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halloween baby names

Horrors! It’s almost Halloween, which, in addition to everything else, gives us the opportunity to consider some scary names. This year, instead of looking at the usual monstrous character suspects—the ghosts and witches and evil spirits—we’re going to consider the real-life people who created and embodied the monsters, both on paper and on screen. And of course, it’s their distinctive names that get them in our own squeaky door.

Ambrose

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was a respected and versatile 19th century author, critic and journalist who wrote dozens of ghost and horror stories, gathered together in an anthology called Can Such Things Be? The all-but-forgotten name Ambrose has a pleasant rosy, ambrosial feel. Popular in Bierce’s time, it’s still well liked on Nameberry, ranking at Number 267.

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abby--3-26-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Confession: I’ve watched Kid President’s latest YouTube video more than a dozen times.  It’s called “Letter to a Person on Their First Day Here,” and even though little Robby Novak (a.k.a. Kid President) never mentions names, it reminds me of the happiest part of talking all things onomastic.

Around 360,000 babies are born every day.  That’s 4.2 newborns every second.  Even if we limited it to arrivals in the English-speaking world, it would take a lot of berry brainpower to help find names for all of those lovely new people.

It’s worth looking for the right name, isn’t it?  All of these new people are going to do some amazing things.  At their best, the names we bestow on our children honor that potential.

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posted by: Abby View all posts by this author
disneyprincess

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

As the mother of a five year-old girl, Frozen was required viewing over the recent school holidays.  Somewhere between the first appearance of talking snowman Olaf and the happy ending, I found myself musing about the popularity of Disney-princess names.

I’ve long thought that any Disney princess name was destined for success – a meteoric rise up the popularity charts, a future written on the backpack of a generation of little girls.

But is that true?  To date, there are eleven official members of the Disney princess pantheon, plus one television royal and the Frozen sisters.

Let’s take a look at more than 80 years worth of Disney princesses.  Do their names live happily ever after?

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abby--4-22

With this week’s Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel shows how it’s possible to add new spark to classic names.

I love an unexpected nickname, and it is a delight when parents choose classic baby names with spark.  This week’s name news was filled with great examples.

The Bush family is big on passing down heirlooms, from father to son, but also across generations.  Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager wears her maternal grandmother’s name, and upheld that tradition with her new arrival. 

But Jenna went one step further: she figured out a clever way to use both grandmothers’ names while adding an on-trend nickname that gives the new baby an identity all her own.

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Looking Beyond Emma and Ella: Who’s next?

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It’s pretty obvious that some popular names start a daisy chain of cousins that become equally popular, as was seen most recently in the progression of a group of top girls’ names beginning with E.  First there was Emily, which was the Number 1 name from 1996 to 2007.  One year after that, Emma reached the top spot, only to be trailed by Ella, who has now been in the Top 20 since 2008.

Yet as recently as the 1980s, Ella wasn’t even in the Top 1000, seen as a rather frumpy has-been, stuck in appellation limbo.  Which leads us to wonder who will be next?  Which two-syllable E-name will escape from the lower depths to follow in this progression?

The leading contenders:

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