Sunday Summary: 9.5.21I’ve been thinking about names for as long as I can remember. And I’ve been writing about names here since 2008. And yet, lately I’m stuck on this one question: What’s the hardest part about choosing a name?

So often the answer is:

It depends!

Maybe it’s:

  • Working with a long, complicated, tough to spell/pronounce, hyphenated surname
  • Compromising with a partner with different ideas about style
  • Finding a name that isn’t already taken in your circle of family and friends
  • Narrowing down a long list of names you like
  • Conflict with your family about potential names
  • Balancing a desire for a name that stands out with a sense that your child’s name shouldn’t be too different
  • Incorporating your cultural background or family customs – or figuring out a graceful way to start fresh
  • Matching your new child’s name with her older siblings, but not matching too much
  • Giving your child room to be themselves, while choosing a name that speaks to your interests
  • Knowing which risks are worth taking, and which might be too out-there
  • The feeling that if you just look a little more, the perfect name will appear – won’t it?

The list goes on and on.

I think I can tell you what most – maybe all – of those stumbling blocks have in common. But I’m curious:

How would you describe the biggest challenge to choosing a name?


Not one, but two #namespotting episodes featuring Orion as a middle name for a girl. Dove Orion and Violet Orion. Interesting …

Lots of Wilfreds and a James Horatio Somerled. I just love the British Baby Names birth announcements.

An intriguing list of neglected names for girls. Madigan, Vega + more. The boys’ list is here.

I haven’t seen the movie Free Guy yet, but I’m curious. Will Guy catch on? Cleveland Kent Evans has the backstory on Guy here.

If you had to name your triplets with a theme, would it be famous pitchers? This family of Dodgers fans went that direction.

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That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading!

Girl Names 9.5.21 Boy Names 9.5.21

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. I think the hardest part of naming is not knowing the future. Thinking you’ve solved all the conundrums mentioned above, but then a hurricane or a movie character or a criminal in all the headlines wrecks it all!