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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Every once in a while, two sets of high profile parents use the same name within weeks of each other.  Remember the Camden coincidence from 2011?

Usually it signals a name already on the rise.  That was certainly the case with Camden, a name that cracked the US Top 100 in 2013.

Could Saint be next?

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The 12 Most Notable Names of 2012

Malala Yousafzai

The most notable names of 2012 take a colorful direction this year, with influences that range from presidents to K-pop, celebrities and the characters they play, and from the web to the weather.

Our picks for the 12 names most emblematic of 2012 – plus the dozen also-rans – are:

Malala.  Runnerup: Dilma

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.”  Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World.  Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.

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For her Nameberry Nine this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel  combs the celebrity pages in search of interesting choices.

My week has been defined by two failures: first, I have not managed to see the big screen adaptation of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  I’m not anticipating cinematic greatness, but I’m willing to sit through ninety minutes of movie for a few minutes’ worth of baby name talk.  There must be at least a dozen infants in the flick!  And yet, I know the names of not a single one.

Failure the second: I devoured A Discovery of Witches instead of saving it for my four-hour airplane trip later this week.  Yes, it is a supernatural romance featuring vampires.  No, it is not TwilightDeborah E. Harkness slips in a few seriously killer lines about given names, so that made up for my lack of a rom-com baby name fix.

Happily, it was also a week packed with lots of new arrivals, plenty of them with newsworthy names.  And yes, both Witches and Expecting managed to rank among the most intriguing appellations, too.

As May draws to a close, here are the Nameberry nine baby names most in the news last week:

Ysabeau – Okay, A Discovery of Witches has been on the bestsellers list for months, but with the sequel set for a July release, maybe Ysabeau will get some more press.  The main witch is Diana, and her love interest is MatthewYsabeau – a medieval forerunner of Elizabeth – is Matthew’s ancient vampire maman.  Her full, and fabulously French name is Genevieve Melisande Helene Ysabeau.

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There are some weeks when even name mavens like Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel  have to dig deep to find nine newsworthy names, but of course Abby always comes through. Here are The Nameberry Nine for this week.

It finally happened.  After weeks and weeks of effortlessly identifying nine newsworthy names, this week I was stuck.  There were two celebrity births, a nicely named girl and boy, but neither was the newsworthy delight I’d anticipated.

Suddenly I understood the laments of expectant parents everywhere: there are all of these names, nice enough names, but they’re not the right ones for us.  It was a Name Drought, a feeling of deprivation in the midst of plenty.  While waiting to learn our second child’s gender, I had a similar feeling.  We had a girl’s name all set, but if our daughter had been a second son?  We might still be calling him Baby.

Then I gave in to the siren song of the Gap Casting Call, and after wading through 763 pages of adorable kid pictures, I found floods of names to love, like boys called Leland, Thaddeus, and Giacomo.

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