Sunday SummaryThis week’s vocabulary word is phonestheme.  Phonestheme, as in the way a sound can evoke a certain feeling, like the mor of villains Moriarity, Voldemort, Morbius, and dark words like morbid and moribund.  In some cases, the meaning may match up, but that’s not always the case.

I’m always curious about how names rise in clusters.  It’s a safe bet that if Nora and Cora are rising, we’ll soon find more girls named Flora and maybe Lora, along with Coraline and Cordelia.  And if Elias is gaining, then no wonder that Silas, Isais, and Tobias are, too.  A cluster isn’t always based on sound – think of avian names like Wren and Lark – but sound is pretty common.  They peak, and then tend to fall together, at least some of the time.

But it isn’t always so.  Sometimes I’ll find a name that should fit the pattern, but it was popular a decade or two too early.  Or it just never does catch on.  So sound is only part of the puzzle.

Elsewhere online:

A special thank you to everyone who has voted in the March Madness series!  I’m absolutely stunned at the final match-ups – I was convinced that Finn and Beatrix would win the whole tourney, but no – neither of them made it past the semi-finals.  Please vote in both the boys’ match-up and the girls’ final, if you haven’t already done so.

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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  1. Hey I thought Finn and Beatrix would win too!

    And I think Liesel and Brigitta ARE too Von Trapp, AND too non-Indian, and I think it’s a bit of a cliché for two gay dads to have kids with names from musicals.