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Category: Appellation Mountain

baby name Reign

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

From Grammy Award-winning rapper LilKim to a previously anonymous mom in Alaska, some parents are thinking big when it comes to baby names.

Not every parent, of course.  Casual choices like Charlie and Molly, Mia and Jack have been popular in recent years.  And I’ve always thought that George Alexander Louis was a pretty low-key pick for a future king.

But whether the name is an outlandish borrowing from the dictionary or one worn by an accomplished historical figure, it’s worth asking: When is a name too much to live up to?

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abby--infantas

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Here’s something I overheard recently:

Olivia’s a nice name, but Aria?  Who names a kid after Game of Thrones?

There’s something to that statement, isn’t there?  Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade.  Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference.  They’re very different names.

Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar.  Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too.  After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.

Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.

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posted by: Abby View all posts by this author
medieval

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Names from the Middle Ages are fascinating. They’re often quite similar to those parents love today, but tend to be almost entirely overlooked.

Nameberry has long had the Coolator. I would call this the Medievalizer, except that sounds like a torture device.

Instead, this is a list of the 2013 US Top Ten for girls, with suggestions for parents looking for something just a little different – or maybe something that would be right at home in the eleventh century.

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abby:elle

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

When it comes to naming a daughter, imagination reigns.  From Hollywood birth announcements to literary powerhouses, blog babies to the most random of name spottings, a great name can come from anywhere.

This week’s potential seismic name influence?  Disney’s big screen retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  This time, we’re getting the villain’s side of the story in Maleficent.  Angelina Jolie might make the two-horned headdress look elegant, but I doubt she can sell her character’s name to future parents.  Maleficent is too downright evil!  But plenty of other choices associated with the big summer film could get a boost.

On a sad note, this was also the week the world said farewell to the towering Maya Angelou.  If Francis has gained currency as a hero name, could the widely admired writer’s names – first and last – be next?

Together, they point towards some of the most interesting sources for naming daughters in our age: myth, fable, and literature, much of it ancient and well-worn, but some of it modern, even newly invented.

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image

By Abby Sandel, Appelation Mountain

Between Kendra and Ciara, it was a busy week in the world of out-there celebrity baby names.

Both new arrivals names’ are definitely distinctive, and at first glance, it might seem that they wouldn’t have much impact on what the rest of us name our children.

But high profile birth announcements – even the most extreme examples – do change the way that we think about possible names, often for the better.

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