SSOwliverMy son has acquired yet another stuffed animal. It’s an owl, named Owliver.

In the three days since Owliver has joined our household, I have been told that I’m saying his name wrong something like 2,023 times.

It’s surprisingly difficult.

I’m willing to do it because, well, even though it’s a stuffed owl that my son bought for twelve bucks at Candy Kitchen, it’s still a creature with a name. And that’s worth … something.

But every time I force myself to slow down and clearly pronounce the “Owl” instead of just “Ol,” I find myself thinking of all those parents who named their kids Alivia instead of Olivia, or Ondreya instead of Andrea, hoping that the difference in spelling would lead to the desired pronunciation.

Like I said, it’s surprisingly difficult to arrest the vowel sound that comes naturally, and substitute one that is almost the same – but different.

In non-owl-related name news:

  • The top British baby names of 2014 are here! So very exciting, and an excellent reason to spend a ridiculous amount of time at British Baby Names, reading everything that she’s written about the 2014 data release. Only have time for one? I think the highest rising names in England and Wales are fascinating, and Elea covers the topic beautifully.
  • Remember when Seven was the punchline baby name suggested by George Constanza on Seinfeld? Names for Real spotted a Seven Garrett in Tennessee. And you know? I really do love number names, and Seven is growing on me. And not just because the Beckhams named their youngest Harper Seven, either – in fact, maybe in spite of that …
  • I think the Name Lady has a good answer to this question about why old-fashioned names come back strong. But the question that fascinates me is why we overlook certain names. My post at Nameberry for tomorrow will touch on a few names that I really do think are neglected gems.
  • Finally, a post where two family members agree that cousins can share the same name! Even though they found a solution where it isn’t exactly the same name, in the end …
  • This makes me want to visit Boston and ride a Duck Boat. Hopefully one named Betty, Dottie, or Penelope Pru.
  • I laughed so hard I cried. And then I thought, “But wait – some of those names are on my shortlist!”
  • Lately I keep coming across the name Ivory – okay, twice this week, but in very different circumstances. It’s rising, on the heels of Avery and Ivy. And, I suppose, Ebony, which to me is very much in mom-name territory now.
  • It’s not just the US and the UK. Parents in Belgium are naming their babies after characters from Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and The Princess and the Frog, too. Or so it appears.
  • Cleveland Evans takes a fascinating look at Shelley. It’s a name that I never gave much thought – I tended to take it as a nickname for Michelle. But not so. Once again, it’s a surname name that became quite popular for girls.
  • This list of middle names for girls where the second syllable is stressed – think Marie and Nicole – is perfection! Comprehensive, ranging from the obvious (though underused) Celeste, to the completely unexpected Calais. LOVE! Also, fun fact: my sister-in-law’s gorgeous, very rare first and middle names are on the list. That’s never happened before!
  • Not super-wearable, but I’m a sucker for obscure goddess names. And I kind of think Aglaia is much more wearable than you might imagine.
  • German baby names for girls! I could cheerfully name twin girls Anneliese and Ottilie.
  • Great formal names for Ben. Lately I’m lovely Benedict, and yes, I do think it’s the Cumberbatch effect. Which reminds me – Sophie Hunter, what delicious name did you choose for your baby back in June? Waiting for an interview reveal …
  • While we’re in the UK, let’s take a look at this fab list of quirky actress names from British television. If I could name twins from the German list, I think I could name quadruplets from this post. Meet my daughters, Petronella, Holliday, Clemency, and Doon.

That brings us back to England, where we started this list, so I think that’s a good place to stop 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. Owliver is so cute! My niece and nephew love owls! Thanks for featuring my Ben article! Some suggested Benjiro in the comments and I thought it was really cool.

  2. Aww … welcome Owliver! Cute name.

    I was almost named Anneliese, and I would have loved a twin sister named Ottilie, but there’s no way it would have happened.

  3. That’s a comprehensive list of two syllable middles! If I have a girl her middle name will be Adell, a name she’ll share with four previous generations. I’m also in love with Mireille (meer-AY) lately.