How do you know when to stop looking?

I have tons of boys names that I love, but I am having a hard time coming up with a girls name I adore. There are a few I like, but if I chose one of those I would just be settling on it for the sake of letting go of this seemingly never-ending search. I’ve looked at every name that’s posted in the top 1000 for girls in the past 129 years as well as others. Nothing seems like THE one. My absolute favorite girls name is my own name (I’m posting under a pseudonym), but I’d like to give my daughter her own special name. Also, my name is starting to get popular, and I prefer more rare names.

What to do? Go with a name I like but don’t love? Other places to look for names? Is this name fatigue? Name my daughter after myself when I had no intention of doing so?
Thanks for your insights.

Make a list of names you like, and we could see if the posters could come up with something. They often do!

I like to think there is no such thing! But you may be overwhelming yourself. [name]How[/name] long until you are due? You may be overlooking some serious contenders. I do a pretty good job of seeing the potential in more names than I naturally plan on - while I have my tastes generally carved out, and I do not have a baby on the way, just to be clear on it, I bet it is tough when you think of a name you like and then do the “what-abouts” and just never feel comfortable. My favorite name is [name]Sara[/name], but I have a good feeling I would pick something else, because there are so many good names that just appeal to me. When others are considering names and someone posts a pile of suggestions, I’m inclined to like names several and probably never thought of them in that light before. They start to sound melodic and attractive to use. When I used to make my own lists for fun, I would look at a single name in a book, quickly decide I didn’t like it, and a few pages later, it would click. It would sound ok. I am open to accepting names that sound like a friend, sound like a successful person to me, even if on first sight, it seemed atrocious and full of negative associations or a harsh sound. Any name can sound gross if you say it wrong in your head or out loud, and almost any name can sound ideal and appealing if you just give it a chance.

I wish you good luck. [name]Deirdre[/name] is a great name. I think you want to name your daughter her own name and let her be an individual, and I agree that is the right thing to do. I really like my own name a lot too. I don’t have any suggestions for you now. I consider a name that’s near to it might appeal to you more, but “almost [name]Deirdre[/name]” might also feel like settling for a lesser substitute of the name you love most. [name]Do[/name] you have any other qualifications? For instance, how much do you care how popular a name is or isn’t? What types of names have appealed most to you in a neutral setting (such as offering advice to other moms or spectating some of the threads)?

What are some boys names you love? Would finding out the sex help or did you have your heart set on a surprise, or do you know you’re having a girl after all, and your boys name list is a moot point? You have done a lot of research to come up with nothing, and I hope we can help you put it in perspective and come up with a golden idea.

My fave girls’ names if I didn’t have to worry about my last name or my husband’s taste:
[name]Ailsa[/name]
[name]Alice[/name]
[name]Annabel[/name]
[name]Annika[/name]
[name]Camille[/name] nn [name]Cammie[/name]
[name]Caroline[/name] nn [name]Callie[/name]
[name]Catherine[/name] nn [name]Cate[/name]
[name]Cecily[/name] nn Cessie
[name]Daphne[/name]
[name]Eliza[/name]
[name]Eloise[/name]
[name]Gemma[/name]
[name]Georgia[/name] nn [name]Georgie[/name]
[name]Flora[/name]
[name]Frances[/name] nn [name]Francie[/name]
[name]Hollis[/name]
[name]Iris[/name]
[name]Jacqueline[/name] nn [name]Jackie[/name]
[name]Josephine[/name] nn [name]Josie[/name]
[name]Lucy[/name]
[name]Maeve[/name]
[name]Matilda[/name] nn [name]Tillie[/name]
[name]Nora[/name], could be a nn for [name]Eleanor[/name] or [name]Leonora[/name]
[name]Ottilie[/name] nn [name]Tillie[/name]
[name]Penelope[/name] nn [name]Nell[/name]
[name]Phoebe[/name]
[name]Rosalie[/name] nn [name]Rosie[/name]
[name]Rosemary[/name] nn [name]Rosie[/name]
[name]Susannah[/name]
[name]Tessa[/name]
[name]Veronica[/name] nn [name]Vera[/name]
[name]Vivian[/name] nn [name]Vivi[/name]
[name]Winifred[/name] nn [name]Winnie[/name]

Sometimes, your favourite name can be your favourite name for years, and then when you have a baby, you choose something totally different, for all sorts of explained and unexplained reasons! It is complicated. I can only think of comparing it to liking hats on people, and thinking that they look wonderful, but I would never actually wear one myself because I have a big head and I look ridiculous.

You have your partner’s choices to take into consideration for one thing (and men are often far more conventional than women when it comes to naming babies, and less adventurous), and while there is no such thing as name fatigue in the way you meant it (once a name fanatic, always a name fanatic, in my experience), one CAN get tired or bored of a particular name, or start to see names in a different light.

There is no use fretting too much. Use Nameberry as a sounding board - there are loads of helpful and intelligent and interesting posters on the site, keen to help and share your dilemmas. When the time comes, you will know what to do.

Good luck
xxxxxxx

ps as a matter of curiosity, do you use a nom-de-plume to remain anonymous? or because you don’t want every [name]Thomasina[/name], Richenda and [name]Harriet[/name] using your first name and making it more popular?!

x

[name]Hi[/name], I signed up under a pseudonym simply because posting on a web site seems like a rather anonymous way to get advice, anyway … and also a little bit to protect my real name, which I [name]DO[/name] love! At the time it was bestowed on me, my name was quite rare for girls in the US. But it’s a bit silly to be protective now, as it is hardly ‘undiscovered’ anymore. My ‘nom de plume’, [name]Deirdre[/name], is just the name I picked for this board. It is without any special significance for me, and I’m not considering it for my daughter.

I think part of my problem with girls’ names is the fact that I really do love my own name. My parents really got it right! So I would feel like I were letting my own daughter down if I couldn’t come up with another name for her that I liked equally.

[name]Do[/name] you have any other qualifications? For instance, how much do you care how popular a name is or isn’t? What types of names have appealed most to you in a neutral setting (such as offering advice to other moms or spectating some of the threads)?

[/quote]

Here are a few of the sorts of qualities I am looking for in a name:

Generally, I prefer longer names (3 syllables), though I am open to a name of any length (one, two, or three syllables). Our last name is 3 syllables, so a really long name might be a bit much.

I would like the name to sound like someone intelligent and serious, but it doesn’t have to be too heavy.

For this reason, I don’t usually like most botanical names (at least for a first name). Naming a girl after a flower just seems a bit trivializing (But that’s just me …) I would have considered the name [name]Viola[/name], as it has other associations besides the flower, but our last name starts with a V, so it just doesn’t work.

I would like the name to have a positive meaning. Meanings like “a person from [name]Crete[/name]”, or “mighty in battle”, or “beautiful” don’t appeal to me that much. (I would consider a name that means “beautiful”; it’s just that, as I said, names with this sort of meaning don’t strike me as all that serious.)

I don’t usually like names with strong religious overtones, though I would have made an exception for [name]Grace[/name] (since I think more of the meaning “grace in life” than “religious grace”), but this name is too popular. The religious aspects are what are making me second guess the name [name]Bernadette[/name].

I would like the name to have a cute nickname, but it shouldn’t be the kind of nn I would give my dog (e.g., [name]Fifi[/name], [name]Daisy[/name]).

Generally, I prefer names of English, Welsh, [name]German[/name], French, Greek, or [name]Roman[/name] (Latin) origin, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Generally, I prefer less popular (more rare) names, though I would accept a name of mid-range popularity (just not super-popular).

If a name is strongly associated with just one person, it’s often a problem for me. For example, I used to like the name [name]Camilla[/name], but I just can’t get away from [name]Camilla[/name] [name]Parker[/name] Bowles on that one.

I usually don’t like place names. Without the place associations, I would like the names [name]Adelaide[/name] and [name]India[/name], but the place associations kind of do those names in for me. ([name]Adelaide[/name] is also done in by the fact that it is related to [name]Heidi[/name], and I have very negative personal associations with this name.)

I would like the name to strike a balance btw being elegant and being simple or straightforward enough to suit “the girl next door”

Well, those are a few of the things I am looking for in a name! Yes, I am probably too choosy!
I do appreciate any help I can get.

I would think that you would love [name]Phoebe[/name].
Also:
[name]Calandra[/name]
[name]Miranda[/name]
[name]Paloma[/name]

You are on target! [name]Phoebe[/name] has been on and off of my short list. BUT … there is the problem of a nickname. Perhaps this is the least of my worries, as no nn is needed, or one will emerge later spontaneously. More worrisome, is it’s seemingly very strong association with the character on Friends. Not a bad character, but still just someone on TV. ??

[name]Calandra[/name] I’ve also considered.
I don’t think [name]Miranda[/name] & [name]Paloma[/name] would sound good with our last name, though they are nice. Thanks!

[name]Do[/name] you like [name]Arabella[/name]? [name]Ophelia[/name]?

(PS you realise now that we are all trying to guess your real name, [name]Deirdre[/name]). Why did you choose [name]Deirdre[/name]? This is Irish, lady of the sorrows, and in the UK, rather synonymous with a character called [name]Deirdre[/name] [name]Barlow[/name] in “Coronation [name]Street[/name]”!)

I like [name]Phoebe[/name] now. When “Friends” was still on the air and I heard someone else talking about liking that name, I just wouldn’t consider it. In my head, I was all, like, “10 years ago, you’d have thought it sounded ridiculous and you only like it because of tv.” But now I’ve come around. She’s not “just someone on TV.” [name]Phoebe[/name], the [name]Phoebe[/name], is still [name]Phoebe[/name]. If instead of on TV, you met someone at work with that name. Then, wouldn’t she be “just someone at work”? Taking my name and being all common with it… the nerve.

I know “Friends” is still on in reruns, and there I think was another [name]Phoebe[/name] on “Charmed” around the same time, but I think this helps people digest the name and feel that it is accessible, without binding it to a tv character. I regularly consider [name]Phoebe[/name] for a first or middle name. I have another, they go back and forth. I forget to remember names I like a lot because I don’t write them in lists anymore. If it comes to me again soon, I will be sure to suggest it, hoping it meets your requirements.

Speaking of your requirements - I really like them. I do consider some names that mean weird things like they don’t matter, but I get warmer feelings for names that mean something strong and important. I will try to think of a few for you.

You are on target! [name]Phoebe[/name] has been on and off of my short list. BUT … there is the problem of a nickname. Perhaps this is the least of my worries, as no nn is needed, or one will emerge later spontaneously. More worrisome, is it’s seemingly very strong association with the character on Friends. Not a bad character, but still just someone on TV. ??

[name]Calandra[/name] I’ve also considered.
I don’t think [name]Miranda[/name] & [name]Paloma[/name] would sound good with our last name, though they are nice. Thanks![/quote]

[name]Phoebe[/name] doesn’t need a nn.
[name]Fiona[/name] is also a very lovely name.

I used to love [name]Arabella[/name] many years ago, but I’ve gone off it. I don’t like the sound of it that much anymore. Much prefer [name]Isabella[/name], which is way too popular. [name]Arabella[/name] sounds too much like [name]Isabella[/name], but not quite as nice. It has a provocative meaning, though.

Now [name]Ophelia[/name] is interesting. I have toyed with this one. I know that 100 years ago, girls regularly got this name. Nowadays, though, it seems to be a total no-no name. Give your daughter this name, and she will always be tainted by the association of [name]Hamlet[/name]'s tragic heroine. Not my favorite association or literary role model. I thought of [name]Ofelia[/name], as well, to get away from the direct association with [name]Shakespeare[/name]. But I just don’t think I could go with it, either way.

[name]Phoebe[/name] doesn’t need a nn.
[name]Fiona[/name] is also a very lovely name.[/quote]

[name]Alas[/name], I grew up next door to an older lady named [name]Fiona[/name]. [name]Fiona[/name] will forever be an older lady neighbor’s name for me.

I was wondering how you translate a “good” meaning vs. “not what you were after,” for instance, you tend to discard a name that means “beautiful,” as I can understand, it’s a little, maybe, shallow for you, compared to “wisdom” or something serious and deep.

I wondered if plants or animals would be in the good category or not - for instance, I was thinking of a name that means “dove” for peace, like [name]Paloma[/name]. If “peace” is not the thing, would this structure of searching on a name still work for you? Some flowers and plants have greater meaning through symbolism also. I like names that mean “life,” “caring,” “strong,” etc., but I also like names that feel like a part of the earth and would consider symbolism of a human virtue through nature to capture a very good essence without being too religious (pagan or pantheistic), because I’m not a religious or spiritual person myself - I think symbolism is part of the human condition as we strive to appropriate the qualities of nature, the industrious bee or the shelter and strength of an oak tree, for some examples.

Trees are my favorite due to their strength and flexibility rather than rigidity that aids their survival in high wind (translated: survival against what life throws at you, “resilience”), as well as the life-giving oxygen that they trade with our carbon dioxide, not to mention fruit or seeds to nourish others in the habitat, as well as the cycle of life in the seasons and the colors changing and renewal, and so many positive qualities. I would consider trees if you think flowers primarily as too dainty and decorative.

I’d also suggest [name]Helen[/name] and variations - this name means “bright, shining one,” although I think the entries between [name]Helen[/name] and [name]Ellen[/name] are switched. Look for the variations under [name]Ellen[/name] and also International Variations of [name]Helen[/name], if the name [name]Helen[/name] itself doesn’t appeal to you.
https://nameberry.com/babyname/ellen
https://nameberry.com/list/40/Helens-International-Variations

I was considering this name today, I have an easy time picturing a very small pre-verbal [name]Helen[/name] as well as a young lady and beyond, but not a school-aged [name]Helen[/name] very well - it does seem kind of mature for a girl, but it has a very simple and clear sound, a long and proud historical connection, and I think a positive and earnest meaning. I think a lot of the variations are very serious, but not old. [name]Leonora[/name] or [name]Helene[/name] are very good options. I don’t know if “bright, shining one” is serious for you or not, but [name]Helen[/name] is a pretty serious name.

Thanks for your feedback!

To answer your question, I don’t think I would reject a name on meaning alone. If there were other qualities about a name that I liked a lot, but didn’t like the meaning so well, I wouldn’t automatically toss out the name from consideration. However, I wouldn’t choose a name that is it’s own meaning if I didn’t like the meaning. (Does that make any sense?) For example, the name [name]Daisy[/name] means [name]Daisy[/name]. A daisy is a daisy is a daisy. A daisy might symbolize other things, but in this case the meaning is so upfront that if I weren’t thrilled with the upfront meaning (even if the richer symbolism were there), I wouldn’t choose it.

I agree that the symbolism associated with the meaning of a name is part of its meaning, so there is greater depth to a name than one simple “meaning”. That is one of the reasons I would consider [name]Viola[/name] for a 1st name, while I wouldn’t consider [name]Violet[/name]. [name]Both[/name] names mean “violet”, but I find greater richness in the name [name]Viola[/name] because it doesn’t literally say “violet”. (But I had to eliminate [name]Viola[/name] as a 1st name choice b/c it doesn’t sound good with our last name, also starting with a V.)

Names that have animal/nature meanings are very appealing from the perspective of their meaning. So meaning is one of the reasons I like the names [name]Susannah[/name], [name]Sylvia[/name] and [name]Calandra[/name], but I don’t like the name [name]Lark[/name] much b/c, again, it’s meaning is a bit too up-front.

I love the name [name]Helen[/name], as well as [name]Helena[/name]. But this name is taken in our family. It would still be a possible middle name. It is an exquisite name with an exquisite meaning. It is a really wonderful name. I will check out the variations, but since [name]Helen[/name] is already in use in our family, a variation would probably be a bit too close to it.

Can you think of names (other than [name]Sylvia[/name]/[name]Sylvie[/name]) that evoke trees or the forest, but aren’t literal names of trees? Again, [name]Sylvia[/name] is one of those names that I can’t use because it’s already been used by someone in my close circle.

Thanks for your thoughts!

I met a girl the other day who was called [name]Sylvana[/name]. This means “of the woodland” so is quite indirectly about trees?

Any help?

Can you think of names (other than [name]Sylvia[/name]/[name]Sylvie[/name]) that evoke trees or the forest, but aren’t literal names of trees? Again, [name]Sylvia[/name] is one of those names that I can’t use because it’s already been used by someone in my close circle.

[name]Ailsa[/name]'s suggestion of [name]Sylvana[/name] is a good one.

For a mythological connection to trees, I suggest the name [name]Daphne[/name]. In Greek myth, [name]Daphne[/name] was a nymph loved by the god [name]Apollo[/name]. But [name]Daphne[/name] would have nothing to do with [name]Apollo[/name], and so the gods changed her into a laurel tree that she might escape [name]Apollo[/name]'s pursuit. In her honor, [name]Apollo[/name] made the laurel his sacred tree. In fact, the name [name]Daphne[/name] means “laurel.”

– [name]Nephele[/name]

I second [name]Daphne[/name]! Also [name]Laurel[/name]. Oh, wait, [name]Laurel[/name] is a literal name of a tree. I wonder what some wood nymph names are? Maybe you would like some of those. I bet [name]Nephele[/name] knows some wood nymph names. [name]Wood[/name] nymphs are so cool! Also [name]Arden[/name], a forest in [name]Shakespeare[/name]'s “As You Like It”. It would be interesting to research names of all different forests in the world and see if there is a forest name that you love. I have driven all over the country first with my family of origin and then with my husband and kids, and I have noticed some lovely forest names.

[name]Susan[/name], [name]Arden[/name] is an inspired suggestion! You’ve got both the forest and Shakespearean literary connections going in there! I love it!

As for names taken from wood nymphs of classical myth, I know of only two Dryades/Hamadryades, and I’m not sure either of their names are that appealing: Dryope and Byblis.

– [name]Nephele[/name]