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Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia de Havilland salute

By Lauren Der

Olivia has been the second most popular girls’ name in the US for the two years running, and Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland was one of the first people to bring it to prominence here decades ago. The last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, we salute her as she celebrates her 100th birthday today.

The name Olivia has long been popular apart from the actress’s fame. De Havilland’s actress mother named her after Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, began calling her Livvie as a child, a nickname that stuck throughout her life. Despite the star’s popularity, her name didn’t spike through the height of her fame in the 30s and 40s, reaching the Top 10 only in 2001.

Here, a look at the names of the characters Olivia De Havilland played. Are any of them as appealing as Olivia itself?

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Animated Baby Names for Girls

animated baby names

By Abby Sandel

Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling kept us guessing about their daughter’s name for weeks. But as Esmeralda Amada has gotten older, they’ve shared not only her name, but also their reasons for the choice. In a recent interview, they shared that the name appealed because it works in English and Spanish, but also thanks to the character from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The famous couple says that the novel by Victor Hugo, as well as the Disney movie, inspired their choice. The Disney version, with the singing gargoyles and the happy ending, might be a little easier to explain to a child than the bleaker original version of the tale.

The Mendes-Gosling family isn’t the only one to take inspiration from animation.

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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.

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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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