Sunday Summary: 7.25.21I love an obscure word.

Finitude popped up as WordGenius’ Word of the Day earlier this week. And I thought: YES! That is the word that I have been after.

It means “the state of having limits or bounds.”

This is really important when it comes to choosing names.


Names are infinite. Really. If you wanted to find a name that was truly rare, you might search forever.

I mean … please tell me I’m not the only one scrolling the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources murmuring “Hmmm … Castellan. Frotbert? Nymphidius! Queniva …”

But the names that we are personally willing to consider for our children? That list has finitude.

Whether we acknowledge it or not.

So often, we struggle to accept this. I know I did. And maybe there’s a compromise that nudges at the limits of that list – particularly if one partner draws the lines differently. (That challenge came up in a recent #namehelp post.)

Still, I think considering your limits first can be a good place to begin. It doesn’t mean you can’t break your own rules. But it does mean that you’re evaluating the most likely names with laser-focus. So if you know you disliked having to spell Kristin every. single. time., crossing off Madeline and Amelia might be wise. And if you loathed sharing your common name with classmates then – and co-workers now – well, then, you might need to let go of Sophia.

It can also give us a certain kind of peace. If we know we’ve considered all of the options that meet our carefully defined criteria, well … that’s a different kind of feeling than wondering if we’ve really uncovered every possible option. Because the answer to the latter will almost always be “no,” while we can reasonably complete the former task over a few weeks.

Did you feel like your list of favorites had finitude? Or was it harder to define?


Fern! I keep thinking I’ll stop writing about the Duggar family. But how great is the name of Jessa’s new daughter, Fern Elliana? Jessa and husband Ben Seewald are also parents to Spurgeon Elliot, which is a completely out-there, wait-is-that-even-a-name kind of name, followed by the more toned-down Henry Wilberforce, and then the downright mainstream Ivy Jane. Fern Elliana is a name we all recognize, but one that no one is using. It left the US Top 1000 in the early 1960s! A great middle-of-the-pack pick that manages to fit with all of her older siblings’ names.

Some amazing names make the Top Ten in Quebec. Looking at you, Romy and Arthur! But even more intriguing are the rarities that Nancy found at the bottom of the list: Soho, Lenny Bruce, Jolly-Anne, Himalaya Fay! Also of note are the First Nations names that Nancy footnotes near the bottom of the post.

Speaking of rankings, Nameberry rounded up surprising Top 50 names for girls … from other countries. Agnes, Juliette, Nella, Bo, and more amazing finds here.

Halsey might be my favorite celebrity name of the moment, so I was prepared to like her new baby’s name, too. And I do! It’s Ender Ridley. Which is all kinds of interesting. 

I’m in tears. It’s easy to dismiss names as fluffy. But they are woven into the fabric of our existence. And sometimes, stories like this one – about the newborn granddaughter of one of the victims of the Surfside condo collapse, named for her late grandmother – remind us of the power of names to heal, to unite, to console, to remember.

That’s all for now! As always, thinking of you – and have a great week.

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Boy Names: 7.25.21 Girl Names: 7.25.21

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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