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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Last week, designer Rebecca Minkoff and her actor-director husband Gavin Bellour introduced their new baby, Bowie Lou.  Daughter Bowie joins big brother Luca Shai at home.

The new arrival’s name got me thinking: how many high profile parents have chosen baby names borrowed from other celebrities?

Of course, it is possible that the Minkoff-Bellours loved Bowie for another reason – maybe it is a family name, or maybe they’re thinking of folk hero Jim Bowie, who gave his name to the Bowie knife before meeting his end in the Battle of the Alamo.

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Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

As the year draws to a close, we have a bumper crop of celebrity birth announcements to celebrate.

The newest arrivals answer to some very on-trend names: fierce, daring, nature-themed, a little bit rock and roll.

Some of them might even seem fanciful, the tiniest bit over-the-top.  But we live in an age where imagination and creativity are prized.  From Pinterest to Etsy, the rise of DIY and crafting and an emphasis on design has filtered into how we think about our children’s names.

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It seems that celebrities are as starstruck as the rest of us, judging from some of the names they’ve picked for their kids.  Musicians tend to salute their musical idols, while others honor glamorous stars from Hollywood’s golden age–and even some of their contemporaries.  And they aren’t above pulling a gender switch or two either.

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An interesting mix of names is highlighted in the Nameberry 9 this week by Appellation Mountain ‘s Abby Sandel, drawn from the Grammys, new starbabies, and the pages of Charles Dickens.

A fellow berry recently mentioned that Coraline wasn’t accidentally invented by Neil Gaiman for his story. In fact, as thetxbelle pointed out, Coraline peaked in France in 1996 – about half a dozen years before Gaiman reversed two letters in Caroline to name his literary heroine.

It happens more often that you might think. Parents believe they’ve created Aidric by combining parts of different names, only to stumble on a ninth-century saint by the same name.

The two celebrity births to make baby name news this week fit that pattern. They seem stunningly original and terribly familiar all at once.

If mix and match baby names isn’t your style, there are a few other appellations grabbing headlines this week, thanks to the impending Oscars, Grammys, and a few literary classics, too.

This week’s nine newsiest baby names go from the modern to the medieval and everywhere in between:

Exton Elias – Since Robert Downey, Jr.’s firstborn was named Indio, we were expecting something wildly inventive from the actor and his wife Susan. Instead, the couple settled on Exton, a place name that has never been on the baby naming map, but feels an awful like Jaxon, Axton, Maddox, and a bunch of other just-add-x baby names in favor in recent years. If his first name fell short, his middle name is rich with meaning. Robert Downey, Sr. was born Robert Elias, the son of Russian immigrants.

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Occupation names: A Labor Day celebration

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It’s Labor Day weekend, and so time once more to turn our attention to the original, pre-barbecue significance of the holiday and celebrate some hard-working occupational names.

We’re focusing on the more uncommon, fresher sounding examples, and those with less obvious meanings, so no Archer, Shepherd or Baker.  The er-ending trade names have continued their popularity run, with some individual examples rising (Ryder, Sawyer, Tucker) and others falling (Cooper, Carter, Hunter, Tanner).

Here are some examples of occupational surname names that still seem fresh enough to consider, together with the sometimes surprising trades they originally represented—even if it was so long ago that many don’t have much meaning in today’s world:

The er-ending brigade:

Banner– flag bearer

Barker –stripper of bark from trees for tanning

Baxter– a baker, usually female

Beamer — trumpet player

Booker — scribe

BouvierFrench for herdsman

Boyer — bow maker, cattle herder

Brenner — charcoal burner

Brewster — brewer of beer

Bridger — builder of bridges

Carver — sculptor

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