Sunday SummarySo there’s a state in Mexico that has banned names that “are derogatory or that don’t have any clear meaning and can lead to bullying.”

I wonder what that conversation looked like.  Did they white board names, and let civil servants argue.  “No, Hermione isn’t so bad.”  (She’s on the banned list, along with Harry Potter.)  Are these 61 names that were actually used?  Or did they break out a crystal ball along with that white board?  And …

  • Apparently they must issue crystal balls to Sonoran civil servants.  Because I’ve always marveled at the ability of bullies to invent horrible nicknames for their targets.
  • Isn’t the real problem bullying?  Let’s face it, if your parents entertained the name Twitter, there may be other things about your childhood experience that could make you the object of ridicule.  Still, there’s something truly dreadful about trying to make us all the same, and something really lovely about encouraging us to accept others as they are.
  • Lastly, when will we have an interview with someone who named their child Robocop, Lady Di, or another of the 61 banned names?  I can’t find the full list, but here’s about half of them.

Anyway, I really like Claire McCarthy’s article at HuffPo on the Sonoran brouhaha.  The pediatrician has seen many an eyebrow-raising name over the course of her career, but she says this: “That’s the thing: we can’t know people’s reasons.”

Sometimes a name that seems wacky turns out to be a deeply meaningful choice.  I’ve reacted negatively to a name, only to discover that it isn’t creativity gone wild, but a foreign name I hadn’t heard before.  And even in English, traditions and customs vary widely – think of names from English-speaking African nations, like Blessing.

Freedom in naming, even it means my kids have a friend called Facebook.

Oh, and isn’t Sonora a great possibility of a place name?

I’ll stop now.

Elsewhere online:

  • Middles like Moonbeam seem like a great way to combine the daffy and the daring with the more conventional.
  • Were you a fan of the Little House books?  Either way, great names on this list at Nameberry, and an explanation for Almanzo.  Apparently, the Wilder family would have fit right in with all of us.
  • I have this problem, too.  I periodically consider getting a fish tank to use up all of my unclaimed names.  Yes, that one with the blue in his fins? He’s Rufus Gideon Gray.  And the orange one – no, the other orange one – that’s Cordelia Constance Rose.
  • What a fascinating list of names in this family … and proof that not everyone minds an unusual name, too. Young Mozart James Harvey grew up to pass on his unusual first name as a middle to two of his sons.
  • Hart, Hartley, Hartigan – an interesting list of Valentine-inspired possibilities at Baby Name Pondering.
  • Remember the family with kids called Alex, Lexa, and Xeal?  Now you can be just like them, thanks to Sophie’s list of Super Anagram Names.  Loving Liam + Mila and Elka + Lake.
  • Etsy shops have such lovely names, like this one: Coralie Beatrix.
  • Anna interviews Zeffy. Love this quote: “That’s what attracts me to names from the past – it’s a glimpse into the personal and private life of someone who lived hundreds of years ago.”
  • Proof that even choosing a “normal” name can lead to mocking.  Simon Cowell named his son after his dad, Eric.  And the Twitterverse told us that Eric was a “50 year old plumber, not a baby.”  Also, some pointed out that Eric Cowell sounds like Eric Owl.  Which, okay, unfortunate.  But not a deal-breaker, right?  Maybe in Sonora, where they’re vigilant about such things …

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. Abby, my husband said I could name a cat that he will buy Just for me to name it Drusilda Alberta Foxglove Because he says it’s tool hideous to bestow
    On any As for naming laws, on nameberry, there was an interesting link talking about the same thing,naming laws, asking if people agreed with it. I think it had around 3,000 hits. It got dicey and heated. Some really approve of such laws to prevent the child from hinderances and “protect” the Childs future. I’ll get you the link later. Great post by the way, I’ve heard of Sonora as a name too, went by Sonya.

  2. I can’t see anything wrong with Eric, and it’s actually rising in the UK, so as usual public opinion is 20 years behind the times.

    BUT now that you’ve said Eric Owl, that’s all I can hear!

  3. People who think Eric is a 50 year old plumber obviously aren’t fans of True Blood, where Eric is very cool, bad-ass and somewhat regal.

  4. I think Eric is a perfectly fine name. It just goes to show that you really can’t win- people are always going to have an opinion, and in the case of Twitter, it is often a harsh one.

    Oh, and by the way, Rufus Gideon Grey and Cordelia Constance Rose are fabulous!

  5. We considered Hart/Hartmann for my son’s middle name. Not because of valentine’s day, but because my husband’s stepdad’s nickname is Buck and we thought it would be an interesting way to honor him. Roland/Roe made our list for the same reason.

  6. I agree with you, if to have our freedom of naming kids whatever we love, we have to allow names like Twitter to be used, then so be it. I’d rather a diverse group of names than one where every other guy is named Michael or James, which was the case for a very long time.

    Xeal is actually pretty cool, but I’d use it as its own name.

    Hartley is great, I just like it so much more than Harley – I’d use it on a boy by the way.

    Eric is more of a dad name rather than grandpa – I see George as fitting the “grandpa” tag more, but I guess things are different in the UK? But those images are quite hilarious haha.

    1. Say “Eric Cowell” three times fast. It becomes Eric Owl. Which I never noticed. In fact, when I first read it, I thought Owl WAS the baby’s middle name for a split second. But the Twitterverse misses nothing … It was in the link you sent me, BTW – thanks!