …
  • What a crazy, cool Christmas gift! If you love the idea, but not the idea of doing the footwork, this site offers the same service.  And it also reminds me – years ago, I tracked down my daughter’s name, on Clio Street in New Orleans … where is that picture?
  • The history of James and the name’s use in the UK via the always marvelous Elea.
  • Did you see this Vox map displaying the most distinctive baby name in every state?  Some of them will be familiar to name nerds – we’ve talked about Bridger in the Mountain West before.  And Ximena in Texas is no surprise.  But why is Londyn so big in Georgia?  Oakley in Idaho? Luca and Gianna reign in Pennsylvania – is the Keystone state really such a stronghold for Americans of Italian descent?  (I was born in PA, lived there for most of my life, and I’m half Italian.  Is it possible I missed that fact?)
  • Welcome to the world, Juniper!  Big brother is Eli.
  • Which reminds me: I’ve joined Instagram.  Mostly because I discovered someone else was attempting to use my gmail account to join.  But also because there’s such a vibrant name community there, and well, I wanted to play, too!
  • An A to Z of great girls’ names from Apartment Therapy!
  • Which wacky name the #cumberbaby post should I link to?  So many amusing ones!  Let’s go with this one, because I think Edith is a great choice, and this one, because even though Sophie and Benedict will surely not use Watson, someone should!
  • While we’re having fun: names on stickers from the 1960s at Nancy’s site!
  • Faerchild May caught my eye, but Casimir Gray strikes me as the truly swoon-worthy name in this post.
  • Ending on a serious note, thanks to this post from 2013 about African-American names and Quvenzhanè Wallis.  (Yes, we’re still obsessed with Annie around our house.)  I had trouble following Ashley’s argument, but her last line stayed with me: We cannot dismiss our own traditions simply because others have attempted to do so.  Powerful.

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. Love, love, love Peter. It’s absolutely timeless, but it’s not overused. One of my best friends named her second that, or else it would have been at the top of my boy’s list.

  2. My teenaged Peter loves his name. He likes that there are significant men in his community who have the name, but that he rarely hears it among his peers. The slur has never come up. In the U.S., we name kids “John” but don’t worry about the MUCH more common slang use of that name. As a baby-boomer, I had a few friends with the name growing up, and I never remember anybody thinking about Peter or Pete in this way.

  3. My Peter is only 2 1/2, so it’s too early to know if he is teased for his name. Maybe it’s a regional thing, but other than baby name sites, I can’t say I’ve heard Peter used as a slur in real life.

  4. Oh no! Kay?! I’m so saddened to hear that as I love her work so much, and she seemed like such a lovely person. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, especially her darling little girl.

  5. I was teased a lot, and there were subcategories. The “find a nickname then!” people, the “I’ll just call you – ” people, the sorry-can’t-help-it people who always just used some other name by accident which I still get, and the “what is the…*background*… of that?” which I still get.

    Meanwhile, being a Philly girl, I can only wonder; you didn’t know about the Italian thing? Where you *from*? 😉

    The Vox map evokes another question for me. Can a girl who always bitched about her name being mangled, name her baby Chaya?

    1. Josie, I grew up in Bucks County, and moved to Allentown/Bethlehem as a teenager. My mom’s Italian family is from New York City, and fanned out all over NY/NJ. I’ve been to Philadelphia a million times, but I lived the last dozen years or so in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – definitely not as Italian as Philadelphia, I suppose. Then again, it may be that I’m so USED to Italian families that I just plain didn’t realize that it wasn’t normal to be surrounded by Italian Americans!

  6. Regarding name teasing: I was never teased growing up; mostly people would just get it wrong either by saying car-uh instead of care-uh, or spelling it Cara instead of Kara, or even calling me Carol, Karen, Tara, Sara, etc. I did get “care-bear” sometimes but no big deal on that.

    It wasn’t until I married my Spanish-speaking husband that I was teased for my name. In Spanish, a “cara” is a face. His friends at one point thought it was hilarious to tell him “you found your face!” I don’t speak Spanish so I didn’t know why they were laughing at me and it hurt a bit. His grandmother even laughed and thought it was absurd that someone would name their child “face”. So there’s that. I’ve never liked my name anyway. I’d love to change it! Any ideas? 🙂

    1. Kara, I had no idea about the Spanish meaning!

      If I were changing my name from Kara, I think I’d go with Caroline or Carys or some other Kar- name … Or maybe a Cor name?

      More than a dozen years after legally changing my name, I do still find it jarring sometimes. I think I did the right thing by staying close to my given name.