You’ve probably heard the quote, “We are drowning in information, while starved for wisdom.”

As best as I can tell, the first person to say that was E.O. Wilson, a scientist who pioneered the field of sociobiology. He won a Pulitzer Prize for 1978’s On Human Nature, and that is just one of his many achievements.

So Wilson was no slouch, and he lived until 2021 – long enough to see the abundance of information, dearth of wisdom that characterizes our own moment.

I’ve been thinking about this so much lately with naming. Rarely can we find The Name simply by looking through one. more. list. Almost always, finding The Name requires looking inward, and thinking about our values, our experiences, the people and places we love most.

And that’s why naming is so, so hard sometimes. Because looking for names is the fun part. Thinking deeply about why names appeal and which ones really work for our family?That’s work!

Let’s look at the names in the news for the week of June 30, 2024.

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The tiny nation of Iceland released their most popular names for calendar year 2023. It’s a list I always enjoy. We should absolutely steal Embla. In Norse mythology, it’s the name of the first woman. She and her partner were created from trees, and so Embla might come from ta word meaning elm. Also noteworthy: Atlas ranks in the Icelandic boys’ Top Ten, while gorgeous Saga and intriguing Bríet are popular on the girls’ side.


I was poking around Reddit the other day, and came across this post sharing the official list of names rejected in New Zealand for 2023. I recently responded to a TikTok claiming that many of these names were illegal in the US, and explained why it isn’t true. In New Zealand, though? Totally different story.

Still worth noting: Illegal doesn’t mean the police will put you in jail. It’s more like a bureaucratic process, complete with an appeals procedure. And the rules are the rules, so there’s still a chance your name will be denied.


Bridgerton Season three spoiler alert!

There are more marriages and more babies at the end of the third season. If you’re curious about the updates, there are two:

  • Philomena Finch is the daughter of Philippa and her husband, Albion Finch. That’s the third generation of P names – as far as we know.
  • Sister Prudence also welcomes a daughter. Her name is not yet revealed. (But maybe it’s … Priscilla? Persephone? Primrose? Perpetua? Please let it be something elaborate starting with the letter P.)
  • And then there’s Penelope, who marries Colin Bridgerton. Together they have a son. Because of various plot twists, he’ll inherit the title of Lord Featherington. His name is not revealed. In the books, the couple has a daughter first, named Agatha after Lady Danbury. They eventually have boys named Thomas and George, along with another daughter named Jane. This baby, however, remains nameless. And while it may be revealed, I’m fond of actress Nicola Coughlin’s proposal: Elliot, for Penelope’s BFF Eloise Bridgerton.

Bridgerton names might not be the most period-accurate, but they are a delight …


The Neverending Story is about to celebrates its 40th anniversary, complete with a re-release in theaters. I’d assumed that it was familiar to most, at least after the theme song played a role in Netflix juggernaut Stranger Things. Turns out my kids don’t know it AT ALL.

If a younger generation takes note, though, it could be Atreyu’s name to shine. The name was given to 100 boys in 2023, which is actually down a bit from recent years.

Author Michael Ende spelled it Atréju in the 1979 German original. The novel explains his name means “son of all,” as Atreyu was an orphan raised by his village.

Ende is a great namer. There’s also Bastian Balthazar Bux, the main character in the real world, and bookstore owner Carl Conrad Coreander. The original story was illustrated by Roswitha Quadflieg – which sounds like Ende made it up, too, but is actually the real deal.


A mom asked if she could name her son Vivian, a family name used by at least two generations of men. The responses to her question on Reddit resulted in lots of people insisting that naming a boy Vivian is a truly horrible idea.

But is it?

I’ll be tackling this question on my Patreon page later this week. Review Name of the Day posts for free; or become a member for just $5/month to read everything.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading and have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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