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Is My Favorite Baby Name Too Weird?

I've been having a love affair with the name Calypso since I was 16 years old! I love the name, I love the sound, I love the Greek mythology, and I love the nickname Caly to go with it. My husband also loves the name, but neither of us are sure if we should use it. We aren't sure how our families, or friends, or anyone else will react to this name! Do we take a chance? Or should we be looking elsewhere with these doubts? - Calypso Lover

You want to know how people will react to the name? I have two syllables for you: Day-O. Most folks who hear Calypso will think "Harry Belafonte" sooner than "Greek nymph."

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Calypso music has made the name familiar, so people will be able to pronounce it. That gives Calypso a big leg up on fellow nymphs like Clymene or Oenone. Also, the mythological Calypso had that unfortunate habit of seducing married men and holding them captive. It's can't hurt to keep a bit of distance from that image.

So the name you love is familiar but decidedly unconventional, with a classic girlish nickname. That's a mighty fashionable recipe. The biggest challenge the name poses is the -o ending, which is a tough sell for girls' names. (Think of the nymph Callisto, who is reflected in the girl's name Calista.)

Now I have a question for you. If you're so concerned about how your family and friends will respond to your favorite name, why are you asking me instead of them? My encouragement won't mean a lot compared to wrinkled noses from the people you love.

If you don't want to give away your secret name choice this early, conceal it with red herrings. Give your friends a list of 10 names you're "considering," from the average to the truly outrageous. That will keep them off the scent, and will make them feel freer to give their real opinions on each name.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

December 20, 2010 10:01 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, "Calypso" is too weird. If your daughter grows up to be an artist or something, the name would work fine, but what if she wants to be a lawyer or a banker? Don't saddle her with that.

December 20, 2010 10:09 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Name your child whatever you like as long as it's not offensive or embarrassing (I.E "Tallulah Does the Hula from Hawaii" or that kid named after Adolph Hitler). Although, in case they grow up not to like their name, I would er on the safe side for a middle name that way they could use that instead.

December 20, 2010 11:02 AM
By Megan W. (not verified)

I had a student by the name of Calliope once, and it did take me a while to get used to, but honestly, given the variety of names out there these days, no one really bugged her much about it.

December 20, 2010 11:19 AM
By Sarah (not verified)

I think it is a pretty and unique name. I don't think it is too weird. As stated, people have heard of it and will be able to pronounce it. And, I think the idea of giving a more traditional middle name is a great idea.
Since your husband likes the name, and you have always wanted to use it I think you should go for it. If you don't use it, you may regret it.

December 20, 2010 4:15 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I don't think it's weird. Unusual, but not weird. I am a teacher and have a student named Calypso this year. She goes by Callie and no one even blinks.

December 20, 2010 5:40 PM
By Emmy Jo (not verified)

Let's see: You've loved the name since you were sixteen. Your husband loves the name. It has a simple, accessible nickname (Caly/Callie) should the full name prove to be "too much" for your daughter. It has the fashionable -o ending that fits right in with current naming trends.

Who cares what your friends and family think? It sounds like the right name for you, and I think you would regret not using it. I'm a teacher, and as others here have mentioned, it's not "strange" nowadays to have students with unusual names. Whether you are Emma or Erasmia, Allison or Arizza, no one bats an eye anymore.

You can always balance it out with a more traditional middle name, one that works well as a first name, too. That way if your daughter ends up as a judge rather than an artist, she can always be known as C. Madeline Jones or C. Lucy Jones.

December 20, 2010 6:26 PM
By MM (not verified)

I think it's fine. Unusual yes, but not weird. And I don't immediately think of Calypso music when I hear it, nor do I think it's an awful thing if some people do.

Caly is a cute nickname too.

December 20, 2010 8:07 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

I too disagree with the first comment. Calypso IS offbeat, but because the word is familiar (thanks to its association with the steel drum music), it doesn't seem too weird. It's got a great, catchy little pet form, "Caly". The "-o" ending for a girl's name is very hip (in a positive way) and, most importantly, both parents love it. Sounds like a perfect choice.

I have made this point so many times it's starting to lose its flavour, but YOU CANNOT PREDICT WHETHER OR NOT YOUR CHILD WILL LIKE HIS/HER NAME, so as long as the name is not stupid and/or embarrassing, and as long as both parents like it, it's just fine. You could name her something pretty but trendy, like Isabella, but maybe she will be the marches-to-her-own-drummer type and she'll hate it because she's got three other Isabellas in her class. You could give her a timeless classic, like Catherine, but maybe she'll be the artistic free spirit type and she'll hate it because it's too ordinary. You could give her a quirky name like Calypso, but maybe she'll be the straight-laced Alex P. Keaton type and she'll hate it because she thinks it's too weird/boyish/whatever. But with any of these names, it's just as likely that she'll love it -- or, more probably, she'll simply accept it because it's her name, and kids tend to form a bond with their own names.

Comments like "don't saddle her with a name like ______ because unless she grows up to be a ______ it won't work," show a lack of imagination and foresight, and in any case are way off the mark. If she grows up and the name does not, in fact, "work," she can change it. Or go by her middle name. Or go by a short form of her first name. But for now, since the parents love the name and it isn't objectionable for any valid reason (and the personal taste of various individuals is not a valid reason), I say go for it.

December 20, 2010 8:39 PM
By Marie (not verified)

I had a teacher named Calypso once in seventh grade. I thought it a little strange, but since I didn't call her by her first name anyway, it was never a big deal. She would have been probably thirty at the time.

Not my personal choice, but nothing inherently wrong with it!

December 20, 2010 9:07 PM
By Emily (not verified)

I HATE the weird spellings/made up names etc. and am mystified at the thought of Calypso being weird. I think that's a perfectly fine name! And just thought I'd throw out there that I have no idea who Harry Belafonte is and what the "Day-o" reference is. The only association I have is from Pirates of the Caribbean- that's the name of Davy Jones' love interest in the 3rd movie. Perhaps that's a generational difference? For reference I am in my mid-twenties...

December 20, 2010 9:40 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

You know, Calypso music....Caribbean sound, rhythmic beat, steel drums...? Harry Belafonte, a Jaimaican-raised New Yorker, made the calypso beat popular in America in the 1950s. The Banana Boat Song ("Day-O") is probably the most well-known song, and despite your age, I'm sure you'd recognize it if you heard it.

December 21, 2010 3:52 AM
By Amy (not verified)

Emily, i too am in my mid-twenties and had no idea who Harry Belafonte is or Day-o (and thanks to Elizabeth, I now know what that song bannana boat was really called). And I also thought of the rather unusual character from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies when i heard 'calypso' (I thought of the tropical-flavoured ice-blocks we had at school as a kid too). While the name is a little too unusual for my tastes, I cant see anything wrong with it, and I suspect that the next generation will think of something else entirely than the associations that we all have with the word.
Determining your family & friends reactions like Name lady's sugested could work well for you, but bear in mind that two people rarely have the same taste in names, so no matter if you were suggesting amelia or jessica or juniper, the name will nearly always be too boring / too bizarre / too traditional / too unique / etc for somebody else. If you take other people's personal tastes into account too much, it drives you mad - you just can't keep everyone happy. And in the case of the truly opinionated, you even risk offending them if you dont take their advice and not name your child such-and-such. So I say, if you & your husband love it, go for it. We've had friends use baby names that we thought an odd choice, but after meeting the baby a few times you get used to it, and sometimes a name you didn't like at all actually grows on you (helped along by a pretty cute kid).

December 21, 2010 11:41 AM
By Calypso Lover!!!! (not verified)

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback! It is helping me feel much more confident in making this our name choice and not being frowned upon by everyone!
Also, I am in my mid-twenties aswell. I however have heard the Day-O song many many times, but had no idea it was 'Calypso' music! I immediately youtubed and googled Calypso and listened to my hearts content.
This name draws from so many points and passions in my life, I couldn't be getting more excited to use it now!

December 21, 2010 12:22 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

Calypso Lover: awesome! Glad you feel more confident about your choice. I agree with Sarah: if you don't use it, you may regret it. A short, classic, snappy middle name (Calypso Grace? Calypso Jane?) might not be a bad idea either, as others have pointed out.

I thought of two more things in favour of Calypso: despite the fact that it's an unusual name, it's easy to say (rolls right off the tongue!), and easy to spell. People won't constantly stumble over it. These are things that your daughter may well appreciate as she goes through life.

Also, although my personal opinion should not be a factor....I think it's a fabulous name. Good luck!

December 21, 2010 12:58 PM
By a mom (not verified)

Too weird. Save the weird names for your pets, people!

December 21, 2010 12:58 PM
By asibtroy (not verified)

I think its a GREAT CHOICE!

I am personally over all the repetitions (I teach) and have no problem honoring families request for specific pronunciations (Had a 3 Susannas at once - all pronounced differently but spelled the same. oy.) So a Caly would be easy enough to add to the Callie's.

I think the fantastic greek classical heritage makes it work in many settings and the fact that it MEANS something to you is more important that the uncommon O ending for a girl's name.

I'm "saddled" with a "common" unusual name and its been fine. I don't think a truly uncommon name as pretty as Calypso should give her much trouble.

December 21, 2010 1:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I absolutely love the name Caly or Callie. It was a name for my first baby. I think the name for a girl " Calista" is just beautiful.Also a Greek name similar to Calypso. It is so feminine and no one of the boring, same old top 10 names . You could still call her Caly or Callie. Calypso sounds a little more like a boys name to me but I do think it is cool and different but not weird at all ! Best of luck !!

December 21, 2010 1:04 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Calypso is very pretty sounding to me. Don't forget the John Denver song, of Cousteau's famous research vessel of the same name.

December 21, 2010 1:13 PM
By Roland & Conrad's mom (not verified)

When in doubt don't do it. Too risky and, yes, too weird! Calista is a much better choice. Pretty and pleasantly uncommon- without being out there. You can still use the nickname Caly or Cali if you like.

December 21, 2010 1:35 PM
By Kira (not verified)

I like it! It has a happy, carefree, creative association, in my view. And you and your husband love it - go for it, I say!

December 21, 2010 1:51 PM
By Feb (not verified)

I think it's great. Since nobody gets Greek or Latin anymore, she might have to explain her name has a "y" in it, but you can't judge a name by the mistakes a few people might make.

What I mean by that is, it's one thing to spell it "Allison" or "Alyson" versus "Alison" but the "Aelizynn" people take it too far. You are absolutely not in that ballpark with Calypso, just be ready for some double-L's and some i's instead of y's until people get used to it. Those who recognize any of the various sources will probably be delighted upon hearing it for the first time.

Go old-fashioned and simple for the middle name and it's a total winner. May I suggest Calypso June?

December 21, 2010 2:21 PM
By Calypso Lover!!!! (not verified)

We are in search of middle names now so that we can add Calypso (Caly) to our list completed. We are trying very hard to have family names, but as pointed out, it has a very strong O sound, and all the family names of close family, have strong vowel sounds with few exceptions. Lorna, Irene, Lorraine, Ellen, Margeret, Janet. The last name is 3 syllables, starting with a Z and ending with a hard a K sound. We are going to look over the family trees and hunt for more mn options!

December 21, 2010 2:36 PM
By MelissaBKB (not verified)

I think Calypso is gorgeous!
1) I'm a big proponent of thinking of a child's name with "MD", "JD", "MA", "PhD", etc, after it or on top of a resume to see how it sounds professionally, and I don't think you have anything to worry about with Calypso. It's an accepted, classical name/word. We're not talking about a kre8iv spelling with random di'acri'tics.
2) You already have your husband on board so who else really matters? I hated my sister's pick for her first daughter but now I love my niece so much it doesn't matter - and I came to realize that it was HER and my BIL's choice; not mine! I'm positive your family and friends will get there one day (though, let's be honest, some might take longer than others and be more snarky along the way. You just need to keep your courage/conviction).
3) I'm 26 and didn't even know calypso was a genre of music - and I love Harry Belafonte! My first thought was of the witch/woman in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Not bad, not good - just kind of a neutral association.

December 21, 2010 2:53 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Cool name! I like it and immediately think of the Greek association (which I like), not Calypso music.

December 21, 2010 2:54 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Calypso is fine. With a three-syllable first and last name, I suggest a one-syllable middle name. But maybe not Jane. I immediately thought of Calamity Jane, as will many Westerners or fans of western history.

December 21, 2010 3:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love it, specifically because it brings to mind Jacques Cousteau's ship, Calypso (and John Denver's song about it). I think it would be best for a boy. It's a fabulous name, and you should go ahead and use it!

December 21, 2010 3:40 PM
By jakadu (not verified)

Add me to the bunch that likes the name, even though I wouldn't use it personally. I would take Calypso way OVER the made up names...thinking Nevaeh, also Neveah, Adisyn, Zuma, Satyana...Calypso isn't even weird up against these names. I like that its a real word. And like the nn. With that in mind, we have a bunch of streets here in New Orleans named for the nine Greek muses: Calliope, Polymnia, Urania, Clio, Thalia, Terpsichore, Melpomene, Euterpe and one other...

Now on to the Middle Name, I would keep it short, sweet and more traditional. But not anything that could be a recognizable word because then it could sound like a resort or bar: Calypso Eve, Calypso Kay, Calypso Skye. So here's my attempt at brainstorming.

Calypso Ann
Calypso Anna
Calypso Grace
Calypso Marie
Calypso Claire

December 21, 2010 4:23 PM
By Lisa (not verified)

Calypso Irene (from what you posted above)

I'm so glad you've chosen to use your favourite name btw :D

December 21, 2010 4:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like Calypso, and my first thought was mythology, not music. :) From your list above, I second Calypso Irene, but I am really liking Calypso Grace as well.

December 21, 2010 5:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I, too, think it's just fine. I have a Greek first name and it's caused me some trouble, however I think it's a slightly less familiar name than Calypso.

I think the associations with the name are diverse enough that nothing much is going to stick, which is nice, too.

Personally, my first thought was washing machines or dishwashers... not even sure quite what the connection was, and it wasn't a strong one (obviously). I think that would fade rather fast in the presence of a person with that name.

Don't let friends and family ruin it for you.

December 21, 2010 5:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As one who works with children, I love the variety that creativeness brings. When there are 5 Jacobs and 7 Emmas in one class, there tends to be a little bit of boredom!! I gave my own kids names that I thought were edgy (and at the time, they were!!) and their names are now hitting the top 100 lists!!

December 21, 2010 6:16 PM
By Elisabeth (not verified)

I have questions about this comment:

"When in doubt don't do it. Too risky and, yes, too weird! Calista is a much better choice. Pretty and pleasantly uncommon- without being out there. You can still use the nickname Caly or Cali if you like."

But WHY is it risky to name your child something unconventional? Is it because you fear the child will be teased? And why is Calista less weird than Calypso? Isn't it also taken from Greek mythology? Calista Flockhart (sp?) has given the name some exposure, but it's still pretty unusual.

I'm honestly asking here. It's hard not to sound argumentative in print, but I'm honestly curious about the thinking that goes behind the occasional "it's too weird" comment in this sea of otherwise positive comments. What makes a name "too weird?" Is it just taste?

December 21, 2010 6:21 PM
By Calypso Lover!!!! (not verified)

Calypso Irene is my favorite too. Irene is my middle name, and also my deceased paternal grandmothers name.
It's not for sure yet, but Calypso is definitely top 3! I love names and don't want namers remorse! I can't commit! I'm a name commitment-phobe!! I'm leaning more towards it by the hour and so is DH. You are all being amazing!! Thank you so much!

December 21, 2010 7:26 PM
By Sally O (not verified)

My first thought was; Love it! My second was, But didn;t Calypso have some pretty bad habits? My third was; Ah, one of my fvaourite songs! As for Callisto, Caliope etc; we handle Penelope with no problems. I'd do it if I were you. (In fact I did; I named tha protagonist in one of my (unpublished) books Calypso.

December 21, 2010 9:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

She doesn't say it's for a girl, does she? (Yet everyone is offering female options...) I do think it's a better name for a boy.

December 21, 2010 9:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Cousteau is another cool name!

December 21, 2010 9:26 PM
By Jenny (not verified)

How about Calliopi, using Callie as the nickname. I meet a Calliopi every now and then. My family is Greek is this would be unusual, but a much more "accepted" name.

In Greek mythology, Calliopi is the muse of epic poetry. It also means beautiful voice.

You could also try Clio.

Good luck!!!

December 22, 2010 5:05 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

i say go for it- my son's name is Zephyr which i originally picked for a middle name but had to switch at the last minute due to the first name i'd chosen being my fathers name and my parents choosing to announce their seperation a week before the birth. (i really didnt think i could go ahead with my first choice as i thought it may look like i was playing favourites- it just was no longer appropriate) Anyway, I was a little nervous about the choice as i only had a week to get used to it and was a little worried that i might regret it, but now i love it. Yeah we got quite a few comments about it in the beginning, but everyone who knows him now just thinks its normal - which it is!

December 22, 2010 6:26 AM
By Tanta (not verified)

We wanted Callie as a name for one of our daughters, but I wanted a different name option for her, since we have known lots of calico cats named Callie. Wish I would have thought of that one! Very pretty! I like Calypso Irene, or Calypso Raine ( short for Lorraine. I realize it's a second unusual name, but I really like the sound and the link to a family name. BTW, we did that with our own daughter, Kallie, and her full name, Kailyn. The Lyn, is for her uncle, Paul Lyndon. Means a lot, especially since her uncle didn't like either one of his names, but my husband wanted to honor him.

Good luck! I think the name is lovely!

December 22, 2010 9:57 AM
By Anne-onymous (not verified)

I actually really like this name. I have a really good friend named Callie (no "full" name -- her birth name is Callie), and the sound of it is quite nice. She is named after her father, Cal.

For the people who are worried about "what if she wants to be a banker?" Whatever you put on your resume is what people call you at work. My dad hates his first name -- he goes by his first initial and his middle name (and is called Mike, the nickname of his middle name). My cousin doesn't like her full name of Elizabeth and no one called her that anyway, so when she got married, she officially changed her name to Betsy. If your daughter doesn't like Calypso when she grows up, she can officially change her name to Caly, or whatever.

Do whatever makes you happy.

December 22, 2010 10:46 AM
By Holly (not verified)

I LOVE Calypso!!!! I think it is fantastic. My first association is actually Strawberry Shortcake, which isn't bad since they are all so cute and sweet. I personally love Calypso Grace, but I understand the family middle names since my kids have that too.

We named my son a greek name and it took us a while to decide on it since its a known character name, but on an actual child its not common at all. We decided to just jump right in with both feet and now I can't imagine we would have ever named him anything else!

Do what your heart is telling you, you have a beautiful name picked out!!!

December 22, 2010 6:16 PM
By Phaidra Trakas (yes its my real name) (not verified)

I dont think the name Calypso is too werid. I love it. Look at my name "Phaidra". its Greek and that store behind it is not a great one. But dont worry about what others think my mom didnt and now for the past 30 years everyone i have met in all the states i have lived in ppl love my name and ask about it. Sure then say in wrong and spell it wrong, but you learn to live w/ that and you get a good luagh over it. Plus haveing a short verison of a different name helps to, b/c if she doesnt feel like going thro the whole "hows that spelled, hows that said, were did that come from?" Then she can jsut use Caly, like i jsut use Phai for me most of the time. I think is a great name and alawys love it when ppl what to name their kids something totally different. Go for it.

December 22, 2010 8:18 PM
By Ali-kat (not verified)

This name is not too out-there at all! You and you're husband both love it, and judging by the comments on this site, so does the majority of people who hear it! It's a GREAT name and you should definately use it! I was saddled with an overly common name (Alison) and HATED having to go by my last initial (I'm one of those crazy, unique kind of people) and long to be named something more original like Arabesque or Antoinette but that's neither here nor there. ;) So, in conclusion, a name beng unpopular doesn't mean a kid won't like it, just the same way a name being popular won't garuntee everyone likes it. Good luck I love the name, and espicially love the combo Calypso Mae. So pretty! :D

December 23, 2010 1:00 PM
By Elisa (not verified)

NameLady's answer sure is snarky today! I think Calypso is a beautiful name, that has the extra added bonus of a story and a pleasant association (I am mid twenties and I think of steel drums, banana smoothies and the beach). I don't think of Harry Belafonte (never heard of him) and certainly not of The Banana Boat song. Ridiculous!

There are a lot of musical names coming up in popularity right now like Lyric and Cadence so Calypso will be right at home there. I used to babysit for a little girl named Capri, and I always thought that was a great name.

The only problem I see is that you are so troubled by your family's reactions... You can't please everyone. And if you did choose a name that pleased your family, it wouldn't even be the one you liked! Get over it! As soon as they meet Calypso the baby, they will, too! Good Luck!

December 23, 2010 5:58 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's not at all too weird. It's easy to say, and I find it feminine -- I don't get why it would work as a boy's name.

Your little girl will grow into the name and own it, even if she doesn't like it. That's how names work.

One suggestion is not to tell your friends and family if you're concerned with what they will think. If you tell them beforehand and they hate it, they'll say so. If you don't tell them until it's too late, they won't say anything. And then in five years they'll start saying things like "I thought that was a little odd, but she's grown into it and I can't picture her being named anything else." We did this with my boy (named Ari) and nobody's said anything. So worth the wait!

December 26, 2010 12:27 PM
By lothelena (not verified)

I'm more of a traditionalist but I really like this name. I agree with a previous poster that if you just spell it as is then it may be off-beat but it won't be difficult to manage, it's a familiar word, has a great sound and I definitely think you should use it. Also the perfectly normal sounding nickname crushes any objections about it not working in the business/professional world. There's even a Calypso Christmas carol. It's a total win.

December 29, 2010 3:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think it's a good name. The only people who will think of calypso music are those in our parents generation and older (people born in the 50s and before). And even if they do think of the music, it's fun, lively, happy music. To me, that's a good association for a name. Maybe your baby will end up with a lively personality to match!
By the time your child is an adult, the music of the 50's will be long gone in the minds of the new generation anyway, so it will not matter whether someone today thinks of Harry Belafonte when they hear it.

December 31, 2010 5:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As hard as it can be for couples to agree on names, I think you should take it as a positive omen that your husband loves Calypso too, especially since it's pretty unusual. If it makes you feel more comfortable, give the child a more conventional middle name and you've got all your bases covered. I made the mistake of sharing our top girl choice (totally normal---Eleanor, nicknamed Nora or Ellie) with a friend, who made a puking sound. Which is fine, because she thinks giving children nicknames as full names is acceptable, which made ME make a puking sound. Point being, I guess, is that everyone is going to hate SOMETHING, and as long the name isn't offensive, you shouldn't care about what anyone but you and your husband think. I have many friends who are teachers, and they say that kids' names are all over the place these days...your kid will be no more out of place as a Calypso as he or she would be as an Olivia or a Caleb.

January 2, 2011 5:34 PM
By Mamasaurus (not verified)

The name sounds nice to a few people now, but thinking ahead to the future and just maybe you should rethink another name.
How about "Caliope" since you're into the "C's" and Greek mythology? Good Luck

January 3, 2011 6:00 PM
By Cecily's Mom (not verified)

Just thought I'd say that when I first read that your name choice was Calypso I was taken off guard but as I read through some of the comments and continually said the name over and over in my head Calypso, like most uncommon names, started sounding better and better to me.
I do think that you should (cautiously of course) try to feel out friends and family and see what they think, not because it's their decision but because it just might prepare you for future reactions, good, bad, or neutral.
I love the Name Lady's idea of sharing a list of a few names that include a range of styles. I recently did this with 4 boys names and 4 girls. I set up a poll on my blog and was a little surprised by the results (they were actually in favor of my preferred names, didn't see that coming.)

Good luck with it, by the way I too love Caly and would vote for a more familiar middle name just to bring balance, not because I don't think she would like Calypso but because that's just my personal preference.
I liked someone's suggestion or Calypso Jane (which I think is like the new "Leigh" for our generation)
or Calypso Claire.

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