Sep 20th 2008

Here are a dozen girls' names.  Can you spot any patterns in the list?


Go with the obvious: half of the names on the list start with L.  You're looking at the top dozen names in Austria, just one of the many countries infatuated with the lovely letter L.  Lena and Leonie are particularly hot in German-speaking areas; Lea is huge in France and Quebec; Lucia is the top name in Spain, with Lucy and Lucie soaring elsewhere; Laura is a favorite just about everywhere (good taste, world!)  Take any short name that starts with an L and ends with a vowel, and you're sure to be in style.

Regular readers of this blog may be experiencing a little deja vu right about now.  Yes, you've heard something like this before.  The same pattern came up in my discussion of rising names I've taken off my "Why Not?" list.  Names like Luna and Lila were rare in the U.S. just a few years back, but are suddenly in contention.  The global figures suggest that's not just a fluke.  L is the world's hottest letter for girls' names, and the U.S. is just hitching a ride on that bandwagon.


p.s. to those of you who've asked me about that mysterious little "login" button...no, it doesn't do anything quite yet, but stay tuned!



By Easternbetty (not verified)
September 24, 2008 9:08 AM

Tirzah, you're right about Remus, which had always made the name a double offense to my mind! I completely buy into the HP world, which is the very reason why such names disrupt me: I'd like to believe that this world could really exist alongside mine, and in my experience of the world, it's often too big a coincidence that a boy called Remus Lupin would later become a werewolf. The Weasely family is a great inverse example, because "Weasly" puts us in mind of unpleasant things like "weasel" and the Dursleys, but they're actually a great family.

Love the TV show examples, Miriam. As a one-time faithful soap watcher (daily in the 80s/90s and on and off in the early 2000s), I can assure you that they continue to be vanguards in naming. I even have a book published in the early 1990s entirely about Soap Opera names and their influence on the zeitgeist. (Unfortunately, the authors felt called to opine about the trend-factor and general worth of each name. They commented on a middle-aged character [I was a teen] with my name, saying, "This name is plain, boring, and obsolete, and not fit for a girl of the 90s." Ouch.)

By Claire (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:56 AM

"Momo" does mean "peach" in Japanese. But it also has a sense of pink. Momo-iro (peach color) is the traditional way to label the color pink in Japanese. (Probably most Japanese would use the English word and say "pinku" nowadays.) It's not a traditional name - no more than "Apple" would be for us - but its color association makes it sound feminine.

I would also think that being in the US would influence a Japanese to pick a name that would be easier for English speakers to say. "Momo" is a lot easier to figure out than "Hiromi".

By Amy3 (not verified)
September 24, 2008 11:05 AM

Claire -- How perfectly wonderful that you mentioned the name Hiromi. My very best friend in early grade school was a girl named Hiromi (family was in the States while her father went to grad school, they returned to Japan when she and I were 10 probably). I've never seen the name anywhere else, and wondered how uncommon it might be in Japan.

Re: Soap opera naming, my sister named her son (b. in 1991) after a soap opera character -- Cal0b (this spelling has always driven me crazy). Don't know if the misspelling is my sister's alone, or if that's how the character really spelled it.

By Lorelei Leigh (BDL) (not verified)
September 24, 2008 12:00 PM

Oh, be sure about Polly--talk to some preschooler moms about the popularity of Polly Pockets (which all my daughter's little girlfriends carried around and played with when they were 4-5-6, only a couple years back). There's nothing awful about being called "Polly Pockets," of course--but it might get tedious. A backup name she could use if the same-named toy becomes annoying might be a good plan.

It is a sweet name, and reminds me also of Polly Purebread, the impossibly saccharine love interest in the Dudley Dooright cartoons.

And Polly Walker--she's awesome. I'm interested to discover that she and I were born within a month of each other--because Polly was on of my parents' shortlist. (Her given name is Polly, far as I can tell.) Her children are Giorgio and Delilah, btw.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 24, 2008 12:13 PM

Am I the only one old enough to remember Polly Bergen? She has been on Desperate Housewives fairly recently for those not old enough to remember her heyday. (I have no idea if that is the name her parents gave her or a stage name.)

I have also recently consulted a physician named Polly (she's about my age).

So it is not unheard of to carry the name Polly through a lifespan.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
September 24, 2008 12:25 PM

Easternbetty, you wrote "First off, I'm interested as to what makes the names of that author "horribly off," ElizabethT."

Obviously this is subjective, but here's my take on it:
A name is off if it seems discordant with other names in a set (a family of children named Caelyn, Leah, and Seamus, for example) or if it seems wildly out of date with its era. This sort of thing wouldn't bother me in a novel if it seemed like the names were well-chosen or deliberately non-matching, but some authors seem to choose names as an afterthought.

Hm, I'm not describing this well. I guess it's like that old definition of porn--"I know it when I see it".

In "The Double Bind," for example, a set of young sisters is named Marissa and Cindy. Marissa was born in the mid 1990s and Cindy in the early 2000s. That seemed off to me. Not terrible, but off. If the ages of the girls had been flipped, it would have seemed more realistic. (A fun read--I recommend it despite my own issues with the names.)

And in one of Baldacci's novels, a young girl aged 16 in 1984 (making her my age) was named Janice for the first half of the novel and then was renamed Jennifer (presumably by an editor?) for the last half of the novel. Granted, this poor girl was a throw-away murder victim who had no function in the plot other than to serve as an example of the murderer's callousness, but given that she was supposed to be a cut out, her name should have been Jennifer to begin with. I was so disoriented by the name switch that I had to re-read large chunks of the novel (not difficult given the lack of intellectual heft!).

Does this make sense?

By Sarah (not verified)
September 24, 2008 12:33 PM

re Polly Pockets, I knew at uni a girl named Marka. She complained to us once about her nicknames as a child, we all stared, and she said, Magic Marka? And we howled. But it really hadn't occurred to any of us now that we were over the age of 8. So if you like Polly, go for it.

Jes - ideas: Elizabeth, Verity, Ruth, Agatha, Morven, Prudence, Trudi, second Margaret, Iris and Frances. (I think Scottish grandmother-type seems to be your style?)

I agree with the above comment that names in scifi/fantasy do veer towards the hideously white. Anne McCaffrey, in my opinion, does a good job of opening that out, and I always liked that the dragons' names all ended in th.

I also always liked the name Galen. I had a camp counsellor (male) named this when I was younger, and I've seen it used for women in fiction. I think it's terrific -- has a feminine sound without being remotely frilly.

When I was a kid in Japan, my little Japanese friends were called Christie, Tomoko, Mako, Elisa, Kaori, Izumi, Kiyono, Midori, Yayoi, Mika, and Hiroaki (who as a boy didn't count). I could rattle off the other international kids if someone wanted....

Hm, I wonder if going to an international school at such a young age made me so interested in names?

By Opal (not verified)
September 24, 2008 12:45 PM

Re: Polly Bergen, she was born Nellie Paulina Burgin in 1930.

Re: Galen, I like it...as a boy's name only. I've only come across one Galen in my life - currently in the 16-18 y/o age range - sweet kid.

By ajaz (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:18 PM

I've never known a male Galen, but I do know a female, she's about 20 years old.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:41 PM

There were several male Galens in my high school graduating class (class of 1962). It was not an uncommon name in my time and place (Berks County PA). I have never heard of a female Galen.

Back to tv names: I just remembered that on last week's Sons of Anarchy there was a 13 year old girl who was a victim of a sexual assault at a carnival. Her name was Tristan (sorry, but blech--I have taught Gottfried's Tristan I don't know how many times and Tristan is a boy's name).

Birth announcement: another new poker dude offspring, a son Derek. I haven't heard Derek mentioned as a usable name for a good while. Little Derek was born with issues that required immediate surgery, and his dad posted pictures of his tiny self all stuck with tubes and needles and then a picture of his first day home which was yesterday. He looked both robust and adorable.

Which reminds me to wish that all our about-to-be-moms, those who have names selected and those who are still pondering their lists, soon have healthy and adorable children in their arms.

By Amelia (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:46 PM

Its funny that you mention Polly Pockets, and the issue of sharing the name with a toy. One of my favorite names for a long time has been Dora. But decided that sharing a name with Dora the Explorer was just too much. Maybe because my daughter is only two, we haven't really encountered Polly Pockets.

By Opal (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:47 PM

Re: Galen in pop culture,

The full birth name of Patrick Dempsey (of Grey's Anatomy) is Patrick Galen Dempsey.

There is another 30-something soap opera actor (male) named Galen Gering.

I think there was a male character on Gunsmoke with the first name Galen. (Just looked it up, it was Doc Adams - Galen Adams).

Interesting, Galen or some form of the name Galen was the name of a famous medical researcher in the 2nd century, and 2 of the above names have medical links --- Patrick Galen Dempsey plays a doctor; and Doc Galen Adams was a character. Hmm.

I wonder if Galen is another boys' name that will go to the girls; not that it seems to be used much by either gender, really.

By Melanie (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:48 PM

I was going to comment that Polly seemed out of place to me in this day and age, but I will admit that as I read it again and again trying to get to the end of this post that it has grown on me. I have a sister named Pollyanna(19). She has tried to shorten to Polly but it hasn't really stuck. My family has several naming instances that are really not my style.

I kind of agree with the comment about not naming a girl Rachel. I like the name but it is not my favorite story and so I don't think I could do it. I much prefer Rebekah, but that is my step-sister's name.

If I were to name a girl right now she'd probably be Eleanor May or Mary Eleanor. We've had Eleanor for a girl's name with both our boys and it would actually be hard to change it now even though I've had second thoughts on the name as I meet more and more Ellas. I think I'd stick with Eleanor as a first name if I could find a better middle name, but I haven't hit on quite the right one yet.

By Opal (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:52 PM

I saw the name Derek mentioned. I met a woman in August who was due Sept 1st with a boy that she and her husband were planning to name Derek. I thought as Miriam did "haven't heard that one in a while."

I wondered, as with the increase in popularity of Addison, thanks in part to Grey's Anatomy, no doubt, if Derek would be more frequently used now too.

Gosh, you'd think from my last 2 posts that I actually watch Grey's Anatomy, but I don't. I simply have an awareness of the actors & their characters' names.

By Opal (not verified)
September 24, 2008 1:55 PM

Posted too soon. Just for interest & sib set info, baby Derek who was due 9/1 has one sister 8 years older than him, named Taylor.

By Opal (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:01 PM

Out of curiousity, I looked up the popularity of the name Galen in the US, using the SSA website. It has not been in the top 1000 names for girls in the past 128 years. It was in the top 1000 names for boys as early as 1889, but was in that top 1000 only 5 times between then and 1911. From 1912 through 1996, however, Galen was a top 1000 name for males in the US, peaking at #330 in 1949. It has not made the charts since 1996.

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:04 PM

Amelia-Glad you like the Penelope idea. Good luck with whatever you ultimately decide.

Kristi-What have you got it narrowed down to? You know how we all love to put in our two cents. Do you still need ideas?

By lizpenn (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:05 PM

Laura, thanks for the fascinating post on "L." I've been noticing its ascendancy, not only at the beginning of names but in the middle, for some time. It occurred to me recently that the only letter that mine and all of my sibling's children have in common is an "L" somewhere in their names: Leo, Luka, Milo and Alice.

And in a tangentially related rant, I must express my annoyance at a name for a new baby girl I heard the other day: the sister of a friend -- someone I know only remotely -- named her daughter Milo Elsa. A girl named Milo! I know I'm biased because this is my nephew's name, but even before he was born, I disliked the trend toward the hijacking of boys' names for girls. Laura has written about this before -- how once a name gets associated with girls, it's considered unusable for boys, as has happened with Avery. I guess the mini-trend for female "O" names like Juno and Cleo has now made it open season on boy's names ending in "O"? Will we be seeing girl Leos, Hugos and Brunos?

By lizpenn (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:08 PM

And by the way, lest that last post sound too mean: I wish all the best for the young Milo Elsa, and think her name quite lovely in itself. I just don't want Milo to defect to the girl side!

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:10 PM

Re:Polly as a toy name. There is also the toy name Holly Hobbie. Has anyone seen any toy references used with the names Molly or Dolly?

By Eo (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:23 PM

Brief throwback to the Governor Palin column:

When she met with Afghan leader Karzai (sp?) yesterday, at the end of the discussion you could hear her inquiring after his little boy (who I'm assuming is an infant or even a newborn). Then you could distinctly hear her ask what his name was. Karzai responded, something like "Marwais", and said (I think) something like "It means "light of the home", to which Sarah responded with appreciative murmurs.

Further indication that she is a name enthusiast. Don't we all instinctively ask the names of new children under discussion, no matter what the circumstances?!

Easternbetty, please correct my rendering of Marweis and the meaning, as I saw just a brief news snippet on my way to do something else...

I do continue to find "Polly" timeless, and must make my usual point that pop culture is ephemeral, and one need not worry if dolls or literary characters or cartoons share a classic name. (As long as they are not Nazi sympathizers, or something.)

Names will be appropriated for all sorts of purposes-- there is a famous pig named "Olivia", but that hasn't deterred namers from using this old name, which over the course of history, has lots of other associations.

Not that I dislike pigs-- I'm quite besotted with them, actually...

By Jennifer (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:27 PM

FYI, Galen is frequently cited in baby name books as something doctors are supposed to want to name their kids. I suppose it's more culturally appropriate than Hippocrates or Vesalius. (Galen is one of the more illustrious forbears in the history of medicine; he came up with the so-called humoural theory that dominated medicine until the early 20th c. really).

I don't know anyone who's actually done it, as it would appear to place undue emphasis and pride on one's profession which of course "isn't done." ;)

By Aybee (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:27 PM

Well, a dolly *is* a toy, I guess.
The boys names for girls is bothersome, I agree, but it's hard to tell which direction it goes. I know both male and female Logans-- many of the girls are older than the boys.

I also know a female Galen, she'd have to be in her 70s now, and a male Galen, about 25. I wonder if it is less used for boys now because of the teasing potential associated with the pronunciation.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 24, 2008 2:59 PM

"Has anyone seen any toy references used with the names Molly or Dolly?"

One of the American Girl dolls is Molly McIntire whose stories are set during WWII. Her little English friend is Emily.

I took a look at the names of the other "historical" American Girl dolls. Samantha is the name of the turn-of-the-twentieth century doll, and according to Name Voyager (and my instincts) Samantha was not only not typical of the era, but practically non-existent at the time. The servant girl is Nellie which is completely apropos for the time.

Since these dolls are supposed to be meticulously researched "period" pieces, their names are worth a look.

Addy--runaway slave girl in the antebellum south

Julie and Ivy--friends in mid-70s San Francisco (Ivy is Chinese-American)

Felicity and Elizabeth--Revolutionary War

Josefina--New Mexico 1824

Kaya--Nez Perce 1764 (her story revolves around her efforts to get rid of a derogatory nickname she earned for misbehavior)

Kirsten--Scandinavian immigrant pioneer in Minnesota

Kit and Ruthie--Great Depression and stars of a recent movie

Good representative historical naming job or not? Samantha is definitely off, and I don't have a clue about Nez Perce names.

The "contemporary" dolls from that company are named Lindsey (2003), Kailey (2004), Marisol (2005), Jess (2006), Nicki (2007), and Mia (2008).

These dolls and their huge number of accoutrements and accessories are not cheap, and many of them can be customized, even to the extent of looking like the little girl recipient. They are clearly aimed at girls from affluent families. The whole American Girl inventory is worthy of a bit of sociological (not to mention onomastic) analysis IMO.

I have long been annoyed with the names in historical novels for children. They are often just plain wrong. I learned from corresponding with an author that the writers know better, but the editors insist on the off-key names, presumably for more audience appeal (although I think that's ridiculous).

By Miriam (not verified)
September 24, 2008 3:09 PM

"(Galen is one of the more illustrious forbears in the history of medicine; he came up with the so-called humoural theory that dominated medicine until the early 20th c. really)."

Jennifer, this may either amuse you or horrify you. I sent my son to the most academically rigorous (and socially prestigious) school in the area: tuition in five figures and school field trips to Italy. When Edward was in middle school (a fair while ago since he is now 29), he came home from his first health class eager to tell me what he had just learned--which was the four humors theory (and it wasn't taught in historical context as an example of the benighted past). I was gobsmacked! (Of course I taught the four humors to my students so they could understand references to it which abound in medieval and early modern literature--but in middle school health class???!! However, they did teach Edward how to put a condom on a banana, so they weren't entirely behind the times.)

By Keren (not verified)
September 24, 2008 3:13 PM

Derek - I knew a baby Derek, with older siblings Justin and Priscilla. I think the American mum thought of Derek was a classy English name. We Brits thought it was a name for the man who comes round to mend the central heating. I can't see it taking off in the UK for a while. Maybe it's in the same category as Trevor and Graham - fresh, classic and elegant to American ears, middle-aged and working class in the UK.

I also have a thing about names in children's books when they give teenagers names that are trendy for babies now. It's just wrong!

By KRC (not verified)
September 24, 2008 4:36 PM

Keren, you made me laugh with "We Brits thought it was a name for the man who comes round to mend the central heating."

I am American and names like Derek, Trevor and Graham sound pretty much middle-aged and working class to me too. Maybe it's because my father is from working-class London and has friends named all of the above!

By EssBee (not verified)
September 24, 2008 4:59 PM

Hi Danielle, sorry for my delay in getting back to you. I like most of your names, and we have considered several of them (Abigail, Allison, Kate). We have friends with a little Delaney (age 2.5 yrs).

I can't really see any difficulty in pairing Caroline with "A-(---)-one"...or whatever your last name is. I think Caroline and Chloe are both cute. My sister-in-law is Caroline and my aunt is Carol and says, "You can't use Chloe because that's my nickname." (Um, first of all, ZERO people call her that... she's can be annoying.)

Good luck in figuring out your baby girl's name!

By EssBee (not verified)
September 24, 2008 5:13 PM

I'm glad to hear from both you and Danielle that I'm not the only one who's undecided still.

I take it that you are having a gender surprise baby! Congrats!

Hayden & Koen are cute names. Hayden is surname in my family tree about 100 years ago, so I've always liked that one.

Of your current boy names, I like Soren the best, I think. I had never heard of that name until recently; a co-worker's husband is named Soren. He is German.

I'm not familiar with Theron. My only association is Charlize Theron.

Lucian is cute! I hesitate a bit because any potential nicknames (Luke, Luca) seem to require a shift in the "C" sound from "S" to "K". Not that you need to have a nickname, of course. If you use Lucian, I do think I like the flow of "Lucian James" more than "Lucian Jonas".

As for your girl names, I personally might avoid Aleah or Rhianna because of the recent singer/celebrities "Aaliyah" (lots and LOTS of kids named after her!) and "Rihanna". Both are pretty names, but a lot of people might assume that your child is named after those singers (and I'm assuming that you aren't intending that).

I think that Sorenah and Selene are both very beautiful names. Lena is NMS, mostly because I'm never sure whether to pronounce it "LEH-na" or "LEE-na." I suppose you could also add "Serena" to your list.

I think that whether you used "Carolyn" or "Caroline", she could be considered to be named after your sister either way.

Good luck and keep us updated!

By Jennifer (not verified)
September 24, 2008 5:26 PM

Miriam, I did enjoy imagining a room full of adolescents being taught that their changing bodies were due to imbalances of melancholy, or perhaps it was all the dry southwesterly winds we've been having this season? Whatever the cause, that excess of catarrh can only be helped by rigorous application of cathartics.

And now, rubbers on bananas!

By Tirzah (not verified)
September 24, 2008 5:41 PM


I'm not too keen on Soren because it reminds me of Soren Kierkegaard, the philosopher. I wanted to suggest the name Anders as an alternative. It's the Scandinavian form of Andrew. It's international without being difficult.

By Lucie la Morena (not verified)
September 24, 2008 5:46 PM

Coll, don't forget the importance of Katherine-with-a-K in L.M. Montgomery. What NE and Montgomery obsessive could forget that scene where Anne enthuses over Katherine Brooke's name, and grouchy Katherine says nothing but signs her next note 'Catherine'! L.M's girls' names are usually fantastic, but I find that her male names have aged badly. The romantic males often have names that were fashionable a hundred years ago, and decidedly odd nowadays. I read in her published journals that her long-cherished favourite boys' names were Sidney and Chester (one of her sons was named Chester). Still, the dreaminess of Gilbert Blythe has softened me on his name, at least.

Easternbetty, I'm totally with you about J.K. Rowling. Dolores Umbridge is pretty much character naming perfection. But some of the others are a little heavy-handed for me, too. Although to be fair, the more obvious ones are probably fascinating to budding NEs in the age-group that she primarily writes for (not that the books can't be equally enjoyed by adults, if not more on some levels. Show me the ten-year-old who can appreciate the name Dolores Umbridge!)!

By Tirzah (not verified)
September 24, 2008 6:13 PM

A little off topic, I found an explanation for Milla Jovovich's daughter's name Ever Gabo:

“The name Ever is a Scottish boy’s name, Paul has Scottish blood in him (not to mention two tartans in his family!) so we wanted to give her a name that reflected her “celtic” roots, while her middle name Gabo -pronounced “Gabeau”- is a mixture of my parents names! The first two letters are after my mom’s first name, Galina and the last two letters are after my dad’s first name Bogie!”

I was wondering about the Gabo part.

By Lucie la Morena (not verified)
September 24, 2008 7:02 PM

I wonder how "Gabeau" is supposed to make the pronunciation of Gabo any clearer! Interesting, though. Even though I'm not a huge fan of 'creative' names, I do like it when there's a meaningful story behind them. Although I wonder that they didn't manage to find any Scottish girls' names that they liked - I think the cool word-name status of Ever trumped the "two tartan" Scottish blood!

By Jessica (not verified)
September 24, 2008 7:04 PM

Gabo. Now that is an interesting approach. hmmm.

Polly. I knew one that would be about 60 by now from Arkansas. I also had a pet chicken named Polly.

Lila. Lila is sooo Sweet Valley High. ugh.
I have twin cousins Lisa and Lila (Leye-la)... age 29.

Derek. My friend has a "baby" Derek. Born June 07. Older siblings Kendall, Laurel, and Danea

By another amy (not verified)
September 24, 2008 7:27 PM

I know one college student (male) named Galen and had a fellow graduate student (a decade ago) named Galen (girl). She must be in her late 30s by now.

I think Polly is cute but i can't imagine using it as a stand alone name for my own kids.

Derek sounds older to me. certainly not fresh and new. Then again, I don't watch Grey's Anatomy either!

a random name to come across--this term I have an Anais in class (middle name used as first). cannot for the life of me manage to pronounce it properly.

New baby: Johanna, brother to Isaac (African family).

By Jennifer (not verified)
September 24, 2008 7:47 PM

French major to the rescue!

Anais should have an accent over the i called a trema, which looks like an umlaut in German. This means both vowels are pronounced separately, like "Noel." Anais = An-EYE-us most commonly in the States; an-ah-EEES in France.

It is, depending who you ask, a provencale form of Anna or a derivative of Agnes, but it is forever associated in my mind with Anais Nin, which is why I could never, ever, ever use it for a child.

By Miriam (not verified)
September 24, 2008 8:41 PM


What do you think of Thais, a name not unheard of in New Orleans?

Anais Nin's full name was Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira, and her brothers were Thorvald and Joaquin (the latter named after their father). The family was Franco-Cuban and Danish which accounts for the names. As for naming a child Anais, her 'bohemian' life can be compared to that of Djuna Barnes, whom she influenced. Djuna's grandmother was named Zadel. Her father Wald was a polygamist of sorts and apparently a lot of other undesirable things. A lot of strange things are alleged to have happened up on Storm King Mountain were she was born. Don't think I'd name a baby after Djuna either (although Anais Nin did name a character Djuna).

BTW whilst browsing the class notes in my alumni mag, I came upon a baby GIRL named Django. I guess her folks must be fans of gypsy jazz. Young Django has a brother named Pablo Joaquin. Django Reinhardt's real name was Jean. Django was a nickname derived from Romany.

By Danielle (not verified)
September 24, 2008 8:48 PM

Thanks for the responses! Hubby and I are still very much in the air, but we've admitted to ourselves that we don't necessarily *love* our top 2 choices after all! (Yikes - and those were the ones we arrived at after much thought during the past months!)

As much as we adore the name Caroline, I can't get past my feeling that it doesn't sound great with our ln, and something just doesn't seem exactly "right" with the whole name. Dh doesn't have super-warm-fuzzies about Chloe either! He doesn't hate it, but isn't that interested, either. Sigh.

Back to the drawing board! :)

By Valerie (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:25 PM

Danielle- did you think of Cleo? Sorry if it's already been suggested. Or Clara?

By Allison (OrangeAlli) (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:26 PM

I hate seeing that we're coming into an L trend! All my favorites start with the letter L!

My mom is Laura, and for years I've planned on naming a daughter after her.
My MIL is Melissa, called Lissa, and I've always loved that name/nickname as well.

And I adore names that nickname into Lena/Lina or Lila (Melina NN Lina or Delilah NN Lila).

I also expect to see Layla/Laila/Leyla also rise - I already know a little one of them as well... but the parents are huge Clapton fans.

By Zoerhenne (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:33 PM

Oh Danielle (sigh). Where are you at on the drawing board? You sort of like Caroline but not Chloe. Hmm? I don't remember your preferences up-thread. I would love to help. Do you want to repost so us NE's can have another go at it?

BTW, thanks to whomever mentioned the American Girls Dolls. I had forgotten about them. Luckily my dd has little knowledge of them for they are a bit out of my price range. Though awfully cute! Hopefully they will be still be around in about 20 yrs when my disposable income hopefully will be too (LOL) and I can purchase one for a gdaughter.

By Jennifer (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:42 PM

Thais, while lovely when sung by Renee Fleming, was naught but a courtesan. A footnote in history, if it were not for the opera. And while her conversion might be illuminating moral instruction for children, I still couldn't see myself naming a child after her. Rather like Phryne or any of the nymphs raped by Zeus or even Poppaea. Or Wallis. :)

I actually feel very strongly about this and might even throw out Theodora, despite the name's illustrious heritage and many other (more admirable namesakes).

By Lorelei Leigh (BDL) (not verified)
September 24, 2008 10:56 PM

From what I've seen, most little girls get their American Girl dolls from grandmothers--my daughter did. It's an easy gift if the price isn't a problem--you can order it from a catalog, the quality is good and you know it'll fit, even long distance. Moms I know just buy the books--which are easy to find second-hand, btw--and maybe help make clothes for them. Convince your kid that buying the catalog clothes means their doll will just look boring like everyone else's--then get out sewing machine or knitting needles and have some fun designing unique outfits together.

You're kinda stuck with their names because of the books, but that doesn't mean you can't give them funky nicknames and middle names to better suit your tastes--and/or your kid's!

By Joni (not verified)
September 24, 2008 11:00 PM

From the Sci-Fi sector: Galen is the name of one of the characters on the remake of Battlestar Galactica. He's a very sympathetic fellow and I could certainly sci-fi lovers going for this name inspired by him.

By ajaz (not verified)
September 24, 2008 11:51 PM

I myself had an American Girl doll, the Swedish girl, Kirsten. My sister had Samantha, the turn of the century girl. We also had the Bitty Babies, the baby dolls made for younger girls from the same company. I named mine Amanda Nicole (who I called Mandy), and my sister named hers Brooke Rose.

Now, I babysit a little girl (Caroline, age 4) who has a Bitty Baby, and named her Mirabelle. I thought it was an interesting choice for a name fo such a young girl.

By ajaz (not verified)
September 24, 2008 11:51 PM

ugh, FOR, not "fo."

By Easternbetty (not verified)
September 25, 2008 12:14 AM

Eo, I too was interested in Palin's NE moment (which might have been purely for diplomatic purposes, but that's to be expected)! It was reported that she answered "Oh, Nice" when he told her about his son, Mirwais (which by the way, doesn't contain the Arabic, Farsi, and Swahili root of "noor," the word for "light." This means it might be a native Central Asian name--perhaps Pashtun-- independent of the country's Muslim linguistic culture).

I'm not surprised by the report of a female Milo. After all, we have Cleo/Juno as the poster above pointed out...combined with MILEY of Hannah Montana fame. Think too of the many "Kylies" and "Rileys" [another boy-girl crossover] that make that whole "eye" sound now identified with girls.

By Marjorie (not verified)
September 25, 2008 1:36 AM

Being older than many of you, I am somewhat removed from the doll/toy scene.
I just googled for American Dolls, clicking on Images to see what they are like - one hit led to a site with a political slant on the doll company.

For any political people on the board, maybe you would be interested in the following link:


By Birgitte (not verified)
September 25, 2008 5:24 AM

Lucie: I love the Gilbert name, and always have. Funny thing is, when I grew up I married a Gilbert. And my first name just happens to be Anne with an e! How is that for coincidence?